The 3-Day Cheat Sheet to St. Barths

First published on, January, 2014. Reprinted with permission from Refinery 29

January, 2014 - I'd heard a lot about St. Bart's long before taking the short flight(s) there last month. Most of what I'd picked up (and, let's face it, all of you have, too) was that it was (and is) teeming with celebrities. It's sad, but that's pretty much all anyone seems to read about it, whether you're paging through Us Weekly (Beyoncé! Bon Jovi!) or Travel + Leisure. But, living and working in NYC, this isn't exactly a draw for someone in search of a venerable black-out vacation: four days of stillness, sunshine, and a steady supply of good, cold Sauvignon Blanc. Because sometimes, that's all you really want (need.)

The truth is, St. Bart's (officially Saint Barthélemy, if you want to get French about it) is a truly magical, Eden-like place. Given my previous notions about this tiny, clandestine island, I was inspired to go by my friend, the style sensei Natalie Joos. Tracking her Instagram one day, I was struck by soothing, sun-dappled image after image: gentle waves lapping against a glimmering beach, stark-white deck chairs at sunset, swirling maxi-dresses beside the pool...fresh fish! Granted, my description doesn't sell it to the extent her pics did, but that was it. This would be my escape, I decided, considering both my shortness of time and my need for pristine weather…every…single…day.

Villa WV KHA
Villa WV KHA

As I mentioned earlier, St. Bart's is tiny — as in just eight-square-miles tiny. After a day or two, it can feel like your own private island — which, for quick disappearing acts, is pretty ideal. And, the fact that it's also a volcanic island surrounded by dreamy shallow reefs makes it perfect for snorkeling and hiking to hidden coves and beaches (we did a lot of this). In terms of where to stay, there are generally two ways to go: renting a private villa or staying at one of the island's boutique resorts (the smaller ones tend to be a little lighter on the Euro-glitz). And, this leads to one more truth about this particular paradise: St. Bart's is pricey. As opposed to other nearby beachy places like Miami or Mexico, hotels in high season (December to March) can skyrocket, running higher than a month's rent in NYC.

But, rest assured, this isn't a place for extended stays (or bankruptcy). St. Bart's is exactly where you want to go post-holiday high season, especially if you feel like dropping out and being a little pampered — by sunshine; an overdose of nature; fresh, simple food; and probably a really, really good massage therapist. Read on for a few more reasons to add St. Bart's to your spring to-do list. If you're in the market for a tropical reboot, this could be IT.

Whether you're going with a group (which can be loads more cost-friendly) or just prefer your own place, head to Wimco Villas, which hosts a handful of modern escapes with all the shmancy island amenities you could hope for. Infinity pool? Check. Oceanfront balcony for reading, sleeping, sipping, and watching the sunset? Check! In-villa massage and private chef? Check, check!

WIMCO, Saint Barthélemy; +1 (800) 449-1553.

Beginning at approximately $3,500/week.

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