Post-Irma Update December 01-11, 2017

December 11th, 2017

Jimmy Buffett to give a free concert on the quai December 27, 2017. It’s not too late to book a villa!

First, Breaking News!
As I told you in my pervious blog, St. Barth is a very special place that means a lot to Jimmy Buffet. Bulletin! Jimmy is giving a free concert here on December 27, 2017 to show his support of the island and encourage all of you to come. We have villas available for you, many of which only have a 7-night minimum stay. Check out our holiday availability on our website, then email me, pegwalsh@stbarth.com or reservations@stbarth.com. See you on the Quai!

Jimmy Buffett (pictured here at Le Select’s 60th anniversary in 2009) is giving a free concert on the quai December 27, 2017.

Now, on to my Post-Irma blog.

December 01, 2017

With Thanksgiving behind me and the annual hectic runaround getting my Christmas cards and shopping finished before I left Cape Cod, I was anxious to get back to my beloved St. Barth. This time we flew via San Juan Puerto Rico, but JetBlue had canceled our morning flight, so we had to find a hotel where we could overnight on December 01. We stayed at the La Concha Renaissance hotel which was only about a 10-minute ride from the airport. It sits directly on the beach and we had a beachfront room with a terrific view. We were flying to St. Barth on Tradewind the next morning, so I had booked their VIP service. I wanted to leave our checked bags with Tradewind so that we didn’t have to schlep them to our hotel and back. We only had to keep our carry-ons with us. A representative met us at our gate, took our luggage tags and escorted us to a van which Tradewind had booked for our roundtrip transfer. It worked perfectly. We can arrange all of that for you, too if you must spend the night in SJU.

December 02, 2017

Long before Hurricane Irma hit St. Barth, we had booked Villa Camaruche with 2 other couples because we always attended our Beachside Bash party where I introduced our new catalogue, together. This year’s party was to be held at Le Barthélemy hotel, but Irma rudely interrupted our plans. The hotel remains closed. My catalogue was about to go to print in France a few days after Irma so, I had to stop the production because the content was no longer accurate. Like you, we still wanted to come to St. Barth. Mike and Connie Walsh were with us as was St. Barth Properties Hotel and Villa Specialist Allegra Pawlowski. We took the 10:00 a.m. Tradewind shuttle to St. Barth. Paula and Marty, the other couple, were flying into SJU from Fort Lauderdale, so we had lunch at Le Jardin across from the airport (it was packed) and met them when the 2:07 p.m. Tradewind flight arrived. Off we went to Villa Camaruche. We were amazed how much work, time and effort had been put into getting it ready for us. And, oh that view! The angels were looking down upon Villa Camaruche because the neighboring villas were more damaged. We could not see any real signs of any remaining damage and loved sitting poolside in the lounge chairs and the outdoor living area.

We stayed at Villa Camaruche. Each mornng, we woke up to this breathtaking view.

With our Beachside Bash canceled, I decided to have a little party with our friends, our St. Barth staff and two of our US staff members who were on the island. It was our St Barth Properties Bilingual Villa and Hotel Specialist, Anne-Cécile Bedford’s last night and Allegra Pawlowski’s first night. I booked 25 Quarter for 17 of us and asked owner Chris Davis to make up a special menu for us. When we arrived, I was told to wait a few minutes because Chris had a surprise for us. A side door opened and we were escorted into 25 Quarter’s new Rhum Room, featuring rums from all over the Caribbean. We were the very first people to see it and it is fabulous. We enjoyed a Coupe de Champagne followed by exotic cocktails, then we sat down in the main area to enjoy a very delicious casual dinner. My favorite singer, Soley started singing at 10:00 pm. Everyone loved it. 25 Quarter-St Barth was just named Caribbean Bar of the Year by the Caribbean Journal. Congratulations, Chris!

I decided to have a little gathering with the staff at 25 Quarter. Here we are in their brand new Rhum Room featuring rums from all over the Caribbean.

December 03, 2017

It’s Sunday – Football Day! Many of you know that I am a huge New England Patriots fan. When I came down here in November, I purposely chose the bye week, so I wouldn’t miss a game (we have season tickets). Steve and I have attended every Super Bowl the Pats have played in, beginning with the New Orleans 2001 season’s Super Bowl XXXVII. We’ve suffered through the losses and celebrated the wins. We have Dish Network at our villa but, unfortunately, it is a New York feed, so we only get the Jets and the Giants games on TV. Our friend Mike, who was staying with us, decided to take a ride down to the Bar De L’Oubli in Gustavia to see what game they were showing. When he arrived, the Jets game was on, but only French people were sitting there, so he asked the bartender to change the satellite to the Patriots game; he called me on my cell and off we went to watch the game.

I was happy that I could enjoy a glass on Sancerre and watch the Patriots-Bills game at the Bar De L’Oubli.

That evening we went to the recently reopened Tamarin restaurant in Saline. The lily ponds and gardens were just like before Irma had destroyed all of it. The food was delicious, and we loved our round table for 6 in the garden. We will be back again and again.

The Tamarin opened right before Thanksgiving. We loved our table in the garden that has been completely restored.

December 04th – 6th, 2017

Connie, Allegra and I did some villa inspections. We visited the new Villa Coquillage that sits above Shell Beach and the harbor. You can easily walk down a fairly steep hill to get to either of them. The view of the red roof tops as well as the harbor is lovely. We were pleased to see the luxurious Villa Noé was in tip top shape (Several clients have already stayed there and raved about it) and that the island has finally put the electrical wires in front it underground! The infinity pool looks as if it flows into the sea. We inspected what will be the 3rd bedroom when it is finished mid-January. Located on the lower level, it features a French king bed that can be made up as twins and and en suite bathroom with rain head shower. Access is via a stairway or a separate outdoor entrance with parking across the street. Villa Noé can now accommodate 2 couples and 2 teens (or a nanny and younger child).

We started our day inspecting Villa Noe. It looked as luxurious as ever.

As we were a party of six that had two cars that we would have had to drive to dinner each night, Aurélie booked a taxi big enough to accommodate us, so every evening, “Annabelle Taxi” picked us up, dropped us off at the restaurant and picked us up again when we were ready to go back to the villa. No need to worry about enjoying cocktails and/or a bottle of wine.

Annabelle picked us up, took us to the restaurant, and then and dropped us off at our villa every night.

December 7th, 2017

Connie, Allegra and I inspected the new air-conditioned Villa Java that sits on the right side of Marigot Bay. As soon as we entered and went upstairs to see the bedrooms, we fell in love with it. The three French king en suite bedrooms look out to the view of the water and across the bay to Mont Jean. The living cum media room, dining area, gourmet kitchen and full guest bath are downstairs. Sliders lead out to the large deck with outdoor living and dining spaces that overlook the infinity pool and the bay. You can see turtles popping their heads as they swim by. Stairs lead down to a private man-made beach area and a small path winds around to the public beach area. Snorkeling here is a favorite pastime.

I had booked our St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic for 7 of us and chose Gouverneur Beach. It was a gorgeous day and the waves were rolling in. We are supporting our private chefs, so Chef XO set up the entre picnic, with beach chairs, umbrellas and coolers full of food, Rosé wine and water. We had so much fun. You need to try it while you are here. Just call the office or email our SBH concierge, aurelie@stbarth.com 24 hours in advance, choose your beach and menu and Aurélie will do the rest.

We enjoyed a St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic at Gouverneur Beach. Try it! You’ll love it!

Allegra took a few hours off from her villa inspections to join us for the picnic. Seems to me, she is having a pretty good time.

December 08, 2017

It was departure day for Connie and Mike, so we drove them to the airport to see them off to San Juan via Tradewind and then connect on AA via Miami to Boston.

Au Revoir Connie and Mike. Sorry to see you go back to the snow.

Les Bananiers restaurant had suffered damage and only opened for table service a few nights before, so I wanted to try it. We were glad we did. It had been ages since I had ordered their escargots and the new menu is delightful. One of the choices is tournedos, which were perfectly cooked and very tender. The service was excellent, and the new white décor makes it look larger. The place was full, so I was glad that Aurélie had made a reservation for us.

December 09, 2017

It was time for Paula and Marty to leave on an early Tradewind flight to SJU where they connected on JetBlue to Fort Lauderdale. That afternoon, we went to St. Jean Beach for a couple of hours. I am happy that we did because I witnessed palm tree, after palm tree being gently dragged over the sand by a backhoe loader from the airport entrance to La Plage restaurant/Tom Beach hotel. The results are already amazing. I think the new look is fantastic! I’ll keep tabs on what the final product looks like. I wonder if Santa Claus will arrive by Jet Ski as is usual on Christmas Day?

December 09, 2017, New palm trees were being planted in front of La Plage restaurant and the Tom Beach hotel, while I was on St. Jean Beach today. More progress!

December 10, 2017

It’s Sunday. No need to worry about NFL football today because the Patriots game is on Monday night, albeit at 9:30 p.m., because we are on Atlantic time. Fitbit back on and off to Gustavia. Silversea’s Silver Whisper cruise ship moored outside of the harbor and passengers were coming in by tender, as usual. I heard a saw coming from somewhere, which is not normal on a Sunday, so I checked it out. Good news! The noise was coming from the Baz Bar. Knowing Jean-Marc, I am sure it will be open by Christmas.

Workers were busily preparing the Baz Bar for its reopening.

We walked to Shell Beach and saw that real progress has been made on getting Shellona ready for you.

December 10, 2017 – Your table at Shellona on Shell Beach is almost ready.

December 11, 2017

I am not sure if many of you have heard of the famous French “Rock Star” Johnny Hallyday. Many people refer to him as the Elvis Presley of France. Johnny, 74, passed away in France on December 05, 2017. A huge funeral procession took place on the Champs Elysées Saturday December 09th. Like all of us, Johnny fell in love with St. Barth when he first arrived here many years ago. Eventually he built a large villa in Marigot which, I am happy to say, St. Barth Properties rents for him. He preferred that we not reveal that he is the owner of the villa, so I am respecting that request until I hear otherwise. Johnny’s two girls took surfing lessons across the street from the cemetery and his dying wish, to be buried in St. Barth, was expressed to Collectivé President, Bruno Magras. The internment in the Lorient cemetery by JoJo takes place today. I am sure the burial site will become a shrine and many fans will come to St. Barth to visit it, just the way Americans go to Paris and include a visit to Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise cemetery.

Johnny Hallyday asked St. Barth President Bruno Magras if he could be buried in Lorient, because St, Barth is his most favorite place in the world. (photo credit frenchinfo)

My son and St. Barth Properties VP, Tom Smyth, is arriving later today. Among other things, we have set up a lot of meetings with the staff at both our rental and Sotheby’s sales offices. I’ll be Back with more updates soon.

One Response to “Post-Irma Update December 01-11, 2017”

  1. Lisa Garner says:

    In you opinion, do you feel most of the island will be close to up and running this May? I am looking into planning a family vacation for my 50th birthday with 10-12 people renting a villa. Thank you

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Hurricane Irma update November 11-15, 2017

November 21st, 2017

Which Beaches are open on St. Barth 9-10 weeks after Hurricane Irma?

The most recent update on the post-Hurricane Irma recovery on St. Barth in real-time November 11-15, 2017

November 11, 2017

It is Saturday November 11, 2017. Veteran’s Day in the US and Armistice Day in St. Barth (France). Businesses and enterprises are closed for the holiday. Not only it is a special day of tribute, it always falls on the anniversary of the founding of Le Select. Today is the 68th anniversary of this very famous bar! Marius Stakelborough opened the establishment that sits in the heart of Gustavia, in 1949.

Marius Stakelborough is one of my most favorite people. He is 94 years old and still going strong!

The celebration officially started at 11:30, so we arrived around 11:15 and were lucky to get a table that was partially shaded by an umbrella. For those of you who have been to Le Select before, the big tree with the round sign came down with Hurricane Irma, so it is sunnier. I think that Marius’ kids want to put something more permanent up, but I do not know if Marius will let them. We shall see. Anniversary cakes were cut, and Champagne was poured for everyone.

The crowd came out for the 68th anniversary of Le Select. 1949-2017

Eddy Stakelborough (Eddy’s restaurant) , one of Marius’ 9 children is there to congratulate his dad.

Everyone knows Marius, including Jimmy Buffett who refers to Marius in his One Particular Harbor song. When Marius decided to add food selections to his bar, he asked Jimmy if he could name it Cheeseburger in Paradise. Jimmy happily agreed, but only if Jimmy could have an open tab for the rest of his life. No problem! Jimmy gave a free concert on the quai for Le Select’s 50th and 60th anniversaries and I am hoping he will do it again for the 70th in just 2 more years. I’ll be there! Will you? Jimmy still comes to St. Barth all the time and will often pick up a guitar and sing an impromptu set at the Baz Bar.

Jimmy Buffett loves to stop by the Baz Bar once in a while to sing an impromptu set of songs. (I took this picture December 29, 2016. I am sure you will see him in 2017-2018, too).

Saturday night we (Pascale and her husband, Christophe, Steve and I) had invited the owners of the gorgeous Villa L’Adrech to have dinner with us at L’Esprit – Jean Claude Dufour. They accepted with an invitation to have Champagne and hors d’oeuvres at their villa first. Villa L’Adrech has so much warmth; it’s a home, so specially decorated with every little detail, that I know you will love it. From the circular garden parking area, to the view, to the flowers, the artwork, this villa is very special. You would never know that Hurricane Irma had ever touched it. The owners lived there through Irma’s wrath and, like many other people, took in some less fortunate owners who could no longer stay in their homes. This is the spirit of the people who live on St. Barth. The repairs were done immediately, and the villa is ready for your stay. Just email me, pegwalsh@stbarth.com or my very capable staff at reservations@stbarth.com.

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner wth Pascale, Christophe and the owners of Villa L’Adrech at L’Esprit Jean-Claude Dufour

November 12, 2017

Another Sunday arrives. Normally, this particular November weekend is spent commemorating the twin cities of Gustavia and Piteå (in Sweden) by running the Gustavia Loppet road race. This year, a late afternoon walk was organized to pay tribute to the solidarity shared by everyone on St. Barth after Hurricane Irma. A concert on the quai ended the day.

Time to go to Gouverneur Beach so that I can report back to you. I love this beach. Like Saline Beach, it is undeveloped on purpose. There is a small parking area by the access to the beach, so there is no need to climb a hill to reach it. The ride down to the beach is always dramatic because, as soon as you make the curve down the road, you have a stunning view of the beach that is far below. There were so many people there; many playing in the water, others sunning on the beach. Everyone was smiling. You will love it.

People were enjoying a morning swim at Gouverneur Beach

We stopped at the bakery to get our baguette. Lo and behold, I saw David Mouton, the owner of one of my most favorite restaurants, the Santa Fe. I asked him how things were going, and he told me that the landlord had just signed the insurance papers, so he can start the work. Steve asked him if the restaurant will be open in time for his Super Bowl party and he replied with a definite, “Yes”. We hope the Santa Fe opens sooner than that. I will let you know.

We bumped into David Mouton, the owner of the Santa Fe restaurant.

November 13, 2017

Today, I visited Villa Micela that sits directly on Flamands Beach. To be honest, I was absolutely astonished to see what the owners had accomplished. This two-bedroom jewel is perfect for those of you who love to be on Flamands Beach! I walked in, and immediately wanted to stay there, it looked so inviting. I opened the sliders from the air-conditioned living room to the pool deck – perfect. I walked towards the beach – a steep stairway was there inviting me to go down to the beach – incredible. Villa Micela is waiting for you. Just email me or reservations@stbarth.com. You will be in 7th heaven.

I took this photo of Villa Micela on November 13, 2017. It’s beautiful!

The Villa Micela owners ingeniously built this staircase to be sure that you can directly access Flamands Beach

For dinner, I had heard that the owner of the Tom Beach hotel bought Le Bouchon, located in the Oasis shopping center in Lorient. Indeed, our waiter had a Free St. Barth t-shirt on and told me that he can’t wait until La Plage restaurant reopens because that is where he normally works. He shared with me that they hope to have their New Year’s Eve celebration on the beach, so let julia@stbarth.com if you have reserved your villa with us and want to make reservations. Le Bouchon immediately reopened after Hurricane Irma. Although the menu is not as extensive as it will be, we loved it.

For a casual evening, try Le Bouchon in Lorient.

For now, the menu at Le Bouchon is limited, but yummy. By the time you go, there should be more selections.

November 14, 2017

I visited some potential new villa listings today. The owners had called my office to ask us to add them to our portfolio. I always inspect villas first, before agreeing to represent them. I will share the details of the villas I ok’d, once we have the contracts signed and photos to show you.

Great news! Le Tamarin restaurant reopens November 21, 2017! It is unbelievable that Paco and Julie have been able to restore their famous garden and lily ponds so quickly. I am sure it will be packed, so we should make your reservation before you travel. Never fear, we always send you a lunch and dinner reservation form in advance.

I had spotted a new sign, Da Vinci, that is next to Le Choisy bakery in Lorient, asked Aurélie about it, and she told me it is an alfresco pizza place. I had to try it for dinner tonight. I ordered a pesto pasta dish which was also on the menu and it was quite good (but very filling). This is a very casual place.

Le Choisy bakery in Lorient is open for business.

It looks as if Steve has a palm hat on at Da Vinci restaurant, next to La Choisy bakery, a very casual spot to get a pizza.

November 15, 2017

It’s my last day on St. Barth. I must go home to my house on Cape Cod to cook a huge turkey for our annual Thanksgiving Day dinner that I host for my family. I’m sorry to leave but will be back in no time, December 2nd, to be precise.

We have an arrival at Villa Royal Palm today, so I met the owner there to take a peek. Wow! It looks fantastic. The view is just as wonderful as ever and the villa is spotless.

I was able to see Villa Blue Diamond, too because we have an arrival there tomorrow. It also looks wonderful; The infinity pool was so inviting and, once again, the view is stunning. The owner will be adding a 2nd bedroom at some point (but not working on it while we have clients staying there).

I took this photo of the pool and view from Villa Blue Diamond on November 15, 2017.

Time to get ready and, let me tell you, putting on shoes after 2 weeks in paradise wearing only sandals, was not what I wanted to do. Off to the airport to return our cars to Odile at Gumbs car rental. She was sitting in the booth that St. Barth Properties shares with her. We checked in for our flight to San Juan with Tradewind. The airport and the departure lounge are fine.

Odile Gumbs was waiting for us with a smile, when we returned in our cars.

The deparature lounge at the St. Barth airport looks the same.

A true aerial view of the runway and St. Jean Beach from my seat in Tradewind.

We landed in San Juan, went through immigration and then customs. We were randomly picked to submit to an agriculture check which took some time, so I was grateful that we didn’t have a tight connection. The airport was very busy. We checked in for our flight to Boston on JetBlue.

The San Juan airport was very busy.

We seemed to be the only “tourists” on the plane. A long line with 21 wheelchairs had to board first. No one spoke English; all seemed to be evacuees. It was sad – when we were waiting for our luggage to arrive, I saw so many people, go up to someone arriving in a wheel chair, as well as others, and began hugging them and crying for happiness to get them out of Puerto Rico. I feel sorry for the island and its inhabitants and wish them well in their recovery.

I don’t believe that you will have a problem transiting through San Juan. I will let you know what it is like when I fly back to St. Barth through San Juan on December 01, 2017. We need to overnight in San Juan because JetBlue canceled its morning flights out of Boston.

As of today, the following beaches are open for your swimming enjoyment.

  • Colombier
  • Flamands
  • Anse des Cayes
  • Corossol
  • Public
  • St. Jean (airport side)
  • Shell Beach
  • Gouverneur
  • Petit Cul de Sac

I hope to see you there very soon!

Happy Thanksgiving!

You can give thanks that St. Barth survived Hurricane Irma and is well on its way to recovery.

2 Responses to “Hurricane Irma update November 11-15, 2017”

  1. Joe and Darlene says:

    Thanks once agin for this update, Peg. It is really good and honest information on the state of the Island. We will keep reading it after you return in December and hopefully will be able to return for our annual trip in April. Still thinking we will go out of JFK but not sure whether to go AA or Jet Blue. Time will tell I guess.

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Another firsthand report on the post-Hurricane Irma recovery

November 15th, 2017

Post Hurricane Irma blog November 06-10, 2017

November 06, 2017

Monday morning is bustling. Trucks are full of supplies and workers are everywhere. The landscapers are tending to the gardens, masons are repairing the stone walls, the children are back in school after the Toussaint (All Saints) vacation and people are heading back to work. Sneakers and Fitbit back on, we head to Gustavia again. Today’s walk takes us to Shell Beach. The shells are back! The beach is pretty, although the left end is missing some sand. The right end is wider than ever.

The shells are back on Shell Beach!

Shell Beach is doing well.

We checked out Shellona and came to the conclusion that it will be fine. The building looks the way it did one year ago when the owners were pushing hard to get it open in time for Christmas; the lower part of the restaurant that sits on the sand needs to be restored with its tables and bar, but I don’t think it is a big deal. For sure, it will be open for the holidays (In my humble opinion, that is). The word is that it will reopen December 22, 2017.

Shellona is boarded up and still standing. The beach front area needs to be set up.

I went back to the villa and worked remotely, then went to my office to meet with Benoit and Pascale about the schedule to do the repairs of both offices as well as our plans for your arrival and other administrative matters.

We dined at Black Ginger which had reopened a few days before, and had another delicious dinner. It’s St. Barth, after all. By coincidence, Pascal Ramette, one of the owners of La Guérite, was at the next table. I asked him when his gourmet restaurant was reopening, and he said, without hesitation, December 22nd! What a great spot to have your New Year’s Eve dinner and then watch the midnight fireworks. We can make the reservation for you.

Black Ginger is one of our favorite restaurants.

November 07, 2017

More good news! I received the following email from Mathilde Tissot, the owner of the 5 star Villa Marie, a Sibuet boutique hotel.

“Dear Peg,

I can now confirm the official re-opening date for the hotel Villa Marie Saint-Barth on March 9th, 2018!

Villa Marie Saint Barth will even offer 2 additional units to the existing 18 villa and bungalows:

– A second master villa with sweeping ocean views and private pool
– A third master villa (without private pool) which can be divided into a Prestige bungalow + a Caribbean bungalow: perfect for a family or for two couples in search of a Caribbean getaway.

Reservations are now open!”

So, all you need to do is contact me or one of my very capable St. Barth Villa and Hotel Specialists at reservations@stbarth.com. I love, love, love this hotel. I think you will too. Even if you do not stay there, you must dine at their gourmet restaurant, François Plantation. It is supposed to reopen in December and it’s a wonderful experience. You can also have lunch at their intimate poolside restaurant. If you want to hang out there for the day, we can reserve some chaises for you when we make your lunch reservation.

Our walk took me to the stairway up to Fort Karl. I had expected the steps that are built into the hillside would have been totally washed away, so I was happy to see them intact and waiting for you to use them.

Climb the steps up to Fort Karl to take in the fabulous view.

No trip to St. Barth is complete without having a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Le Select, so today is the day! The problem? One of my pet peeves is those tiny plastic ketchup packets that I can never open, except with my teeth, and my dentist- husband forbids me to do that. Knowing that we would be going to Le Select, I always bring my own bottle of ketchup (it must be Heinz), so I checked every grocery store on the island and: NO Heinz Ketchup whatsoever! No any kind of ketchup, either, so, off we went to the American Store in Gustavia; surely, they would have it, but no, nothing there except a jar of “Original Ketchup.” I settled for that, went to check-out and found out it cost 13 euros! It was ok, but nothing like Heinz, I do understand that it is not a priority and it may take time to stock the shelves.

I had to settle for a 13 euro jar of ketchup. The 2 cheeseburgers plus an order of fries cost exactly the same – 13 euros.

No trip to St. Barth is complete without having a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select.

That evening we dined at Le Repaire and watched the Voyager ferry come in on its last run from St. Martin. We always enjoy dining there.

November 08, 2017

Today is full of meetings. I met with Claire Hillau from Le Barthélemy hotel to discuss the reopening. I was disappointed to hear that no date has been set. She thinks she will know the beginning of December, but it looks like it won’t be until the fall of 2018. For sure, they will be open by November because they have a wedding scheduled there that month.

We dined at L’Isola, had a nice corner table and an outstanding meal, the vitello limone for me, and shrimp and lobster risotto for Steve. We were warmly greeted by both Fabrizio the owner, and Ricardo the manager. We met a nice couple who said that they want to buy property on St. Barth, so I said that my St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office will take care of them.

We loved our evenng at L’Isola and are very happy that they reopened so quickly.

November 09, 2017

I knew you would be asking me about Saline Beach, so off we went to check it out. The salt pond was full, the path from the parking lot was nice and wide and we began our hike. The rocky access up seemed a bit tougher and steeper to me, but that might be because I have not climbed it recently. When we reached the top, the view was as breathtaking as ever and was incredibly expansive. There was quite a steep slope to get down to the beach itself. Good exercise for you! It has not yet been approved for swimming due to the high level
Of the salt pond but it should be ok very soon.

Bonjour from the top of Saline Beach!

Saline Beach is wide and enticing.

This afternoon I inspected Villa Aloa in Flamands. It looks good and is ready for your stay. The owners were there and pointed out that they have added AC to the living room.

From Villa Aloa, I had a bird’s eye view of the garden bungalows at Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. I am still waiting for a reopening date.

Time for another casual night. So, we went to 25 Quarter in Gustavia. We loved it! It was lively and fun. The décor was unique. We shared a beef quesadilla appetizer followed by Mahi Mahi tacos for Steve and Tuna Tataki for me…really, really good. We chatted with owner Chris Davis who told us that he is going to have a rum room featuring rums from all over the Caribbean.

Thursday Night Football was on in the bar area of 25 Quarter.

November 10, 2017

Today brings us to Flamands Beach. The beach front buildings really took a hit from Irma. To get onto the beach at this time, you need to take the entrance at the far end of the beach. We started our reconnaissance from there and walked all the way down to the hotel Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. The hotel’s beach front restaurant, pool and rooms need lots of repairs. Some of our villas suffered less damage than others and will be ready for guests in a few weeks.

Today, it is Flamands Beach.

If you are coming to St. Barth soon, you will see damaged houses but you can still enjoy Flamands, a classic wide Caribbean Beach.

The hotel Baie des Anges is already open – a very positive sign! The beach itself lost sand and is much lower than before but it is really wide and as beautiful as ever. You can spend the day there. Bring your beach chairs and cooler or order our VIP picnic package that includes the chairs, an umbrella and a delicious picnic basket.

The sand on Flamands Beach is soft and perfect for sun bathing or just taking a nice walk.

As we finished our Flamands reconnaissance walk, this little guy said bonjour, ensuring me that all is well with the St Barth animal life.

Fittingly so, we had dinner, poolside, at La Langouste restaurant located at the Baie des Anges. We always share the Christophine appetizer, one of my very favorites. I had the Dover sole, another favorite. Steve loved the langouste tagliatelle.

We could hear the sound of the waves while we enjoyed dinner at La Langouste.

That’s it for now. I do not want to bore you too much. Stay tuned for my next chapter.

2 Responses to “Another firsthand report on the post-Hurricane Irma recovery”

  1. Randy says:

    We’d love to hear more about other villas, especially the one we’ve rented
    January 27. How many are ready for occupants? How many will not be ready this “high season”? What part of the island sustained the most damage to villas? North side? South side?

    • admin says:

      Dear Randy,

      Like the hotels, the villas on most beaches were damaged. No specific areas were more damaged than others because each one had “micro bursts”, severely damaging some villas while leaving villas down the road with very little damage. At least 50% of our villas will be fine by Christmas and many more will be ready throughout the ensuing months. The owner of your villa Plein Sud is coming next week, so we will have more definitive news. It takes time to know because the insurance adjusters have to come before repairs can be done. Thank you for your patience. Peg

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What does St. Barth look like 8-9 weeks post Hurricane Irma?

November 8th, 2017

A St Barth first-person Experience November 02-05, 2017

My passion has always been St. Barth. My heart was aching for the people who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irma and I longed to get back. Finding flights from Boston had become a huge challenge. I would book flights only to have them canceled. Finally, I found a flight through Miami to St. Maarten. Today’s blog covers my first few days back in paradise.

November 02, 2017:

My husband and I flew on America Airlines to Miami. Fortunately, the flight was on time and we made it to our connecting gate to St. Maarten in time. Both flights were full. I was surprised that so many people wanted to fly to St. Maarten because the recovery there is going at a snail’s pace.

I had heard that the terminal at Princess Juliana Airport was not open and was badly damaged. Make-shift arrangements had been made. That bit of news meant that I was clueless as to how to transit through to St. Barth. We had four heavy checked bags because we packed knowing that we would be here until May. I relied upon my fabulous concierge in our US office, Julia Hurd to arrange VIP services for us. What a smart move!

As soon as we touched down on the tarmac in SXM, I saw the devastation on both sides. I was so used to seeing pictures of how well St. Barth is recovering, it was a bit of a shock. It was as if Irma had hit only 3 days ago instead of 8 weeks ago. Our pilot parked the plane near some tents and we deplaned via a stairway. We were told to go to the “FOB” building. I had no idea what that was, so I asked a friendly guy at the bottom of stairs. He said, “Is your name Walsh?” He took me to Jerry who was handling my Easyway VIP service. Thank you, Jerry!

We deplaned in St. Maarten via a stairway.

We stood in line to clear immigration while Jerry retrieved our luggage, He then escorted us to another tented area where they had some counters and checked us in at Winair. Then we went to a booth to get our passports stamped again, this time for departure, and we went through a security checkpoint in a hangar serving as the departure lounge. It had some places to buy drinks and snacks and a restroom. Soon after, Jerry came to get us, and we were on our way to St. Barth.

We stood in line under a tent, in order ito go through immigration in a temporary building.

We waited for our Winair flight in a hangar that had become the departure lounge.

I admire St. Maarten for adapting to the aftermath of Irma by opening the airport to people like me. SXM is a gateway to many other destinations. I admire American Airlines for flying from Miami and Jet Blue from JFK every day, too. FYI If you are transiting through St. Maarten, please be sure to ask Julia to arrange the VIP service, you will be so happy that you did.

Vive La Différence! As we approached the island, we could see how green St. Barth is – already! We cleared immigration and headed to the St. Barth Properties booth that we share with Gumbs Car Rental. Odile was waiting for us with her always pretty smile and showed us to our rental cars. (Yes, we have two so that I can go off and work without stranding Steve.) 0ff we went to Villa Everest.

I tried to look at the surroundings as I drove. Yup, definitely, a hurricane had hit, the most obvious indication being the almost-naked palm trees. Otherwise, there were many signs of repairs and recovery that impressed me. Even the palms’ fronds had sprouted new growth showing that they were well on their way back to their stately beauty. We unpacked, showered and headed out to dinner. I had vowed that we would frequent every restaurant whose staff had busted their tails to reopen as soon as possible and show my support by dining there. We are always a bit tired on our first night and chose the casual Le Grain de Sel by Saline Beach; it was busy; they had blackboard specials, and we enjoyed the food, the friendly staff as well as the nice breeze.

November 03, 2017

I love waking up my first day back in St. Barth. Feeling rested, I grabbed my camera-phone and took a picture from the pool deck. The island looked nice and green and I remarked that Lorient beach looked beautiful. My mission is to give you firsthand knowledge of how St. Barth looks in real time but to also let you know how the people who lived through this nightmare felt and now feel.

My first morning view from Villa Everest was different but still stunnng.

Steve (aka “Doc”) went to his favorite warehouse in Lorient to stock up on supplies. In case you do not know my husband, he is Dr. Chatter and loves to talk to anyone. Maybe that is because he is a dentist and he was great at distracting his patients with banter between his dental assistant and him. He and the warehouse owner had a long conversation after the guy in front of him had bought every last bottle of Heineken out from under us!) The owner said that the guy owns a restaurant and people like him will go wherever they can to get what they need. Steve settled for Amstel Light and chatted away.

The owner said he had never experienced anything like Hurricane Irma. It was a category 5 but that is as high as the rankings go, and he thought of it as a category 7. In 1995, I remember when Hurricane Luis stalled over St. Barth for 36 hours. He said Irma was fast moving but was much stronger. Some people has lost part of their roofs and windows and when the eye hit at 7:00 am on September 6th, it was a blessing in disguise because people were able to go to the homes of friends and relatives and be safe. The backside was even worse. On September 7th, the island immediately began the recovery process. Everyone showed solidarity and pitched in to help one another. No one was going to sit back and wait for France to send help. The French didn’t think we needed it anyway because, “rich people come to St. Barth.”

Later, I met Anne laure and Laura from my rental office at Villa Les Embruns in Flamands so that I could visit it for a client of mine who is arriving in December. I saw people as well as the villa owner working on the villa, readying it for the first arrival on November 28th. Stonework was being done on a wall as well as repairs on the deck’s gazebos. When we went inside, it was perfect. The furniture looked as if nothing had happened. Laura successfully tested a “flybox” that enabled the Internet connection at the villa. I am going back next week to see the difference and report back.

I stopped at my offices in Gustavia to see everyone and to look at the damages. We have lots to do but both offices are open and ready to welcome you.

I stopped by my new St Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sales office to check out the damages and to say hi to Benoit, Pascale, Nadine and Melissa.

That evening, we dined at another casual place, Bistro Josephine, which is on the road towards Shell Beach, not far from my offices. As soon as I opened the door, I saw my dear friend Audrey Ferrari who was the owner of Carpe Diem restaurant until the landlord decided to tear it down in favor of more shops. Audrey described the menu and the specials to us as we sipped our Coupes de Champagne. Once again, we had a delicious meal and had the chance to talk to Jean Paul, the owner. The bistro features a band once in a while; it also has a rear garden where you can dine alfresco. Try it, you’ll love it. We will make the reservations at any of the restaurants for you.

Doc and I are with Audrey and Jean Paul at Bistro Josephine.

November 04, 2017

Another day of reconnaissance found us driving past Grand Cul de Sac Beach, then turning left to view the lagoon from the righthand side. I wanted to see Le Barthélemy hotel and in the distance Le Sereno and Le Guanahani. The colors of the lagoon were as beautiful as ever; the beach looked inviting, too. The hotels are already in recovery – mode but it will take time before they can reopen. We have plenty of villas ready for your arrival. Maybe it’s time you try the Villa Experience. We can arrange every kind of service you may wish to have while you are there.

Next stop: Lorient Beach. We parked in our usual spot and took the footpath by the cemetery onto the beach. I looked to my left to see a very, very wide sandy beach. We walked the beach and realized that it was as wide as it is because the vegetation in front of the houses was gone. I saw homes that I had never seen before. It should all grow back soon. I spotted a woman with her two children playing on the beach near where the surf shack used to be and, as we approached, I realized that it was Hafida, the owner of The Hideaway restaurant. She told us that she is doing her best to reopen in December. I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Lorient Beach is looking good too.

We had dinner at Eddy’s which had just reopened October 30th. It was quite busy, and we enjoyed seeing Brigitte, Eddy and their son Mahé again. The restaurant itself didn’t suffer any damage. The front garden lost its big tree. Eddy remarked that they were very fortunate because the tree fell across the street instead of onto the restaurant. Our meals were delicious, and I can’t wait to go back.

It is always a pleasure to see Eddy.

November 5, 2017

Today is Sunday. The day of rest is taken seriously by the islanders, so most places are closed. I put on my sneakers, put my Fitbit on my wrist and we headed off to Gustavia for a combination power walk and reconnaissance trip. The bakery in Lorient was open and a coveted parking space was free, so we parked and went in to buy our baguette for sandwich-making, so we could head to the beach with them later.

We stopped to buy our daily fresh baguette at La Petite Colombe in Lorient.

We decided to start our walk towards the other side of Gustavia. A cruise ship was anchored outside of the harbor and passengers had come in by tender. Therefore, a few shops were open. We headed to my offices and saw both the Bagatelle and the Baz Bar were under renovation. They plan on being open in December. Yay! As we continued on, we saw a few places that had been harmed by Irma. The harborside buildings that once held Hervé’s Coté Port and Carole’s Yacht Club were already scheduled to be torn down in favor of more dock space for boats, so no need for repairs there. We walked past the Hôtel de La Collectivité, as handsome as ever, and turned around at the end of that side of the harbor. Minor things such as benches need repair and the palm trees need more fronds.

The Hotel de la Collectivité (city hall) looks great

Reversing our steps, we walked down the other side of the harbor past the ferry dock and fish market. Everything seemed normal. The Voyager ferry had just arrived from St. Martin, taxi drivers were offering island tours to the cruise ship passengers, Le Repaire was open for breakfast and the fish market was intact but not open because it was Sunday. I did see a piece of plywood on the window at Longchamp’s but not much more. Further up the Bar de L’Oubli was open, too.

The Voyager ferry arrived on this quiet Sunday.

The fish market showed no sign of damage.

The afternoon reconnaissance: St. Jean Beach. After packing the cooler, putting beach chairs and an umbrella in the car, we headed to the parking lot across from the beach. The path at the end of the runway, going onto the sand, was wide, once again, because the foliage was gone. Believe it or not, we found a tiny piece of beach where we usually sit, that was shaded by some rejuvenating palm trees.

The sand on the Les Ilets de la Plage side of the beach has come back nicely. I think it is because most of the fence washed away.

We walked the beach towards Eden Rock and saw the damage to Tom Beach, Emeraude Plage and Eden Rock. Lots of work to do there. Tom Beach is already on its way back and expects to be open in December. We saw piles of sand waiting to be spread in various spots along the beach.

The sand at the Eden Rock side of St. Jean Beach is recovering well.

A benefit from Irma is that the better parts of the fences washed away. You can walk the entire beach again. Hope it lasts.

I noticed a few chaise lounges with umbrellas at the spot where Carib Water Play’s booth used to be and stopped to chat with Lucas, Jean Michel’s son. He was open for business! Good to know – 15 euros for a lounge chair and 10 euros for an umbrella – well worth it.

Carib Water Play is open for business.

Lucas is ready to set up your chaise lounge and umbrella, rent you a surf board or give you a windsurfing lesson.

To end the day, we enjoyed a casual Sunday night dinner at Le Vietnam restaurant in Gustavia.

My next blog will be shorter, I promise, and I will tell you more about my adventures post-Irma.

12 Responses to “What does St. Barth look like 8-9 weeks post Hurricane Irma?”

  1. Thanks Peg for the authentic and candid updates and photos. This is just what we all need… to know the real story. So glad you are there and things are coming back together. The people there are amazing, strong and so resilient!

  2. Peg,
    Thank you so much for your comprehensive information about St.Barth’s Recovery process which I have also shared with my husband. You touched upon so many of our favorite places and it so nice to hear that you were planning to dine at all the restaurants who were open for the reasons of their proprietors and all they had to endure throughout the recovery process. My husband and I are determined to return hopefully in 2019 as I had previously expressed to Julia who then was able to connect me my contact here in the states when we are ready to travel. My dream is when the island is truly up and running to find a venue who will appreciate solo violin music as this is what I do and know a lot of French tunes. I realize this is down the road but is my dream. Le Gaic, Le Carl
    Gustaf or L’hotel L’isle de France would be perfect settings!
    So happy to hear and may also use Julia’s VIP service if need be!!
    A Bientot!
    Jodi

    • admin says:

      Bonjour Jodi,

      Thank you for the comment. I hope that you can Live Your Dream by playing in one of St. Barth’s venues. i will be there with bells on.

      Peg

  3. Helen Rose says:

    Thank you so much Peg for such a detailed update on St Barth’s .
    We have holidayed there the last 4 Year’s and have a booking later in March 2018 at Tom Beach hotel for 2 weeks, we have been in contact with them and have been assured that our reservation still stands which we are very happy about.
    I am always trying to find out how everything is going there and your blog has been the best information so far, thank you so much and keep up the good work.
    We are traveling from Australia and incorporating St Barth’s with a cruise out of Miami so as you can imagine we needed to book flights etc , we are all done and looking forward to our time at beautiful St Barth’s .
    Many thanks once again
    Helen Rose

    • admin says:

      Dear Helen,

      Thank you for your comment. You are a real testimonial to how much people love St. Barth by traveling all the way from Australia! I just booked some repeat clients at Tom Beach in March.i drive by the hotel every day and see improvements each time. I will be posting further updates, so please stay tuned and keep reading my blog.
      Peg

  4. Joe and Darlene says:

    Peg, we really enjoyed reading your update. Have also been following the many folks on the St Barth’s Forum as there is a good deal of information there. Darlene and I are booked into Gros Islet in April but coming from Canada looks like an impossibility given that Air Canada and Westjet will not likely be flying to SXM anytime soon. We wonder who flys to SXM from New York maybe as that might work for us without much additional cost. We for sure won’t be interested in going thru SJU or Antigua! Also wonder how Gros Islet is coming with repairs although we have lots of time yet. Fingers are crossed as it’s either St Barths or nothing for us now!

    • admin says:

      Hi Joe and Darlene, Thank you for your comments. Gros Islets is recovering well. It will be fine for your stay. I am going back to Boston for 2 weeks to host Thanksgiving and then back down here again December 01 via San Juan, so I will be posting about that experiences, Jet Blue flies nonstop to SXM departing JFK April 8 at 8:25 am and arriving in SXM at 12:30 pm. The return on April 22, 2018 departs SXM at 1:32 pm and arrives at JFK at 6:04 pm. I hope this information helps,
      Peg

      • Joe and Darlene says:

        Thanks Peg, yes that information helps a lot! We will touch base with Anne Cecile in January for an update on the villa. Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and that the Pats continue to win for you!

  5. Thanks for the update. Has us feel a little bit better.

  6. Thanks so much for the update.

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Hurricane Irma Update 4

October 25th, 2017

The latest news plus, how do you see photos of St. Barth in real time?

We know many people are confused by some information that has been reported in the media. It is true we were hit by a very powerful storm. Some media have lumped St. Barth together with other islands that had certainly suffered greatly and are not as fortunate to possess the resources for such a rapid recovery like St. Barth. Our hearts go out to our neighbors and we wish them the best in their efforts towards recovery. We know they will all rise up again.

Gustavia 10-12-17

Irma before and after 10-13-17

Below you can see the current list of updated business and restaurant openings as well as airport/ferry information. All of this can be found on our Hurricane Irma update page on which we have posted nearly every day. We invite you take a moment to read this page. Be sure to start from the bottom of the page to see all updates. We think you’ll be impressed with the progress.

Business/Restaurant/Airport/Ferry Info

  • Private Villas:
    • We have assessed all of our properties and are pleased to report that many are ready for their November or December arrivals and most ready for high season. A few may take a bit longer but with 250 beautiful homes in our inventory we have plenty of great choices to offer you.

Villa Royal Palm in Vitet received its first guests October 23, 2017. They are thrilled! Photo taken 10-22 17.

  • Shops & Businesses:
    • The majority of shops in Gustavia and St. Jean are open now or will be re-opening as originally scheduled in October & November.
  • Restaurants:
    • Open now or by the end of November: Bakeries island wide, Le Select, Bar de L’Oubli, Galawa (former Pipiri), 25 Quarter, Le Jardin, Le Vietnam, Island Flavors, Au Regal, Bistro Josephine, Le Bouchon, Les Bananiers, Modjo, Yo Sushi Mania, L’Esprit de Saline, La Langouste, La Cantina, Le Piment, Papas Pizza delivery, Le Rendez-Vous, Eddy’s, Le Tamarin, Black Ginger, François Plantation, L’Isola, L’Isoletta, Orega, Chez Rolande, L’Entracte, Spice of St. Barth, Jo-Jo Burger, Mayas to Go.
    • Opening in December: Mayas, Le Ti St. Barth, La Bagatelle, La Plage, Shellona (former Dð Brazil), La Guérite (former Wall House), Kiki é Mo, Baz-Bar.
  • Airports/Airlines/Ferries:
    • St. Barth Airport: OPEN Re-opened in September and is fully functional.
    • St. Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport: OPEN Re-opened Oct 10 to commercial flights.
    • San Juan Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation is currently flying daily flights between St. Barth and San Juan and will maintain a full schedule for the high season.
    • Antigua Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation will resume its flights between Antigua and St. Barth and expects to add additional flights for the high season.
    • St. Thomas Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation will resume its flights between St. Thomas and St. Barth for the high season.
    • St. Kitts/Nevis Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation will resume its flights between St. Kitts/Nevis and St. Barth for the high season.
    • Great Bay Express: Ferry service between St. Martin and St. Barth resumed October 13.
    • Voyager Ferry Service: Ferry service between St. Martin and St. Barth resumed October 13.

The residents of St. Barth have worked hard so that they can welcome you back this season. If you are considering a St. Barth vacation and support our beloved island, everyone there will be happy to see you! I would be delighted to assist you in securing the right accommodations. Some who know St. Barth are saying this could be the perfect year to visit as it may be a bit quieter than recent years, a nice reminder of the St. Barth in simpler times. I look forward to assisting you. Contact me pegwalsh@stbarth.com or our St. Barth Specialists at reservations@stbarth.com, 1-800-421-3396.

Many of you have asked for photos of the island. Everyday it gets greener and greener. For a live update 24/7, check http://www.st-barth.com/livecam5.html. You can follow along to see the improvement right up until your day of travel.

The greening of St. Barth continues…10-22-2017

Post Irma, only 7 weeks later, the palm trees that looked like Q-tips as described by Tom Smyth 2 weeks ago are now coming back with gusto 10-22-2017

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Hurricane Irma Update 3

September 29th, 2017

Your flight to St. Maarten has been canceled! What can you do?

Not only is the flora rejuvenating, the fauna is returning, too. An Iguana was spotted shortly after the hurricane, while another appeared in Marigot two weeks later. The miracle of the camouflage amazes me. All creatures adapt.

Photo taken shortly after Hurricane Irma

September 20, 2017 – 2 weeks later – so happy to see our friends are ok. Photo courtesy of Le News.

The children went back to school on Monday September 25th and La Poste in Gustavia opened the same day, although it’s not 100% operational. We are thrilled to see that Le Tamarin is reopening in time for Thanksgiving. I love dining there. I am sure that much of the foliage that you see in this photo will be lusher by then. Concierge Julia Hurd will be happy to book reservations for you.

The Tamarin is reopening in time for Thanksgiving! Photo taken September 25, 2017

The St. Barth ancestors knew exactly how to build their homes, called “cases” and did so according to whether their land was windward or leeward.

The original St Barth case survives yet another storm – photo courtesy Hélène Bernier – It belongs to her grandmother

The island is still in recovery mode and doing its best to be ready for you.

September 29, 2017 One of Masterski Pilou’s boats is hauled up after sinking in the harbor. Don’t worry he has more for you.

September 26 2017 Le Bar de L’Oubli is as busy as ever

Our clients want to keep their reservations and come to St. Barth as planned, even if they can’t dance on the tables at Nikki Beach or have lunch at Cheval Blanc. We are facing an unfortunate obstacle: Many people have booked their flights through St. Maarten (SXM) and the airlines are canceling their flights! They want to support the island by coming but now they can’t get to St. Barth by connecting from there. What to do?

We have the answer! Check the airlines that fly from your airport to see which of them fly to San Juan (SJU). If your airline does have flights, we can make arrangements for you to fly directly to St. Barth! I connect through San Juan on Tradewind Aviation all the time. It is so easy. Although hard hit by Hurricane Maria, the airport is open. Our thoughts and prayers are with Puerto Rico and hope they will be on their way to recovery, very soon.

Depending on the time of year and the day of the week you are traveling, you can depart San Juan as early as 6:45 am and return from St. Barth starting at 8:20 am until 5:20 pm or later. Many of you know that the airport in St. Barth closes at dusk, so bear in mind that the last flight to St. Barth this fall departs at 4:00 pm. Once the holidays are over, they depart SJU at 4:30 and that flight gets later and later as the days get longer. Tradewind also offers service from St. Thomas (STT) and Antigua (ANU). Our concierge in the US office, Julia Hurd, can make the connecting flights for you.

Tradewind’s beautiful Pilatus PC-12 is air-conditioned and offers passengers snacks and drinks during the approximately 1 hour flight from San Juan.

If you can’t get a flight to San Juan and you purchased the travel insurance we offered you, and you have proof that your flight to SXM has been canceled, you are covered for reimbursement and can file a claim. For those who did not purchase the insurance, please contact your St. Barth Specialist about rolling over your reservation to a future date. We continue to gather information on the status of our villas and your Specialist can offer you a different villa if yours won’t be ready by the time you travel.

September 26 2017 The iconic clock tower stands above Gustavia harbor – photo courtesy of Le News

2 Responses to “Hurricane Irma Update 3”

  1. Randy says:

    What do you know about Villa Plein Sud and the likelihood that it will be available by mid January?

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Hurricanes Irma and Maria update

September 22nd, 2017

St. Barth continues to recover quickly. The island had to take the day off on September 18, 2017 thanks to Hurricane Maria which, thankfully, passed to the south and dropped lots of rain and fairly strong winds but caused no real damage. Beneficial rain is always welcome to assist with the greening-up of St. Barth’s beautiful foliage.

September 15, 2017 The little Sucrier (Sugar) birds have returned home. Photo courtesy of Le News.

The whole island is working together to restore paradise.

Everyone in St. Barth is pitching in to help with the clean up.

We need to remember that the island pretty much shuts down every year from September 01 to October 15 at the earliest, so almost every hotel, restaurant and boutique was closed when Irma hit and remains closed. Traditionally, villa and hotel bookings don’t really begin until mid-October. Some restaurants open at that time, while others wait until sometime in November. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of choices when you are vacationing in St. Barth. Julia Hurd, our concierge will be up-to date on that and happy to make your reservations for you. We all knew that when we learned that Le Select re-opened last week, that the island was in true recovery mode.

September 14, 2017 Hooray! Le Select re-opened!

The best news for all of us who adore St. Barth is that on September 21, 2017, only 15 days after Irma, the Tourism Board announced, “The Island of Saint-Barthélemy, in full energy, is as active as an ant hill with an extraordinary solidarity: all roads are cleared, electricity and drinking water networks are being deployed in the neighborhoods, the port of commerce and the airport are operational, bakeries and the power supplies are open, restaurants and bars are gradually opening up their establishment…everything is back to life with the goal of welcoming our loyal visitors from October 30 on our island.” Mark your calendars! Keep your reservations! I’ll see you on St. Barth very soon.

La Petite Colombe bakery gracioulsy handed out free baguettes to eveyone! Makes our mouths water.

Our St. Barth Properties offices in the US as well as on St. Barth are diligently checking with each and every villa owner and/or manager as to the status of their villas. We are in contact with the hotels that we represent as well.

Every day, we receive more exciting positive news such as the Les Voiles de St Barth regatta will go on as scheduled. We are continuing to keep you updated on our home page under What’s Trending, so please keep checking it.

http://stbarth.com/hurricane-irma

The Les Voiles de Saint-Barth annual sailing regatta is returning to St. Barth as scheduled April 08-13 2018

One Response to “Hurricanes Irma and Maria update”

  1. John says:

    Thanks for keeping us all informed about the recovery efforts. Any news on our favorite place, Tom Beach, where we are headed in November? Can’t find out how it or Eden Rock are faring. Thanks much.

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St. Barth Update on the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

September 13th, 2017

First, everyone is safe!

Second, there are lots of untrue rumors going around equating St. Barth’s damages to other islands, so please ask reliable sources.

Third, thank you for sending your best wishes to us and to all of St. Barth.

As many of you know, Category 5 Hurricane Irma’s forceful winds and rain arrived during the wee hours on Wednesday September 06, 2017 and the eye went directly over St. Barth around 7:00 am. The first photos showed flooded streets in Gustavia and many cars flipped around by the force of the wind. Both my real estate and rental offices on the harbor showed water coming up to the shuttered windows. The water receded and later photos showed that they had both survived. Much of the damage exhibited debris with downed power lines and trees clogging the streets. Some roofs were damaged. The beaches were hit but look much better each day. The various hotels are assessing their damage.

Each hour showed improvement over the one before it. The airport reopened and by Friday evening, power was restored to parts of Gustavia and the roads were cleared. Fast forward to only two days later and Category 4 Hurricane Jose was to pay the island an unwelcome visit. (What are the chances of that happening?) and, luckily, stood us up; it passed to the north. Here is how some people celebrated with music!

Musical celebration after knowing that Hurricane Jose passed to the north of St. Barth – September 09 2017

The people of St. Barth are so resilient and showed tremendous solidarity towards each other and their beloved island, so they immediately started the cleanup. Fortunately, St. Barth has strict building codes, so most structures remain intact. Rain from Jose proved to be beneficial with the plant life.

Sept 11, 2017 7:25 am. The island’s flora has already started its rebirth

It is too early to give you an update on our villas and hotels; rest assured, we are checking on every single one and will keep you informed. In addition to coming to St. Barth, for those who want to contribute the recovery financially, please donate directly to the island with a wire to the Trésorerie de Saint Barthélemy (The Treasury) so that you know that 100% of your contribution goes directly to St. Barth.

Please donate directly to the Trésorerie de Saint Barthélemy (The Treasury). Include Hurricane Irma, your first and last name, and St. Barth Properties on the wire.

For updates on the progress, please see our website- What’s Trending on our home page and visit it often.

Sentiments from some of our clientele:

Hello There. Thoughts and prayers went to you all. Your properties and business and that little island I have grown to love so much. I could not go this year and last…Rest assured we will return this year to show our support will be there. Janice

If ANYONE has any hesitations about this island and its ability to recover after a hurricane, I would be happy to talk with them. My wife and I were on the island for Lenny and said that if anyone is hesitating about their trip in November, they should not. Bob

Please let everyone on St. Barth’s know that Joan and I are thinking of them and praying for them. Mother Nature is tough, but Island Folk are just as tough. All the best, to everyone there,
Rudy and Joan

Hi Peg- I know how devastated Ian & I are about what is happening in St. Barth, which makes me think of all those who have ties to the island. Knowing that you have family, a business & that your heart is there, I wanted to reach out and let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers! Jack ❤️

Thanks for the update Peg. No need to thank me. I consider the St Barth Properties team family and thanks to you, the island has become part of me! Fond thoughts and prayers, Mike

We don’t leave until November, so praying for the folks on the island and that they’ll have their infrastructure back in place by then so we can go. I’ll try to go even if I have to swim there!!! Jim

Gustavia 2 days later September 08, 2017

What Can You Do to Help?

Solène Leprezon, the owner of St. Barth Kid’s Concierge and VIP Protect Event, lived through Irma and wrote a wonderful post on Facebook. Here are some quotes:

“For our lovers of St Barth who ask us what they can do to help us. Book in advance this year, show us that you don’t let us down, make a deposit as soon as possible so that we, the economic and business actors of st Barthélemy regain confidence and have the cash to welcome you in the best Conditions as soon as possible.

For the moment, not much to do aside from making donations to associations on the island that will help people… It’s afterwards that we may need you a little bit more, that you help us get back the island’s economy, this season, you come back to see us! Come to see the work we all have done to welcome you again and show you that the spirit of St. Barth that you have known for years is still present. We will need you to enjoy our great wines in your favorite restaurants, discover new places to stay if your favorite villa or hotel has not yet had time to make itself a beauty, that you make bookings for the services of the independents on the island that live here all year long and often, for a very long time and which, for many of us, will have lost a lot: Caretakers, event organizers, villa managers, maids, pool men and gardeners, private chefs and caterers, babysitters, taxi drivers, safety officers, swimming instructors, tennis, and water sports and all types, leisure activities such as masseuses. We will also need you to continue shopping for fashion designer goods and local brand shops, as well as luxury boutiques, visit the small shops you don’t know… we will have to rediscover St. Barth! All those who are going to be able to stay and anyone who will be able to come back soon, we will do everything to make your next stay exceptional because it is especially thanks to you, in love with the island of St. Barthélemy, who come to enjoy everything you love here for a few days or weeks during your holidays that those who live here during the year will be able to make every effort to make St Barth a little paradise on earth.”

That I can take time to prepare with my team the most beautiful treasure hunts and schedules of activities so that your children will also enjoy discovering or rediscovering St Barth, organizing for them the most beautiful birthday parties or even days just for fun with children from the island or others on holiday…I hope that very soon it will be a bad memory! Be strong for tomorrow and the days that will follow!”

You will soon be dancing on the tables again at Nikki Beach – photo taken Sept 10 2017

And of course, donate.

This is how I feel (click on the volume icon at the lower right to hear the song).

Pour mes amis de Saint Barth…"My love will always live in Saint BarthAs sure as the sun will always shine in Saint Barth"Gardez la foi… le soleil brillera à nouveau

Posted by Pierre Nesta on Saturday, September 9, 2017

And this will be what it will look like in no time. It may give you goose bumps:

Gustavia Sepember 10 2017 – 4 days after Hurrican Irma

6 Responses to “St. Barth Update on the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma”

  1. Charlie says:

    Please keep on sending news. We have been vacation in St. Barths for over 30 years. Stayed at Filao until it was destroyed. Then at Emaruade Plage. I hope everyone is well. We look forward to our annual visit next year.

    • admin says:

      Hi Charlie, Thank you for loving St. Barth as much as I do! I’ll do my best to update the progress. After 30 years, you know how strong the people of St. Barth are and how quickly they can recover. I hope to see you on the island when your next visit. My best to you, Peg

  2. Karen & Bill R. says:

    Hi Peg
    Thanks so much for the update.
    So glad to know things are not as bad
    as we see on the news about other islands.
    We look forward to our return trip in January / February.
    Bill & Karen

    • admin says:

      Hi Karen and Bill, Thank you so much for your support. Every day shows more and more progress. We are grateful that Maria passed to the south but, of course, very sad for Puerto Rico and wish them well in their recovery. Stay tuned for more news about St. Barth. – My best to you – Peg

  3. Janet Bohac says:

    So glad to hear all is not lost on the most beautiful island!

    • admin says:

      Hi Janet,
      It is so nice to hear from you! Thank you for following the news of our very special little island. I hope that you can get back there one day. All the best to you, Peg

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Arrival night dinner – worth the money. Start your St. Barth vacation on the right foot!

August 2nd, 2017

Bonjour!

Today’s blog was written by our St. Barth Properties USA office’s St. Barth Villa and Hotel Specialist Allegra Pawlowski. Allegra was lucky enough to start her time on St. Barth as a vacationer before swinging into work mode.

As many of our repeat guests know, vacationing in St. Barth is worth the extra effort it takes to get there. Occasionally, a glitch or two, through no fault of our own, can make for a very long travel day. Allegra shares her story.

Enjoy!
Peg

GUEST BLOG BY ALLEGRA PAWLOWSKI

Allegra

Allegra Pawlowski

I went to the island for some vacation time with my mom and best friend and then I was to stay on for another week for my bi-annual inspection trip. The vacation portion was first and as it was a special getaway for my mom after a very tough year with medical hurdles and a death in the family, I arranged to have her pampered a bit on this trip. The first step was to hire a chef for our arrival night. Little did I realize that this was to be way more appreciated than originally planned… FOR ALL OF US.

Our travel day started with rising in Boston at 2 a.m. for a flight leaving at 5:30 a.m. followed by a connection in NYC and landing on St Maarten in a rain storm. This kind of weather is infrequent, so it was my first experience. Instead of waiting out the storm, we decided to jump in a taxi, cross the island at rush hour and head to the ferry.

You can take a ferry from St. Martin (the French side) instead of flying to St. Barth

Let me take a moment here to add that our Director of Concierge Services, (located in the US) Julia Hurd is a godsend! With one quick call to Julia, she reassured us that all would be ok on the island – she swiftly arranged to have the rental car waiting at the dock (rather than the airport), the chef was to arrive later and the manager of the property was alerted of our delay. I could sit back and enjoy the ferry ride to the island (a VERY rough, but fun ride, especially with a Planteur’s Punch in hand!).

Once we disembarked, we jumped in the car, drove to the Marché U to get the requisite (and much needed) bottles of wine, water and a few things to get us through the night. The chef, Christophe was hard at work already in the spacious kitchen of GORGEOUS Les Etoiles (our home for 2 of our 6 nights on the island). We were welcomed to the scent of parmesan crisps being toasted in the oven! We parked ourselves at the bar in the kitchen, watched the rain through the glass windows surrounding the living and kitchen area, poured ourselves some rosé and enjoyed the show in front of us with Christophe!

Chefs X.O. – Christophe Moreau preparing our first night’s meal

This was the agreed upon menu:

  • Amuse Bouche de la chef
  • Burrata di bufala with heirloom tomatoes, pear capers tartare, crispy prosciutto and parmesan chips
  • Beef Wellington, mushroom duxelles, grenaille potatoes, Mediterranean ratatouille
  • Roasted pineapple with citrus and honey syrup

Amuse Bouche de la Chef

Burrata by Chefs X.O., Christophe

HEAVEN! The zombies we were, sitting at the bar allowed us to watch Christophe work his magic and magic it was! He kept refilling our glasses with the rosé we picked up at the market (He can provide the cocktails and wine if you wish) and we watched with our eyes wide and mouths drooling. What a fantastic way to end an adventure-filled day! I strongly suggest that you ask Julia to arrange your first night’s dinner on your arrival day.

Dessert – Roasted pineapple with citrus and honey syrup

Thank you and sunny regards,

Allegra Pawlowski
St Barth Specialist

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A Client Captures the Magic of St. Barth on Video

June 29th, 2017

Bonjour! Today’s blog features a video beautifully created by one of our clients, Bob Grummel. Bob and his wife were in St. Barth last month and he spent a lot of the time using a DSLR camera to get the gorgeous shots that you see here. He did an excellent job of capturing what St. Barth is all about and why I fell in love with the island when I first arrived in 1986. Bob also fell in love with St. Barth when he and his wife first visited the island in 2008. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

Happy viewing,

Peg

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