Archive for the ‘Hotels’ Category

Post-Irma Update December 01-11, 2017

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Jimmy Buffett to give a free concert on the quai December 27, 2017. It’s not too late to book a villa!

First, Breaking News!
As I told you in my pervious blog, St. Barth is a very special place that means a lot to Jimmy Buffet. Bulletin! Jimmy is giving a free concert here on December 27, 2017 to show his support of the island and encourage all of you to come. We have villas available for you, many of which only have a 7-night minimum stay. Check out our holiday availability on our website, then email me, pegwalsh@stbarth.com or reservations@stbarth.com. See you on the Quai!

Jimmy Buffett (pictured here at Le Select’s 60th anniversary in 2009) is giving a free concert on the quai December 27, 2017.

Now, on to my Post-Irma blog.

December 01, 2017

With Thanksgiving behind me and the annual hectic runaround getting my Christmas cards and shopping finished before I left Cape Cod, I was anxious to get back to my beloved St. Barth. This time we flew via San Juan Puerto Rico, but JetBlue had canceled our morning flight, so we had to find a hotel where we could overnight on December 01. We stayed at the La Concha Renaissance hotel which was only about a 10-minute ride from the airport. It sits directly on the beach and we had a beachfront room with a terrific view. We were flying to St. Barth on Tradewind the next morning, so I had booked their VIP service. I wanted to leave our checked bags with Tradewind so that we didn’t have to schlep them to our hotel and back. We only had to keep our carry-ons with us. A representative met us at our gate, took our luggage tags and escorted us to a van which Tradewind had booked for our roundtrip transfer. It worked perfectly. We can arrange all of that for you, too if you must spend the night in SJU.

December 02, 2017

Long before Hurricane Irma hit St. Barth, we had booked Villa Camaruche with 2 other couples because we always attended our Beachside Bash party where I introduced our new catalogue, together. This year’s party was to be held at Le Barthélemy hotel, but Irma rudely interrupted our plans. The hotel remains closed. My catalogue was about to go to print in France a few days after Irma so, I had to stop the production because the content was no longer accurate. Like you, we still wanted to come to St. Barth. Mike and Connie Walsh were with us as was St. Barth Properties Hotel and Villa Specialist Allegra Pawlowski. We took the 10:00 a.m. Tradewind shuttle to St. Barth. Paula and Marty, the other couple, were flying into SJU from Fort Lauderdale, so we had lunch at Le Jardin across from the airport (it was packed) and met them when the 2:07 p.m. Tradewind flight arrived. Off we went to Villa Camaruche. We were amazed how much work, time and effort had been put into getting it ready for us. And, oh that view! The angels were looking down upon Villa Camaruche because the neighboring villas were more damaged. We could not see any real signs of any remaining damage and loved sitting poolside in the lounge chairs and the outdoor living area.

We stayed at Villa Camaruche. Each mornng, we woke up to this breathtaking view.

With our Beachside Bash canceled, I decided to have a little party with our friends, our St. Barth staff and two of our US staff members who were on the island. It was our St Barth Properties Bilingual Villa and Hotel Specialist, Anne-Cécile Bedford’s last night and Allegra Pawlowski’s first night. I booked 25 Quarter for 17 of us and asked owner Chris Davis to make up a special menu for us. When we arrived, I was told to wait a few minutes because Chris had a surprise for us. A side door opened and we were escorted into 25 Quarter’s new Rhum Room, featuring rums from all over the Caribbean. We were the very first people to see it and it is fabulous. We enjoyed a Coupe de Champagne followed by exotic cocktails, then we sat down in the main area to enjoy a very delicious casual dinner. My favorite singer, Soley started singing at 10:00 pm. Everyone loved it. 25 Quarter-St Barth was just named Caribbean Bar of the Year by the Caribbean Journal. Congratulations, Chris!

I decided to have a little gathering with the staff at 25 Quarter. Here we are in their brand new Rhum Room featuring rums from all over the Caribbean.

December 03, 2017

It’s Sunday – Football Day! Many of you know that I am a huge New England Patriots fan. When I came down here in November, I purposely chose the bye week, so I wouldn’t miss a game (we have season tickets). Steve and I have attended every Super Bowl the Pats have played in, beginning with the New Orleans 2001 season’s Super Bowl XXXVII. We’ve suffered through the losses and celebrated the wins. We have Dish Network at our villa but, unfortunately, it is a New York feed, so we only get the Jets and the Giants games on TV. Our friend Mike, who was staying with us, decided to take a ride down to the Bar De L’Oubli in Gustavia to see what game they were showing. When he arrived, the Jets game was on, but only French people were sitting there, so he asked the bartender to change the satellite to the Patriots game; he called me on my cell and off we went to watch the game.

I was happy that I could enjoy a glass on Sancerre and watch the Patriots-Bills game at the Bar De L’Oubli.

That evening we went to the recently reopened Tamarin restaurant in Saline. The lily ponds and gardens were just like before Irma had destroyed all of it. The food was delicious, and we loved our round table for 6 in the garden. We will be back again and again.

The Tamarin opened right before Thanksgiving. We loved our table in the garden that has been completely restored.

December 04th – 6th, 2017

Connie, Allegra and I did some villa inspections. We visited the new Villa Coquillage that sits above Shell Beach and the harbor. You can easily walk down a fairly steep hill to get to either of them. The view of the red roof tops as well as the harbor is lovely. We were pleased to see the luxurious Villa Noé was in tip top shape (Several clients have already stayed there and raved about it) and that the island has finally put the electrical wires in front it underground! The infinity pool looks as if it flows into the sea. We inspected what will be the 3rd bedroom when it is finished mid-January. Located on the lower level, it features a French king bed that can be made up as twins and and en suite bathroom with rain head shower. Access is via a stairway or a separate outdoor entrance with parking across the street. Villa Noé can now accommodate 2 couples and 2 teens (or a nanny and younger child).

We started our day inspecting Villa Noe. It looked as luxurious as ever.

As we were a party of six that had two cars that we would have had to drive to dinner each night, Aurélie booked a taxi big enough to accommodate us, so every evening, “Annabelle Taxi” picked us up, dropped us off at the restaurant and picked us up again when we were ready to go back to the villa. No need to worry about enjoying cocktails and/or a bottle of wine.

Annabelle picked us up, took us to the restaurant, and then and dropped us off at our villa every night.

December 7th, 2017

Connie, Allegra and I inspected the new air-conditioned Villa Java that sits on the right side of Marigot Bay. As soon as we entered and went upstairs to see the bedrooms, we fell in love with it. The three French king en suite bedrooms look out to the view of the water and across the bay to Mont Jean. The living cum media room, dining area, gourmet kitchen and full guest bath are downstairs. Sliders lead out to the large deck with outdoor living and dining spaces that overlook the infinity pool and the bay. You can see turtles popping their heads as they swim by. Stairs lead down to a private man-made beach area and a small path winds around to the public beach area. Snorkeling here is a favorite pastime.

I had booked our St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic for 7 of us and chose Gouverneur Beach. It was a gorgeous day and the waves were rolling in. We are supporting our private chefs, so Chef XO set up the entre picnic, with beach chairs, umbrellas and coolers full of food, Rosé wine and water. We had so much fun. You need to try it while you are here. Just call the office or email our SBH concierge, aurelie@stbarth.com 24 hours in advance, choose your beach and menu and Aurélie will do the rest.

We enjoyed a St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic at Gouverneur Beach. Try it! You’ll love it!

Allegra took a few hours off from her villa inspections to join us for the picnic. Seems to me, she is having a pretty good time.

December 08, 2017

It was departure day for Connie and Mike, so we drove them to the airport to see them off to San Juan via Tradewind and then connect on AA via Miami to Boston.

Au Revoir Connie and Mike. Sorry to see you go back to the snow.

Les Bananiers restaurant had suffered damage and only opened for table service a few nights before, so I wanted to try it. We were glad we did. It had been ages since I had ordered their escargots and the new menu is delightful. One of the choices is tournedos, which were perfectly cooked and very tender. The service was excellent, and the new white décor makes it look larger. The place was full, so I was glad that Aurélie had made a reservation for us.

December 09, 2017

It was time for Paula and Marty to leave on an early Tradewind flight to SJU where they connected on JetBlue to Fort Lauderdale. That afternoon, we went to St. Jean Beach for a couple of hours. I am happy that we did because I witnessed palm tree, after palm tree being gently dragged over the sand by a backhoe loader from the airport entrance to La Plage restaurant/Tom Beach hotel. The results are already amazing. I think the new look is fantastic! I’ll keep tabs on what the final product looks like. I wonder if Santa Claus will arrive by Jet Ski as is usual on Christmas Day?

December 09, 2017, New palm trees were being planted in front of La Plage restaurant and the Tom Beach hotel, while I was on St. Jean Beach today. More progress!

December 10, 2017

It’s Sunday. No need to worry about NFL football today because the Patriots game is on Monday night, albeit at 9:30 p.m., because we are on Atlantic time. Fitbit back on and off to Gustavia. Silversea’s Silver Whisper cruise ship moored outside of the harbor and passengers were coming in by tender, as usual. I heard a saw coming from somewhere, which is not normal on a Sunday, so I checked it out. Good news! The noise was coming from the Baz Bar. Knowing Jean-Marc, I am sure it will be open by Christmas.

Workers were busily preparing the Baz Bar for its reopening.

We walked to Shell Beach and saw that real progress has been made on getting Shellona ready for you.

December 10, 2017 – Your table at Shellona on Shell Beach is almost ready.

December 11, 2017

I am not sure if many of you have heard of the famous French “Rock Star” Johnny Hallyday. Many people refer to him as the Elvis Presley of France. Johnny, 74, passed away in France on December 05, 2017. A huge funeral procession took place on the Champs Elysées Saturday December 09th. Like all of us, Johnny fell in love with St. Barth when he first arrived here many years ago. Eventually he built a large villa in Marigot which, I am happy to say, St. Barth Properties rents for him. He preferred that we not reveal that he is the owner of the villa, so I am respecting that request until I hear otherwise. Johnny’s two girls took surfing lessons across the street from the cemetery and his dying wish, to be buried in St. Barth, was expressed to Collectivé President, Bruno Magras. The internment in the Lorient cemetery by JoJo takes place today. I am sure the burial site will become a shrine and many fans will come to St. Barth to visit it, just the way Americans go to Paris and include a visit to Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise cemetery.

Johnny Hallyday asked St. Barth President Bruno Magras if he could be buried in Lorient, because St, Barth is his most favorite place in the world. (photo credit frenchinfo)

My son and St. Barth Properties VP, Tom Smyth, is arriving later today. Among other things, we have set up a lot of meetings with the staff at both our rental and Sotheby’s sales offices. I’ll be Back with more updates soon.

Another firsthand report on the post-Hurricane Irma recovery

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Post Hurricane Irma blog November 06-10, 2017

November 06, 2017

Monday morning is bustling. Trucks are full of supplies and workers are everywhere. The landscapers are tending to the gardens, masons are repairing the stone walls, the children are back in school after the Toussaint (All Saints) vacation and people are heading back to work. Sneakers and Fitbit back on, we head to Gustavia again. Today’s walk takes us to Shell Beach. The shells are back! The beach is pretty, although the left end is missing some sand. The right end is wider than ever.

The shells are back on Shell Beach!

Shell Beach is doing well.

We checked out Shellona and came to the conclusion that it will be fine. The building looks the way it did one year ago when the owners were pushing hard to get it open in time for Christmas; the lower part of the restaurant that sits on the sand needs to be restored with its tables and bar, but I don’t think it is a big deal. For sure, it will be open for the holidays (In my humble opinion, that is). The word is that it will reopen December 22, 2017.

Shellona is boarded up and still standing. The beach front area needs to be set up.

I went back to the villa and worked remotely, then went to my office to meet with Benoit and Pascale about the schedule to do the repairs of both offices as well as our plans for your arrival and other administrative matters.

We dined at Black Ginger which had reopened a few days before, and had another delicious dinner. It’s St. Barth, after all. By coincidence, Pascal Ramette, one of the owners of La Guérite, was at the next table. I asked him when his gourmet restaurant was reopening, and he said, without hesitation, December 22nd! What a great spot to have your New Year’s Eve dinner and then watch the midnight fireworks. We can make the reservation for you.

Black Ginger is one of our favorite restaurants.

November 07, 2017

More good news! I received the following email from Mathilde Tissot, the owner of the 5 star Villa Marie, a Sibuet boutique hotel.

“Dear Peg,

I can now confirm the official re-opening date for the hotel Villa Marie Saint-Barth on March 9th, 2018!

Villa Marie Saint Barth will even offer 2 additional units to the existing 18 villa and bungalows:

– A second master villa with sweeping ocean views and private pool
– A third master villa (without private pool) which can be divided into a Prestige bungalow + a Caribbean bungalow: perfect for a family or for two couples in search of a Caribbean getaway.

Reservations are now open!”

So, all you need to do is contact me or one of my very capable St. Barth Villa and Hotel Specialists at reservations@stbarth.com. I love, love, love this hotel. I think you will too. Even if you do not stay there, you must dine at their gourmet restaurant, François Plantation. It is supposed to reopen in December and it’s a wonderful experience. You can also have lunch at their intimate poolside restaurant. If you want to hang out there for the day, we can reserve some chaises for you when we make your lunch reservation.

Our walk took me to the stairway up to Fort Karl. I had expected the steps that are built into the hillside would have been totally washed away, so I was happy to see them intact and waiting for you to use them.

Climb the steps up to Fort Karl to take in the fabulous view.

No trip to St. Barth is complete without having a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Le Select, so today is the day! The problem? One of my pet peeves is those tiny plastic ketchup packets that I can never open, except with my teeth, and my dentist- husband forbids me to do that. Knowing that we would be going to Le Select, I always bring my own bottle of ketchup (it must be Heinz), so I checked every grocery store on the island and: NO Heinz Ketchup whatsoever! No any kind of ketchup, either, so, off we went to the American Store in Gustavia; surely, they would have it, but no, nothing there except a jar of “Original Ketchup.” I settled for that, went to check-out and found out it cost 13 euros! It was ok, but nothing like Heinz, I do understand that it is not a priority and it may take time to stock the shelves.

I had to settle for a 13 euro jar of ketchup. The 2 cheeseburgers plus an order of fries cost exactly the same – 13 euros.

No trip to St. Barth is complete without having a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select.

That evening we dined at Le Repaire and watched the Voyager ferry come in on its last run from St. Martin. We always enjoy dining there.

November 08, 2017

Today is full of meetings. I met with Claire Hillau from Le Barthélemy hotel to discuss the reopening. I was disappointed to hear that no date has been set. She thinks she will know the beginning of December, but it looks like it won’t be until the fall of 2018. For sure, they will be open by November because they have a wedding scheduled there that month.

We dined at L’Isola, had a nice corner table and an outstanding meal, the vitello limone for me, and shrimp and lobster risotto for Steve. We were warmly greeted by both Fabrizio the owner, and Ricardo the manager. We met a nice couple who said that they want to buy property on St. Barth, so I said that my St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office will take care of them.

We loved our evenng at L’Isola and are very happy that they reopened so quickly.

November 09, 2017

I knew you would be asking me about Saline Beach, so off we went to check it out. The salt pond was full, the path from the parking lot was nice and wide and we began our hike. The rocky access up seemed a bit tougher and steeper to me, but that might be because I have not climbed it recently. When we reached the top, the view was as breathtaking as ever and was incredibly expansive. There was quite a steep slope to get down to the beach itself. Good exercise for you! It has not yet been approved for swimming due to the high level
Of the salt pond but it should be ok very soon.

Bonjour from the top of Saline Beach!

Saline Beach is wide and enticing.

This afternoon I inspected Villa Aloa in Flamands. It looks good and is ready for your stay. The owners were there and pointed out that they have added AC to the living room.

From Villa Aloa, I had a bird’s eye view of the garden bungalows at Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. I am still waiting for a reopening date.

Time for another casual night. So, we went to 25 Quarter in Gustavia. We loved it! It was lively and fun. The décor was unique. We shared a beef quesadilla appetizer followed by Mahi Mahi tacos for Steve and Tuna Tataki for me…really, really good. We chatted with owner Chris Davis who told us that he is going to have a rum room featuring rums from all over the Caribbean.

Thursday Night Football was on in the bar area of 25 Quarter.

November 10, 2017

Today brings us to Flamands Beach. The beach front buildings really took a hit from Irma. To get onto the beach at this time, you need to take the entrance at the far end of the beach. We started our reconnaissance from there and walked all the way down to the hotel Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. The hotel’s beach front restaurant, pool and rooms need lots of repairs. Some of our villas suffered less damage than others and will be ready for guests in a few weeks.

Today, it is Flamands Beach.

If you are coming to St. Barth soon, you will see damaged houses but you can still enjoy Flamands, a classic wide Caribbean Beach.

The hotel Baie des Anges is already open – a very positive sign! The beach itself lost sand and is much lower than before but it is really wide and as beautiful as ever. You can spend the day there. Bring your beach chairs and cooler or order our VIP picnic package that includes the chairs, an umbrella and a delicious picnic basket.

The sand on Flamands Beach is soft and perfect for sun bathing or just taking a nice walk.

As we finished our Flamands reconnaissance walk, this little guy said bonjour, ensuring me that all is well with the St Barth animal life.

Fittingly so, we had dinner, poolside, at La Langouste restaurant located at the Baie des Anges. We always share the Christophine appetizer, one of my very favorites. I had the Dover sole, another favorite. Steve loved the langouste tagliatelle.

We could hear the sound of the waves while we enjoyed dinner at La Langouste.

That’s it for now. I do not want to bore you too much. Stay tuned for my next chapter.

What does St. Barth look like 8-9 weeks post Hurricane Irma?

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

A St Barth first-person Experience November 02-05, 2017

My passion has always been St. Barth. My heart was aching for the people who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irma and I longed to get back. Finding flights from Boston had become a huge challenge. I would book flights only to have them canceled. Finally, I found a flight through Miami to St. Maarten. Today’s blog covers my first few days back in paradise.

November 02, 2017:

My husband and I flew on America Airlines to Miami. Fortunately, the flight was on time and we made it to our connecting gate to St. Maarten in time. Both flights were full. I was surprised that so many people wanted to fly to St. Maarten because the recovery there is going at a snail’s pace.

I had heard that the terminal at Princess Juliana Airport was not open and was badly damaged. Make-shift arrangements had been made. That bit of news meant that I was clueless as to how to transit through to St. Barth. We had four heavy checked bags because we packed knowing that we would be here until May. I relied upon my fabulous concierge in our US office, Julia Hurd to arrange VIP services for us. What a smart move!

As soon as we touched down on the tarmac in SXM, I saw the devastation on both sides. I was so used to seeing pictures of how well St. Barth is recovering, it was a bit of a shock. It was as if Irma had hit only 3 days ago instead of 8 weeks ago. Our pilot parked the plane near some tents and we deplaned via a stairway. We were told to go to the “FOB” building. I had no idea what that was, so I asked a friendly guy at the bottom of stairs. He said, “Is your name Walsh?” He took me to Jerry who was handling my Easyway VIP service. Thank you, Jerry!

We deplaned in St. Maarten via a stairway.

We stood in line to clear immigration while Jerry retrieved our luggage, He then escorted us to another tented area where they had some counters and checked us in at Winair. Then we went to a booth to get our passports stamped again, this time for departure, and we went through a security checkpoint in a hangar serving as the departure lounge. It had some places to buy drinks and snacks and a restroom. Soon after, Jerry came to get us, and we were on our way to St. Barth.

We stood in line under a tent, in order ito go through immigration in a temporary building.

We waited for our Winair flight in a hangar that had become the departure lounge.

I admire St. Maarten for adapting to the aftermath of Irma by opening the airport to people like me. SXM is a gateway to many other destinations. I admire American Airlines for flying from Miami and Jet Blue from JFK every day, too. FYI If you are transiting through St. Maarten, please be sure to ask Julia to arrange the VIP service, you will be so happy that you did.

Vive La Différence! As we approached the island, we could see how green St. Barth is – already! We cleared immigration and headed to the St. Barth Properties booth that we share with Gumbs Car Rental. Odile was waiting for us with her always pretty smile and showed us to our rental cars. (Yes, we have two so that I can go off and work without stranding Steve.) 0ff we went to Villa Everest.

I tried to look at the surroundings as I drove. Yup, definitely, a hurricane had hit, the most obvious indication being the almost-naked palm trees. Otherwise, there were many signs of repairs and recovery that impressed me. Even the palms’ fronds had sprouted new growth showing that they were well on their way back to their stately beauty. We unpacked, showered and headed out to dinner. I had vowed that we would frequent every restaurant whose staff had busted their tails to reopen as soon as possible and show my support by dining there. We are always a bit tired on our first night and chose the casual Le Grain de Sel by Saline Beach; it was busy; they had blackboard specials, and we enjoyed the food, the friendly staff as well as the nice breeze.

November 03, 2017

I love waking up my first day back in St. Barth. Feeling rested, I grabbed my camera-phone and took a picture from the pool deck. The island looked nice and green and I remarked that Lorient beach looked beautiful. My mission is to give you firsthand knowledge of how St. Barth looks in real time but to also let you know how the people who lived through this nightmare felt and now feel.

My first morning view from Villa Everest was different but still stunnng.

Steve (aka “Doc”) went to his favorite warehouse in Lorient to stock up on supplies. In case you do not know my husband, he is Dr. Chatter and loves to talk to anyone. Maybe that is because he is a dentist and he was great at distracting his patients with banter between his dental assistant and him. He and the warehouse owner had a long conversation after the guy in front of him had bought every last bottle of Heineken out from under us!) The owner said that the guy owns a restaurant and people like him will go wherever they can to get what they need. Steve settled for Amstel Light and chatted away.

The owner said he had never experienced anything like Hurricane Irma. It was a category 5 but that is as high as the rankings go, and he thought of it as a category 7. In 1995, I remember when Hurricane Luis stalled over St. Barth for 36 hours. He said Irma was fast moving but was much stronger. Some people has lost part of their roofs and windows and when the eye hit at 7:00 am on September 6th, it was a blessing in disguise because people were able to go to the homes of friends and relatives and be safe. The backside was even worse. On September 7th, the island immediately began the recovery process. Everyone showed solidarity and pitched in to help one another. No one was going to sit back and wait for France to send help. The French didn’t think we needed it anyway because, “rich people come to St. Barth.”

Later, I met Anne laure and Laura from my rental office at Villa Les Embruns in Flamands so that I could visit it for a client of mine who is arriving in December. I saw people as well as the villa owner working on the villa, readying it for the first arrival on November 28th. Stonework was being done on a wall as well as repairs on the deck’s gazebos. When we went inside, it was perfect. The furniture looked as if nothing had happened. Laura successfully tested a “flybox” that enabled the Internet connection at the villa. I am going back next week to see the difference and report back.

I stopped at my offices in Gustavia to see everyone and to look at the damages. We have lots to do but both offices are open and ready to welcome you.

I stopped by my new St Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sales office to check out the damages and to say hi to Benoit, Pascale, Nadine and Melissa.

That evening, we dined at another casual place, Bistro Josephine, which is on the road towards Shell Beach, not far from my offices. As soon as I opened the door, I saw my dear friend Audrey Ferrari who was the owner of Carpe Diem restaurant until the landlord decided to tear it down in favor of more shops. Audrey described the menu and the specials to us as we sipped our Coupes de Champagne. Once again, we had a delicious meal and had the chance to talk to Jean Paul, the owner. The bistro features a band once in a while; it also has a rear garden where you can dine alfresco. Try it, you’ll love it. We will make the reservations at any of the restaurants for you.

Doc and I are with Audrey and Jean Paul at Bistro Josephine.

November 04, 2017

Another day of reconnaissance found us driving past Grand Cul de Sac Beach, then turning left to view the lagoon from the righthand side. I wanted to see Le Barthélemy hotel and in the distance Le Sereno and Le Guanahani. The colors of the lagoon were as beautiful as ever; the beach looked inviting, too. The hotels are already in recovery – mode but it will take time before they can reopen. We have plenty of villas ready for your arrival. Maybe it’s time you try the Villa Experience. We can arrange every kind of service you may wish to have while you are there.

Next stop: Lorient Beach. We parked in our usual spot and took the footpath by the cemetery onto the beach. I looked to my left to see a very, very wide sandy beach. We walked the beach and realized that it was as wide as it is because the vegetation in front of the houses was gone. I saw homes that I had never seen before. It should all grow back soon. I spotted a woman with her two children playing on the beach near where the surf shack used to be and, as we approached, I realized that it was Hafida, the owner of The Hideaway restaurant. She told us that she is doing her best to reopen in December. I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Lorient Beach is looking good too.

We had dinner at Eddy’s which had just reopened October 30th. It was quite busy, and we enjoyed seeing Brigitte, Eddy and their son Mahé again. The restaurant itself didn’t suffer any damage. The front garden lost its big tree. Eddy remarked that they were very fortunate because the tree fell across the street instead of onto the restaurant. Our meals were delicious, and I can’t wait to go back.

It is always a pleasure to see Eddy.

November 5, 2017

Today is Sunday. The day of rest is taken seriously by the islanders, so most places are closed. I put on my sneakers, put my Fitbit on my wrist and we headed off to Gustavia for a combination power walk and reconnaissance trip. The bakery in Lorient was open and a coveted parking space was free, so we parked and went in to buy our baguette for sandwich-making, so we could head to the beach with them later.

We stopped to buy our daily fresh baguette at La Petite Colombe in Lorient.

We decided to start our walk towards the other side of Gustavia. A cruise ship was anchored outside of the harbor and passengers had come in by tender. Therefore, a few shops were open. We headed to my offices and saw both the Bagatelle and the Baz Bar were under renovation. They plan on being open in December. Yay! As we continued on, we saw a few places that had been harmed by Irma. The harborside buildings that once held Hervé’s Coté Port and Carole’s Yacht Club were already scheduled to be torn down in favor of more dock space for boats, so no need for repairs there. We walked past the Hôtel de La Collectivité, as handsome as ever, and turned around at the end of that side of the harbor. Minor things such as benches need repair and the palm trees need more fronds.

The Hotel de la Collectivité (city hall) looks great

Reversing our steps, we walked down the other side of the harbor past the ferry dock and fish market. Everything seemed normal. The Voyager ferry had just arrived from St. Martin, taxi drivers were offering island tours to the cruise ship passengers, Le Repaire was open for breakfast and the fish market was intact but not open because it was Sunday. I did see a piece of plywood on the window at Longchamp’s but not much more. Further up the Bar de L’Oubli was open, too.

The Voyager ferry arrived on this quiet Sunday.

The fish market showed no sign of damage.

The afternoon reconnaissance: St. Jean Beach. After packing the cooler, putting beach chairs and an umbrella in the car, we headed to the parking lot across from the beach. The path at the end of the runway, going onto the sand, was wide, once again, because the foliage was gone. Believe it or not, we found a tiny piece of beach where we usually sit, that was shaded by some rejuvenating palm trees.

The sand on the Les Ilets de la Plage side of the beach has come back nicely. I think it is because most of the fence washed away.

We walked the beach towards Eden Rock and saw the damage to Tom Beach, Emeraude Plage and Eden Rock. Lots of work to do there. Tom Beach is already on its way back and expects to be open in December. We saw piles of sand waiting to be spread in various spots along the beach.

The sand at the Eden Rock side of St. Jean Beach is recovering well.

A benefit from Irma is that the better parts of the fences washed away. You can walk the entire beach again. Hope it lasts.

I noticed a few chaise lounges with umbrellas at the spot where Carib Water Play’s booth used to be and stopped to chat with Lucas, Jean Michel’s son. He was open for business! Good to know – 15 euros for a lounge chair and 10 euros for an umbrella – well worth it.

Carib Water Play is open for business.

Lucas is ready to set up your chaise lounge and umbrella, rent you a surf board or give you a windsurfing lesson.

To end the day, we enjoyed a casual Sunday night dinner at Le Vietnam restaurant in Gustavia.

My next blog will be shorter, I promise, and I will tell you more about my adventures post-Irma.

Just back from St. Barth June 2017

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

A whirlwind trip full of new St Barth information that I gathered for our next Live Your Dream catalogue.

THE PRIVATE CHEFS OF ST. BARTH

My week in St. Barth was full of appointments and new experiences, even for a veteran like me who has been going there for 31 years. Connie Walsh who works with me (no, we are not related) and I had a mission: Obtain as much new and interesting material as possible for our next Live Your Dream catalogue. Although it will be unveiled at our Beachside Bash on December 02, 2017, we needed lots of lead time in order to meet the deadlines for publication.

We began by acting like a client to see what it is like to stay at the new 5 star Villa Marie Saint Barth. Tucked away on the Colombier hillside where the former François Plantation hotel used to be, we were charmed by our suites. Like all of the suites, Connie’s Family Suite and my Prestige Bungalow were decorated differently, which is a nice touch. My suite had a king bedroom, spacious living room with sliders leading out to a big deck furnished for outdoor living and sunning. Connie’s was similar but had a small child’s room with bunk beds and small 2nd bath. The view over Flamands was stunning. The en suite baths had both a shower and a clawfoot bathtub. We enjoyed our first night’s dinner in their gourmet restaurant, aptly named François Plantation. It was pricey but delicious. Breakfast is served by the swimming pool and is included in the very reasonably priced rate at this Sibuet boutique hotel.

Villa Marie St Barth has a view over Flamands

Our next stay was at the 5 star Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa which sits directly on Grand Cul de Sac beach. Our Ocean Luxe Suites were on the 2nd story and gorgeous. The en suite bathroom has louvred doors over the sink, so I always had a sea view even when I was brushing my teeth! A comfortable sitting area is at the foot of the king bed and sliders open to the covered balcony where I could sit at a table for 2 or on a comfy chair. To me, the pièce de résistance is the amazing automatic screen that is invisible to the eye. Just click a button to open it to the breezes or leave it down. The colorful water view is the same. I was up early one morning as were the kite surfers playing with the wind over the lagoon. We enjoyed dinner at their Aux Amis beachfront gourmet restaurant. During the day, it is more casual and this is where we had breakfast (included) and lunch. Another day we decide to have lunch at the Le Turquoise bar and restaurant near the pool.

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Sp sits directly on Grand Cul de Sac beach

Don’t get the idea that we just lounged around all day. Unlike you who are on vacation to relax, we had plenty of work to accomplish on this trip. We interviewed the private chefs with whom we collaborate and book for you when you want to just chillout at your villa. For starters, we interviewed Pascal Preynat of PASCAL COOK. His favorite cuisine is Provençale. We learned that he makes his own Foie Gras. We loved it! If you are lucky enough to spend the holidays in St. Barth with us, you will receive this as a gift from St. Barth Properties.

We interviewed Pascal Cook in the conference room at our new waterfront St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office.

Homemade Foie Gras by Pascal Cook

Then there was Philippe Masseglia, the former Executive Chef of 22 years at Le Guanahani who created his new services as a private chef under the name, Food Square. From tataki to tangine to pasta puttanesca, Philippe has clients’ cravings covered. Italian food is one of his passions, but he recognizes that many people today prefer to eat lighter, healthier fare. Clients love him so much they often ask him to go with them when they travel elsewhere. He happily obliges.

We interviewed FOOD SQUARE owner Philippe Massegilia at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa on a French holiday when nobody else would work. Philippe was happy to work that day. Merci beaucoup, Philippe.

Another chef with whom we often work is CHEF XO. Christophe Moreau loves interacting with the clients, he answers questions and lets them get involved if they wish – chopping vegetables and stirring bowls and pots. Christophe is often the chef that we use for Our Drive Dine & Relax package. Our clients always rave about the meal that he prepared for their complimentary candlelight dinner.

CHEF XO, Christophe Moreau, loves cooking for you in your villa.

On our last evening, LOLO’S PRIVATE CATERING wanted to cook for us! By this time, Connie and I had moved to Villa Sur Le Port in Gustavia. The owner had kindly offered us two complimentary nights, so that we could experience a stay there. If you do not mind a short but steep walk down a hill, it’s a perfect villa for Gustavia lovers. It even comes with a parking space! Lolo (Laurence Philippot) walked in at about 5:30 with loads of food and equipment for the job at hand. We sat at the bar and watched her do her magic while we interviewed her. She told us that the Lacanche stove at the villas was “The Rolls Royce” of ranges and she thoroughly loved using it. As we have new staff at our St. Barth offices, they needed to sample her cooking, too. Her culinary repertoire encompasses Indian and Asian cuisine and some of her special dishes offer creative innovative fusion. We have vegan clients who book her year after year, as well.

Lolo’s Private Catering cooked for us at Villa Sur Le Port on our last night.

Speaking of having new staff at our rental and sales offices, I was very happy to meet Laura Commaret on her very first day with our St. Barth Properties – St. Barth villa rental office. Laura and Anne Laure Amy are sharing the front desk and reservation duties now that Magda has left and Aurélie Janvier has assumed the Concierge position. Aurélie has lots of innovative ideas to enhance your St. Barth experience with us. Laura comes to us from Le Sereno hotel where she handled reservations at both their St. Barth and Lake Como hotels and interacted with the hotel guests. By the end of the week, she had fully adapted to her position and told me that she loves her new job! Welcome Laura.

Here I am with our newest St. Barth Properties – St. Barth rental offce staff member Laura Commaret

I do have lots of other news but will save it for future blogs, so that you are not on overload.

Great News for our St. Barth Properties Clients!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

An exclusive beachfront experience designed just for you.

As many of you know, over the last few years, we have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with the 5 star hotel Taïwana whereby you, our valued St. Barth Properties guest, were able to enjoy breakfast or lunch and use the hotel’s beach as part of St. Barth Properties’ VIP package that we called, A Taste of Taïwana.

Well, their next-door neighbor, the Cheval Blanc Hotel St-Barth Isle de France has purchased the Taïwana and it will be closing its doors for renovation as of March 31, 2017.

Never fear, I have been working behind the scenes over the last several months to ensure that you will be able to have a similar beachfront experience while you are enjoying your St. Barth vacation.

I am pleased to let you know that we have partnered with (…drum roll…) the fabulous 5 star Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa on gorgeous Grand Cul de Sac Beach! The property boasts Le Barth restaurant for lunch which then morphs into their gourmet restaurant, Aux Amis for dinner. (You must go there just to see their fabulous chandelier.) You will love their spa, too.

This custom-made chandelier follows the theme of the restaurant. (My photo here does not do it justice – send me your photos after you visit.)

What are the St. Barth Properties VIP Perks and Privilèges, you ask?

Make a luncheon reservation (through our concierge) at the hotel’s beachfront dining venue, Le Barth and enjoy the complimentary use of beach chairs – before or after. Le Barthélemy is located on the gentle, brilliantly-hued lagoon that is Grand Cul de Sac. Enjoy!

Enjoy the view and a delicious lunch at Le Barth restaurant

Relax in complimentary beach chairs before or after your lunch

Dinner reservations booked through our concierge at the magical Aux Amis begin with a complimentary glass of Champagne. The cuisine created under the direction of Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin is exquisite.

More Privilèges

  • 10% discount on all purchases at the Boutique
  • 10% discount at the hotel’s spa, Le Spa (excluding La Mer products)
  • Free non-motorized water sports: Canoes, paddle boards, snorkeling gear (upon availability)
  • Cocktail Workshop – complimentary lesson at the pool bar Le Turquoise with its expert barman. The workshop is held every Thursday 5 pm to 6 pm and must be booked with our concierge 48 hours in advance.

A cocktail workshop is available at the pool bar, Le Turquoise

There’s fine print written in the sand. Read it here first.

These offers are exclusive to St. Barth Properties’ clients.

Everything must be booked through St. Barth Properties’ office Reservations or Concierge at 0590-29-75-05.

Chairs and sports equipment are subject to availability.

Blackout dates:
November 20 to 26, 2017
December 20, 2017 to January 05, 2018
And during Le Barthélemy’s annual closing September 1 – October 15.

Children are welcome, but loungers are for adult use only.

Offers are subject to change.

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa has made its debut!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Do any of you remember the St. Barth Beach Hotel?

The first time I set foot on St. Barth in 1986, Steve and I stayed in what was called the Grand Cul de Sac Cottages at the St. Barth Beach Hotel. This is where my love affair with the island began. Who would know that I would create St. Barth Properties three years later? The beachfront hotel offered a pool, tennis and the oh-so-delicious restaurant, Le Rivage which was owned by Hervé Chovet. The salads they served were huge and yummy. It was also our first introduction to the island’s now signature Rhum Vanille that is traditionally served in a shot glass after the meal. Several years ago the hotel’s owner, Guy Turbé sold the property and it was demolished. (You can still get that vanilla rum, La Pinta, and some of the signature Le Rivage dishes at Hervé’s Côté Port on Gustavia harbor.)

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

After several stops and stops, the beautiful Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa had a soft opening on October 01, 2016 and officially opens it doors to guests October 15th. We are very pleased to add it to our collection of Preferred Hotels. Boy, is it gorgeous! Its 46 rooms and suites, all with terraces, are exquisitely decorated with comfort in mind. Accommodations at Le Barthélemy include several options: Le Barth Jardin, with their garden views; Le Barth Lac offering lake views; and the ocean view rooms Le Barth Ocean and Lux Ocean Piscine Privée; the latter boasts a heated plunge pool. And the pièce de résistance: the split-level beachfront La Plage Suites. Some rooms connect making it ideal for families with younger children.

One of the stunning rooms at Le Barthélemy

One of the stunning rooms at Le Barthélemy

This is a special spot for kids. They love swimming in the lagoon’s warm shallow waters and infinity pool ‒ and the easy access to a wealth of water sports. There’s fun-in-the-sun galore from sand castle contests to kite-flying, but on any given day, family activities like hands-on cooking lessons are agenda choices.

The infinity pool overlooks the lagoon

The infinity pool overlooks the lagoon

On an island renowned for its cuisine, Le Barthélemy has the Michelin starred French Chef Guy Martin. The seaside restaurant Le Barth is open for breakfast and lunch. At sunset, it transforms itself into the sophisticated Aux Amis offering Caribbean-inspired French cuisine. There’s always a barista on duty at Le Café and the pool bar Le Turquoise offers snacks to go with beverages of all sorts, including vanilla rum. Chef Martin’s creations can be enjoyed poolside, beachfront, on your private terrace or in your room.

The seaside restaurant

The seaside restaurant

Le Spa at Le Barthélemy is the culmination of a partnership with the world-renowned luxury skincare brand, La Mer. It’s a true oasis that leverages its location and includes a blow-dry bar, hammam (steam room), and a signature rain shower with essential oils experience. Think girlfriends’ getaway.

The hotel is part of the Réserve Naturel of St. Barth committed to protecting the island’s environment so that all can share in its beauty. Having the opportunity to marvel at iguanas, turtles, starfish, and colorful corals is special. That happens here.

Le Barthélemy is part of the Réserve Naturel

Le Barthélemy is part of the Réserve Naturel

For reservations, please call 1-800-421-3396 or email our Villa and Hotel Specialists at reservations@stbarth.com. Once you have experienced Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa, please let me know how you enjoyed your stay.

VIP Beach Time with a Taste of Taïwana

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

An Exclusive St. Barth Properties Client Experience

I have some very exciting news for our St. Barth Properties’ clients!

We put our heads together with the 5 star Taïwana Hotel to deliver some delicious Flamands Beach time. Enjoy a beachside breakfast or lunch together with the hotel’s luxurious amenities. You’ll have access to one of the island’s most beautiful and popular beaches with lounge chairs, towels and umbrellas, as well as the hotel’s heated pool lined with cherry red super-comfy sunbeds – perfect for a post-lunch siesta. These VIP experiences include a 10% discount at the hotel’s hair salon, Corner of Taiyo by Taïwana (perhaps an end-of-day shampoo and blow-out?) and the Taiyo Boutique. This chic shop has an extensive selection of branded clothing and accessories – a nice souvenir of your time at the Taïwana.

taiwanabeach

Beach-y Breakfast €40
Fresh fruit juice, pastries and coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Eggs, pancakes, crepes and other breakfast items are offered at a supplemental discount of 10%. Children’s Breakfast €25
Breakfast is served from 7:00 to 10:30 a.m. Use of the loungers, towels and sunbeds is available till 11:15 a.m.

Beach-y Lunch €65
A two course lunch (starter and main course or main course and dessert) with a range of options from which to choose.
A liter of water and a glass of wine per person is included. A Children’s Menu is priced at €25.

Lunch is served from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m. Use of the loungers, towels and sunbeds is available from 11:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Would you like a full day at the beach? Reserve both the breakfast and lunch packages!

There’s fine print written in the sand. Read it here first.

These packages are exclusive to St. Barth Properties’ clients.
Packages must be booked through the St. Barth Properties’ office concierge. Reservations and loungers and sunbeds are subject to availability.
Blackout Dates: December 25 to January 5 and during Taïwana’s annual closing September 1 – October 15. Children are welcome, but loungers and sunbeds are for adult use only.
Offers are subject to change.

St. Barth in July 2015 – A trip report by Anne-Cécile Bedford

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Finishing off with the staff trips to St. Barth during the spring and summer of 2015, I am pleased to share Anne-Cécile Bedford’s trip report. Anne has been a St. Barth Specialist with St. Barth Properties for 16 years. Anne is a native of France who came to the US to improve her English by taking a job as an au pair, and then decided to settle here. We feel blessed to have her as a part of the team; she adds that delightful “French flavor” to the mix.

Enjoy,

Peg

St. Barth in July 2015 – A trip report by Anne-Cécile Bedford

The island of St Barth is a wonderful place to visit in the summer, to escape the crowded beaches in the US and find a warm dry tropical climate and gentle breezes. You can let yourself be seduced by a hotel stay or decide to stay in a private villa and take advantage of the low season rates. If you already have summer plans, do not worry; We extend those attractive rates until December 15.

After sending my children off to France, Brittany, where they enjoy reconnecting with family and the French way of life, I packed my stuff to travel to that special French destination that I like to call “Home”; the island of St Barth where many of you have traveled before and will return again. Yes, everybody falls in love in St Barth and you will find yourself hooked on it too!

So, I set myself up at the glamorous Taïwana hotel located on the beautiful white sandy beach of Flamands where couples can find privacy in a beachfront suite with Jacuzzi, while families may opt for the Pearl Suite composed of 3 bedrooms with private pool or the 4 bedroom penthouse located on top of the hotel. Regardless of where you are staying, you will be welcomed by a wonderful staff for an ultimate St Barth experience! From the fantastic food at their sea side restaurant to the sexy pool and romantic beach, it will be the vacation of your life. Bring your lover, family, children; everybody is welcomed at the 5 Star Taïwana hotel and don’t forget to check their fashionable clothing boutique “Poupette”.

Villa Pearl, 3 bedroom suite with private pool

Pearl, 3 bedroom suite with private pool at the Taïwana hotel

If you feel adventurous and want to discover some of the hidden beaches in St Barth, I recommend walking from Taïwana to the end of the road at “Petite Anse” through the local neighborhood of Flamands and hike along the coastline where you will witness memorable panoramic views until you reach the gorgeous beach of Colombier. Bring a bottle of water, your picnic, snorkeling gear and enjoy the beauty of the deep blue ocean. You will come across some friendly tropical fish and other types of sea creatures. If you are up to a good workout, hike back up to Colombier (It is a 25 minute steep hike) and take a pause to admire the panoramic view from the observatory…then walk back down! Hydrate and good luck!

View of Colombier Beach from the top

View of Colombier Beach from the top

After two nights at hotel Taïwana, I moved next door to the new Cheval Blanc Hotel (ex “Isle de France”) where I stayed for one night in a beach room overlooking the pool and the ocean. What a treat! Their beach rooms are so spacious, comfortable and beautiful. It was a short stay but I was happy to reconnect with the staff at the hotel and appreciate the new special amenities offered in the room – 43 amenities total – from stationery paper to beauty products and flip flops.

Cheval Blanc Hotel

Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France Hotel

My numerous villa visits included some exciting new properties: villa Infinity in Gustavia, Villa Orion, Why Not, Sagittaire in St Jean, villas Joy and Jade in Marigot, villa Chiavari in Lurin, villa Brume de Mer in Flamands.

I also revisited some properties I had not seen in a while such as villa Camaruche where I enjoyed sipping cocktails with the owner and his family while the sun set.

Villa Camaruche at sunset!

Villa Camaruche at sunset!

Villa Inspection “Anastasia”, Gouverneur

Villa Inspection “Anastasia”, Gouverneur

While I was driving through Lorient I stopped at the old “Autour du Rocher” or what is left of it after it burned to the ground in 1991. It used to be the place to gather and party all night long and it became famous with Jimmy Buffet’s lyrics; “Some say it was a planet, some say it was a rock”. Well, the news today is that a 5 star hotel composed of 30 rooms or 24 bungalows was granted permission to be built on that rock in Lorient. Will the old ghost of “Autour du Rocher” let that happen or haunt the place forever ??? Stay tuned…

View of Lorient beach from “Autour du Rocher”

View of Lorient beach from “Autour du Rocher”

“Autour du Rocher” ruins

“Autour du Rocher” ruins

I also took the time to stop by the Art Gallery located off the hill on the way to Camaruche called “Modernisme St. Barth” which has been open since 2004 and displays paintings of Miro, Picasso, Cocteau, Matisse, Art deco furniture, Chinese archeological tribal art, ethnic precious jewelry from tribes in Thailand and an amazing collection of opium pipes. Check it out! It is interesting to find those treasures on St Barth.

I moved a third time after my hotel stays into a villa this time, located on the highest point of Vitet, where you feel like you are sitting on top of the world ! Yes, the view from villa Royal Palm will take your breath away. I loved my morning breakfast by the pretty pool and enjoyed cooling off in that pool after a day of visits and a run through the hills of Vitet. The sunsets at night were incredible and so peaceful. The property is very nicely furnished with air conditioning throughout and features 2 bedrooms, a comfortable indoor and outdoor living and dining space and a gas barbeque to dine “al fresco” while enjoying the stunning view. Villa Royal Palm is a special place to share with someone special!

Villa Royal Palm in Vitet

Villa Royal Palm in Vitet

Of course my trip to St. Barth would not be complete without an amazing culinary experience!!

The Tamarin restaurant has reopened its doors and it is better than it ever was! When entering the restaurant, you will be greeted by two very colorful caged parrots near the tall, majestic Tamarind tree. You will walk your way through an enchanted tropical garden made of Lily ponds and small palm trees before choosing a table in the main part of the restaurant or tucked away in a more private setting. If you are bringing children they will get entertained by the foos table and ping pong table located in the garden.

Tamarin, Saline

Tamarind tree

Tamarin, Saline

Tamarin, Saline

I recommend for lunch the delicious Thai Salad with prawns and ginger dressing followed by a “Café Gourmand” before being tempted by the complimentary house Rhum. Did you know that the Tamarind tree produces a yummy fruit hidden in a shell? Try their house cocktail called Tamarin and get a taste of the actual fruit. It is Tasty! For the ladies, don’t forget to check the clothing and jewelry boutique “Gipsea”! You will find unique handmade pieces influenced by the African culture from Kenya. Check that skirt I bought there!

Thai Salad with prawns and ginger dressing

Thai Salad with prawns and ginger dressing

Dessert at Tamarin

Dessert at Tamarin

The streets of Gustavia were quite lively at night and jamming to the beat of the “St Barth Jam Music Festival” celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Five days of free concert s on the harbor brought many local families and tourists to this wonderful event. They played different types of music; creole, reggae, zook and salsa. I got to see “Steel Pulse”, a reggae band from the UK that was famous in France in the 90‘s. The majority of the island was right next to me enjoying this fun atmosphere.

“Steel Pulse” on stage

“Steel Pulse” on stage

Voilà….I am now back in the office and I can’t wait to speak to you and help you arrange your next trip to beautiful St Barth. Call me at 1-508-440-9884 or email me at anne@stbarth.com

A bientôt…..

Anne-Cécile Bedford

An evening at Hotel Le Toiny

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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

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

Caption here

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

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

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

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

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Caption here

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

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

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