Posts Tagged ‘Coté Port’

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

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

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

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

November 02, 2017:

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

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

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

We deplaned in St. Maarten via a stairway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 03, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 04, 2017

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

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

Lorient Beach is looking good too.

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

It is always a pleasure to see Eddy.

November 5, 2017

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

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

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

The Hotel de la Collectivité (city hall) looks great

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

The Voyager ferry arrived on this quiet Sunday.

The fish market showed no sign of damage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carib Water Play is open for business.

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

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

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

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa has made its debut!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

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

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

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

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

One of the stunning rooms at Le Barthélemy

One of the stunning rooms at Le Barthélemy

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

The infinity pool overlooks the lagoon

The infinity pool overlooks the lagoon

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

The seaside restaurant

The seaside restaurant

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

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

Le Barthélemy is part of the Réserve Naturel

Le Barthélemy is part of the Réserve Naturel

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

Côté Port Restaurant

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

After traveling most of the day, I usually book a table at a casual restaurant where I thoroughly enjoy taking a deep breath and letting my senses soak in the wonderful atmosphere that being back in St Barth exudes. The feeling is a head-to-toe sensation that at that special moment all is well with the world. This also works at your villa. Sit in a chaise lounge on the terrace while sipping an after dinner drink and gaze out at the stars (with no pollution in the environment) – priceless.

So, for our first evening Julie and I tried Hervé Chovet’s new restaurant Côté Port. Located on the harbor in what was once the space occupied by the very popular La Saladerie (followed by a renovated space briefly occupied by La Cuisine), Hervé opened this seaside bistro in mid July 2010.

Côté Port - Aug 2010

Côté Port - Aug 2010

Hervé’s success goes back to the days when the St Barth Beach Hotel was open and he ran the fabulous beachfront restaurant Le Rivage which was renowned for its huge salads and varied menu. Unfortunately the hotel was sold and torn down as was Le Rivage. Undaunted, Hervé moved on and opened O’Corner which was a huge success. He sold that restaurant and it is now an Italian restaurant called L’Isola. Hervé also ran the fabulous K’fé Massai until Mick Proust took over at the helm and he was also at Le Tamarin.

Herve Chovet - Côté Port

Hervé Chovet - Côté Port

Yes, the salads are just as big (and as good) as those at Le Rivage. The Rocket Salad (16 euros) with shaved parmesan, green apple and walnut oil vinaigrette is wonderful as is the Gazpacho Andalou (12 euros). The Fricassée de Gambas (shrimp) with curry sauce, crunchy vegetables and white rice (25 euros) is fabulous and the Gambas and Lobster Tagliatelles “Rivage Style” is outstanding. My iPhone camera was not cooperating that night, so next time I dine at Côté Port I will try to take some photos of the dishes that are served there. (If any of you have taken photos, would you like to share them with us?)

Côté Port Menu

Côté Port Menu

Another Quick Trip to St. Barth

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Yes, I was just in St. Barth and came back to Cape Cod July 15 but I need to go back tomorrow with Julie Nally who is one of our fabulous St. Barth Specialists so that we can meet with a very well known Event Planner from New York City whose client wants to get married in St. Barth. We will be showing the planner and the bride some beautiful venues where she can hold her April 2011 wedding and reception. Did you know that we do events too?

We have lots of other stuff to do such as looking at some potential villas to add to our portfolio and we need to inspect a refurbishment at another villa.

Villa Bleu Turquoise was just finished (they are still waiting for the beds to arrive from France). It is right above Villa Bleu Outremer giving us a nice 7 bedroom option right above Gouverneur Beach!

Bleu Turquoise

Villa Bleu Turquoise

Gouverneur Beach

Gouverneur Beach

We are in the midst of creating our next Live Your Dream® catalogue and I need to scrutinize the progress with our on-island team. The format for 2011 is a bit different. I think you’ll love it.

We’ll lunch at the Sand Bar at Eden Rock which is always a treat. I can’t wait to try the new restaurant Coté Port.

We’ll report back. Stay tuned…