French Meets Caribbean: St. Barth

Travel in St. Barths
Photo by St Barts Tourism Committee

You may have heard about it, but yet can’t quite pinpoint it on the map. St. Barth (also known as St. Barts and Saint Barthelemy), is a tiny Caribbean island located in the Antilles archipelago. It has a reputation much bigger than its size, which is just eight square miles. It’s known for its endless sunshine, beautiful beaches, and healthy underwater marine park.

What makes St. Barth truly unique, though, is its French-meets-Caribbean flair. Many restaurants serve the finest French dishes, while others reflect the island’s Caribbean roots. French is the official language, yet the local music has an island sound. St. Barth mixes the best of both worlds, and creates an island culture all its own.

St. Barth was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, but it was the Rockefellers who really put it on the map in the late 1950s, when it was discovered by wealthy and sophisticated tourists. Today, St. Barth remains distinctly French in feel, and is known for its low-key, yet upscale charm.

A full calendar of events runs year-round includes festivals, regattas and dining events. Here are some on offer:

Spring in St. Barth

Spring is Regatta season on St. Barth, with the St. Barths Bucket Regatta on March 22-25: 3 days of regattas around Saint Barth for a fleet of the largest, most prestigious sailing yachts; Les Voiles de St. Barth on April 4-7; and the West Indies Regatta on April 28-May 1, celebrating traditional West Indian sails. More of a wooden boat festival than a competitive regatta, the purpose of the West Indian sails event is to promote and encourage traditional boatbuilding in the Caribbean.

Summer in St. Barth

Summer is the time when St. Barth locals and privileged insiders shift from the VIP shuffle to a quieter, more intimate pace. This is what the real St. Barth is all about. With lower, off-season rates and the fourth edition of Diana Bourel’s signature yoga summer camp challenge just around the bend, July is the perfect time to visit the island. Channel your inner yogi, get strong and lean, make new friends and find out just how magnificent you are in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

The St. Barth Summer Camp is a 5-week yoga and fitness program (from July 1 – August 5) that challenges you to discover your personal best. It’s far more than approaching the mat with good intention. It’s an unparalleled tool for self- investigation and growth that is accessible to anyone willing to put in the time and the effort it takes to change the body and transform the mind.

Where to Stay in St. Barth

The island offers a diverse array of accommodations, with villas, hotels, and high-end spas. While most locations tend toward the higher-end, affordable accommodations can be found. Here are some top hotels and resorts.

Hotel Christopher

Hotel Christopher recently completed phase three of a €7 million renovation. One of the best locations in St. Barth, the Hotel Christopher offers luxurious five-star accommodations and amenities and houses two remodeled restaurants (Taino and Mango), newly renovated rooms and the largest pool on the island, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea.

The new Spa at Hotel Christopher is the art of combining age-old techniques with contemporary practices, which embraces the invisible and sublimates the visible. The new center has three private treatment rooms each with a private patio and garden situated on a cliff, and is the only spa in St. Barth that overlooks the ocean and most of the island with beautiful sunset views.

Art & Bien-Être, Hotel Christopher’s wellness partner, offers a wide variety of massages and essential treatments in addition to a relaxation and beauty area and a tour through the “universe of well-being.” At one’s service, a team of dedicated individuals will deliver a selection of soothing treatments in the comfort of your room or in heavenly rooftop tents.

The Spa at Hotel Christopher features skin care products from Dr. Brandt® and La Sultane de Saba®. Hotel Le Toiny Hotel Le Toiny is pleased to announce Into the Blue for 2012, a new package including a three-night hotel stay and a two-night round-trip private sailing excursion. Available through December 19, this nautical adventure also includes SCUBA diving, spa treatments and gourmet dining at the Hotel Le Toiny’s own beloved Restaurant Le Gaiac.

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