Technically 'St-Barthélemy', St-Barts is probably the Caribbean's most sophisticated island. Both the beauty and the atmosphere draw the rich, famous and beautiful, so the best places to stay on St-Barts range from opulent to majestic. But out of season there are some excellent value deals to be discovered.
A beautiful volcanic outcrop in the Leeward Island group, St-Barts is less French West Indies than metropolitan France. Though of course in a daydream setting of turquoise waters, white sand, windswept granite cliffs and sprouts of bright green.
Around 200,000 people visit this tiny island each year - sold on the beauty of the place. But St-Barts actually has a fascinating history. Discovered by Columbus it was settled by the French, then briefly sold to Sweden, before being bought back by the French. This little pocket of Swedishness is quite apparent in the architecture, and certainly adds to the unique flavour of St-Barts.
Gustavia is St-Barts' pretty capital. Its smart beach bars and restaurants attract an affluent crowd and it's full of mega-yachts at Christmas and New Year - making it great for people watching. And for shopping. Gustavia is also where you'll find the majority of the excellent small hotels.
You don't have to be wealthy to enjoy St-Barts, though, the beaches are all public and easily accessible.
The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in St-Barts are mainly located around the bay of St Jean and on the Eastern side of the island. Whilst none is exactly cheap, they reflect the going rate on this smart island.
Charming hillside hotel. Rooms and villas are colourful with hammock-terraces, dark wood floors and bathrooms with a view. Outdoor pool, gardens, gym and spa. Villa cottages are perfect for families; a quiet spot and good value.
Baie Saint Jean, St-Barts
Stylish beachfront property. Decor is low-key with white washed walls, contemporary furniture, large bathrooms and private sundecks. Outdoor pool, direct beach access and Bougainvillea and Hibiscus filled gardens. Fresh, excellent local cuisine and beachfront bar. Modern, tranquil and spacious.
Baie de St Jean, St-Barts
Boutique hotel on the beach. Modern rooms have four poster beds, granite bathrooms and high ceilings. Outdoor pool, terrace, art gallery and direct beach access. Excellent contemporary menu in the popular restaurant. Lively and laid-back, ideal for younger couples.
Colourful villas on a hillside above Grand Cul de Sac beach. The villas are themed on Caribbean spices, and decor is modern with polished concrete, kitsch furnishings and full kitchens. Outdoor pool and sun terrace. Chic, cool and great value.
Grand Cul De Sac, St-Barts
Stunning hotel on the beach at Grand Cul de Sac. Designer rooms have white-washed walls, polished wood furnishings and contemporary furniture. Outdoor pool, gardens, spa and direct beach access. Excellent restaurant and cool bar. Slick, exclusive and secluded.
Sublime hotel on the beach. Elegant rooms are styled in white and blues with modern artworks and opulent bathrooms. Outdoor pool, gardens, tennis courts, gym and spa. Sophisticated French menus, chic bar. Nestled amongst banana plants and bougainvillea and white sands, ideal for honeymoons.
Colonial style villas overlooking the ocean. Contemporary rooms have dark wood floors, four poster beds, patio hammock and private pool. Gardens, gym and spa. Sublime French cuisine and romantic bar. Secluded, chic and boutique.
Grand Cul de Sac, St-Barts
Colourful beachfront hotel. The elegant rooms have creamy mosaic bathrooms, contemporary furniture and colonial style architecture. Enormous outdoor pool, beach access, spa and gym. Excellent seafood cuisine and breezy bar. Luxurious whilst remaining friendly and relaxed.
Eden Rock, St-Barts
Five-star resort overlooking coral reefs. Contemporary rooms and villas have mahogany furniture, opulent bathrooms and silk extras. Some with jacuzzi terraces or private pools. Outdoor pools, gardens, gym, spa. Superb continental menu, bar with a view. Luxurious and very chic.