St Barths: Can Hotels Compete with Villa Views?
Yesterday morning, we took the early ferry from St. Maarten over to St. Barths, arriving in Gustavia Harbor amongst the ridiculous yachts, colorful rooftops and green hillsides welcoming us to the tiny island (about 13-square miles). The ride was about 40-minutes via the Great Bay Express high-speed ferry ($80 round trip), and the perspective you get from the water is always amazing.
Photos of all that good stuff to come in later posts – I have much to say – but for now let’s begin with an introduction to tourism on the island, the fact that accommodations are 70% villas and 30% hotels (there are only 500 or so hotel rooms in total).
We had some friends on the island who picked us up from the ferry terminal, but no worries if you’re traveling for the day on your own. You are dropped off right in town, with plenty of car/bike/four wheeler rental places within walking distance. You really should rent something – the island isn’t exactly walkable once you get outside the harbor (the hills and lack of sidewalks and crazy island driving make it unreasonable).
It’s a small island, yet it is not overpopulated by any sense of the word, and despite what the Jamaican woman told me, I found there were plenty of things to do, so long as you like beautiful beaches, bright scenery, island vibes, and French culture.
Villas range in price from a few thousand to $25,000 per week, most of which can be split between two or three families. Check out these photos of this villa overlooking Flamands Beach, priced on the lower end of that spectrum.
I didn’t check out any of the hotels, yet somehow I have a hard time believing they compare with places like this (and it certainly makes me wonder what the higher end villas look like):