The Caribbean’s wealthiest island is unsurprisingly the most popular Christmas bolt-hole for the rich and famous. St. Barth’s bare, white sand beaches and bright sunshine are the biggest allure come December, alongside the rows of designer shops, glamorous beach bars, plush hotels and super-yachts. Yet despite it’s glitzy reputation, the island has a French-village, almost bohemian kind of feel that’s as attractive as the beautiful people.
The most luxurious retreat on the island and also the most likely place you’ll spot celebrities is Eden Rock. It sprawls over a jagged edge of the coast line with 34 unique accommodations, which each have their own stand out details; the Christopher Columbus Suite is the newest addition to the resort, located within the main house, with panoramic views across the turquoise sea of St Jean Bay and an impressive collection of modern art. Dine at On the Rocks, the open-air French restaurant overlooking the sea, followed by drinks under the stars at Rock Bar. Tucked away at the eastern end of the island, Le Toiny has always been known for privacy with 17 hillside suites, which have recently been re-designed by London-based designer Bee Osborn. Each villa boasts its own terrace and plunge pool, curtained by lush greenery and peeping onto a seascape of islands. The restaurant here is commonly regarded one of the best places for dinner, and now with beach club beneath the hotel, you can also have an excellent lunch served to your sun lounger. The largest resort on the island, Hotel Guanahani & Spa is set within one of St. Barth’s five stunning nature reserves, surrounded by tropical gardens and exotic birds. It’s also undergone renovations, refreshing it’s interiors with bright colours and laid-back Caribbean touches. The fine dining restaurant on site, Bartolomeo serves good quality food, but nothing mind-blowing especially compared to the rest of the island’s burgeoning gastronomic scene.
La Guérite, sister to the trendy restaurant of the same name in Cannes is one of the hot spots and not just for it’s superb setting, overlooking the huge sparkling yachts in the harbour. The food is fabulous and after dinner, the music’s turned up and there’s a party until 4am. Orega is another popular dining spot in Gustavia, fusing French and Japanese cuisine. Try the indulgent tuna tartar topped with black caviar and gold leaf. Just outside the capital, on a hilltop, Bonito is well known for its adventurous culinary offerings mixing South America flavours with traditional French plates. The ceviche here is sublime.
On New Year’s Eve, parties are hosted all over the island, on private yachts and on the white sands of the most exclusive beach clubs. Fortunately, there’s a long-held tradition for party crashing as long as you know where you should be. The venerable hot spots are La Plage restaurant and Maya restaurant, whilst the Le Ti Club, which has a license to stay open until 6 am on weekends, draws the wildest crowds. The most famously decadent celebrations though are held within the top hotels, namely Eden Rock, Le Toiny or Le Sereno. Here you’ll be dancing late into the night with the likes of Kate Moss and Leonardo di Caprio.
Revive the next day with a green juice from Tom’s juice bar. Then, mingle with models and oligarchs on St. Jean Beach or take a boat to the more remote sunbathing spot, Colombier Beach which is reachable only via sea or a long, winding hike. In the late afternoon, when the sun is cooler, take your chance to wander the island’s smart boutiques. Clic Gallery concept store makes an interesting alternative to the bigger brand names, with an expertly curated collection of luxurious apparel, jewellery and local artwork for sale.
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