Shopping on St Barts is a gratifying experience, especially if you’re after the latest fashions and trendy products. With many rich and famous visitors, the abundance of upscale stores in St Barts are easily supported and continue to thrive amid the luxurious backdrop of hip hotels and villas. Though some of the best shops in St Barts are also the most expensive, with premium prices tagged on premium goods, there are also many places to shop with more modest prices yet equally engaging merchandise.
The duty-free port of St Barthelemy attracts a sophisticated lot of very savvy shoppers. More than 200 boutique shops can be found on the island in two main areas: Gustavia and around St Jean Beach. St Jean Beach is the more casual, less crowded option and has more affordable prices, too. There are five main shopping centers in St Jean, each small in size, that line the road leading toward Lorient Beach.
Both island locations offer a variety of stores in St Barts and almost all the necessities along with designer clothing, beachwear, casual clothing, and jewelry. Other specialty products available at stores in St Barts include wine and spirits, cosmetics (and other specialty beauty products), tobacco, home decor, and books. St Barts easily outranks all other Caribbean islands for shopping, especially for home decor and the latest fashions.
Even the best shops in St Barts, like Armani and La Ligne St. Barth in Lorient Beach (which sells natural cosmetics), generally close between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. for lunch yet most of these boutiques and shops stay open into the evening. LaCoste, Stéphane et Bernard, and Kristina Popovitch are the best shops in St Barts within Gustavia offering high-end fashion. There’s also Hermes and Gucci among other renowned fashion names. In St Jean Village, it’s Bleu Marine, Boutique Iléna, and Paradoxe Boutique that are the best fashion bets. They have been fixtures on the island for many years and have many repeat clients. There are always new shops opening and many upscale designers have plans in the works for exclusive St Barts boutiques.
All the jewelry stores in St Barts, with few exceptions, are in Gustavia. Shopping on St Barts for jewelry is a very popular pursuit. Lauded shops such as Les Artisans, Diamond Genesis, and Gold Fingers offer a wide variety of unique cuts and stones which attract celebrities and other wealthy clientele in droves. Specialty shopping on St Barts is available, too, with shops selling humidors and cigars, one-of-a-kind arts and crafts, and fine foods. Though you won’t see too many celebrities buying their own groceries—they have services that take care of that—you will see them shopping for specialty food items and other indulgent things like spirits, wine, and tobacco.
There is only one location offering traditional island products, and that’s in La Corossol north of Gustavia. Local weavers create a number of woven-straw items displayed on their porches throughout the area. This is where anyone shopping on St Barts for traditional goods will also find the island bonnet, a stark white, starched bonnet worn in the past by European settlers. In Corossol, another of the things to do is visit The Shell Museum, browse the 9,000 piece collection and look over the original shells for sale. Some of the best stores in St Barts are also providing artistic items such as fine photography and paintings in all mediums.