Lesser Antilles, Leeward Islands
Whether you call it St. Martin (as they do on the French side) or Sint Maarten (as they do on the Dutch side), this island is a popular destination for casinos, shopping and Caribbean resort life. Many superyachts base here, which means that arrival aboard Meteor is likely to include a chance to see some of the largest yachts in the whole of the Caribbean.
Anguilla is a British territory with clear water that rings magnificent beaches. High-end resorts such as Malliouhana, Belmond Cap Juluca and CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa attract the rich and famous. While celebrities go to the island of St. Barths to be seen, they go to Anguilla for privacy. On Anguilla, the right balance of super chic and slightly funky prevails. Singer Bankie Banx’s Dune Preserve is a must-visit for that funky vibe (and a rum punch). Sandy Island, Anguilla, is an oasis of greenery and palm trees in the center, with chalk white sand and transparent water all around its edges. A beach barbecue is great fun here, perhaps with some beach volleyball. Next is a sail to the Prickly Pear Cays, which are uninhabited islets great for snorkeling along a coral reef.
St. Barths (the nickname for Saint Barthélemy) is the “it island” for charter clients who enjoy St. Tropez style. There is a hint of Sweden here too: The French island’s capital, Gustavia, is named for the Swedish King Gustav III, because the island was a Swedish colony starting in 1784. Many of the street names are still Swedish. Even still, charter guests will find plenty of French rosé served during lunches at Nikki Beach and La Plage Restaurant, where a midday meal can go on for hours and blend into dinnertime. Popular restaurants such as Bonito, L’Isola and Maya’s have world-class cuisine, and Gustavia’s shops are reminiscent of Fifth Avenue in New York (think Cartier, Hermès and Louis Vuitton). During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Gustavia’s harbor is the place to see and be seen for the yachting crowd.
A respite from the hoopla awaits on unpopulated Tintamarre, an 80-acre island northeast of Sint Maarten. Tintamarre was purportedly a base for submarine operations in the 1940s. Today there are simply unspoiled beaches and calm water for relaxation.
Another option is a sail to Saba, an island that consists largely of a dormant volcano known as Mount Scenery. Hiking here can be memorable, and the village ashore has “gingerbread houses” as well as lovely flower gardens. At and below sea level, Saba is surrounded by a marine park and renowned for diving. The island has waters that are home to sea turtles, sharks and underwater mountains.
The horseshoe-shaped harbor of Gustavia in St. Barths, rimmed with boutiques and cafés, can accommodate a handful of superyachts at the quay.