Few places compare to St Barths. The weather, crystal clear water, French food (and boys) create a Riviera experience in the Caribbean. My family visited St. Barths for the first time in February of 2016 and it did not take long for us to fall in love with the beautiful beaches, the charming town of Gustavia, and the spirit of the locals, many of whom have become close friends.
When we travelled to St. Barths the second time, for New Years 2016-2017, it felt like we had arrived on a new island. The holiday season brought celebrities, “yachters,” and an energy we could never have imagined. A few highlights included strolling around Gustavia and being summoned by Anna Dello Russo, an Italian fashion journalist, and Stefano Gabbana (Dolce and Gabbana, designer), to dance in a parked car for a “real people” D&G campaign. We also ran into Jon Bon Jovi while shopping, met Kenny Chesney on the beach, and happened upon a private John Legend concert on the beach and stayed for the show.
Prior to celebrating Christmas and New Years on St. Barths this year, we were unsure what to expect. The terror and destruction caused by hurricane Irma in September was unprecedented. As a result, most hotels were destroyed and consequently, most tourists cancelled their trips. But, we wanted to support the island and see our local and visiting friends, so we returned. Nearly every local we spoke to expressed immense gratitude for our support and shared horrifying stories from Irma. Jimmy Buffett also hosted a free concert in town to thank us, and the other tourists for returning to the island.
We stay in a different villa each trip, and this year’s villa was charming and perfectly accommodating for our family. Each morning, we enjoyed coffee and a mix of croissants and beignets by our backyard pool before heading out for the day to one of the 15 beaches. Each beach is beautiful and unique in its own way, and our favorites include St. Jean, Nikki Beach, Flammands, Colombier, and Gouveneur.
This year, we were especially struck by the strength of the St Barths people and the natural beauty of the island. The slower pace of the island allowed us more time to explore the island’s natural side, including hikes to the Grand Fond natural pools
(treacherous but well worth it) and Colombier (a beach only accessible by hike or boat).
Aside from a rowdy Christmas dinner at Bagatelle with local friends, other highlights from our trip included checking out a burlesque club called Le Ti and getting lost in the extensive costume closet, ringing in the new year in town with fireworks and a local band, attending a local church on Christmas Eve and going to a yoga class taught in French.
Above all, my favorite part of our time away was hanging out with my family and spending time with our new and old friends. St. Barths is a beautiful little island where most of the beauty comes from the people and the spirit of the island. I could go on and on but, for now, I will just say au revoir…