Gustavia, St Barts’ charming old-capital, is located on the West Coast of the island, on a small outcrop that ventures out into the sea. The town is located in a u-shaped cove with 17th Century Forts lining the harbour and is the playground of the rich and famous alongside the well-informed traveller.
If your idea of paradise is proximity, then a Gustavia Villa Rental is ideal as this marina town is ultra-convenient and most amenities are just a stroll away. Renowned for it’s designer boutiques, culinary flair, nightlife and charm, Gustavia is well worth exploring during your time in St Barts.
GUSTAVIA’S NEAREST BEACH
The unique and frankly charming Shell Beach (5-10 minute walk from the centre of Gustavia) is an ideal spot for whiling the day away. Awash with miniature seashells, this beach is not the best for frolicking in the sand but it does command incredible views and the water is warm, clear and bath like. The rocky outcrops and cliffs protect the beach from large waves, so swimming is heavenly.
We recommend creating a handcrafted picnic from the gourmet supermarché’s or enjoy cocktails and lunch at Do Brasil.
THE HOT SPOTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
With a celebrity fan-list as long as your arm, St Barts has always been the favourite of those looking to truly retreat from everyday stresses and absorb themselves into the quintessential island life. St Barth chic is apparent wherever you venture, but none more so than in the Capital of Gustavia.
If you’re looking to celebrity spot, or just to immerse yourself into ultra-glamorous surroundings, we recommend you start with the following hangouts:
HUNGRY FOR FINE DINING AND EXCELLENT FOOD?
Try our Handpicked recommendations and fail to be disappointed by the variety and quality of culinary offerings in this quaint harbour town:
L’Isola – ‘The Isle is an authentic piece of Italy ‘transplanted’ in a beautiful frame of tropical landscapes. The isle encloses the italian spirit, made of flavours and unique tastes.’
Isoletta – A true “Roman style” pizzeria right in the center of Gustavia, L’Isoletta treats you to a variety of delicious pizzas at any hour of the day and late into the evening. .
L’entracte – Known for its pizzas on sight or to go, The Entr’acte is also and especially an excellent French-fusion cuisine and a selection of wines at a moderate price.
Le Carre In the center of the luxury boutiques at Carré d’Or in Gustavia, begin your day at Le Carré Restaurant with a breakfast, a brunch or just a coffee.
Eddy’s In this small tropical garden lost in the capital city, sheltered behind a stony wall, Eddy’s restaurant invites you to taste a French cooking with local and Creole influences in which you will discover local fish.
Bonito The ambiance is like a beach house : Sophisticated, cozy, casual, and contemporary. This multi-cultural restaurant brings a new concept to eating out, with open kitchen, and world-inspired influences around the cocktails and ceviche bars.
Cote Port Created by Hervé (former owner of Le Rivage restaurant), this bistro serves traditional French cuisine with a West Indian twist. Residents and visitors enjoy cocktails and a plate of tapas at sunset, with a great view of the port.
Do Brasil A perennial favorite, this restaurant on Shell Beach is the perfect place to enjoy lunch or dinner by the water’s edge with incredible views of the sea.
FINDING ADVENTURES IN GUSTAVIA
Not only home to fabulous eateries, rues crammed full of fashion and charming red-topped residences, Gustavia is the go-to place for adventurists and adrenalin-seekers. There are many water-sports, excursions and tour companies located within the harbour, but if you’re looking for our favourites, you’ll find them below:
- FunSeaker – A 47ft Power Catamaran that is indulgent, luxurious and totally fabulous. Private Charters and Tours are available, and are an excellent way of exploring the Islands Coast.
- La Bulle Diving Center - A very professional and well reputed Diving Company that guide you through the flora and fauna found under the waves.
- Yellow Submarine – A semi submersible providing a unique insight into marine life, without getting your hair wet.
EXCLUSIVE VILLAS IN GUSTAVIA
St Barts boasts incredible Luxury Villas, all with a unique personality but the distinct European flair you’d expect from this French West-Indies Island. Amongst the other premier locations throughout the island including St Jean and Flamands Beach, Handpicked Villas boasts two villas right in the centre of Gustavia, that are in easy walking distance of the cosmopolitan boutiques and world-class restaurants favoured by the knowledgeable traveller.
SHOPPING ON THE RUES
Duty Free Shopping in St Barts is amongst the cheapest in the Caribbean and due to currency conversions can sometimes prove even cheaper than Europe. There are a limited selection of boutiques and retailers in Gustavia, but what you do find is haute couture, beautiful gifts and other luxuries.
The Rue De La République is legendary. This street which is located in the Northern part of Gustavia is crammed with designer boutiques, which stock labels such as Hermes, Prada, Miu-Miu, Saint Laurent, Valentino.
THE HISTORY BEHIND GUSTAVIA
With many of the Caribbean Islands, there is a rich and interesting history behind their beautiful exterior. For many years, the pristine and peaceful St Barts was a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, which is officially part of the EU. The island itself has had a variety of different rulings which have influenced it’s culture, language and landmarks.
The Capital of Gustavia is called so in honour of King Gustav 111 of Sweden, when the Swedes ruled this prime trading centre of the Northern Caribbean. The bay provided shelter to damaged ships and was an ideal base to recuperate and relax.
3 forts were built in the 17th century during the Swedish rule, to protect the harbour and it’s valuable assets. You can still see the remnants of these historical sites from a day of trekking around the town and are well worth a visit. On the tip of the peninsula lies Fort Oscar, to the South of the town lies Fort Karl, and Fort Gustaf is located beneath a 30ft Lighthouse to the North. For those looking to step back in time, the St Barth Municipal Museum offers a refuge from the sun and is very interesting.
We’re head over heels for this beautiful, private island and would love to hear any personal stories, advice or top tips for our readers below! For more information on our St Barts Luxury Villa Rental, contact our Luxury Villa Specialists today.