At St Barthélemy each year, around 70% of visitors choose to stay in villas instead of hotels. The island has 450 luxury villas tourists can pick from and only 20 hotels in terms of luxury vacation rentals.
While hotels may feel safer and more familiar, St Barts villas add a personal touch with more privacy. Some may even offer additional amenities and extra space that you may not receive at a hotel.
Location-wise, St Barts is small enough where you can easily rent a car and drive from one end of the island to the other in just a few minutes. There are no high-rises or large resorts, and many of them are beachfront villas or built into the hillside, providing exceptional views of the ocean.
St Barts, also known as St Barths, is a beautiful Caribbean island in the French West Indies. It is an overseas collectivity of France and a popular vacation destination because of its accessible white sand beaches, turquoise waters, luxury yachts, delicious food, and designer shops.
The main city is Gustavia, where most of the upscale shops are located. There you can go shopping, eat at delicious restaurants serving French and global cuisine, and enjoy the bustling nightlife at world-famous clubs. You can also take the ferry for a 45-minute ride to the island of Saint Martin.
One of the most popular destinations on St Barts is St Jean Beach, located at the island’s heart, where you can dine at the chic Nikki Beach Saint Barth restaurant. Other famous beaches to visit are Flamands Beach, Grand Cul de Sac Beach, and the nature reserve.
Thanks to its natural, beautiful, and vibrant culture, many celebrities and wealthy people like to vacation on St Barts and visit other islands nearby in the French West Indies.
There are luxury villa rentals all over the Caribbean island. To help you decide if a luxury villa in St Barts is worth it for you, it helps to know about the area and to understand what each of the luxury vacation rentals has to offer.
One of the more upscale sections of the island is the gorgeously situated Pointe Milou. Set high on cliffs overlooking the sea, Pointe Milou boasts some of the best views on the whole island. With St. Martins visible in the distance, you can drink in exceptional vistas from your villa terrace.
Some of the island’s most beautiful villas can be found on Pointe Milou, providing ample privacy without sacrificing access to amenities. Despite its relative seclusion, Pointe Milou is only a short drive from one of the bustling hearts of the island—Grand Cul-de-Sac.
Grand Cul-de-Sac is a curving beach shore dotted with luxury hotels and wonderful restaurants. Within a short drive, you can be in the bustle of one of the world’s most buzzing destinations—and then pop back to your exclusively quiet villa on the cliffs.
Pointe Milou offers the best of both worlds when it comes to convenience and privacy. Before exploring the unique villas in that area, let’s first get an overview of the best ways to search for and book the perfect villa for your trip.
How to Book a Villa
To book your St Barts villa, you can either:
- Go through a villa rental agency, particularly via the three largest agencies: WIMCO, Eden Rock Villas, and St Barth Properties
- Look at listing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo
- Contact owners like me directly
You should avoid going through a third-party agent that is not located on St Barts or does not have direct contact with the owners. These agents add their own booking fees and often do not have updated information about the rental villas. In the end, taking this avenue could lead to you spending much more than you need to.
So, with several different options, which one is the best for you? Let me help you decide by giving you the pros and cons of each booking channel, and then use my own St Barts villa rentals as examples to help show what you can expect on the island.
Renting a villa through a legitimate, trustworthy agency can save you a lot of work if you have never visited the island before. For instance, I list my villas, BelAmour and Maison Domingue, using several agencies, including Sibarth (https://sibarth.com/all-villas/villa-domingue/), WIMCO (https://www.wimco.com/villas/villa.aspx?pid=904978) and Eden Rock Villa rentals (https://www.edenrockvillarental.com/en/villa-search/bel-amour/).
When you book my villa through these agencies, their team handles everything. They welcome you at the airport, show you to the villa, and assist you if you run into any problems or have questions. Most agencies also offer convenient services, such as helpful amenities, cleaning and concierge services, and chauffeured arrival and departure transfers.
Moreover, villa agents will have extensive knowledge of their listings since they’ll have visited them personally. That means they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about a villa before you commit to booking.
If you are not satisfied with the villa, the agency can usually relocate you somewhere else, though this is typically only in extreme cases. However, agencies require a booking fee that is generally ten percent on top of the rental price.
- Agency team handles logistics
- Personal knowledge of the villa
- Possibility for relocation in extreme cases
- Additional booking fee
- No best price guarantee
Airbnb St Barths and Vrbo are examples of two popular listing websites. They allow you to contact the villa owner directly in most cases. Sometimes agencies will list villas on these sites, so you may end up talking to an agency instead. Given that, it’s a good idea to make sure you know whom you are talking to and if they are legitimate.
Through sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and TripAdvisor, you can read reviews about the villas you are interested in before booking. The most recent reviews are often the best indicators of quality since they’ll give you a great idea of whether the property will be a good fit for you and your party.
When checking out reviews, consider both the positives and negatives, particularly for owner communication, comfort, amenities like a pool and beach needs, and more. You can take a look at my villa BelAmour here on Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4821361.
You can also sort through several different properties at once or narrow down your choices to make the search easier. Some sites like Airbnb provide all of the information about a property upfront, while others may have extra fees not included in the price until you are ready to book.
Most listing sites like Airbnb include additional booking fees. However, not every site is the same since one may take the extra fee from guests, others from the owners, and a few from both parties. On average, there is a 15% service fee when you book through a listing site. Most owners increase the rental prices for their villas to make up for the listing commission fee.
From my personal booking revenues, Airbnb takes 15%, as does Booking.com. Vrbo takes 8% from my sale and adds a 5-8% fee to the guest. You will usually pay another booking fee of about 9% on top of the rental price.
- Direct contact with owner or agency
- Reviews from past visitors
- Easy to filter through several properties
- Additional service fees, usually around 15% or more
Booking Directly from the Owner
Most St Barts villas belong to owners who do not live on the island but instead prefer to let a villa agency manage their property. That means there are not many villas you can book straight from the owner without using a listing site like Airbnb.
However, booking through the owner is often the safest and most reliable way to have all your needs met. After all, an owner who lives on the island can personally see to their property and will be able to give you direct advice that you can rely on.
For my properties, guests can book directly with me through my SaintBarth.com website and social media. By taking this route, you can avoid the extra fees as well as the hassle of dealing with an agency or another third-party website, especially if you know what you want.
As mentioned, unlike listing sites, you can expect no extra booking fees. You can also establish trust with the owner as well for future visits to the island. Thanks to having this channel of communication, you won’t have any doubts about who to call if you have any questions or require any information.
However, make sure to ask for the owner’s cancellation policy. After all, what will happen if the villa is no longer available due to unforeseen issues, such as maintenance? Will you receive your money back, and will the owner help you find another property?
Before booking, check out any reviews on various websites like TripAdvisor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as whether someone will show you to the villa, how often the property will be cleaned, and whether a concierge is at hand. While many owners offer these services and include them in their prices, others might not. Always ask what is included and what will cost extra.
- No booking fees
- Personal knowledge of the property
- Establish personal trust
- Fewer options
How to Choose the Right Villa
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for the perfect villa for your trip to St Barts.
Consider your group size and needs. Do you plan on traveling with friends or family? Will young children be part of the group? Are you looking for a romantic getaway for two?
Group size is the first element to consider in your search. When you know how many are going, you’ll be able to find a villa that’s perfect for everyone.
Your next questions should focus on what type of location you’d prefer. Do you want a beachfront property with instant ocean access or a clifftop villa with panoramic ocean views? Would you rather have a quiet ambiance or somewhere that has a vibrant nightlife?
Often a beachfront villa will be slightly less private than one situated on the cliffside. If you want to walk straight from your bedroom onto the beach, you may have to put up with other visitors staying near your vacation rental.
Clifftop villas, on the other hand, are usually entirely private and secluded with stunning panoramic views. While you may not get instant beach access, you’ll gain in terms of views and privacy.
Price and Amenities
Once you’ve narrowed your search down to villas ideal for your planned trip, you can start thinking about any add-ons and the overall cost. If you’re traveling with a larger group, remember that you can always split the cost in several ways, helping with overall savings.
Many villas typically offer various packages or add-ons for an additional cost. If you want a private chef, extra entertainment or transportation, etc., you can usually pay to have these included. Most agencies and owners will be able to help you connect with day trips, adventures, spa packages, and more.
Here are two of my featured villas, which you can book directly through me or other booking sites. These are two beautiful villas with all the add-ons you could want. I designed them myself, and they are state-of-the-art, newly renovated luxury homes ready to deliver everything you could want for the perfect sumptuous vacation.
Maison Domingue (Villa for Up to Six Guests)
Our wholly rebuilt Maison Domingue opened its doors in March 2021. It is located in Pointe Milou and offers stunning panoramic sea views. Domingue is ideal for group stays, whether it’s with family or friends. If you have young children, you won’t have to worry about them getting bored or restless. We’ll ensure all your needs are provided for, and we pride ourselves on being child-friendly.
Maison Domingue is all about helping you create an extraordinary time with your travel group. It is positioned right on the cliffside and has more than two stories, with a large heated pool that has twelve massage jets.
The home is designed inside and out with the most modern aesthetic and architecture. Its spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows ensure you are always connected to light, air, and nature, and don’t miss out on the island’s exceptional panoramic views. What’s more, you may even be able to spot the nearby island of St Martin.
Our team is here to help you spend carefree days enjoying life with the people you love. You can book Villa Domingue in a two-bedroom or three-bedroom configuration. There are several amenities, including a fitness room, a fully-equipped kitchen, pool, smart TVs, and Nespresso machines with unlimited capsules.
Because I directly oversee this property, I’ve been able to modify it to ensure that each guest leaves satisfied. That’s why I’ve personally made certain that every room has the same level of sophistication for each guest. In 2020, we remodeled all of the bedrooms, moved walls, and redecorated to give our guests the best experience when staying in their ensuite rooms. You can invite friends and extended family, knowing everyone will have a luxury experience.
To see more photos and get booking information, go to http://www.saintbarth.com/domingue/.
Villa BelAmour (Villa for Two Lovers)
Located right next to Maison Domingue is the private Villa BelAmour. BelAmour is a stunning one-bedroom villa designed for couples wanting to celebrate their love in style and luxury. This St Barts rental includes a beautiful sea view, a mural created by the French artist Jean-Charles de Catelbajac, and a concierge service.
This intimate destination is designed with romance in mind, making it a fabulous choice for anniversaries, honeymooners, or anyone who wants to celebrate love.
It has an open-concept living area, giving it a much more spacious feel and enchanting views of the Caribbean Sea from its place atop the cliff bluffs. Its glass walls allow you to see neighboring islets like Toc Vert, Frégate, Bonhomme, and other islands like St Martin. The open-concept living room spills out onto a clifftop terrace with a 12-meter long pool.
With high privacy walls, you can take advantage of the nighttime to take moonlit swims with your partner. The entrance sits back from the private parking area, so you have a genuinely exclusive space.
Live in the lap of luxury in St Barts by planning your dream couple’s vacation directly with me. Some of the services offered are a 24/7 concierge, arrival and departure transfers, free welcome gifts, and daily cleaning visits.
This luxurious yet intimate villa is a chic holiday destination in the Caribbean where you can take a romantic trip with absolute privacy.
To see more photos and get booking information, go to http://www.saintbarth.com/ belamour/.
While planning your trip to Saint Barts, consider booking a luxury villa for a private and comfortable stay. Rental villas are the best choice when seeking a vacation that will give you memories to last a lifetime.
Villas also offer a wider range of amenities and services with spectacular views of the island and sea. If you are looking for more privacy and a more comfortable stay overall, a villa can enhance your dream vacation.
Whether you book through a listing site, agency, or directly through the owner, take care to first read reviews about the property to see what past guests have to say. If you have any questions about Domingue, Villa BelAmour, or life on the island, reach out today!