The Caribbean and Hurricane Irma (and Maria) are now inexorably linked, not only in the minds of the islands’ residents who are still dealing with the devastation these storms brought, but also for tourists who may be reticent to journey to these sun-drenched isles, fearing they will no longer live up to their dreams of an idyllic getaway.
Nothing should deter you from visiting St. Barth, an overseas territory of France. This 9-plus-square-mile island has always been exceptional, for its classy Caribbean sophistication, and, now, its speedy recovery from hurricane damage is no less noteworthy. Its diminutive size along with the citizenry’s resilient spirit and their tight sense of community all contributed to the ability of St. Barth to not only rebuild quickly but also to regain its glamor, even adding some stellar culinary options — new restaurants are popping up all over Gustavia, the capital.
Sure, you’ll find reminders of Irma’s wrath. The tourist office relocated from its demolished harbor-facing spot to a more protected, inland venue. Many of the shops and cafes in Gustavia’s La Pointe section, the hardest hit part of the city, remain shuttered. Not all the street lights in the capital are in working order; most of the island’s major hotels are closed as restoration moves forward; and some houses around the island bear roofs draped in blue tarps. None of these changes, however, are likely to make a major dent in your vacation plans. In fact, Hurricane Irma actually widened some of the island’s golden sandy beaches.
Arrive in style and comfort from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on a Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 plane with Tradewind Aviation where a glass (or two) of champagne is de rigueur. Then, settle in to any of these three posh villas that are bound to delight you with their epic scenery and high level of comfort.
Families with teens, or couples who delight in nature.
Set on the slopes high above Corossol, a local-centric area that’s peppered with traditional one-story, boldly painted wooden homes topped with corrugated metal roofs.
The main living space at Villa Lao opens to a lush, blooming garden with a lovely water wall. (The fresh aroma of plant life wafts through the interior.) Abstract paintings bedeck the walls, and contemporary, organic-shaped furnishings and sculptural pieces dot the interior. The infinity pool looks out to placid Corossol Bay where small fishing boats bob. Each of the three bedrooms comes with a terrace-set Jacuzzi. In the master bathroom with its spacious shower, a door provides access to a wee garden. On the first floor, one bedroom has direct entry from the parking lot, making this villa ideal for the teenager who desires some independence. A gym easily satisfies your workout needs and also comes with a refreshing outdoor shower where vines climb a wall.
Those who desire proximity to St. Jean’s lively nightlife and restaurant scene.
Comfortable and relaxed.
On a hillside above St. Jean, and a mere steep, five-minute walk down to famed Nikki Beach, St. Barth’s see-and-be-seen beach club where you’ll mingle with the chic set. For a more laid-back venue, Le Papillon Ivre is ideal for sipping a crisp glass of Chardonnay paired with a cheese platter. Start your day with breakfast, or Saturday brunch with a DJ spinning tunes at the Pearl Beach Hotel. The crepes (galette) served for lunch and dinner at L’Ardoise harken to the signature fare in Brittany, France.
In this three-bedroom villa, a spacious living/dining space is replete with exotic redwood paneling that carries through to the exposed beamed ceiling. Expansive sliding glass doors open to the almost 400-square-foot infinity pool on a deck that offers stunning views of St. Jean Bay and its picturesque curve of sand. Studded with lounge chairs, a dining table, “L’ shaped sofa and a barbecue, the deck makes for an ideal gathering spot any time of the day or night. Of the three bedrooms, one comes with independent access, plus a charming palm garden.
A party-ready group of friends (or family) who want to feel like celebs.
Dramatic, modernist glamour.
From its perch high in the hills above St. Jean Beach, this six-bedroom enclave offers panoramic views of sand and sea.
This whitewashed and window-walled six-bedroom villa might very well be the most distinctive villa in St. Barth. It’s designed with a staff entrance, ideal for a chef to access a private kitchen. The first-floor master bedroom not only boasts an outdoor (as well as indoor) shower, but also a soaking tub with ocean views, and direct access to the immense, 108-foot-long infinity pool with an overflowing hot tub. A hammam offers another opportunity for relaxation. The villa’s nightclub with its red and black color palette is equipped with acoustic insulation, a pool table, dance platform, bar, and movie screen. From the grand first-floor living space, an elevator and a floating glass staircase climb to the equally expansive second floor where there are additional bedrooms, all with sea views. With an interior water wall and expansive windows providing garden views, Villa Neo readily brings the outside in. The pool deck has plenty of entertainment potential, thanks to the swim-up bar, movie screen, and audio speakers installed on the deck and in the pool itself.