Who are the men of St. Barth? And just what is it about this volcanic mass turned jewel of the Caribbean that has garnered such a strong male following? Peg Walsh, founder and president of St. Barth Properties, has the answers (and after renting villas on the island for 25 years, she would know), and she’s happy to dish. “Straight, gay, married, or single, when they’re vacationing here, they all feel more handsome, more relaxed, richer, and, well, cooler. The culture of the island combined with the villa lifestyle is an intoxicating combination. Imagine being transported to a small village in France, only with a million-dollar view of the ocean, your own private pool, and oodles of privacy.” Skinny dipping anyone?
Any travel agent will tell you most vacations are planned by women. The exception? St. Barth. Guys book here like crazy, and you can spot every species: dads making white-sugar sandcastles on the beaches with their kids, romantics dining under the stars with their significant others, bon vivants ordering jeroboams of Champagne from seaside tables, and those who are too-sexy-for-their-pants heading far right on Saline Beach. All that fine French food and wine draws gourmets galore, and oenophiles are in their glory. Grilling poolside on a villa’s barbecue seems to awaken every man’s inner Bobby Flay as they flip mahi-mahi burgers and juicy steaks.
And, for the record, it’s not just the men who rediscover and reinvent themselves. Travel expert Robert Brown of Avillability Inc. recalls the first time he went to St. Barth, “I was so shocked by another event to notice the steep descent as the plane landed. My friend’s admittedly uptight wife was waiting at the end of the runway to greet us, wildly waving her bikini top in the air. ‘It’s her St. Barth persona!’ he told me. Right then and there I decided this is the place for me.”
St. Barth Properties’ concierge team, who score more coveted restaurant reservations than you can shake a baguette at, report their top client requests are for deep sea fishing, orchestrating marriage proposals, and in-villa couples massages — not necessarily in that order.
“St. Barth’s magic is most potent when it comes to romance,” says Peg. “I can’t go into too much detail, but trust me: Our male clients’ wives, girlfriends, and boyfriends are always thrilled to be here.” Aah, St. Barth. What’s not to love?