St. Bart's

St. Bart's Travel Guide

From everything that you might have heard about St. Bart’s (short for Saint-Barthélemy), you’d half expect a red velvet rope to be strung up at the airport. The Caribbean’s most elite, most expensive island lives up to its reputation as an adult sandbox, where the rich and famous air-kiss over glasses of rosé. But it still has charms that make it attractive to regular folk, from its uncrowded white-sand beaches to its distinctly Gallic flair. The tidy capital of Gustavia, with its gingerbread-trimmed cases (cottages) and designer shops, surrounds a yacht-filled harbor. On the opposite side of the island, near the airport, St.-Jean is a diminutive strip of colorful boutiques and beach bars that has been compared to St.-Tropez.

Gorgeous, white-sand beaches—22, to be exact—are the trump card of St. Bart's, the Caribbean's most elite (read: most expensive) island. It's got a French vibe, gingerbread-style cottages in the pint-size capital of Gustavia, and the kind of sun great vacations are made of.

Things Not to Miss on St. Bart's

This respite of the rich and famous offers all kinds of activities, all at a relaxed pace.

• Sunbathe on one of 22 postcard-perfect beaches, all open to the public
• Shop for designer digs in gingerbread-cute Gustavia
• Watch the sunset in Lurin from one of the hilltop cafes
• Dine at one of the excellent French-inspired restaurants
• Charter a wood sailing yacht for a morning or afternoon excursion

When to Visit St. Bart's

May through June is the best time to visit St. Bart's. The weather is nearly perfect. From December through April, the sun is especially scorching. December is considered peak season and requires bookings six months in advance. Clouds and showers sometimes interrupt the warm weather, especially during the fall. Avoid the rainy season in September, October, and November.

DON'T MISS

  • Shopping for high-end designer pieces and one-of-a-kind boho finds at Calypso in Gustavia, the famous boutique’s original location.

  • Playing with the rich and famous on Baie de St.-John, a beach ringed with the island’s top hotels and clubs.

  • Watching the sun set in Lurin from Café Santa Fe, perched atop a high peak with a stunning island panorama.

Articles about St. Bart's

The island’s grande dame hotels are looking younger than ever. Stay 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,...
Top 10 Hotels Overall: City 1. Park Hyatt, Milan 98.95 2. Stafford London by Kempinski 98.40 3. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest 98.07 4. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi 97.50 5. Milestone Hotel, London 97.39 6. Olissippo Lapa Palace, Lisbo...
WHY NOW For a truly hedonistic holiday, the glamour set counts on this hot-weather playground, for celeb-spotting and socializing on the sand. Half-clad Europeans join Hamptons refugees for the French isle's five-star balconies and beaches, fresh ...
It's that time of year—when flickering lights illuminate the sky, snow blankets the ground, and airports overflow with travelers. While destinations that promise a white Christmas are the obvious choice (and for good reason), holiday cheer can als...
See T+L’s Bucket List slideshows • Beach Vacations Bucket List • The Foodie’s Travel Bucket List • Celebrities’ Favorite Places • Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List • City Getaways: Ultimate Bucket List United States and Canada • Big Island,...
Top 10 Hotels: Overall 1. Jade Mountain, St. Lucia 100.002. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Cedar Mountains, South Africa 99.173. The Goring, London 98.684. Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya 98.614. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserv...
JAMAICA Hotelier Chris Blackwell continues to place a stamp on his homeland. He has just turned Goldeneye-- the north- shore estate where James Bond creator Ian Fleming lived and wrote-- into an Island Outpost hotel. Guests stay in rustic but styl...
See the slideshow of the Most Romantic Caribbean Sunsets. The Caribbean islands are famous for their sunshine—and rightly so. Is there anything more daydream-worthy, more symbolic of languor and ease, than those ubiquitous images of sugary white ...
U.S. + CanadaThe Caribbean + BermudaMexicoCentral + South AmericaEuropeAsiaAfrica + the Middle EastTop Cruise Lines for Families U.S. + Canada 1. Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina Score: 97.90Plantation-style cottages and a Jack...
Best for Sand and Shade: Informal, funky, and family-friendly, La Gloriette (lunch for two $77) has waterfront wooden tables shaded by sea-grape trees. Try crisp conch fritters, grilled fresh dorade, and a cold Carib beer while watching the kite s...