Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

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.

My June 2014 stay at the “new” Hotel Taïwana and the annual St. Barth Properties Beachside Soirée

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Mark your calendars for November 14, 2014

I couldn’t stay away. After wintering in St. Barth I arrived back in the US and to my house on Cape Cod May 18. I went back to St. Barth June 17…I needed my fix. (Oh yes, and I desperately needed to see my hairdresser.) Connie Walsh, our marketing and travel industry consultant accompanied me this time because the main purpose of our trip was to gather information for our next Live Your Dream catalogue. (Connie and I have the same last name but we are not related. Everyone still thinks we are anyway.) We also inspected a couple of hotels and I added a fabulous villa to our portfolio (More on that in the July edition of our newsletter, Le Bulletin). We interviewed some very interesting people who will be featured in this year’s publication. I hope you enjoy the read.

We were very fortunate to have been invited to stay at the hotel Taïwana for three nights. We had stayed there when it first reopened under new management but it was before the renovation began. It was a lovely hotel but it was dated. The rooms were dark, had terracotta floors and old fashioned bathrooms. The hotel closed for Value Season last year and the rejuvenation began. What a difference a few months makes! Witnessing the transformation from a somber hotel to a cheerful resort was a real pleasure. The rooms and suites exude a casual elegance using a palette of grays and whites.

I stayed in the gorgeous Beachfront Suite with Jacuzzi (#3). It features a king bedroom with satellite TV, a separate living room with a desk area for my laptop, a second TV, a Nespresso machine and a complimentary mini bar filled with juices, sodas and beer. The en suite bath has a separate WC, a large rain head shower and a bathtub. The outdoor space boasts both dining and living areas on the terrace, while the sandy area has two chaises for sunning. Connie and I enjoyed our complimentary Continental Breakfast on my terrace. I was even able to walk right out to the beach from my front yard.

I walked out from my Beach Front Suite's private yard and took this early morning photo of gorgeous Flamands Beach. June is a wonderful time to visit St. Barth.

I walked out from my Beach Front Suite’s private yard and took this early morning photo of gorgeous Flamands Beach. June is a wonderful time to visit St. Barth.

Taiwana Beach Front Suite Bedroom 3

Taiwana Beach Front Suite Bedroom 3

Taiwana Beach Front Suite with Jacuzzi living room 3

Taiwana Beach Front Suite with Jacuzzi living room 3

Connie’s Ocean View Amber Suite (#4) was accessed by going up a couple of sets of stairs. This suite features a guest toilet off of the living room. This area also has the same amenities as mine did. The bedroom has a second TV and en suite bath. There is a terrace with an outdoor living area and a fabulous view.

Amber Ocean View Suite

Amber Ocean View Suite

Amber Ocean View Suite with outdoor living

Amber Ocean View Suite with outdoor living

The restaurant, Casa Taïwana is outstanding and is one of my favorite places to dine for both lunch and dinner. The setting overlooking the beach is incomparable and the food is delectable. Last year, the Casa Taïwana reopened just in time for my 25th anniversary party in November. The celebration was such a success that I rebooked the venue for this year’s St. Barth Properties Beachside Soirée. (We have graduated from a “Bash” to a “Soirée”!)

2013 Beachside Bash:

Our St. Barth office Concierge Magda Votava is the coordinator of this annual event and does a fantastic job. Magda, Connie and I were scheduled to have a lunch time “tasting” with restaurant manager Alexandra Ruiz so that we could select the menu. We tasted, and tasted and tasted for most of the afternoon. I had to ask them to slow down in between courses. Keeping our dinner reservation for that evening became less and less likely with each and every delicious morsel that we sampled. Canapés such as Sesame Tuna Tataki and Langouste Tartare with orange and vanilla dressing were delicious as was one of the main course’s options a savory roasted Lamb chop with thyme and garlic gravy sauce.

St Barth Properties on island Concierge Magda Votava (left rear), Casa Flamands restaurant manager Alexandra Ruiz (left front) join Connie (right front) and me at the tasting

St Barth Properties on island Concierge Magda Votava (left rear), Casa Flamands restaurant manager Alexandra Ruiz (left front) join Connie (right front) and me at the tasting

Magda looks over the menu suggestions for the stations I plan on having at our SBP Beachside Soirée

Magda looks over the menu suggestions for the stations I plan on having at our SBP Beachside Soirée

Three and a half hours later we were stuffed but had successfully chosen our menu. We’ll begin with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres followed by appetizers, a large selection of main courses followed by dessert and dancing to tunes spun by the very talented and popular DJ Yo-One Sutter. The famous singer and guitar player Soley will be serenading us, too. Mark your calendars and book your accommodation with us to include the evening of November 14, 2014 so that you can join other wonderful clients of St. Barth Properties, our villa owners and our hotel partners for a fun evening. If you have not already made your reservation with us, contact reservations@stbarth.com or 1-800-421-3396. You will then receive an invitation from us. We will be honored and thrilled to see you there.

Canapé tasting for the annual St. Barth Properties Beachside Soirée

Canapé tasting for the annual St. Barth Properties Beachside Soirée

Kathy’s Trip Report – Guest Blog

Friday, June 20th, 2014

As most you know our stateside team at St. Barth Properties visits St. Barth at least twice a year to do their villa and hotel inspections and re-inspections as well as to keep up with the latest dining options and happening on the island so as to better assist you with your trip planning to paradise. Kathy Schlitzer one of our very capable St. Barth Specialists and Julia Hurd our US office Concierge came down here last month. I was happy to see them both and we enjoyed some great dinners together.

Trip Report May 10 – 17, 2014
by Kathy Schlitzer – St Barth Specialist

Kathy Schlitzer

Kathy Schlitzer

Julia, our US concierge and I started our working trip to St Barth on May 10 traveling from Boston to St Maarten on Jet Blue. We were met in St Maarten by Easyway VIP, walked through immigration, helped with luggage, and brought to the taxi Easyway had arranged to transfer us to the ferry dock. Love the ease of Easyway!! You never know how the seas will be when you take the ferry from St Maarten to St Barth. Fortunately, having grown up with boats I was pretty sure I could weather the bumpy ride – but not so some of my fellow travelers on the Voyager. I’ve taken the ferry previously but this time the seas were higher and the rolling more pronounced. Staying glued to your seat is recommended, some say being on the outside seats is better than inside, but I think it depends on the person.

Voyager passengers

Voyager passengers

When we arrived at the ferry dock in St Barth Viviane from Gumbs Car Rental was there, as always, with the keys to our cars and off we went to the Hotel Taïwana, our home for two nights.

At the Hotel Taïwana Julia and I stayed in the Two bedroom Jade Suite with private pool. The views over Flamands Beach with its deep Caribbean blue water and white sand were inspiring. The hotel has done an amazing job renovating the suites and rooms, the décor is clean, the quality pure luxury. We enjoyed breakfast overlooking the beach, cocktails from our beach chairs, valet parking, free WIFI, immaculate housekeeping, and lets face it there is nothing like a fluffy bath robe and quality bath products. The staff was attentive and friendly. The two nights went by too quickly.

Suite

Our two bedroom suite at Hotel Taïwana

Monday morning we started our work week in earnest. Up early for breakfast and checkout, we each went our separate ways for the day. Unfortunately the weather was unusually rainy and overcast due to a front going through the area, but the sun peaked out enough and the rainy spells were short. A good day for reading on the beach as long as you have some shelter available for the periodic passing showers. Julia and I met at the end of the day at villa Méli Mélo our home for the remainder of our stay. Méli Mélo is located at the top of St. Jean with killer views from the front and back. The pool side overlooks Baie St Jean, the airport, and distant islands, the other side overlooks Saline. The Saline side is mostly protected land and we were visited by a goat family in our back yard several times. This villa has one of the best views on an island of spectacular view. Lucky us!

View over St. Jean from Villa Méli Mélo

View over St. Jean from Villa Méli Mélo

Overlooking Saline from Villa Méli Mélo

Overlooking Saline from Villa Méli Mélo

The days are busy going from villa to villa doing inspections and taking inventory, but the evening are for wonderful restaurants. Here’s Julia at Santa Fe in Lurin, she usually gets the Oyster entrée and the Dover Sole, and she has been known to love the Profiteroles for dessert. We also enjoyed the new restaurant Me Gusta on the harbor in Gustavia specializing in tapas influenced by Portugese flavors. Another new restaurant is Ocean. As the name implies they specialize in fresh fish, beautifully served.

Julia at Santa Fe

Julia at Santa Fe

NOT SURE WHAT THIS IS

Les Profiteroles at the Santa Fe

Wednesday night Julia and I headed to our St Barth Properties weekly (in season) cocktail party at La Plage. It’s always a pleasure meeting clients and putting a face to the voice on the phone! Our island concierge, Magda, was celebrating a birthday so Julia and I took her to dinner at La Plage after the party. Magda’s young daughter Valérie joined us but was soon fast asleep on one of the banquettes. The location of La Plage is amazing, but having great food, good service AND be right on one of St Barth’s best beaches is outstanding!

La Plage restaurant

La Plage restaurant

Our concierges at La Plage

Our concierges at La Plage

I saw many villas during the week, some I was seeing again and some (newly acquired) I was seeing for the first time. I was especially pleased to see Villa O My, a great house for couples or family, and Artifact in Corossol is new, and luxurious with a view overlooking Corossol, the fishing boats, and turquoise water. Of course I always like seeing old favorites like Royal Palm, Nirvana, Blue Diamond and Au Soleil.

Our last night was at Bagatelle, another great meal ending with my favorite Molten Chocolate cake.

As usual I didn’t see everything I wanted to see, but it will be there when I get back. I look forward to returning in November.

À bientôt St Barth.

Kathryn Schlitzer
St Barth Specialist

November in St. Barth – Trip Report by Connie Walsh

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

I am happily back on St. Barth and am based here for at least the next 5 months (poor me). Last month I was also here doing some villa inspections, spending time with friends and hosting our 25th Anniversary party celebrating the silver anniversary of when I founded St. Barth Properties. My colleague Connie Walsh was with me and I am pleased to share her trip report with you as a Guest Blog.

Connie Walsh’s Trip Report November 2013

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

One of the things I love best about the island of St. Barth is the charming small-town ordinary-ness of its daily life. It both belies and yet compliments the TMZ-like Jay Z & Beyoncé-ness which reaches its star-studded zenith over the Christmas and New Year holidays. But even then, residents, which include many whose families have called St. Barth home for generations, are out and about, stopping in at the post office, buying a baguette or grabbing a burger in Gustavia’s Le Select. And if they meet Mariah Carey popping out of a shop, Dave Letterman jogging the hills or are seated next to Hollywood’s latest starlet in a restaurant, it’s all in a St. Barth day.

Come August and September, many of the hotels and some restaurants shutter for an annual closing period. It’s a quiet time and one that many vacationers love, for just that reason. Come October, everything begins re-opening up with great energy. Hotels sport a range of renovations, announce new chefs and menus and everyone, residents and visitors alike are excited to see what new bistros and boutiques the season will bring.

I’ve been traveling to St.Barth in November for a number of years now with the St. Barth Properties (SBP) team for the pre-season inspection trip. I find the enthusiasm as tangible as the whiff of the scent of fresh paint. This year I added in some vacation time. Joining SBP’s president, my client and friend Peg Walsh. Together with our husbands and other friends, we shared the delightful Villa Nirvana. It was perfect for 3 couples, like many villas in the portfolio, its en suite bedrooms are privately situated and the poolside outdoor living spaces are designed to gather and socialize and take in a spectacular view. And we did.

Villa Nirvana

Villa Nirvana

My husband and I loved the Lurin location in part due to its proximity to Gouverneur Beach, one of our favorites. We could jump in the car and head down for a morning swim and be back in no time for a 2nd helping of French pastries. (Our St. Barth guilty pleasure.) The week went by all too quickly, a shopping trip combined with burgers, ice cold Caribs, and people-watching at the legendary Le Select; picnic lunches and swimming at St. Jean Beach where, end of day, we’d stroll down to La Plage’s Pink Parrot bar for a late-afternoon glass of rosé and a lovely day at the Christopher. The Pt. Milou hotel offers Day Passes and 80 euros per person will reserve you a plush poolside sunbed, umbrella and towel. The seafront pool here is the island’s largest and just gorgeous. A welcome cocktail and lunch at the feet-in-the-sand Mango is included. Spa aficionados can upgrade the Pass to include treatments at the hotel’s Spa Sisley. Check-in the with SBP’s concierge team to reserve the Pass.

Christopher pool

Christopher pool

The gang at the Christopher

The gang at the Christopher

And now on to the restaurant round-up. Our tradition is to have our first night on-the-island dinner at Andy’s Hideaway. The beloved old shanty with a view of the parking lots has been spiffed up. Brightly painted, plus new chairs and tables give it a contemporary look. Dare we say très chic? The thin crust pizza is still fabulous and the vanilla rhum, yummy. Andy belted out Sweet Caroline as he is wont to do and the crowd joined in. In short, it’s as much fun as ever.

Santa Fe has long been on my must-dine list (I always finish with the old-school Peach Melba.) and I’ve now added Le Carre Lounge. I love the way owner Franck Mathevet describes the preparations of each dish, with fingers aflutter like he is actually feeling the ingredients and I love everything on the menu starting with the truffle oil popcorn. Recommendations: the Gnocchi Maison “al pesto” and the crispy chicken rolls with ginger and lime.

Le Carre Lounge

Le Carre Lounge

We dined at Hotel Le Toiny‘s Relais Chateau restaurant Le Gaïac where on Tuesday nights they offer their popular 3 course pre-fixe Fish Market. The Mahi-Mahi was delish and I was blown away by my dessert of chocolate ganache served with a crispy biscuit, banana foam and avocado sorbet. (No, really.)

The Mahi-Mahi at Le Toiny's Le Gaïac

The Mahi-Mahi at Le Toiny’s Le Gaïac

We lunched at the Sereno and the Guanahani hotels. Le Sereno is boasting a new concept and menu and we devoured a starter of eggplant chips with tzatziki sauce and a salad of assorted melon tossed with arugula and dressed with a balsamic reduction – cool and refreshing. My favorite starter of this trip was the Guanahani’s Indigo resto’s Wahoo ceviche sprinkled with coconut.

This year, SBP upgraded their annual Beachside Bash in honor of their Silver Anniversary and everyone gathered at the Hotel Taïwana’s newly-christened restaurant Casa Flamands for an elegant buffet supper. With that as a “taste” we are looking forward to more.

My favorite of the new eateries is Gustavia’s just-opened Thai restaurant Black Ginger. The décor of the bi-level edifice is dramatic with a bold red and black color scheme. Head up to the 2nd floor and dine under the stars. Dishes are authentically prepared and we love that they incorporate the local fish. The black pepper Mahi-Mahi was a huge hit with our crowd and I loved my chicken curry in coconut milk. Newly opened on the harbor, Les Coulisses is casual, fun and a great stop for lighter fare. They serve tapas and very good pizza.

Black Ginger

Black Ginger restaurant

Our last day on St. Barth was a busy one and we planned to fit in lunch at a little restaurant that we heard was a favorite of locals, Le Jardin. Housed in a garden pavilion and tucked away in the shopping plaza across from the airport, it was simple, bright, airy and absolutely charming. I was delighted to see gazpacho on the menu and it was perfectly chilled and seasoned. However, I did have my eye on the two-fisted juicy burgers that were served up to the guys at the table beside us. Next time. We slowed down, ordered a glass of rosé and “hung out with the locals”. Put it on your list. It’s open for breakfast if you fly in early and it works well for a pre-departure cocktail. And who knows the crowd that day might include a celeb like Mick Jagger or a “special” local like Jimmy Buffett. But in St. Barth. everyone feels, well, special. Enjoy!

Julia’s Trip Report for SBH June 2013

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Bonjour!

On occasion, I mention that the St. Barth Properties team members travel to the island quite often in order to inspect and re-inspect our villas and hotels so as to ensure that each and everyone one of you receive the best service and advice when planning your dream vacation to St. Barth.

Once you have chosen your accommodation, then what happens? You hear from our super-friendly and very well-informed U.S. Concierge, Julia Hurd who is at-the-ready to make any and all arrangements including car rentals, air charters, transfers, private chef bookings, restaurant reservations, snorkeling trips, massages, private yoga lessons, babysitters etc. You name it – Julia will do it for you. And, once you are on St. Barth our Concierge in our St. Barth office, Magda Votava takes over.

In order to make recommendations Julia must also travel to St. Barth. Here is her trip report:

Julia’s trip report June 5, 2013 through June 13, 2013.

On June 5 I reported for work – on St. Barth – and I assure you it’s a pretty awesome place to work! As the St. Barth Properties US-based Concierge, my regular island visits are critical to serving our clients well and (shhh) lots of fun for me too! This year was no exception. I was excited to see Magda, our on-island Concierge. She is my counterpart and we are in daily communication by phone, email and IM so it’s great to spend “real time” together and she was a great help in fulfilling my mission – catching up on all the new places to dine on the island and all of the activities that I recommend to our clients.

Photo of me with Magda

Photo of me with Magda

I wanted to experience the Voyager Ferry from St. Martin to St. Barth as it’s an alternative to flying and we often have requests for that option. And as I frequently do for our clients, I booked a transfer with Easyway VIP Service from St. Maarten Airport (SXM) to the ferry dock. They were waiting with smiles in the transit area, handled my luggage and drove me to the ferry dock. Their name, Easy Way VIP says it all and I highly recommend them. The best way to travel is to have Easyway VIP Service assist you through SXM airport whether or not you are flying or taking the ferry to St. Barth.

My ride to the ferry was waiting for us as we exited the airport

My ride to the ferry was waiting for us as we exited the airport

Easyway VIP Team in Sint Maarten from left to right Jeffrey, Leslie, James and Shawn

Easyway VIP Team in Sint Maarten from left to right Jeffrey, Leslie, James and Shawn

Once we arrived into the port of Gustavia and after having settled in at the villa, my first stop was Andy’s Hideaway to join colleagues Peg Walsh, Kathy Schlitzer and Julie Nally for pizza. It’s a first-night-on-the-island tradition. They changed up the menu a bit but I was glad to see they were serving my favorite pizza mushroom and ham. Delish!

The week was filled with meetings but my agenda also called for experiencing some spas. I had a facial at Venus Institut, located in Gustavia; they offer a full menu of services. The owner Anne Picard assessed my skin and then I was treated to one of the most relaxing experiences, I ever had. It was just what a concierge or any island vacationer needs… And I was glowing when I left! Contact me and I will be happy make your appointment(s) for any of their services. juliahurd@stbarth.com.

Magda and I also booked a spa & lunch package at the Manapany Hotel’s Spa Payot. Sophie was my massage therapist and she was just the best. A full body massage followed by lunch at the hotel restaurant for 80 euro per person was exactly what I needed. Magda and I both had the Caesar Salad for a starter and I followed that with a big bowl of pasta with red pepper ragu. Yummo. Magda loved her spaghetti and meatballs.

Like everyone else, I love the restaurants on St. Barth and this trip I dined at Santa Fé, Dð Brazil, L’Esprit, La Table de Jules, Les Bananiers, Andy’s and for lunch, La Gloriette.

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

For my accommodations I was lucky enough to stay in two beautiful villas with stunning views. I divided my time between Villa Valentina, a beautiful four bedroom villa located in Pointe Milou and Villa Belle Bague a warm and inviting 4 bedroom villa located in Colombier.

From the moment I opened the beautiful large wooden door at Villa Valentina I felt as though a Garden of Eden awaited me. The large Buddha Fountain welcomed me to this incredible villa. The living room is fully screened, so a refreshing breeze was always swirling as I sat on the sofa and gazed out at the large pool and fantastic sea view. The bedrooms are spacious and lovely with large bathrooms and comfy beds. The pool area offers a wonderful pergola with a large sunken dining table. The property is large enough to host a great party amongst the luscious gardens that this villa offers. Villa Valentina is perfect for families or just a romantic getaway for two.

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Belle Bague also had an incredible feel from the moment I walked through the door. It is such a warm and inviting villa. Stop at the fully stocked bar, make yourself a cold cocktail and enjoy the beautiful views. It boasts a magnificent fit-for-a-chef kitchen which is perfect for me because I love to cook! The pool has a fountain, which at night has several color options, blue, white, yellow, green and even Disco. The bedrooms are elegant with 4-poster beds fitted with top-of-the-line linens and en suite bathrooms. Each bedroom has instructions on the use of the satellite TV; I found this to be extremely helpful. On top of it all, there’s a mini-gym for those who like to maintain their fitness routine while on vacation.

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague is very accommodating for families as it has all of the beach accessories, such as sand toys, floats, umbrellas and beach chairs. Oh and that view! On a clear day take a look through the binoculars that are conveniently hanging in the kitchen and look at St. Martin as well as the beautiful boats sailing by. Once you arrive it will be very difficult to leave this wonderful villa.

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Both Villa Valentina and Villa Belle Bague are just perfect for either a girlfriends getaway a couples retreat or a family vacation.

All in all it was a wonderful trip and after 6 years of working for St. Barth Properties, I have made some wonderful friends on the island and it was great to see them all and say “Bonjour”.

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…

A Perfect Day at the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Lucky you! You have discussed hotel options with one of our award winning St. Barth Properties Specialists and have chosen to stay at the 5 star beachside boutique property Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France It is as magical as the sound of its name with an ambiance that artfully blends its French West Indies location with the casual sophistication of its “cousin” the South of France. You were looking for a romantic idyll and you have arrived. Your spacious and lavish 1 Bedroom Beach Suite includes a full kitchen, an airy living room and comfortably elegant furnishings bedecked in cool cottons and vintage French fabrics. Your king size bed boasts a view of the sea and there’s a sumptuous oversized en suite bath with a tempting stone soaking tub and indoor and outdoor showers. A private terrace with your own infinity edge plunge pool is just steps from the brilliant blue waters of one of St. Barth’s most gorgeous beaches – Flamands.

IDF Flamands Beach

2567-®Napolitano_Panorama2

IDF Beach Suite view living room

Your terrace is the perfect place to begin the day with a poolside breakfast discretely delivered by room service. Grab your iPod and that new novel and head to the beach. Comfy umbrella’d chaise lounges await. Take a stroll along that wide stretch of sugar-white sand and you’ve earned a libation. The beach bar staff can muddle up a mean mojito. Come lunchtime, slip on a pareo, wriggle your feet back into your sandals, and saunter up to La Case de l’Isle; it’s one of the islands’ loveliest alfresco restaurants and the rosé corks will be popping. Try the Daily Wok – fresh and delicious – with a bottle of Clos Beylesse. Everyone adores the lunch-time fashion show presented each day by the hotel’s boutique. If you’re inspired to do a bit of shopping, don’t miss the signature lacey couture by French designer José Balensi (stunning!) and the line of men’s swimwear by Gerry St. Tropez.

+PITER 10-IDF6824Isle de France Beach

clos beylesse at IDF  Feb 2013

Are you in the mood for a massage? The spa menu, in collaboration with the world renowned Natura Bissé and Intraceuticals skin care brands, is decadent and couples massages are offered in the Spa Pavilion. Ensconced in a tropical garden, it is uber romantic. Services come with dessert, a beautifully presented trio of icy fruit sorbets. We think you’ll be ready to return to the comfort and privacy of your suite and ease into the night.

IDF Spa Pavillion

Pop open a bottle of bubbly and enjoy the approaching twilight, the gentle breezes – and each other. The hotel concierge will be pleased to assist with dinner reservations and you would love PaCri, neighboring Hotel Taiwana’s upscale Italian resto – just a short walk down the beach. The Gnocchi and the entire experience here is exquisite.

restaurant

To end a perfect day, curl up on the pool-side banquette back at the La Case de l’Isle’ and sip a digestive – St. Barth Style. Vanilla Rhum. Yum.

When you return to your suite. You’ll find chocolates on your pillow. Sweet.

Bonne Nuit

For more information contact: StBarthIsledeFrance@stbarth.com

SBH Trip Report November 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Bonjour Everyone,

I’ve just returned from Cannes where I attended the ILTM (International Luxury Travel Mart). I met with many travel agents from all over the world in order to tell them how wonderful St. Barth is. I am off to St. Barth next week and I can’t wait to get there.

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

I have asked colleague Connie Walsh who traveled with me to St. Barth last month, to write a guest blog describing her trip.

Enjoy!

SBH Trip Report November 2012

By Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

We had a smooth late afternoon landing, courtesy of Tradewind Aviation, and in no time we were settled in at Villa Everestand enjoying some wine and cheese. (I highly recommend pre-arrival villa provisioning!) Dinner at Andy’s Hideaway is our first tradition and as always it was rollicking fun with locals and vacationers who have it on their gotta-go list. I adore their thin crust pizza – and their house-made vanilla rhum.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

Our schedule was chock a block with villa and hotel inspections and, trying new-this-season restaurants and the company’s annual Beachside Bash. The venue was again Shell Beach’s Dõ Brazil where songstress Christine Gordon had the crowd up dancing.  The Champagne corks were popping and everyone enjoyed a buffet with samples of new menu items. My favs were the Mahi-Mahi sliders and the ribs.

New restos on the scene include La Tables de Jules in Lorient offering dinner staring at 29 euros for 2 courses  and a very cool – and cozy – sushi bar corner and in the heart of Gustavia, island restaurateur Franck Mathevet formerly of the Wall House has brought his culinary magic to the covered courtyard of Rue du Port. He has named it Le Carré and everyone in our group loved it…from the first kernel of truffle oil popcorn to the last spoonful of sorbet. Tucked between Hermes and Cartier the sidewalk café ambiance is tres chic.

There’s a brand new chef at Le Sereno, Jean Louis Brocardi and we were delighted to meet with him when we dined there one evening.  He is just as charming and engaging as he is talented and we had quite a feast!  Could one have too much freshly caught mahi-mahi?  We think not.  He presented us with a gorgeous appetizer platter of tuna prepared in different – and delicious ways.

We visited Hotel Le Toiny’s poolside Le Gaïac – for a “working lunch.” The pool itself has had a do-over in lava stone and the restaurant is resplendent with a new classic decor. We also lunched at Santa Fe, feet-in-the-sand Gloriette (fab chicken curry and rice) and of course, stopped for a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select.

Armed with a list of villas newly added to the portfolios we were pleased with what we saw. Here’s a sample:

Villa Imagine – 3 bedrooms:  A beautiful Marigot location! A domed skylight floods the living area with light and a classic picture window frames the view. I loved the comfy contemporary furnishings and the artful combination of chic industrial and whimsical accessories. A striking extra long pool sparkles in the sun all day.

Villa Imagine

Villa Imagine

Villa A – 3 bedrooms:  A formal French maison, its grand salon must be seen to be believed and it opens to an expansive pool terrace facing the sea. Villa A features a huge eat-in kitchen with every culinary amenity and would be a WOW setting for a wedding or event.

Villa A Grand Salon

Villa A Grand Salon

Naturelle 34 bedrooms:  Worthy of an Architectural Digest layout, and like its two “sister villas”, the name comes from its gorgeous but natural tropical landscaping. A sprawling main-level deck features an extra long infinity edge (and heated) pool. The views are spectacular! Two en suite bedrooms are on opposite ends of the villa and the other two, also en suite, are situated just down the hill in a bi level pavilion. Each has its own plunge pool. A spacious open air mini-gym is just one of many special features.

Villa Naturelle 3

Villa Naturelle 3

And for honeymooners – Ti Acerola. This very private mini-compound’s main pavilion has a kitchen, dining area, bedroom and bath. The 2nd pavilion houses a cozy air-conditioned living room. Both are adjacent to a delightful pool. And what a view!

Villa Ti Acerola

Villa Ti Acerola

Our hotel inspections included the Carl Gustaf.  The suites’ plunge pools have been retiled in sparkling white and new contemporary furnishings and décor give the living rooms and the bedrooms a fresh new airy – and 5 star look. The Hotel Saint-Barth Hotel Isle de France is boasting new white marble flooring in it iconic breezeway.  We toured the newly refurbished rooms as suites on the beach as we; as the garden bungalows and they are gorgeous. We checked in at the Hotel Taïwana and its new top-level bedroom suites are nearing completion.

It was a busy and productive trip with a nice Sunday break in the middle. We began with a breakfast of ham and cheese croissants  at La Petite Colombe and a morning swim at Gouverneur Beach; and then on to St. Jean Beach for a picnic lunch – and some great people watching. Parfait.

The St. Barth Properties Beachside Bash November 10, 2012 – The Beaujolais Nouveau Tasting November 14, 2012

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I just left beautiful St. Barth so that I can host thanksgiving dinner for my family but, lucky me,  I will return for the winter in a few weeks. The island is gearing up for The Season and is ready to welcome you whenever you decide to visit.  My US staff and I were on the island to inspect our current villas as well as visit the new ones and to do site inspections at our hotels.  I always inspect prospective listings. Some make the cut; others do not. I liked what I saw and I am sure that you will too. More on all the new stuff in my future blogs…

St Barth Properties

Our annual Beachside Bash was held at Dð Brazil on Shell Beach November 10, 2012; I loved meeting both our repeat clients as well as our new clients. I always introduce our new Live Your Dream Catalogue at our Beachside Bash so our advertising partners were also invited. Christine Gordon sang beautifully all night long and bumped it up a bit as the evening wore on and the next thing we knew we were up and dancing. You should consider hiring her if you plan on hosting a party at your villa.

Here is the link to the electronic version of our Live Your Dream® catalogue http://issuu.com/st.barthpropertiesinc./docs/2013stbarthpropertiesportfoliovolume17/1

On November 14 at precisely 7:01 pm we had our first taste of the Beaujolais Nouveau at Le Cellier du Gouverneur in Gustavia. Once again we hosted our clients who by now were good friends. The verdict? This year’s vintage is “pretty good.” I hope that you can join us for these two events next year.

Wishing you all the Happiest of Thanksgivings

Peg

Hurricane Sandy and the St Barts 2012 CataCup

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

To those of you who suffered the wrath of Super-Storm Sandy, I am thinking of all of you and hope that the damage it caused can be repaired and that life will get back to normal in the coming days. We had clients that were scheduled to go to St. Barts this week and had to cancel because their house was flooded and they could not leave the country at this time. Unfortunately they did not take out the optional insurance that we offer. If they had, their trip would have been covered and their expenses would have been reimbursed by the insurance company. However, we at St. Barth Properties went to bat for them to see if the owner of Villa Enfin would agree to allow them to reschedule their stay to another date. He generously agreed. I am sure these clients will look forward to being able to relax in St. Barts once they have recovered from the storm damage. I hope that you will want to do the same when the time comes to start thinking about a vacation.

I am heading to St. Barts on Wednesday to attend meetings, do hotel and villa inspections and to host our annual Beachside Bash November 10 as well as our Beaujolais Nouveau tasting on November 14, 2012. The CataCup race will begin November 14. St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is again sponsoring a fantastic catamaran that is captained by multi-hull champion, John Casey. Dalton Tebo will once more be his very talented sailing partner.

John has contributed this guest blog:

“The St. Barth CataCup, the most exciting catamaran event of the year, is right around the corner and our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty Sailing Team has been training all year for this very moment. The container, full of fast, sleek catamarans, left Miami on October 29th and is bound for St. Barth. The sailing race will start at Nikki Beach on November 14th. This event is chock-full of world champions and Olympic athletes ready to make their mark in sailing history. Look for the St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty catamaran on the beach and come say hello.

Our team won two years ago and finished a close second last year. We have a new boat and are excited to come back to the window pane clear water to race, but just as excited to visit with Peg and the whole team!

Of course, we will be at the Beaujolais Nouveau Party on November 14th at 7:01 PM. We hope to see you at this very tasty event!”

Note from Peg: John Casey and Sarah Newberry are going for the Gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Read all about it here http://www.usamultihull2016.com/. Why not support them in their endeavor and donate to the cause?