By Carlos Melia
St. Barth, also known as Saint Barthelemy, is one of the four overseas collectivity of France that comprise the French West Indies, along with Saint Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Located only 45 minutes away by plane from Puerto Rico. Frequented primarily by an upscale clientele and celebrities, this French island attracts discriminating travelers who favor an exclusive vacation spot.
This little volcanic island hosts an eclectic mix of world class restaurants, spectacular hotels and villas, luxury yachts, and designer boutiques, all surrounded by stunning beaches, iguanas, amazing weather and the most romantic sunsets. Beaches, bathing, spa and wellbeing, Scuba diving motor yachts and jet skis, sailing, deep sea fishing, surf and windsurfing… these are all just some of the many activities that await you on the island. Or if not… my favorite ne rien farie – do nothing, and just relax.
Before I go on with this week’s column, I must admit, I have never been a huge fan of the Caribbean. For different reasons, I have traveled and been, in the past, to many of the islands in the area, and quite frankly, have never understood the devotion people have over this region of the world. Maybe I have seen enough beautiful beaches and resorts around the world, so the Caribbean has lost a bit of its charm.
Therefore, when invited for a weekend, I had no high expectations towards my visit to St. Barth’s. But I was proved wrong, the experience taking me by surprise and making me fall in love with it at first sight.
It’s literally like taking a flight from New York City, and three hours later, with a short connection in Puerto Rico, arriving in France without the jet lag. From the minute you step out of the plane, you will feel you have arrived on a little island in Europe, that I would compare to the Balearic Islands, specially Formentera.
St. Barth is sunny and dry year round, with temperatures ranging from 24 to 29 degrees Celsius (72 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The perfect getaway from the cold winters in Europe or the United States.
Beaches I visited
St. Barth’s beaches are renowned for being some of the most beautiful and pristine in the world. Many are found in small coves, which have been protected from development by strict environmental friendly zoning. Unlike many of its neighboring Caribbean islands, it has not been overrun with prefab condos and large chain hotels.
Plage de Saline is without a doubt my favorite boasting stunning natural beauty, and known to be the Gay Hotspot of the Island, specially to the left side as you walk to the water. At the far end, also in a very European style, you will find the clothing optional area.
Take time to enjoy an outdoor lunch or early dinner at Le Grain de Sel Restaurant, where surrounded by curious iguanas, you will enjoy the best creole dishes of the island. You must try the Conch.
Other great beach options are Plage Lorient and Gouverneur.
Video of Plage de Saline
Video of Plage Lorien
Must See Spots of the Island
Gustavia, named by the Swedes in tribute to their king, Gustav III, remains today as a busy port and downtown area of St. Barth. The principal shopping area of the island. There are boutiques and emporiums for the most sophisticated shoppers, featuring luxury brands. Be sure to check out the views of Anse de Colombier, Pointe Milou and Baie de Saint Jean. “¨”¨
Where did I stay?
A great destination can only be matched with an outstanding hotel, and I found the perfect match for such an idyllic destination, Le Sereno Beach Hotel & Villas.
Designed by famed Parisian designer Christian Liaigre, it’s an intimate, elegant sanctuary. A beachfront gem with 37 exquisitely furnished suite and villas, located on the east end of the island along 180 meters (600 feet) of beach at the picturesque Grand Cul-de-Sac, a turquoise cove protected from the ocean waves by a coral reef.
St. Barth features some of the best cuisine in the Caribbean. The island has over 80 restaurants featuring culinary styles ranging from classic French to Asian to West Indian. Many of these restaurants attract gourmet chefs trained in France to oversee their kitchens.
My favorites, not only for their cuisine but for their overall experience, were: Le Ti St. Barth, a small traditional Caribbean style tavern with a Cabaret, that brings the flavor or Paris and the Moulin Rouge to St Barth. Live performers, fashion shows and lots of fun. Located in the quartier of Pointe Milou. Also, Maya’s Restaurant located in Plage de Public, Gustavia overlooking the water.
How did I get there?
I took both a regular scheduled flight from New York to Puerto Rico and then a Semi Private Jet. Tradewind Aviation offers private and semi private jets to/from St Barth from/to San Juan of Puerto Rico. VIP ground guest services, speed customs and immigrations, cleared security. In less than 40 minutes you will have arrived at your destination.
Video of thr Semi Private Jet landing in St. Barth
Till next week’s adventure, where I will take you to another experience around the world. Stay tuned, as soon I will be visiting Berlin, London, Bath, Stratford and Costwolds, Istanbul, and Montreal. Have a great week. Carlos Melia
Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com