Saint-Barthélemy has an unmistakably joie de vivre that makes anyone who’s lucky enough to visit this slice of paradise an instant convert. And while it took a hit during Hurricane Irma, the chic Caribbean island is back and better than ever. Between pristine beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, and a vast array of posh hotels and resorts that make checking in a privilege and checking out impossible, St. Barths is the ideal escape—consider this your ultimate honeymoon guide.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Le Toiny
Dipping into the honeyfund is well worth it for a truly memorable stay at Le Toiny. This Relais & Chateaux hotel exudes unparalleled charm and elegance and offers every amenity you could ask for while on your honeymoon. There are 22 secluded suites tucked on the hillside above Anse de Toiny, with fully-stocked mini bars featuring extensive wine lists and above and beyond service—you’ll hardly remember what your former home looks like once you settle in here. When you tire of room service in robes and skinny dipping in your private (heated) plunge pool, hop in their vintage Land Rover Defender for a lift down to the Beach Club. You’ll spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun and wandering over to your table under the sea grape trees for grilled poisson and bottles of chilled rosé.
Rates start at $1,600 per night
Villa Marie Saint-Barth
Discerning couples with an eye for style and off-the-beaten path gems will find themselves gravitating towards Madame Sibuet’s Caribbean jewel, Villa Marie. The prolific interior designer is notorious for building beautiful properties that spark joy in her guests and this former plantation-turned-St. Barths boutique hotel has soul galore, thanks to treasures sourced from around the world and a bohemian sensibility that wafts throughout the grounds. Quirky-cute suites are furnished with canopy beds, rattan shades, shell mirrors, and whimsical textiles. A lagoon-like pool surrounded by shady fronds serves as breakfast HQ, and her genial staff is always at the ready to cater to your every need. Pro tip: Reserve the Master Villa Piscine early. Perched above the tranquil Flamands Bay, it’s equipped with its own 32-foot-long swimming pool, outdoor shower, and open-air layout suitable for doing the most—or nothing at all.
Rates start at $510 per night
If flashy and over-the-top isn’t your thing, book a stay at the low-key, eco-friendly Hotel Manapany. As one of the oldest hotels on the island (and largest), the number of accommodations to choose from is substantial, and while rooms are on the modest side, they still possess a carefree spirit in the form of hand-painted furniture, cozy balconies with unobstructed views of the sea, and rustic, yet spacious, bathrooms. There’s even a secret haute couture atelier on the premises (should you be so inclined to have a second gown designed for an impromptu vow renewal ceremony). Their adults-only pool, complimentary breakfast, and yoga and pilates classes round out the perks.
Rates start at $610 per night
WHERE TO EAT
There’s a reason this upscale seafood mainstay is always packed to the brim and that’s because their French-Latin fare matches its hyped-up reputation. Well, that and the fact that celeb power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z are regulars when in Saint-Barthélemy. Overlooking the bay dotted with jaw-dropping yachts in the heart of Gustavia, Bonito offers captivating sunset views and even more epic craft cocktails by their master shaker Jerome. Order the tasting of ceviches and tiraditos, as well as the spiny lobster risotto.
Ask any of the visitors that lovingly return to the island year after year what their go-to restaurant is and most will wax poetic about French eatery Tamarin. Nestled in a dreamy garden that feels like a tropical rainforest retreat, there’s everything you could desire from an intimate dinner for two: mouthwatering dishes and magical ambiance surrounded by floating lily pads and a 200-year-old tamarind tree. While it’s a sure bet any night of your vacay, saving this one for last is a smart move.
The vibe at François Plantation is part eclectic living room, part epicurean hideaway with a style all its own. Chef Emmanuel Motte merges French classics with Mediterranean influences (accented by Caribbean spice) and signatures include the house bouillabaisse and pineapple braised lamb shank. Be warned however, that this is not a meal to rush through. Begin with an aged rum and cigar from their onsite humidor in the “Pineapple Salon,” before moving to your table, and ending on a sweet note with dessert on the porch.
Le Sereno Restaurant
After a complete property rebuild, Le Sereno certainly warrants a stop on your culinary tour. Their newly reimagined and expanded restaurant has seating on the main deck with sweeping panoramas of Grand Cul de Sac, as well as directly on the beach, for toes-in-the-sand dining. Here you’ll sink into comfy banquets while toasting your new life together over bowls of Chef Alex Simone’s delish lobster linguine, which is arguably one of the best on the island.
Maya’s To Go
Spending long leisurely days beach hopping is a beloved pastime in St. Barths, just remember to have a picnic basket filled with accoutrements and plenty of water on hand. Maya’s provides every packable provision you could find yourself craving after laps in the waters and naps in sandy nooks—plus wine and pastries to go. The only hard part is choosing from their plentiful menu of artisanal salads and sandwiches.
For a romantic dinner in the sexiest of settings, Aux Amis is a winning choice. A school of fish chandelier floats over the main dining room while Instagrammable bird cage chairs hang suspended by Le Bar. Then there’s the al fresco deck fit for a candlelit tasting menu beneath the stars.
WHERE TO DRINK ROSÉ ALL DAY (OR NIGHT)
Nikki Beach St. Barth
Whatever you do, be sure your planned dates fall over a weekend so you can witness Amazing Sunday’s at Nikki Beach. The themes change week to week (think tribal mischief one day, white party the next), but the international dishes, worldly beats, and non-stop flow of bubbly remain the same—only on a scale you’ve never seen. You’ll also want to be sure your phone is charged for capturing resident saxophonist Jimmy Sax, while partygoers take to the tabletops and sushi boats resembling the Titanic make their way out of the kitchen.
Le Ti St. Barth
Experiencing Le Ti is a rite of passage in St. Barths. There you’ll carouse with costume-clad dancers, who will allow you to take photos with them for a fee, and dance all night long until the sun comes out. Reservations at this boudoir-themed nightclub are strongly encouraged during peak season as it tends to fill up during scheduled performances.
WHERE TO SHOP
Poupette St Barth
Spend one day in St. Barths and you’ll start to recognize a familiar pattern. That would be designer Poupette Giraud’s bevy of frilly femme frocks flowing through every beach bar and hotel lobby around the island. Beautifully designed with girly prints and hues that go from cabana sessions to happy hour—you’ll have a hard time buying just one.
Boutique Sunday St Barts
Jet setters (and newbie brides alike) take their fashion seriously around SB, so do yourself a favor and leave plenty of room in your suitcase for the shopping that’s about to commence. Sunday hails from Saint-Tropez and has two outposts in St. Barth, so you’ll have no trouble finding items for every activity on your itinerary.
Mignot St. Barth
You can find this one-of-a-kind jewelry haven in the heart of downtown Gustavia, inside a small wooden house brimming with beautiful wares. From leather-bound black Tahitian pearls transformed into edgy chokers, to delicate earrings and wrap bracelets, there’s something for every personality, with a distinct boho-chic edge.
WHERE TO SPA
Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa
Le Spa at Le Barthélemy isn’t your average island salon with a table tucked away in a corner somewhere. This full-service wellness destination offers it all, including couples massages in cushy quarters and indulgent La Mer facials. Afterwards, make your way up to Whiskey Tango Foxtrot for rooftop libations.
Villa Marie Saint-Barth
Even if you’re taking a digital detox on the honeymoon, you’re going to want to keep your phone handy for snapping pics at these palm tree covered massage rooms. (#TBT, hello?) Villa Marie’s Pure Altitude Spa is as blissful as it is adorable and their pure coconut ritual is just what a bride needs for a little after-sun repair (or good old-fashioned R&R).
WHERE TO CATCH RAYS
An island favorite for its glistening stretch of shell-speckled sand, the aptly named Shell Beach is where many head straight off the plane. A short walk from Gustavia, it’s the location for several weekend festivals, as well as Shellona for Greek specialities and incredible sunsets.
St. Jean Beach
For swimming with a side of people watching, make your way to the island’s scene-iest beach where you can lounge for hours before wandering over to the neighboring bars and bistros for a bite. Saint-Jean is also home to the legendary Nikki Beach.
The journey to get to “Rockefeller’s Beach” a.k.a. Colombier requires a bit of effort. It’s only reachable by boat from Gustavia, or via a 30 minute hike down a scenic goat path, but upon arrival you’ll understand why this plot of land that was once owned by David Rockefeller is perfect in every way—and way less touristy to boot.
On a Boat
There are few better ways to enjoy St. Barths than on a VIP chartered sailboat or catamaran and most operators offer everything from dinner to sunset cruises. For the best guides (and kitted-out boats with ti’punch on ice), check out St. Barth Catamaran, Top Loc Rentals, and Jicky Marine Service.