St. Barth’s: it’s a lot. This idyllic but well-trod jewel of the Caribbean is not exactly the place to escape from the world, given the relentless presence of the demimonde.
During the tourist season—from Christmas to New Year’s, over President’s Day weekend, and so on—this volcanic island comprising just 9.75 square miles is as rife with high-maintenance .01-percenters as the Croisette in August.
But there are ways to avoid the masses. Private-home rental is a sensible, if pricey, option. On the hotel front, those in search of services, spas, and white-sand beaches found off the beaten path could do far worse than a stay at Le Toiny.
Now, St. Barth’s does not suffer from a lack of luxurious hotels, but there’s something special about this 22-suite hideaway nestled among palm trees and exotic flowers in the hills above Toiny Bay. The accommodations are spacious by any standards, and all include large terraces, ocean views, and private pools. The interior design was recently refreshed by Lady Bee Osborn, a Cotswolds-based interior designer who embraces an appealing mix of rustic and modern.
If budget is not a primary consideration, the place to book is the newly constructed Villa over the Ocean. This 7,000-square-foot house has four bedrooms with en suite baths, separate dressing rooms, a heated infinity pool, and a tropical garden. If venturing out is in order, a concierge is available on-call 24 hours a day, and the beach club reserves sunbeds exclusively for the villa’s use.
Another solid option is Villa Nureyev, the onetime vacation home of Rudolf Nureyev. In addition to four bedrooms and more than 6,000 square feet of prime outdoor space, it also includes a party-ready living room, complete with piano and bar.
On the activities front, St. Barth’s own surf pro David Blanchard is overseeing a new Surf Shack, which offers equipment rentals and private lessons. A full-service spa, Serenity, is there for the inevitable massage that follows. Boat charters, diving expeditions, and sailing can all be arranged.
There may be reasons to venture into town, but there’s also no shame in staying put. Le Toiny restaurant is regarded as one of the best fine-dining establishments in the Caribbean, and the food is locally oriented, without excessive fuss. The Beach Club, located on Toiny Bay, has low-key lunch, and ample cocktails, handled.
Ashley Baker is the Style Editor for Air Mail