Saint Barthélemy, otherwise known as St Barts, is an overseas collectivity of France located just south-east of the islands of St. Martin and Anguilla, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The very definition of laid-back luxury, St Barts has endless sunshine and strong French influences which are reflected in everything, from the cuisine to the atmosphere.
St Barts is only six miles long, but with miles of gorgeous beaches, brilliant aquamarine waters and warm, sunny weather, this small volcanic island is the winter sun destination of choice for the elite. Around Christmas and New Year, Hollywood stars descend here to celebrate in style and soak up the sun.
Covering an area less than 9 square miles, French-speaking St Barts has an idyllic landscape with lush hills and valleys, scenic cliffs, mountains and a number of small satellite islets. Boasting 22 picturesque beaches, the island is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts, with ideal conditions for sailing, diving and kitesurfing.
Gustavia, the island’s chic capital is a duty-free port with attractive red-roofed buildings, high-end designer shops and a yacht-filled harbour. The city has a distinctive European flair and plays host to St. Barts’ greatest concentration of fine dining establishments. In the heart of the island, the tiny quartier of Saint-Jean is often compared to St Tropez for its swanky shopping boutiques and stylish beachside bistros. It also has the liveliest and most popular beach on the island with two crescents of fine silvery sand embracing the same turquoise bay.
Unsurprisingly, there is an abundance of upmarket accommodation on the island, but no hotel can beat the exclusivity of St. Barts’ luxury villas, most of which are perched high in the hills, offering spectacular ocean views. As with much of the Caribbean, December through to April is the most popular time to visit St Barts, whilst September, October and November are the rainiest months.