An island notorious for drawing a discerning crowd, St. Barth’s is a destination with no shortage of glamour. There’s a reason that travelers return year after year, after all. But for the first-timer, it can be difficult to know where to begin; and that’s where we come in!
With its white sand, turquoise water, and bougainvillea lined pathways, St Barth’s is teeming with rainbow-hued doll-sized houses, sheltered coves, and world-class dining. From its impeccable hotels to chic party scene that starts well before the sun goes down – did someone say daytime bottle service at Nikki Beach? – here’s a short list of our favorite St. Barth’s hot spots.
Why St. Barth’s? Every year, we picked a destination that we are eager to discover, or re-discover, and gathered our agency’s top producers to celebrate their successes. We call this celebratory trip SmartFlyer ONE. (For inspiration for your next getaway, be sure to check out our past SmartFlyer One destinations, here and here.)
While there are no direct flight to get there, you know what they say about the best places on earth, don’t you? Our favorite way is flying into San Juan (SJU) and taking a Tradewind Aviation shuttle flight straight into St Barth’s. Tradewind operates Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 jet prop aircrafts, and has hubs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Antigua and the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas, so, passengers can easily connect with virtually all major airlines from the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America.
St Jean: Located in front of the iconic Eden Rock Hotel, we love this spot for its buzzy atmosphere and prime viewing point to watch the planes come and go. As a bonus, there are lots of shops within walking distance, and St Jean is kid-friendly.
Colombier: Accessible by a rugged 3- minute hike or by boat, Colombier is easily one of the island’s best beach, and our favorite swimming beach. If you’re planning on staying for a while, pack a picnic lunch and an umbrella.
Gouverneur: This is one of our favorite beaches for a picnic lunch and swimming. It’s a bit of a drive, but the seclusion and privacy make it worth it.
Petit Cul de Sac: We recommend going with a guide for the super Insta-worthy hike to the natural tide pools.
Saline: This is where the locals go; it is a bit of a walk from parking to get to the beach and clothing is optional.
Shell Beach: Located right in front of Shellona, this is the perfect spot to spend the afternoon and linger after lunch, grab a spot and stay awhile. It makes for an ideal spot to watch the sun go down on a perfect day.
Nikki Beach: On Sundays, the posh beach club turns into a table-dancing day party complete with bottle service, model-esque waiters, and oversize sushi boats. Stay through the weekend, you don’t want to miss this one.
Le Toiny: Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, don’t miss the hidden paradise on Toiny Bay. The menu rotates regularly and offers dishes based on fish, grilled meat and refreshing salads. Enjoy a truly relaxing feet in the sand, lunch under the Paillottes.
Fish Corner: One of the newest additions to the island in downtown Gustavia, everything here is fresh and delicious, perfect for when you want a low-key spot to go between shopping.
L’Isoletta: For an easy Roman lunch, try this little Italian trattoria-style spot in the heart of Gustavia. L’Isoletta is the little sister of L’Isola, one of the most popular and renowned restaurants on the island, so you can bet that the pizza and pasta is top-notch.
Shellona: Watch the sunset with your feet in the sand at the revamp of beach bar Do Brazil, an island institution. The Shellona sunset is a little flashier than its former iteration, but that’s fine. Nature is the real star here.
Must Do Dinner Reservations
Bonito: Book early – like right after your travel consultant ticketed your flights early—for Latin-French fare in the form of ceviche, tiraditos, and an abundance of truffle oil, plus an extensive menu of creative cocktails served alongside unbeatable views of Gustavia Harbor.
Tamarin: Island favorite set in a magical garden under the shade of a 200-year-old tamarind tree. A local favorite with with a distinct French-Thai vibe.
L’Isola: Beloved by both locals and visitors, this Southern Italian favorite is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner. You won’t be sitting by the sea, but you’ll also get some of the best dishes on the island.
Le Guerite: This local gem transports you to St Tropez. Make a reservation for Saturday night, you can thank us later.
After Hours Spots
Bagatelle: An offshoot of the original in New York, gets similarly rowdy, minus the costumes
Le Ti: The raucous, kitschy nightclub is a rite of passage for first-timers. Waiters whisk you into a secret back room, set you up with costumes like you’re going to Coachella, and send you off onto the dance floor.
Whether you’re looking for a hillside romantic hideaway or a chic party scene, St Barth’s has it all. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of our favorite hotels on the island HERE, but consider this your Cliff’s Notes to the best places to stay on the island.