Finding a Parking Spot in Gustavia

February 23rd, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW: As of February 22 2016

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

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

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

The Details

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

    This sign indciates how many parking spaces are available.

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

    Press the button and take your ticket.

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

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

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

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

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

    Voilà! You are all set!

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

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

2 Responses to “Finding a Parking Spot in Gustavia”

  1. Linda says:

    Thanks for such detailed info, Peg. Parking in Gustavia can be a challenge! I hope the concept of a shuttle for employees will be seriously considered.

  2. Kevin Brown says:

    Peg,
    Thanks for blog on the parking situation. Always a concern when heading into town.

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The Latest Update on What’s New on the St. Barth Restaurant Scene

January 28th, 2016

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth! My husband Steve and I came back to St. Barth December 8th and are based here until mid-May 2016 (poor me). As part of my duties to you, loyal reader, I must try the new restaurants and report back my findings. Today’s blog is the first in the series.

The Hidden Gem: Carpe Diem, Gustavia

Carpe Diem restaurant on the La Pointe side of Gustavia harbor, St. Barth is getting rave reviews.

Carpe Diem restaurant on the La Pointe side of Gustavia harbor, St. Barth is getting rave reviews.

Tucked away on the other side of the harbor where Ti Zouk Café used to be, new owner Audrey Ferrari has transformed the place into a lovely open-air restaurant. I have known Audrey for several years. She is a sommelier and we took a wine tasting course that she was giving at Absolutely Wine. Her dream of opening her own restaurant has come true. We have dined there several times, including New Year’s Eve, and it has become one of my favorites.

Here I am with Carpe Diem's owner Audrey Ferrari

Here I am with Carpe Diem’s owner Audrey Ferrari.

The open kitchen and bar is shared space in the front of the restaurant. The aroma wafts out to the sidewalk. Passerbys stop to breathe it all in and make a mental note to dine there. Nicely set tables near tall trees adorn the rest of the space. In the corner, there is an elevated lounge area where you can enjoy an apéritif.

The ambience in the open-air dining room at Carpe Diem is delightful.

The ambience in the open-air dining room at Carpe Diem is delightful.

An elevated lounge area to enjoy cocktails is tucked away in the corner.

An elevated lounge area to enjoy cocktails is tucked away in the corner.

The menu is varied and each day it differs a bit. Always on the menu, (a black board) is its signature homemade pasta. It comes in 3 sizes (small – 9 euros, medium – 17 euros and large – 22 euros), 3 shapes (penne, tagliatelle and macaroni) with many sauces from which to choose (Bolognese, mushroom, pesto, basil, carbonara, tomato and goat cheese cream). Believe it or not, the small size in enough for me. Although delicious, I can’t even finish it.

Carpe Diem's Homemade Macaroni with Bolognese Sauce (small portion).

Carpe Diem’s Homemade Macaroni with Bolognese Sauce (small portion).

Goat cheese ravioli as well as beef ravioli are on the menu, too (also in small, medium and large portions – 12, 22, and 30 euros respectively) with a choice of the same sauces. Steve tried the beef ravioli with mushroom sauce and couldn’t stop raving about it. Chef Julien came over to our table later on and told us that he had just created the secret recipe for it. Don’t ask because, after all, it is a top-secret.

The New Creation of Chef Julien is Beef Ravioli with Mushroom Sauce.  The Recipe is Top Secret.

The New Creation of Chef Julien is Beef Ravioli with Mushroom Sauce. The Recipe is Top Secret.

The Grill: Choose from Mahi Mahi, Gambas, Scallops, Flank steak, quail Filets and French Sausage, “Alouette” (Described by wait person, Gary as meaning “strong”). Accompanying sides include Lentils ‘Du Puy”, Coco Beans, Celeriac Purée and Pan Fried Zucchini.

Julien Losada is the very talented chef at Carpe Diem

Julien Losada is the very talented chef at Carpe Diem

Starters: That particular evening the starters included Pan Fried Foie gras (22 €), Buratta, Cured Meat (14 €), Goat cheese Salad (14 €) and Beef Tataki (16 €).

Carpe Diem's yummy version of Goat Cheese Salad.

Carpe Diem’s yummy version of Goat Cheese Salad.

Carpe Diem has a daily lunch special. For example, Daurade (Sea Bream) Tatare with Green Salad @ 12 € as well as a Formule (prix fixe) @ 17 € which includes the special along with a drink of your choice and a cup of coffee.

Opening hours: 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Dinner from 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm and Sunday Brunch

Please give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

Merci beaucoup!

We enjoyed spending New Year's Eve at Carpe Diem with some our of family -  Nate, Mark, Reegan and Cynthia Smyth.

We enjoyed spending New Year’s Eve at Carpe Diem with some our of family – Nate, Mark, Reegan and Cynthia Smyth.

5 Responses to “The Latest Update on What’s New on the St. Barth Restaurant Scene”

  1. Len and Mary Jo Attisano says:

    Peg,
    We missed seeing you, Steve, and Mark last week. Great pictures of your family–all look well. We enjoyed another great week in SBH. Paradise found.

    We stayed at Villa WV Bon again (3rd year) thru Wimco but had some issues this time (nasty bug infestation and weakly equipped kitchen) and would like to know if you can find another property for us next year. Looking to rent nine days, if possible, from 1/12/17 to 1/21/17 but would settle for Saturday to Saturday) with a price point of $6,000.

    Both Len and I love to cook. We wanted to have friends over for cocktails and dinner but there was not even 4 complete place settings.

    Let us know what is available.

    The best–Len and Mary Jo

    PS. I would be happy to mail or fax you the roster of this years’ participants. A nice group of people. Some new.

    • admin says:

      Hi Len and Mary Jo, Thanks for contacting me. We missed seeing you, too! I would be delighted to assist you with next year’s accommodation.I will email you. My best to you. -Peg

  2. Henry says:

    Carpe Diem is now on our list of must do restaurants. We tried it for lunch near the end of our trip and enjoyed it very much. Good to know there’s a brunch option.

  3. Trevor says:

    Do you happen to know of any bridge play on St Barts? I have never heard of any, but thought there might be a club or group? We are here for two weeks and a game would be fun…

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Bonjour Trevor, Sorry for the late answer. No one knows of a bridge group on the island. If there is a local one, the players would be speaking French.

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

January 5th, 2016

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

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

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

Peg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The tiny airstrip is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

The tiny airstrip is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Choisy bakery in Lorient

The Choisy bakery in Lorient

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

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

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

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

Mark Smyth's Exercise Route Festive Season 2015

Mark Smyth’s Exercise Route Festive Season 2015

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

  1. Mark from Wrentham says:

    You should add a map to this blog.

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Connie’s SBP Trip Report November 2015

December 10th, 2015

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth!

Steve and I made it back to paradise on Tuesday and are now based here until May (poor us). I have some last minute newly constructed villas to inspect in the next few days and will be adding them to our website shortly thereafter. For all of you procrastinators, yes we do still have some villas available over the holidays. Just follow this link to see http://stbarth.com/christmas-and-new-year-availability.

Last month, I was here with some of my US office’s staff, including Marketing and Travel Industry Consultant Connie Walsh. I am pleased to share her trip report.

I hope to see you at Bagatelle on Wednesday evenings for our weekly cocktail party.

Happy Holidays,
Peg

Trip Report, November 2015 by Connie Walsh

connie1

Connie Walsh

I’ve made some eighteen trips from Boston to St. Barth over the past decade, each as smooth as the sand on its gorgeous beaches. But this time, a flight delay – the dreaded “mechanical” – put us in Puerto Rico too late to catch our flight on Tradewind Aviation, the day’s last. Friends would be dining without us at the harbor’s new Carpe Diem and we would not be laying our heads down that night at Villa Everest. Tant pis indeed.

We’d arranged for VIP service through Tradewind and found their indomitable Lizbeth waiting for us at the gate when we deplaned. And she had a plan B. She confirmed availability at a nearby hotel, arranged transportation to-and-from, and seats on the first flight out the next morning. We were whisked off to the old grand dame, El San Juan. That lobby is still gorgeous. We checked in, took a walk on the beach, through the casino, enjoyed a cocktail at the bar and dined at the La Picola Fontana. Excellent northern Italian food. Coulda been worse.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

As promised, the next morning Lizbeth was at the check-in counter to take us up to Tradewind’s VIP lounge. Two espressos later, hubs and I were winging our way to St. Barth, arriving in time to settle in and make an early lunch reservation at the Santa Fe. It was a Thursday and at Santa Fe that means moules-frites – divine as always. I ordered a starter of gazpacho which was chilled to perfection. Nice to be back!

On Thursday, November 12, St. Barth Properties launched the season and the latest edition of Live Your Dream® in style with a cocktail party, seaside at the beautiful Hotel Taïwana. One could really sense the excitement. Love St. Barth in November.

Taïwana Hotel

Taïwana Hotel

As always, the week was a hustle-bustle of villa visits, hotel inspections, and meetings but we happily incorporated some down time. Our Saturday afternoon picnic lunch at St. Jean Beach and our traditional Sunday morning swim at Gouverneur were delightful interludes.

One of the highlights of this trip was our site inspection at Le Toiny. The hotel reopened with the first phase of the extensive renovations completed. The villas French Colonial décor is gone, replaced with a chic and cool contemporary coastal style. Bleached white wooden floors anchor a palette of sandy-soft neutrals and crisp whites with pops of tropical color. The entrance, reception area, and restaurant have been reconfigured creating more of lobby-like feel. That gorgeous half-moon pool remains and now there is an adjacent open-air oyster shell bar. We lunched at the newly named Le Toiny Restaurant. Chicken Creole for me – and it was divine.

Hotel Le Toiny

Hotel Le Toiny

Below the hotel, the new sprawling Beach Club was just being completed. It’s surrounded by a coconut grove and furnished with comfy chaises. Lunch and libations served and transportation to-and-from provided. Looking forward to enjoying a glass of rosé with my toes-in-the-sand there – next trip.

We checked out the progress on the sure to be gorgeous 52 room Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa. Located on the lagoon of Grand Cul de Sac with its 600-foot beachfront, it slated to open in 2016 and already generating lots of buzz.

And now for the “food facts.” We joined the fun at Gustavia’s new 25 Quarter (formerly Monbart), they have a hip street food menu complete with tacos, dumplings and empanadas and exciting cocktails. Football fans take note, they’ll be showing NFL games this winter. We sampled the new Italian focused cuisine at Le Sereno as they celebrate their new sister property in Lake Cuomo. I made a return visit to harbor side Bagatelle. It’s becoming one of my gotta-go-tos. Their signature white pizza with black truffle is amazing and its scene is quintessential St. Barth. Join the St. Barth Properties’ team for a libation at their weekly cocktail party every Wednesday from 6:30-7:30, then stay for dinner!

Speaking of scenes, if you haven’t lunched at Nikki Beach, do go. Our Sunday lunch there was so much fun. Costumed waiters sashay out to deliver Jeroboams of Champagne while the DJ spins a great rock n’ roll soundtrack, so good it inspires patrons to get up and boogie – sometimes on the tabletops. The quality of the food is not sacrificed for all the merriment. It’s terrific. The comprehensive menu includes lots of fresh fish, a variety of salads (try the Niçoise) and yummy BBQ.

Lots of visits to villas newly added to the company portfolio were on our agenda. My faves included the super – sweet one bedroom beach house Maison de La Plage, just steps from the shore at St. Jean Beach and Villa Yeye, a lovely traditional four bedroom vacation home in Pointe Milou with a stunning view. Its décor pays homage to the casually elegant lifestyle of St. Barth in the ‘70s. I loved its circular plunge pool and shady rear garden.

Villa Maison de la Plage

Villa Maison de la Plage

Villa Yeye

Villa Yeye

We were impressed with the stunning seascape, from the umbrellas at Nikki Beach to Anse de Cayes, at the three bedroom Villa La Pointe du Reef in St. Jean. Its contemporary design is complemented with “old St. Barth” images and accessories. At Villa Super Ciel, a lovely three bedroom villa with loads of living space and two pools, verandahs boast some half a dozen hammocks. They sway in the breeze with a view of the verdant hillside and slivers of the sea. I took a test drive.

Villa La Pointe du Reef

Villa La Pointe du Reef

Villa Super Ciel

Villa Super Ciel

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we were wowed by the chic and modern six bedroom Villa Monaco. It celebrates Princess Grace and is as every bit as stylish. Set high above Anse des Cayes, the oversized heated swimming pool has a unique platform with chaises looking out to the eye-popping view. When we arrived at brand-new Villa Fleur de Sel workmen were busy finishing all the details. Its five en suite bedrooms are named for designers and the penthouse master suite pays homage to Louis Vuitton.

Villa Monaco

Villa Monaco

All great additions to the portfolio. Full details and pictures are on the website www.stbarth.com.

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Beachside Soirée November 2015

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!

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VIP Beach Time with a Taste of Taïwana

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.

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

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

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Will Kids Love St. Barth?

September 10th, 2015

It’s Julie Nally’s turn to share her recent trip report with you. Julie has been a St. Barth Specialist with St. Barth Properties for 18 years. When she began her career with us, she had not yet had children. Over the years, she was blessed with two very nice boys. If you are considering going to St. Barth with your family and have younger children, Julie gives some insight on what a family trip to St. Barth can be like.
I hope you enjoy it!

Sunny regards,
Peg

Will Kids Love St. Barth?

By Julie Nally

“Will my kids love St. Barth?” is a common question I get from potential clients planning their next family vacation. Well, the answer has always been “yes” for a variety of reasons. However, now I can speak from my own experience, the answer is an even bigger “YES!”

I just returned from my latest island villa and hotel inspection trip. This trip was different than any other because I was not traveling alone or with a friend but with 5 kids! That’s a “busload.” The age range was from 10 to 21 years old and included my two sons, Jack, 10, Keith, 13 and my three nieces ages 14, 16 and 21.

The initial interest in planning this trip was sparked by my son Keith. He was curious about St. Barth and always asking if he could come with me when I went for work. He was determined to be on the plane to St. Barth with me. I granted his wish and it had a domino effect for all the other kids.

We flew from Boston to San Juan on Jet Blue and then took Tradewind Aviation from San Juan directly to St Barth. The Tradewind Aviation flight is ideal for anyone traveling to the island. Convenient, quick, and comfortable – a good start to any trip.

Boarding our Tradewind Flight - Jack, Julie, Ava, Haley, Lindsey, Keith

Boarding our Tradewind Flight – Jack, Julie, Ava, Haley, Lindsey, Keith

After arriving, it was on to Villa Eclipse in Camaruche. This villa with its long lap pool, amazing view, privacy, and oversized indoor and outdoor living spaces was the perfect choice for our group. The US Satellite TV in both the living room and master bedroom didn’t hurt either. The NBA Championship games were on and I have two sports enthusiasts for sons! The owner of Villa Eclipse also owns the amazing Villa Wings located in St Jean and the convenient condominium Wahoo in Gustavia. Three different locations, three very different properties but all top-notch villas that offer great amenities for the appropriate clientele.

On Top of the World - Ava and Haley - Villa Eclipse

On Top of the World – Ava and Haley – Villa Eclipse

After some refreshing pool time, we were treated to quite a surprise – an amazing fireworks display that lit up the skies. Lucky for us there was a large high-end wedding on the island and as it turned out Villa Eclipse had the best seat in the house. The kids were so excited!

We were treaated to a Fireworks display on our very first night.

We were treated to a Fireworks display on our very first night.

After, we left for a casual first-night dinner at L’Isoletta in Gustavia. This chic little bistro offers the best gourmet pizza slices on earth and outdoor dining on comfy couches and candlelight. We ended the evening with my niece giving a toast and that started a fun tradition.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with swimming and lounging at the villa and beach exploration (Saline on Saturday and Flamands Beach by the hotel Taïwana on Sunday). We had dinner at L’Entracte in Gustavia and JoJo Burger in Lorient and kept the nightly toast tradition going. My niece Ava gave it at L’Entracte and my son Jack at JoJo Burger. I also enjoyed some needed “girl time” Saturday night with two of my nieces Lindsey and Haley, at one of my favorite local bars Sayolita. It’s owned by two free-spirited St. Barth surfers Daniel and Sylvain and the girls loved the vibe and the “chill” atmosphere.

First ones in the pool every morning - Ava and Keith

First ones in the pool every morning – Ava and Keith

The absolute highlight of the weekend was our jet ski tour around the island on Sunday afternoon. Wow! None of us had ever jet ski’d on the open ocean before and what an adrenaline rush it was. Ninety minutes of pure fun, gorgeous scenery, and lots of laughs. Jeremy at Ouanalou was our guide and he was terrific.

Come Monday morning it was time for me to start my villa visits. I felt the best spot to get the kids situated was at St Jean Beach. They could watch the planes come and go, hang out at La Plage, the beach restaurant at the Tom Beach hotel, and walk to local shops. To my surprise, my son Jack opted to come with me for the day as opposed to beaching-it with the rest of the crew. He wanted to get an inside look at these properties he had only seen on our website before. Let me tell you, it was an absolute pleasure having him with me as my “little assistant.” His eye for detail, knowledge of all the technical gadgets (I had never heard of a “launchport” before.), and genuine interest in discussing the properties after seeing them was a nice surprise. He accompanied me again on Tuesday. I now wish he could be with me on every inspection trip!

I knew I wanted to capture this family vacation on film in some form or another. How could I not take advantage of this opportunity of our all being together in paradise?! Of course, there was collectively hundreds of selfies taken by the kids but I wanted something more. I made arrangements with island photographer, Chrystele Escure to come to the villa for a photo session. On Monday evening with cool music playing on the Bose surround system throughout the villa, we started what turned out to be a real (and fun, and exciting) photo shoot. Chrystele gave every person their time in the spotlight and a chance to be a “supermodel” – and captured their spirit. Seeing just how much fun everyone was having and the unique pictures that Chrystele was taking of us as a group and individually was priceless!

Chrystele getting ready for photoshoot with Julie

Chrystele getting ready for photoshoot with Julie

I highly recommend booking a photo shoot. It’s a fun and creative way to shed inhibitions and capture your time on St Barth. It’s a once in a lifetime experience! Just ask Julia or Magda, our concierges to arrange it for you.

Before our vacation together came to an end on Wednesday, the kids were able to get in a few more midnight swims at the villa, browse the shops in Gustavia, and enjoy their last delicious meal at Bar L’Oubli -followed by yummy gelato of course. I didn’t want to see them go because, of all the trips to the island, this was the one that brought me the most joy and happiness. I loved that they picked up on the true spirit of St Barth …the people, the beauty, and that “mysterious vibe” that floats in the air and puts a smile on your face. Anyone who has been to St. Barth knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Before they left on their Tradewind Flight back to San Juan, the girls and I recalled that classic movie Wizard of Oz we all know and love. However, instead of clicking ruby slippers, they were clicking summer sandals and flip flops thinking “There’s no place like St Barth…there’s no place like St Barth.”

Julie Nally

Julie Nally

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St. Barth Trip Report by Connie Walsh, June 2015

August 11th, 2015

Bonjour St Barth Devotees,

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

Here is Connie’s trip report:

Enjoy-
Sunny regards,
Peg

St. Barth Trip Report, June 2015 by Connie Walth

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

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

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

Villa Brume de Mer

Villa Brume de Mer

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

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

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

Villa Jade

Villa Jade

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

Villa Joy

Villa Joy

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

Villa Cassiopée

Villa Cassiopée

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

Villa Infinity

Villa Infinity

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

Villa Sagittaire

Villa Sagittaire

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

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

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

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

We loved our Top Loc sunset sail with Captain Eric

We loved our Top Loc sunset sail with Captain Eric

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

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

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

2 Responses to “St. Barth Trip Report by Connie Walsh, June 2015”

  1. Kerry says:

    Hi Peg,
    I enjoy Your blog. Do You have any info about Andy Hall? Is he gone for good? The Hideaway can not be the same without him. Please let me know,
    Thank You
    Kerry

    • admin says:

      HI Kerry,

      Thank you for liking my blog! Believe it or not, Andy took a hiatus and just bought a little place in Pattaya, Thailand. He has just opened The Hideaway Bar and Guest House! http://www.pattayaguesthouse-hideaway.com/index.html He is still a partner with Hafida who is running the Hideaway in St. Barth. Hafida really spruced up the place, the same team is there and she is a perfect hostess. She even has theme nights once a month. The Hideaway will always be our “First Night” dinner stop whenever we arrive on the island. Steve and I go there often while we are spending the winters in St. Barth. You should definitely continue to go. It may be a little different but you will continue to love dining there. I hope to see you in St. Barth! All the best, Peg

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KATHY’S May 2015 Trip Report

July 7th, 2015

Bonjour St. Barth Lovers,

As you may know the staff in my U.S. office must travel to St. Barth at least twice a year to do their villa and hotel inspections, catch up on the restaurants, boutiques and new services that we offer as well touch base with the staff in my St. Barth office.

Kathy Schlitzer is one of our fabulous St. Barth Properties’ Specialists who assists you with planning your St. Barth dream vacation. Here is her Spring 2015 Trip Report:

Early on Saturday morning Julia and I were off to Boston’s Logan airport for our JetBlue flight to St. Maarten and Winair to St. Barth.  Landing in St Maarten at 11:45 A we were met by the Easyway VIP representative who immediately went into VIP mode. He took our luggage tags and directed us through the In transit security door and up to the gate – meanwhile bypassing the immigration lines, baggage pick up, and check in with Winair.  In moments we were at our gate, the Easyway person found us, handed us our boarding passes, assured us our luggage was checked in to Winair, and informed us we were booked on an earlier flight leaving in 15 minutes!  Well that was easy!

We landed in St Barth, grabbed luggage, picked up our cars from Gumbs Car Rental (we’d emailed a copy of our driver’s license prior to departure so she had the paperwork ready), and we were off to Marché U for groceries.  By 2:30 we were at Villa Everest unpacking and ready for a swim in the pool (and a cold beer)!

We were treated to glorious sunsets at Villa Everest

We were treated to glorious sunsets at Villa Everest

TIP: Easyway VIP is well worth the cost when landing in St Maarten’s rather convoluted airport.  Our concierge Julia can reserve Easyway VIP for our clients. It’s especially helpful during busy seasons or when you have a tight connection – or just don’t feel like dealing with the inefficiency that is SXM. Julia’s email is Juliahurd@stbarth.com.

We’d made a reservation at Santa Fe, a favorite of both Julia and myself, for our first night.  Julia invariably starts with the escargot and always orders Dover sole as her main! For me it was the mussels to start, and Wahoo with ginger and coriander for my main – it’s so good!  We shared a Fondant au Chocolat – after all, it’s our first night!

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake) at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake) at the Santa Fe

Sunday – After a good night’s sleep we’re ready to start our week in St Barth.  Making sure all the electronics work, WIFI set up, and emails answered, we head out to do a few necessary errands and for a drive around the island to make sure everything is as we left it!   The weather is fine and we’re excited to be back.

La Gloriette on Grand Cul de Sac beach is one of my favorite places for lunch, especially on Sundays.  The small beach restaurant is a favorite for families – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins meet there for a relaxing afternoon. Grand Cul de Sac is a lagoon, shallow and still, parents can easily watch kids playing on the shore. While we were having lunch a little girl caught a tiny fish and holding it up for all to see came running to her parents full of pride at her accomplishment. Everyone was smiling. I like that about the island culture – family time is important.

Warm goat cheese salad, a glass of rosé, and, of course, a glass of vanilla rhum completed our meal and we’re off again.

Here I am at Villa Everest - All set to begin my workday

Here I am at Villa Everest – All set to begin my workday

Monday – I had my villa visit schedule prepared and I was ready to go.  This year we’ve added some great new villas and I was pleased to match the pictures with the real thing. Some new offerings are the beautiful Chateau de Sable on St. Jean beach, Villa Ananda, Sagittaire and Orion hillside in St. Jean, Infinity in Gustavia, Belina in Colombier, Chiavari in Lurin, Jade and Joy in Marigot, Mirage in Gouverneur, and Chimère in Petit Cul de Sac.  (Editor’s note:  Be sure to check out future blogs for more info on the new villas.)

Villa Chateau de Sable on St. Jean Beach

Villa Chateau de Sable on St. Jean Beach

You will adore the view of St. Jean from Villa Orion

You will adore the view of St. Jean from Villa Orion

I also went back to old favorites that I either hadn’t seen for a while or to see changes or renovations. Casawapa added a third bedroom as did Rêve de Nuit, Ti Acerola is back for rental, and Serenity in Gustavia and Azur in Lurin.

Tuesday – Julia and I were lucky enough to be reserved on a full day boat trip with Jicky Marine.  I hadn’t snorkeled in St Barth for several years and I was excited.  The catamaran was new and extremely well maintained and captained.  Beer, wine, rum punch, water, and soft drinks, as well as snacks were offered throughout the day. Lunch was served when we reached Forchue island where we would spend the day and snorkel.  The crew set us up with very good snorkel equipment and took us to a spot where we could see turtles and rays, and, as we got closer to the rocks along the shore, colorful fish.  When not in the water we lay out on the beanbag lined “hammock” at the front of the catamaran.  It was a great day.  The water is so clear, so blue, and so beautiful. Julia can arrange this trip for you before you travel to St. Barth or our on-island concierge Magda Borne can reserve it once you are on St. Barth.

Julia and I relaxing after snorkeling

Julia and I relaxing after snorkeling

The Sunset Cruise with Jicky Marine was so relaxing

The Sunset Cruise with Jicky Marine was so relaxing

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – Julia and I went our separate ways, me to visit villas and hotels and Julia to meet with vendors and try things like yoga and a ride in a mini Moke, peruse the new organic food shops and juice bars – and taste Gelato.  Tough job!

Julia had our dinner reservations set and just told me where we were going each night – I didn’t argue, they’re all good! Isola is elegant and wonderful Italian, Black Ginger fun and friendly Thai, Tamarin a magical garden setting with lily pad pools and romantic tables tucked throughout.

After dinner on our last night we popped into Bagatelle to catch the excitement. It was packed, music glaring, dancing everywhere, the wait staff adeptly delivered food and drink in the middle of it all. Evidently, there were a lot of birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated with champagne. Bottles topped with sparklers were paraded to the tables conga line fashion and, in one case, delivered by someone on a scooter driven through the restaurant! We stayed long enough to want to return another time when we didn’t have an early morning flight!

All in all, it was a good trip and we accomplished everything we needed to – and had some fun.

Au revoir St. Barth – jusqu’à la prochaine fois.

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