When Roman Abramovich paid £59 million for his 700-acre Caribbean estate on Saint Barthelemy (or 'St Barts') it confirmed the island's appeal to super-picky millionaires and billionaries searching for a holiday retreat.
“Orlando Bloom, Marc Jacobs, Lindsay Lohan, Alicia Keys, Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Simon Cowell, Jimmy Choo-founder Tamara Mellon and many others were spotted on St. Barts this season,” says Edward de Mallet Morgan from Knight Frank International.
Part of the French West Indies, the isle delivers the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera but with chic Caribbean flair, he adds.
Gourmet dining at uber-groovy places like the Eden Rock’s Sand Bar, plenty of room for yachts in the harbour and a tiny air-strip that only accommodates small prop planes or private jets draws in the ‘what recession?’ super-rich wanting to live it up relatively unnoticed.
“The property market’s remained fairly stable on the island during these unpredictable times, and is popular particularly with the French, Belgians, Italians, Americans and Canadians. More recently, the growing wealth of Russia and other emerging nations has led to the arrival of more nationalities used to living glamorous lives elsewhere,” explains De Mallet Morgan.
If you are looking to buy, Knight Frank has a mouth-watering contemporary two-bedroom villa tagged PRX (forget romantic names here) at a heady £3.167 million, or LAP, which is so exclusive it’s ‘price upon application’.
However, real folk (or as ‘real’ as you can be if you’re considering a luxe Caribbean island) can pick up a two-bedroom apartment, at around £200,000.
And you can bet buyers of these cheaper apartments won’t be swanning in by private jet, choosing the cheaper 10-hour commercial option via St Maarten or Antigua. Unless you can cosy up to Abramovich that is. Travel plans sorted.