St. Jean, St. Barthélemy

Photo: Pearl Beach Saint Barth

You’re patiently waiting for hurricane season to end. Okay, patiently may be an exaggeration. A great one. You hate waiting. When you want something, you want it immediately. Right now, you want to go to St. Barts.

You should book your trip now, though. The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends at the end of next month, but November is actually a great time to visit the Caribbean island. It’s when hotels are reopening, adding fresh coats of paint, refilling pools, and restocking bars after closing—or at least greatly reducing their staff and rates—during the weather-unstable months of September and October. By mid-December, resorts will be fully booked. So you have a small window to enjoy the beginning of the season before the holiday crowd descends.

St. Barthélemy—usually shortened to St. Barts—was named after Christopher Columbus’ brother, Bartholomew. The small, L-shaped island is about half the size of Manhattan. It doesn’t have a port for large cruise ships. It’s short airstrip only accommodates puddle jumpers. So the holidays are madness. But in November, St. Barts’ hills will be green after the summer rains. Gustavia, the red-roofed capital, will feel quaint and unhurried. While the beaches—remote Colombier, calm Grand Cul de Sac, and popular St. Jean—should be clean and empty, except for a few ghost crabs.

Photo: Pearl Beach Saint Barth

Your sights are set on St. Jean Beach. The white-sand beach sits on St. Barts’ north coast. It has a view of Eden Rock and planes landing on the airport’s short runway. It’s lined with French bistros, sandy bars, and chic boutiques that give it a Côte d’Azur vibe. Plus it’s home to the new Pearl Beach Hotel, which took over an old hotel that was heavily damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Pearl Beach is a chic boutique hotel. The lobby is more like an art gallery since it’s filled with photographs, sculptures, and videos. It leads to just 14 rooms. Minimal Beach Front Rooms feature JBL wireless Bluetooth speakers, terraces with direct beach access, and views of the turquoise water. There’s a freshwater pool, which becomes a respite from the late-afternoon beach scene, and a massage cabin for relaxing treatments. They’re surrounded by tropical gardens that smell like hibiscus.

The beachfront spaces are what truly win you over on trying this new hotel. The open-air restaurant’s wooden floor, beams, and tables feel weathered by the salt air. Its French chef serves croissants in the morning, fresh seafood the rest of the day, and a bikini brunch on Saturday. The wooden Beach bar sits on the sand. It has swing chairs and cold Carib Beer. Or you can grab two sun loungers under a white umbrella and have frozen rosés delivered to you on the sand. Sorry, this certainly isn’t making your wait any easier.

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