Saint-Barthélemy is the French Caribbean island where celebrities flock to yacht, sun bathe and shop. Known for its white sandy beaches and high-end designer shops, and harbors where the most beautiful yachts in the world anchor.
Called St. Barts or St. Barths, this island was formerly a Swedish colony, so there are Swedish historical sites like the Wall House, and the 17th century Fort Karl that looks out over Shell Beach.
We drove an Avis Rental Car around the island and hotel & boutique hopped for the day. Sharing some recommendations on where to go, stay & dine on St. Barths.
Walk the Promenade: Gustavia’s promenade is lined with boats and yachts on one side, and boutiques & cafes on the other side. Fun place to stroll & people watch!
Visit a Beach: Shell Beach is within walking distance from Gustavia and is blanketed with shells. There are other beaches on the island, but you’ll need a taxi or rental car. St. Jean Village is where you’ll find the popular Nikki Beach, and nearby, the Lorient Beach is a little quieter. There’s also Gouverneur Beach and Saline Beach.
Shopping in Gustavia: There are so many chic boutiques in Gustavia and art galleries. Be sure to stop by Tom’s Juice Bar for the Green Island Smoothie – very healthy & delish! Visit the art gallery and studio of Veronique Vandernoot, a tile artist who creates the plaques for the beaches and towns of St. Barths. Her store is in Gustavia’s port town, called Les Petits Carreaux.
Exploring the Island by Car: We arrived to the Gustavia pier and an Avis Shuttle picked us up for 5 mins ride to the Avis Car Office near the airport. It was so fun exploring the island in a convertible and driving up to Columbier’s high point for photos, and a visit to Corossol, the “straw village” for a nice lookout to the bay.
We navigated the windy roads around St. Barts, and stopped at beaches, hotels and boutiques along the way. Avis has a great fleet of vehicles to choose from – electric cars, minis, BMW convertibles, SUV’s.
Hotel Le Toiny: Hotel Le Toiny St Barth, a member of Relais & Chateaux, is a 5-star luxury villa hotel on the the “Côte Sauvage” side of St. Barts, with its 14 luxury Villa Suites overlooking azure blue waters and the beach.
Highly recommend dining at their Beach Club where you enjoy local island specialties under shady trees, while dining with your feet in the sand. You’re surrounded by a coconut grove, tamarind field, a pineapple orchard and a gorgeous beach on the Caribbean side of the island, it has been called the most beautiful spot on the island.
Don’t Miss! Visit the hotel’s chic boutique near the Beach Club.
Cheval Blanc: This beachfront luxury resort is on the northern coast of St. Barths, and its shades of pink, white and taupe flows elegantly throughout the reception, suites, bungalows, villas, and beach lounge areas.
There’s a pool, spa, fitness center, and fashionable al fresco restaurant, and boutique.
Eden Rock: A member of the Oetker Collection, and is listed as one of the Top 100 Hotels in the World, Eden Rock sits between 2 beaches on the Baie de St-Jean, and the Plage de Saint Jean Beach. This luxury boutique hotel has several room options for guests to choose from – whether its for your family, or couples, there are garden, ocean view rooms and suites.
Next visit, we hope to dine at the sea-view terrace, or beach bar with a wood-fire oven.
The main palette for this hotel is red, and it stands out beautifully against the turquoise waters.
There’s also a beach, a spa, and a recording studio that John Lennon once used.
Le Sereno: Located on the eastern side of St. Barths, the Grand Cul-de-Sac beach, this luxury, ocean-view hotel is about a mile from the Morne du Vitet peak and 5 miles from downtown Gustavia.
The pool is beautiful and looks out to the sea. Most of the suites and villas have ocean views with private terraces and gardens. Heard their restaurant is a good place to dine – a casually elegant Mediterranean brasserie, taking advantage of the bounty of the Caribbean sea while incorporating an Italian accent.
Global Adventuress thanks Avis St. Barths for hosting our car rental, and Hotel Le Toiny for the delicious lunch at their Beach Club.