St. Barthe´lemy, or St. Barths Island, has built up a reputation as somewhere for luxury travellers, celebrities and those in the know to indulge themselves, unwind in comfort and simply let the endless views of golden beaches and Caribbean Sea do the talking. It is certainly a place where guilt-free pampering and doing not very much at all is often the order of the day, thanks to St. Barth’s many world-class spa resorts, hotels, local restaurants and beach bars. Then, the island’s focus on wellness, yoga and general wellbeing through their food and a slower pace of life is never far from sight. This could all be down to the Swedish and French heritage which still influences daily culture here, the legacy of which can also be seen through occasional colonial-style buildings and tight-knit streets around Gustavia, the capital, or at ruins such as those of Fort Gustav.
Today, the merchant navy ships of 18th century France have been replaced by the super yachts of the super wealthy, with the Port of Gustavia now a popular mooring spot for anyone taking a Caribbean cruise and happening to pass through. As a result, you’ll find a clutch of chic bars and fine restaurants to enjoy during your time here, where the only worthy accompaniment to the views is an ice-cold cocktail and tapas, watching the world go by.
As with many Caribbean island retreats, St. Barths is also known for its irresistible beaches, of which there are 14; sweeping sandy bays which cradle turquoise ocean waters, ideal for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing. So when you do venture out, drive to the secluded Gouverneur Beach with its dramatic mountain backdrop, or visit Toiny and Lorient Beach for a spot of surfing – to name just three of them. In fact, watersports of all kinds are popular here, with jet skiing, scuba diving, boat tours and even submarine trips among the top things to do on St. Barths, between sessions at the spa or long lunches by the pool, of course. And it is there, by the pool, lounging on a daybed or sipping a drink at the swim-up bar where St. Barth really shines, as the island has a host of top Caribbean resorts which demand rest and relaxation, surrounded by beautiful scenery and not a drape or cushion out of place; bliss.