Travel

St. Barts Diary: Cinema Society Founder on His Island Holiday

Andrew Saffir writes from the beach where Rachel Zoe, Brett Ratner and P. Diddy play too.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 11, 2013 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

After the last Christmas gift has been unwrapped and the sun has set on a year of movie premieres and screenings (Django, Lincoln and many more!), my partner Daniel Benedict and I wing our way from New York to St. Barts for a real sunset. The chic French island has been our go-to for Christmas vacation together for too many years to count -- I've been coming here since I was a kid -- and, as they say, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." In other words, it's still sublime.

Mornings begin with a cafe glace in Gustavia or St. Jean, followed by a jaunt to the beach. Saline and Gouverneur are among our favorites. We also have our secret off-the-beaten-path ones, but I'm not revealing those. You'll have to find them, and us, yourselves! Then, we hit one of the many hot lunch spots -- Taiwana, Isle de France, L'Esprit, Le Tamarin (now run by Carole, the beloved proprietor of Le Ti. We call her the island's Amy Sacco).

PHOTOS: 6 Chic Winter Getaways From L.A.

Then back to the beach till sunset. Then on to dinners with close friends (Rachel Zoe and Rodger Berman, designer Brian Atwood, New York It girl Olivia Palermo and her handsome beau, Johannes Huebl). At dinner -- our faves are Maya's, Eden Rock, PaCri and L'Esprit -- we spot other pals, too: Patrick Demarchelier, Jon Bon Jovi and on and on.

And though we are supposed to be relaxing, we can't resist a few parties. The fetes that tempt us this year are the Saint Barth Essentiel party at Sereno Beach (Jimmy Buffett sings!); Russell Simmons' blowout at the Eden Rock (P. Diddy, Brett Ratner and more, all grooving until late); and then, the piece de resistance, New Year's Eve.

STORY: From St. Barts to Safaris, How Hollywood Spent Its Holiday Vacation

Ron Perelman has hosted a party on his beyond amazing boat every year (it also happens to be his birthday), and this year's bash is small and select and tres starry and fab. After Ronald's, it's off to Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova's now-annual (their fourth) extravaganza, where we run into everyone from Wendi Murdoch to Guy Oseary and beaucoup de big names, but as Roman and Dasha are so private, I think I'd better take the fifth here and keep the rest a secret! A l'annee prochaine