One of the many perks of working for Travel Keys is being sent out every few months to check out our destinations. I’ve been wanting to go to St. Barts for years but hadn’t had the opportunity until last month. Over the years, I’d read enough about St. Barts to create this version in my mind, but I always assumed my version was too perfect, that St. Barts could never live up to the billing my imagination had given it.
I was wrong. Dead wrong.
It is an absolutely wonderful island. The way it blends a small provincial French village with Caribbean vibe is fantastic. It mixes the best of France (the food, the bakeries, and the wine) with the best of what the Caribbean has to offer. A surprisingly unspoiled island with a great mixture of action (Gustavia and St. Jean) and complete seclusion (Gouverneur, Colombier and Petite Saline).
Walking into town each morning to pick up a fresh baguette and a cappuccino was therapeutic. Even in the morning rush, you could sense the joie de vivre. The locals, most of which are French transplants, love their island and their efforts are quite evident. They have successfully curtailed widespread development and ensure that each new addition blends seamlessly with existing infrastructure. The streets are clean and there are no abandoned development projects which dot the landscape of so many of its neighboring isles.
With its hyper exclusive reputation, the fashion of the island remains distinctly laid back (even though you know those plain swim trunks set the guy back a few hundred Euros). The restaurant and bar options are plentiful and it’s surprisingly easy to find a reasonably-priced menu. One of my favorite bars was the understated Le Piment in St. Jean, a small bar with a wonderful kitchen and a fantastically friendly staff. Le Ti St. Barth is another gem. Hidden away above Pointe Milou, this little roadside shack is a must-see on any trip to St. Barts. The food is amazing, the drinks are top notch, but neither can trump the ambiance. It really is one of a kind.
The main purpose of the trip was of course to check out a selection of villas around the island. As one can imagine, the standard is just a little higher on St. Barts than anywhere else we work. The mountainous terrain offers spectacular building sites and to their credit, most, if not all, take advantage of the features to create absolute idyllic views. A good deck makes a villa and there is no shortage on the island. These are just a few of the pictures I took; there were literally hundreds to choose from.
What I love most about St. Barts is that even though it is one of the most expensive islands in the world, it’s still accesible to all walks of life. The range in inventory is staggering, from under $200 a night to over $10,000/night and no matter where you’re staying, you can enjoy everything the island has to offer. I understand why our guests return multiple times a year, and it’s only a matter of time before I return to this wonderful little island.