There is something magical about finding an island where the airport closes as the sun goes down and the roar of the last flight of the day gives way to the sound of waves lapping at the end of the runway.
Come New Year’s, Saint Barthélemy becomes the destination of choice for the world’s elite. Whilst the privacy this tiny Caribbean hotspot affords is a definite appeal to the A-listers who flock to its shores, December sees the island come alive, culminating with Roman Abromovich’s famous New Year’s bash.
Once Sweden’s only colonial possession, St. Barts with its quaint 17th century towns and mysterious old fortresses is like a little slice of Southern France in the Caribbean. Since the island’s 2,200ft long Gustaf III airport can only accommodate small prop planes, the island has retained its sense of exclusivity.
Adding to this allure are the plethora of trendy shops, restaurants and bars categorised as the best in the Caribbean. For those looking to pick up a few late presents, look no further than the capital Gustavia. Here you’ll find fashion outlets like Human Steps, Kokon and Stephane & Bernard selling the best in designer men’s and womenswear, as well as authentic Cuban cigars from La Casa Del Habano.
Come sundown on the 31st December, there’s only one party the populace of St. Barts are talking about. Hosted by Roman Abramovich, this annual New Year’s extravaganza is one of the world’s biggest showbiz events.
Taking place at the Russian’s 70-acre Gouverneur Bay Estate, no expense is spared in celebrating the start of the New Year. The spectacular firework display emanating from the party never fails to light up the nearby harbour, whilst surprise performances from the likes of Prince and Beyoncé are guaranteed to delight the A-listers in attendance. Before long the party moves on to the Chelsea owner’s 536ft yacht ‘Eclipse’, where guests can take advantage of its two swimming pools, submarine and guest accommodation for up to 20.
St. Barts boasts 14 postcard-perfect beaches, all of which are open to the public and best enjoyed in December when temperatures average around 27°C. Accessible only by sea or a twisting twenty-minute walk from Flamand, Anse du Grand Colombier is the pick of the bunch. Featured as one of the world’s best beaches by Condé Nast, it’s a favourite spot for sea life as well as those on yachts, so don’t be surprised if you see a turtle or two.
For something a little easier to reach, try the powdered white sands of Anse des Flamands to the north of the island. Safely away from the crowds of Gustavia and St. Jean, this idyllic beach also has some shade to offer courtesy of the surrounding palm trees, which you’ll surely appreciate as the sun reaches its peak.
Victor’s Picks: St. Barts
Affording those who stay within its walls the utmost privacy, it’s set within two acres of private land and adjacent to twenty acres of untouched green zone. The villa’s outdoor cliffside dining and BBQ pavilion area found toward the far end of the property are ideal for seeing out the day, whilst the 6-square-yard stone sundeck, swimming pool and eight-person stone Jacuzzi with ocean views will surely not go amiss.
2. Shell Beach
Looking for that sunset cocktail? Make sure you visit the Restaurant Dõ Brazil at Shell Beach, only a five-minute walk from Gustavia.
3. Bonito, Rue Lubin Brin, Gustavia
Make sure you don’t miss Bonito, Rue Lubin Brin, Gustavia for a spectacular DJ and dining experience.
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