Celebrities, business tycoons, and the super-rich know there is no better way to escape the gray days, snow, and cold of winter than by jetting to the sunny Caribbean. While it's always possible to spot a few famous faces lounging on the beaches of Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos, there is not a greater concentration of billionaires and millionaires during the winter holidays than on St. Barts.
Celebrities who recently frequented this tropical island include movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Salma Hayek, and Toby Maguire; musicians Paul McCartney, John Legend, Beyonce, Rihanna, Diddy, Robin Thicke, and Harry Styles; and ultra-wealthy businessmen including James Packer, Roman Abramovich, André Balazs, and Norman Foster, to name just a few. Here's hip hop king Russell Simmons relaxing on the beach:
What makes St. Bart's so special? Saint Barthélemy, better known as St. Barts, is a small, French-speaking island that, like other Caribbean islands, offers beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous scenery, and a laid-back atmosphere. However, celebrities prefer St. Barts to other islands as it's relatively secluded and is home to a number of fine-dining restaurants, designer boutiques, and ultra-luxury villas and resorts, some costing over $100,000 a week. Leonardo DiCaprio was recently spotted staying in a $28,000-per-night villa on the island.
According to Business Insider, Eden Rock Hotel, and its restaurants, the Sand Bar and On the Rocks (appetizers cost upwards of $75!), is a favorite among the vacationing elite, as is Le Guanahani resort and spa, touted as one of the best spas in the Caribbean. Visitors can also shop duty-free at 200 or so luxury and bespoke shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès. After a day of eating and shopping, celebrities are often spotted partying the night away at clubs Le T and La Plage.
St. Barts is also a haven for superyachts, with dozens porting in St. Bart's harbor every year. According to Forbes, superyachts docked in St. Barts for New Year's celebrations included the Eclipse, the world's second-largest yacht owned by steel magnate Abramovich, who is worth $12.8 billion; Tatoosh, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who is worth $17.1 billion; and Rockstar, owned by energy-drink billionaire Russ Weiner, who is worth $2.5 billion.
Want your own taste of beautiful St. Barts? The Huffington Post advises flying down on the off-season, where villa and hotel room prices can tumble to a (slightly) more reasonable $300 to $600 per night. If you're on a budget, lounging on one of the island's pristine beaches will only cost you the price of a picnic lunch. Have a little more to spend? Chartered sailing yachts start at an affordable $10,000 per week. Our best advice if you're traveling to St. Barts? Bring money. Lots and lots of money.