Lauded as the land where the rich and famous come to play, the Caribbean island of St Barths (also known as St. Barthelemy) is one of the most exclusive yet low-key islands of them all. Part of the French West Indies, it is believed that Christopher Columbus was the first European traveller to have discovered the island in 1493. He named the island “Bartolomeo” in honour of his brother.
On March 19 1946, the people of the island became French citizens with full rights. This has resulted in the island still being incredibly Caribbean in nature but with an intriguing French twist.
The Beaches of St Barths
The island of St Barths may only be 8-square miles in size, but it is surrounded by more than 20 beaches. The most popular beaches include:
- St Jean
- Grand Cul de Sac
Travellers who are seeking a more recluse and private retreat should pay a visit to beaches such as:
- Grand Saline
- Anse Colombier (this beach is so secluded it can only be reached by boat or a 30-minute hike down a beaten goat path)
For those arriving with family, beaches like Marechal and Shell Beach are the two best options.
The Hotels and Resorts of St Barths
Travellers won’t find any major hotel chains within St Barths though there is a selection of independently owned accommodations. Most of these hotels have less than 100 rooms and are staffed with warm, friendly locals.
The ideal way to enjoy a relaxing luxury holiday St Barths is to rent a private villa. The villas at St Barths range from stylish and contemporary to opulent and extravagant. Guests will be able to find villas with various amenities as well, including spas, wellness centres, yoga classes and water sports opportunities.
Dining Opportunities in St Barths
The dining opportunities on this island range from affordable to upscale and extravagant. Take-out shops and local markets are perfect for purchasing food to take to the seas and enjoy on a yacht or to bring to the beach. For those who are seeking an exquisite meal, there are numerous world-class French and Creole restaurants around the island to choose from.
Seasonal Events and Festivals in St Barths
Given that St Barths is French, travellers can expect to celebrate most French holidays when staying on the island. A handful of Swedish holidays are also celebrated in niche communities around St Barths.
The island hosts a number of large international events, including annual music festivals. Some other festivals include:
- The Caribbean Film Festival (April)
- The St Barths Volleyball Cup tournament (July)
- Taste of St Barth (Typically runs in October or November)
Nightlife in St Barths
St Barths is more relaxed and is not known as being a “party island.” The island does, however, have a selection of clubs that travellers may choose to visit including the Le Select bar, Le Petit Club, the Yacht Club and Casa Nicky.