Why Saint Barthélemy?
Although Nicky and I have already been to St. Barths, we decided to go back this year to celebrate my 30th birthday! My original intention was to be in Italy, but after realizing how cold it would be I decided somewhere warmer with equally great food would be a better option. Celebrating in St. Barths also allowed for some of my family in Puerto Rico to join since it’s just a quick one-hour flight from San Juan.
Arrival Day – Villa Mamiami and L’Espr
When we landed in St. Barths, Nicky had arranged for a private transfer to pick us up and take us directly to the villa. When planning this trip, he worked with the concierge of the villa to priorly arrange all rides to and from our destinations. This saved us a TON of time and made is so that we didn’t need a car rental (driving in St. Bart’s is not easy – the roads are very narrow).
I was absolutely stunned when we got to Villa Mamiami. There are over 300 different villa’s rentable through sibarth.com so it can take a while to find one that meets your desires, but I couldn’t imagine a better option for this trip. It sits high in the mountains and overlooks the northeast corner of the island. Nicky even arranged for decorative birthday ballons for my arrival which was so sweet.
Since we had a long travel day and arrived at our villa around sunset, we got ready and headed out to L’Esprit for dinner. This reservation, as well as all others, was made by our concierge – Nicky just had to inform him in advance where we wanted to go and he handled the rest. Although not my favorite because I think there are better views in St. Barth’s, the food is classic French and quite good.
Day 2 – Le Barthélemy Beach Club and Home BBQ
he next day we set out to Le Barthélemy Hotel. The beach club here is for guests of the hotel/villas only, so be mindful of this if you are looking for a place to sunbathe. Their restaurant, Amis, is open to all however. The hotel sits along Grand Cul-de-Sac, a white sand stretch of beach not far from Petit Cul-de-Sac, a more private and equally picturesque beach that’s open to everyone.
Since we knew we’d likely still be recovering from the prior travel day, Nicky left our afternoon and evening open so we could relax at the villa and cook together. The villa had a grill from which my dad and Nicky cooked steaks for everyone. Inside my mom prepared a number of equally delicious sides. All the while we listened to our favorite music and drank a good bit of wine!
Day 3 – Shellona Beach Club and L’Isola
My favorite day (outside of my birthday) started at Shellona Beach Club. We booked a few beds in advance and spent several hours going back and forth between relaxing with drinks/appetizers and swimming in the completely clear water. Shell beach is one of my favorite beaches as well. The beach resembles a small lagoon surrounded by cliffs and sporting a beach dotted with shells. We spent the entire afternoon here.
Since Shellona is in Gustavia, you can also walk from the beach club to the main town and get some shopping done. We didn’t have time, but if you are on the other side of the island I recommend bundling these activities.
For dinner, we went to L’Isola, arguably the most well-known Italian restaurant in Gustavia (and all of St. Barths really). Unlike many of the restaurants on the island which import mostly French wines, L’Isola offers a wide range of Italian wines from the northern regions through the Tuscany all the way down to Sicily.
Day 4 – Nikki Beach, Gustavia, and Tamarind
If you’re familiar with the name Nikki Beach, then you likely know what to expect. This restaurant is where you want to go if you are looking for a bit of a rowdier beach vibe. Located on Baie de St. Jean, you’ll find plenty to do here, including shopping in St. Jean.
We explored the shops at St. Jean but ultimately headed to Gustavia afterwards for a bit higher end shopping and afternoon espressos. All of the high end brand names are located in this part of the island so if your goal is getting European prices on luxury goods, Gustavia is for you.
To end the day, we grabbed dinner at Tamarin. This is possibly the prettiest restaurant if privacy, photo ops, and lush greenery are high on your list of dining preferences. The food is outstanding too! I recommend getting a reservation earlier in the night as they can quickly run out of tables in the garden. If this happens, you’ll end up in the main restaurant which isn’t quite as atmospheric.
Day 5 – Boat Excursion and Private Chef Dinner
Nicky planned a full day private boat excursion for my birthday, accompanied by a lunch stop at La Guerite. We circled the entire island on the 69’ Princess, stopping at harder to get to beaches like Colombier Beach along the way. The boat offered more than enough space for the six of us to lounge as desired and the crew were outstanding in the service they provided.
Unbeknownst to me, Nicky arranged for a private chef dinner in the evening. Apparently he worked with the concierge to organize everything – including a delicious birthday cake at the end! The pacing of the evening allowed for my family and I to relax, unwind, and share a beautiful evening together without feeling the stress that sometimes rears its head when cooking on vacation. I know I’m providing scant details, but it was a remarkable day from start to finish. I highly recommend this if you are staying in a villa.
Day 6 – Eden Rock and Bonito
Our last full day was a bit slower paced and honestly I needed it after my birthday. We grabbed lunch at Eden Rock which, like Le Barthélemy Hotel, only provides beach access to its guests. This wasn’t a big deal since we had already spent a lot of time in St. Jean, so we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the pool at our villa. This was the first time we actually used the pool, but I’m so glad we did. It was a great way to soak in the beauty of St. Barths.
For our final dinner, we went to Bonito. I really wanted to go last year but Nicky and I weren’t able to secure a reservation. I had heard it was one of the best restaurants on the island and it did not disappoint! The menu is essentially a French take on Latin cuisine (a match made in heaven honestly). Everyone really enjoyed themselves and the general consensus was that this was the best restaurant experience of the trip (although Tamarin was a close second).
Departure Day and Final Thoughts
Although there are still many islands in the Caribbean I have yet to experience firsthand, St. Barths is easily my favorite. You get all of the benefits of a Caribbean island with the refinement of French culture, food, and wine. Whether you are celebrating a bachelorette weekend, birthday party, or something else, St. Barths is a great option.