St Barths is a destination of many flavors, but the one that’s woven into its DNA is the island’s Creole heritage. A rich fusion of African, French, and Indian cultures, Creole is evident in the food, music, and dance of this Caribbean paradise. From the acclaimed restaurants to the luxury villas, Creole culture is at the heart of this unmatched Caribbean retreat.
The moment you step onto St Barths, you’ll know it’s a special place. Crystalline waters are dotted with mega yachts, pristine beaches are lined with sunbathers wearing Eugenia Kim hats and Loewe basket bags, and the capital, Gustavia, is bursting with high-end shops that stock everything from Cartier to Hermès.
It’s no surprise, then, that the fabled idyll attracts a discerning crowd. It’s easy to see why, with more than 100 restaurants, a dozen five-star hotels including the storied Eden Rock – St Barths and Le Sereno, and 800 luxurious villas whose operators operate to world-class luxury standards. Guests like Jay-Z and Beyonce, Jeff Bezos, Cindy Crawford, Dua Lipa, and Leo DiCaprio are just as likely to be seen sipping rum cocktails by the pool as slicing into a fresh seafood lunch on the beach.
Unlike other Caribbean islands where development is often driven by potential for profit, St Barths has created a harmonious relationship between architecture and nature. Rather than filling every inch with buildings, the existing red and white-roofed villas seamlessly blend into the rock face and lush greenery that surrounds them.
This Creole-inspired architecture extends to the hotels themselves, which feel like a collection of private villas rather than a single resort. At the secluded, all-inclusive Four Seasons – St Barths, for example, you’ll find a tranquil sanctuary with a beautiful spa and private pools that is just a short walk from the beach and town center.
The best way to experience St Barths is on foot, but a car can be handy for getting around. The roads are in great condition and traffic is minimal, even at peak times. For an extra level of luxury, rent a private vehicle from one of the island’s reputable companies like Winair and WIMCO St Barths Villas & Services.
When it comes to eating, it’s no secret that the island has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a regular visitor and proud owner of a St Barths villa who’s starred in numerous television shows, is perhaps the most famous culinary name on the island. His menus, which are heavily influenced by both the local Caribbean influences and French cuisine, make him a favorite with diners.
When it comes to exploring the island, a rental car gives you the freedom to drive to your next stop at your own pace. The main airport is located in the town of Saint-Barthélemy and can be reached with either Winair or the more affordable but less glamorous St Barth Commuter, both of which offer shuttle flights to the island.