Posts Tagged ‘Santa Fé’

Hurricane Irma update November 11-15, 2017

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Which Beaches are open on St. Barth 9-10 weeks after Hurricane Irma?

The most recent update on the post-Hurricane Irma recovery on St. Barth in real-time November 11-15, 2017

November 11, 2017

It is Saturday November 11, 2017. Veteran’s Day in the US and Armistice Day in St. Barth (France). Businesses and enterprises are closed for the holiday. Not only it is a special day of tribute, it always falls on the anniversary of the founding of Le Select. Today is the 68th anniversary of this very famous bar! Marius Stakelborough opened the establishment that sits in the heart of Gustavia, in 1949.

Marius Stakelborough is one of my most favorite people. He is 94 years old and still going strong!

The celebration officially started at 11:30, so we arrived around 11:15 and were lucky to get a table that was partially shaded by an umbrella. For those of you who have been to Le Select before, the big tree with the round sign came down with Hurricane Irma, so it is sunnier. I think that Marius’ kids want to put something more permanent up, but I do not know if Marius will let them. We shall see. Anniversary cakes were cut, and Champagne was poured for everyone.

The crowd came out for the 68th anniversary of Le Select. 1949-2017

Eddy Stakelborough (Eddy’s restaurant) , one of Marius’ 9 children is there to congratulate his dad.

Everyone knows Marius, including Jimmy Buffett who refers to Marius in his One Particular Harbor song. When Marius decided to add food selections to his bar, he asked Jimmy if he could name it Cheeseburger in Paradise. Jimmy happily agreed, but only if Jimmy could have an open tab for the rest of his life. No problem! Jimmy gave a free concert on the quai for Le Select’s 50th and 60th anniversaries and I am hoping he will do it again for the 70th in just 2 more years. I’ll be there! Will you? Jimmy still comes to St. Barth all the time and will often pick up a guitar and sing an impromptu set at the Baz Bar.

Jimmy Buffett loves to stop by the Baz Bar once in a while to sing an impromptu set of songs. (I took this picture December 29, 2016. I am sure you will see him in 2017-2018, too).

Saturday night we (Pascale and her husband, Christophe, Steve and I) had invited the owners of the gorgeous Villa L’Adrech to have dinner with us at L’Esprit – Jean Claude Dufour. They accepted with an invitation to have Champagne and hors d’oeuvres at their villa first. Villa L’Adrech has so much warmth; it’s a home, so specially decorated with every little detail, that I know you will love it. From the circular garden parking area, to the view, to the flowers, the artwork, this villa is very special. You would never know that Hurricane Irma had ever touched it. The owners lived there through Irma’s wrath and, like many other people, took in some less fortunate owners who could no longer stay in their homes. This is the spirit of the people who live on St. Barth. The repairs were done immediately, and the villa is ready for your stay. Just email me, pegwalsh@stbarth.com or my very capable staff at reservations@stbarth.com.

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner wth Pascale, Christophe and the owners of Villa L’Adrech at L’Esprit Jean-Claude Dufour

November 12, 2017

Another Sunday arrives. Normally, this particular November weekend is spent commemorating the twin cities of Gustavia and Piteå (in Sweden) by running the Gustavia Loppet road race. This year, a late afternoon walk was organized to pay tribute to the solidarity shared by everyone on St. Barth after Hurricane Irma. A concert on the quai ended the day.

Time to go to Gouverneur Beach so that I can report back to you. I love this beach. Like Saline Beach, it is undeveloped on purpose. There is a small parking area by the access to the beach, so there is no need to climb a hill to reach it. The ride down to the beach is always dramatic because, as soon as you make the curve down the road, you have a stunning view of the beach that is far below. There were so many people there; many playing in the water, others sunning on the beach. Everyone was smiling. You will love it.

People were enjoying a morning swim at Gouverneur Beach

We stopped at the bakery to get our baguette. Lo and behold, I saw David Mouton, the owner of one of my most favorite restaurants, the Santa Fe. I asked him how things were going, and he told me that the landlord had just signed the insurance papers, so he can start the work. Steve asked him if the restaurant will be open in time for his Super Bowl party and he replied with a definite, “Yes”. We hope the Santa Fe opens sooner than that. I will let you know.

We bumped into David Mouton, the owner of the Santa Fe restaurant.

November 13, 2017

Today, I visited Villa Micela that sits directly on Flamands Beach. To be honest, I was absolutely astonished to see what the owners had accomplished. This two-bedroom jewel is perfect for those of you who love to be on Flamands Beach! I walked in, and immediately wanted to stay there, it looked so inviting. I opened the sliders from the air-conditioned living room to the pool deck – perfect. I walked towards the beach – a steep stairway was there inviting me to go down to the beach – incredible. Villa Micela is waiting for you. Just email me or reservations@stbarth.com. You will be in 7th heaven.

I took this photo of Villa Micela on November 13, 2017. It’s beautiful!

The Villa Micela owners ingeniously built this staircase to be sure that you can directly access Flamands Beach

For dinner, I had heard that the owner of the Tom Beach hotel bought Le Bouchon, located in the Oasis shopping center in Lorient. Indeed, our waiter had a Free St. Barth t-shirt on and told me that he can’t wait until La Plage restaurant reopens because that is where he normally works. He shared with me that they hope to have their New Year’s Eve celebration on the beach, so let julia@stbarth.com if you have reserved your villa with us and want to make reservations. Le Bouchon immediately reopened after Hurricane Irma. Although the menu is not as extensive as it will be, we loved it.

For a casual evening, try Le Bouchon in Lorient.

For now, the menu at Le Bouchon is limited, but yummy. By the time you go, there should be more selections.

November 14, 2017

I visited some potential new villa listings today. The owners had called my office to ask us to add them to our portfolio. I always inspect villas first, before agreeing to represent them. I will share the details of the villas I ok’d, once we have the contracts signed and photos to show you.

Great news! Le Tamarin restaurant reopens November 21, 2017! It is unbelievable that Paco and Julie have been able to restore their famous garden and lily ponds so quickly. I am sure it will be packed, so we should make your reservation before you travel. Never fear, we always send you a lunch and dinner reservation form in advance.

I had spotted a new sign, Da Vinci, that is next to Le Choisy bakery in Lorient, asked Aurélie about it, and she told me it is an alfresco pizza place. I had to try it for dinner tonight. I ordered a pesto pasta dish which was also on the menu and it was quite good (but very filling). This is a very casual place.

Le Choisy bakery in Lorient is open for business.

It looks as if Steve has a palm hat on at Da Vinci restaurant, next to La Choisy bakery, a very casual spot to get a pizza.

November 15, 2017

It’s my last day on St. Barth. I must go home to my house on Cape Cod to cook a huge turkey for our annual Thanksgiving Day dinner that I host for my family. I’m sorry to leave but will be back in no time, December 2nd, to be precise.

We have an arrival at Villa Royal Palm today, so I met the owner there to take a peek. Wow! It looks fantastic. The view is just as wonderful as ever and the villa is spotless.

I was able to see Villa Blue Diamond, too because we have an arrival there tomorrow. It also looks wonderful; The infinity pool was so inviting and, once again, the view is stunning. The owner will be adding a 2nd bedroom at some point (but not working on it while we have clients staying there).

I took this photo of the pool and view from Villa Blue Diamond on November 15, 2017.

Time to get ready and, let me tell you, putting on shoes after 2 weeks in paradise wearing only sandals, was not what I wanted to do. Off to the airport to return our cars to Odile at Gumbs car rental. She was sitting in the booth that St. Barth Properties shares with her. We checked in for our flight to San Juan with Tradewind. The airport and the departure lounge are fine.

Odile Gumbs was waiting for us with a smile, when we returned in our cars.

The deparature lounge at the St. Barth airport looks the same.

A true aerial view of the runway and St. Jean Beach from my seat in Tradewind.

We landed in San Juan, went through immigration and then customs. We were randomly picked to submit to an agriculture check which took some time, so I was grateful that we didn’t have a tight connection. The airport was very busy. We checked in for our flight to Boston on JetBlue.

The San Juan airport was very busy.

We seemed to be the only “tourists” on the plane. A long line with 21 wheelchairs had to board first. No one spoke English; all seemed to be evacuees. It was sad – when we were waiting for our luggage to arrive, I saw so many people, go up to someone arriving in a wheel chair, as well as others, and began hugging them and crying for happiness to get them out of Puerto Rico. I feel sorry for the island and its inhabitants and wish them well in their recovery.

I don’t believe that you will have a problem transiting through San Juan. I will let you know what it is like when I fly back to St. Barth through San Juan on December 01, 2017. We need to overnight in San Juan because JetBlue canceled its morning flights out of Boston.

As of today, the following beaches are open for your swimming enjoyment.

  • Colombier
  • Flamands
  • Anse des Cayes
  • Corossol
  • Public
  • St. Jean (airport side)
  • Shell Beach
  • Gouverneur
  • Petit Cul de Sac

I hope to see you there very soon!

Happy Thanksgiving!

You can give thanks that St. Barth survived Hurricane Irma and is well on its way to recovery.

Julia’s Trip report May 2017

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Today’s guest blog is written by our fabulous St. Barth Properties USA office’s Concierge, Julia Hurd, who has been with us for over 10 years and just returned from her annual trip to the island. Many of you use her services to enhance your St. Barth vacation and can’t say enough about how wonderful she is.

Best Job in the World!

In the 10 years, I have been with St. Barth Properties, I have always traveled with a coworker, this year I arrived alone for the first time. After I arrived at beautiful villa Ylang-Ylang, located in Flamands it was time for a long-awaited swim and a cold drink. The villa is perfect for 2 couples has everything one would need for a relaxing vacation. Beautiful breezes. Close to Flamands beach; it’s about a 3 minute drive.

I was off to the St. Barth Properties office, located in Gustavia on Monday morning to meet our new staff. After 7 years, we said goodbye to Magda Borne who has been a wonderful concierge and welcomed Aurélie Janvier who assumed the concierge position. My task for the week was to show her the ropes and let her know what a great job being a concierge is.

We started off by spending some time getting to know one another and what better place to do so but at the Beach Club restaurant at Hotel Le Toiny. They drove us down the hillside and we sat under a shade tree and had a wonderful lunch.

Dining under a shade tree at the Beach Club restaurant

The view from the Beach Club restaurant

The next day I wanted to check out some new places to watch a sunset. I had read on line about a spot behind the hospital that was recently built. Wow, it is a beautiful park; you can bring a bottle of Champagne or wine and sit and enjoy the view or wait until sunset. I loved this location as it was peaceful and you have many places to sit and enjoy a quiet conversation. Plenty of parking as well.

The new park behind the hospital is a great location to view the sunset

The park has plenty of parking

I also wanted to see the beautiful Catholic church in Lorient; so, both Aurélie and I took a walk and it was stunning.

The Catholic church in Lorient

Above the front door of the Catholic church

We decided to take advantage of our St. Barth Properties exclusive 5 Star Beach Access perk and spend a day at the Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, so we arrived and toured the beautiful spa; should you book a spa appointment you will save 10% but it must be booked through St. Barth Properties. We enjoyed a refreshing cocktail on the beach before having our lunch and watched the wind surfers; the breeze was so enjoyable and they all seemed to be having a fun time. You can enjoy the non-motorized watersports, too. It is all a part of our SBP VIP package.

A cocktail on the beach at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

The chicken club sandwich for me and ceviche for Aurélie were so yummy. The hotel is stunning and the pool has music that plays while you are underwater.

My chicken club sandwich at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

Aurélie had ceviche for lunch at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

Aurélie tried the Crêpes Suzette for dessert at Le Barthélemy

As the US concierge, my job requires me to dine at the new restaurants, check out new hot spots so, with that, I was happy to take on the task.

Since David took over Santa Fe he has been receiving fantastic reviews. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Allegra Pawlowski, our new St. Barth Properties Villa Specialist, along with her mother, Lee, and her best friend Marta. What a great night we had! I love the Dover Sole, so that is what I had. After dinner, we enjoyed the best rum and I asked David if he sold any bottles; he said, yes and his wife Hayate paints the bottles that the rum comes in. How beautiful. Well I, of course, had to bring one home with me. They even bubble wrapped it for me to place in my luggage. Before we had dinner at Santa Fe, we stopped in at Shellona (formerly Dõ Brazil) on Shell Beach for a glass of rosé.

Sharing a glass of rosé at Shellona at with Allegra Pawlowski, her mother, Lee, and her best friend Marta

The Dover Sole at Santa Fe

The bottles of rum at Santa Fe are hand-painted by the owner’s wife, Hayate

I also enjoyed a fun evening with Anne Laure and Allegra at Bo Kào; wow, the bartender Eddie made the most amazing cocktails. Of course, it is always better to bring someone like Anne Laure who is his friend; so, make sure you stop by and say hi and stay for one of Eddie’s refreshing cocktails. The dinner was amazing as well. Lots of variety of Asian infused plates. I had the shrimp and noodles.

I love to walk at night around Gustavia and watch the beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Gustavia harbor

I had many appointments meeting new people and catching up with ones that I have known for years; it is always great to visit the island and be grateful for having such a wonderful job.

I look forward to working with all of our delightful clients to help plan their perfect dream vacation.

Julia Hurd (left) and Allegra Pawlowski (right)

Connie’s SBP Trip Report November 2015

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth!

Steve and I made it back to paradise on Tuesday and are now based here until May (poor us). I have some last minute newly constructed villas to inspect in the next few days and will be adding them to our website shortly thereafter. For all of you procrastinators, yes we do still have some villas available over the holidays. Just follow this link to see http://stbarth.com/christmas-and-new-year-availability.

Last month, I was here with some of my US office’s staff, including Marketing and Travel Industry Consultant Connie Walsh. I am pleased to share her trip report.

I hope to see you at Bagatelle on Wednesday evenings for our weekly cocktail party.

Happy Holidays,
Peg

Trip Report, November 2015 by Connie Walsh

connie1

Connie Walsh

I’ve made some eighteen trips from Boston to St. Barth over the past decade, each as smooth as the sand on its gorgeous beaches. But this time, a flight delay – the dreaded “mechanical” – put us in Puerto Rico too late to catch our flight on Tradewind Aviation, the day’s last. Friends would be dining without us at the harbor’s new Carpe Diem and we would not be laying our heads down that night at Villa Everest. Tant pis indeed.

We’d arranged for VIP service through Tradewind and found their indomitable Lizbeth waiting for us at the gate when we deplaned. And she had a plan B. She confirmed availability at a nearby hotel, arranged transportation to-and-from, and seats on the first flight out the next morning. We were whisked off to the old grand dame, El San Juan. That lobby is still gorgeous. We checked in, took a walk on the beach, through the casino, enjoyed a cocktail at the bar and dined at the La Picola Fontana. Excellent northern Italian food. Coulda been worse.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

As promised, the next morning Lizbeth was at the check-in counter to take us up to Tradewind’s VIP lounge. Two espressos later, hubs and I were winging our way to St. Barth, arriving in time to settle in and make an early lunch reservation at the Santa Fe. It was a Thursday and at Santa Fe that means moules-frites – divine as always. I ordered a starter of gazpacho which was chilled to perfection. Nice to be back!

On Thursday, November 12, St. Barth Properties launched the season and the latest edition of Live Your Dream® in style with a cocktail party, seaside at the beautiful Hotel Taïwana. One could really sense the excitement. Love St. Barth in November.

Taïwana Hotel

Taïwana Hotel

As always, the week was a hustle-bustle of villa visits, hotel inspections, and meetings but we happily incorporated some down time. Our Saturday afternoon picnic lunch at St. Jean Beach and our traditional Sunday morning swim at Gouverneur were delightful interludes.

One of the highlights of this trip was our site inspection at Le Toiny. The hotel reopened with the first phase of the extensive renovations completed. The villas French Colonial décor is gone, replaced with a chic and cool contemporary coastal style. Bleached white wooden floors anchor a palette of sandy-soft neutrals and crisp whites with pops of tropical color. The entrance, reception area, and restaurant have been reconfigured creating more of lobby-like feel. That gorgeous half-moon pool remains and now there is an adjacent open-air oyster shell bar. We lunched at the newly named Le Toiny Restaurant. Chicken Creole for me – and it was divine.

Hotel Le Toiny

Hotel Le Toiny

Below the hotel, the new sprawling Beach Club was just being completed. It’s surrounded by a coconut grove and furnished with comfy chaises. Lunch and libations served and transportation to-and-from provided. Looking forward to enjoying a glass of rosé with my toes-in-the-sand there – next trip.

We checked out the progress on the sure to be gorgeous 52 room Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa. Located on the lagoon of Grand Cul de Sac with its 600-foot beachfront, it slated to open in 2016 and already generating lots of buzz.

And now for the “food facts.” We joined the fun at Gustavia’s new 25 Quarter (formerly Monbart), they have a hip street food menu complete with tacos, dumplings and empanadas and exciting cocktails. Football fans take note, they’ll be showing NFL games this winter. We sampled the new Italian focused cuisine at Le Sereno as they celebrate their new sister property in Lake Cuomo. I made a return visit to harbor side Bagatelle. It’s becoming one of my gotta-go-tos. Their signature white pizza with black truffle is amazing and its scene is quintessential St. Barth. Join the St. Barth Properties’ team for a libation at their weekly cocktail party every Wednesday from 6:30-7:30, then stay for dinner!

Speaking of scenes, if you haven’t lunched at Nikki Beach, do go. Our Sunday lunch there was so much fun. Costumed waiters sashay out to deliver Jeroboams of Champagne while the DJ spins a great rock n’ roll soundtrack, so good it inspires patrons to get up and boogie – sometimes on the tabletops. The quality of the food is not sacrificed for all the merriment. It’s terrific. The comprehensive menu includes lots of fresh fish, a variety of salads (try the Niçoise) and yummy BBQ.

Lots of visits to villas newly added to the company portfolio were on our agenda. My faves included the super – sweet one bedroom beach house Maison de La Plage, just steps from the shore at St. Jean Beach and Villa Yeye, a lovely traditional four bedroom vacation home in Pointe Milou with a stunning view. Its décor pays homage to the casually elegant lifestyle of St. Barth in the ‘70s. I loved its circular plunge pool and shady rear garden.

Villa Maison de la Plage

Villa Maison de la Plage

Villa Yeye

Villa Yeye

We were impressed with the stunning seascape, from the umbrellas at Nikki Beach to Anse de Cayes, at the three bedroom Villa La Pointe du Reef in St. Jean. Its contemporary design is complemented with “old St. Barth” images and accessories. At Villa Super Ciel, a lovely three bedroom villa with loads of living space and two pools, verandahs boast some half a dozen hammocks. They sway in the breeze with a view of the verdant hillside and slivers of the sea. I took a test drive.

Villa La Pointe du Reef

Villa La Pointe du Reef

Villa Super Ciel

Villa Super Ciel

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we were wowed by the chic and modern six bedroom Villa Monaco. It celebrates Princess Grace and is as every bit as stylish. Set high above Anse des Cayes, the oversized heated swimming pool has a unique platform with chaises looking out to the eye-popping view. When we arrived at brand-new Villa Fleur de Sel workmen were busy finishing all the details. Its five en suite bedrooms are named for designers and the penthouse master suite pays homage to Louis Vuitton.

Villa Monaco

Villa Monaco

All great additions to the portfolio. Full details and pictures are on the website www.stbarth.com.

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.

Guest Blog – A working week in St. Barth

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Bonjour St. Barth Lovers,

Connie Walsh and her husband Michael came to St. Barth to visit us at the end of March. Connie is our St. Barth Properties marketing and travel industry consultant and has been with us for 10 years. Connie and I had work to do while Mike and my husband Steve enjoyed their daily routine of going to the bakery for their just-baked baguettes and a few pastries, grocery shopping and then preparing our lunches to put in the cooler just in case we could sneak a few hours in with them at the beach.

Today’s guest blog was written by Connie – Enjoy.

Sunny regards,
Peg

Connie Walsh – Trip Report

I’ve always looked forward to visiting sunny St. Barth but never more than this March. I’m from Boston and if that doesn’t prompt an “enough said”, the painful fact is, we suffered through a winter of record cold, howling winds and 110.6 inches of snow! Hubby in tow, I flew to St. Maarten and hopped on the “puddle-jumper” for a working trip in paradise. We joined St. Barth Properties’ President Peg Walsh – she and her husband are in residence for the season. Peg had set up a week’s stay for all of us at Villa Azur. We had a busy agenda planned with some time built in to relax a bit and enjoy the island’s charm, its gorgeous beaches and its world-class dining.

Villa Azur

Villa Azur

St. Barth’s balmy temperatures and tropical breezes never felt so good and within an hour of arriving at Villa Azur we were floating in the solar-heated infinity pool. Contemporary in style and décor the villa is nicely private with a terrace outside each of its three en suite bedrooms. A chic, spacious living room opens onto a covered alfresco dining terrace and adjacent sprawling pool deck. A bonus roof deck features a pavilion with a day bed perfect for a shaded snooze, and chaises for sunning. It’s one of the many spots from which to enjoy the panoramic view that embraces the sea and neighboring islands. The sunsets here are spectacular and observing the island tradition, we toasted the fiery sphere and our first night on the island with a chilled glass of crisp Sancerre. Ahh, St. Barth. Then we were off to meet friends for a seaside birthday celebration dinner at the Hotel Taïwana.

Villa Azur Living Room

Villa Azur Living Room

I love this villa’s Lurin location – just a short drive to Gustavia’s shops and boutiques and one of my favorite beaches – Gouverneur. We headed down one day with a picnic lunch and happily secured a spot beneath the entrance’s spreading sea grape tree. We swam, strolled and just sat enjoying all that undeveloped beauty. No wonder it’s the fave of oligarchs and local families alike.

Villa Azur is also just around the corner from one of my favorite restaurants, the perennially popular Santa Fe and so, of course we dined there. My husband’s go-to is the exquisitely prepared Dover sole; Me, I Iove almost everything on the menu and adored the gnocchi starter – delish with a gorgonzola cream sauce. I often end with the old-school classic dessert Peach Melba but always have to have a little taste when my companions order the profiteroles – shaped as swans.

Part of the job (no complaints) is assessing new restaurants and keeping updated on changes in ownerships, chefs and menus. We dined at the newly reopened harbor side Provença (formerly the Wall House) where they are doing a fine job focusing on dishes of France’s Provence region. Le Tamarin, on the road to Saline Beach, also reopened under new ownership and it’s worthy of all the buzz it’s garnering. The garden oasis setting is chic and so St. Barth-y. My deconstructed warm goat cheese salad tasted as divine as it looked. Saline Beach lovers – Le Tamarin is open for lunch and libations so consider a pre-or-post visit and they do a Sunday Brunch.

The deconstructed warm goat cheese appetizer at Le Tamarin

The deconstructed warm goat cheese appetizer at Le Tamarin

The only difficult aspect of spending a week in St. Barth is that there are always more than seven fabulous restaurants and it’s so hard to choose. We did get to include some of our favorites, Le Carré, with its sophisticated and eclectic menu and Thai food at Black Ginger – love their chicken curry.

A good portion of the days were busy with villa inspections including the new Ananda with its wow pool and meetings. We got all the history of the Moke and how and when these beloved vehicles will be reintroduced to the island. Fun! Stay tuned.

The Moke is back in St. Barth!

The Moke is back in St. Barth!

Happily, we worked in some beach time on Saturday afternoon at St. Jean and later secured a couple of empty bar stools and some cold Caribes at La Plage’s Pink Parrot bar. We made it just in time to observe the tail end of their Bikini Brunch – complete with pink plastic flamingos, bowls of Planters Punch, Jeroboams of rosé and loads of happy, dancing patrons. Woo – hoo.

A highlight of the trip was a Sunday afternoon catamaran excursion to Colombier Beach. Joined by some long-time clients we were a group of six and we couldn’t have had a more gorgeous day. Miguel, owner of St. Barth Sailor, was our captain – and crew. We set off at 1pm from the dock in Gustavia, drinks in hand – and in the cooler – Planteurs Punch, wine, soft drinks and icy cold beer. The 52 ft. Catamaran is sleek and luxurious with lots of room for lounging on deck (picture yourself – feet up on a built-in day bed) an air-conditioned cabin cum kitchenette and the all-important “head”. The beautiful and secluded Colombier Beach is only accessible by hiking or by boat. We chose the boat. Good choice.

After a delightful sail, we dropped anchor just off the beach and noodled about in those brilliant blue warm waters; some of us swam in and walked along the shore. Others relaxed on board and did some people and yacht watching while sipping rosé and noshing on gourmet goodies. Happily they saved some for the swimmers!

We anchored off of Colombier Beach and jumped into the gorgeous water with our noodles

We anchored off of Colombier Beach and jumped into the gorgeous water with our noodles

Our half day trip to Colombier included an open bar and delicious snacks

Our half day trip to Colombier included an open bar and delicious snacks

After a bit, we sailed on, mooring just off Shell Beach, popped open a bottle of Champagne and listened to Dõ Brazil’s DJ spinning tunes. What a great day. St. Barth Properties’ concierge team can book a variety of full and ½ day excursions for you. You’ll love it.

We made a late afternooon stop off of Shell Beach before returning to port

We made a late afternooon stop off of Shell Beach before returning to port

And so back to Boston and a little more snow. Looking forward to my next visit.

Early December 2014

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I was happy to finally clear my calendar and get back To St. Barth last month. I needed my fix! It was nice to see how well the island had recovered from Hurricane Gonzalo’s wrath. Most of the damages were to the boats that were moored in the harbor area because there was no warning that a hurricane was developing. It was supposed to be a tropical depression that was just passing through so no advisories were given to boat owners to alert them that they should be seeking shelter. As a result, 42 boats were destroyed. The population on St. Barth is resilient so the cleanup began immediately. The only lingering signs that I could see were a couple of boats that had washed ashore and had not yet been removed and I observed some loss of vegetation at a few of the villas that I inspected and that was quickly growing back. When you get to St. Barth, you won’t even notice.

As always, I had lots of things to do including villa and hotel inspections and checking out anything new so that I could tell you about it. I invited friends to join us and we stayed at Villa Capri in Pointe Milou. Tradition finds us at Andy’s Hideaway on our first night.

I’ll be back in St Barth in a few days and will be based there until May. I hope to see you at our weekly cocktail party held at La Plage restaurant on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm!

In the meantime, Connie Walsh, our marketing consultant has written her trip report as a guest blog.

The highlight of the trip was our big party, the Seaside Soirée that was held at the hotel Taïwana November 14. It was a huge success with more than 200 guests attending.

TRIP REPORT – November 2014

Connie Walsh

I made my annual pre-season trip to St. Barth the week of November 7, and like many other island devotees, I salivate enroute over the plethora of fabulous restaurants. I have my favorites, but I’m always excited to see what’s new. Upon landing my husband and I received a VIP meet & greet by St. Barth Properties’ president Peg Walsh, and we were off to Pointe Milou and got settled into Villa Capri. What a view!

We had a first-night dinner reservation with Peg and her husband Steve at M&P. I hadn’t dined there in a few years, and it was as good as I remembered. The acronym stands for Meat and Potatoes, and admittedly it sounds at odds for chi-chi St. Barth. But a breezy steakhouse on the road to Saline Beach, its sophisticated menu is a carnivore’s dream, but trust that vegetarians have loads of choices. We noshed on the Chateaubriand, accompanied by a choice of over a dozen sauces, Bordelaise, Roquefort, Porcini … my fave Béarnaise, and two sides.

M & P (Meat and Potatoes)

M & P (Meat and Potatoes)

We had some divine Gratin Dauphinois and Kenyan (fair trade) green beans. Thursday night is burger night at M&P if you’re in the mood. We always get our burger fix at the iconic beach-shack Le Select, now celebrating its 65th season. Jo Jo Burger in Lorient gets rave reviews– and they make a mean mahi-mahi sandwich too. I’ve promised myself I’ll stop in one of these days for a post-beach burger.

The always fun Andy’s Hideaway is our go-to for pizza, thin-crust and relish. We also love the pies at the little Gustavia eatery L’Entracte but it was undergoing a major renovation – next time. By the way, Grand cul de Sac’s La Gloriette, which we adore for leisurely feet-in-the sand lunches – and their ginger rhum – offers pizza in the evenings.

Our musts are Le Carré located in the glam shopping arcade of the similar name, Le Carré d’Or; it has a charming Parisian sidewalk café feel. Go for lunch and dinner. It’s that good. They had me at the truffle oil popcorn starter on my first visit, and I think they make the best Margarita on the island. And of course, Santa Fe. Trip advisor rates them # 1 in St. Barth. No surprise. It’s another lunch-and-dinner stop, the afternoon breezes and the views over Gouverneur pair beautifully with a bowl of gazpacho and a glass of rosé. Mussels are Thursday’s lunch and dinner special – mark your vacation calendar. Our small group dinner there began with a coupe de Champagne, their signature Wahoo fritters and went on to include a number of classical French dishes. We shared escargots redolent with garlic, Beef Bourguignon, Sole Meunière that would make Julia Child weep….and oh, the desserts. My favorite is the Peach Melba.

The new & noteworthy include the restaurant and crêperie L’Ardoise in Villa Créole St Jean. They pay homage to the island’s ties to Brittany where the crêpe was invented and called a galette. The soft dessert crêpes include the uber-popular Nutella and a deconstructed profiterole. The atmosphere is casual and lively, the prices reasonable and it’s catching on with residents and visitors alike. Cocktails are being stirred and shaken at the brand new and lounge-y bar Modjo. From the outside, an unassuming edifice (next to Andy’s) has been totally renovated with an exposed loft ceiling and industrial-chic lamps. The room’s focal point is a long bar and it is filled with oversized sofas and comfortable chairs. Open nightly from 7:00pm – 3:00 am, they offer a creative menu of small plates. And there’s alternately live music or a DJ spinning tunes. C’est très hip!”

Our best dinner? That was St. Barth Properties’ annual launch-the-season Seaside Soirée at the Taïwana Hotel. F&B director Octavio and his team outdid themselves with elegant passed hors d’oeuvres, starters, mains, and desserts. We did the taste-testing one afternoon on our June trip, and it was as amazing as remembered and with the addition of music, a starry night and over 200 people – spectacular.

A few days into our stay, we were joined at Villa Capri by another couple and mixed some vacation time with our work. The bedrooms at Capri, like so many, have baths en suite and loads of pool-side outdoor living space making it ideal for sharing with friends. We took turns making the morning baguette and croissant run, enjoyed our coffee with a view, post-beach pool time and toasted the Technicolor sunsets before heading out to dinner. (The new owner is planning some fabulous changes. Stay tuned.)

Villa inspections are always on our work-agenda and we stopped in to see the refurbishments at the charming Villa Rosebud – sure to make it more popular than ever – and the brand-new and breathtaking Villa My Way.

Peg and I inspecting Villa My Way which overlooks Flamands

Peg and I inspecting Villa My Way which overlooks Flamands

This gorgeous five bedroom home in Colombier was named for Frank Sinatra’s theme song and the bedrooms, décor and amenities (a grand piano, projector and giant screen and a fabulous sound system) give a nod to his fellow mid-century songsters.

Let the season begin!

St. Barth Properties US office Concierge, Julia Hurd’s Trip Report

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes that makes your trip to St. Barth so remarkable?

Here is one of the reasons:

Bonjour Everyone,

Julia Hurd

Julia Hurd

I hope that you had a very enjoyable summer. Today’s blog was written by our fabulous Concierge Julia Hurd from our US office. If you have not already had the pleasure of working with Julia, you will be very impressed when you do. Julia helps all of our clients arrange any services they may wish her to organize for them…car rentals and dinner reservations, private chef and spa services, babysitters, birthday parties etc. Basically, everything on a person’s wish list will magically be set up and ready upon arrival.

In order for Julia to accomplish this feat, traveling to St. Barth to touch base with our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office’s Concierge, Magda Votava and meet all of our service partners is a must.

Enjoy,
Peg

Julia’s Trip Report

by Julia Hurd
US Concierge, St Barth Properties

Kathy Schlitzer, one of our St. Barth Villa Specialists, and I travel well together and this trip was no exception. We departed Boston, MA with JetBlue direct to St. Maarten. Once we arrived Easyway VIP Service was waiting for us to assist us through the St. Maarten airport to the Voyager Ferry.

Photo of Easyway VIP Agents in SXM

Easyway VIP Agents in SXM

Once we arrived into St. Barth we headed off to the Hotel Taïwana and we had the most beautiful two bedroom Jade Suite with a private pool. We settled in after a long day of travel and Sunday woke up and walked the beach of Flamands. The hotel is stunning and everyone there was so generous and kind. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Monday morning I went to our office in Gustavia to start my work week with Magda, our on island concierge. We speak daily and it is nice to see her in person. My first order of business is to collect updated information of the new and exciting things that the island has to offer, so we headed off to the Tourist Office in Gustavia.

SBP Office in Gustavia

SBP Office in Gustavia

The island of St. Barth has so much to offer, each time I visit, I learn something new.

I was excited to dine at some new restaurants on the island: Black Ginger, Ocean and of course my all time favorite Santa Fé.

Here is my Dover Sole that I enjoyed at Santa Fe

Here is my Dover Sole that I enjoyed at Santa Fé

I love fish, so I heard that the grocery store in Lorient called L’Oasis now has a Fish market for those guests that want to sleep in and not meet the local fisherman in Gustavia to see what the daily catch is. I took a ride to check it out. WOW if you want to stay in one night and cook, then I would suggest taking a look at their beautiful array of fish. They have many choices and all are packed on ice to stay fresh.

photo

photo_1

photo_2

I wanted to take a ride around the island to explore, so Magda and I decided to take a little excursion in Grand Fond; many clients enjoy hiking to see the Washing Machine. Make sure you wear sneakers; no flip flops for this hike.

photo_1

photo_2

We also took the hike to Fort Karl, 63 steps up to the most spectacular view overlooking Gustavia harbor on one side and Shell Beach on the other.

photo_2

photo

photo_1

After that Magda and I hopped in the car to explore; we came across some new friends on the road. I also saw some ponies at the stables in Gouverneur.

photo

photo_1

After our adventure I headed to the beautiful villa Méli Mélo where I would stay until I departed. This villa has the most stunning views from the front and the back. The front view overlooks St. Jean, the sea and the planes landing over the mountain; the villa was provided with binoculars, so I took advantage of using them. It was amazing to see the planes land and take off. The rear view looks out to the beautiful water at Saline Beach.

photo_2

I was lucky to be on the island for our last cocktail party of the season held at La Plage on St Jean Beach, I was happy to meet so many of our clients that I talk to and assist in planning their dream vacations on St. Barth. It was nice to spend time getting to know them better and in person. It just so happened to be Magda’s birthday, so Kathy and I invited her and her beautiful daughter Valérie to join us for dinner.

It was, as always, sad to leave, but I had to get home to make sure that I could share all my adventures and new knowledge of St. Barth with all of you. Call me anytime. I love my job!

A bientôt, St. Barth.

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!

Julia’s Trip Report for SBH June 2013

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Bonjour!

On occasion, I mention that the St. Barth Properties team members travel to the island quite often in order to inspect and re-inspect our villas and hotels so as to ensure that each and everyone one of you receive the best service and advice when planning your dream vacation to St. Barth.

Once you have chosen your accommodation, then what happens? You hear from our super-friendly and very well-informed U.S. Concierge, Julia Hurd who is at-the-ready to make any and all arrangements including car rentals, air charters, transfers, private chef bookings, restaurant reservations, snorkeling trips, massages, private yoga lessons, babysitters etc. You name it – Julia will do it for you. And, once you are on St. Barth our Concierge in our St. Barth office, Magda Votava takes over.

In order to make recommendations Julia must also travel to St. Barth. Here is her trip report:

Julia’s trip report June 5, 2013 through June 13, 2013.

On June 5 I reported for work – on St. Barth – and I assure you it’s a pretty awesome place to work! As the St. Barth Properties US-based Concierge, my regular island visits are critical to serving our clients well and (shhh) lots of fun for me too! This year was no exception. I was excited to see Magda, our on-island Concierge. She is my counterpart and we are in daily communication by phone, email and IM so it’s great to spend “real time” together and she was a great help in fulfilling my mission – catching up on all the new places to dine on the island and all of the activities that I recommend to our clients.

Photo of me with Magda

Photo of me with Magda

I wanted to experience the Voyager Ferry from St. Martin to St. Barth as it’s an alternative to flying and we often have requests for that option. And as I frequently do for our clients, I booked a transfer with Easyway VIP Service from St. Maarten Airport (SXM) to the ferry dock. They were waiting with smiles in the transit area, handled my luggage and drove me to the ferry dock. Their name, Easy Way VIP says it all and I highly recommend them. The best way to travel is to have Easyway VIP Service assist you through SXM airport whether or not you are flying or taking the ferry to St. Barth.

My ride to the ferry was waiting for us as we exited the airport

My ride to the ferry was waiting for us as we exited the airport

Easyway VIP Team in Sint Maarten from left to right Jeffrey, Leslie, James and Shawn

Easyway VIP Team in Sint Maarten from left to right Jeffrey, Leslie, James and Shawn

Once we arrived into the port of Gustavia and after having settled in at the villa, my first stop was Andy’s Hideaway to join colleagues Peg Walsh, Kathy Schlitzer and Julie Nally for pizza. It’s a first-night-on-the-island tradition. They changed up the menu a bit but I was glad to see they were serving my favorite pizza mushroom and ham. Delish!

The week was filled with meetings but my agenda also called for experiencing some spas. I had a facial at Venus Institut, located in Gustavia; they offer a full menu of services. The owner Anne Picard assessed my skin and then I was treated to one of the most relaxing experiences, I ever had. It was just what a concierge or any island vacationer needs… And I was glowing when I left! Contact me and I will be happy make your appointment(s) for any of their services. juliahurd@stbarth.com.

Magda and I also booked a spa & lunch package at the Manapany Hotel’s Spa Payot. Sophie was my massage therapist and she was just the best. A full body massage followed by lunch at the hotel restaurant for 80 euro per person was exactly what I needed. Magda and I both had the Caesar Salad for a starter and I followed that with a big bowl of pasta with red pepper ragu. Yummo. Magda loved her spaghetti and meatballs.

Like everyone else, I love the restaurants on St. Barth and this trip I dined at Santa Fé, Dð Brazil, L’Esprit, La Table de Jules, Les Bananiers, Andy’s and for lunch, La Gloriette.

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

For my accommodations I was lucky enough to stay in two beautiful villas with stunning views. I divided my time between Villa Valentina, a beautiful four bedroom villa located in Pointe Milou and Villa Belle Bague a warm and inviting 4 bedroom villa located in Colombier.

From the moment I opened the beautiful large wooden door at Villa Valentina I felt as though a Garden of Eden awaited me. The large Buddha Fountain welcomed me to this incredible villa. The living room is fully screened, so a refreshing breeze was always swirling as I sat on the sofa and gazed out at the large pool and fantastic sea view. The bedrooms are spacious and lovely with large bathrooms and comfy beds. The pool area offers a wonderful pergola with a large sunken dining table. The property is large enough to host a great party amongst the luscious gardens that this villa offers. Villa Valentina is perfect for families or just a romantic getaway for two.

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Belle Bague also had an incredible feel from the moment I walked through the door. It is such a warm and inviting villa. Stop at the fully stocked bar, make yourself a cold cocktail and enjoy the beautiful views. It boasts a magnificent fit-for-a-chef kitchen which is perfect for me because I love to cook! The pool has a fountain, which at night has several color options, blue, white, yellow, green and even Disco. The bedrooms are elegant with 4-poster beds fitted with top-of-the-line linens and en suite bathrooms. Each bedroom has instructions on the use of the satellite TV; I found this to be extremely helpful. On top of it all, there’s a mini-gym for those who like to maintain their fitness routine while on vacation.

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague is very accommodating for families as it has all of the beach accessories, such as sand toys, floats, umbrellas and beach chairs. Oh and that view! On a clear day take a look through the binoculars that are conveniently hanging in the kitchen and look at St. Martin as well as the beautiful boats sailing by. Once you arrive it will be very difficult to leave this wonderful villa.

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Both Villa Valentina and Villa Belle Bague are just perfect for either a girlfriends getaway a couples retreat or a family vacation.

All in all it was a wonderful trip and after 6 years of working for St. Barth Properties, I have made some wonderful friends on the island and it was great to see them all and say “Bonjour”.

My stay at Villa Valentina and Le Select’s Marius Stakelborough’s 90th Birthday

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I went back to St. Barth for 4 days 2 weeks ago so that I could work on our next Live Your Dream catalogue and inspect a few more villas. I just came back from another 4 day trip that I specifically planned in order to meet with some travel agents from Ireland who work in an agency that specializes in villas and have clients who want to enjoy our very unique tiny island, so I lined up a bunch of villas that we could visit together. Coincidentally St. Barth Specialist Kathy Schlitzer and our US office Concierge Julia Hurd were traveling on the same day I was (June 5). I arrived ahead of Julia and Kathy because they had opted to take the ferry in order to give you their take on the experience. We were staying at Villa Valentina in Pointe Milou. As soon as I pushed open the carved wooden door I knew we would love staying there. The rear courtyard has Balinese décor with a pagoda structure. Long settees flank the shady area and a smiling Buddha fountain that is lit at night adds a soothing touch.

St Barth Properties

St Barth Properties St Barth Concierge Magda Votava confers with our US office Concierge Julia Hurd

I entered the fully screened beautifully furnished living room and was captivated by the view of the gorgeous pool that seemed to overflow into the deep blue sea beyond. There is huge new deck with lots of sunbeds and a built-in sunken gazebo with a big table making outdoor dining a must. The villa has 4 bedrooms; I opted to stay in the Master (Hey, I arrived first, after all). It has a wonderful king bed, en suite bath with a rain shower, US Satellite TV and sliders that open to the deck and the view. When Kathy and Julia arrived, they looked at the other 3 bedrooms. One has a king sleigh bed and en suite bath and is located down a spiral staircase or can also be accessed from the lower parking area. Another king en suite bedroom is located just off of the other side of the living and dining areas while the 4th en suite bedroom is accessed from the deck and offers the option of having either a king or twin beds. All of the bedrooms offer US satellite TV. If you would like to stay in Villa Valentina, please email reservations@stbarth.com. You will love it!

Villa Valentina view

Villa Valentina view

Villa Valentina Living Room

Villa Valentina Living Room

After unpacking, per tradition, we went to our favorite first night restaurant, Andy’s Hideaway where we had a delicious meal followed by some rhum vanille and headed down to Gustavia. Lucky us! June 5 was Marius Stakelborough’s 90th birthday and the all day party at Le Select was still going on when we arrived. The place was packed, the booze was flowing and a band was playing. I plied my way through the crowd to try to find Marius. It was pretty late (10:00 pm) so I wasn’t sure if he would still be there seeing as the party started at 11:30 am that day. I bumped into a friend of mine who brought me into the area in back of the bar and voilà there he was! 90 years old? You would never know it. He is so active and cheerful; he walks to Le Select everyday and I think that his daily sip of Le Select’s famous Ti Punch has certainly helped him stay and feel so young. In addition to the islanders, Marius has so many friends from all over the world; a whole bunch of them traveled all the way to St. Barth just to be at his party. He welcomed me with open arms and I gave him a big Happy Birthday kiss.

Marius

Kathy took this photo on Marius’ 90th birthday, June 5 2013. Check out the picture on the wall. Recognize anyone?

I had a successful four days which included a lunch at the Santa Fe restaurant with everyone. No one passed up the dessert even though we had more inspections ahead of us.

Santa Fe

Julia, Magda, Kathy, Peg, and Irish travel agents Alex, David, Linda, Niamh enjoy a Santa Fe lunch. The Langouste Club was a big hit.

Dame Blanche at the Santa Fe

Dame Blanche at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake with a runny chcoolate center) at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake with a runny chcoolate center) at the Santa Fe

L'Ananas Frais (Fresh Pineapple) at the Santa Fe

L’Ananas Frais (Fresh Pineapple) at the Santa Fe

I am back on Cape Cod but Kathy and Julia are still in St. Barth so that Kathy can finish her inspections and Julia can attend more meetings with Magda Votava our on-island Concierge as well as with all of our partners in order to enhance your experiences while you are vacationing in St. Barth. Of course she had to try some services for herself and raved about the massage and facial that she had at Venus Institut in Gustavia. Kathy has clients who are staying in Steve Martin’s Villa Au Soleil at the moment and she told me this morning that they invited them over for drinks last night and really loved seeing them as well as that exceptional view. They have already reserved the villa for next year.

I am heading out again tonight. Stayed tuned to know where it will be…