Archive for June, 2011

Why go to St. Barth in August? St Barth Rocks Presents St. Barth Summer Sessions August 05-15, 2011

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer in the United States can be defined as a time period or event that is very hot and/or stagnant. Why not pack your carry-on, jump in a plane and head to St. Barth to attend an event in Barth that is not to be missed? It’s the St. Barth Summer Sessions that is promoted by St. Barth Rocks.

St Barth Rocks is a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring artists and musicians to perform in Saint Barthélemy all year long. This year it is promoting St. Barth Summer Sessions which is an annual event that brings in very talented artists to perform each evening between August 05 and 15. Both were created by hotelier Thierry de Badereau of Hotel Tom Beach and his famous restaurant La Plage. It has grown into an extremely popular event that will take place at a variety of different venues all over the island and include a concert featuring all of the invited artists that will take place on the harbor’s quai on August 13th.

This year’s festival focuses on artists from Brazil. Performers such as TAIS ALVARENGA the Brazilian 23-year-old songwriter, composer, actress and singer who graduated from Bostons’ Berklee College of Music with a degree in film scoring will surely dazzle us all. ALVARO KAPAZ who was born in São Paulo, Brazil was awarded the Berklee Achievement Scholarship for his outstanding involvement with the college, He is also one of the creators of the band, Project K-Paz that will be entertaining you. The ABERTO PRA BALANCO TRIO formed by young São Paulo musicians that has rocked at parties, events and concerts in São Paulo and other parts of Brazil will be sure to rock you too.

Artists from elsewhere such as the ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ TRIO one of the famous finalists and singers from American Idol 2010 who graduated from Berklee in 2009 will bring her ‘All Girls Band’ to the Summer Sessions. Tom Howie is a 22 year-old guitarist and songwriter whose soaring vocals and songwriting talents have drawn comparison to Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke. In November, he will release his third solo album, The Right and Wrong of Everything. RYAN FARDY has created his own genre, mixing Blues, Rock, Funk, R&B, Soul and Pop. At 24 years old, Ryan has had a fantastic start to his 10-year career. He has opened for the legendary Chaka Khan, Leon Russell, Edgar Winter, Mountain, Snoop Dogg, Rick Derringer, Hoobastank, and more.

Let’s not forget the DJ’s! YO–ONE SUTTER is resident DJ at restaurant La Plage, his music is a mix of electro acoustic, Soul, Swing, Jazz and Latin Beat and he’s doing a fusion between Live Music and a DJ set. JOSE PADILLA /DJ CAFÉ DEL MAR, IBIZA first arrived on Ibiza in 1975 and has been DJing there ever since. With the ‘Café del Mar’ series he is the so-called “spiritual father of Chill-Out”. He has gone from a poor barrio in Northern Spain, to a jet-set DJ lifestyle; guesting in London, Paris, Monte-Carlo, Amsterdam, Miami, Italy, Moscow and Australia. Who else will be there? Steve and I had the pleasure of dining with Thierry the creator of Summer Sessions, Tom Beach Hotel’s Assistant GM Aymeric Bourdin and DJ ALEX MERRELL who will be spinning for you. Alex’s style is distinct yet tailored to the audience, influenced by house, electro, dance, hip hop, classic and indie rock, top 40, lounge and world music.

The events will take place at Taïno restaurant at the Hotel Christopher in Pointe Milou, Le Bartoloméo restaurant at Hotel Guanahani & Spa on Grand Cul de Sac as well as at the restaurant La Plage at Hotel Tom Beach which is located on St. Jean Beach. In addition, performances will be held at Hotel La Banane which is surrounded by an exotic garden and is in Lorient as well as Bonito restaurant which boasts an extraordinary view over the Harbor of Gustavia (Where we host our cocktail party from the end of November through the end of April). Plus more great venues like La Gloriette, a beach restaurant located on the lagoon of Grand Cul de Sac, Le Tamarin located in a huge garden with its famous tamarind tree and parrots and is located on the way to Saline Beach are also hosting performances. As previously mentioned, a concert for the etire island will be held on the harbor side quai Saturday night August 13, 2011. For me it’s a must-do!

Don’t miss out on this great event! Contact reservations@stbarth.com or call 1-800-421-3396. Book an accommodation for 5 nights or more for any stay that includes any date between August 01 and 27, 2011 and St. Barth Properties will give each person in your party one 50 euro voucher to be used towards a fun evening at Le Ti St Barth while you are there. (The voucher is non-transferable and valid through August 27, 2011). This offer is applicable for new bookings made between June 28 and July 08, 2011 or until we run out of vouchers (80) whichever comes first. Reservations at Le Ti must be made in advance prior to your arrival.

Le Ti St. Barth is Located in Pointe Milou. Everything you’ve heard about this party place is true; the restaurant’s gourmet food, the Champagne in abundance, the wine cellar, the island’s hottest fashion show with DJs from the music capitals, theme nights and cool people from around the planet dancing on tables!

It keeps getting better! The New Suites at Hotel Guanahani & Spa

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Connie and I checked out of Villa Les Embruns on Thursday and later that day we headed to the Hotel Guanahani & Spa where we had been invited to stay for our last two nights. As I mentioned to you before, our staff inspects and re-inspects the villas and hotels that we represent so that we can provide you with the best possible service and up-to-date information as possible when assisting you with finding the perfect accommodation that will suit your particular needs.

I had been trying to see the Four Star Luxe Hotel Guanahani & Spa’s new Admiral Suite and Serenity Suite ever since they were completed last December, but each time I tried, they were always booked (a very good sign as far as I was concerned). We arrived at the reception desk around 5:30 and guess what? We were going to be staying in the Admiral Suite! – What a nice surprise. I drove my car to the lower parking lot while one of the very nice members of the staff accompanied us to our suite and brought us our luggage. All that I can say is, “Wow.”

One of the many ocean views and fabulous porches at the Admiral Suite

One of the many ocean views and fabulous porches at the Admiral Suite

We entered by the main door. (There are 3 separate ways to enter the suite.) My bedroom was on the left. It featured a huge walk-in closet/dressing area, a super comfy king size bed that looks out to the wonderful porch with 2 rocking chairs, a dining table and an amazing view of Grand Cul de Sac. The bathroom is something else! It has a Jacuzzi tub and a big picture window that also looks out to the lagoon. There’s a separate shower and a double sink vanity.

My Bedroom in the Admiral Suite

My Bedroom in the Admiral Suite

The-Jacuzzi-tub-in-my-bathroom

The Jacuzzi tub in my bathroom

Connie’s room offered an en suite bedroom with an option of having either a king size bed or 2 twin beds. She had her own desk for her laptop as well as a porch with rocking chairs and a completely different view of another area of Grand Cul de Sac. Each of us had access to the fabulous living room with wet bar, mini bars and an espresso machine. Another desk was available for me to use and we had free Wifi throughout the suite. (Don’t you just hate it when luxury hotels nickel-and-dime you to death by charging for Wifi?). There are sliders to 2 additional porches with more rockers and outdoor dining.

Connie's Bedroom that can be made up with a king bed

Connie's Bedroom that can be made up with a king bed

Admiral Suite Living Room

Admiral Suite Living Room

Our butler (included with Prestige Suites) came to show us how everything worked and told us that she was available until 10:00 pm every day. By the way, The Admiral Suite was named in honor of Christopher Columbus who discovered St. Barthélemy on his second voyage to the Caribbean in 1493. He named this beautiful little island after his brother Bartoloméo. It was on this second voyage that Columbus was made an Admiral.

We had dinner reservations at Bartoloméo (Bar’tô for short) the hotel’s famous gourmet restaurant. Elegantly styled, its all-white décor complements the dark wood of the lounge and bar area. Their famous chef Philippe Massaglia’s menu selection was so divine that it was difficult to choose our courses. I finally settled on two appetizers, the Goat Cheese Soufflé followed by the Lobster Ravioli. Connie began with the Lobster Ravioli then followed that with an Angus Beef with Gorgonzola Sauce and mushrooms – All that I can say is that everything was outstanding.

Goat-Cheese-Soufflé

Goat Cheese Soufflé

Lobster-Ravioli

Lobster Ravioli

Angus-Beef-with-Gorgonzola-Sauce-and-Mushrooms

Angus Beef with Gorgonzola Sauce and Mushrooms

The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at their wonderful beach front restaurant Indigo which overlooks the pool, the beach and the lagoon. (Try lunch on the beach at Indigo’s on the Beach-yummy).

Our-breakfast-table-at-Indigo

Our breakfast table at Indigo

Poached-eggs-on-toast-anyone

Poached eggs on toast anyone?

Then, Carole gave us a very informative site inspection. I was finally able to see the Serenity Suite which sits on top of the hotel grounds and features two bedrooms one of which is 6 steps down from the main level and has a sunken Jacuzzi in the bathroom. A nicely furnished living room with sliders leading to the deck and private swimming pool look out to the colorful hues of the sea.

The Serenity Suite's pool and view

The Serenity Suite's pool and view

The living room at the Serenty Suite

The living room at the Serenty Suite

Master bedroom in the Serenity Suite

Master bedroom in the Serenity Suite

We continued on to see the very private Marigot Suite that is a 2 bedroom Pool Suite which is adjacent to the spa. It boasts a private spa treatment room for 2 in a garden setting and a private swimming pool in the front that looks out to a view of Marigot Bay. There’s a master bedroom (king size bed) and a second bedroom with king and/or twin beds located on either side of the living room. The best part? Four Spa treatments are offered to the suite’s lucky guests each day.

The private spa area in the Marigot Suite

The private spa area in the Marigot Suite

We finished with the 2 bedroom (king and King/twin) Pelican Suite which has a living room with convertible sofa, a deck without door dining, a Jacuzzi and a lovely view of Grand Cul de Sac…a very productive morning indeed.

The-living-room-in-the-Pelican-Suite

The living room in the Pelican Suite

Merci beaucoup to the management and the entire staff at Hotel Guanahani & Spa for your hospitality and for welcoming us at your magnificent hotel.

For more information contact, guanahani@stbarth.com

A Day Trip from St. Barts to Pinel Island on Bosco Yacht

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Not only is St. Barth Properties expected to know intimate details about our villas and hotels through firsthand experience, we need to have all the inside info on what our guests can do while vacationing on St. Barth.

From Day One in 1989 when I created my company I have written my “Helpful Hints” which contains lots of information and is sent to our confirmed guests before they travel to the island. Today the Helpful Hints is an 8 page document which many refer to as their “bible”. In addition, when our guests arrive at the airport, they receive an SBP Welcome Packet that contains, among other things, our “Helpful Hints Plus” detailing information about what is available for them to do once they are actually on St.Barth.

So, Connie and I took the day off from inspecting villas and hotels (twist my arm) so that we could experience a day trip to Pinel Island which is a tiny islet located off of the French side of St. Martin. Pinel has a nice beach and a great waterfront restaurant. The island is only open during the day and can only be reached by boat. There are catamarans and power boats that make the trip from St. Barth either via private charter for the entire boat or via scheduled day trips with a per person price.

Pinel-Island

Pinel Island

On this particular day, our office chose to go to Pinel on the beautiful very luxurious Bosco Yacht which is a 53 foot Sunseeker. Magda, Nadine, Benoit, Anne, Connie and I were the lucky ones because we were able to go. Other staff remained at the office to assist our clients and Pascale Minarro our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty agent was in the midst of presenting an offer to a villa owner, so she also stayed behind. (It was accepted!)

Bosco-Yacht-as-seen-from-Pinel-island

Bosco Yacht as seen from Pinel Island

Nadine,-Peg,-Magda,Connie,-Benoit-and-Anne

Nadine, Peg, Magda, Connie, Benoit and Anne

Skipper Olivier and First Mate Kiki took our shoes, stored our gear and off we went. The water was like a lake that day and we had plenty of time to stop at Tintemarrre, another deserted islet where people can take their boat to enjoy the beach and snorkeling nearby. We all jumped in the crystal clear water and enjoyed a nice swim up to the beach and back to the boat where Kiki and Olivier were waiting for us. They poured us a chilled glass of Champagne which was a nice treat. I had brought some nice French cheeses and they turned out to be the perfect accompaniment.

Nadine,-Connie-and-Peg---Off-We-Go!

Nadine, Connie and Peg - Off We Go!

Skipper-Olivier,-Peg-and-First-Mate-Kiki

Skipper Olivier, Peg and First Mate Kiki

Tintemarre-Island

Tintemarre Island

Here-I-am-taking-a-swim-at-Tintemarre-Island

Here I am taking a swim at Tintemarre Island

Time for lunch! We motored to Pinel Island and Olivier set the anchor. Rather than swim to the island, we opted to take advantage of the service offered by Le Karabuni Restaurant. Our server came out to the boat in a dinghy and took us to the dock. We had a great round table with a palm frond umbrella waiting for us and it was situated right next to the water. We learned that Le Karabuni is famous for its Frozen Mojito’s and lunch-sized fresh lobster. Bring it on!

SBP's-On-Island-Concierge-Magda-arrives-on-Pinel

SBP's On-Island Concierge Magda arrives on Pinel

Connie,-Peg,-Magda,-Anne-and-Benoit-enjoying-lunch-at-Pinel-Island

Connie, Peg, Magda, Anne and Benoit enjoying lunch at Pinel Island

We spent a wonderful afternoon and then headed back to St. Barth. I highly recommend that you plan a day trip to Pinel. You will love it. Bosco Yacht is also available for private day charters to other nearby islands such as Anguilla as well as private boat transfers to/from Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. For more information, contact concierge@stbarth.com.

What restaurant in St. Barts serves food non-stop 11:00 am to 11:00 pm and what is Pata Negra?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Did you arrive in St. Barth by boat late in the evening or did you have a very late lunch and want to have a late supper? Never fear, the Carl Gustaf is here!

Operations Manager Marion Fayard invited our team for cocktails at the hotel Carl Gustaf on Tuesday evening…Lucky us! Connie ordered bartender Jacky’s famous Planteur’s Punch and loved it. I had une coupe de Champagne rosé as did a few of the others and Magda had a yummy Piña Colada. Out came the most amazing hors d’oeuvres consisting of a carrot mousse, swordfish ceviche, an anchovy delight, Mahi Mahi with sauce and tiny tomatoes with mozzarella-Delicious.

Hors-d'oeuvres-at-the-Carl-Gustaf-Lounge

Hors d'oeuvres at the Carl Gustaf Lounge

Nadine Rolland, one of our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty real estate agents, pointed at a strange looking, what appeared to be an animal’s leg with a hoof, no less! She said, “Oh look, they have Pata Negra!” Huh? “It’s a delicious (and very expensive) Spanish delicacy…a pig’s leg. The pig is fed nothing but acorns. Jacky sliced off some pieces for us and we each enjoyed a piece or two.

Pata-Negra

Pata Negra

Jacky-slices-the-Pata-Negra

Jacky slices the Pata Negra

Marion informed us that the Carl Gustaf Lounge now serves a light menu non-stop from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm 7 days a week. (People can still enjoy fine dining at Victoria’s Restaurant from 7:00 pm to 10 pm). The announcement of the extended hours is really good news because most restaurants serving both lunch and dinner close for a few hours in between before they reopen for dinner. Many kitchens close no later than 10:00 pm. The nonstop menu is casual and very good; Victoria’s menu continues to be sumptuous. The restaurant is still offering the “Mystery Menu” that I blogged about last month.

Carl Gustaf Lounge menu
Victoria’s menu

Benoit,-Anne,-Nadine,-Magda,-Connie,-Peg-and-Marion

Benoit, Anne, Nadine, Magda, Connie, Peg and Marion

Afterwards, we visited the hotel’s stunning Royal Suite which is really a 4 bedroom villa located at the very tippy top of the hotel. The first floor features 3 gorgeous en suite bedrooms, a full kitchen, a dining area, a comfortable living room and an outdoor terrace with lots of places to sit to enjoy the incredible view of the harbor. The fourth bedroom is upstairs as is an upper level terrace with Jacuzzi and an amazing panoramic view.

Royal-Suite-view

Royal Suite view

The hotel has some fabulous packages available through August 31, 2011. For more information, contact carlgustaf@stbarth.com.

Royal Suite spa

Royal Suite spa

Royal Suite terrace

Royal Suite terrace

Here I am back in St. Barth!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Lucky me! Connie Walsh and I arrived in St. Barts Sunday afternoon with a full calendar in place in preparation for the publication of our annual Live Your Dream® catalogue which will arrive on the island in early November. I am the editor in chief and Connie is the assistant editor and we are in St Barth gathering information for our articles and other content.

I picked up my car and headed toward Flamands Beach because we were lucky enough to be able to take advantage of a 4 night opening at Villa Les Embruns. The villa is so popular that being able to stay here is a real treat. As I write this I am sitting on the sectional sofa in the living area and looking out at the heated swimming pool, outside deck, the sea and the little islet of Frégate. There are 4 very nice chaise lounges and an outdoor table for 4 so that we can enjoy or morning coffee outside. The open floor plan features another sitting area for TV viewing, an indoor dining area and a fully equipped kitchen with bar.

Flamands-Beach-as-seen-from-the-front-yard-of-Villa-Les-Embruns

Flamands Beach as seen from the front yard of Villa Les Embruns

Villa Les Embruns outdoor table and view

Villa Les Embruns outdoor area

Villa Les Embruns kitchen

Villa Les Embruns kitchen

I am staying in the king bedroom with bath en suite and Connie is staying in the king/twin bedroom that also has an en suite bath. The villa is fully air conditioned and I especially love the outdoor speakers so that we can listen to music while taking a swim. The villa is very private and we can walk to gorgeous Flamands Beach in about 3 minutes.

View from Villa Les Embruns bedroom

View from Villa Les Embruns bedroom

We invited the owners for a drink Monday evening and they reminded me that Villa Les Embruns has another opening June 20-27. Why not take a last minute vacation to St Barth? The villa participates in our Drive, Dine and Relax package which includes a car and the services of a chef who will prepare a romantic dinner for you one evening. The best part? That particular week the owners are offering a 10% off promotion and St Barth Properties will contribute 100 euros per person (for anyone 18 or older, that is) towards a fun evening at Le Ti St. Barth while you are here. They are still featuring their cabaret show two nights a week and of course they continue to have their “White Angel” party one night a week. For more information contact reservations@stbarth.com.

Back to day one…Per usual, Magda (our on-island concierge) had reserved a table for us at Andy’s Hideaway for our first night’s dinner. It is a great spot to dine after a full day of traveling. In fact I saw the family of 6 who were on the same flight as we were from Miami to St. Maarten and were staying in Villa Azur enjoying their fist night’s meal there too.

Andy-greets-us-at-The-Hideaway

Andy greets us at The Hideaway

We are visiting villas and doing hotel site inspections, interviewing some very interesting people and experiencing some activities first-hand—fun! (All in the line of duty, of course). I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

What Can Teenagers Do During Family Vacations in St Barth? (Part Five)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Day 6

The Birthday!!

Today Reegan turned sweet 16!

What does that mean? In St. Barth, it means she is old enough to operate a Jet Ski! Magda had arranged for the girls to take a Jet Ski tour around the island on Reegan’s birthday. We took them to Grand Cul de Sac where Ouanalao Dive has their Dive Center booth (by O’Corail restaurant). The company also rents Jet Skis. Reegan and Andrea signed the forms, were fitted with their life jackets and went down to the water to get on their jet skis. The instructor gave a demonstration on how they work, had them get familiar with the mechanics and off they went.

Getting-Ready-fora-New-Adventure

Getting Ready for a New Adventure

Off They Go

Jet-Skiing-around-St.-Barth-as-seen-from-our-terrace

Jet Skiing around St. Barth as seen from our terrace

An hour and a half later they were back! I couldn’t believe that they could go all the way around St. Barth in that short a period of time. They must have been speed demons! Is there a speed limit in the Caribbean Sea?

That evening I gave Reegan her present and we headed out to celebrate her birthday at Nikki Beach. This very “in spot” with beds on the beach no less, had a cabaret of their own that was performing that evening so we chose to surprise Reegan and treat her to a special night as not only was it her birthday, it was also the girls’ last night in St. Barth.

Mimi, Reegan (with her new birthday skirt) and GrandDoc

Mimi, Reegan (with her new birthday skirt) and GrandDoc

Andrea-gives-Reegan-her-Birthday-Present

Andrea gives Reegan her Birthday Present

We had a great table overlooking both the beach and the stage. The food was delicious. The show was fun and a bit risqué…very French but not at all offensive. The audience was able to join in at the end and everyone jumped on stage to dance.

The-16th-Birthday-at-Nikki-Beach

The 16th Birthday at Nikki Beach

Bed-on-the-Beach-at-Nikki--Beach

Bed on the Beach at Nikki Beach

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Dancing-After-the-Show-at-Nikki-Beach

Dancing After the Show at Nikki Beach

Day 7

All good things must come to an end and the next morning we sadly brought Reegan and Andrea back to airport to begin their journey home to Massachusetts. I had booked them on Tradewind Aviation so that they could fly directly to San Juan where they were able to connect to their Jet Blue Flight back to Boston. Surprise, surprise they were able to fly in Tradewind’s ultra luxurious Pilatus both ways. What a treat!

Time to Say Goodbye

Time to Say Goodbye

Departure-Day-on-Tradewind's-Pilatus

Departure Day on Tradewind's Pilatus

Au-Revoir

Au Revoir

We had a great week and it was wonderful to watch Reegan blossom into an independent young lady in such a short period of time. She has already decided that she loves everything about the French, wants to return again and again (as we all do) and I am sure she will be speaking French fluently in the not too distant future. À bientôt, Reegan.