Going into its second season since Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Barths is still reeling from the effects and aftermath. Rebuilding is still very much in progress, as the island attempts to regroup with a blow to its ego as winter's foremost playground, especially while so many of its posh addresses are still out of commission. But all of St. Barth's 14 beaches are very much open, so sojourns to Shell, Saline, Toiny, and Petit Cul de Sac beaches are very much as they have been - albeit with less visitors and amenities that, to many locals, was an expected benefit of the disaster. In fact, leading up to the hurricanes the island was becoming almost unapproachable for new investment and increasing local complaints about the tourist onslaught of the winter holidays. But times have changed.
In terms of the starriest hotel addresses in St. Barths, Eden Rock has pushed back its reopening well into 2019 while Le Guanahani isn't much closer and the long awaited Le Carl Gustav by Hotels Barriere sits even longer. But Le Sereno and its bigger room and beach eatery is slated for a December 1st reopening while Cheval Blanc Isle de France on Flamands beach will accept bookings from early December. As for the new look of Isle de France, look for a significant renovation of its rooms, one-bedroom suites and beachfront villas as well as new looks for the White Bar and Yann Vinsot eateries. Le Toiny is also opening right around the same time with 8 new suites and highly anticipated Le Toiny Beach Club with a very gourmet twist.
A majority of the restaurants on the island opened within a few months of the hurricane, often feeding locals for free during the initial stages of rebuilding. Since then, even more are open including LÂ’Isola, Le Tamarin, Black Ginger, Sand Bar, Bonito St Barth, and On the Rocks. Party playgrounds Nikki Beach and Shellona took a bit longer to regroup, but now rock on unfettered if perhaps not as frenetic and busy as before. Ditto with Le Ti and most bars that have yet to revive to that chaotic state of St. Barths high season that more than a few locals are hoping will return December 31st with all those illustrious private parties that are happily returning back to the island again.