If you're in the mood for Paris but want to live out your honeymoon Fantasy Island-style, the forever-French isle of St. Bart's, with its winding narrow streets, freshly baked baguettes, and two-seater Smart cars, has that perfect je ne sais quoi. It's chic yet secluded, sophisticated yet sensual. Part of the French West Indies in the Caribbean, this très petite (just eight square miles) isle will easily satisfy your cravings for the finer things in life.
Seductive Places to Stay
The top spot, literally, is Hôtel Le Toiny (doubles from $1,820, 59-05-90-27-88-88, hotelletoiny.com). It's where Brad Pitt stays (and where plenty of other paparazzi-shy celebs have holed up, too). True, there's no beach, but that's the only downfall to this chic hilltop property, where private villas come with four-poster beds, fluttering toile fabrics, and private pools for ultimate seclusion. If a beach is important, book into the intimate Hôtel Saint Barth Isle de France (doubles from $795, 59-05-90-27-61-81, isle-de-france.com), where the luxe, airy rooms come with marble baths, deep-soaking tubs, and Jacuzzis—a rarity on the island.
Hit any boutique along port-town Gustavia's mini Champs-Elysées, and you'll find bathing-suit tops and bottoms sold separately. The reason? Tops are rarely worn; bottoms, too, are optional. "Topless, nude—we accept, never frown about," says one open-minded local, noting her own favorite wear-as-little-as-you-want beaches: Saline and Gouverneur. For more privacy (you have to climb a footpath from Petit Anse), try Anse Colombier.
Totally Indulgent Spa Experiences
Although there are now two spas on the island—the intimate Molton Brown at Saint Barth Isle de France and the decadent Clarins at Hôtel Guanahani (leguanahani.com)—the most indulgent spa experience, by far, is the four-day Spa Colombier (for couples) delivered to your private villa by Ligne St. Barth (lignestbarth.com), a family-owned beauty company. Each day features different treatments (massages, facials, body masks) using fresh fruits, such as pineapple, papaya, melon, and mango. For a really over-the-top St. Bart's spa experience, book an intuitive reading with healer Diana Bourel (she also makes hotel calls), or to see how your birth charts align, visit astrologer Hubert Delamotte, who runs Hostellerie des Trois Forces (3forces.net).
For a wet-and-wild scene, head for Nikki Beach Club (nikkibeach.com), also of South Beach and Saint-Tropez fame. The alfresco bar/club is draped all in white with banquette beds on the beach—the perfect setting for a nightcap and French-kissing (but, of course!) under the stars.
Although hardly anything edible grows on St. Bart's, fine wine pours freely, and there's more foie gras than coconuts. For a romantic repast, try K'fé Massaï near Hôtel La Banane (labanane.com), with its African-inspired motif and dishes like sea-scallop stew on spicy polenta. Or consider the prawn-and-white-wine risotto at Hôtel Guanahani's Le Bartoloméo, which will ignite all your senses. Top it off with petits verres du Guanahani, an assortment of mini chocolate soufflés, homemade ice creams, and sorbets, perfect for spoon-feeding each other.
For a cool reprieve from the heat, try the chilled lemongrass rum at L'Esprit de Saline. To heat things up, uncork a bottle of French red and let each silky sip go deliciously to your head.
For more info, call 59-05-90-27-87-27 or visit st-barths.com.