I have been to St. Barts over 25 times and I never tire of this magical little island. I fantasize about my trip weeks before I go. I have to admit that getting to St. Barts is an adventure that’s not always pleasant. That small plane from St. Maarten is only a 10 minute ride but often harrowing. Sometimes the winds are high and I am holding my breath until we fly over the mountain and land at the tiny airport and hear the first “Bonjour” at customs. Then we rent a car at Gumbs, say hello to Odile our lovely rental agent, and make our way to the Hotel Isle de France.
I have traveled to many other Caribbean islands, but everything that St. Barts has to offer resonates with me….its turquoise waters, pristine beaches, chic restaurants, charming hotels, open and kind-hearted residents, unique shops, and perfect weather..it’s truly paradise. And in the evening when the sun is setting after a relaxing day, the sound of the tree frogs is mesmerizing. I know they are singing to me.
My guy Michael and I began traveling to St. Barts in 1999. We rented a villa that first year, then we discovered the Hotel Isle de France, and we have stayed there ever since. In fact, we bought one of their time shares. I adore this hotel… right on Flamand Beach. Everything about it is simplicity… but in that very stylish French manner…like the yummiest bed sheets, towels, and robes, and beautiful music playing when you walk in the door. Everyone there is like family now
We go back to many of the same restaurants over and over, and there are always a few new ones;
If you find yourself on the beach at the Isle de France, have a dacquiri and lunch at La Casa de l’Isle. The menu is a lovely mix of salads and grilled foods with an Asian twist. Something for everyone. And of course, we have to have a bottle of Domaine Ott. The food is fresh and the view can’t get much better. The people watching is always good!!! It’s relaxed and perfect. The store in the hotel is fabulous. Caroline runs it and she has a fashion show every year. The hotel invites everyone to watch the show and have free cocktails. Fun!
Maya’s is one of the Island’s most popular restaurants. Randy is always the welcoming host and his wife Maya is the chef. The food is simple French with a bit of Island flair. I always run into people I know. We had a local fish and a lovely Bresse chicken and vegetables the night we were there.
And then there’s the shopping. Of course there’s Hermes and Dior which are lovely, but also St. Barts has the most unique small stores like Poupette St-Barth and Laurent Effel. Gustavia is the capital of St. Barts and I love shopping there for the perfect new beach cover-up or sandals, or that great little dress. When we go into Gustavia, we eat lunch at The Creperie right in town and the food is sensational. Typical French, good fresh salads and of course a myriad of crepes, savory and sweet. I loved my banana, nutella and chocolate crepe…Mmmmm. Tres Bonne.
We had dinner at the fairly new L’Isola Italian Restaurant. Their food is top notch. Pasta was cooked perfectly. The restaurant was full and had a great buzz.
The best lunch on the Island was at the Eden Rock Hotel. My salad and veggies were outstanding. The view…with the planes flying in…was perfection!
We often spend Thanksgiving in St Barts and I have had many a delicious Thanksgiving meal at Maya’s. This year, my dear friend Henry Lambert and his girlfriend Heather invited us to their sensational home overlooking the port of Gustavia. He cooked a traditional feast complete with a tender turkey, cranberry sauce, the best gravy, sausage stuffing, sweet potato pie, and excellent conversation.
Dinner at Le Ti St Barts is a must for fun and buzz. Carole, the owner, used to own La Plage with her husband Thierry. They are now divorced and he runs La Plage, she Le Ti. They have a fashion show every night. The models are gorgeous and everyone dances on the tables! It’s exactly the kind of scene you would expect on a French Caribbean Island. I could dance until dawn and have many times.