The island’s grande dame hotels are looking younger than ever.
On gorgeous Flamands Bay, the rebranded Cheval Blanc St.-Barth Isle de France has all the touches you’d expect from its owner, luxury-brand behemoth LVMH: crisp white rooms, a fitness center overlooking the sea, and the Caribbean’s only Guerlain spa.
Nearby, the Hotel Taïwana recently debuted 22 individually designed rooms and suites, some with private pools.
A four-year renovation has given Le Guanahani—the island’s largest hotel, with 67 rooms and two beaches—new suites, a refreshed lobby, and beach-meets-safari design flourishes, like framed maps and custom furniture by Luis Pons.
For lunch on Grand Cul de Sac Beach, grab a picnic table under the coccoloba trees at La Gloriette (590-590/298-571) and dig into a plate of crisp salt-cod fritters.
At Dõ Brazil, near Gustavia’s harbor, the kitchen turns out everything from mahimahi kebabs to ratatouille.
Le Grain de Sel (590-590/524-605) serves simple, well-prepared dishes, like crab-and-lentil salad and mango-lychee ice cream.
For a loftier experience, there’s L’Esprit Saline (590-590/524-610), where Eden Rock alum Jean-Claude Dufour offers a seasonal Provençal menu on a wooden deck near the sea.
St. Jean Beach is where you go to see and be seen. If you want a quieter setting with nothing but sun, coral sand, and turquoise water, go to Grande Saline, Anse de Gouverneur, or Colombier.
The island’s first French settlement, Lorient (est. 1648), has a little-town-in-Brittany vibe, with a stone church, rectory, and boulangerie.
The gallery and bookstore Clic is a slice of SoHo in the Caribbean.
The unassuming boutique Mademoiselle Hortense (590-590/271-329) offers unexpectedly good finds, including flirty dresses, tops, and caftans, locally sewn from Liberty of London fabric.
For more on St. Bart's, check out T+L's Guide To St. Bart's Island