Check out Fatherly’s complete 2016 summer vacation destination guide here.
Listen, if Kim and Kanye can drag North to the tropical paradise that is St. Barth’s, so can you (although you may not have an entourage holding umbrellas and spritzing you with Fijian water). Not only is summertime off-season for St. Barth’s, it’s got a ton of activities that don’t involve shopping for a new Patek Philippe watch. Yes, it’s pretty expensive. And yes, it’s easy to get blinded by the glam. But it’s also one of the most jaw-dropping places on Earth, so you kind of get what you pay for.
Tips From A Local Dad
Julien Bertrand Diez is a partner at Foodland St. Barth’s (it’s way more upscale than the supermarket you’re picturing) and a father living every day in paradise. He has a few recommendations that will help you blend in like a local. First tip: You’re not fooling anyone with that straw hat.
- Snorkeling in St Jean Bay: This is the Caribbean — the place where snorkeling was invented (don’t Wikipedia that), but St. Jean and the right side of Eden Rock “is where the seagrass is shallow and you can feed the sea turtles.” Better tell your kids in advance they don’t scarf pizza.
- Walk To Colombier Bay: Consider this your own National Geographic trail, with a baller ending. “The walk will only take you around 20-30 minutes max, and wind you on a path between cactus, caves, iguanas, wild goats, and butterflies before you arrive at the bay. When you get there, go on the far left side and there’s a dock belonging to the Rockefeller property. Make a hundred jumps from the dock, it’s so fun and beautiful.”
- Spend the day at Hotel Guanahani: “Children will love the watersport offerings there. And there is also a [day care] for them to attend with activities, so parents can go to the spa. The restaurant Indigo is a perfect a spot to reconvene for a great lunch together.”
- Scuba dive in Nikki Beach then eat lunch at La Gloriette in Grand Cul-de-Sac: For the older kids, this is some of the best scuba diving in the world. And for all kids, eating on the sand will never not be cool. “There are a ton of different companies, but my favorite is Ouanalao Dive with Turenne at Grand Cul-de-Sac lagoon. Afterwards, La Gloriette is just an easy, feet-in-the-sand local spot for great food. You’re literally sitting on the beach.”
- Get crafty at Blue Gecko Studio: “This is fun place near Nikki Beach where children learn to paint ceramics.”
- This 40-room hotel on famous Flamands beach takes luxury seriously and has long been one of the most difficult reservations to score in St. Barth’s.
- The Isle de France — as regulars call it — is walking distance to other restaurants, including Pacri, and a short drive to Gustavia.
- Amenities include a hotspot restaurant (lunch here is a must), a pool overlooking the sea, a small gym and spa and a tennis court.
- Garden rooms are the entry-level category but will only sleep one child.
- Connecting garden bungalows are the most price-efficient option for a family of 4.
- Multi-bedroom suites in the garden and on the beach have private pools.
- The fun lunchtime scene and fashion show draw locals as well as guests from other hotels.
- The hiking trail to hidden Colombier beach begins nearby.
- Breakfast, Wi-Fi and airport transfers are included in the price.
- Some garden rooms are a long walk to the pool and beach.
- Beach rooms are for adults only.
- Waves on Flamands Beach can sometimes be rough.
- St. Barth’s first hotel, Eden Rock was built in the 1950s on a dramatic rock outcropping overlooking St. Jean beach.
- Rooms “on the rock” have more traditional decor, while the beach rooms feel more contemporary.
- Sand Bar, the hotel’s lunch and breakfast restaurant, sits on the beach while the romantic On the Rocks, overseen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is the ultimate dinner date destination.
- Beach rooms are best with small children, especially duplex suites.
- Villa Frangipani can easily sleep 2 families and has a shared pool in the middle of the 2 wings.
- Harbour House has a second cabin attached via an outdoor walkway; a good bet for families with teens who want their privacy.
- The hotel’s convenient location in St. Jean puts families walking distance to shops and restaurants.
- Calm St. Jean bay where even little kids can play safely in the surf.
- Breakfast, Wi-Fi and airport transfers included in the price.
- There is no pool at Eden Rock, so unless you book a room with a private pool, it’s ocean swimming only.
- Rooms on the rock require a steep climb and lots of steps; not idea for little children or strollers.
- The airport is next door, fun for those who enjoy watching the planes take off and land, less so for those who want total tranquility.
- Le Sereno’s 36 rooms and 3 4-bedroom villas on Grand Cul de Sac share the same bay with the Guanahani.
- The most modern of the St. Barth’s hotels, rooms feature the sleek, contemporary design by Christiane Liagre.
- There’s no gym but you do have access to tennis courts and complimentary water sports, plus a small spa.
- Every Grand Suite Plage has plenty of space (1,200 square feet) and an open floor plan.
- Connecting options are available in both the Bungalow Piscine and the Grand Suite Plage.
- Four-bedroom villas are ideal for multiple families traveling together.
- The protected bay and calm water make the beach ideal for children.
- Le Sereno has the most photogenic pool on the entire island.
- Breakfast, Wi-Fi and airport transfers are included in the room rate, and there’s a specially priced children’s menu in the restaurant.
- The Bungalow Piscine has the lowest price tag but the least privacy; anyone walking by the pool can see into the room.
- The overall ambience tends to be quieter and more couples oriented.
- One bedroom in the large villas is a media room without views — good for kids, not great for adults.
- This charming 12-room hotel overlooks St. Jean Bay, just a short walk from Eden Rock.
- Rooms have carved wooden 4-poster beds, traditional tiled floors and large walk-in showers.
- Amenities include a hip beach restaurant, a pool, and an art gallery.
- The superior rooms sit in the tropical garden and each has private outdoor space.
- The 2 deluxe rooms have sea views and terraces overlooking the beach.
- There are no suites, but 2 superior rooms can connect to offer separate sleeping space for the kids (confirm availability directly with the resort).
- Tom Beach is a great deal on an island without bargains.
- The restaurant is fun for lunch or dinner, and kids can play in the sand while you eat.
- The location in St. Jean puts guests walking distance from some of the best restaurants and shops on the island (Gustavia requires a short drive).
- None of the bathrooms have tubs for bathing younger babies.
- Rooms tend to sell out well ahead of time, so book with plenty of lead time to score a place here.
- There are no twin beds, but an extra bed and crib can be added to a room.
Nikki BeachIt’s a fun St. Jean beach scene with live DJs and occasional tabletop dancers, but also has a kid-friendly attitude and calm shoreline.
Do BrazilA favorite lunch spot for Brazilian stews and fish burgers. A preschool sits on the hill nearby, so local children and their parents come tumbling down in the mid-afternoon to play in the sand. Don’t miss the cool boutique downstairs.
Le Select (00 590 5 90 27 86 87) )The place to hit for burgers and the inspiration behind Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”
Le TiThis legendary dinner and cabaret show is an adults-only venue but worth booking a babysitter to experience.
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