Being a parent changes everything. While most celebs pick Christmas and New Year’s to visit St. Bart’s, the posh Caribbean magnet for all things chic, Beyonce and Jay Z headed to the eight-square-mile island to celebrate Easter. It was three-month-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter’s first big vacation.
Not that the proud parents didn’t sneak in some alone time. They spent a day sunbathing at Ansse de Grande Saline, an isolated half-mile beach where development, at least for now, is verboten.
It’s one of the tiny island’s 17 beaches and to get there, B and J had to scramble over a sand dune and hope the anole lizards didn’t take a hankering to the drinks they sipped from coconut halves. After all, they only wanted to soak up some powder white beach time without a diaper bag.
Easter holidays in St. Bart’s certainly wasn’t the celebrity couple’s first trip to this secret little French paradise where the ruling families, descendants of the original 17th century settlers, purposely keep prices high, limit the size of the airport and import everything from France. Homes, even modest ones without a beachfront, can cost upwards of $7 million which is why you’ll find such names as Steve Martin and David Letterman on St. Bart deeds. Jimmy Buffet, also a St. Bart’s homeowner, supposedly wrote “Cheeseburger in Paradise” at Le Select, a nondescript, but fabulous restaurant (Mick Jagger has entertained there), one of many wedged in between the Hermes, Gucci, Cartier and other high-end shops.
No, B and J are what you might call “regulars.” In 2009, in fact, Beyonce performed a controversial New Year’s Eve show at a Nikki Beach party thrown by Muammar Gaddafi’s son. In the audience were Usher, Lindsay Lohan and Microsoft founder Paul Allen whose 416-foot yacht, Octopus, can often be spotted at Gustavia Harbor.
During the notorious holiday party season, when Beyonce and Jay Z were a little tied up with the impending birth, rooms at the handful of hotels leap in price ten times over. A week at a villa can run up to $150,000. A long-time resident described the season as “summer camp for wealthy, well-known New Yorkers, business tycoons, music stars, and Hollywood celebrities.
“It’s like the whole island is Studio 54 at its peak,” he said.
In recent years, the hottest, most over-the-top New Year’s bash has been thrown by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Price tag? More than $7.8-million, but what do you expect when you fly in such entertainers as Prince, Gwen Stefani and the Black Eyed Peas? The Red Hot Chili Peppers rang in the 2012 party that was held as his $90-million Gouverneur Bay Estate, the same estate once owned by the Rockefellers. On the 400-name guest list? Jon Bon Jovi, Marc Jacobs, Harvey Weinstein, George Lucas and Martha Stewart, to name just a few.
Abramovich’s yacht, the world’s largest private yacht, measures 536 feet, has two helicopter pads, two swimming pools, a submarine and 80 onboard staff.
St. Bart’s, also known as St. Barths and St. Barthelemy, sits across from St. Marteen/St. Martin. It was originally discovered by Christopher Columbus and named after his brother, Bartolomeo.
Now go spend that trust fund?