Posts Tagged ‘Lorient Beach’

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.

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

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Finishing off with the staff trips to St. Barth during the spring and summer of 2015, I am pleased to share Anne-Cécile Bedford’s trip report. Anne has been a St. Barth Specialist with St. Barth Properties for 16 years. Anne is a native of France who came to the US to improve her English by taking a job as an au pair, and then decided to settle here. We feel blessed to have her as a part of the team; she adds that delightful “French flavor” to the mix.

Enjoy,

Peg

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

The island of St Barth is a wonderful place to visit in the summer, to escape the crowded beaches in the US and find a warm dry tropical climate and gentle breezes. You can let yourself be seduced by a hotel stay or decide to stay in a private villa and take advantage of the low season rates. If you already have summer plans, do not worry; We extend those attractive rates until December 15.

After sending my children off to France, Brittany, where they enjoy reconnecting with family and the French way of life, I packed my stuff to travel to that special French destination that I like to call “Home”; the island of St Barth where many of you have traveled before and will return again. Yes, everybody falls in love in St Barth and you will find yourself hooked on it too!

So, I set myself up at the glamorous Taïwana hotel located on the beautiful white sandy beach of Flamands where couples can find privacy in a beachfront suite with Jacuzzi, while families may opt for the Pearl Suite composed of 3 bedrooms with private pool or the 4 bedroom penthouse located on top of the hotel. Regardless of where you are staying, you will be welcomed by a wonderful staff for an ultimate St Barth experience! From the fantastic food at their sea side restaurant to the sexy pool and romantic beach, it will be the vacation of your life. Bring your lover, family, children; everybody is welcomed at the 5 Star Taïwana hotel and don’t forget to check their fashionable clothing boutique “Poupette”.

Villa Pearl, 3 bedroom suite with private pool

Pearl, 3 bedroom suite with private pool at the Taïwana hotel

If you feel adventurous and want to discover some of the hidden beaches in St Barth, I recommend walking from Taïwana to the end of the road at “Petite Anse” through the local neighborhood of Flamands and hike along the coastline where you will witness memorable panoramic views until you reach the gorgeous beach of Colombier. Bring a bottle of water, your picnic, snorkeling gear and enjoy the beauty of the deep blue ocean. You will come across some friendly tropical fish and other types of sea creatures. If you are up to a good workout, hike back up to Colombier (It is a 25 minute steep hike) and take a pause to admire the panoramic view from the observatory…then walk back down! Hydrate and good luck!

View of Colombier Beach from the top

View of Colombier Beach from the top

After two nights at hotel Taïwana, I moved next door to the new Cheval Blanc Hotel (ex “Isle de France”) where I stayed for one night in a beach room overlooking the pool and the ocean. What a treat! Their beach rooms are so spacious, comfortable and beautiful. It was a short stay but I was happy to reconnect with the staff at the hotel and appreciate the new special amenities offered in the room – 43 amenities total – from stationery paper to beauty products and flip flops.

Cheval Blanc Hotel

Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France Hotel

My numerous villa visits included some exciting new properties: villa Infinity in Gustavia, Villa Orion, Why Not, Sagittaire in St Jean, villas Joy and Jade in Marigot, villa Chiavari in Lurin, villa Brume de Mer in Flamands.

I also revisited some properties I had not seen in a while such as villa Camaruche where I enjoyed sipping cocktails with the owner and his family while the sun set.

Villa Camaruche at sunset!

Villa Camaruche at sunset!

Villa Inspection “Anastasia”, Gouverneur

Villa Inspection “Anastasia”, Gouverneur

While I was driving through Lorient I stopped at the old “Autour du Rocher” or what is left of it after it burned to the ground in 1991. It used to be the place to gather and party all night long and it became famous with Jimmy Buffet’s lyrics; “Some say it was a planet, some say it was a rock”. Well, the news today is that a 5 star hotel composed of 30 rooms or 24 bungalows was granted permission to be built on that rock in Lorient. Will the old ghost of “Autour du Rocher” let that happen or haunt the place forever ??? Stay tuned…

View of Lorient beach from “Autour du Rocher”

View of Lorient beach from “Autour du Rocher”

“Autour du Rocher” ruins

“Autour du Rocher” ruins

I also took the time to stop by the Art Gallery located off the hill on the way to Camaruche called “Modernisme St. Barth” which has been open since 2004 and displays paintings of Miro, Picasso, Cocteau, Matisse, Art deco furniture, Chinese archeological tribal art, ethnic precious jewelry from tribes in Thailand and an amazing collection of opium pipes. Check it out! It is interesting to find those treasures on St Barth.

I moved a third time after my hotel stays into a villa this time, located on the highest point of Vitet, where you feel like you are sitting on top of the world ! Yes, the view from villa Royal Palm will take your breath away. I loved my morning breakfast by the pretty pool and enjoyed cooling off in that pool after a day of visits and a run through the hills of Vitet. The sunsets at night were incredible and so peaceful. The property is very nicely furnished with air conditioning throughout and features 2 bedrooms, a comfortable indoor and outdoor living and dining space and a gas barbeque to dine “al fresco” while enjoying the stunning view. Villa Royal Palm is a special place to share with someone special!

Villa Royal Palm in Vitet

Villa Royal Palm in Vitet

Of course my trip to St. Barth would not be complete without an amazing culinary experience!!

The Tamarin restaurant has reopened its doors and it is better than it ever was! When entering the restaurant, you will be greeted by two very colorful caged parrots near the tall, majestic Tamarind tree. You will walk your way through an enchanted tropical garden made of Lily ponds and small palm trees before choosing a table in the main part of the restaurant or tucked away in a more private setting. If you are bringing children they will get entertained by the foos table and ping pong table located in the garden.

Tamarin, Saline

Tamarind tree

Tamarin, Saline

Tamarin, Saline

I recommend for lunch the delicious Thai Salad with prawns and ginger dressing followed by a “Café Gourmand” before being tempted by the complimentary house Rhum. Did you know that the Tamarind tree produces a yummy fruit hidden in a shell? Try their house cocktail called Tamarin and get a taste of the actual fruit. It is Tasty! For the ladies, don’t forget to check the clothing and jewelry boutique “Gipsea”! You will find unique handmade pieces influenced by the African culture from Kenya. Check that skirt I bought there!

Thai Salad with prawns and ginger dressing

Thai Salad with prawns and ginger dressing

Dessert at Tamarin

Dessert at Tamarin

The streets of Gustavia were quite lively at night and jamming to the beat of the “St Barth Jam Music Festival” celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Five days of free concert s on the harbor brought many local families and tourists to this wonderful event. They played different types of music; creole, reggae, zook and salsa. I got to see “Steel Pulse”, a reggae band from the UK that was famous in France in the 90‘s. The majority of the island was right next to me enjoying this fun atmosphere.

“Steel Pulse” on stage

“Steel Pulse” on stage

Voilà….I am now back in the office and I can’t wait to speak to you and help you arrange your next trip to beautiful St Barth. Call me at 1-508-440-9884 or email me at anne@stbarth.com

A bientôt…..

Anne-Cécile Bedford

What’s new in the St. Barth restaurant scene?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Pipiri Palace and Océan

As you know part of my duties while I am living in St. Barth for the better part of the year, is to dine out all the time so that I can report back to you and keep you up to date on the latest. Of course you may just consider it to be one of the perks I enjoy but after all, someone has to do it, right?

Steve and I decided to dine at one of our favorite spots in Gustavia, the Pipiri Palace. Some of you remember that Pierrot the owner died unexpectedly a few years ago and his lovely wife Régine took the helm.

Pipiri Palace chefs are hard at work

Pipiri Palace chefs are hard at work

We had reserved our favorite table and ordered our apéritifs. The smiling bartender came over with the drinks and introduced himself as the new owner Rod Ravelson. It was a pleasure to meet him; he is very personable and told us that he has local ties as he is married to a woman from St. Barth who is a nurse at the hospital. We wished him good luck in his new venture. Never fear, the same talented chefs are still cooking; the wonderful menu is the same and there’s always a mouthwatering “special” on the blackboard. Steve loves the Ray that they prepare. He scrapes the fish right off of the wing – delicious. Pipiri is famous for its ribs as well as their langoustes. Choose yours from the tank that is next to the bar.

The new owner of Pipiri Palace Rod Ravelson

The new owner of Pipiri Palace Rod Ravelson

Océan: We had dinner again at this new restaurant, also located in Gustavia. Years ago it was called Le Sapotillier. Most recently it was B4. The setting is in an original St. Barth “case” with a lovely ambience. The restaurant is owned by Benoit, Florence and Cécile. Their theme is fresh local fish. They serve an 18 euro buffet lunch for people on the go and a leisurely gourmet dinner at night.

Océan Bartender and Sommelier Emmanuel with Chef Benoit

Océan Bartender and Sommelier Emmanuel with Chef Benoit

Vanessa prepares my Sole Meunière at Océan Restaurant

Vanessa prepares my Sole Meunière at Océan Restaurant

I can attest to the freshness because last week, Steve and I just happened to be spending a Sunday afternoon on Lorient Beach. At the end of the day, we saw a local fishing boat approach its mooring. We were fascinated to see how efficiently the two fishermen cleaned up their boat and went about the business at hand. First, they put away their lines and then unloaded their gear into a little dinghy and rowed to shore. When that chore was finished, they went back out to the boat to unload their catch. Fish after fish after fish were put into the dinghy. Again they rowed to shore and proceeded to take one fish at a time out of it, loaded each one into the cooler in their truck and began their delivery. First stop: Océan. I doubt you can get fresh fish like that at home. Another good excuse to come back to St. Barth. Bon Appétit.

The fishermen arrived on Lorient Beach with this Dorade, part of  today's catch which was that evening's Mahi Mahi special.

The fishermen arrived on Lorient Beach with this Dorade, part of today’s catch which was that evening’s Mahi Mahi special.

Perhaps you prefer Wahoo tonight - It can't get any fresher than that

Perhaps you prefer Wahoo tonight – It can’t get any fresher than that

What do some St. Barth residents do on Easter Weekend that they cannot do the rest of the year?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Easter weekend in St. Barth is unique. Some businesses (like the banks) choose to really stretch it out by closing on Thursday afternoon and reopening on Tuesday morning. Lucky them and lucky me because I just made it to the bank at 4:15 on Thursday, right before their 4:30 closing. Other businesses stayed open until noon on Friday and some made it until Saturday at noon. My SBH office was open and only closed for Easter Monday and Sunday, as usual. Of course our 24/7 “On-Call” phone was available to assist our clients in case of an emergency. Arriving clients had taken care of the fact that the grocery stores were closed (except Oasis which is open 365 days a year) by filling out our pre-arrival shopping list so that their villa’s fridge was already stocked when they arrived.

Did you guess the answer to my question as to what people are allowed to do only on Easter weekend?

St Jean Beach on Easter Weekend

St Jean Beach on Easter Weekend

Go Camping! I kid you not; the island allows people to set up camps on the beaches just one time per year and Easter is it. You ask yourself, “Go camping when the island’s size is only 8 square miles?” Think about it…You live on this paradise all year round and the idea of doing something different and fun is just what you need. You can set up camp with a BBQ and air mattresses and jump in the water for a swim at anytime. You can run home to use the facilities, take a shower and bring back more food, water and beer at the drop of a hat.

Camping on Shell Beach

Camping on Shell Beach

More camps on Shell Beach

More camps on Shell Beach

The weather was gorgeous and the island was hopping because it was school vacation for many and Value Season prices had just kicked in. If you want to come on down we have lots of villas at very reasonable prices. Many offer Special Packages. We have some wonderful hotel packages, too. For more information, contact reservations@stbarth.com

Camping on Lorient Beach

Camping on Lorient Beach

What’s new? FYI: La Route des Boucaniers has been sold and is throwing a party on Sunday May 01, 2011 before closing its doors for good later that evening. New owners Xavier and Rimma Pignet (part owners of D0 Brazil) will begin renovating the place before reopening. Stay tuned as to what it will become. Thanks to the Delage Family for their many years of devotion and success as great restaurateurs. Bonne Chance to you in your future endeavors.