Posts Tagged ‘Andy’s Hideaway’

Early December 2014

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I was happy to finally clear my calendar and get back To St. Barth last month. I needed my fix! It was nice to see how well the island had recovered from Hurricane Gonzalo’s wrath. Most of the damages were to the boats that were moored in the harbor area because there was no warning that a hurricane was developing. It was supposed to be a tropical depression that was just passing through so no advisories were given to boat owners to alert them that they should be seeking shelter. As a result, 42 boats were destroyed. The population on St. Barth is resilient so the cleanup began immediately. The only lingering signs that I could see were a couple of boats that had washed ashore and had not yet been removed and I observed some loss of vegetation at a few of the villas that I inspected and that was quickly growing back. When you get to St. Barth, you won’t even notice.

As always, I had lots of things to do including villa and hotel inspections and checking out anything new so that I could tell you about it. I invited friends to join us and we stayed at Villa Capri in Pointe Milou. Tradition finds us at Andy’s Hideaway on our first night.

I’ll be back in St Barth in a few days and will be based there until May. I hope to see you at our weekly cocktail party held at La Plage restaurant on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm!

In the meantime, Connie Walsh, our marketing consultant has written her trip report as a guest blog.

The highlight of the trip was our big party, the Seaside Soirée that was held at the hotel Taïwana November 14. It was a huge success with more than 200 guests attending.

TRIP REPORT – November 2014

Connie Walsh

I made my annual pre-season trip to St. Barth the week of November 7, and like many other island devotees, I salivate enroute over the plethora of fabulous restaurants. I have my favorites, but I’m always excited to see what’s new. Upon landing my husband and I received a VIP meet & greet by St. Barth Properties’ president Peg Walsh, and we were off to Pointe Milou and got settled into Villa Capri. What a view!

We had a first-night dinner reservation with Peg and her husband Steve at M&P. I hadn’t dined there in a few years, and it was as good as I remembered. The acronym stands for Meat and Potatoes, and admittedly it sounds at odds for chi-chi St. Barth. But a breezy steakhouse on the road to Saline Beach, its sophisticated menu is a carnivore’s dream, but trust that vegetarians have loads of choices. We noshed on the Chateaubriand, accompanied by a choice of over a dozen sauces, Bordelaise, Roquefort, Porcini … my fave Béarnaise, and two sides.

M & P (Meat and Potatoes)

M & P (Meat and Potatoes)

We had some divine Gratin Dauphinois and Kenyan (fair trade) green beans. Thursday night is burger night at M&P if you’re in the mood. We always get our burger fix at the iconic beach-shack Le Select, now celebrating its 65th season. Jo Jo Burger in Lorient gets rave reviews– and they make a mean mahi-mahi sandwich too. I’ve promised myself I’ll stop in one of these days for a post-beach burger.

The always fun Andy’s Hideaway is our go-to for pizza, thin-crust and relish. We also love the pies at the little Gustavia eatery L’Entracte but it was undergoing a major renovation – next time. By the way, Grand cul de Sac’s La Gloriette, which we adore for leisurely feet-in-the sand lunches – and their ginger rhum – offers pizza in the evenings.

Our musts are Le Carré located in the glam shopping arcade of the similar name, Le Carré d’Or; it has a charming Parisian sidewalk café feel. Go for lunch and dinner. It’s that good. They had me at the truffle oil popcorn starter on my first visit, and I think they make the best Margarita on the island. And of course, Santa Fe. Trip advisor rates them # 1 in St. Barth. No surprise. It’s another lunch-and-dinner stop, the afternoon breezes and the views over Gouverneur pair beautifully with a bowl of gazpacho and a glass of rosé. Mussels are Thursday’s lunch and dinner special – mark your vacation calendar. Our small group dinner there began with a coupe de Champagne, their signature Wahoo fritters and went on to include a number of classical French dishes. We shared escargots redolent with garlic, Beef Bourguignon, Sole Meunière that would make Julia Child weep….and oh, the desserts. My favorite is the Peach Melba.

The new & noteworthy include the restaurant and crêperie L’Ardoise in Villa Créole St Jean. They pay homage to the island’s ties to Brittany where the crêpe was invented and called a galette. The soft dessert crêpes include the uber-popular Nutella and a deconstructed profiterole. The atmosphere is casual and lively, the prices reasonable and it’s catching on with residents and visitors alike. Cocktails are being stirred and shaken at the brand new and lounge-y bar Modjo. From the outside, an unassuming edifice (next to Andy’s) has been totally renovated with an exposed loft ceiling and industrial-chic lamps. The room’s focal point is a long bar and it is filled with oversized sofas and comfortable chairs. Open nightly from 7:00pm – 3:00 am, they offer a creative menu of small plates. And there’s alternately live music or a DJ spinning tunes. C’est très hip!”

Our best dinner? That was St. Barth Properties’ annual launch-the-season Seaside Soirée at the Taïwana Hotel. F&B director Octavio and his team outdid themselves with elegant passed hors d’oeuvres, starters, mains, and desserts. We did the taste-testing one afternoon on our June trip, and it was as amazing as remembered and with the addition of music, a starry night and over 200 people – spectacular.

A few days into our stay, we were joined at Villa Capri by another couple and mixed some vacation time with our work. The bedrooms at Capri, like so many, have baths en suite and loads of pool-side outdoor living space making it ideal for sharing with friends. We took turns making the morning baguette and croissant run, enjoyed our coffee with a view, post-beach pool time and toasted the Technicolor sunsets before heading out to dinner. (The new owner is planning some fabulous changes. Stay tuned.)

Villa inspections are always on our work-agenda and we stopped in to see the refurbishments at the charming Villa Rosebud – sure to make it more popular than ever – and the brand-new and breathtaking Villa My Way.

Peg and I inspecting Villa My Way which overlooks Flamands

Peg and I inspecting Villa My Way which overlooks Flamands

This gorgeous five bedroom home in Colombier was named for Frank Sinatra’s theme song and the bedrooms, décor and amenities (a grand piano, projector and giant screen and a fabulous sound system) give a nod to his fellow mid-century songsters.

Let the season begin!

November in St. Barth – Trip Report by Connie Walsh

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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

Connie Walsh’s Trip Report November 2013

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

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

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

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

Villa Nirvana

Villa Nirvana

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

Christopher pool

Christopher pool

The gang at the Christopher

The gang at the Christopher

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

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

Le Carre Lounge

Le Carre Lounge

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

The Mahi-Mahi at Le Toiny's Le Gaïac

The Mahi-Mahi at Le Toiny’s Le Gaïac

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

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

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

Black Ginger

Black Ginger restaurant

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

Julia’s Trip Report for SBH June 2013

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Bonjour!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of me with Magda

Photo of me with Magda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

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

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

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Valentina gardens

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

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague bar

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

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

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

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

St. Barth is a lot about the food

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

My husband Steve and I played tourist when my son and SBP VP Tom Smyth brought his family down here for Presidents Week. He did his best to be in vacation mode and I tried to take some time off from work to spend time with them. My grandsons Tommy Jr. and Tyler as well as my daughter-in-law Amy and Amy’s parents, Bob and Barbara were here too. It was Bob and Barbara’s first time to St. Barth and I loved watching them discover just what makes this island so special.

Sunday lunch at Nikki Beach: Ok, so what is the hype all about? I saw it firsthand. If you want to party all afternoon, this is the place to go. Be ready to spend big euros – they recommended that my daughter-in-law select a 345 euro magnum of Rosé when she asked about the wine. She kindly declined and ordered a much less expensive bottle. If you do order the expensive stuff, they make a big deal out of it and come running out with sparklers on the bottle when they deliver it to your table. We enjoyed our wine, took our time and shared appetizers before ordering our main courses. I love people-watching so it was entertaining to see diners get up and dance and then later end up dancing on the tables while the DJ’s decibels steadily increased.

Sunday Lunch at Nikki Beach

Sunday Lunch at Nikki Beach

By contrast, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France’s beachfront restaurant, La Case de L’Isle on another day. The setting is gorgeous; it has a view of Flamands Beach. My crispy chicken salad with fresh ginger, cashew nuts and poached eggs breaded with coconut was delicious. My grandson Tommy Jr. especially enjoyed the shrimp & marinated chicken wok (not to mention the gorgeous young woman who constantly walked by our table modeling some very sexy swimwear). Actually all the guys at our table were quite enthralled with the fashion show. (The restaurant has one every lunchtime and features another one on Tuesday evenings.)

Dinner at the Santa Fe was, as always, a fabulous experience. Almost everyone ordered the Langouste (aka Caribbean Lobster) Thermidore while I had their famous Dover Sole. Andy’s Hideaway is always a must for a fun casual dinner with pizza and their signature Pierrade when we all cook our combo platter with duck, chicken and beef on the hot stone in front of us and then we dip the cooked results in one of 4 yummy sauces (Think fondue [but without the oil] that we “more mature” folks used to have at dinner parties).

Dinner at the Santa Fe

Dinner at the Santa Fe

One evening, our St. Barth Properties Concierges arranged for us to have private a chef, Manu. He cooked and his assistant served us at Villa Au Soleil where Tom and his family were staying. Appetizers were served while we looked out over the pool to the view of the twinkling lights of St. Jean. We then moved to the dining area for our meal. This particular evening was a real highlight of the week. We spent a leisurely evening wining and dining and having great conversation. Manu topped it off with an incredible Soufflé Grand Marnière with ice cream vanille.

Several years ago, Tom, Tommy Jr. and Tyler took a Scuba diving course and were certified here in St. Barth; they dive whenever they are in St. Barth. So, on Wednesday, we had arranged for them to meet us for lunch at Le Select after their dive. A Cheeseburger in Paradise is a “must” when you are vacationing in St. Barth.

Le Select

Lunch at Le Select

Every vacation should include a night out at Le Ti St. Barth. Our St Barth Concierge Magda Votava reserved an excellent table for us and we had an up-close-and-personal view of their sexy fashion show followed by a very professionally done cabaret show. Steve and I go there often when we have guests; this particular night we saw a totally new show and it was really great.

Le Ti St. Barth on Tuesday night

Le Ti St. Barth on Tuesday night

Friday – their last day. Magda had booked a full day catamaran trip with Miguel, the St. Barth Sailor. Unfortunately I had some last minute and urgent work to do so I had to back out at the last minute and I was not able to go out with them as planned. However, Tom called me about 12:30 to check in with me and see if I could join them. I told him I would love to, so they arranged for a dinghy to come and get me in Gustavia at 2:00 pm and take me to meet them at their mooring by Colombier Beach. I held onto the sides of the dinghy for dear life as we sped to meet them. When I made the transfer from the dinghy to the catamaran, I was happy to see that I had made it just in time to join them for a late lunch. They had anchored off of Forchue Island earlier where they snorkeled and had been served hors d’oeuvres before heading to Colombier. Miguel served us a fantastic lunch that had been prepared by one of my most favorite chefs, Jean-Claude Dufour, the owner-chef of L’Esprit restaurant in Salines. (We all had dined at L’Esprit a few nights earlier and loved the alfresco experience.)

Lunch by Colombier Beach aboard the St. Barth Sailor's catamaran

Lunch by Colombier Beach aboard the St. Barth Sailor’s catamaran

Of course beach time and boutique shopping filled out the rest of their week. If you get a chance to vacation in St. Barth with your family, it will create memories of a lifetime. Live Your Dream®.

SBH Trip Report November 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Bonjour Everyone,

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

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

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

Enjoy!

SBH Trip Report November 2012

By Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

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

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Villa Imagine

Villa Imagine

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

Villa A Grand Salon

Villa A Grand Salon

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

Villa Naturelle 3

Villa Naturelle 3

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

Villa Ti Acerola

Villa Ti Acerola

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

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

Parlez-vous Français? Would you like to learn or brush up on your French before you next visit to St. Barts?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I am back in St. Barths with some of my team. We are running around the island and have a full schedule of meetings as well as villa and hotel inspections. We are enjoying fabulous lunches and dinners and working on a big surprise for you.

Our first night at Andy's Hideaway  Left to right Peg Walsh, Connie Walsh, Julia Hurd, Kathy Schlitzer, Kim DiMascio, our great waiter Franck and Tom Smyth

Our first night at Andy's Hideaway Left to right Peg Walsh, Connie Walsh, Julia Hurd, Kathy Schlitzer, Kim DiMascio, our great waiter Franck and Tom Smyth

St. Barts is a French island, so I get to speak a little French while I am here. Don’t worry; you can come here on vacation without speaking French. People in the restaurants and shops as well as at the staff at my St. Barts office speak English. However, the islanders love it when visitors attempt to speak their language.

Have you always wanted to speak French or improve your vocabulary? Next month, you can join me at Dartmouth College where I am taking a French immersion course for the third time. It is called ALPS (Accelerated Language Programs) and it was created by John Rassias whose Rassias Method of teaching produces immediate results. The ALPS website states, “The goal of the Rassias Method is to make the participant feel comfortable and natural with the language in a short period of time. This is accomplished through a specific series of teaching procedures and dramatic techniques which seek to eliminate inhibitions and create an atmosphere of free expression from the very first day of class. Our method of language instruction places the participant at center stage and seeks to replicate the relevant, life-like situations encountered in the target language. The emphasis throughout is spoken language and familiarity with the culture of the country whose language is being studied. The classroom techniques involved are rapid-paced, theatrical, highly creative, imaginative, and necessitate great quantities of enthusiasm”.

The Rassias Center

This course is intense so you really need to be committed to spending 10 days (and evenings) learning everything you possibly can about the French language. The ALPS program offers immersion courses for everyone. Whether you are a rank beginner or a very advanced student, there is a course for you. Upon arrival, you will be assigned to a small group with other students who are on the same level as you are. You will take three Master classes each day followed by “drills” that support what you are learning. You will have lunch and dinner with your fellow group members and a staff member will join you. You are supposed to speak only French while you are being immersed, so it is quite a challenge.

You will hear lots of people speaking other languages while you are there because other groups will be learning Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and German during the session. The Rassias Method works because you have to think on your feet – no time to stop and translate anything in your head – this is true immersion.

The dates are July 6-15 2012 and I would love to see you there. You can apply on-line and opt to stay in the Dartmouth dorms or a nearby hotel. The Marriott Residence Inn in Lebanon has special rates for ALPS students. Let me know if you are going; it would be great to meet you and we can rave about St. Barts in French!

The Rassias Center
Dartmouth College
6071 Blunt Suite 315
Hanover, NH 03755-3526 USA
Phone: (603) 646-2922 Fax: (603) 646-2240
Email: rassias.center@dartmouth.edu
http://rassias.dartmouth.edu/alps1e

Where can you watch the Super Bowl in St Barts?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

If you read my last blog, you know that Steve and I went back to the New England winter for 3 days so that we could watch the AFC Championship football game. It was a real nail-biter and, for us, the outcome was just what the doctor ordered (except that Steve and I both picked up that nasty cold that is going around). The final score was the New England Patriots 23 – Baltimore Ravens 20. The score was only determined during the last few seconds of the game. In the other league, The New York Giants won the NFC Championship game. The final match between these two winners takes place at Super Bowl XLVI February 5, 2012.

Peg-with-son-Mark-at-Gillette-Stadium-before-the-Pats-vs-Ravens-game-Jan-22-2012

Peg with son Mark at Gillette Stadium before the Pats vs Ravens game Jan 22, 2012

Game-Over---Baby-It's-Cold-Outside

Game Over - Baby It's Cold Outside

Are you a Super Bowl fan? Are you going to Indianapolis to watch the Game? Are you having a Super Bowl party at home? Or are you one of the lucky ones who is vacationing here on St. Barts and enjoying the sunshine, beaches, restaurants and boutiques? You say “Yes, BUT I still want to be able to catch the Super Bowl game Sunday night.”

Have no fear Andy is here! Yes Andy is having his own tailgate party right here at the Hideaway Restaurant in St. Jean. His motto is, “Warm, Beer, Lousy Food and a View of the Car Park.” Of course that is tongue-in-cheek. The beer is ice cold; the food is great and, well, the car park view is kind of true but well-hidden so no one even notices. We all love Andy’s Hideaway. We dine there very often.

Tailgate Party at Andy's

If you are a guest of St. Barth Properties and are already on the island, call our on-island concierge Magda Votava at 0590 29 75 05 or email magda@stbarth.com. If you will be arrivng this week, call our US concierge Julia Hurd at + 1-508-570 4129 or email juliahurd@stbarth.com. They will be happy to let Andy know that you are attending.

Enjoy!!

PS. I just received word that the Village St Jean hotel is hosting a Super Bowl party too. The lounge has a wide screen TV and is featuring a prix fixe menu at 35 euros per person.

What Can Teenagers Do During Family Vacations in St Barth? (Part One)

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Day 1 and 2

I surprised my beautiful granddaughter Reegan with a trip to St. Barth as her present for her Sweet Sixteenth Birthday. I booked the trip for Reegan and her friend Andrea at midnight on Friday. They flew on JetBlue from Boston to San Juan and then on Tradewind Aviation from San Juan to St. Barth and arrived at 4:00 pm on Sunday. We picked them up and took them to our villa. Tired but very excited, they were fine with our plans for their first evening. They quickly unpacked, changed and we were off to see the sunset at Victoria’s Lounge at the hotel Carl Gustaf.

Arrival-Day-on-the-Tarmac

Arrival Day on the Tarmac

Then we headed over to Andy’s Hideaway which is the perfect place for weary travelers who wish to dine in a fun inexpensive atmosphere. The wait staff is excellent and ever so friendly and Andy always is a hoot! We love to order the Pierrade which is a hot stone on which you cook your food. They have a combo platter with beef, duck and chicken and they have a fish platter with shrimp, scallops and Tuna. All of this comes with salad and potato or fries and it is only 22 euros per person.

The Fish Pierrade at Andy's Hideaway

The Fish Pierrade at Andy's Hideaway

The next day, the girls were up early and ready to explore St. Barth. Reegan is very fair and burns like crazy, so we decided that we would go to the beach later in the day. I had an appointment at the office and I brought them with me so that they could plan their week with our St. Barth Concierge, Magda Votava. They chose some fun activities and Magda made the reservations for them. She also made all of our dinner and lunch reservations. In the meantime, my husband made sandwiches and packed the cooler for the beach.

Andrea-(L)-and-Reegan-(R)-meet-with-Magda-to-plan-their-activities

Andrea (L) and Reegan (R) meet with Magda to plan their activities

We arrived at St. Jean Beach around 2:15. Reegan and Andrea had signed up to take a windsurfing lesson with Jean Michel at Carib Water Play at 3:00. What fun! Jean Michel started them out on the beach so that they could get the hang of it; then it was time to actually get in the water and wind surf. They did quite well and enjoyed it. We stayed on the beach until about 5:30 and headed back to the villa to shower and get ready for dinner.

Windsurfing lesson at St. Jean Beach with Jean Michel

Windsurfing lesson at St. Jean Beach with Jean Michel

Time to try it in the water

Time to try it in the water

We chose to dine at the Santa Fé which is one of our favorite places. There was a full moon that evening and we enjoyed being able to dine on their delicious fare while looking at the twinkling lights emanating from St. Kitts, Statia and Saba in the distance.

Santa-Fe's-Wonderful-Croustillant

Santa Fe's Wonderful Croustillant de St. Jacques et ses Petites Legumes

Sole-Meunière

Sole Meunière at the Santa Fé

Beef-Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon at the Santa Fé

Only-Half-the-Calories-if-You-Share-Dessert

Only Half the Calories if You Share Dessert

More activities to follow in my next blog.