A LONG WEEKEND IN ST BARTHS WITH TWO TODDLERS
Charlotte Groeneveld shares her family friendly guide to the Caribbean island
Without a doubt, a long weekend in St Barths is the perfect escape from New York, whether you need respite from a hot summer or a bitterly cold winter. It has long been a favorite destination of celebrities from Beyoncé to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and I was eager to explore with my husband and two children.
Where to stay
WIMCO has an incredible selection of private villas available on the island, each one more beautiful than the next. We stayed at Villa Ted with our two toddlers. It’s a great house with all the amenities, including a full concierge service to help with reservations, and a pool with security to make our lives a little less stressful – two young children need a lot of attention, especially when there’s water involved. The light and calm interiors blended in nicely with the surrounding environment; our villa was tucked away in the mountains, and the quiet and seclusion were just what we were after, yet we were never more than a 15-minute drive from any of the island’s beaches.
St Barths is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, all of which have their own unique attraction. Plage Du Gouverneur and Saline Beach are the most untouched and picturesque of them all, but the sea is rough and there is often little (Plage Du Gouverneur) to no (Saline Beach) shade. For us, shade was important, so Plage de St Jean and Grand Cul de Sac were most practical. In these locations, the water is safe and calm and there were other children around, as well as restaurants with beds to make sure parents can relax, too. We loved Nikki Beach (Plage de St Jean) for late afternoon and La Gloriette (Grand Cul de Sac) around lunch.
Needless to say, the seafood here is like nothing you’ve tasted before: the sushi at Nikki Beach was quite remarkable, and the grilled shrimp at La Gloriette was the best I’ve ever had. If that doesn’t take your fancy, I would go for duck spring rolls at Do Brazil, or a great pizza can be found at The Hideaway in St Jean. With children in tow, it’s often tricky to eat out in the evenings. Instead, we opted for amazing organic dishes from Maya’s to Go and had these while we grilled an organic steak from Le Marché BIO on the barbecue at our villa. Relaxing, simple, delicious.
What to bring
It goes without saying that you’ll spend most of your time at the beach, so a few good cover-ups for the kids and yourself are essential. As someone who is used to lounging by the pool, I quickly learned that beach sandals are a necessity: the sand gets incredibly hot during the day, which neither your, nor your children’s, feet will appreciate. If, like me, you forget to bring any of the above, you can find them from all the good surf brands at Hookipa.
Wherever you go on the island, it’s inescapably windy, so be prepared when on the beach – you’ll end up with sand almost everywhere. And although the island is relatively small, you will need a car: walking in the heat is simply not an option, and you still need 15 minutes to reach most of the amenities if you’re traveling around.
By Charlotte Groeneveld
Originally published in Harpers BAZAAR magazine September 2015.
All images courtesy of Charlotte Groeneveld