Archive for March, 2018

More fantastic signs that St. Barth is recovering well: New 5-Star hotel opens; Nikki Beach to reopen!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Yes, that’s right! Nikki Beach is set to reopen on March 30, 2018! View the flyer for more details.

Just contact juliahurd@stbarth.com to pre-book a reservation before you travel, or contact aurelie@stbarth.com (0590-29-75-05) to book once you are here.

This past weekend was just like the old days. The St. Barth Bucket regatta took place and the island was hopping. Steve and I, my son and VP, Tom Smyth and his wife Amy, my grandson Tyler (on his spring break), and two of my most favorite clients/friends, Kevin and Stan, were lucky to be able to sail on a St. Barth Sailor catamaran to watch the start of the race up close and personally. What a thrill. We watched these beautiful sailing yachts maneuver around the water itching to get started. The J Boat Class boats were first to start at the sound of the gun, followed by the larger category yachts, each with their own personal start time. They tried to time it so that they were at the starting buoy exactly when the gun sounded. Flo, our skipper, skillfully kept us in the perfect spot to watch it. I hope that you can experience the Bucket next year (March 21-24, 2019).

We watched the 2018 St. Barth Bucket regatta from one of St. Barth Sailor’s catamaran. Front – Tom, Amy, Peg, Kevin and Stan. Rear – Tyler and Doc.

The J-Class boats were the first to start the St. Barth Bucket on March 16, 2018. The view of them racing by our cataramarn was breathtaking.

Back to post-Irma news. You may be asking, “What’s up with the hotels?”

Many of the 5-star beach hotels that were damaged by hurricane Irma have not told me when they will reopen, making it difficult for our hotel clientele to plan their next St. Barth vacation. Never fear, the Manapany is here! Many St. Barth regulars likely remember the old Manapany—perhaps they dined in the hotel’s restaurant or visited its spa. But few would recognize it these days. Purchased, and excitingly recreated by the young, dynamic B Signature Hotels & Resorts group, the Manapany opened as a 5-star beach hotel on March 13, 2018. It’s a wow!

I have already inspected the hotel twice and love the casual luxury it exudes. The 5-star Manapany is dedicated to respecting and protecting the environment in its natural setting. It has it all – Toes in the sand dining, 43 accommodations, including a villa, cottages, and suites with beachfront decks and steps down to the beach; hillside rooms and suites, some of which can connect, making them a great choice for families; a beach/pool bar, two seaside swimming pools (one for adults only) a fitness room, boutique, game room. and the Dr. Hauschka-branded spa are all there for you to enjoy. I took these photos to give you an idea.

Lunch time at the Manapany.

Waterfront tables on the sand are available at the Manapany, too.

This is the main pool at the Manapany. The adults-only pool is located at the spa (pictured here behind the guy who is treating the pool).

The Manapany bar is located by the restaurant’s tables and the main swimming pool. The jalousied windows can be adjusted according to the breeze.

We will be getting more pictures soon. In the meantime, here is the link: Manapany. If you would like more information on the hotel’s “dynamic pricing” (meaning the rates are based on the demand at time of the request), and would like to stay at the Manapany, just email reservations@stbarth.com.

The Christopher
As mentioned in my previous blog, the 5-star Christopher hotel that was due to reopen February 20th, 2018, was unable to do so due to the devastating fire that destroyed their main restaurant, Taino three days before. However, the hotel’s feet-in-the-sand restaurant, Mango will be open for lunch, and their Sisley Spa will be open for treatments as of today, March 22, 2018. The pool will not be ready until July, but their rooms were untouched by the fire, and are open to guests looking for reasonable rates while the reconstruction of the restaurant is going on. Regular rates will apply starting October 15, 2018. To book, contact reservations@stbarth.com for more information.

The Christopher’s waterfront Mango restaurant is open for lunch. (photo credit P.Carreau)

Christopher Sisley Spa (photo credit Max-VanderNoot)

One last note: Lil Rock Beach Bar on St. Jean beach closed on Monday, March 19, 2018 and will begin building its beach restaurant in the near future. We are looking forward to having another restaurant on the beach for your dining pleasure.

New Restaurant Opens in St. Barth! Plus, Should You Bring Some Cash When You Travel to St. Barth?

Monday, March 12th, 2018

It has been 6 months since powerful Hurricane Irma struck our little island. St. Barth looks healthy and is thriving. Almost every one of our villas is booked during the month of March. Everyone I bump into goes out of their way to tell me how much better than expected their St. Barth vacation has been. They love seeing how well the island has recovered and cherish the laidback vibe. I still see subtle signs of the recovery. My power walk along the harbor on Saturday brought me by a skilled stone worker replacing stone tiles.

The stone tiles are being replaced along the harbor by an expert – just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

I have been enjoying the view and sunsets from my villa and am still trying out new restaurants. Do you remember Hervé Chovet’s restaurant Le Rivage that was at the St. Barth Beach hotel (the first place we stayed when I came here in 1986) many years ago? Then he opened Côté Port on the harbor? It was scheduled to be closed in favor of dockage on the harbor and Irma did the demolition for the Collectivité. Hervé worked diligently on securing a new spot and opened Quartier Général (Headquarters) diagonally across from the Gustavia post office a few weeks ago. We tried it and loved it! It’s a long narrow venue with comfortable tables and cushioned seating, a long bar and dim lighting (use your flashlight feature on your phone). The menu is varied, and I was happy to see that some signature dishes from the days of Le Rivage are still on there. Quartier Général is open for both lunch and dinner. It was very busy. We will be happy to make a reservation for you.

I love the curtained entrance to Quartier Général.

Quartier Général had a nice ambiance.

A bit of sad news: The hotel Christopher was due to reopen on February 22, 2018. Sadly, a fire broke out in their Taïno restaurant’s kitchen 3 nights before the opening. Evidently, electrical wires that had been damaged by hurricane Irma caused the fire and the restaurant was destroyed. The hotel will not reopen until October, so we are in the process of relocating our clients who were booked there. Contact us, reservations@stbarth.com if you would like us to assist you. The hotel is working on opening its Mango restaurant for lunch (no pool, however) and Sisley Spa. Ask our office for more details.

The Taïno restaurant at the hotel Christopher burned down February 19, 2018 (photo credit Mathieu Gladius)

A new challenge presented itself Sunday night March 4th, 2018 when the Internet and cell service went down island-wide. Of course, no one knew that it was an island issue until they asked their maid or went out to get their baguette and overheard the local gossip. I drove down to my Gustavia rental office; it was bustling. No one was upset – this is an island, after all. Go with the flow. Miraculously, we had a Wifi connection in the office, so our clients were able to check their emails and we could print their boarding passes. What happened? The huge Nor’easter that wreaked havoc on the east coast of the US, believe it or not, came all the way down to the Caribbean producing huge swells. The result? An underwater cable belonging to the carrier Orange snapped. We had to adjust to the situation.

The swell caused flooding in Gustavia.

We can really say that this is what St. Barth was like 25 years ago – a time gone by, when we were able to truly take a vacation and enjoy the relaxation without the distraction of sneaking a peek at a device. We wrote our name and the time we wanted to dine on a pad pf paper that was hanging outside of a restaurant. This time, our concierge, Aurélie Janvier physically went to the restaurants to make reservations for our clients. Restaurants cooperated by taking the credit card information manually and would charge the card once the Internet was restored. Carrying some cash while traveling Is always a good Idea. If you want euros, you can go to your local bank or AAA office, if you are a member, and ask for euros. They will give you a decent exchange rate. If not, US dollars are accepted everywhere on St. Barth. Our villas are equipped with a safe where you can store the money.

All is well with the Internet now but, remember, that you are not at home and the connection here can be slow. Take the time to disconnect, you will be happy you did.

I never get tired of the sunset view from Villa Everest.