Archive for May, 2015

Guest Blog – A working week in St. Barth

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Bonjour St. Barth Lovers,

Connie Walsh and her husband Michael came to St. Barth to visit us at the end of March. Connie is our St. Barth Properties marketing and travel industry consultant and has been with us for 10 years. Connie and I had work to do while Mike and my husband Steve enjoyed their daily routine of going to the bakery for their just-baked baguettes and a few pastries, grocery shopping and then preparing our lunches to put in the cooler just in case we could sneak a few hours in with them at the beach.

Today’s guest blog was written by Connie – Enjoy.

Sunny regards,
Peg

Connie Walsh – Trip Report

I’ve always looked forward to visiting sunny St. Barth but never more than this March. I’m from Boston and if that doesn’t prompt an “enough said”, the painful fact is, we suffered through a winter of record cold, howling winds and 110.6 inches of snow! Hubby in tow, I flew to St. Maarten and hopped on the “puddle-jumper” for a working trip in paradise. We joined St. Barth Properties’ President Peg Walsh – she and her husband are in residence for the season. Peg had set up a week’s stay for all of us at Villa Azur. We had a busy agenda planned with some time built in to relax a bit and enjoy the island’s charm, its gorgeous beaches and its world-class dining.

Villa Azur

Villa Azur

St. Barth’s balmy temperatures and tropical breezes never felt so good and within an hour of arriving at Villa Azur we were floating in the solar-heated infinity pool. Contemporary in style and décor the villa is nicely private with a terrace outside each of its three en suite bedrooms. A chic, spacious living room opens onto a covered alfresco dining terrace and adjacent sprawling pool deck. A bonus roof deck features a pavilion with a day bed perfect for a shaded snooze, and chaises for sunning. It’s one of the many spots from which to enjoy the panoramic view that embraces the sea and neighboring islands. The sunsets here are spectacular and observing the island tradition, we toasted the fiery sphere and our first night on the island with a chilled glass of crisp Sancerre. Ahh, St. Barth. Then we were off to meet friends for a seaside birthday celebration dinner at the Hotel Taïwana.

Villa Azur Living Room

Villa Azur Living Room

I love this villa’s Lurin location – just a short drive to Gustavia’s shops and boutiques and one of my favorite beaches – Gouverneur. We headed down one day with a picnic lunch and happily secured a spot beneath the entrance’s spreading sea grape tree. We swam, strolled and just sat enjoying all that undeveloped beauty. No wonder it’s the fave of oligarchs and local families alike.

Villa Azur is also just around the corner from one of my favorite restaurants, the perennially popular Santa Fe and so, of course we dined there. My husband’s go-to is the exquisitely prepared Dover sole; Me, I Iove almost everything on the menu and adored the gnocchi starter – delish with a gorgonzola cream sauce. I often end with the old-school classic dessert Peach Melba but always have to have a little taste when my companions order the profiteroles – shaped as swans.

Part of the job (no complaints) is assessing new restaurants and keeping updated on changes in ownerships, chefs and menus. We dined at the newly reopened harbor side Provença (formerly the Wall House) where they are doing a fine job focusing on dishes of France’s Provence region. Le Tamarin, on the road to Saline Beach, also reopened under new ownership and it’s worthy of all the buzz it’s garnering. The garden oasis setting is chic and so St. Barth-y. My deconstructed warm goat cheese salad tasted as divine as it looked. Saline Beach lovers – Le Tamarin is open for lunch and libations so consider a pre-or-post visit and they do a Sunday Brunch.

The deconstructed warm goat cheese appetizer at Le Tamarin

The deconstructed warm goat cheese appetizer at Le Tamarin

The only difficult aspect of spending a week in St. Barth is that there are always more than seven fabulous restaurants and it’s so hard to choose. We did get to include some of our favorites, Le Carré, with its sophisticated and eclectic menu and Thai food at Black Ginger – love their chicken curry.

A good portion of the days were busy with villa inspections including the new Ananda with its wow pool and meetings. We got all the history of the Moke and how and when these beloved vehicles will be reintroduced to the island. Fun! Stay tuned.

The Moke is back in St. Barth!

The Moke is back in St. Barth!

Happily, we worked in some beach time on Saturday afternoon at St. Jean and later secured a couple of empty bar stools and some cold Caribes at La Plage’s Pink Parrot bar. We made it just in time to observe the tail end of their Bikini Brunch – complete with pink plastic flamingos, bowls of Planters Punch, Jeroboams of rosé and loads of happy, dancing patrons. Woo – hoo.

A highlight of the trip was a Sunday afternoon catamaran excursion to Colombier Beach. Joined by some long-time clients we were a group of six and we couldn’t have had a more gorgeous day. Miguel, owner of St. Barth Sailor, was our captain – and crew. We set off at 1pm from the dock in Gustavia, drinks in hand – and in the cooler – Planteurs Punch, wine, soft drinks and icy cold beer. The 52 ft. Catamaran is sleek and luxurious with lots of room for lounging on deck (picture yourself – feet up on a built-in day bed) an air-conditioned cabin cum kitchenette and the all-important “head”. The beautiful and secluded Colombier Beach is only accessible by hiking or by boat. We chose the boat. Good choice.

After a delightful sail, we dropped anchor just off the beach and noodled about in those brilliant blue warm waters; some of us swam in and walked along the shore. Others relaxed on board and did some people and yacht watching while sipping rosé and noshing on gourmet goodies. Happily they saved some for the swimmers!

We anchored off of Colombier Beach and jumped into the gorgeous water with our noodles

We anchored off of Colombier Beach and jumped into the gorgeous water with our noodles

Our half day trip to Colombier included an open bar and delicious snacks

Our half day trip to Colombier included an open bar and delicious snacks

After a bit, we sailed on, mooring just off Shell Beach, popped open a bottle of Champagne and listened to Dõ Brazil’s DJ spinning tunes. What a great day. St. Barth Properties’ concierge team can book a variety of full and ½ day excursions for you. You’ll love it.

We made a late afternooon stop off of Shell Beach before returning to port

We made a late afternooon stop off of Shell Beach before returning to port

And so back to Boston and a little more snow. Looking forward to my next visit.

An evening at Hotel Le Toiny

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

St. Barth Properties Weekly Cocktail Party and other Le Toiny news

We had a change of Venue for our weekly St. Barth Properties cocktail party that we love to host from late November until the end of April. This past week it was held at the five star hotel Le Toiny. They had approached us almost one year ago and asked us if we could host our party there one evening so that our clientele could experience the ambience and uniqueness of the property.

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I checked the calendar all the while knowing that the third week in April is a big one because 1) Value Season begins April 16 and 2) It is April School vacation in many New England states due to Patriots Day falling on Monday of that week. So, we set the date for April 22, 2015.

Little did anyone of us know that Le Toiny would be sold in the meantime. In case you didn’t know, the hotel St. Barth Isle de France was sold about a year ago and reopened for “The Season” as Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France on October 15, 2014.

Why am I telling you this bit of trivia when my blog is about Le Toiny? Well…the former owners of the investment group that owned the Isle de France, is represented by the ever-popular Charles Ver Nicoll. They decided to buy Le Toiny. “Charlie” as he is fondly known, is also the vicar at the Anglican Church in Gustavia. He and his wife Mandie are so charming and hospitable. They are very hands-on people so you will often see them poolside at Le Toiny. Charles Walker, the former manager at the Hotel St. Barth Isle de France was recruited to be the Managing Director while Luc Lanza is the very capable onsite Manager. I met with Luc and heard all about the exciting Phase One and Phase Two plans for the transformation of the hotel which I will share with you once I have seen the Phase One completion in November.

Back to the cocktail party…Regardless of the change in ownership and management, our party was all set to go. We had a wonderful spot on the outside terrace overlooking the gazebo, the pool and the waxing crescent moon. The passed hors d’œuvres were creative and delicious. We had clients from Montana, Colorado, Canada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas and more. We even met first time to St. Barth clients from Milford Massachusetts, which is very close to where our US office in Franklin is. (They fell in love with St. Barth too and promised to be back.)

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Le Toiny’s restaurant Le Gaïac created a special menu just for guests of St. Barth Properties who wanted to stay on for dinner. We booked our poolside table, as did many other clients. The meal was outstanding.

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FYI: If you will be coming to St. Barth in the near future, spend several hours relaxing and enjoying lunch at Le Toiny. They offer a 39 Euro menu, A Taste of Le Toiny- every lunch except Sunday (that is when they serve their famous Sunday Brunch). The 39 euro menu includes a welcome cocktail (Bellini), a three course menu and a pool lounger for only 39 Euros per person!