Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

A Client Captures the Magic of St. Barth on Video

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Bonjour! Today’s blog features a video beautifully created by one of our clients, Bob Grummel. Bob and his wife were in St. Barth last month and he spent a lot of the time using a DSLR camera to get the gorgeous shots that you see here. He did an excellent job of capturing what St. Barth is all about and why I fell in love with the island when I first arrived in 1986. Bob also fell in love with St. Barth when he and his wife first visited the island in 2008. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

Happy viewing,

Peg

Finding a Parking Spot in Gustavia

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

It’s not “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot.” It’s “Shop in a boutique, dine in a restaurant in paradise, find me a parking spot.”

Today’s blog post serves as an FYI to all of our clients and readers. Some changes have been made to the parking regulations. If you have already vacationed here in 2016, you have probably been on the hunt for a parking place when you drove into Gustavia. Of course, no one stops coming to St. Barth over this little detail but it can be a challenge to find a spot at certain times of the day. What typically happens on a weekday is the following: People who work in the offices and banks as well as the teachers arrive and park first, followed by those who work in the boutiques as well as the restaurants. So, by the time you are ready to shop or have lunch, you have to drive around the harbor hoping someone pulls out of a space exactly when you are about to drive by.

It’s the talk of the island. What we all know is that we need more parking spaces. Some boutique owners have told me that they would welcome being shuttled in and out of Gustavia from St. Jean. The island did this during Carnival and it worked well. Several years ago, an entrepreneur tried to run a shuttle service from the hotels but the taxi drivers shut it down. The employees working in the boutiques don’t use taxis, so a shuttle for workers would not affect the taxis.

The Collectivité has discussed moving the schools out of Gustavia and/or putting up a parking lot on one of the Gustavia hillsides. So far, nothing has happened although I read that the lot will actually happen. I just don’t know when exactly that will be.

This Blue Zone sign shows the areas where you must use your Blue Disk

This Blue Zone sign shows the areas where you must use your Blue Disk

In the meantime, the Blue Disk was introduced to limit the time one can park on certain streets.Your car rental agency gives you one to use while you are here. Using the honor system, you move the hands of the clock on your disk to the time when you parked and you are given 90 minutes to complete your tasks. The “parking police” do give out tickets, so please be diligent about returning to your car on time.

The Blue Disk that is used for parking in certain areas of St. Barth

The Blue Disk that is used for parking in certain areas of St. Barth

One of the most congested areas is the parking lot by the ferry dock. People come to pick up and drop off passengers, shoppers and boutique personnel park there, yacht customers use the lot, and the car rental agencies are there to deliver a car to clients who chose to take the ferry from St. Martin. I just found about the following announcement and checked it out for you.

The official announcement showing the date when paid parking at the lot by the ferry dock begins.

The official announcement showing the date when paid parking at the lot by the ferry dock begins.

NEW: As of February 22 2016

The Collectivité has installed and activated a paid parking lot by the ferry dock.

The entrance to the paid parking lot by the ferry dock.

The entrance to the paid parking lot by the ferry dock.

The Details

  • There is a sign that tells you how many spaces are open.
  • This sign indciates how many parking spaces are available.

    This sign indciates how many parking spaces are available.

  • If there are any available spaces, take a ticket and the gate will go up. Enter and park.
  • Press the button and take your ticket.

    Press the button and take your ticket.

  • Enjoy your time shopping, dining or simply walking around this quaint little harbor.
  • Return to the lot and go to the machine by the gazebo. Choose your language. Scan your ticket and the amount owed will appear on the screen.
  • Go to the gazebo with your ticket and use this machine to pay before getting back into your car.

    Go to the gazebo with your ticket and use this machine to pay before getting back into your car.

  • Insert your credit card in the slot or use the Wifi symbol to scan if you have Apple Pay. The screen will say Valid for Exit.
  • After you have paid, scan the ticket here and the gate will open for you.

    After you have paid, scan the ticket here and the gate will open for you.

  • Return to your car, go to the exit and scan your ticket in the slot provided and the gate will open.
  • Voilà! You are all set!

    Voilà! You are all set!

Note: I tried it last night. Even if there is no charge, you still must go through the above procedure.

The Bottom Line

  • Valid Monday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
  • First 30 minutes and Sundays are free
  • First fifteen minutes is .50€ (2 € per hour)
  • Lost ticket: 46 €
This sign showing the rules, regulations and tariffs is at the entrance to to paid parking lot by the ferry dock.

This sign showing the rules, regulations and tariffs is at the entrance to to paid parking lot by the ferry dock.

Don’t forget to notify your credit card company of your travel plans before you leave home.

So far, it is working well. Employees are not using it and scooters etc. are forbidden to park in the lot.

Once you try it, please let me know about your experience and I’ll keep you posted on the construction of the proposed new parking lot.

A Beautiful Way to Burn Calories and Stay in Shape While on Vacation in St. Barth

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Bonjour and Bonne Année from beautiful St. Barth to all of my loyal readers! I hope that you enjoyed the holidays and I wish you a very healthy and happy 2016.

One of my sons, Mark Smyth (the dentist vs. son, Tom Smyth, V.P. at St. Barth Properties) along with his family were, once again, able to join us in St. Barth for the holidays.

He wrote this guest blog. I hope you enjoy it.

Peg

A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO BURN CALORIES AND STAY IN SHAPE WHILE ON VACATION IN St. BARTH

My name is Mark Smyth. My family and I have been fortunate enough to be at least annual visitors to this beautiful island of St Barth. Brother Tom Smyth and mother Peg Walsh as well as the entire St. Barth Properties team have made this possible. The magnificent landscapes, quaint villages, and friendly islanders are amazing allures to this little slice of paradise; the world class cuisine is one its finest pleasures, thus the point of my blog.

We enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner at Le Repaire in Gustavia. (L to R) My daughter Reegan, my wife Cynthia, me, my mom Peg , daughter Lilia, my stepdad Doc and son Nate.

We enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner at Le Repaire in Gustavia. (L to R) My daughter Reegan, my wife Cynthia, me, my mom Peg, daughter Lilia, my stepdad Doc and my son Nate.

After indulging in some French and Caribbean delicacies for a few days, I typically feel the need for some cardio exercise. Normally, I would find a less busy part of the island and partake in a 30-45 minute jog. Over the past few years, the wear and tear on my knees plus a few extra pains au chocolat have made running less practical. Walking has become my exercise of choice.

In the early morning, I embarked on a walk that took me from L’Oasis in Lorient down through St. Jean looping back along the stadium and recreational areas and returning to L’Oasis. It is exactly a 5 km course taking about an hour (depending on how many stops one makes to drink in the gorgeous scenery and snap a photo or two). Very importantly, it is 95% sidewalk accessible. It’s hilly too which gets the cardio going.

I began my early morning trek by starting out at the L'Oasis Center  in Lorient.

I began my early morning trek by starting out at the L’Oasis Center in Lorient.

The reason I am writing this blog is because during my walk at 7am, I rediscovered the absolute stunning beauty of this French piece of Eden. Over the years we’ve tended to get into our rented vehicles and drive to the beach, then back to the villa, or to Gustavia to shop and back, or out to dinner and back. Cruising the island at 30-40 km/hr., I’ve missed out on some of the subtle idyllic nuances of St Barth. Being the driver nearly all of the time, I have had to focus on keeping our car on the wonderful, narrow local roadways. While on my walk that day, I rounded a bend at the top of one of the hills high above St. Jean and, suddenly, I was looking across to the little airstrip which was illuminated by the rising sunshine.

The tiny airstrip is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

The tiny airstrip is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

Further along, I could see all the way across the Baie de St. Jean and hear the surf lapping against the rocky shoreline below as well as some birds singing from nearby flowering trees. The occasional bleat from a goat and a call from a rooster all joined in to enhance the spectacular vistas I was taking in. I genuinely felt a calmness and reconnection with this lovely isle.

Stop for a moment.  The breathtaking view of the Baie de St. Jean is not to be missed.

Stop for a moment. The breathtaking view of the Baie de St. Jean is not to be missed.

A flat stretch brought me by St. Jean Beach and peek at Eden Rock. I kept going (Be aware that the sidewalk disappears for a bit and it’s not really pedestrian-friendly which is another reason to go early). I crossed the street and continued to the gas station, bought a bottle of water at the Superette de L’Aéroport and took that road to begin my loop back passing by the fire station, stadium, municipal tennis courts and pool and then along the Étang (salt pond) that is parallel to the main road, then took a left to end back at Eden Rock and reversed my direction.

Eden Rock divides the Baie de St. Jean into two parts.

Eden Rock divides the Baie de St. Jean into two parts.

And, of course, when I returned to my car at the L’Oasis parking lot, a visit to the new boulangerie Choisy for a pain au chocolat was well deserved.

The Choisy bakery in Lorient

The Choisy bakery in Lorient

The Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissant) at the new boulangerie Choisy in Lorient is hard to resist.

The Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissant) at the new boulangerie Choisy in Lorient is hard to resist.

I may try and scout out some other walkable courses around the island, but for this trip, I continued walking the loop that helped me rediscover the beauty that has drawn us all to St Barth.

p.s. I would recommend embarking on this 5K walk early in the morning (before 8am). I do so because there will be less traffic noise cruising by as you walk and the rising sun bathing St. Jean is inspirational!

Mark Smyth's Exercise Route Festive Season 2015

Mark Smyth’s Exercise Route Festive Season 2015

St. Barth Trip Report by Connie Walsh, June 2015

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Bonjour St Barth Devotees,

Continuing the trip report series, today’s blog was written by Connie Walsh, our very talented Marketing and Travel Industry Consultant, who traveled to St. Barth with me last month. We had two very important missions to accomplish: 1) Meet with various people and interview them for the articles you will be reading in the 20th edition of our upcoming Live Your Dream catalogue and 2) Inspect several new villas as well as write up their descriptions for our website.

Here is Connie’s trip report:

Enjoy-
Sunny regards,
Peg

St. Barth Trip Report, June 2015 by Connie Walth

I’ve stayed at Villa Everest so many times now, settling in there is always a bit like coming home. It’s comfy-cozy and I never tire of its panoramic view. Peg Walsh and I spent the first few nights of a very busy workweek at Everest but, happily had the time to toast a glorious sunset from its lovely pool terrace.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

We spent three nights at the brand new, two-story, two-bedroom Villa Brume de Mer – its rental is exclusive to St. Barth Properties and we were eager to give it a test-stay. Perched on a bluff overlooking Baie de Flamands, Brume de Mer lays claim to a stunning view from several vantage points. A solar-heated pool, a Jacuzzi and a gazebo shading a living-dining area are among the features that make this a special vacation spot. The contemporary décor is coordinated with a soothing gray and crisp white color palette brightened with pops of color. There is exceptional attention to detail here that ensures guests’ comfort and convenience. Expansive well-laid out closet space, perfectly positioned bedside reading lamps, and both waffle and plush terry robes are worth noting. Towel hooks adjacent to the pool and Jacuzzi and a bar for drying beach towels are just of few of the nice little touches. The kitchen’s stock of dishes and glassware and wealth of culinary tools and gadgets are color coordinated.

Villa Brume de Mer

Villa Brume de Mer

I love that Brume de Mer is just a three-minute walk to Flamands Beach – one my favorites. Guests have a choice of three beachfront restaurants that they can walk to for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Up early one morning, I walked the length of the beach and enjoyed a swim before we headed out for a day of villa inspections.

St. Barth Properties has added several new luxurious villas to its portfolio. I think these latest additions will really peak some interest.

Villa Jade, the eight bedroom vacation home of legendary French Rocker Johnny Hallyday is a stand-out even on St. Barth, where villas-to-die-for are as prolific as celebrities. A private Marigot location offers sweeping views of its bay and expansive outdoor living space complete with a super-sized heated infinity pool, Jacuzzi, king-sized canopied day bed and party-sized alfresco dining area. Indoors, there’s a state-of-the-art gym with a steam and sauna and a home-cinema with theater-style tiered seats and access to 4,000 movies. Sleeping accommodations include a three-bedroom family suite (a master and 2 children’s bedrooms) three additional en suite bedrooms, one suitable for staff and a private studio-style bungalow facing the sea. The Asian-themed décor is striking.

Villa Jade

Villa Jade

Villa Joy, also located in Marigot, has a contemporary architectural style similar to Villa Jade and shares the same stunning views. Joy is more compact with less square footage and six en suite bedrooms. However, it boasts many of the same wow features including the infinity pool, Jacuzzi, super-gym and the theater-style home cinema. I love the combination of the modern décor with whimsical accessories and the homage to mid-century movie stars.

Villa Joy

Villa Joy

We inspected two fabulous – and very different properties – in Gustavia. Cassiopée is a two-level three bedroom penthouse apartment that comes with a garaged parking spot and an elevator. Chic and modern, it overlooks the iconic harbor with all its hustle and bustle. Two en suite bedrooms are upstairs; an additional main level room can serve as a third bedroom or a TV room.

Villa Cassiopée

Villa Cassiopée

Villa Infinity is a lovely four bedroom luxury villa that sits above the harbor. Newly built, yet it has a gracious old plantation house feel. Its outdoor living space is fabulous with a terrace and a lower level pool deck with a kitchenette housed in a gazebo.

Villa Infinity

Villa Infinity

In St Jean, Villa Sagittaire wows it guests with a stunning vista of the bay and chaise lounges are queued up along the extra-long infinity pool to take it all in. The four bedrooms have charming 4-poster draped beds and their en suite bedrooms have indoor and outdoor showers. The pool deck is gorgeous and I loved the rear deck – set up for BBQing and relaxing – and how it architecturally frames the view.

Villa Sagittaire

Villa Sagittaire

The main mission for the week was compiling the content for the upcoming issue of the company’s catalog Live Your Dream®. We had a fun interview with Hafida Amezian, who has taken over Hideaway the beloved open-air pizza parlor. She shared her plans for this iconic eatery and changes already implemented. They include the addition of fresh fish to the menu and upgrading the fries – from frozen to hand-cut. And they were yummy.

One of our evenings included a long, delicious over-dinner chat with Bagatelle’s GM Jean-Mathieu Sablier. The sophisticated harbor side eatery serves up contemporary French cuisine in a sexy, so St. Barth setting. What many island visitors may not know is that the menu includes Les Pizzas – thin crust and divine. In fact, black truffle pizza is one of its signature dishes and Peg and I shared one, and tucked-in to another, yellowfin tuna tartare nicely citrusy with a little avocado. Bagatelle will be the new venue for next season’s weekly cocktail party.

And speaking of sophisticated settings, no island restaurant deserves that description more than Bonito. What a view! I enjoyed it with a Tiki cocktail – their drinks menu is really creative – and we had a scrumptious dinner starting with a chilled pea soup. We went casual one night at Le Repaire and took a street-side table. I had a juicy two-handed burger and indulged in a little people-watching. As always, too many great restaurants too little time.

One of the week’s highlights was a sunset cruise with Top-Loc. We set sail with Captain Eric on the 45 ft. Wayayaï catamaran at 5:00 pm and loved every minute. Top Loc also offers full and half day cruises and with the use of snorkling gear, kayaks and paddleboats make for a fun experience especially for families with kids.

We loved our Top Loc sunset sail with Captain Eric

We loved our Top Loc sunset sail with Captain Eric

We interviewed the owners of H2O St. Barth and gathered all the pertinent info on the Seabob, an underwater scooter that is all the rage. Seabob has partnered with St. Barth Jet Ski to create what they call the James Bond Experience. It incorporates the Seabob, Jet Ski, an introductory scuba dive – wait there’s more – a “trip” on a flyboard. Flyboard is a device that propels you into the air as well as below the waves. Full disclosure, we didn’t give it a try, but we’re sure there are lots of SBP clients that would love it and we’d love to hear all about it and see pictures.

Try the new Seabob sport on your next St. Barth vacation. The concierges at St. Barth Properties will make all of the arrangements.

Try the new Seabob sport on your next St. Barth vacation. The concierges at St. Barth Properties will make all of the arrangements.

A Note to share with our St. Barth Properties Friends

Friday, June 19th, 2015

An intimate wedding takes place in St. Barth and you know the bride!

I am sure that most of you know that we have two fantastic concierges to assist you with, among other things, your dinner reservations, on-island activities, in-villa massages, birthday and anniversary parties, as well as weddings in St. Barth. Julia Hurd assists you before you travel and Magda Votava continues that great service once you are on the island.

This time it was Magda‘s turn to arrange her own wedding! She is a pro by now, so she knew exactly what she needed to do. She wanted a very small, intimate wedding and it went flawlessly.

The beautiful bride is our fabulous St. Barth Properties Sotheby's International Realty on-island office Concierge, Magda Votava photo : François Vochelle

The beautiful bride is our fabulous St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty on-island office Concierge, Magda Votava
photo : François Vochelle

If you read one of my previous blogs about getting married in St. Barth, you know that all marriages in St. Barth, just like in France, must take place at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) in this case, the Hôtel de la Collectivité d’Outremer as it is known in St. Barth.

Official wedding ceremonies in St. Barth always take place at the Hôtel de la Collectivité

Official wedding ceremonies in St. Barth always take place at the Hôtel de la Collectivité

So, on June 08, 2015 Magdalena Votava married Frédéric Borne, the Captain of a private yacht located in Gustavia Harbor. Magda’s beautiful daughter Valérie Votava and Fred’s handsome son, Ryan Borne were at their side.

Time for the Ring photo François Vochelle

Time for the Ring
photo François Vochelle

Valérie Votava, Magdalena Borne, Frédéric Borne, Ryan Borne photo credit : François Vochelle

Valérie Votava, Magdalena Borne, Frédéric Borne, Ryan Borne
photo credit : François Vochelle

I asked Magda if she would share their love story by answering some questions.

When, where and how did you and Fred meet?
“We met 6 years ago in France. Fred spent a couple of months there when he worked on a private boat in Cannes. We had a common friend on Facebook and that’s how we got to know each other. He came to see me when I was in Paris and that’s how it started. We never wanted to separate from that moment.”

What were your jobs at the time?
“I was a commercial assistant at Myllykoski (a huge paper manufacturer at that time in Europe). Fred worked as a yacht captain in Cannes.

When did you decide to come to SBH and why?
I made up my mind when Fred came to help me after an elbow surgery. It wasn’t easy for me to take care of the house and of Valérie who was little at that time (5 years old) and he came and did everything ☺. He was already in SBH, but flew to Paris to take care of me. When he asked me if I wanted to follow him, I didn’t hesitate a second.”

St. Barth is Synonymous with Love photo : François Vochelle

St. Barth is Synonymous with Love
photo : François Vochelle

Why did you choose to work at St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty?
“I found an ad in the Journal of St. Barth. SBP was looking for someone to replace a staff member for a couple of months. It corresponded with my profile and my knowledge, so I sent my CV. A week later, I was at SBP2 ☺. When Nadine came back, YOU decided you wanted to keep me ☺.”

Can you tell me a little bit about Ryan and Valérie?
“Ryan is 16 and he goes to school in Aix-en-Provence now (He was in SBH until September 2014, but, as you know, children in St. Barth can’t complete their studies here after ninth grade) so once Ryan finished, he decided to continue his studies in France. He wants to be a pilot in the army, just like his grandfather (Fred’s dad was a very famous fighter pilot). Recently, he passed an aeronautics exam and he scored 100%!!! Only 3 out of more than 600 candidates received the Committee’s Congratulations and he was one of them. We are very proud of him.

Valérie is 10 now and she will start secondary school in September. She’s very excited about this. She would like to be in the linguistic class and learn English and Spanish. She is already bilingual as she speaks Polish very well. She loves music, attends dance classes, and started piano lessons. She still doesn’t know what she wants to do in the future, but I keep telling her that she has a lot of time to make the final decision ☺.”

Mother and Daughter photo : François Vochelle

Mother and Daughter
photo : François Vochelle

Is there anything else you would like to include?
“Oh, I don’t know. If you want to write that Fred left France when he was 4 and then spent 20 years in Africa, as his dad was a fighter pilot there and then they all moved to St. Barth (23 years ago). He started to work as a captain almost 30 years ago (He was only 17).

I graduated for the University in my hometown, Lodz in Poland where I studied English and I obtained a Master’s Degree. I moved to France when I was 25 and obtained a Postgraduate Degree at Sorbonne University in Paris.

We both love traveling and photos (some of them, even Fred’s were used in our Live Your Dream catalogues).”

Congratulations to Magda and Fred Borne. May you live happily ever after!

Presenting: Madame et Monsieur Frédéric Borne photo : François Vochelle

Presenting: Madame et Monsieur Frédéric Borne
photo : François Vochelle

Eddy, Nils Dufau, Vice-President of the Hôtel de la Collectivité who performed the wedding ceremony, Magda, Fred, Ryan, Joel, Valérie and Sandrine photo : François Vochelle

Eddy, Nils Dufau, Vice-President of the Collectivité d’Outremer who performed the wedding ceremony, Magda, Fred, Ryan, Joel, Valérie and Sandrine
photo : François Vochelle

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.

What’s happening in St. Barth? The latest news from St. Barth as of December 30, 2014

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth!

I am so happy to be back on this very special island and fortunate to be based here until the middle of May. The weather is gorgeous; the holiday decorations are especially eye-catching, the yachts line both sides of the harbor (except when they had to leave for three days due to a sizable houle (large swells) and the festivities are in full swing. I am lucky to have some of my family visiting us (my son, Mark Smyth, his wife Cynthia and their three children, Reegan, Lilia, and Nate); we are enjoying the beach, the restaurants, and the vibe. Can you guess where this photo was taken?

We are so happy that my son Mark Smyth, his wife Cynthis and three of our grandchildren, Reegan, Lilia and Nate could join us for the holidays

We are so happy that my son Mark Smyth, his wife Cynthis and three of our grandchildren, Reegan, Lilia and Nate could join us for the holidays

On Christmas Day, we went to St. Jean beach. Santa and his helper improvised his sleigh and arrived by H2O Jet Pack! Do you want to try it? We can book it for you.

Santa's sleigh St. Barth Style

Santa’s sleigh St. Barth Style

What’s new? Airport parking regulations:

For those of you who have been to St. Barth before, you will notice some signs (in French, however) indicating a 30 minute parking restriction Monday through Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. in the lot at the Gustav III airport. I observed that the “parking patrol” was at-the-ready to give out tickets.

The 30 minute parking sign at the St. Barth airport

The 30 minute parking sign at the St. Barth airport

Be sure to use your “Blue Disk” specifying the time you arrived on the face of the clock. The disk should be found in your rental car.

Blue Disk for parking in certain areas of St. Barth

Blue Disk for parking in certain areas of St. Barth

What if you need to park for a longer period? The Collectivité bought the lot across the street and has instituted St. Barth’s first paid parking lot. The good part is that the first hour is free; I don’t think that most of you will need more than an hour to do your thing at the airport, so to me, it’s a good solution.

Tarifs for the paking lot across the steet from the Gustave III airport in St. Barth

Tarifs for the paking lot across the steet from the Gustave III airport in St. Barth

For the areas in Gustavia look for the signs and use your disk. The island has added parking limits in the lot by the yachts and the ferry dock, too. The Gustavia limit remains at 90 minutes. Enforcement is between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

New St. Barth restaurants:

I love to try the new restaurants so that I can report to you. Steve and I have already managed to dine at two of them. The first one, Avventura is located in Gustavia across the street from Eddy’s and on the same side of the street as Black Ginger. In years past, it was called the Sapotillier, B-4 and Ocean. They bill themselves as a ristorante/pizzeria but they also have some nice more traditional items including meat and fish dishes. We enjoyed sharing the Queues de crevette au saté appetizer. The pizza prices range from 10 to 22 euros.

Avventura Shrimp Sate

Avventura Shrimp Sate

The other restaurant that we were able to try is L’Escale d’Avriette; it is located on the other side (La Pointe side) of the harbor in the space where Harbours used to be. It’s a Créole restaurant with a harbor view that is owned by a St. Barth family and named after their mother, Avriette. When I first set foot on St Barth in 1986, I was introduced to the stuffed Christophine at the now long gone Marigot Bay Club restaurant that was run by Michele Ledée, an affable man who was born in St. Barth. At the time, it was my favorite restaurant; the food and view were wonderful. I also enjoyed watching a handsome young waiter put on his bathing suit, swim out to the lobster trap that had been sunk in the bay, pick the langoustes that his patrons had just ordered for dinner, swim back, and quickly change into his clothes again. (Sorry for the walk down memory lane…) Anyway, I was thrilled to see the stuffed Christophine on the menu because so many restaurants have stopped serving it as it takes a lot of time to prepare. It is a type of squash and has flesh that is scraped out, mixed with langouste and vegetables, then re-stuffed into the shell, topped with cheese and grilled to perfection. Try it and let me know if you like it.

The stuffed Christophine at L'Escale d'Avriette

The stuffed Christophine at L’Escale d’Avriette

We are gearing up for New Year’s Eve and I hope you are too. I’ll keep you posted on the latest happenings on your favorite island.

The 2014 St. Barth CataCup is a must see event!

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Our very own John Casey continues to work his way towards realizing his dream of racing in the 2016 Olympics

St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to once again be sponsoring John Casey in the 2014 St. Barth CataCup’s very exciting catamaran race November 20-23, 2014. An avid fan of regatta, aspiring American Olympian John Casey is joining the competition for the 6th time. Casey, who is training in the Nacra 17 event with teammate Sarah Newberry, hopes to take advantage of the St. Barth Cata Cup to have fun and to work on his racing skills with a view to the Olympics. In the St. Barth race, his partner is Colin Page. They will be staying in our lovely two bedroom Villa A Bientôt located in Toiny.

Villa A Bientôt

Villa A Bientôt

“The St. Barth regatta is the one event I need,” declares Casey. “It isn’t just the perfect sailing and surroundings, it’s all the friends that I’ve made over the years. It’s a high-level competition but relaxed and easy. Olympic training and racing is very structured and in a word, ‘work.’ But the CataCup is a place to put your training to the test in a very fluid manner because there are many obstacles to endure and angles to sail to win. Nothing about the CataCup is straightforward on and off the water. You never know what is going to happen next!”

John Casey

John Casey continues his preparation for the 2016 Olympics by participating in the St. Barth CataCup. Go John!

It will also be an opportunity for Casey to pit himself against new Nacra 17 World Champion Billy Besson from France, who will be taking part in the regatta for the first time.

“Our event sparks wild enthusiasm among racers all over the world,” explained Vincent Jordil, creator of the St. Barth Cata Cup. “Obviously, John’s participation raises the level of competition. Although our event is intended to be a friendly competition, the fact remains that the sailors like to take part in a high-caliber race.”

It’s not too late to reserve your hotel or villa for the event. Just contact me or reservations@stbarth.com.

St. Barth Properties US office Concierge, Julia Hurd’s Trip Report

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes that makes your trip to St. Barth so remarkable?

Here is one of the reasons:

Bonjour Everyone,

Julia Hurd

Julia Hurd

I hope that you had a very enjoyable summer. Today’s blog was written by our fabulous Concierge Julia Hurd from our US office. If you have not already had the pleasure of working with Julia, you will be very impressed when you do. Julia helps all of our clients arrange any services they may wish her to organize for them…car rentals and dinner reservations, private chef and spa services, babysitters, birthday parties etc. Basically, everything on a person’s wish list will magically be set up and ready upon arrival.

In order for Julia to accomplish this feat, traveling to St. Barth to touch base with our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office’s Concierge, Magda Votava and meet all of our service partners is a must.

Enjoy,
Peg

Julia’s Trip Report

by Julia Hurd
US Concierge, St Barth Properties

Kathy Schlitzer, one of our St. Barth Villa Specialists, and I travel well together and this trip was no exception. We departed Boston, MA with JetBlue direct to St. Maarten. Once we arrived Easyway VIP Service was waiting for us to assist us through the St. Maarten airport to the Voyager Ferry.

Photo of Easyway VIP Agents in SXM

Easyway VIP Agents in SXM

Once we arrived into St. Barth we headed off to the Hotel Taïwana and we had the most beautiful two bedroom Jade Suite with a private pool. We settled in after a long day of travel and Sunday woke up and walked the beach of Flamands. The hotel is stunning and everyone there was so generous and kind. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Monday morning I went to our office in Gustavia to start my work week with Magda, our on island concierge. We speak daily and it is nice to see her in person. My first order of business is to collect updated information of the new and exciting things that the island has to offer, so we headed off to the Tourist Office in Gustavia.

SBP Office in Gustavia

SBP Office in Gustavia

The island of St. Barth has so much to offer, each time I visit, I learn something new.

I was excited to dine at some new restaurants on the island: Black Ginger, Ocean and of course my all time favorite Santa Fé.

Here is my Dover Sole that I enjoyed at Santa Fe

Here is my Dover Sole that I enjoyed at Santa Fé

I love fish, so I heard that the grocery store in Lorient called L’Oasis now has a Fish market for those guests that want to sleep in and not meet the local fisherman in Gustavia to see what the daily catch is. I took a ride to check it out. WOW if you want to stay in one night and cook, then I would suggest taking a look at their beautiful array of fish. They have many choices and all are packed on ice to stay fresh.

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I wanted to take a ride around the island to explore, so Magda and I decided to take a little excursion in Grand Fond; many clients enjoy hiking to see the Washing Machine. Make sure you wear sneakers; no flip flops for this hike.

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We also took the hike to Fort Karl, 63 steps up to the most spectacular view overlooking Gustavia harbor on one side and Shell Beach on the other.

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After that Magda and I hopped in the car to explore; we came across some new friends on the road. I also saw some ponies at the stables in Gouverneur.

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After our adventure I headed to the beautiful villa Méli Mélo where I would stay until I departed. This villa has the most stunning views from the front and the back. The front view overlooks St. Jean, the sea and the planes landing over the mountain; the villa was provided with binoculars, so I took advantage of using them. It was amazing to see the planes land and take off. The rear view looks out to the beautiful water at Saline Beach.

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I was lucky to be on the island for our last cocktail party of the season held at La Plage on St Jean Beach, I was happy to meet so many of our clients that I talk to and assist in planning their dream vacations on St. Barth. It was nice to spend time getting to know them better and in person. It just so happened to be Magda’s birthday, so Kathy and I invited her and her beautiful daughter Valérie to join us for dinner.

It was, as always, sad to leave, but I had to get home to make sure that I could share all my adventures and new knowledge of St. Barth with all of you. Call me anytime. I love my job!

A bientôt, St. Barth.

Enjoy Another Exhilarating Activity in St. Barth and Hike to Pointe à Toiny

Friday, April 25th, 2014

John Casey, the very skilled catamaran sailor who races in the St. Barth CataCup each year and is vying for a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team in Rio, read my blog about the hike to Washing Machine and the Natural Pools. He suggests another great trail for you to try and is sharing his enthusiasm for the hike to Pointe à Toiny in today’s guest blog.

A TYPICAL DAY ON A NOT SO TYPICAL ISLAND BY JOHN CASEY

A majority of my time in St. Barth is spent on the water racing by popular beaches and jagged points, but that’s only where the adventure begins. While I’m not sailing, I enjoy staying fit and doing activities far from everyday life. As soon as we drive east from Gustavia Harbor, the reality of being on a pristine island in seclusion really sets in.

My best day on the island was with my fiancée. Well, she’s my wife now. I think the trips to St. Barth helped seal the deal! We slept in, which is also easy to do on the island, and woke up with the trade winds blowing through Villa Les Mouettes one of St. Barth Properties delightful villas in Vitet.

Villa Les Mouettes

Villa Les Mouettes

With a good’s night sleep we decided to go on a hike. I’ve been to the island many times, but there was still a place I hadn’t been to yet, Pointe à Toiny. I realized I hadn’t been there because the hike to Grand Fond’s Washing Machine and Natural Pools that Peg describes is such a good one.

When we looked off of our porch that morning a quick shower passed through and greeted us with a rainbow.

A pretty rainbow appeared in  the view from our villa  Les Mouettes that morning

A pretty rainbow appeared in the view from our villa Les Mouettes that morning

We decided to go for a café au lait and some quick eats for the hike, so we stopped by Maya’s To Go. Carolina decided on Salmon and edamame salad. I had a very tasty quinoa-mandarin orange bowl.

Carolina holding the door open for me, so nice!

Carolina holding the door open for me, so nice!

I really looked forward to this hike. I’ve sailed around the island so many times and saw the cliffs of Toiny, but I always thought the windward side of the island wasn’t habitable. I did know it’s the most treacherous part of the island to sail by with its large waves and unforgiving rocks.

We snaked on winding roads from St. Jean to Hotel Le Toiny and pulled up the road leading to the hotel. It seems like there is nowhere to go after pulling in, but we drove straight by the hotel to a small gravel area on the right with room to park. From there we walked down a small grassy road toward Pointe à Toiny. The view kept getting better.

This hike is extra special since it’s on the windward side of the island. The breeze blows over Pt. Toiny making for a relaxing cool hike.

We begin not far from Hotel Le Toiny

We begin not far from Hotel Le Toiny

Pt. Toiny to some is easy rock climbing, but be careful because a majority of the rocks are loose and you can lose your footing easily.

Carolina gets daring on the rocks

Carolina gets daring on the rocks

Along the paths there are a few benches which give you a chance to enjoy the view. We took the opportunity to eat our Maya’s snacks and just soak in the beauty of the south side of the island.

We took time to enjoy the view as well as our snacks

We took time to enjoy the view as well as our snacks

After the hike we were famished again. On St. Barth I exercise more so I’m hungrier and anxious to eat the delicious varieties of gastronomique delights offered throughout the island. Tapas at Txerri Gorria were on the docket that night. I describe it as decadent. In the States I just don’t have the opportunity to enjoy perfectly tender thin sliced duck or foie gras with Himalayan sea salt, which were two of my favorites. The brie was creamy, the wine tasty and I even had a Jade organic beer.

Then there were four more days just as perfect. Thank you St. Barth!