Travelogue – Saint Barthélemy
Last summer we spent a week for my birthday in the volcanic Caribbean island of St. Barts, or Saint Barthélemy (St. Barths) as the French call it in the French West Indies. Miami is 3.5 hours away and St. Barts lies 160 miles east of Puerto Rico and immediately south of the French and Dutch shared island of Saint Martin, where we flew into to jump on a noisy seaplane for a 15-minute journey across the water to St Barts. The flight is not for the faint hearted but there is the option of a boat, which takes slightly more than an hour.
The island has a jet-setting reputation of photo shoots, paparazzi and huge homes owned by billionaires that mostly sign idle. The haunt monde reputation began in the 1950’s when David Rockefeller bought two plots of land, including one on Gouveneur Beach. That move compelled the Rothschilds to follow and they arrived with a suitcase of cash and developed an estate in a coconut grove nextdoor to the Rockefellers. Today the Rothschild property is the Hotel Guanahani & Spa.
The island certainly has an air of chic. A mixture of St-Tropez sophistication with Caribbean laissez-fare, but the island doesn’t come across as pretentious. Just over 9,000 people permanently live on St. Barts, although around 200,000 tourists visit the just over 9 sq. miles during it’s summer months.