Cosmopolitan buzz meets Gallic charm on St Barthélemy, more commonly known as St Barts or St Barths. A jewel in the French West Indies, it’s the destination of choice for the stars…
For sun-drenched fun, Eden Rock-St Barths (owned by Pippa Middleton’s future in-laws) is just the ticket. Perched on a rocky headland jutting into St Jean Bay, it offers glamour and a guestbook bursting with notable names. On the private stretch of sand, suave "beach boys" zip between loungers, attending to your every whim; hidden in the lush gardens, meanwhile, the suites come with a mix of antiques and custom-made contemporary pieces. At sundown, make your way to the Rock Bar for cocktails with the style set.
There’s no shortage of fine dining spots on St Barts and many of the restaurants have a distinctly French flavour. Tuck into candied pork belly with herbes de Provence at On the Rocks, or for mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes, it doesn’t get much better than La Guérite, an achingly chic little place on the tip of the port of Gustavia, the island’s capital.
Collectors of luxury labels will delight in the profusion of colourful boutiques across the island. For patterned blouses and tassel-hemmed minidresses, Poupette St Barth on Rue de la République is superb, while Kokon on pretty Rue Fahlberg has a carefully curated selection of designer pieces and arty jewellery. For flashier, splashier shops, Le Carré d’Or shopping centre is home to Hermès, Ralph Lauren et al.
If you tire of the beach, take to the water in a wooden sailing boat for an afternoon of island hopping, or pull on your wetsuit and master the waves at Toiny Bay – a wild and wonderful cove with surfable crests aplenty and a dramatic backdrop of hills.
What to pack:
Light pink crochet bikini set, £250, Stella McCartney; visit stellamccartney.com
Carina woven canvas wedge espadrilles, £75, Castaner from net-a-porter.com
Roucou sunscreen lotion SPF 30, £44, Ligne St. Barth from heidiklein.com
Rooms at Eden Rock-St Barths start at €650 (£550) per night in low season, based on two adults sharing; visit edenrockhotel.com. There are no direct flights from the UK but Air France flies to St Barts via Paris and St Martin from £1,118 return.