Posts Tagged ‘Villa Au Soleil’

Kathy’s Trip Report – Guest Blog

Friday, June 20th, 2014

As most you know our stateside team at St. Barth Properties visits St. Barth at least twice a year to do their villa and hotel inspections and re-inspections as well as to keep up with the latest dining options and happening on the island so as to better assist you with your trip planning to paradise. Kathy Schlitzer one of our very capable St. Barth Specialists and Julia Hurd our US office Concierge came down here last month. I was happy to see them both and we enjoyed some great dinners together.

Trip Report May 10 – 17, 2014
by Kathy Schlitzer – St Barth Specialist

Kathy Schlitzer

Kathy Schlitzer

Julia, our US concierge and I started our working trip to St Barth on May 10 traveling from Boston to St Maarten on Jet Blue. We were met in St Maarten by Easyway VIP, walked through immigration, helped with luggage, and brought to the taxi Easyway had arranged to transfer us to the ferry dock. Love the ease of Easyway!! You never know how the seas will be when you take the ferry from St Maarten to St Barth. Fortunately, having grown up with boats I was pretty sure I could weather the bumpy ride – but not so some of my fellow travelers on the Voyager. I’ve taken the ferry previously but this time the seas were higher and the rolling more pronounced. Staying glued to your seat is recommended, some say being on the outside seats is better than inside, but I think it depends on the person.

Voyager passengers

Voyager passengers

When we arrived at the ferry dock in St Barth Viviane from Gumbs Car Rental was there, as always, with the keys to our cars and off we went to the Hotel Taïwana, our home for two nights.

At the Hotel Taïwana Julia and I stayed in the Two bedroom Jade Suite with private pool. The views over Flamands Beach with its deep Caribbean blue water and white sand were inspiring. The hotel has done an amazing job renovating the suites and rooms, the décor is clean, the quality pure luxury. We enjoyed breakfast overlooking the beach, cocktails from our beach chairs, valet parking, free WIFI, immaculate housekeeping, and lets face it there is nothing like a fluffy bath robe and quality bath products. The staff was attentive and friendly. The two nights went by too quickly.

Suite

Our two bedroom suite at Hotel Taïwana

Monday morning we started our work week in earnest. Up early for breakfast and checkout, we each went our separate ways for the day. Unfortunately the weather was unusually rainy and overcast due to a front going through the area, but the sun peaked out enough and the rainy spells were short. A good day for reading on the beach as long as you have some shelter available for the periodic passing showers. Julia and I met at the end of the day at villa Méli Mélo our home for the remainder of our stay. Méli Mélo is located at the top of St. Jean with killer views from the front and back. The pool side overlooks Baie St Jean, the airport, and distant islands, the other side overlooks Saline. The Saline side is mostly protected land and we were visited by a goat family in our back yard several times. This villa has one of the best views on an island of spectacular view. Lucky us!

View over St. Jean from Villa Méli Mélo

View over St. Jean from Villa Méli Mélo

Overlooking Saline from Villa Méli Mélo

Overlooking Saline from Villa Méli Mélo

The days are busy going from villa to villa doing inspections and taking inventory, but the evening are for wonderful restaurants. Here’s Julia at Santa Fe in Lurin, she usually gets the Oyster entrée and the Dover Sole, and she has been known to love the Profiteroles for dessert. We also enjoyed the new restaurant Me Gusta on the harbor in Gustavia specializing in tapas influenced by Portugese flavors. Another new restaurant is Ocean. As the name implies they specialize in fresh fish, beautifully served.

Julia at Santa Fe

Julia at Santa Fe

NOT SURE WHAT THIS IS

Les Profiteroles at the Santa Fe

Wednesday night Julia and I headed to our St Barth Properties weekly (in season) cocktail party at La Plage. It’s always a pleasure meeting clients and putting a face to the voice on the phone! Our island concierge, Magda, was celebrating a birthday so Julia and I took her to dinner at La Plage after the party. Magda’s young daughter Valérie joined us but was soon fast asleep on one of the banquettes. The location of La Plage is amazing, but having great food, good service AND be right on one of St Barth’s best beaches is outstanding!

La Plage restaurant

La Plage restaurant

Our concierges at La Plage

Our concierges at La Plage

I saw many villas during the week, some I was seeing again and some (newly acquired) I was seeing for the first time. I was especially pleased to see Villa O My, a great house for couples or family, and Artifact in Corossol is new, and luxurious with a view overlooking Corossol, the fishing boats, and turquoise water. Of course I always like seeing old favorites like Royal Palm, Nirvana, Blue Diamond and Au Soleil.

Our last night was at Bagatelle, another great meal ending with my favorite Molten Chocolate cake.

As usual I didn’t see everything I wanted to see, but it will be there when I get back. I look forward to returning in November.

À bientôt St Barth.

Kathryn Schlitzer
St Barth Specialist

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…

St. Barth is a lot about the food

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

My husband Steve and I played tourist when my son and SBP VP Tom Smyth brought his family down here for Presidents Week. He did his best to be in vacation mode and I tried to take some time off from work to spend time with them. My grandsons Tommy Jr. and Tyler as well as my daughter-in-law Amy and Amy’s parents, Bob and Barbara were here too. It was Bob and Barbara’s first time to St. Barth and I loved watching them discover just what makes this island so special.

Sunday lunch at Nikki Beach: Ok, so what is the hype all about? I saw it firsthand. If you want to party all afternoon, this is the place to go. Be ready to spend big euros – they recommended that my daughter-in-law select a 345 euro magnum of Rosé when she asked about the wine. She kindly declined and ordered a much less expensive bottle. If you do order the expensive stuff, they make a big deal out of it and come running out with sparklers on the bottle when they deliver it to your table. We enjoyed our wine, took our time and shared appetizers before ordering our main courses. I love people-watching so it was entertaining to see diners get up and dance and then later end up dancing on the tables while the DJ’s decibels steadily increased.

Sunday Lunch at Nikki Beach

Sunday Lunch at Nikki Beach

By contrast, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France’s beachfront restaurant, La Case de L’Isle on another day. The setting is gorgeous; it has a view of Flamands Beach. My crispy chicken salad with fresh ginger, cashew nuts and poached eggs breaded with coconut was delicious. My grandson Tommy Jr. especially enjoyed the shrimp & marinated chicken wok (not to mention the gorgeous young woman who constantly walked by our table modeling some very sexy swimwear). Actually all the guys at our table were quite enthralled with the fashion show. (The restaurant has one every lunchtime and features another one on Tuesday evenings.)

Dinner at the Santa Fe was, as always, a fabulous experience. Almost everyone ordered the Langouste (aka Caribbean Lobster) Thermidore while I had their famous Dover Sole. Andy’s Hideaway is always a must for a fun casual dinner with pizza and their signature Pierrade when we all cook our combo platter with duck, chicken and beef on the hot stone in front of us and then we dip the cooked results in one of 4 yummy sauces (Think fondue [but without the oil] that we “more mature” folks used to have at dinner parties).

Dinner at the Santa Fe

Dinner at the Santa Fe

One evening, our St. Barth Properties Concierges arranged for us to have private a chef, Manu. He cooked and his assistant served us at Villa Au Soleil where Tom and his family were staying. Appetizers were served while we looked out over the pool to the view of the twinkling lights of St. Jean. We then moved to the dining area for our meal. This particular evening was a real highlight of the week. We spent a leisurely evening wining and dining and having great conversation. Manu topped it off with an incredible Soufflé Grand Marnière with ice cream vanille.

Several years ago, Tom, Tommy Jr. and Tyler took a Scuba diving course and were certified here in St. Barth; they dive whenever they are in St. Barth. So, on Wednesday, we had arranged for them to meet us for lunch at Le Select after their dive. A Cheeseburger in Paradise is a “must” when you are vacationing in St. Barth.

Le Select

Lunch at Le Select

Every vacation should include a night out at Le Ti St. Barth. Our St Barth Concierge Magda Votava reserved an excellent table for us and we had an up-close-and-personal view of their sexy fashion show followed by a very professionally done cabaret show. Steve and I go there often when we have guests; this particular night we saw a totally new show and it was really great.

Le Ti St. Barth on Tuesday night

Le Ti St. Barth on Tuesday night

Friday – their last day. Magda had booked a full day catamaran trip with Miguel, the St. Barth Sailor. Unfortunately I had some last minute and urgent work to do so I had to back out at the last minute and I was not able to go out with them as planned. However, Tom called me about 12:30 to check in with me and see if I could join them. I told him I would love to, so they arranged for a dinghy to come and get me in Gustavia at 2:00 pm and take me to meet them at their mooring by Colombier Beach. I held onto the sides of the dinghy for dear life as we sped to meet them. When I made the transfer from the dinghy to the catamaran, I was happy to see that I had made it just in time to join them for a late lunch. They had anchored off of Forchue Island earlier where they snorkeled and had been served hors d’oeuvres before heading to Colombier. Miguel served us a fantastic lunch that had been prepared by one of my most favorite chefs, Jean-Claude Dufour, the owner-chef of L’Esprit restaurant in Salines. (We all had dined at L’Esprit a few nights earlier and loved the alfresco experience.)

Lunch by Colombier Beach aboard the St. Barth Sailor's catamaran

Lunch by Colombier Beach aboard the St. Barth Sailor’s catamaran

Of course beach time and boutique shopping filled out the rest of their week. If you get a chance to vacation in St. Barth with your family, it will create memories of a lifetime. Live Your Dream®.

The Real Housewives of New York City (RHONY) In St. Barts Part Two

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Did you catch the Real Housewives of New York City (RHONY) in St Barts second episode (#14) on Bravo at 9:00 p.m last night? A repeat of Episode 13 aired right before it.

Well, those Housewives sure do like to bicker! (Can’t they just enjoy their time on beautiful St. Barth the way the rest of us do?) And Aviva!! Good grief – the flight from St. Maarten to St. Barts is not the way she made it seem. And by the way, Aviva why didn’t you just take the ferry?

If you saw last week’s episode I was on the show greeting the RHONY (sans Aviva) at the magnificent Villa Oasis de Salines.

Villa Oasis de Salines

Villa Oasis de Salines

Isn’t it gorgeous? It is pricey at $100,000 per week in high season (January 7 to April 15) but worth it. In Value Season (April 16-December 15) it is $70,000 and if 6 couples split the cost, it makes it more reasonable. If you want to rent if during the Christmas-New Year’s period, prepare to bite the bullet as there is a 2 week minimum and it’s $140,000 per week. (It is already booked for Christmas 2012 but we have other fabulous villas that are still open.) Contact: reservations@stbarth.com.

Back to last night…

I was at my St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty on-island office when Sonja and Ramona walked in. They were upset with the other Real Housewives because the “girl’s weekend” had become a dating event with boyfriends and husbands involved so they asked me for a “back-up” villa for them just in case they wanted to move there that very night! I was surprised but I checked availability and fortunately the fabulous Villa Au Soleil was available and I knew they would love it. It is so private and the view is incredible. (I also mentioned to them that Steve Martin owns it which of course impressed them). I enjoyed talking to them.

Villa Au Soleil

Villa Au Soleil

One more thing, did you see the RHONY walking into Bagatelle restaurant? We were there by coincidence with a bunch of dentists who were taking a continuing education course with the SBDA (St. Barth Dental Association) and having dinner. If you freeze the episode at :56 you can see my dentist son, Mark Smyth at the end of our table – small world.

I hope you are enjoying the scenery and those amazing shots of Villa Oasis de Salines.