Sitting in our private jet waiting to take off from Antigua to St Barths, I felt like a celebrity – you know you’re heading somewhere pretty exclusive when the plane only seats eight. After a quick selfie we were in the air with turquoise blue water and lush greenery below us. We braced ourselves for the landing on the shortest runway I’ve ever seen, sandwiched between a steep hill and a white-sand beach, but thankfully it was more exhilarating than scary. There was no waiting for a packed mini bus, just our own driver in a luxurious four-wheel drive, who whisked us off to our honeymoon haven.
Flamands Beach, a stretch of powdery white sand, is just 2.7km from the airport on the northern coast and is home to the beautiful Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, our home for the next few days. It’s nestled at one end of the cove next to a row of beachfront homes owned by millionaires, who are often spotted walking their handbag dogs and dining at the hotel’s restaurants.
Unlike lots of other Caribbean islands St Barths is French territory and it really does feel like the St Tropez of the tropics. We dusted off our French-speaking skills, but we needn’t have worried. The staff spoke English and were all so welcoming, professional, and chic, dressed in immaculate matching uniforms. This flawless style continues in the interiors, where hints of salmon pink run throughout the newly refurbished white beach house styling. It’s minimal, sleek and the attention to detail is exquisite. My Instagram feed has never looked better. I just wish they had sold some of the homewares so I could have brought some home with me.
There’s a total of 40 rooms including beachfront suites with private infinity pools and larger bungalows in the gardens with swimming pools and hot tubs. My room overlooked the pool and beach, and after the journey I was welcomed with the perfect sunset, champagne, savoury treats and fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries – pure heaven. The bed was spacious with divine comfy sheets and pillows misted with a tropical pillow spray. The bathroom was large and filled with so many beauty products there wasn’t time to try them all. Every evening you receive a surprise gift; flip-flops one night, a beach bag the next. It was intriguing to see what would arrive each evening.
While it was tempting to chill by the pool, we decided to head out for a tour of the island. Lush green palms and tropical flowers lined the winding roads as we climbed the hills to reach breathtakingly romantic viewpoints, overlooking stunning beaches. It’s very apparent that this is home to the rich and famous from the huge gated homes scattered on the hillsides.
If you like fine dining and food that almost looks too good to eat, you won’t be disappointed in either of the restaurants. The first, La Cabane de l’Isle, is at the beach, and is the perfect mixture of crisp white tablecloths, feet in the sand and plenty of shade. Watch out for the mini daily catwalk show as local models parade in clothes for sale at the hotel boutique. Wine tasting is also an option here, which was a great way to start the evening before dinner. One evening we sampled a seven-course tasting menu created by Chef Vinsot, which was outstanding and the perfect treat for any honeymooning couple. The second restaurant, La Case de l’Isle, is by the pool and serves a vast buffet for breakfast. I also enjoyed a delicious lobster salad for lunch here and red prawns with black rice for dinner.
Relaxing on the beach all day isn’t for everyone, so if you’re after a more active honeymoon, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained. Gustavia, the capital, is about 4km away, and it’s a great spot for a sundowner overlooking the super yachts in the harbour – try Bonito, a delightful restaurant on the front. One afternoon, we arrived in the marina for a boat trip, but were instantly distracted by the designer boutiques on a mini version of London’s Bond Street. The crew finally welcomed us aboard a very sleek catamaran and we set off sailing around the island, spotting turtles and snorkelling in crystal clear waters along the way. Lunch was served on the deck by staff from the hotel and washed down with a glass of chilled rosé.
I was already completely in love with St Barths and Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, but my experience at the spa cemented the island in my heart. One Indian head massage later, having chosen my favourite Guerlain scent, and I was in heaven. St Barths, je t’aime!