Why snazzy St. Barths should be in your sights right now

Nov 22, 2021

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St. Barthelemy (St. Barts/St. Barth/St. Barths) opened back up in June. Since then, this French-speaking Caribbean destination known for attracting the jet set has continued to update its safety protocols. They’ve done a good job at it. Unlike other Caribbean islands that have not fared well in controlling the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 travel health notice for St. Barths. That designation indicates a low level of COVID-19 transmission. So, if you’re ready for beautiful beaches, red roof-dotted hillsides, high-end shopping and an overall ritzy vibe, St. Barths should be in your sights.

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GUSTAVIA, SAINT BARTHELEMY - MARCH 23 : Illustration harbour during Race day 2 at the St Barths Bucket Regattaon March 23rd, 2019 in St-Barthelemy, French Antillas.
St Barths Bucket Regattaon March 23rd, 2019 in St-Barthelemy, French Antillas.(Photo by Studio Borlenghi/ALeA/Getty Images)

What you need to know to visit St. Barths

As of October 2021, all travelers from the U.S.are required to have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test 48 hours prior to their flight to the island, according to the St. Barths Tourism Board.

This testing requirement also applies to travelers arriving at St. Barth from Saint Martin (SXM) and San Juan (SJU) airports. Those traveling from SXM will have to fill out a health authorization form and travelers from SJU will have to complete a travel declaration form.

Tourists from the U.S. and Canada over the age of 12-years old will need proof of vaccine at certain villas and hotels for their stay and unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are allowed to enter with a vaccinated adult.

Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. and Canada are required to quarantine for seven days when they arrive and take a PCR test at the end of the isolation period. It is also recommended that they wear masks and avoid crowded areas.

Keep in mind that the CDC recommends against international travel until you are fully vaccinated, even if visiting a Level 1 country.

Related Coverage: A country-by-country reopening guide to the Caribbean

Getting there

Saint Barthelemy Airport (SBH) is the island’s largest airport. Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on the nearby island of St. Maarten is a close major airport with frequent connections to St. Barths.

There are no direct flights to the island, making airfares a tad pricey from major U.S. cities. You’ll find fares hovering well above the $1,000 mark round-trip from major U.S. cities. There are some deals to be had if you’re flexible with your dates, such as this economy flight at $762 round-trip on Delta and Winward Island Airways from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in January.

(Screenshot Courtesy of United)

Available round-trip flights from American Airlines in mid-January from MIA will set you back about $1,478 for a main cabin seat.

(Screenshot Courtesy of American Airlines)

Related: Best times to visit the Caribbean

Where to stay

As befits an island known for attracting the well-heeled, there are a variety of luxury hotels to choose from on St. Barths. The exclusive Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France is located on Flamands Bay, and features 61 rooms, suites and villas. Owned by the swanky LVMH Group, the hotel is known for its architecture, as well as wellness, art and other specialized programming.

You can admire stunning ocean views at Le Sereno Hotel on Grand Cul-de-Sac beach as well as the luxurious Eden Rock hotel, which looks like it’s floating on the water.

Le Toiny’s 22 Villa Suites are an option for those looking for independent accommodations with the advantage of a beach club and restaurants. While the newly-opened Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth is a boutique property surrounded by lush greenery, a private lagoon and an acclaimed Rosewood Spa.

All the above-mentioned hotels are part of the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts Program (FHR). If you’re an American Express card member with a Platinum or Centurion-branded card, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you can book through the Amex FHR program.

Related: The hottest hotels in the Caribbean

There are also several boutique hotels as well as villas and apartments for travelers to choose from for their stay.

Bottom Line

If a chic, beautiful island destination is what you’re looking for, St. Barths is the ne plus ultra The fact that the island has fared much better than its Caribbean counterparts in handling the pandemic is another reason to consider a trip.

Additional reporting by Liz Ramanand, Ana Figueroa

Featured photo by Andrew Rowat/Getty Images.

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