Archive for March, 2012

What’s New at the St Barth Airport? Plus Good News for Spring Travel to Barts!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

I am back from a great trip to South Africa. I left St. Bart March 02, 2012 and I have been itching to tell you some great news: St Barts Gustaf III’s airport has gone retro!

Remember the good old days when we were able to check in for our flights and casually go in and out of the departure lounge at will? Friends could even accompany us while we waited for our flights to depart. Those informal and friendly days are back! The security procedure in St. Barts Is history! That’s right – no x-ray machine- no scanner- no more removing shoes, belts and laptops. New regulations exempt St Barts from those formalities due to the size of the airport and number of passengers passing through it.

The change in the  departure lounge at St Bart's Gustav III airport March 02 2012

The change in the departure lounge at St Bart's Gustav III airport March 02, 2012

More good news:

After my 6 months stint in St. Barts, I traditionally go back to the States in May. Then, I travel back and forth with staff in the off season. That is the time when we do our villa and hotel inspections. Our team is required to go to St. Barts at least twice a year (poor them). They travel individually so that we still have plenty of coverage in the US office in order to assist you with the planning stages while arranging your dream vacation to St. Barts. The staff does these on-island inspections once in the spring and then again in November before the high season begins.

Getting to and from St. Barth in May and June can sometimes be a challenge because we like to travel through San Juan and then take Tradewind Aviation directly from San Juan to St. Barts on its scheduled charters. Each passenger pays for the individual seat ($420 to $620 each way depending on the day of the week); it is much more affordable than flying on one of their private charters and much easier than connecting through St. Maarten.

Traditionally Tradewind stopped flying this route in early May in favor of their Nantucket route and then resumed the San Juan to/from St. Barts route in late October, so we had no choice but to connect via St. Maarten.

Caravan Landing in SBH

Caravan Landing in SBH

The Pilatus just landed in San Juan

The Pilatus just landed in San Juan

We are in luck this year! Tradewind has announced that it will continue flying through June 25 2012! St Barth Properties is pleased to offer our clients an add-on package that is valid for any 7 night (or longer) stay that occurs between April 16 and June 25, 2012. This package includes round trip air for 2 from San Juan to St. Barts and back, a Jimny car rental, plus a 100 euro voucher towards a fun evening at Le Ti St. Barth. If you are planning a trip (or have already booked a villa or hotel with St. Barth Properties) please let us know if you would like us to arrange the Tradewind flights for you and/or you wish to purchase this package. Contact reservations@stbarth.com.

Caravan Interior

Caravan Interior

K’fé Massai becomes Le Massai and Ti Massai

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

In a previous blog, I mentioned to you that K’fé Massai now has three owners who are in partnership: Mick Proust who owned it before, Xavier Pignet who owns La Route des Boucaniers and Dõ Brazil and third partner, the very talented chef Thomas Chiarelli.

They changed the name to Le Massai (Ti Massai for lunch) and took out certain sections of the walls so now there’s some nice cross-ventilation. They also have garden areas where people can enjoy cocktails. I heard people raving about their new 59 euro Menu du Dégustation (Tasting Menu) so I had to try it for myself. My son and St. Barth Properties VP Tom Smyth came down here to work on the island before his wife Amy and children Tommy Jr. (and his friend) and Tyler joined him for President’s Week vacation. Tom and I tried the tasting menu while Steve ordered from their à la carte menu.

We began with a wonderful Beetroot Gazpacho with lobster meat served with tarragon and a tangy mayonnaise followed by a very tasty local tuna tartar with sesame oil. Pan-fried duck foie gras on a slice of gingerbread French toast, with orange blossom, dried fruit and candied peel was the next tasting and it was perfectly prepared. Next came the Triggerfish which was so succulent. More tasting items followed and we finished with a sampling of sweets for dessert.

Pan-fried duck foie gras on a slice of gingerbread French toast

Pan-fried duck foie gras on a slice of gingerbread French toast

Triggerfish filet with salted cod, potatoes and leeks

Triggerfish filet with salted cod, potatoes and leeks

We enjoyed our meals so much that Tom wanted to go back the evening that his family arrived and we were invited to join them. It was Friday and traditionally Le Massai has a wonderful display of fresh fish sitting on ice. Each had been weighed and priced; we were able to select exactly what we wanted to have for our meals.

L to R Friend Tommy Rae, Tyler Smyth, Steve and Peg Walsh, Amy,Tom. and Tommy Smyth Jr. at  Le Massai Feb 2012

L to R Friend Tommy Rae, Tyler Smyth, Steve and Peg Walsh, Amy,Tom. and Tommy Smyth Jr. at Le Massai Feb 2012

Have you ever heard of a Cicada Langouste? None of us had a clue. I knew about the Cicada bugs that are very prevalent in Provence because I saw them when I was there. The most famous of the species only appears every 17 years. The males chirp loudly in order to impress the females. The body of these Cicada Lobsters looked like the bugs, thus the name. We call them “Slipper Lobsters” in English. There were only 2 of them on ice that evening. Tom picked one to be served as a cold appetizer with mayo and I chose to have mine cooked thermidor for my main course. We both loved it. I have never tasted anything in the lobster family that is as tender.

The two Cicadas are on the upper right a well as a list of reduced rates on some top wines suggestions for that evening

The two Cicadas are on the upper right a well as a list of reduced rates on some top wines suggestions for that evening

Cicada (Sleepy Lobster) served cold as an appetizer with mayo

Cicada (Sleepy Lobster) served cold as an appetizer with mayo

Cicada (Sleepy Lobtser) Thermidor

Cicada (Sleepy Lobtser) Thermidor

Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

Le Ti Massai is the name the restaurant uses to distinguish it as a place where you can also have lunch. They shut down the back part of the restaurant so that it is more intimate and they feature an à la carte menu that includes either an appetizer and a main course or a main course and a dessert for only 25 euros. Try it!

(P.S. Steve and I are leaving St. Barts and heading to South Africa tomorrow where we will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Back here on March 16. I hope to see you here soon).