Lazing around an infinity pool, glass of rosé in hand? Check. Boat rides on crystal-clear blue water? Check. A vibrant nightlife scene that may have you dancing on tables? Check. An effortlessly chic South of France-meets-the-Caribbean vibe? Check.
If all of the above sounds like your dream getaway, you may have to book a trip to the island of St. Barthelemy, otherwise known as St. Bart’s. Because the island is an overseas collective of France, you’ll hear the soft sounds of French being spoken as you explore the island’s 16 beaches covered with impossibly soft white sand or shop . Low-key glam permeates everything, from sunset cocktails at stylish restaurants where even the most fancypants travelers will be hanging out barefoot to the upscale shops in the capital of Colombier.
We recently spent just over a week on the sun-drenched island and wanted to share how we Roved our way through it. Here’s our guide to a good time on St. Bart’s:
THE BEST TIME TO GO
We went in July, but typically the high season is between November and January. In other words, it’s a killer holiday destination. December especially is la plus haute saison, and temperatures are typically in the mid-70s to mid-80s, making it a great escape from the winter cold.
WHAT WE PACKED
The key to looking good on St. Bart’s: chic summer style that isn’t trying too hard. Here’s how we hacked it.
We can’t get enough of Away’s functional, tech-savvy but stylish suitcases and carry-ons. The Bigger Carry-on gives you just enough room to squeeze in your swimsuits, caftans and tees without having to check a bag.
Oliver Peoples Sunglasses
Smart unisex frames add classic glamour to any outfit.
Scalloped espadrilles work just as well by the pool as they do at dinner.
Aesop Beauty Products
A couple of favorites for the Caribbean: a rose hair mask to keep our locks shiny after the sun and pool, Rind Concentrate body balm to stay moisturized at all times, and Ginger Flight Therapy to give us a boost after a long day of traveling.
Hanes x Karla Mens White T-shirt
A comfy but well-fitting tee is a must for every vacation.
Cult Gaia Bag
A more modern take on the straw bag, this geometric bamboo number is where it’s at.
J Crew Men’s Canvas Weekend Bag
Roomy enough to store all the essentials, but stylish enough for the chicest resort.
Sandro Mens Sandals
These Italian leather sandals are luxe without looking (or feeling) stuffy.
HOW WE ARRIVED
Full disclosure: Flying into St. Bart’s can be terrifying. It’s the shortest runway in the world, so landing is tricky. What complicates things even more is that there aren’t commercial flights, so you have to book a puddle-jumper to get there. We hopped from Puerto Rico on a chartered flight with Tradewind Aviation. It was the last leg of a long day of travel, and the crew made our trip quick and painless.
WHERE WE STAYED
While there’s a handful of luxe hotel options on St. Barts, we always rent a villa when we go. Booking through Wimco makes everything beyond easy, because they’ll help with all of your travel arrangements and make sure the villa’s stocked with whatever you need (coffee! rosé! late-night snacks!) before you even set foot on the property. It’s a way to experience the island with a totally chill vibe. Read more about why you should book Villa D’zir here. (Two words: infinity pool.)
WHAT WE DID
The best thing to do on St. Bart’s? Soak up the sun. Here are a couple of ways we did it.
Soft Sand Beaches
The fourteen beaches on St. Bart’s are all gorgeous, but some of our favorites are Saline Beach (where you might spot a glamorous nude sunbather or two), St. Jean when we want to hit Nikki Beach (more on that later), Pearl Beach or Shellona at Shell Beach, where the flow of rosé is endless. Many of the beaches are also accessible by a short hike, which is a gorgeous way to see the island.
Catamaran to Colombier Beach
Our host at Wimco arranged for a catamaran to take us to Colombier Beach, which is also known as Rockefeller Beach because David Rockefeller famously built a grand villa there. It’s still standing, but that’s not really the reason to come here. It’s for the secluded beach and its crystal-clear water, which is excellent for snorkeling.
WHAT WE ATE
Dining out is an adventure on St. Bart’s. Here are some of our must-visit spots.
This is our absolute favorite restaurant on the island: We love getting a table on the sweeping patio surrounded with greenery and digging into tuna crudo, homemade pastas and the freshest local seafood.
Black Ginger serves some of our favorite Thai food outside of Thailand (and in fact, the chefs are from Bangkok). The restaurant itself has a stunning black-and-red modern design, and classic dishes like papaya salad are joined by local fresh mahi mahi on the menu.
This glamorous, white-tablecloth Italian spot was opened by an L.A. restaurateur—but it doesn’t feel like Los Angeles. It gives Italian food a beachy spin, with dishes like Tuscan-style baby prawns and lobster spaghetti with cherry tomatoes.
Talk about dinner with a view: The patio of this restaurant overlooks the rolling hills and sky-blue water of the island. We like to start on with a cocktail on one of the oversized couches inside, before tucking into ceviche and Caribbean-style seafood stews.
This well-known beach club is where you go when you’re ready for a party. The rosé flows like water as you look out at extravagant yachts and enjoy sparkling sushi from the raw bar.
Local produce is the star of the menu at this restaurant run by a husband-and-wife team. The dishes are simple but beautiful, and the vibe is decidedly chill.