Nine Places to See and Be Seen in St. Barths This Season

Tired of pounding beers with your boring friends in dirty, crowded bars every weekend? Get away to the luxurious island of St. Barths in the French West Indies, and mingle with the world’s rich and famous. Find out where they party ‘til dawn when they get sick of cold weather and paparazzi in our comprehensive, indisputable list of hot St. Barth’s hangouts

[Related: BlackBook Guide to St. Barths]

Into going out? Download the free, GPS-enabled BlackBook City Guides app for your iPhone or Android and always know the best spots to hit, wherever you are. And if you want to stay on top of all the major openings and events in your city of choice, sign up for BlackBook Happenings, a fun, informative, not at all spammy email newsletter with the latest and greatest goings-on, delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Island Hop to St. Barths in Style This Season With Tradewind Aviation

For those of you who don’t respect Labor Day as a seasonal divider, Autumn 2012: The Northern Hemisphere edition begins this weekend. Do you know what that means? If you’re an affluent, stylish opinion leader—and if you’re reading this, of course you are—it means there’s work to do. For one thing, you’ve got to shift your seasonal beach playground from the Côte d’Azur to St. Barths. Don’t worry, your super yacht will meet you there, along with Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Blue Ivy, but how will you get yourself to that gorgeous little speck in the azure waters? Here’s how: By private charter or premium scheduled service on a Tradewind Aviation Pilatus PC-12.


Sure, you could fly commercial, but you’d be at the mercy of all these massive carriers and their limited schedules. It’s so much cooler and more comfortable to arrive in style on one of Tradewind’s many scheduled flights to St. Barths. They’ve expanded their San Juan-St. Barths service with up to 15 flights a day, which means that no matter when you touch down in Puerto Rico, you’ll be wheels up and St. Barths-bound in the time it takes to sip a daiquiri. They’ve added a new Antigua-St. Barths route, which connects seamlessly with the British Airways flights to and from London.  And, if you’re really a player, you can charter one of their fancy planes to island-hop between St. Barths, Anguilla, Tortola, Nevis, Antigua, Mustique, and the Dominican Republic like the swashbuckler you are. They’ve got private jets from the U.S. too, if you’re really looking for convenience. Visit the Tradewind Aviation website for all the details.
Once you’re in St. Barths, whip out your iPhone or Android, onto which you’ve downloaded the BlackBook Guides app, and check out the best the island has to offer. The BlackBook Guide to St. Barths covers such local hot spots as Bagatelle, Nikki Beach, and Le Ti. See you there. 

Keeping Your Best Bronze

The combined tanning power of the French people and the Caribbean sunshine is enough to make your neighborhood sun bed unplug itself in shame. As vacationers head south, sunshine is always one of the indulgences of choice, and preserving that winter tan truly does have an unusual (read: psychosomatic) ability to keep you feeling warmer until spring.

The Brin family, who hails from the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy in the French Antilles, has developed a range of daily skin care products called Ligne St. Barth. It’s high-quality, plant-based care products with an exotic touch. They’re a favorite line of spas on the island, for their gentleness on freshly tanned skin, and now, the Hotel Le Toiny has launched a new signature treatment, the St. Barth Sun Downer. Using a mixture of green clay, mint, coconut oil, aloe vera, and melon mousse, it is specifically designed to sooth skin after a day in the Caribbean sun. A small boutique hotel affiliated with Relais & Chateaux, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts, and American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, the villa suite style rooms are secluded enough to encourage the kind of creative sunbathing that can result in a surprising burn. You’ll appreciate the ingredients’ natural repairing agents and redness-alleviating properties when you’re ready in time to make your dinner reservation at their famed Restaurant Le Gaïac.



St. Barths Opening: The Spa at Le Sereno

St. Barths represented so much pre-crash extravagance and profligacy. And though its glamour hegemony has been recently challenged by Mauritius and St Tropez, it’s still really the place to vacation like a movie star. And since normal humans need a de-stress just as much as bright and glittery ones, the new Spa at Le Sereno, one of the island’s most design-forward hotels, offers an experience more cosseting than intimidating.

A signature treatment they call St. Barth Chill Out pretty much says it all. The Christian Liaigre designed Spa is as stylishly realized as the hotel, enhanced by bougainvillea and other tropical foliage. And you’d have to believe that an ocean-view clay and pineapple mousse body mask cannot be anything but utterly amazing.

Industry Insiders: David Matthews, Top of the Rock

David Matthews owns Eden Rock Hotel, arguably the most elite establishment on the tiny island of St. Barths. Shortly after discovering the property in 1995, after seeing it from a boat, he signed the papers and transplanted his family from their native England. Ever since, they’ve been hard at work remodeling and maintaining their investment while pursuing green initiatives. Eden Rock’s most recent addition is named Villa Rockstar. The 16,000-squarefoot space includes a pool, bar, gym, communications center, screening room and the recording console that John Lennon used to create “Imagine.” Not too shabby. More from the hotelier after the jump.

On the Eden Rock’s transformation from vacation home to hotel: Obviously everyone loved it; it’s the iconic building of St. Barths. I bought in ’95. We kept the bar going and people would wander up for a beer or two. We were going to have it just as a family home but then we liked the lifestyle so much, and I kept buying bits of land and putting it back to its original shape. We eventually bought the hotel next door to expand and quicken the pace.

On natural hazards in St. Barths: The hurricanes and the weather in the early days were unstable. It’s settled down again now. Having learned from the force of the ocean, we’ve been able to design structures, which we think will be able to recover from storms quite nicely. Between ‘95 and ’99, there was a full-on hurricane each year and one or two tropical storms.

On the disadvantages of living in paradise: There’s no metro, no major libraries, no major theaters, no ballet. For that side of life, you’ve got to go to Manhattan or London. Other than that, it’s a wonderful island and a wonderful life. It’s surprisingly crime-free and trusting. A very welcome thing in this day and age.

On his favorite time of the year: Christmas and New Years. It’s never been more fantastic than it was this past year. It was just incredible who you see here. The joy of life was just wonderful. You didn’t know who you were going to bump into from the world of movies, music, art, and business.

On Villa Rockstar: We had a large corner site which was quite a big space according to St. Barths standards. We built quite a big house on three levels of 15,000 square feet. And it was possible to put into that house everything what we thought parents, teenagers and the whole family would really enjoy. Electronic games, music making devices, a pool, bar, gym, communications center and screening room. Then we got into a partnership with Ocean Way Recording Studio in Hollywood. They provided the recording equipment for our studio, the console that John Lennon recorded “Imagine” on. As we worked more at it, we enjoyed meeting people that we would ordinarily never meet in our lives. It wasn’t just about making money; it was about living life to our standards and making a world class hotel. Then again, there are thousands of world class hotels, so we had to know how to make it unique. This makes it unique in many ways.

On the architectural aspects: My partner is an artist, and I always enjoyed creativity. This was an opportunity to pay attention to shapes, and to colors and to mix that with technicalities of how to make the buildings work well. How to make them open when the weather was beautiful and how to close them quickly when little showers come through — which in the tropics is quite a lot. Then also to be strong and fortified in the case of an approaching major storm which only happens in September and half of October when the whole island is closed. But around those requirements, it’s been an interesting set of practical problems, laced together with creativity.

Go-to places in St. Barths: For me it’s adventure to even put my nose out the gate. Maybe go out to do some shopping. But I’m always working and I like it.

Favorite thing about living in the tropics: Beautiful girls! They’re here all the time.