Posts Tagged ‘Le Gaïac’

An evening at Hotel Le Toiny

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

A day at Hôtel Le Toiny – St. Barth

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Lucky you! You’ve just checked into one of the oh-so-secluded one bedroom villa suites at the gorgeous 5 star Hotel Le Toiny. These free-standing romantic little cottages offer a chic and comfortable separate living area, a compact kitchenette and a luxurious en suite bedroom graced with a draped 4 poster bed. Just outside your door? A lovely terrace with your own private pool and breathtaking ocean views. Close your gate and put up the red mailbox flag so all will know to “Do Not Disturb.” Le Toiny is all about the privacy.

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Bonjour! It’s Sunday morning. Your terrace is the perfect place to start your day with a breakfast of fresh fruit and French pastries that will provide sustenance for you to explore the Pointe of Toiny via a two-mile walking path. Your sound track will be the Caribbean surf. If you finish up early you may have time for a yoga lesson on the beach and even a swim in your private pool. Au naturel

Brunch time! The hotel’s restaurant Le Gaïac is famous for its Sunday Brunch so block off at least two hours and enjoy the food – and the view. It’s an experience. The buffet is beautiful and bountiful. Eggs are cooked to order and a chef mans the grill. May we suggest a bottle of Rosé? Esprit de Sainte-Marguerite Château Sainte-Marguerite (2010).

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Relax a bit before visiting Toiny’s Serenity Spa Cottage for one of their special treatments. We recommend booking the St. Barth Chill – the island’s version of a hot stone massage. Think sea shells and Ligne St Barth exotic oils. Gentlemen might also enjoy an old-school shave on the Cottage’s porch.

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Not that you ever have to leave the hotel on your perfect Sunday but you might be tempted to shop a bit at the boutiques in St. Jean and continue on to Gustavia to enjoy a sunset cocktail at Shell Beach’s Dð Brazil.

End your day with a very private dinner pour deux on your terrace (or elsewhere on the hotel’s property). Chef Stéphane Mazières is the only chef in the Caribbean to have been awarded “GRAND CHEF RELAIS & CHATEAUX.” He will be pleased to meet with you and to create your personal menu and advise you on the wine.

Time to put up that red flag.

Bonne nuit

Visit http://www.stbarth.com/hotels/LeToiny/home.htm for more information and for reservations please contact letoiny@stbarth.com.

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.

St Barts Trip Report June 2012 by Kathy Schlitzer

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Many of us have just returned from another great trip to St. Barts where we did our homework for you by inspecting and re-inspecting our villas and hotels in order to ensure that you Live Your Dream® on beautiful St. Barth while you vacation there. Kathy Schlitzer, one of our very experienced Villa and Hotel Specialists, shares her trip report in this guest blog.

Merci beaucoup, Kathy

End of High Season Lunch with the St. Barth Properties US Team and Celebration of Tom Smyth's 20 Years wiith SBP

End of High Season Lunch with the St. Barth Properties US Team and Celebration of Tom Smyth's 20 Years with SBP

St Barts Trip Report June 2012

By Kathy Schlitzer

It’s a good travel day when all your connections are on time and everything goes smoothly. Such was the case for my recent working trip to St Barth.

I arrived in St Barth on Tradewind Aviation from San Juan. You’d think after all these years it would be old hat but I’m always excited to be landing on this beautiful island. The weather was glorious and seeing all the familiar faces at the airport is like coming home. Odile at Gumbs Car Rental and our St Barth Properties booth had my car ready and I was off to my first accommodation, the Hotel Taïwana on Flamands Beach.

The Taïwana is under new management and I was anxious to experience the hotel, the rooms, beach, common areas, and get to know the staff. Felipe, the manager, took me on a tour of the rooms and explained the changes planned during the September and October hotel closing. He was excited about new furniture, painting, renovation of the remaining bathrooms, and pointed out the already completed improvements to the gardens.

Carl, the beach manager, had my beach chair saved and ready for me each morning. Jeremy at the bar was a delight. I was his tester for several newly created cocktails; he is an artist behind the bar! All in all I had a wonderful experience and highly recommend the Hotel Taïwana for our hotel clients wanting to be on Flamands Beach. With the addition of the Hotel Taïwana we now have two great luxury hotels on Flamands Beach, and congrats to the Hotel St Barth Isle de France for recently receiving 5 star status.

After three too short vacation days I was ready to commence my villa visit schedule and move to Villa Privée with my colleague Julia Hurd, our St. Barth Properties US office’s Concierge. I started my visits with a bang at Villa Vitti, a 5 bedroom Grand Cru villa located above Shell Beach. Vitti is a fabulous house in a great location. The villa is perfect for couples and families and has the unique ability to host large events and parties as well. The chef’s kitchen has table service for 100, and on the lower level there is a ballroom set up with professional disc jockey equipment and even a disco glitter ball! The morning after party guests needing peace and quiet can escape to the peaceful Zen garden off the living area.

I wish I could give you a rundown of all the villas I saw but there were far too many to list in one trip report. I typically concentrate on houses that are new to us, newly renovated or added to, and houses I haven’t seen recently. Villa Seascape for instance is a fabulous new 6 bedroom modern and comfortable villa in Pointe Milou. The views in that area are breathtaking. The bedrooms are large and each one has an ocean view. The pool is infinity and heated, and for the active there is a staircase down the cliff to a small beach – but be prepared to climb back up after your swim! If you prefer to get your exercise the conventional way, Seascape has an air-conditioned very well-equipped fitness room.

Villa Privée was our home for 3 nights and we enjoyed the sunset view and the proximity to the Hotel Christopher for cocktails and dinner. It’s a very comfortable and charming villa for two couples or a family with older children.

Last fall I toured Villas Naturelle 1 and Naturelle 2 hillside in Gouverneur but they weren’t completed at the time so I was anxious to go back to see the finished product. These two – 4 bedroom villas beside one another are perfect for a large group wanting 8 bedrooms, or individually for a family or couples looking for 1 to 4 bedrooms. The villas are large and luxurious with all the extra amenities; several of the bedrooms have private pools and large private deck space.

Villa Colombe in Colombier is a nice addition to our inventory. Moderately priced for those wanting a 1 to 3 bedroom house, the villa has amazing views of Gustavia and the surrounding islands, a large pool, and all the comforts indoors and out.

Also newly added are Clair de Lune and Reflet de Lune in Colombier. These two villas are near each other and can be rented separately with two bedrooms each or together for a family or couples needing 4 bedrooms. Both offer spectacular sunset views.

From Villa Privée Julia and I moved to Crystal Dream on St. Jean Beach for three nights. Crystal Dream is a very popular villa and for good reason. The villa has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, its own private swimming pool and is near Hotel Tom Beach with its famous La Plage restaurant and Pink Parrot bar. Villa Crystal Dream is known for having direct access to a great beach while still maintaining privacy. -Perfect.

My trip report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wonderful meals we shared during our stay. One of my all time favorite restaurants is Le Gaïac at Hotel Le Toiny, chef Stephane Mazieres is a culinary artist. The beet ravioli starter and the chocolate mint ice cream dessert were not only beautiful but delicious.

Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese starter at Le Toiny's Gaïaic Restaurant

Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese starter at Le Toiny's Gaïaic Restaurant

Le Toiny Gaïac Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Dessert

Le Toiny Gaïac Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Dessert

I could go on and on about the meals we ate, every one of them a treat, but you need to experience the cuisine in St. Barth yourself to fully appreciate the talent of these fine chefs.

It was another successful trip to my favorite island and I was, as always, sad to leave. I look forward to going back in November. Until next time! … À la prochaine!

Kathy
kathy@stbarth.com