Spirited. Magical. Indulgent… whatever you want to call it, St. Barths is one incredible Rock. Sure, it may not be easy to get to, but this island has quite the mystical air to it. Once you visit, you may not be able to shake the sand from your shoes. Like Nantucket, it reminds me of a place that enraptures your entire being and after a visit, you’re never the same. So here, in our latest blACKbook vaca, we have A Dozen Do’s For St. Barths.
1. DO… GET THERE BY TRADEWIND AIR
Traveling to St. Barths takes a little effort… but all the very best places do. So, when it comes to getting from your home to this tiny island fast
, make sure Tradewind Aviation
is on your travel itinerary. We flew direct from NYC into San Juan with JetBlue, where we were then met by a Tradewind employee who brought us over to their lounge. Moments later we were jetsetting off to St. Barths in an oh-so-comfortable eight seater plane and, in just one hour, we were on the island. (BONUS
: going through customs in St. Barths takes no time at all and you can be on the beach in minutes!)
During season, Tradewind
flies in and out of SBH between 15 to 25 times a day with 6 seperate departures from San Juan daily! They also fly out of St. Thomas and Antigua, which is great for those flying from London! CLICK for FLIGHT BOOKINGS.
2. DO… RENT A CAR.
Okay, I’ll admit… living on Nantucket has prepared me for some tight streets (ahem, Gardner), but nothing can really prepare you for a few of the “roads” on St. Barths! Taxi’s seem few and far between and, when you’re on island time, there is nothing better than having the freedom of four wheels. If you like to sit up high and soak in the scene, get a 2 door JEEP wrangler. If you’re looking for something smaller to zip in and out of Gustavia town in, go for the MINI. And if you’re looking to throw it back old school…
…and want a real adventure machine? Check out the MOKES
. Apparently back in the day, the island basically was filled with these classic cars. Love It. Need a car? We went with MYCARSBH
3. DO… STAY IN A VILLA
While there are several spectacular ways to relax in luxury on St. Barth’s, the last two times we’ve gone we’ve stayed in Villas… the perfect way to share a space and add some privacy with up to six couples! There are tons of gorgeous places to rent and our friend, Doug Foregger, founder and owner of Country Village Rentals St. Barth’s and Director of WIMCO International Real Estate, helped us figure out the best places to stay + play on the island. (He should know as he’s been dividing his time between St. Barths and Nantucket over the past 24 years!)
Further, if you’ve been thinking that St. Barths is your next vacation destination, our friend Mai Norton knows the right vacation rental for you – as she has spent this past winter personally viewing over 100 great estates on St. Barths and has a fabulous list for those looking at the chicest properties available for rent on the island! Email to get your vacation started.
4. DO… THE BIG WEEKEND BRUNCH
On Saturdays you La Plage
… and on Sundays you Nikki. Repeat after me… on Saturdays you go to the bikini brunch at La Plage
and on Sundays you go to the themed Brunch at Nikki Beach. These two epic people watching meals pack in so much energy, you’ll want to bottle it all up and spray it all over yourself when you’re home wishing for those SUNNY days.
As for La Plage, we ate light at the bar and got a lounge bed to sit and sip and savor the afternoon away. The beach boys are true gents and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a late rain shower and a serious rainbow to cap off your Saturday.
Then there is Nikki Beach
… a place so beautifully cool that it feels like something straight out of a movie. It’s as if the food from Nobu met a tropical beach meets Vegas mentality on an island where the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models roamed around aimlessly without a care. Boatloads (yes, literal boatloads) of sushi are dropped at your tables and the amount of rosé poured at this island institution must be enough to keep Ott’s
Oh, and then there is the music. You’ll easily enjoy their mixes and pick up a CD or two from their boutique on your way out.
And when you’re done with lunch, take a good dip and then a nap (if you can stand to close your eyes!) with this in the background.
5. DO… THE HIKE TO COLUMBIER
When you’re ready for some exercise and a more low key plage
with a serious view… take the hike to Columbier
. (Pack sneakers for this… you don’t want to be slipping and sliding in your flip flops!) This beloved sand spot can only be accessed by hiking or by boat… so it feels super private (and by the time you get there, you’ll feel like you already worked out for the day!) Head down to the supermarket and pick up a sandwich and a big bottle of water… there are no services around here and you’ll need some fuel before you hike bACK up! If, of course, you ever want to leave!
6. DO… THE BOHEMIAN STYLE
There is a certain attitude about the way people dress on St. Barth’s… it’s about as effortlessly chic as they come. You can rock a maxi from noon to night with the right accessories… or you can go bikini all day and go boho all night! Whatever the styles, you’ll definitely want to get your shopping fix. Downtown Gustavia is filled with fashion favorites from Calypso St. Barth
to the plethora of boutiques like Appunto
and Vanita Rosa
that you’ll want to buy out the store. One of our favorite spots was FREE in ST. BARTHS
at the Wildside of St. Barths
boutique at the Tom Hotel!
7. YOU HAVE TO DO… BONITO
My favorite place for dinner and a scene… BONITO
is a must. Set up high in Gustavia with some killer views of the island, this St. Barths gem has some of the freshest fish dishes out there… I could have eaten thirty of these tuna tacos. Make sure to try one of their specialty cocktails as you savor the music scene (their resident DJ Yo-One Sutter is out of this world good)
and do not even try to leave without tasting their mac & cheese… I am still dreaming about it. Make reservations and thank me later.
8. DO… LE TOINY BEACH LUNCH
Just opened in December, this new restaurant at the Relais & Chateaux property Le Toiny
is a serious find. (Thanks for the tip, Doug!)
Soak in island time with your feet in the sand (and come dressed as casually as you want! It’s meant to be a chill spot!) We enjoyed a curried chicken entree and a burrata with some killer cocktails followed by a bottle rosé on the beach lounges where we watched the surfers catch waves as we caught a buzz. One of the highlights FOR SURE.
9. DO… YACHT GAZE IN GUSTAVIA
Like Nantucket, the yachts that dock in the Gustavia Harbor have to be 200 feet or under… but this show of boats is quite the spectacle. Spend a morning grabbing a coffee and some wifi at the Red Bar
and then peruse the line of mega yachts that dock… it’s amazing to come up so close and personal to these beauties and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be day dreaming of your boats name and which country flag will be hanging on the back of it.
10. DEFINITELY DO… BAZ BAR
This is one of my personal favorites because it feels like home… a combo of LoLa 41 with the sushi and The BOX with the live music… and let me tell you, the music scene at Baz Bar
is spot on. Our final night we were looking for some low key action and ended up listening to the sweet sounds of Eryn Shewell
and her band, who flew in the night before from NYC… and were incredible! This place has just the right mix of high and low energy… and the mojitos are BOMB.
11. DO… BEACH IT AT SALINE AND GOUVENEUR
They are both magical + there is no way for me to pick between the two of them. Make sure to get to Gouveneur
early for a parking spot… and pack the necessities to get you to lunch. (Or you can grab a burger up the hill if you get too hungry!) Saline
on a Sunday is pure paradise. There are more options here for food and parking. A beauty spot to sit and chill and savor island time.
12. DO… DINNER + A SHOW AT LE TI
Another spot you have to see to believe… Le Ti
is one of those places that you just can’t describe. It’s dinner. It’s music. It’s an intimate show… It’s some amazing performances… It’s dress up… It’s dancing on the table tops… Oh, and it’s celebrating 20 years! Basically, it’s THE experience. Best advice is have a big beach day… do a low key sunset somewhere … and prepare for an incredible night with a 9:30PM reservation. Quite the scene.
BONUS MUST DO… INSTA the AIRPORT
You just gotta see the runway from the rotary… it truly is magic! (Or better yet, get the experience from a Tradewind Flight in!
Ready for your big trip to St. Barth’s? Email Holly@nantucketblACKbook.com
with any travel questions… we’ll point you in the right direction!
Finally, major shout out to my ACK/SBH King + Queen Marla + Terry Sanford for putting together the most incredible week in St. Barths! #7thHeavenSBH foreva!