By Hillary Latos
As the temperatures in the Northeast hover below freezing levels, we should take cues from the birds and head south to warmer climates. What better place to go than uber chic lush playground of the international jet set, St. Barths? Only three and half hours away from JFK, you can have breakfast in the Big Apple and a late lunch at Nikki Beach with only the warm Caribbean tradewinds beckoning you.
Where to Sleep
A favorite hideaway amongst A-list celebrities and moguls is the ultra luxe Carl Gustaf hotel and spa, member of the Preferred Boutique Hotels. The Gustaf embodies the true spirit of St. Barthelemy, with its understated elegance and trappings of ‘the good life’ –as you enjoy the panoramic views of the harbor and distant islands from your private plunge pool and terrace in your sun drenched suite. With fourteen suites and two stand alone villas, it has the feeling of a small boutique hotel with the amenities of a Five Star resort that is the only one within walking distance to Shell Beach and the action of St. Barth’s capital, Gustavia.
If sun and surf are not enough to melt away any stress of the urban jungle, indulge in a therapeutic massage or facial at the zen like Carita Boutique spa downstairs that offers a full range of services that use the world renowned French Carita products.
Where to Shop
As the sun begins to set, Gustavia comes alive with the mega yachts docked in the marina, and tout le monde returns from the beach to meander around the fashionable boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Slip into a glam beach cover up at or stock up on French beauty products and cosmetics for a fraction of the price you would find in New York.
Where to Beach
Saline is considered a favorite amongst the locals with its calm surf and wide sandy stretch. Though others swear that Gouvernor beach is the prettiest, including Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who attempted to privatize this beach for his hundred million dollar estate so he can throw his sought after multimillion dollar parties, causing an outrage on the island. Fortunately for the rest of us, French law mandates that all beaches are public. For surfing, Flamands in the North has the biggest waves. If schlepping isn’t your thing, the Carl Gustaf beach club will deliver a picnic lunch as well as chairs and umbrellas to any of these pristine beaches so all you have to bring is yourself and a chic straw tote to pack the Kindle, sunglasses and SPF.
No jetset resort would be complete without nightlife. With the French influence, there is no shortage of great restaurants on the island. For fine dining our favorite is Victoria’s with a panoramic view of the harbor offering beautifully presented gastronomic French cuisine using local fish. For a more casual experience with French Brazilian dishes, try Do Brasil on Shell beach where the crowd tends to dance on the tables as the night wears on when the mojitos set in and the DJs pump the volume. Nikki Beach is a favorite for boozy late afternoon brunches on the beach a la St Tropez where champagne showers are the norm. In high season, the crowd tends to drift to the waterfront Yacht club that converts to a nightclub at midnight complete with white banquettes, world class DJs, and of course the requisite bottle service.
The best way to get there
American Airlines offers daily non stop service from JFK to St Maarten and you can connect to the 10 minute ride via Air St. Maarten at the airport.
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