Archive for June, 2013

Guest Blog St Barth Properties St. Barth Specialist Kathy Schlitzer’s Trip Report June 2013

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Steve and I left St. Barth May 8 to attend several family graduations; I have made two trips back to paradise in between. I was going to write a blog about the family milestones but I figured that was way off-topic and I didn’t want to bore you. I just got back from vacationing in France where I took most of the family to celebrate.

Today’s blog is a Guest Blog written by our St. Barth Specialist, Kathy Schlitzer. Enjoy!

Kathy Schlitzer

Kathy Schlitzer

I often ask clients what it is that brings them back to St Barth year after year. Certainly they travel to other parts of the world as well, but they say their annual time in St Barth is sacred. They tell me it’s the only place they can truly relax in their hectic world. They love their daily routine that may include picking up fresh croissants and a baguette at the local bakery, reading and napping around the pool or on a favorite beach, a long lunch (preferably with feet in the sand) and no one hovering with the check, and dinner in or out, usually decided at the last minute. Actually they say most everything is decided at the last minute! No plans, no rush, no stress.

Having just returned from my semi-annual working trip I didn’t exactly have that experience but I’ve been to St Barth on vacation in the past and can corroborate. It’s best to go to St Barth often and without a list of things to do, if you’re coming to relax just chill and let it happen.

I stayed at two amazing villas this time. My colleague, our US concierge Julia Hurd, was with me all 8 nights, and the St Barth Properties President, Peg Walsh, for the first 4 nights. First stop – Villa Valentina, located on the windward side of Pointe Milou you can always count on a really nice breeze. We left the sliders open when we were there, three of us sitting around on our computers – if you have to work the breeze is very welcome. Valentina has the most interesting entrance, an amazing Balinese wooden door opens into a lobby with an ornate antique ceiling and both door and ceiling were shipped from Bali when the villa was built – the sound of a fountain and a Buddha complete the feeling of serenity! Very unique – very cool. The house was comfortable and the view is amazing.

Villa Valentina Balinese wooden door

Villa Valentina Balinese wooden door

Villa Valentina lobby with Balinese ceiling

Villa Valentina lobby with Balinese ceiling

After 4 nights at Valentina we were reluctant to leave but off we went to Villa Belle Bague in Colombier. Belle Bague is also a 4 bedroom villa with an amazing view and comfortable indoor and outdoor space. It too has a consistent breeze and Julia and I spent all our down time on the comfy couches on the deck. After touring the villa with the manager, both of us commented on the outstanding amenities included in this villa – the kitchen is a chef’s dream, every pot, pan, serving dish, cutlery, stemware, appliance and cooking gadget was there. Clearly the owner spends time at his villa and wants to be comfortable – happily the renters reap the benefits too. I could picture a large dinner party on the deck with candles and stars and the sound of the fountain and soft music in the background.

Villa Belle Bague deck

Villa Belle Bague deck

The bedrooms are mostly equal and all have television with cable and Hopper (a DVR for Dish customers), DVD – and WIFI router. WIFI reception was excellent and watching movies on my bedroom television put me to sleep after a long day. There wasn’t a thing we could think of that was missing. Unfortunately the weather turned cloudy so my personal pictures don’t do the villa justice but this is a very special villa. Did I mention the large, heated (in winter) pool with fountain!

Villa Belle Bague pool

Villa Belle Bague pool

From personal experience I highly recommend both Villa Valentina and Villa Belle Bague for families or couples.

I saw many villas during my stay, too many to mention here, but I visited several that are new to us and notable. Our two new villas on Flamands Beach – Micela and La Sirène are a wonderful option for those looking for beach front villas. Colibris is a new studio villa tucked away in Camaruche and perfect for honeymooners. La Côte Champagne in Petit cul de sac has 4 bedrooms, a huge pool, stunning view and connecting bedrooms. I can see either couples or families with kids enjoying this villa. I saw several new luxury villas that were over the top amazing – notably Villa Les Étoiles in Pointe Milou. This villa was designed to capture both sunrise and sunset and the view takes your breath away.

When I visit villas I picture the type of client I would recommend for the villa based on layout, location and amenities, for Les Étoiles I could see couples or family enjoying this villa for many reasons. For instance when I entered the chef’s kitchen with the large island I could picture an evening with a chef, a cooking class while sipping a good wine, dining al fresco under the stars. That is St Barth!

Villa Les Étoiles kitchen

Villa Les Étoiles kitchen

I could go on and on about the villas I saw, the meals I enjoyed, and the people I met but I’d better get back to work. Au revoir St Barth, à la prochaine fois.

My stay at Villa Valentina and Le Select’s Marius Stakelborough’s 90th Birthday

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I went back to St. Barth for 4 days 2 weeks ago so that I could work on our next Live Your Dream catalogue and inspect a few more villas. I just came back from another 4 day trip that I specifically planned in order to meet with some travel agents from Ireland who work in an agency that specializes in villas and have clients who want to enjoy our very unique tiny island, so I lined up a bunch of villas that we could visit together. Coincidentally St. Barth Specialist Kathy Schlitzer and our US office Concierge Julia Hurd were traveling on the same day I was (June 5). I arrived ahead of Julia and Kathy because they had opted to take the ferry in order to give you their take on the experience. We were staying at Villa Valentina in Pointe Milou. As soon as I pushed open the carved wooden door I knew we would love staying there. The rear courtyard has Balinese décor with a pagoda structure. Long settees flank the shady area and a smiling Buddha fountain that is lit at night adds a soothing touch.

St Barth Properties

St Barth Properties St Barth Concierge Magda Votava confers with our US office Concierge Julia Hurd

I entered the fully screened beautifully furnished living room and was captivated by the view of the gorgeous pool that seemed to overflow into the deep blue sea beyond. There is huge new deck with lots of sunbeds and a built-in sunken gazebo with a big table making outdoor dining a must. The villa has 4 bedrooms; I opted to stay in the Master (Hey, I arrived first, after all). It has a wonderful king bed, en suite bath with a rain shower, US Satellite TV and sliders that open to the deck and the view. When Kathy and Julia arrived, they looked at the other 3 bedrooms. One has a king sleigh bed and en suite bath and is located down a spiral staircase or can also be accessed from the lower parking area. Another king en suite bedroom is located just off of the other side of the living and dining areas while the 4th en suite bedroom is accessed from the deck and offers the option of having either a king or twin beds. All of the bedrooms offer US satellite TV. If you would like to stay in Villa Valentina, please email reservations@stbarth.com. You will love it!

Villa Valentina view

Villa Valentina view

Villa Valentina Living Room

Villa Valentina Living Room

After unpacking, per tradition, we went to our favorite first night restaurant, Andy’s Hideaway where we had a delicious meal followed by some rhum vanille and headed down to Gustavia. Lucky us! June 5 was Marius Stakelborough’s 90th birthday and the all day party at Le Select was still going on when we arrived. The place was packed, the booze was flowing and a band was playing. I plied my way through the crowd to try to find Marius. It was pretty late (10:00 pm) so I wasn’t sure if he would still be there seeing as the party started at 11:30 am that day. I bumped into a friend of mine who brought me into the area in back of the bar and voilà there he was! 90 years old? You would never know it. He is so active and cheerful; he walks to Le Select everyday and I think that his daily sip of Le Select’s famous Ti Punch has certainly helped him stay and feel so young. In addition to the islanders, Marius has so many friends from all over the world; a whole bunch of them traveled all the way to St. Barth just to be at his party. He welcomed me with open arms and I gave him a big Happy Birthday kiss.

Marius

Kathy took this photo on Marius’ 90th birthday, June 5 2013. Check out the picture on the wall. Recognize anyone?

I had a successful four days which included a lunch at the Santa Fe restaurant with everyone. No one passed up the dessert even though we had more inspections ahead of us.

Santa Fe

Julia, Magda, Kathy, Peg, and Irish travel agents Alex, David, Linda, Niamh enjoy a Santa Fe lunch. The Langouste Club was a big hit.

Dame Blanche at the Santa Fe

Dame Blanche at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake with a runny chcoolate center) at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake with a runny chcoolate center) at the Santa Fe

L'Ananas Frais (Fresh Pineapple) at the Santa Fe

L’Ananas Frais (Fresh Pineapple) at the Santa Fe

I am back on Cape Cod but Kathy and Julia are still in St. Barth so that Kathy can finish her inspections and Julia can attend more meetings with Magda Votava our on-island Concierge as well as with all of our partners in order to enhance your experiences while you are vacationing in St. Barth. Of course she had to try some services for herself and raved about the massage and facial that she had at Venus Institut in Gustavia. Kathy has clients who are staying in Steve Martin’s Villa Au Soleil at the moment and she told me this morning that they invited them over for drinks last night and really loved seeing them as well as that exceptional view. They have already reserved the villa for next year.

I am heading out again tonight. Stayed tuned to know where it will be…