One Of The Priciest Vacation Destinations Is This Popular Caribbean Island

Charter your megayacht and brush up on your French — we're heading to Saint Barthélemy. Known as St. Barts for short, this stunning 9-square-mile island east of Puerto Rico is the famed playground for celebrities and no-budget travelers alike. From the plethora of five-star resorts and Michelin-star restaurants to the swanky beach clubs where you can dance on the tables, cocktail in hand, St. Barts is a prized tropical getaway for those with more than a little cash to burn.


This celebrity-dotted paradise in the heart of the West Indies is well known for its laid-back attitude and French-Caribbean fusion (the Euro is even the official currency), attracting famous jet setters like Jeff Bezos, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Marc Jacobs, Madonna, David Letterman, Heidi Klum, Mike Tyson, Elon Musk, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Paul McCartney. If the shopping and nightlife aren't enough to draw you in, the perennial warm weather certainly will.

Five-star hotels and lux private villas

Despite its popularity, St. Barts is designed to preserve its small island charm. Unlike other Caribbean destinations overflowing with megahotels, there are just 25 hotels, many of which contain a dozen rooms or less. With a natural air of exclusivity, you'd be hard-pressed to find a dwelling that starts at less than $800 per night. In fact, many places require a one or two-week reservation at minimum. While not quite as pricey as, say, COMO Laucala Island in Fiji — another celeb hotspot that costs $20,000 for three days — the hotels and villas on St. Barts will still cost you a pretty penny.


For the best location, you'll want to feast your eyes on Hôtel Le Barrière Le Carl Gustaf ($955 per night), a dazzling five-star hotel within walking distance to downtown Gustavia, the heart of the island. That is if you can muster up an excuse to leave your own plunge pool and private terrace above the sea. If wellness is your jam, there's Le Barthélemy Hotel and Spa ($1361) or Hotel Christopher ($923), the latter of which boasts the Sisley Spa, a two-time award winner for the best hotel spa on the island and the Caribbean, in general. If you're looking for more of a private Caribbean island experience, you can lounge in one of the 500-plus private villas or book the Le Sereno Hotel ($932) with an Instagram-ready pool overlooking a 600-foot beach reserved for guests only. Whatever your flavor, you'll find it in St. Barts.


Where to eat, shop, and play

Outside of your lux accommodation, there's no shortage of activities to fill your day. Head to downtown Gustavia to take advantage of duty-free shopping at Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren, and plenty of local designers featured in the boutiques. Once you're feeling peckish, book a day bed at a beach club for some lunch and cocktails, like Shellona for a taste of Greece or Nikki Beach for fresh seafood and live music. Of course, you can't ignore that gorgeous teal surf for long, so grab your favorite toy — be it jet ski, surfboard, or flyboard — and sail off into the sunset.


You'll need a private jet or yacht to get to St. Barts directly. Otherwise, book the best deal to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then board an hour-and-a-half flight to St. Barts — a thrill in and of itself, thanks to the island's frighteningly short runway. The high season is November through February, the best time to see and be seen (and spot an A-lister or two). Try the shoulder season in May and June if you'd prefer to ditch the crowds. After that, it's hurricane season, so save your cash and splurge on an over-the-top luxury resort when the weather will be smiling down in your favor. This particular Eden is worth it.