Posts Tagged ‘Le Sereno Hotel’

Just back from St. Barth June 2017

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

A whirlwind trip full of new St Barth information that I gathered for our next Live Your Dream catalogue.

THE PRIVATE CHEFS OF ST. BARTH

My week in St. Barth was full of appointments and new experiences, even for a veteran like me who has been going there for 31 years. Connie Walsh who works with me (no, we are not related) and I had a mission: Obtain as much new and interesting material as possible for our next Live Your Dream catalogue. Although it will be unveiled at our Beachside Bash on December 02, 2017, we needed lots of lead time in order to meet the deadlines for publication.

We began by acting like a client to see what it is like to stay at the new 5 star Villa Marie Saint Barth. Tucked away on the Colombier hillside where the former François Plantation hotel used to be, we were charmed by our suites. Like all of the suites, Connie’s Family Suite and my Prestige Bungalow were decorated differently, which is a nice touch. My suite had a king bedroom, spacious living room with sliders leading out to a big deck furnished for outdoor living and sunning. Connie’s was similar but had a small child’s room with bunk beds and small 2nd bath. The view over Flamands was stunning. The en suite baths had both a shower and a clawfoot bathtub. We enjoyed our first night’s dinner in their gourmet restaurant, aptly named François Plantation. It was pricey but delicious. Breakfast is served by the swimming pool and is included in the very reasonably priced rate at this Sibuet boutique hotel.

Villa Marie St Barth has a view over Flamands

Our next stay was at the 5 star Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa which sits directly on Grand Cul de Sac beach. Our Ocean Luxe Suites were on the 2nd story and gorgeous. The en suite bathroom has louvred doors over the sink, so I always had a sea view even when I was brushing my teeth! A comfortable sitting area is at the foot of the king bed and sliders open to the covered balcony where I could sit at a table for 2 or on a comfy chair. To me, the pièce de résistance is the amazing automatic screen that is invisible to the eye. Just click a button to open it to the breezes or leave it down. The colorful water view is the same. I was up early one morning as were the kite surfers playing with the wind over the lagoon. We enjoyed dinner at their Aux Amis beachfront gourmet restaurant. During the day, it is more casual and this is where we had breakfast (included) and lunch. Another day we decide to have lunch at the Le Turquoise bar and restaurant near the pool.

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Sp sits directly on Grand Cul de Sac beach

Don’t get the idea that we just lounged around all day. Unlike you who are on vacation to relax, we had plenty of work to accomplish on this trip. We interviewed the private chefs with whom we collaborate and book for you when you want to just chillout at your villa. For starters, we interviewed Pascal Preynat of PASCAL COOK. His favorite cuisine is Provençale. We learned that he makes his own Foie Gras. We loved it! If you are lucky enough to spend the holidays in St. Barth with us, you will receive this as a gift from St. Barth Properties.

We interviewed Pascal Cook in the conference room at our new waterfront St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office.

Homemade Foie Gras by Pascal Cook

Then there was Philippe Masseglia, the former Executive Chef of 22 years at Le Guanahani who created his new services as a private chef under the name, Food Square. From tataki to tangine to pasta puttanesca, Philippe has clients’ cravings covered. Italian food is one of his passions, but he recognizes that many people today prefer to eat lighter, healthier fare. Clients love him so much they often ask him to go with them when they travel elsewhere. He happily obliges.

We interviewed FOOD SQUARE owner Philippe Massegilia at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa on a French holiday when nobody else would work. Philippe was happy to work that day. Merci beaucoup, Philippe.

Another chef with whom we often work is CHEF XO. Christophe Moreau loves interacting with the clients, he answers questions and lets them get involved if they wish – chopping vegetables and stirring bowls and pots. Christophe is often the chef that we use for Our Drive Dine & Relax package. Our clients always rave about the meal that he prepared for their complimentary candlelight dinner.

CHEF XO, Christophe Moreau, loves cooking for you in your villa.

On our last evening, LOLO’S PRIVATE CATERING wanted to cook for us! By this time, Connie and I had moved to Villa Sur Le Port in Gustavia. The owner had kindly offered us two complimentary nights, so that we could experience a stay there. If you do not mind a short but steep walk down a hill, it’s a perfect villa for Gustavia lovers. It even comes with a parking space! Lolo (Laurence Philippot) walked in at about 5:30 with loads of food and equipment for the job at hand. We sat at the bar and watched her do her magic while we interviewed her. She told us that the Lacanche stove at the villas was “The Rolls Royce” of ranges and she thoroughly loved using it. As we have new staff at our St. Barth offices, they needed to sample her cooking, too. Her culinary repertoire encompasses Indian and Asian cuisine and some of her special dishes offer creative innovative fusion. We have vegan clients who book her year after year, as well.

Lolo’s Private Catering cooked for us at Villa Sur Le Port on our last night.

Speaking of having new staff at our rental and sales offices, I was very happy to meet Laura Commaret on her very first day with our St. Barth Properties – St. Barth villa rental office. Laura and Anne Laure Amy are sharing the front desk and reservation duties now that Magda has left and Aurélie Janvier has assumed the Concierge position. Aurélie has lots of innovative ideas to enhance your St. Barth experience with us. Laura comes to us from Le Sereno hotel where she handled reservations at both their St. Barth and Lake Como hotels and interacted with the hotel guests. By the end of the week, she had fully adapted to her position and told me that she loves her new job! Welcome Laura.

Here I am with our newest St. Barth Properties – St. Barth rental offce staff member Laura Commaret

I do have lots of other news but will save it for future blogs, so that you are not on overload.

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!

St. Barts Hotel News and more St. Barth info

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

I left St. Barts 3 weeks ago so that I could host Thanksgiving at home. (My 22 pound fresh turkey that I carefully prepared and stuffed was outstanding, if I do say so myself.) December brought me back to paradise as it was time to leave chilly Cape Cod, Massachusetts in favor of warm and sunny St. Barts where I will be based until late spring 2012. I will fill you in on all of the latest happenings.

I enjoy a close relationship with many of the hotels on St. Barts because, in addition to offering our guests a villa vacation, we have other people who prefer to stay in a hotel. I have been working with these St. Barth hotels for 23 years which means that I witnessed many changes in both management and transformations and over the years, I have seen a few hotels come and go. I follow our hotel partners with great interest as they make various renovations and wonderful additions to their properties.

Last Thursday, I was invited to the hotel Christopher’s weekly cocktail party. It was held poolside and the evening was perfect. Strategic lighting highlighted the waves as they lapped along the shore.

Pierre-Alexandre Maillard had issued the invitation which included an after-the-cocktail-party delicious dinner with him at the hotel’s well-renowned Taïno restaurant. Pierre-Alexandre was the former GM at St Barth’s hotel Carl Gustaf. He left to the property so that he could manage a gorgeous hotel on a private island in the Seychelles. Happily, St. Bart’s uniqueness lured him back and I am pleased to announce that Pierre-Alexandre will be the new GM at the Christopher as of January 15, 2012!

Peg with Sandrine and Christian Langlade and Pierre Alexandre Maillard December 2011

Peg with Sandrine and Christian Langlade and Pierre Alexandre Maillard December 2011

The Christopher has undergone an amazing renovation with gorgeous new suites, a new spa and a new fitness room. All of this was overseen by the present GM Christian Langlade who came to St. Barts from Sandy Lane in Barbados 2 years ago. His wife Sandrine was in charge of the marketing and excelled at it. Luckily the Langlades will not be leaving St. Barth. Christian has accepted the General Manager position at the wonderful Le Sereno Hotel on Grand Cul de Sac Beach. Sandrine has also accepted a position at Le Sereno. I stayed there last month and enjoyed it immensely. It is quite chic, the staff is so friendly and the setting is dreamy. For our villa lovers, Le Sereno has three luxurious four bedroom villas on the property.

Congratulations and I wish them all much success!

Other hotel news:

La Banane is closing December 15, 2011 and will no longer be a hotel. I will keep you posted on any transformation that may occur.

The very reasonably priced Tropical Hotel is conveniently located just up the hill from St. Jean Beach and is quite charming. The hotel is now managed by family member Aurélia Vial.

SBH news:

The new pier on the other side of the harbor is almost finished and they are dredging the harbor (even on Sunday when I took this photo) to prepare for the onslaught of the mega-yachts that are arriving daily in order to get their much-sought-after-berth and prepare for the always amazing St Bart New Year’s Eve celebration. Many stay for the season.

Dredging Gustavia  Harbor by the new Quai Dec 11, 2011

Dredging Gustavia Harbor by the new Quai Dec 11, 2011

While I was on my morning walk, I saw the new Voyager Dreamliner ferry coming into the harbor. It looks so luxurious. I will take a tour one of these days and fill you in. Traveling by ferry could become the preferred and most affordable mode of inter-island transportation. I hear rumors that this new ferry hopes to be able to leave from the Dutch side of St. Maarten turning the transfer into only a 30 minute trip! If that happens I will buy a roundtrip ticket and test the waters for you, so to speak.

The new Voyager Dreamliner ferry December 2011

The new Voyager Dreamliner ferry December 2011