Dive into the turquoise waters in search of sea turtles, stingrays or harmless sleeper sharks, land your private jet on one of the most exotic runways in the world, or moor your yacht in the port of Gustavia. And join the rather exclusive clientèle basking on the fine sand of the miraculously unspoilt beaches of Saline, Gouverneur and Colombier.
“I’ve spent countless serene hours here”, Rudolf Nureyev once said during a stay in St. Barts. The island is listed in the BARNES City Index 2022 as the top seaside retreat for wealthy individuals, which is unsurprising given that the most beautiful island in the West Indies really is a little slice of paradise, at just 24 sq.km (9.27 sq.mi).
The real estate market: booming
A large proportion of the island's housing stock has been renovated since Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, and prices have doubled in the space of five years. The wild and unspoilt Atlantic side — Vitet, Pointe Milou, Petit Cul-de-Sac and Grand Cul-de-Sac — offers peace and tranquillity, while the somewhat livelier Caribbean side — Gustavia (town centre), Colombier, Gouverneur, Lurin and Saint-Jean — tends to attract a younger crowd.
The most sought-after properties are villas with pools and gardens, while sea views and proximity to the beach are major assets (as well as ensuring a good rental income). A property without views, meanwhile, will set you back around €1,800 to €2,000 per sq.m. You’d be looking at upwards of €4,000 in a trendy area, and up to €12,000 per sq.m in the centre of Gustavia.
“Be patient and enlist help. Demand is infinitely greater than supply, and only a professional with a good knowledge of the market and a solid network will be able to help you make your plans a reality”, says Xavier Pignet, Director BARNES Saint-Barth.
The best combo: If you want to really appreciate both sides of the island, a villa in a quiet area with unobstructed sea views will guarantee the opportunity to recharge your batteries and make sure you’re on top form to enjoy the wild nightlife.
Where to live: Gustavia, the capital, for its magnificent villas overlooking the harbour. Saint-Jean and Gouverneur/Lurin, for their central location, near the most stunning beaches and the airport. Families, meanwhile, might prefer something on the Atlantic side.
Art of living
Header BARNES has put together a selection of top restaurants, trendy boutiques and well-being options to help you make the most of your get-away-from-it-all break in St. Barts. Diaries at the ready!
The hottest reservations in town
La Petite Plage
© Facebook La Petite Plage St Barth
Calling all foodies! A leading multi-Michelin-starred chef and Meilleur Ouvrier de France-winner has crafted the menu for this delightful restaurant right on the beach. Éric Frechon serves up contemporary Mediterranean cuisine at the chic yet cosy La Petite Plage, where diners can try the ‘St. Barts’ egg mayo with black truffle, or perhaps the salmon a la plancha with New Zealand spinach and a curry and piquillo pepper vinaigrette.
Rue du Bord de Mer, Gustavia — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
© Facebook Bonito
You’ll find a great, stylish atmosphere at this wooden beach house-style restaurant-cum-lounge-bar perched on a hillside overlooking the bay of Gustavia, where the menu consists of French cuisine spiced up with flavours straight out of Latin America. Top tip: order one of the house cocktails to sip on as you watch the fabulous sunset.
Rue Lubin Brin, Gustavia — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
© Facebook Shellona
Boasting the perfect beachfront location, this Greek restaurant overlooking the Caribbean Sea combines the warmth of the Caribbean with Mediterranean culture in a location that is all about the shellfish, on the appropriately named Shell Beach. The menu comprises such memorable dishes as large pastrami-flavoured gambas, and burratina with courgette or tomato and basil pesto.
Saint-Barth Shell Beach, Gustavia — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
The island's leading brand has been offering a comprehensive range of ladies’ resort wear since 1995, after its founder, Monique Giraud, a.k.a. Poupette, fell in love with the way of life on the island and began creating bohemian chic pieces incorporating exotic prints and delicate, floaty fabrics. The brand is now world-renowned and distributed in luxury stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, New York.
Rue de la République, Gustavia, Immeuble Chamada — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
The concept store
© Facebook Clic
Every little accessory you’ll come across at Clic is striking, from chic art books and exotic framed photographs to the latest fashions, with a Bohemian attitude vibe and accessories for lazing on the beach. Treat this store as if you were visiting an art gallery, and maybe pick up a few of the latest pieces while you’re at it.
Rue de la République, Gustavia — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
© Facebook Eden Being
The exclusive spirit of the Eden Rock, the island's legendary luxury hotel founded in the 1950s, in a luxury boutique, complete with Bohemian Zimmerman and Etro dresses, elegant Missoni kaftans, trendy Chrome Hearts California eyewear and the famous Off-White collection created especially for the island. You’ll find plenty of products created exclusively with local and international premium brands on offer, too.
Baie de Saint-Jean, Saint-Barthélemy — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
© Facebook Baya
Baya St-Barth really does showcase the beauty of craftsmanship, with each piece telling a story as part of a fair and equitable business approach. Linen, jute, wool, banana fibre, mango wood, terracotta... This place is a veritable treasure chest of trendy furniture and decorative pieces.
Rue du Général de Gaulle, Gustavia — 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
Eden Rock Spa
© Facebook Spa Eden Rock
If island beauty at your fingertips sounds like your cup of tea, then head for the spa at the Eden Rock Hotel in the middle of the rock, where you’ll find a range of treatments and massages based on products developed exclusively on the island, such as the legendary Ligne St Barth. For that extra touch of indulgence, be sure to check out Sun Spa Esthederm, right on the beach!
Baie de Saint-Jean, 97133 Saint-Barthélemy
Saba: the island of mystery
©Office de Tourisme de Saba
A small, lush volcanic island just a 16-minute helicopter ride from St. Barts, perfect for ‘treasure’ seekers and scuba-diving enthusiasts.
The secluded beach
A little-known paradise on Earth? Not for much longer... Anse de Colombier cove is still somewhat unspoilt because it is difficult to access; in fact, you have to walk about twenty minutes from Petite-Anse to reach it, or else come by boat. The cove is home to many species of fish, as well as sea turtles, and is a well-kept secret, hitherto known solely to the only villa perched above Anse de Colombier, the former property of the American billionaire who started the craze for St. Barts: Rockefeller.
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