10 must-see places in St Barths

If you’re planning to escape the demands of the office for a week or two, and have set your sights on somewhere as far removed from the stress of everyday life as possible, then St Barths is probably already high on your short-list. To help you get the most out of your precious time on the island, we’ve rounded up ten places that’ll leave you in no doubt as to why this gorgeous haven is so popular with fellow Victor members.

Saint Barthélemy (commonly known as St Barths or St Barts) is one of the Northern Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago, to the east of the Caribbean Sea. It’s a much-loved luxury holiday destination, famed for its privacy, serenity and perfectly balanced blend of natural beauty with a scattering of chic boutiques, fine restaurants and exclusive accommodation. Here, in no particular order, are a few of our favourite spots…

1. The Port of Gustavia

Gustavia is a prime example of how St Barths has successfully mastered the art of infusing traditional authenticity with modern luxury. Ancient schooners have long-since been replaced by superyachts and the beautifully restored colonial frontages now bustle with the trade of designer goods and unrivalled French cuisine, rather than the sea-borne essentials of yesteryear.
Why see? The shopping

2. Columbier Orientation Table

Truly the best ‘table’ on the island. Located on the outskirts of Colombier village, this stunning lookout point plots spectacular landmarks from Flamands to Gustavia. It is, quite simply, a bird’s-eye view of paradise – need we say more? While you’re here, why not take a twenty minute (steep!) hike down to (or reposition your yacht close to) our next must-see…
Why see? The views

3. Colombier Beach

An isolated and relatively inaccessible bay, this highly protected marine reserve is a must if you want to enjoy the best of the island’s 184 species of fish and the magic of its gorgeous green turtles. Grab your snorkel – this is where the true stars of the sea hang out.
Why? The sea-life

4. Toiny Coast

If you need to feel the wind in your hair and the surf caressing away your cares, head for the coast at Toiny. A favoured haunt of surfers, this rugged stretch of rocky coastline is the more exhilarating face of St Barts – where wind-swept headland walks wind their way down to breaker-beaten beaches.
Why see? The drama

5. Gouverneur Beach

An unspoilt, picture-perfect gem, this vast powder-white beach is off the beaten track, making it popular with those seeking solitude. It lacks shade, so go prepared or enjoy it at either end of the day. Speaking of ends – there could be some exposed rear-ends at the far end of the beach. You have been warned!
Why see? The sand

6. Lorient Beach

This is a somewhat underrated beach, perhaps because it nestles somewhere between the high-life and the wildlife. The bay is protected by a reef making this a popular hang-out for local families, surfers and snorkellers. Its lesser known status makes it a great place to escape, without going off the beaten track.
Why see? The surf

7. St Jean’s Beach

Although adjacent to the runway at Gustav III Airport, this popular beach doesn’t offer quite the adrenaline-fuelled plane-spotting experience of Maho Beach on St Maarten. Here, with less fear of being sand-blasted, you can safely enjoy an array of water-sports or unwind and people-watch in one of the many chic bars.
Why see? The entertainment

8. Saline Marshes

While the beach at Grande Saline is famed as one of the best in the world, it is the marshes beyond it that really warrant your attention. This often-overlooked wildlife habitat is home to dozens of rare bird species. It is extremely worthy of your visit, if only to support the preservation of this wonderful natural sanctuary.
Why see? The bird-life

9. Le Yacht Club

Whether you’re in Le Yacht Club or upstairs in the First Floor bar, you can kick-back safe in the knowledge that when you’re surrounded by this much sexy sophistication, the night can only go well. Whether you choose to dine and party here, or move on to the likes of Le Ti, Le 88, Le Select or the legendary Nikki Beach, the choice is yours.
Why see? The night-life

10. The Guanahani Spa

A pampering delight, set on a private 16 acre tropical peninsula, the spa forms part of the luxurious Hotel Guanahini. Offering a host of Clarins beauty treatments and Frederic Fekkai hair care, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a little TLC before chartering your private jet back to the real world.
Why see? Because you’re worth it, of course!

If you love St Barts, look out for Clive Jackson’s recollections of his most recent visit to St Barts in the forthcoming issue of the Victor magazine. There’ll be a sneak preview supplement in the Financial Times on Saturday 17th May 2014.

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