St. Barthelemy

This petite island in the French West Indies – once the whisperingly private enclave of Rothschilds, Rockefellers and artists the likes of Twyla Tharp, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Lauren Hutton – has become increasingly popular, with a seductive allure more powerful than ever. More villas dot the densely developing hillsides, more traffic certainly beep-beeps in Smart Cars and rusted Mini-Mokes, more epicurean bistros vie for your dining euro, and more breathlessly gorgeous, size-two French girls saunter the beaches seemingly unaware of their wow factor. Known as the trendy Caribbean destination for glamourazzi and celebrities, St. Barts actually provides an experience that is natural, uncontrived, elegantly casual and serene. It’s a safe, magical, warm and welcoming place. Whether you see yourself as Uma Thurman or Ugly Betty, being on St. Barts translates into losing inhibitions, stripping pretenses and inhaling confidence. The French call it bien-être – the state of well-being – and it can be addictive.

Private Oasis


Getting away from it all has never been more real than it is at Musha Cay at Copperfield Bay in the Bahamas, where ,250 a day gives you and up to 12 guests a private island with five homes and access to 11 other small private islands. The five homes range from a 10,000-square-foot space on the crest of Musha Cay’s hill to the romantically secluded one-bedroom thatched-roof cottage on its own stretch of private beach. Visitors can access the 11 islands via a fleet of small boats. All meals and beverages are included; for parties of 13-24, an additional ,500 per-person, per-day charge is added, although no more than 24 guests can stay at Musha Cay at one time. The resort’s most magnificent attraction emerges for only a few hours each day?a sandbar that extends for more than two miles into the sea with water lapping at both sides. (

 —Alexandra Foster

Beverly Hills Montage


Nestled in the heart of Beverly Hills, the new Montage Hotel, which officially opens on November 17, is likely to attract locals as well as out-of-towners to its three dining venues. The intimate Muse restaurant, which seats 44, features a chef’s menu that changes nightly, while the more casual Parq has a chef’s table inside its European-designed kitchen, and the Conservatory Grill has rooftop garden dining for both lunch and dinner.

The hotel’s terra-cotta roof and tiled floors were inspired by Spanish revival architecture, and the room’s interiors and arched doorways are reminiscent of the Art Deco era. The eight-story hotel has 201 guest rooms, more than a quarter of which are suites, including two, 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suites that can be combined with adjacent, smaller suites to create four-bedroom residences. A 20,000 square-foot spa incorporates a mineral pool, mud room, and herbal steam room, with a yoga studio for personal classes. Rooms start at 5; the Presidential Suite is ,500. (

Alexandra Foster