It is estimated that 5% of the world’s wealthiest people visit Saint Barth’s over the New Year period*. And as we head into the peak holiday season, returning travelers have a bevy of stylish new places to eat, stay, and play on the sophisticated French Caribbean Isle. Nikki Beach has been joined by Cannes hotspot La Guerite, which recently set up along the same sandy strip next to Gyp Sea – a chic new beach club which also offers elevated accommodation options. La Petite Plage is the most exciting new restaurant to arrive in Gustavia in years, with sand flooring and a fine dining scene that rolls into a haze of DJs, dancing, and champagne after hours.
Plus, there are spectacular new villas to book for the most extravagant of guests, including the exceptional Villa de France at Cheval Blanc – a 7,000 square-foot residence with two private infinity pools, a private kitchen, spa, and wellness center. Most of the hotels have undergone major renovations, too in recent years, with new rooms and amenities, and several newcomers including Fouquet’s Le Carl Gustaf and Le Tropical.
As described in Assouline’s new book, St. Barth’s Freedom it’s “a place that is geographically paradisial, filled with stylish and rigorously exciting restaurants, but where an inclusive and renegade spirit suffuses every corner.” One thing is certain: there has never been a better time to visit the Caribbean’s most elegant island. Ahead, we list the very best places to stay this winter.
Cheval Blanc Saint Barth’s
Cheval Blanc is one of the finest hotels in the Caribbean and undoubtedly one of the best beach resorts worldwide, which is unsurprising given it’s owned by luxury juggernaut LVMH. There are emblems of excellence at every turn, from the uniformed white architecture, resembling a scene from Mykonos, to the ultra-luxe interiors fashioned by Jacques Grange (known for his work with a coterie of high profile names, including Karl Lagerfeld and Princess Caroline of Monaco). The main feature, however, is the pristine white sand beach, which is widely considered the most beautiful on the whole island, with crystal clear waters and rugged islets adorning the horizon.
It’s a picturesque masterpiece that blends stunning scenery with sophisticated styling and an atmosphere that feels lively yet unpretentious. Wellness is a key focus, too, with a spa menu that goes beyond the standard treatments (anything can be bespoke and there are personalized yoga and meditation sessions on offer). And the dining scene is equally impressive from the beach club-style La Cabane, where guests go for breakfast and lunch, to the more formal fine-dining restaurant, La Case, helmed by Jean Imbert. If you’re seeking an elegant beach escape, this is the place to prioritize.
Nowhere exemplifies the hedonistic glamor of Saint Barth’s quite like Eden Rock – an address that is so iconic Assouline recently released a book to honor its 70th anniversary. The property was completely refurbished after Hurricane Irma, and a multimillion-dollar renovation was unveiled in 2019, including redesigned suites with state-of-the-art features (some including private gym spaces) jacuzzis, and slick interiors, a spa built into the rock itself, and a glossy new bar created by designer du jour, Martin Brudnizki.
The culinary program is directed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and features crowd-pleasing menus containing caviar, Dover Sole Meuniere, prime steaks, and more casual options including lobster rolls, burgers, and black truffle pizza during the day. It remains the buzziest destination on the island and at any time of year, it’s like stepping into a modern-day Slim Aarons shoot. It also has a prime location for getting around, just along from Nikki Beach and only a three-minute drive from the airport. If you’re going for the scene, this is the place to stay.
Rosewood Le Guanahani
Located on a private peninsula overlooking a lagoon on one side and the ocean on the other, Le Guanahani has long been one of the most coveted locations in St. Barth’s. In 2020, it was added to Rosewood’s star-studded portfolio (The Carlyle in New York, Hotel de Crillon in Paris), and the hotel group’s high standards are evident from the revamped design through to the personalized service.
Throughout the lush 18-acre property you will find the only on-site tennis court on the island, a beautifully appointed spa, a children’s center, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, and an oceanfront bar. There are 66 rooms in total, 20 of which have private pools with sprawling terraces and panoramic views. Given many guests opt to remain in their luxurious private enclaves, it never feels overly packed, which one of the many drawcards for the high-profile guests it regularly hosts.
*According to data from the Marine Traffic app, which tracks the location of superyachts.