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Chic, French Saint Barthélemy

Locals call the French West Indies island of Saint Barthélemy ‘St. Barth,’ also spelled St. Bart. No matter how you spell it, it equals splendid beaches, fantastic cuisine and plenty of pampered luxury.

After David Rockefeller bought a property here in 1957, the little island of eight square miles quickly grew into an upscale destination. Howard Hughes, Humphrey Bogart and many Hollywood elite had retreats here.

The island is still a jet-setters' casual getaway, attracting celebs and the well-heeled with private villas and small hotels, welcoming about 200,000 visitors a year, both French and international. All must arrive by small plane, and the landing – a quick dive past a peak to a short, seafront runway – is exhilarating (some say scary).

You won’t find high-rises on St. Barth, which is fitting since there are only about 8,400 year-round residents, so expect boutique properties. Size doesn’t diminish service, though; there are seven five-star hotels.

Here’s a look at three distinctly different honeymoon hideouts and a few must-sees-and-do’s. Don’t forget your bikini – it’s French, too, you know ...


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