Sandy shores, fragrant frangipanis, & turquoise bays dotted with a myriad of sailboats, Saint Barth is paradise rediscovered.Words Nikki Beach Global
Whether sipping cocktails with sophisticated party people or diving with sharks and exploring the reefs, you’ll quickly see that it’s a destination with more riches than most ever realize.
Saint Barthelemy, casually known as Saint Barts or Saint Barth, was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, who later named the island in honor of his brother, Bartolomeo.
It’s the stunning pearl of the Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, and is a chic blend of Caribbean charm and European sophistication. Boutique hotels, mega yachts, luxury-label shopping, private villas and silky beaches, you’ll never want to leave!
Water sports from windsurfing and scuba-diving to snorkeling and jet-skiing, sailing and deep-sea fishing are all available across the island. After a day of leisure, enjoy the island’s many gourmet restaurants and lively bars.
Saint Barth has a rich history, dating back to 1493. Tour the port town of Gustavia to learn more about the island’s past.
What we’ve got
The pretty village of Saint Jean is a popular tourist spot with busy restaurants, posh hotels and shops and boasts one of the island’s liveliest beaches — Saint Jean Bay. It’s a popular beach for catching up with friends and is the home of Nikki Beach Saint Barth, where the service is top-notch and the views are stunning. Various celebrations take place throughout the day and when the party cools down, the chill out vibes take hold.
Gustavia is the capital of Saint Barth and does a fabulous role at the island’s helm. Lined with chic boutiques, duty-free shops, gourmet restaurants, and art galleries, it’s an enchanting place to take a walk. The routes along the Quai de la République are just perfect for aimless strolls any time of day and if hunger pangs kick in, stop off at the ‘mini port’ for great food.
Hiking along the rough, raw and wild coastline is a must. Start from Grand Fond and head towards the natural pools — maps are available and the trail is well signposted. The hike showcases the rugged, rocky coastline and the views are simply beautiful. Keep your eyes peeled for tiny, deserted beaches, many of which can be reached via natural staircases. Many of the reef-protected beaches have little surf, meaning they are good for swimming. They are often secluded, favored on Sundays by island families and are seldom busy. The majority of beaches remain undiscovered by tourists, which is odd given the gorgeous views. Reach the natural pools and you’ll be glad you hiked.
One of the best beaches in Saint Barth has to be Colombier Beach, which can only be reached by walking (there are two trails, either 20 or 30-minutes long) or by boat. It’s a cove-tucked beach on the tip of the island but do make sure you wear walking shoes if you’re planning the trip. For those feeling a little brave, Saline Beach is one of the most famous beaches, mostly due to the fact it’s an ostensibly prohibited topless/nude stretch.
Shopping is a must in Saint Barth, and the range of boutiques is wide and varied, from big name designers like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chopard, Bulgari and Cartier to artisan shops selling local products.
The high-end shops are mainly in Gustavia, followed by a sprinkling of big name and local brands in Saint Jean, although you’ll need more than a single afternoon if retail therapy is your thing.
- Season November - August
- Airport Remy de Haenen (SBH), Princess Juliana Intl. Airport, St. Maarten (SXM)
- Boat Coordinates 17° 54′ 22.55” N 62° 50′ 30.04” W
- Time Zone GMT-4
- Currency Euros, US Dollar
- Language French, English
- Electrics 220 Volts, 50Hz
When to go
The glamorous island of Saint Barth is one of the Caribbean’s top beach destinations, thanks to immaculate strips of sand and ethereal turquoise waters. The island gets more than 300 sunny days on average a year, yet despite limited rain, there is still plenty of vegetation. The west coast is drier with shrubs and cacti, and the east coast greener with more tropical vegetation, including many varieties of floral species. It’s a volcanic island without any rivers, so fresh water comes from a desalination plant or large cisterns built into villas and hotels to collect rainwater. Saint Barth and the surrounding islands are a biodiverse, underwater menagerie with more than 183 different species of fish, 54 varieties of coral, and 60 types of sea sponges. With this in mind, a trip to Saint Barth will almost always include a few days with good weather, no matter what time of year you come.
Today’s Saint Barth culture revolves around an appreciation for the finer things in life. Special events throughout the year honor traditional holidays, but the biggest celebrations are for art, music and film, as well as boat races, fishing contests and other sporting events. From the Caribbean Soccer Stars matches — think big celebrity players in shorts — to the Fête de la Musique in June and the Family Festival, which runs from late July to mid-August, the island celebrates all summer long. A series of guest DJs and pool parties take place around the island and the Fêtes des Quartiers du Nord is a one-day celebration held on Flamands Beach and includes tournaments, games, entertainment and much more.
Boating is a way of life in Saint Barth, from kayaks to mega yachts.
Where to stay
Set on the tranquil Anse des Cayes bay, the Manapany hotel is just five minutes away from Gustaf III airport and Gustavia town. There are 43 rooms and suites facing the ocean, two resort-style swimming pools including one reserved for adults, a restaurant on the beach, bar facing the ocean and exclusive spa.
Set in the fine sand or perched on the hillside, the villas exist halfway between land and sea and Manapany’s architecture exudes the spirit of the island. The same is true of the décor, reflecting both a sense of open space and introspection. There is a regard for gentle tendencies and natural materials. The partitions and ceilings are bright like the Creole madras and embroidery throughout plays with every color of the rainbow. Mexican women weaved the bright, cotton wall hangings and cushions and drawings by local artists dance across the walls.
Each of the 21 bungalows here is different and each one more beautiful than the next. The highest ones have the best sea views but each have their own charm. From outdoor showers and giant, free-standing bathtubs, the tropical feel of each bungalow channels island life. Bleached wooden terraces boast suspended rattan chairs allowing guests to enjoy the views across the ocean and when the sun gets too much, retreat to a four-poster bed for the afternoon. Fabrics, sourced from Diane von Furstenberg and Pierre Frey vary, with headboards, cushions and rugs creating each of the room’s atmosphere; some are pink and orange, others shades of blue, or jungle green. The resort is set on the north west of the island, in the hills of Colombier, overlooking Flamands Bay.
Hôtel Le Toiny
This place does privacy to the max. Hotel Le Toiny reopened after Hurricane Irma even more beautiful than before. Situated in an area of the island referred to as the “Côte Sauvage,” the villa suites are set on a gentle slope overlooking the Bay of Toiny and Caribbean Sea.
The beaches nearby offer something for everyone from rocky stretches at Anse de Toiny and Anse de Grand Fond (popular with surfers due to the high waves), to the calmer Salines or Gouveneur. There’s a wonderful running or walking trail around the point at Grand Fond for those who prefer to keep things active.
Nikki Beach Saint Barth
Plage de Saint Jean
97133 St. Barth, FWI