Archive for the ‘Parties’ Category

Beachside Soirée November 2015

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

A Beachside Soirée on a starlit night in beautiful St. Barth. Who could ask for anything more?

I went back to St. Barth with a laundry list of things to accomplish. November is the month that our USA staff does their second trip to do villa and hotel inspections and we launch the new season by unveiling our new Live Your Dream catalogue at our annual Beachside Soirée, al fresco, at the Taïwana hotel. The event took place on November 12th and it was the best ever, according to our guests and our St. Barth Properties’ team.

beachsidesoiree

It was a beautiful starlit Caribbean evening, the bar was hopping and there was a stream of yummy hors d’œuvres being passed by the very attentive staff. Our fabulous DJ, Yo-One Sutter livened up the scene and singer/guitarist Solely was serenading us in style. (I especially love it when he sidles up to me and sings as if I were the only one in the place – (Swoon).

Have a look at the scene.

Volume 20 of our catalogue was a huge hit and compliments about the cover and the content are pouring in. Many say this one is the crème de la crème which is pretty nice because I am the editor in chief. Connie Walsh, the most talented writer I have ever known was there with her husband Mike. Connie and I did the interviews for the articles; she wrote them up and we both edited it back and forth until we were 100% pleased with each and every one. Good job, Connie! If you would like a copy, please click here.

lyd20portfolio2016

I had numerous villa inspections to do because we have so many newly constructed villas being completed as well as others that have been renovated or refurbished. And the hotel Le Toiny? The new owners and managers just completed phase one of its renovation as well as the new beach front sunbathing spot and toes-in-the sand restaurant. I loved what I saw and will be sharing the details with you in our next few newsletters, Le Bulletin. If you have not signed up for it yet, it’s easy to do.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

A Note to share with our St. Barth Properties Friends

Friday, June 19th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time for the Ring photo François Vochelle

Time for the Ring
photo François Vochelle

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. Barth is Synonymous with Love photo : François Vochelle

St. Barth is Synonymous with Love
photo : François Vochelle

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

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

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

Mother and Daughter photo : François Vochelle

Mother and Daughter
photo : François Vochelle

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

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

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

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

Presenting: Madame et Monsieur Frédéric Borne photo : François Vochelle

Presenting: Madame et Monsieur Frédéric Borne
photo : François Vochelle

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

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

An evening at Hotel Le Toiny

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Getting Married in St. Barth – Live Your Dream®

Friday, May 30th, 2014

St. Barth has relaxed its regulations a bit for couples dreaming of getting married in St Barth

Your Dream of getting married in St. Barth can come true

Your Dream of getting married in St. Barth can come true

St. Barth is the romantic capital or the world (albeit that I might be a bit prejudiced). We know a lot of couples who want to get married in this paradise. Who can blame them? Some couples want a Destination Wedding with 200 guests while others want to have a more intimate gathering. It used to be quite an ordeal with strict residency requirements before a bride and groom could even attempt to plan any type of legal wedding in St. Barth. Quit your job for 6 months and come here while you wait it out? Sounds wonderful but not very practical. Now with the relaxed regulations and a healthy dose of marriage equality, brides and grooms, brides and brides and grooms and grooms (have I missed anyone?) have a wealth of new options.

In the past we had to advise couples wanting to be married here that they needed to get legally married elsewhere and then they could “fake it” by having a wedding ceremony in front of their guests at a hotel, a private villa or at a church and those attending wouldn’t know any better. Most couples had a legal ceremony at home and kept it a secret. Many still do. BUT if you are looking for the real thing, a wedding in St. Barth, it can be done! It is not easy but it is simpler than before. Perseverance is the key. The best part? You do not have to wing it alone. Our Concierge in our St. Barth office, Magda Votava will assist you throughout the entire process and will become your Wedding Concierge.

We will also arrange accommodations for you as well as for your guests and enlist our service partners to assist with all the frills that go with the wedding too. Flowers? A vintage Fiat Spider for the bride and groom? Rehearsal dinner? No problem. Other activities? Our pleasure. Julia Hurd our Concierge in our US office will coordinate everything with Magda so as to ensure that your St. Barth wedding will be wonderful.

Wedding

We organized a glorious, intimate family wedding for some quite famous Brits recently. I got to know the bride (Mary) so well during the planning of the event that she asked my husband and me to stand up for them as witnesses.

Steve and I were honored to be witnesses at the official ceremony.

Steve and I were honored to be witnesses at the official ceremony

We started the process by selecting a villa where most of her guests could stay. Mary fell in love with Villa Sky so she planned the date of the wedding around its availability. (Returning guests have the first right to rebook their villa for the following year, so we had to wait for that period to expire before we could reserve it.)

Once the booking was made, we secured other villas and hotel rooms for the guests and the process began. Magda went to the Hôtel de la Collectivité (City Hall) and asked them to reserve the date of the marriage on their calendar and we asked the church to do the same. Magda gathered all of the documentation (See below) that would be necessary for the marriage to take place here in St. Barth. Mary did her part and sent everything to Magda when it was a little less than 6 months before the wedding. My husband and I had to give copies of our passports because we were to be the witnesses.

The official legal ceremony must take place at the Hôtel de la Collectivité. It is only open on weekdays so weekend weddings are not the custom in France. The date and time were set for a Thursday at 10:00 am. The church wedding took place at 4:00 pm that afternoon which worked out perfectly because Mary had time to get her hair styled in between events.

Nils Dufau the VP of St. Barth performed the ceremony and presented them with their marriage certificate

Nils Dufau the VP of St. Barth performed the ceremony and presented them with their marriage certificate

That afternoon Roy and Mary were married (again) at the Anglican Church in Gustavia.

That afternoon Roy and Mary were married (again) at the Anglican Church in Gustavia

The wedding went perfectly as did the private dinner on the beach at the Hotel St. Barth Isle de France afterwards. I arranged for the newlyweds to spend their honeymoon night in an intimate pool suite at the Hôtel Le Toiny which they loved.

No matter the size you want your St. Barth Destination Wedding to be, we‘ll coordinate all of the arrangements

No matter the size you want your St. Barth Destination Wedding to be, we‘ll coordinate all of the arrangements

Would you like to get married in St. Barth? We are here to help you make that dream come true! When you call us, we will ask if you have a specific date in mind. It is best to wait until we discuss your needs and budget and give us a “ballpark” of dates that would work. Do you want a winter wedding so that your guests can escape the cold? A spring, summer or fall wedding would work too (and Value Season pricing would be in effect). We can then research options.

Your wedding guests will be thrilled to be in St. Barth!

Your wedding guests will be thrilled to be in St. Barth!

Once you set your date and have chosen your villa or hotel as well as the venue for the ceremony, we will get you booked and can secure some better rates in the hotels if your guests book multiple rooms. Then all you need to do is send a “Save the Date” invitation to your potential guests with my contact information or the contact information of one of our St. Barth Specialists with whom you are working and we will assist them with their accommodation, car rental and inter-island flights.

The bride chose to stay at Villa Sky – What a view!

The bride chose to stay at Villa Sky – What a view!

What to do:

As soon as you have set the date:

Magda will send a letter dated and signed by you and addressed to the civil registry on St. Barth requesting the wedding date you have chosen.

Six months (or less) but at least 30 days before the wedding:

  1. Official copies of the birth certificate (with the raised seal) for each person (issued and dated no more than six months before the wedding). Certificates issued by foreign authorities must be translated. (We can have them officially translated locally for you at reasonable rates.)
  2. Official copies of your passports. (If a visa is required for you to travel to St. Barth, the visa (or the request for a visa needs to accompany it).
  3. Last names, first names of your parents with date of birth, where they were born as well as their addresses and professions.
  4. Last names, first names, date of birth, where born, as well as their addresses, professions as well as copies of the passports of the two witnesses.

Roy and Mary enjoy a wedding day kiss before the reception at the Hôtel St. Barth Isle de France.

Roy and Mary enjoy a wedding day kiss before the reception at the Hôtel St. Barth Isle de France


SPECIFIC FORMALITIES:

An officially accepted translator/interpreter of your choice needs to be there to ensure that the marriage ceremony is translated into your language so that you understand what is being said; this person’s name will be mentioned in the marriage documents. (We will do this for you.)

The bride and groom couldn't resist putting their toes in the sand on Flamands Beach

The bride and groom couldn’t resist putting their toes in the sand on Flamands Beach

OTHER REGULATIONS FOR MARRIAGE THAT MUST MEET THE RULES OF THE CIVIL CODE

Legal age to be married: 18

Freedom of consent

You must both be present at the marriage ceremony.

Marriage between direct relatives (brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, etc.) is prohibited.

Prohibition of polygamy. Civil authorities must provide a document stating that neither person is married if your home state or country requires it. (Proof of divorce is necessary if married before.) Otherwise just present an official document stating that neither person is presently married.

Celebration of the marriage will be performed by a public official. (We will arrange that, too.)

After the ceremony you can go outside for photos harbor side. If you want to serve Champagne, we'll take care of that, too.

After the ceremony you can go outside for photos harbor side. If you want to serve Champagne, we’ll take care of that, too.

Don’t get discouraged! St Barth Properties will assist you throughout the entire process. After you get this paperwork over with, you will be so happy that you took the time to do it. A Wedding in St. Barth is so worth the little extra effort it takes to make it happen. As Dean Martin sang, “Memories are made of this.”

LIVE YOUR DREAM

LIVE YOUR DREAM®

Some Morsels of St. Barth news

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth!

The “Season” is in full swing and I wish you were here. As you may know we host a cocktail party for our guests each Wednesday evening at Tom Beach hotel’s La Plage restaurant on St Jean Beach. This past Wednesday, the place was packed with lots of happy clients who are enjoying their getaway and are extra grateful to be here and missing the horrible weather at home.

In fact, I met one couple who had just arrived a few hours earlier because they had been creative and proactive with their flights when their original flight was canceled due to the storm in the Northeast. The couple who is staying with them at Villa Manonjul was not as fortunate and arrived a day later. Fortunately they purchased the accommodation insurance that we offer, so they will be reimbursed for the missed nights. If you are delayed by weather check with us to see if your villa is available after your original scheduled departure date because we may be able to adjust your dates so that you do not miss any of your days in paradise.

Peg with Clients from Diaco and Rosebud - SBP Cocktail Party at La Plage - Steve is in the background (again) chatting it up with other happy clients

Peg with Clients from Diaco and Rosebud – SBP Cocktail Party at La Plage – Steve is in the background (again) chatting it up with other happy clients

What’s happening ?

For those of you who have never been here, we have a famous bar in the heart of Gustavia. Le Select was founded by Marius Stakelborough in 1949. This is THE place to go for drinks, meet friends, make new friends and have a Cheeseburger in Paradise while you are at it. I was fortunate to have been able to attend both Le Select’s 50th anniversary and 60th anniversary parties. Marius’ good friend Jimmy Buffett entertained us with a free concert on each occasion. Marius turned 90 last year. You would never know it. Most days he walks to Le Select to have a Ti Punch for which the bar is famous. It keeps him young, try it! One day in early December, I had been filming with a German TV crew and after we finished we met Marius there. He proceeded to jump behind the bar to concoct one of his Ti Punches for each of us. He has not lost his touch.

Shortly after that day Marius was missing from the scene. His brother Vianny cuts my husband Steve’s hair told him that Marius was in the hospital in Guadeloupe. He had problems with one of his eyes in the past. This time he had a detached retina in his good eye and spent the better part of 3 weeks recovering in Guadeloupe before being able to come back to St. Barth. To add insult to injury, he had fallen and hurt his back. He was confined to his house. He had plenty of visitors but it was very important that he get out of the house and keep his vitality. To me, the only way to do that would be to get him back to Le Select. So, that is what his friends and family decided to do. It was the best thing that could happen to him and to us. I stopped by to say Bonjour and he thanked me for putting his picture in the 25th Anniversary of St. Barth Properties edition of our Live Your Dream catalogue. (If you would like us to mail you one, please send a note with your mailing address to info@stbarth.com.) Welcome back, Marius!

Marius and Peg at Le Select while hubby Steve looks on February 5, 2014 (Photo by Ed Gudenas)

Marius and Peg at Le Select while hubby Steve looks on February 5, 2014 (Photo by Ed Gudenas)

What else?

You have witnessed it or are even guilty of doing it. What? Snapping pictures of the planes taking off and landing to and from our infamous little landing strip. I can’t tell you how many times I see people foolishly standing at the end of the runway with their cameras at-the ready to capture the scene. Many have to dive onto the sand to avoid being hit by a low flying plane.

Winair Jan 24, 2014

Winair Jan 24, 2014

Airport police often shoo people away.
Warning signs posted but they do not obey.
My photographer friend Ed shows all of you
Standing above the runway is hazardous too.

Ed was extremely lucky to survive with minor injuries. One more inch and no more pictures from the very talented Ed Gudenas. His coffee table book is full of gorgeous St. Barth photos so I am very happy to have him around to take more. Please be careful. I want all of you to be around for a long time too.

Peg with Ed at the Normandie hotel's cocktail party 6 days after the near fatal acciident - Lookin' good Ed!

Peg with Ed at the Normandie hotel’s cocktail party 6 days after the near fatal accident – Lookin’ good Ed!

The 2013 St. Barth CataCup Guest Blog by 2016 Olympics Contender John Casey

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Bonjour Everyone,

As you prepare for Turkey Day, I thought you would enjoy today’s Guest Blog written by 2016 Olympics contender John Casey. St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is proud to be a sponsor of his catamaran. Thank you John!

As I enjoy the back porch view from Villa Les Mouettes, I now have time to casually reflect on this year’s edition of the St. Barth CataCup. The current version of the CataCup, which has become one of the premier regattas of the world, is sailed on 18 foot beach catamarans. Our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty Sailing Team started three years ago, and we’ve watched this event grow from 35 entries to the maximum allowable 57 entries. This year the entry list was overfilled in just eight minutes after online entries were open! This is partially due to the quality of competition, but is undoubtedly due to the quality of St. Barth on and off the water. Some of my U.S. friends are, let me say, a little too spoiled by this regatta; it’s the only regatta they do every year! They just simply don’t feel the desire to sail anywhere else. I love sailing a bit more than that, but I see where they are coming from.

View from Villa Les Mouettes

View from Villa Les Mouettes

This year our Team was joined by more of the sport’s heavy hitters. There were multiple world champions, Olympic medalists and future Olympic hopefuls. I have many championships under my belt, but I’m also currently in the deep heat of an Olympic Campaign myself, so this year I teamed with our Canadian training Partner, Luke Ramsay, who actually went to The Games in 2012. As it turns out, our finish of 5th place of 57 wasn’t what we hoped for, but since we are a new team, we were happy with our competitiveness against the high level of competition. We had some podium finishes along the way, but also some setbacks that saw us held up in the pack.

John Casey giving an interview during the St. Barth CataCup 2013

John Casey giving an interview during the St. Barth CataCup 2013

Unlike any event I’ve been to around the world, I’ve been drawn to this island. What is it about this place? Is it how everything is impeccably clean? Is it the perfect sailing conditions around stunning rock faces and picturesque beaches? Is it the wonderful view from almost anywhere on this mountainous island? Or is it the easy feeling I get from the locals who have now become some of my best friends? YES, it is all of it…the perfect combination to keep me yearning for my return every year.

Photo Credit Pierrick Contin

John Casey and Luke Ramsay sailing behind the rocks of St. Barth- Photo Credit Pierrick Contin

We were also lucky enough to enjoy the 25-year anniversary party this month where I saw how far St. Barth Properties has come. We really enjoyed their Beaujolais Nouveau party too. I’m so proud to be part of the Team!

-John Casey-

Peg with Luke Ramsay (L) and John Casey (R) at our St. Barth Properties Beaujolais Nouveau party November 20, 2013

Peg with Luke Ramsay (L) and John Casey (R) at our St. Barth Properties Beaujolais Nouveau party November 20, 2013

St. Barth Properties 25th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I arrived back in St Barth November 5th in time to settle in, visit some new villas and welcome friends and family who were arriving November 9th for our much anticipated annual Beachside Bash. This year the party was an extra special one because the upcoming “Season” marks the 25th anniversary of when I founded St. Barth Properties. The party was held at the elegant Hotel Taïwana’s new Casa Flamands restaurant on Flamands Beach the 14th of November.

St. Barth Specialist Kathy Schlitzer was also on St. Barts doing inspections with me. She and I were looking at the new changes at Villa Ocean’s 5 in Flamands that included a wonderful new kitchen, a brand new heated pool and two new comfortable sofas in the living room. I love Villa Ocean’s 5 because the configuration makes it an ideal choice for families with younger children and the view is fabulous. To book, contact reservations@stbarth.com or 1-800-421-3396.

Villa Ocean's 5

Villa Ocean’s 5

It was a week before the Bash so I suggested that we swing by the Taïwana to check it out because the hotel is under a huge renovation. As we approached the hotel we could see that there was a lot of activity with construction workers everywhere. I walked into the empty restaurant and continued on towards the beach when I looked over to the right and saw the swimming pool. Yikes! It was empty! Not one to panic, I noted that there were men inside the pool painting it, so I saw that as a good sign that perhaps that meant that the pool would be filled soon. The hotel kept reassuring me that all would be fine so I stopped being concerned about it.

Everything is ready for the party!

Casa Flamands restaurant – everything is ready for the party!

Sure enough we arrived at 7:00 pm and were escorted along a candlelit path to one of the three bars where I ordered une coupe de Champagne and mingled with the guests while the Casa Flamands staff passed by with trays of delicious hors d’oeuvres. The very talented singer Soley walked around serenading the guests and continued to do so throughout the evening. We had a DJ too which made the atmosphere really festive. Silver was the theme of the party because we were celebrating the 25th anniversary of when I created St. Barth Properties so we surprised the ladies by giving each of them a silver tiara to wear. So chic!

Guests mingling and enjoying hors d'oeuvres

Guests mingling and enjoying hors d’oeuvres

Soley serenades the crowd

Soley serenades the guests

Time for my speech. The 200+ guests consisted of SBP clients, villa owners, hotel partners, service partners and staff from both the St. Barth office and the US office. Everyone was seated and I thanked them for joining us in the 25th anniversary celebration. Every guest played a part in making our company what it is today. I also thanked my son and VP Tom Smyth for his partnership and my husband Steve for allowing me to live my dream. Finally, I unveiled our Silver Anniversary Live Your Dream catalogue which is our best yet. (If you would like us to send you one, please email info@stbarth.com. I think you will love it enough to make it one of your coffee table books.)

Tom and Peg introducing the Silver Anniversary Live Your Dream catalogue

Tom and Peg introduce the Silver Anniversary Live Your Dream catalogue

When I finished my little speech, Tom surprised me with a gift. I opened it and was thrilled to see that it was a hand painted caricature of our global St. Barth Properties team. Julia Hurd, our concierge in my US office came up with the idea and, with the help of Magda Votava, our concierge in my St. Barth office, commissioned a local artist to do the painting. I love it! If you were unable to attend, I hope that I will see you at next year’s Beachside Bash.

Peg's surprise gift - a painting of the St. Barth Properties team

Peg’s surprise gift – a painting of the St. Barth Properties team

Click here to see all of the photos from our Silver Anniversary party.

Wake Me Up When September Comes

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Now is the Time to Plan your St. Barth Vacation!

I hope that your summer went well and that you had time to relax a bit. Per usual I spent my summer on Cape Cod working remotely with both my US office and my St. Barth office. The bulk of my time was spent preparing and editing our new Live Your Dream® catalogue. It just went to press and I can’t wait for you to see the finished product – It is our 25th Anniversary edition! I will be unveiling it at our Annual Beachside Bash which this year is being held on November 14th at the gorgeous beachfront hotel Taïwana on beautiful Flamands Beach. I would really love to see you there. Of course the party is our treat in appreciation of you, our valued St. Barth Properties clients. Invitations will be sent out very soon, so if you have not booked your accommodation yet, now is the time to do so. Just email reservations@stbarth.com or better yet, pick up the phone and call 1-800-421-3396 (or +1-508-528-7727). We would be happy to chat with you about the Bash and help you plan your St. Barth trip around it.

Live Your Dream Catalogue

The 25th Anniversary Edition of Our Live Your Dream Catalogue is Being Printed in France

If those November dates don’t work for you, now that the kids are back in school and the summer is winding down, it is time to think seriously about booking your fall or winter vacation to St. Barth. While the island might be in its annual hibernation period, it is not too early to make your reservation. Right now and until December 14th, it’s Value Season; many people take advantage of the extra savings that traveling during this period of time affords them. Have a look at our Specials Page to see what villas offer even more bang for your buck. Tradewind Aviation resumes their regularly scheduled roundtrip flights directly to St. Barth from San Juan, St. Thomas and Antigua on October 18th 2013. We are at-the-ready to get those seats booked for you and coordinate the dates to coincide with your villa or hotel reservation.

St Barth

Would you rather be here or at home buttoning up your overcoat?

If you are thinking of spending the Christmas/New Year’s holidays in St. Barth, many clients have the jump on you; their villa and/or hotel stays as well as their airline and car rental reservations are securely in place. For your convenience we have a direct link to our holiday availability on-line. It is really important to reserve now while we can still offer several villa options, obtain rental cars for you and assist you with the inter-island flights.

My husband Steve and I will be back on the island fulltime by then. We really enjoy the festivities and for the second Christmas in a row, my son, Mark Smyth (the dentist) and his family will be celebrating Christmas in St. Barth with us. Just as we do, you will love taking an evening stroll along the quai to marvel at the wondrous yachts docked along Gustavia Harbor; it’s a must. And, of course window shopping soon brings you into the gorgeously decorated boutiques to have a look; eventually you end up purchasing that perfect gift for yourself and/or for someone special.

Yachts in Gustavia Harbor

A favorite before or after dinner pastime: Walking along the quai in Gustavia to marvel at the yachts

Drop into the Baz Bar after dinner and you just might catch Jimmy Buffet picking up a guitar and singing a few songs with the band that is featured there at that time. Where to dine Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Our concierges Julia and Magda will give you the inside scoop as soon as the proposed menus are received. Would you like an in-villa massage? Do you need a babysitter? What about a day trip to Colombier Beach or a sunset cruise? We will happily set that all up for you.

Baz Bar.

Look who made an impromptu appearance while I was at the Baz Bar. You too can sing along with Jimmy.

Give us a call and Live Your Dream®

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…