Posts Tagged ‘Marché U’

St. Barth Post-Irma Guest Blog from a 15-year St. Barth Visitor’s Perspective

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

What a Difference Five Months Makes

Bonjour!

Many of our clients love St. Barth so much that they vacation on this tiny piece of paradise more than once a year. Today’s Guest Blog is written by Amy M. from Summit, New Jersey.

Enjoy!

Sunny regards,

Peg

My love affair with St. Barth began almost 15 years ago with a special group of friends. The idea was a girls’ trip—no husbands, no children, just friendship in paradise. Every April for 10 years my friends and I returned to “our” island. We rented villas, enjoyed long sandy lunches, explored beaches, hiked, shopped, relaxed and laughed (a lot) until life and schedules got in the way. After 2 years away, I realized how much I missed St. Barth and decided it was finally time to introduce my husband to my “other” love. Just days into our first trip he was sold—he too loved the island’s winding roads, beaches, food, wine and of course, the warmth of its people.

After a few trips together, we decided to bring our daughters for a Thanksgiving holiday. They immediately loved the island and asked on that first Thanksgiving if we were returning for the next one. Yes, of course, we all agreed, this would be our new tradition. The next Thanksgiving was last November, not long after Irma, and we were determined to keep our plans. Several plane changes and 1 villa later (thank you SBP!) we were fortunate to return. It was a very special trip, one I will always remember with a few tears—not only for what the island had endured, but also for its strength and warm embrace. While St Barth had obviously suffered greatly, it was fighting back in full force and we were touched by its courage and spirit. We didn’t mind the scarcity of WIFI or no landline, we allowed extra time to drive the darkened roads at night and didn’t mind less choices for eating out. We spent a peaceful week amidst the quiet beauty of the island slowly greening, growing and rebuilding. It seemed especially fitting to end that trip with Thanksgiving dinner in the newly planted garden at Tamarin, beside the beautiful tree, celebrating and giving thanks.

Shortly after returning home, we made plans for next Thanksgiving. Knowing I couldn’t wait that long, I had an idea. My husband’s birthday falls the last week of April, and truth be told, a few were missed over the years due to SBH trips. He never minded when the group calendar synched that way and always said “go, have fun with your friends” so I decided this was the year to finally celebrate his birthday, together, on St. Barth. I got in touch with Julie Nally, my trusted SBP villa agent, and she arranged our week at Villa Birdy in Pt. Milou.

I couldn’t wait to see how far the island had come since November and it did not disappoint! Travel through SXM was much improved—the new temporary air-conditioned tents are comfortable and the entire process more organized. I flew down a couple of days early as schedules allowed, but even separately, both JetBlue JFK-SXM flights were on time, and both St. Barth Commuter flights actually departed early. Smooth and efficient, I landed and was greeted warmly as always by Odile at Gumbs.

On the drive to Pt. Milou I could see right away how much the island foliage had grown and how many palm trees had regrowth. There are still homes and roofs to repair, hotels to reopen, and work to be done, but the island felt much more like itself. I settled into the villa, perfect for the two of us, just above the Christopher hotel, and enjoyed the sunset.

The sunsets at Villa Birdy were glorious.

After a peaceful first morning at Gouverneur Beach, it was time to stock the villa. The Oasis market in Lorient hadn’t yet reopened in November but has since been nicely redone and is very convenient to the villa. Marché U was completely stocked, the freezer sections full and I found more than everything I needed. That night, I had the pleasure of meeting Julie for dinner (she happened to be on island for SBP business) at the wine bar Le Papillon Ivre in St Jean. Just up from Le Piment, it’s a sweet casual spot with wines by the glass, an extended menu of small plates and very friendly service. The food was delicious.

The next day, after a walk around Pt. Milou, I spent a few hours on Saline Beach before picking up my husband at the airport. We toasted his birthday at sunset and headed to dinner at François Plantation located at the Villa Marie hotel, a perfect choice for a special occasion. The room is stunning, the service top notch, and the food outstanding. In conjunction with the restaurant, SBP arranged a small birthday cake for dessert, candles and all. Delicious!

The birthday dessert at François Plantarion was fabulous.

Over the next few days we explored our favorite beaches. Gouverneur again was sparkling, a bit windy with perfect waves. The tree at the entrance is slowly growing back and there was ongoing dune restoration with great progress over several days. The path to Saline looked greener, and while the descent down was significantly steeper in November, it now seemed slightly less so. The lower hike to Colombier was as picturesque as ever and we finally found new access paths down to the beach after years of scaling the big rock. We noticed fewer rocks in the water and definitely less at the far end of the beach where many had accumulated post Irma. Several boats were docked, and, despite some wind, we found a nook and enjoyed a peaceful afternoon before hiking back and stopping at Shellona for drinks. It was fairly full at late afternoon and understand they have recently closed until June to expand their kitchen. Earlier that day we stopped in to see the recently opened beautiful Hotel Manapany in Anse de Cayes. A very pretty spot on the beach for lunch, drinks or dinner.

Colombier Beach

The main pool at the Manapany hotel is beachfront.

Loved the feet in the sand restaurant at the Manapany hotel.

That night we met Julie at the re-opened Bonito for sunset cocktails. Such a stunning room, very happy to report it is as beautiful as ever post Irma. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a perfect sunset over the harbor.

St. Barth Properties Villa and Hotel Specialist Julie Nally took this picture of us when we met her for drinks at Bonito.

Since we had a little time before dinner, we walked down to Baz Bar to see its re-do, always a special spot for drinks along the harbor. It looks very much the same, though miss the loungey feel of the original. We then walked up to L’Isoletta for delicious pizza, red wine and great service, perfect for a casual night. Another excellent dinner was Orega—one of our favorites. Everyone so friendly and welcoming with wonderful food, the tuna with foie gras a must. Greg, the owner, was as hospitable as ever, the restaurant beautiful. The next day we hiked to the natural pools at Grand Fond—something I’ve wanted to do for years. There are a few spots where you might not want to look down for too long (!) but it is a breathtaking hike and well worth the effort.

We walked to the Natural Pools at Grand Fond.

Another photo of the Natural Pools in Grand Fond.

After a quick change we walked down to a gorgeous lunch at Mango at the Christopher hotel. While rebuilding Taïno restaurant, the hotel has done a great job managing the construction while keeping Mango and the hotel spa open. We enjoyed the seaside setting and some of the best food I’ve had on St Barth. The chicken gyoza, soft boiled egg in mushroom crust, crispy chicken leg with tabbouleh, and yellowfin tartar were all excellent. We spoke with one of the staff who said the pool is scheduled to reopen in June, fingers crossed!

We enjoyed having lunch at the Christopher hotel’s feet in the sand Mango restaurant that is just a short walk from Villa Birdy.

That afternoon it was time to shop. Most stores in St. Jean and Gustavia have reopened (with a few to come) and after a quick run to Kiwi, we drove into Gustavia to M’Bolo for our favorite vanilla rum. The bottles we bring home never last long, so fortunately Sandy and Christian have started selling online at mbolo-rum.com. We stopped at Bijoux de la Mer to pick up a repair which Marie sweetly sealed in an envelope for our daughter, then visited a few other favorites like Baya before drinks at Bar L’Oubli. We restocked our wine supply at Le Cellier du Gouverneur and La Cave du Port-Franc on the way out of town and headed back to the villa for sunset, a casual dinner and a St. Barth full moon!

Sweet packaging by Bijoux de la Mer.

After service at the Anglican church Sunday morning, we drove up to the park by the hospital and took in the views before heading to Saline for our last afternoon. On the way back, we stopped at Eden Rock’s pop up on Lorient Beach for a glass of rose. It was very quiet that day, and we enjoyed seeing their temporary set up for lunch, drinks and lounging. We had a long chat with one of the staff who said the hotel plans to re-open just before Christmas. Later we walked down to meet a friend for cocktails and another gorgeous sunset at the Christopher. It was then on to dinner at Tamarin— the gardens as beautiful as ever. The restaurant was quite busy and the food, wine and service excellent. After dinner, back to the villa for vanilla rum and one last night of stargazing.

The view from the park behind the hospital is breathtaking.

Our last sunset from Villa Birdy was beautiful.

All in all, my plan worked! A very special birthday celebration and a perfect trip—travel, weather, villa, restaurants, shops, hikes, people—all fabulous. We are so fortunate to have been to St. Barth twice since Irma and very encouraged by, and in awe of, all that’s been accomplished. For those who know St Barth, do not hesitate to come back, you will find it as beautiful as ever and its spirit unchanged. For those considering a first trip, now is the time. In these months of rebuilding the island is quieter and more like its older self, while well on its way to becoming better than ever!

Arrival night dinner – worth the money. Start your St. Barth vacation on the right foot!

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Bonjour!

Today’s blog was written by our St. Barth Properties USA office’s St. Barth Villa and Hotel Specialist Allegra Pawlowski. Allegra was lucky enough to start her time on St. Barth as a vacationer before swinging into work mode.

As many of our repeat guests know, vacationing in St. Barth is worth the extra effort it takes to get there. Occasionally, a glitch or two, through no fault of our own, can make for a very long travel day. Allegra shares her story.

Enjoy!
Peg

GUEST BLOG BY ALLEGRA PAWLOWSKI

Allegra

Allegra Pawlowski

I went to the island for some vacation time with my mom and best friend and then I was to stay on for another week for my bi-annual inspection trip. The vacation portion was first and as it was a special getaway for my mom after a very tough year with medical hurdles and a death in the family, I arranged to have her pampered a bit on this trip. The first step was to hire a chef for our arrival night. Little did I realize that this was to be way more appreciated than originally planned… FOR ALL OF US.

Our travel day started with rising in Boston at 2 a.m. for a flight leaving at 5:30 a.m. followed by a connection in NYC and landing on St Maarten in a rain storm. This kind of weather is infrequent, so it was my first experience. Instead of waiting out the storm, we decided to jump in a taxi, cross the island at rush hour and head to the ferry.

You can take a ferry from St. Martin (the French side) instead of flying to St. Barth

Let me take a moment here to add that our Director of Concierge Services, (located in the US) Julia Hurd is a godsend! With one quick call to Julia, she reassured us that all would be ok on the island – she swiftly arranged to have the rental car waiting at the dock (rather than the airport), the chef was to arrive later and the manager of the property was alerted of our delay. I could sit back and enjoy the ferry ride to the island (a VERY rough, but fun ride, especially with a Planteur’s Punch in hand!).

Once we disembarked, we jumped in the car, drove to the Marché U to get the requisite (and much needed) bottles of wine, water and a few things to get us through the night. The chef, Christophe was hard at work already in the spacious kitchen of GORGEOUS Les Etoiles (our home for 2 of our 6 nights on the island). We were welcomed to the scent of parmesan crisps being toasted in the oven! We parked ourselves at the bar in the kitchen, watched the rain through the glass windows surrounding the living and kitchen area, poured ourselves some rosé and enjoyed the show in front of us with Christophe!

Chefs X.O. – Christophe Moreau preparing our first night’s meal

This was the agreed upon menu:

  • Amuse Bouche de la chef
  • Burrata di bufala with heirloom tomatoes, pear capers tartare, crispy prosciutto and parmesan chips
  • Beef Wellington, mushroom duxelles, grenaille potatoes, Mediterranean ratatouille
  • Roasted pineapple with citrus and honey syrup

Amuse Bouche de la Chef

Burrata by Chefs X.O., Christophe

HEAVEN! The zombies we were, sitting at the bar allowed us to watch Christophe work his magic and magic it was! He kept refilling our glasses with the rosé we picked up at the market (He can provide the cocktails and wine if you wish) and we watched with our eyes wide and mouths drooling. What a fantastic way to end an adventure-filled day! I strongly suggest that you ask Julia to arrange your first night’s dinner on your arrival day.

Dessert – Roasted pineapple with citrus and honey syrup

Thank you and sunny regards,

Allegra Pawlowski
St Barth Specialist

Grocery Shopping in St. Barth Just Got Better

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Oasis Market opens in Lorient

Rejoice! For those of you who love to cook while on vacation and for those of you who do not, the brand new Oasis Market in Lorient is just for you. The original Oasis store closed its doors on Christmas Day 2015 leaving us without a place to shop 365 days a year. We were told that Marché U had purchased the space and that it would reopen “in the spring”. I drove by it every day but there was nothing to see as all of the windows had been blacked out. Suddenly, I noticed lots of cars in the parking lot. In fact, the lot was so packed that I waited a few days to check it out.

Oasis Marche U Entrance

Oasis Marché U Entrance

When we decided to give it a try a few days later, I was not disappointed one bit. The transformation is dramatic. Everything in the store is new and clean; the shelves are extremely well stocked. You can purchase just about everything there. Finding fresh fruit and veggies used to be a challenge, but no more.

Oasis has fresh fruit and vegetables galore!

Oasis has fresh fruit and vegetables galore!

Stop by the deli for fresh cold cuts.

The deli at Oasis has a wide variety of charcuterie.

The deli at Oasis has a wide variety of charcuterie.

You can get your baguette too making it easy to prepare your cooler for a picnic lunch on the beach.

Oasis offers fresh baguettes and pastries

Oasis offers fresh baguettes and pastries

They have a take-away stand with stuffed crabs, paella etc. as well as a great selection of cheeses. If you want to have wine with your lunch, you can choose a nice rosé from their vast wine section.

Oasis has a nice selection of wines

Oasis has a nice selection of wines

Oasis has booze too!

Oasis has booze too!

Of course, you will still want to shop for your meat at La Boucherie located at the little roundabout in St. Jean or at Ché Yo Boucherie in Les Mangliers behind the gas station in St. Jean. And of course going to the harbor early in the morning for your fresh fish is a must. If you as staying in the Lorient area, the fishermen have a small stand that is open when they have had a good early morning fishing trip. For the accompaniments, stop by Oasis.

Although it is not open 365 days a year, the hours at Oasis are quite convenient.

Although it is not open 365 days a year, the hours at Oasis are quite convenient.

Happy shopping!

KATHY’S May 2015 Trip Report

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Bonjour St. Barth Lovers,

As you may know the staff in my U.S. office must travel to St. Barth at least twice a year to do their villa and hotel inspections, catch up on the restaurants, boutiques and new services that we offer as well touch base with the staff in my St. Barth office.

Kathy Schlitzer is one of our fabulous St. Barth Properties’ Specialists who assists you with planning your St. Barth dream vacation. Here is her Spring 2015 Trip Report:

Early on Saturday morning Julia and I were off to Boston’s Logan airport for our JetBlue flight to St. Maarten and Winair to St. Barth.  Landing in St Maarten at 11:45 A we were met by the Easyway VIP representative who immediately went into VIP mode. He took our luggage tags and directed us through the In transit security door and up to the gate – meanwhile bypassing the immigration lines, baggage pick up, and check in with Winair.  In moments we were at our gate, the Easyway person found us, handed us our boarding passes, assured us our luggage was checked in to Winair, and informed us we were booked on an earlier flight leaving in 15 minutes!  Well that was easy!

We landed in St Barth, grabbed luggage, picked up our cars from Gumbs Car Rental (we’d emailed a copy of our driver’s license prior to departure so she had the paperwork ready), and we were off to Marché U for groceries.  By 2:30 we were at Villa Everest unpacking and ready for a swim in the pool (and a cold beer)!

We were treated to glorious sunsets at Villa Everest

We were treated to glorious sunsets at Villa Everest

TIP: Easyway VIP is well worth the cost when landing in St Maarten’s rather convoluted airport.  Our concierge Julia can reserve Easyway VIP for our clients. It’s especially helpful during busy seasons or when you have a tight connection – or just don’t feel like dealing with the inefficiency that is SXM. Julia’s email is Juliahurd@stbarth.com.

We’d made a reservation at Santa Fe, a favorite of both Julia and myself, for our first night.  Julia invariably starts with the escargot and always orders Dover sole as her main! For me it was the mussels to start, and Wahoo with ginger and coriander for my main – it’s so good!  We shared a Fondant au Chocolat – after all, it’s our first night!

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake) at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake) at the Santa Fe

Sunday – After a good night’s sleep we’re ready to start our week in St Barth.  Making sure all the electronics work, WIFI set up, and emails answered, we head out to do a few necessary errands and for a drive around the island to make sure everything is as we left it!   The weather is fine and we’re excited to be back.

La Gloriette on Grand Cul de Sac beach is one of my favorite places for lunch, especially on Sundays.  The small beach restaurant is a favorite for families – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins meet there for a relaxing afternoon. Grand Cul de Sac is a lagoon, shallow and still, parents can easily watch kids playing on the shore. While we were having lunch a little girl caught a tiny fish and holding it up for all to see came running to her parents full of pride at her accomplishment. Everyone was smiling. I like that about the island culture – family time is important.

Warm goat cheese salad, a glass of rosé, and, of course, a glass of vanilla rhum completed our meal and we’re off again.

Here I am at Villa Everest - All set to begin my workday

Here I am at Villa Everest – All set to begin my workday

Monday – I had my villa visit schedule prepared and I was ready to go.  This year we’ve added some great new villas and I was pleased to match the pictures with the real thing. Some new offerings are the beautiful Chateau de Sable on St. Jean beach, Villa Ananda, Sagittaire and Orion hillside in St. Jean, Infinity in Gustavia, Belina in Colombier, Chiavari in Lurin, Jade and Joy in Marigot, Mirage in Gouverneur, and Chimère in Petit Cul de Sac.  (Editor’s note:  Be sure to check out future blogs for more info on the new villas.)

Villa Chateau de Sable on St. Jean Beach

Villa Chateau de Sable on St. Jean Beach

You will adore the view of St. Jean from Villa Orion

You will adore the view of St. Jean from Villa Orion

I also went back to old favorites that I either hadn’t seen for a while or to see changes or renovations. Casawapa added a third bedroom as did Rêve de Nuit, Ti Acerola is back for rental, and Serenity in Gustavia and Azur in Lurin.

Tuesday – Julia and I were lucky enough to be reserved on a full day boat trip with Jicky Marine.  I hadn’t snorkeled in St Barth for several years and I was excited.  The catamaran was new and extremely well maintained and captained.  Beer, wine, rum punch, water, and soft drinks, as well as snacks were offered throughout the day. Lunch was served when we reached Forchue island where we would spend the day and snorkel.  The crew set us up with very good snorkel equipment and took us to a spot where we could see turtles and rays, and, as we got closer to the rocks along the shore, colorful fish.  When not in the water we lay out on the beanbag lined “hammock” at the front of the catamaran.  It was a great day.  The water is so clear, so blue, and so beautiful. Julia can arrange this trip for you before you travel to St. Barth or our on-island concierge Magda Borne can reserve it once you are on St. Barth.

Julia and I relaxing after snorkeling

Julia and I relaxing after snorkeling

The Sunset Cruise with Jicky Marine was so relaxing

The Sunset Cruise with Jicky Marine was so relaxing

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – Julia and I went our separate ways, me to visit villas and hotels and Julia to meet with vendors and try things like yoga and a ride in a mini Moke, peruse the new organic food shops and juice bars – and taste Gelato.  Tough job!

Julia had our dinner reservations set and just told me where we were going each night – I didn’t argue, they’re all good! Isola is elegant and wonderful Italian, Black Ginger fun and friendly Thai, Tamarin a magical garden setting with lily pad pools and romantic tables tucked throughout.

After dinner on our last night we popped into Bagatelle to catch the excitement. It was packed, music glaring, dancing everywhere, the wait staff adeptly delivered food and drink in the middle of it all. Evidently, there were a lot of birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated with champagne. Bottles topped with sparklers were paraded to the tables conga line fashion and, in one case, delivered by someone on a scooter driven through the restaurant! We stayed long enough to want to return another time when we didn’t have an early morning flight!

All in all, it was a good trip and we accomplished everything we needed to – and had some fun.

Au revoir St. Barth – jusqu’à la prochaine fois.