St Barths - West Indies

“Some people look for a beautiful place, others make the place beautiful”

By Montserrat Franco - Lifestyle, Food and Wine Reviewer - -
Twitter: @montserratfranc for Fashion & Wine Magazine (Miami-Buenos Aires-Ibiza)

St Barth; an almost unreachable destination in the French West Indies is the perfect hideaway for the jet setter. Surrounded by pristine white sand beaches, unspoiled nature; mountains and the turquoise clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean this associated Island of France had a long history before becoming the top destination for celebrities in search for privacy.

On the Photo: St Barth is actually one of the most difficult landings in the history of aviation.

In 1493 Columbus landed in St Barth and named the Island after his brother Bartolomeo; the first inhabitants of the Island were the Arawak Indians; hostile conditions and the lack of gold were crucial for the Spanish Crown and St Barth remained forgotten for centuries; later ruled by the French; then sold to the Dutch to be returned to the French; St Barth started to be noticed by luxury resort developers just in the 1950’s when Rockefeller built his private home in the top of the mountains in Colombier; West side of the Island.

On the Illustration: The discovery of St Barthélemy.

Today; the most expensive yachts in the world are no strangers to St Barth and every day is almost a competition on size and style.

On the Photo: The Eclipse mega yacht owned by Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich, I spotted it from my balcony at the Beach House in Corossol.

For luxury shopping the Quai de la Republique; Le Carre D’Or; a Caribbean version of Beverly Hills with the most desirable designers and limited edition collections made exclusively for St Barth. I spent many hours at the Dolce & Gabanna flagship store opened just a few months ago with its own Martini Bar for D & G collaboration. The colorful collection reflects the spirit of the Island; floral scarfs; bejeweled mules, oversized sunglasses, embellished straw baskets and wedges and the 1950’s inspired cocktail dresses just makes us want to wear them all and go for a stroll in a Moke (the ultimate transportation in the Island) around Gustavia.

On the Photo: The Dolce and Gabbana flagship store in Gustavia.

St Barth is the culinary capital of the Caribbean; suddenly we see people walking with baguettes on the streets and freshly made pastries can be found at any of the Boulangeries and Patisseries; at supermarkets all of them carry French brands and is like going to Paris in the middle of a tropical setting.

The lifestyle of the Island is resort chic with impeccable service and attention to details, the French touch is notorious; For lunch I truly enjoyed The Cheval Blanc in Flamandes; it was also the best beach for swim and great cuisine by Chef Yann Vinsont. The Cheval Blanc is part of the LVMH Luxury Resort collection.

Pictured above: Lunch at Cheval Blanc.
Below: Lunch at Le Sereno.

Lunch at Le Sereno in Grand Cul de Sac is another must on my list; from its sister 5 star hotel “Il Sereno” in Laco di Cuomo; Le Sereno exudes style; designed by renowned Parisian designer Christian Liaigre.

The lagoon at Sereno Beach is also perfect for paddle boarding or canoeing in the afternoon. Great place to spot the turtles swimming on the water or picking up giant conch between the rocks.

Next to Le Sereno; Le Guanahani is another impressive luxury resort with a Spa by Clarins and its distinctive tiki bars by the beach; Le Guanahani offers true island feeling.

Dining in St Barth: a must is the Eden Rock at the “In” Beach of St Jean just next to the airport; with two signature restaurants: “On the Rocks” at the top of the cliff or “The Sand Bar” both headed by Michelin starred Chef Jean-Georges.
St Barth preserve its Colonial charm from the Dutch era; the Creole and the French; signs on the streets are both in Dutch and French.

On the Photo: Montserrat Franco in the Flamandes beach of the Cheval Blanc Hotel.

Walking distance from the lively port of Gustavia and just steps from divine dining spots like Bagatelle and Bonito; we are in Shell Beach; a small portion of the Island covered with shells of all types and colors; you never know when you’ll find a unique one in the middle of all these shells.

Pictured above: D&G collection specially made for the Island.
Pictured below: On Shell Beach wearing Flamingo espadrilles by Soludos @soludos and vintage basket with Oaxacan charms.

St Barth has it all; from hiking thru the mountains and spotting baby turtles on the way to incredible views of the secluded Island in Colombier to infinite white sandy beaches in Saline or the freshest catch of the day to your table.

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” - Anonymous.

Until the next destination.

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