Sandy beaches with shimmering azure water, trendy beach clubs, gourmet restaurants, nightlife, and luxurious hotels — Saint Barthélemy, commonly referred to as St. Barths or St. Barts, has it all. Often compared to the French Riviera, the island is the ideal combination of laid-back Caribbean vibes and French sophistication. Its capital, Gustavia, features a harbor dotted with luxury yachts and sailboats as well as plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops, while all along the coast you’ll find gorgeous beaches and ample opportunities for hiking and water sports.
Ahead, more on why this luxurious yet laid-back island is one of the Caribbean’s best honeymoon destinations from honeymoon travel experts Samy Ghachem, Chelsea Martin, and Rachel Meyers — plus everything you need to know before you book your trip.
Meet the Expert
- Samy Ghachem is the general manager of Le Sereno in St. Barths and its sister hotel Il Sereno on Lake Como. He lived in St. Barths full-time for nine years and now splits his time between the island and Lake Como.
- Chelsea Martin is a luxury travel advisor for Embark Beyond who specializes in bespoke travel and dream honeymoons.
- Rachel Meyers is the founder of Savor Travels, a boutique travel agency specializing in planning honeymoons around the world with highly curated, personalized trip itineraries.
Why Honeymoon in St. Barths?
“St Barths is the French Riviera in the Caribbean, so for those who either want to plan their honeymoon in winter or spring (when the French Riviera is essentially not open!) Or want to skip the long flight to France, St Barths is the ideal choice to get the French flare closer to home and with a Caribbean twist, ”Martin says.
Located in the Lesser Antilles, the island is an overseas collectivity of France, so it’s French-speaking and the currency is the Euro. And though it belonged to Sweden for nearly a century, its French roots go back to 1648.
Only 11 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, St. Barths has a lot to offer despite its small size. “Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, you’re not confined to your resort so to speak,” explains Ghachem. “You can dine out every day, you can enjoy shopping, nightlight, hiking, watersports, and it’s an island where there is so much offered that a lot of our guests will enjoy the property for sleeping, enjoy the restaurant, but also take advantage of so much more. “
How to Get to St. Barths
St. Barths has one of the shortest runways in the world, so large planes and private jets can’t land there. That means you’ll most likely fly to another Caribbean island and then take a short flight on a small propeller plane. Most people either fly on a major carrier to San Juan or Saint Maarten and then transfer to Tradewind, WinAir, or St. Barth Commuter. According to Martin, Tradewind is the most luxurious option because it has a lounge in San Juan, separate security, and amazing planes, but it’s also the most expensive. Ghachem also recommends flying through San Juan because, on the way home, you can clear customs there, which is usually faster than clearing customs in larger airports in the US
There’s also a ferry from Saint Maarten to St. Barth’s, which is the least expensive way to get there, but according to Martin it’s also the least desirable because “the ferries can be unreliable, the seas can be rough so not for those who experience seasickness, and it will take the longest amount of time. ”
Best Time to Visit St. Barths
“The best time to visit St Barts is December through early May, although I also personally love November before the crowds start and June after the crowds dissipate,” Martin says, adding that most hotels close for hurricane season around the middle or end of August through the end of October.
Though it might be tempting to plan a warm-weather escape to St. Barths in December or January, that’s the busiest time of year, which means hotel rates are at their highest and everything needs to be booked in advance. “When you get into May, June, July, and August, you get into the quieter months. It gets a bit hotter, “Ghachem adds,” And some people actually like that because you have more beaches all to yourself. ” His personal favorite months on the island are February and March when people come for Presidents Day and the Bucket Regatta, a sailboat race that takes place every March.
What to Do in St. Barths
St. Barths is certainly one of the more glamorous Caribbean islands, with lots of trendy restaurants and beach clubs as well as designer shopping, but nature lovers will have plenty to do too. “Many people think more about bringing their stilettos, but I always tell people to bring their hiking shoes as well. Because stilettos come in handy, but there are some really great hikes to be had, ”notes Ghachem. In fact, some of the best beaches, like Colombier Beach or Shell Beach, can only be reached by boat or hiking trails.
“Our hotel is located on a protected marine reserve for sea turtles, so guests that stay at our hotel have a number of activities,” Ghachem says, explaining that Le Sereno has glass bottom kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear for guests to use. The marine reserve on Le Grand Cul de Sac is also a great spot for kitesurfing and windsurfing. And the island has plenty of opportunities for scuba diving and fishing.
Foodies and people looking for a scene won’t be disappointed, but you can also opt-out of the party scene and still have a good time. In addition to trendy restaurants (think L’Isola, Le Tamarin, or Bagatelle and beach clubs like Nikki Beach) there are plenty of more low-key spots serving Caribbean specialties. Ghachem recommends Grain de Sel for accras, which is like a deep-fried beignet made with crab, as well as fresh local seafood like shrimp skewers and mahi mahi.
It’s clear that there is so much to see and do in this veritable paradise besides relaxing and eating; it’s also about the je ne sais quois that the destination exudes. “St. Barths is a very different experience than other Caribbean islands, which tend to be very resort-focused,” says Meyers. “It has a distinctly French flair and lots to do. Think of going to St. Barths as more like going to the French Riviera: You can savor a flaky croissant at a local bakery in the morning, go shopping in town, sip rosé on the beach, go to a fabulous restaurant for dinner, and dance the night away at a club. “
St. Barths Honeymoon Cost
A honeymoon in St. Barths may not be the best choice for travelers on a budget, as everything from hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and activities can really add up. “Dining can increase the budget by a lot depending on how often you are going out,” Martin says. She estimates that for a week in St. Barths, her clients typically spend between $ 10,000 and $ 35,000 per couple, plus the cost of flights.
According to Martin, hotels in St. Barths cost between $ 1,000 and $ 4,000 per night on average. However, you might be able to save a bit of money by going in the shoulder season. Le Sereno, for example, typically starts at $ 1,100 per night, but in June, July, and August the rate drops down to $ 880 per night.
“St. Barts is one of the most fashionable addresses in the Caribbean, so it’s definitely not a place for the budget-conscious; your total spend could easily exceed $ 1,000 a day,” says Meyers. “It’s a French island so everything is charged in Euro, and hotels run on the pricier side. This is just a ballpark, and obviously, you can spend a lot more or a lot less depending on how much you spend in each category. It all depends on how fancy you want to go, like staying at a boutique hotel or Airbnb versus a high-end luxury resort; flying economy versus first class; exploring on your own versus booking exclusive private experiences. ”
Where to Stay in St. Barths
Options range from trendy hotels with a crowd that likes to see and be seen to resorts that are all about discreet, barefoot luxury. Ahead, more on five top choices.
Rosewood Le Guanahani
Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth opened in November 2021, but its history is deeply rooted in the DNA of St. Barths. Formerly known as Le Guanahani, the resort was first built in 1986 and had since become a popular spot for well-traveled guests and celebrities. Sadly, it faced the brunt of Hurricane Irma in 2017, but a four-year renovation later, the property of 66 residentially designed guestrooms and suites is back under the Rosewood Hotels umbrella.
The name says it all — this member of Leading Hotels of the World is all about serenity. With just 39 rooms and three villas, the intimate property is prized for its privacy and low-key vibes. Unlike at some other resorts, the pool is exclusive to hotel guests, though anyone can dine at the restaurant, which serves some of the best Italian food on the island. The Honeymoon in Serenity package includes perks like champagne on arrival, a couples massage, and a romantic dinner.
Eden Rock St. Barths
French aviator Rémy de Haenen opened Eden Rock in the 1950s and welcomed royalty and celebrities like Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo, and the Rockefellers. Today it’s part of the Oetker Collection and is still one of the buzziest hotels on the island, attracting a see-and-be-seen crowd. Guests love the signature red color scheme, frozé on tap, and the cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Cheval Blanc St. Barths Isle de France
The largest hotel on the island, Cheval Blanc is located on Flamands Bay (Martin’s favorite beach in St. Barths) and exudes relaxed luxury. It’s operated by LVMH, so guests can expect the best of everything, including cuisine by chef Jean Imbert, Guerlaine treatments at the spa, two pools, and super attentive staff.
One of the newer hotels on the island, this modern property has a boutique feeling with a bit of buzz. Located on the Grand Cul de Sac just down the beach from Le Sereno, it’s a more affordable alternative to the island’s pricier hotels. Guests rave about the friendly, helpful staff, who are happy to arrange excursions and set up a private romantic dinner on the beach with rose petals and champagne.