Posts Tagged ‘Villa Everest’

What does St. Barth look like 8-9 weeks post Hurricane Irma?

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

A St Barth first-person Experience November 02-05, 2017

My passion has always been St. Barth. My heart was aching for the people who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irma and I longed to get back. Finding flights from Boston had become a huge challenge. I would book flights only to have them canceled. Finally, I found a flight through Miami to St. Maarten. Today’s blog covers my first few days back in paradise.

November 02, 2017:

My husband and I flew on America Airlines to Miami. Fortunately, the flight was on time and we made it to our connecting gate to St. Maarten in time. Both flights were full. I was surprised that so many people wanted to fly to St. Maarten because the recovery there is going at a snail’s pace.

I had heard that the terminal at Princess Juliana Airport was not open and was badly damaged. Make-shift arrangements had been made. That bit of news meant that I was clueless as to how to transit through to St. Barth. We had four heavy checked bags because we packed knowing that we would be here until May. I relied upon my fabulous concierge in our US office, Julia Hurd to arrange VIP services for us. What a smart move!

As soon as we touched down on the tarmac in SXM, I saw the devastation on both sides. I was so used to seeing pictures of how well St. Barth is recovering, it was a bit of a shock. It was as if Irma had hit only 3 days ago instead of 8 weeks ago. Our pilot parked the plane near some tents and we deplaned via a stairway. We were told to go to the “FOB” building. I had no idea what that was, so I asked a friendly guy at the bottom of stairs. He said, “Is your name Walsh?” He took me to Jerry who was handling my Easyway VIP service. Thank you, Jerry!

We deplaned in St. Maarten via a stairway.

We stood in line to clear immigration while Jerry retrieved our luggage, He then escorted us to another tented area where they had some counters and checked us in at Winair. Then we went to a booth to get our passports stamped again, this time for departure, and we went through a security checkpoint in a hangar serving as the departure lounge. It had some places to buy drinks and snacks and a restroom. Soon after, Jerry came to get us, and we were on our way to St. Barth.

We stood in line under a tent, in order ito go through immigration in a temporary building.

We waited for our Winair flight in a hangar that had become the departure lounge.

I admire St. Maarten for adapting to the aftermath of Irma by opening the airport to people like me. SXM is a gateway to many other destinations. I admire American Airlines for flying from Miami and Jet Blue from JFK every day, too. FYI If you are transiting through St. Maarten, please be sure to ask Julia to arrange the VIP service, you will be so happy that you did.

Vive La Différence! As we approached the island, we could see how green St. Barth is – already! We cleared immigration and headed to the St. Barth Properties booth that we share with Gumbs Car Rental. Odile was waiting for us with her always pretty smile and showed us to our rental cars. (Yes, we have two so that I can go off and work without stranding Steve.) 0ff we went to Villa Everest.

I tried to look at the surroundings as I drove. Yup, definitely, a hurricane had hit, the most obvious indication being the almost-naked palm trees. Otherwise, there were many signs of repairs and recovery that impressed me. Even the palms’ fronds had sprouted new growth showing that they were well on their way back to their stately beauty. We unpacked, showered and headed out to dinner. I had vowed that we would frequent every restaurant whose staff had busted their tails to reopen as soon as possible and show my support by dining there. We are always a bit tired on our first night and chose the casual Le Grain de Sel by Saline Beach; it was busy; they had blackboard specials, and we enjoyed the food, the friendly staff as well as the nice breeze.

November 03, 2017

I love waking up my first day back in St. Barth. Feeling rested, I grabbed my camera-phone and took a picture from the pool deck. The island looked nice and green and I remarked that Lorient beach looked beautiful. My mission is to give you firsthand knowledge of how St. Barth looks in real time but to also let you know how the people who lived through this nightmare felt and now feel.

My first morning view from Villa Everest was different but still stunnng.

Steve (aka “Doc”) went to his favorite warehouse in Lorient to stock up on supplies. In case you do not know my husband, he is Dr. Chatter and loves to talk to anyone. Maybe that is because he is a dentist and he was great at distracting his patients with banter between his dental assistant and him. He and the warehouse owner had a long conversation after the guy in front of him had bought every last bottle of Heineken out from under us!) The owner said that the guy owns a restaurant and people like him will go wherever they can to get what they need. Steve settled for Amstel Light and chatted away.

The owner said he had never experienced anything like Hurricane Irma. It was a category 5 but that is as high as the rankings go, and he thought of it as a category 7. In 1995, I remember when Hurricane Luis stalled over St. Barth for 36 hours. He said Irma was fast moving but was much stronger. Some people has lost part of their roofs and windows and when the eye hit at 7:00 am on September 6th, it was a blessing in disguise because people were able to go to the homes of friends and relatives and be safe. The backside was even worse. On September 7th, the island immediately began the recovery process. Everyone showed solidarity and pitched in to help one another. No one was going to sit back and wait for France to send help. The French didn’t think we needed it anyway because, “rich people come to St. Barth.”

Later, I met Anne laure and Laura from my rental office at Villa Les Embruns in Flamands so that I could visit it for a client of mine who is arriving in December. I saw people as well as the villa owner working on the villa, readying it for the first arrival on November 28th. Stonework was being done on a wall as well as repairs on the deck’s gazebos. When we went inside, it was perfect. The furniture looked as if nothing had happened. Laura successfully tested a “flybox” that enabled the Internet connection at the villa. I am going back next week to see the difference and report back.

I stopped at my offices in Gustavia to see everyone and to look at the damages. We have lots to do but both offices are open and ready to welcome you.

I stopped by my new St Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sales office to check out the damages and to say hi to Benoit, Pascale, Nadine and Melissa.

That evening, we dined at another casual place, Bistro Josephine, which is on the road towards Shell Beach, not far from my offices. As soon as I opened the door, I saw my dear friend Audrey Ferrari who was the owner of Carpe Diem restaurant until the landlord decided to tear it down in favor of more shops. Audrey described the menu and the specials to us as we sipped our Coupes de Champagne. Once again, we had a delicious meal and had the chance to talk to Jean Paul, the owner. The bistro features a band once in a while; it also has a rear garden where you can dine alfresco. Try it, you’ll love it. We will make the reservations at any of the restaurants for you.

Doc and I are with Audrey and Jean Paul at Bistro Josephine.

November 04, 2017

Another day of reconnaissance found us driving past Grand Cul de Sac Beach, then turning left to view the lagoon from the righthand side. I wanted to see Le Barthélemy hotel and in the distance Le Sereno and Le Guanahani. The colors of the lagoon were as beautiful as ever; the beach looked inviting, too. The hotels are already in recovery – mode but it will take time before they can reopen. We have plenty of villas ready for your arrival. Maybe it’s time you try the Villa Experience. We can arrange every kind of service you may wish to have while you are there.

Next stop: Lorient Beach. We parked in our usual spot and took the footpath by the cemetery onto the beach. I looked to my left to see a very, very wide sandy beach. We walked the beach and realized that it was as wide as it is because the vegetation in front of the houses was gone. I saw homes that I had never seen before. It should all grow back soon. I spotted a woman with her two children playing on the beach near where the surf shack used to be and, as we approached, I realized that it was Hafida, the owner of The Hideaway restaurant. She told us that she is doing her best to reopen in December. I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Lorient Beach is looking good too.

We had dinner at Eddy’s which had just reopened October 30th. It was quite busy, and we enjoyed seeing Brigitte, Eddy and their son Mahé again. The restaurant itself didn’t suffer any damage. The front garden lost its big tree. Eddy remarked that they were very fortunate because the tree fell across the street instead of onto the restaurant. Our meals were delicious, and I can’t wait to go back.

It is always a pleasure to see Eddy.

November 5, 2017

Today is Sunday. The day of rest is taken seriously by the islanders, so most places are closed. I put on my sneakers, put my Fitbit on my wrist and we headed off to Gustavia for a combination power walk and reconnaissance trip. The bakery in Lorient was open and a coveted parking space was free, so we parked and went in to buy our baguette for sandwich-making, so we could head to the beach with them later.

We stopped to buy our daily fresh baguette at La Petite Colombe in Lorient.

We decided to start our walk towards the other side of Gustavia. A cruise ship was anchored outside of the harbor and passengers had come in by tender. Therefore, a few shops were open. We headed to my offices and saw both the Bagatelle and the Baz Bar were under renovation. They plan on being open in December. Yay! As we continued on, we saw a few places that had been harmed by Irma. The harborside buildings that once held Hervé’s Coté Port and Carole’s Yacht Club were already scheduled to be torn down in favor of more dock space for boats, so no need for repairs there. We walked past the Hôtel de La Collectivité, as handsome as ever, and turned around at the end of that side of the harbor. Minor things such as benches need repair and the palm trees need more fronds.

The Hotel de la Collectivité (city hall) looks great

Reversing our steps, we walked down the other side of the harbor past the ferry dock and fish market. Everything seemed normal. The Voyager ferry had just arrived from St. Martin, taxi drivers were offering island tours to the cruise ship passengers, Le Repaire was open for breakfast and the fish market was intact but not open because it was Sunday. I did see a piece of plywood on the window at Longchamp’s but not much more. Further up the Bar de L’Oubli was open, too.

The Voyager ferry arrived on this quiet Sunday.

The fish market showed no sign of damage.

The afternoon reconnaissance: St. Jean Beach. After packing the cooler, putting beach chairs and an umbrella in the car, we headed to the parking lot across from the beach. The path at the end of the runway, going onto the sand, was wide, once again, because the foliage was gone. Believe it or not, we found a tiny piece of beach where we usually sit, that was shaded by some rejuvenating palm trees.

The sand on the Les Ilets de la Plage side of the beach has come back nicely. I think it is because most of the fence washed away.

We walked the beach towards Eden Rock and saw the damage to Tom Beach, Emeraude Plage and Eden Rock. Lots of work to do there. Tom Beach is already on its way back and expects to be open in December. We saw piles of sand waiting to be spread in various spots along the beach.

The sand at the Eden Rock side of St. Jean Beach is recovering well.

A benefit from Irma is that the better parts of the fences washed away. You can walk the entire beach again. Hope it lasts.

I noticed a few chaise lounges with umbrellas at the spot where Carib Water Play’s booth used to be and stopped to chat with Lucas, Jean Michel’s son. He was open for business! Good to know – 15 euros for a lounge chair and 10 euros for an umbrella – well worth it.

Carib Water Play is open for business.

Lucas is ready to set up your chaise lounge and umbrella, rent you a surf board or give you a windsurfing lesson.

To end the day, we enjoyed a casual Sunday night dinner at Le Vietnam restaurant in Gustavia.

My next blog will be shorter, I promise, and I will tell you more about my adventures post-Irma.

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.

St. Barth Trip Report by Connie Walsh, June 2015

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Bonjour St Barth Devotees,

Continuing the trip report series, today’s blog was written by Connie Walsh, our very talented Marketing and Travel Industry Consultant, who traveled to St. Barth with me last month. We had two very important missions to accomplish: 1) Meet with various people and interview them for the articles you will be reading in the 20th edition of our upcoming Live Your Dream catalogue and 2) Inspect several new villas as well as write up their descriptions for our website.

Here is Connie’s trip report:

Enjoy-
Sunny regards,
Peg

St. Barth Trip Report, June 2015 by Connie Walth

I’ve stayed at Villa Everest so many times now, settling in there is always a bit like coming home. It’s comfy-cozy and I never tire of its panoramic view. Peg Walsh and I spent the first few nights of a very busy workweek at Everest but, happily had the time to toast a glorious sunset from its lovely pool terrace.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

We spent three nights at the brand new, two-story, two-bedroom Villa Brume de Mer – its rental is exclusive to St. Barth Properties and we were eager to give it a test-stay. Perched on a bluff overlooking Baie de Flamands, Brume de Mer lays claim to a stunning view from several vantage points. A solar-heated pool, a Jacuzzi and a gazebo shading a living-dining area are among the features that make this a special vacation spot. The contemporary décor is coordinated with a soothing gray and crisp white color palette brightened with pops of color. There is exceptional attention to detail here that ensures guests’ comfort and convenience. Expansive well-laid out closet space, perfectly positioned bedside reading lamps, and both waffle and plush terry robes are worth noting. Towel hooks adjacent to the pool and Jacuzzi and a bar for drying beach towels are just of few of the nice little touches. The kitchen’s stock of dishes and glassware and wealth of culinary tools and gadgets are color coordinated.

Villa Brume de Mer

Villa Brume de Mer

I love that Brume de Mer is just a three-minute walk to Flamands Beach – one my favorites. Guests have a choice of three beachfront restaurants that they can walk to for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Up early one morning, I walked the length of the beach and enjoyed a swim before we headed out for a day of villa inspections.

St. Barth Properties has added several new luxurious villas to its portfolio. I think these latest additions will really peak some interest.

Villa Jade, the eight bedroom vacation home of legendary French Rocker Johnny Hallyday is a stand-out even on St. Barth, where villas-to-die-for are as prolific as celebrities. A private Marigot location offers sweeping views of its bay and expansive outdoor living space complete with a super-sized heated infinity pool, Jacuzzi, king-sized canopied day bed and party-sized alfresco dining area. Indoors, there’s a state-of-the-art gym with a steam and sauna and a home-cinema with theater-style tiered seats and access to 4,000 movies. Sleeping accommodations include a three-bedroom family suite (a master and 2 children’s bedrooms) three additional en suite bedrooms, one suitable for staff and a private studio-style bungalow facing the sea. The Asian-themed décor is striking.

Villa Jade

Villa Jade

Villa Joy, also located in Marigot, has a contemporary architectural style similar to Villa Jade and shares the same stunning views. Joy is more compact with less square footage and six en suite bedrooms. However, it boasts many of the same wow features including the infinity pool, Jacuzzi, super-gym and the theater-style home cinema. I love the combination of the modern décor with whimsical accessories and the homage to mid-century movie stars.

Villa Joy

Villa Joy

We inspected two fabulous – and very different properties – in Gustavia. Cassiopée is a two-level three bedroom penthouse apartment that comes with a garaged parking spot and an elevator. Chic and modern, it overlooks the iconic harbor with all its hustle and bustle. Two en suite bedrooms are upstairs; an additional main level room can serve as a third bedroom or a TV room.

Villa Cassiopée

Villa Cassiopée

Villa Infinity is a lovely four bedroom luxury villa that sits above the harbor. Newly built, yet it has a gracious old plantation house feel. Its outdoor living space is fabulous with a terrace and a lower level pool deck with a kitchenette housed in a gazebo.

Villa Infinity

Villa Infinity

In St Jean, Villa Sagittaire wows it guests with a stunning vista of the bay and chaise lounges are queued up along the extra-long infinity pool to take it all in. The four bedrooms have charming 4-poster draped beds and their en suite bedrooms have indoor and outdoor showers. The pool deck is gorgeous and I loved the rear deck – set up for BBQing and relaxing – and how it architecturally frames the view.

Villa Sagittaire

Villa Sagittaire

The main mission for the week was compiling the content for the upcoming issue of the company’s catalog Live Your Dream®. We had a fun interview with Hafida Amezian, who has taken over Hideaway the beloved open-air pizza parlor. She shared her plans for this iconic eatery and changes already implemented. They include the addition of fresh fish to the menu and upgrading the fries – from frozen to hand-cut. And they were yummy.

One of our evenings included a long, delicious over-dinner chat with Bagatelle’s GM Jean-Mathieu Sablier. The sophisticated harbor side eatery serves up contemporary French cuisine in a sexy, so St. Barth setting. What many island visitors may not know is that the menu includes Les Pizzas – thin crust and divine. In fact, black truffle pizza is one of its signature dishes and Peg and I shared one, and tucked-in to another, yellowfin tuna tartare nicely citrusy with a little avocado. Bagatelle will be the new venue for next season’s weekly cocktail party.

And speaking of sophisticated settings, no island restaurant deserves that description more than Bonito. What a view! I enjoyed it with a Tiki cocktail – their drinks menu is really creative – and we had a scrumptious dinner starting with a chilled pea soup. We went casual one night at Le Repaire and took a street-side table. I had a juicy two-handed burger and indulged in a little people-watching. As always, too many great restaurants too little time.

One of the week’s highlights was a sunset cruise with Top-Loc. We set sail with Captain Eric on the 45 ft. Wayayaï catamaran at 5:00 pm and loved every minute. Top Loc also offers full and half day cruises and with the use of snorkling gear, kayaks and paddleboats make for a fun experience especially for families with kids.

We loved our Top Loc sunset sail with Captain Eric

We loved our Top Loc sunset sail with Captain Eric

We interviewed the owners of H2O St. Barth and gathered all the pertinent info on the Seabob, an underwater scooter that is all the rage. Seabob has partnered with St. Barth Jet Ski to create what they call the James Bond Experience. It incorporates the Seabob, Jet Ski, an introductory scuba dive – wait there’s more – a “trip” on a flyboard. Flyboard is a device that propels you into the air as well as below the waves. Full disclosure, we didn’t give it a try, but we’re sure there are lots of SBP clients that would love it and we’d love to hear all about it and see pictures.

Try the new Seabob sport on your next St. Barth vacation. The concierges at St. Barth Properties will make all of the arrangements.

Try the new Seabob sport on your next St. Barth vacation. The concierges at St. Barth Properties will make all of the arrangements.

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.

SBH Trip Report November 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Bonjour Everyone,

I’ve just returned from Cannes where I attended the ILTM (International Luxury Travel Mart). I met with many travel agents from all over the world in order to tell them how wonderful St. Barth is. I am off to St. Barth next week and I can’t wait to get there.

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

I have asked colleague Connie Walsh who traveled with me to St. Barth last month, to write a guest blog describing her trip.

Enjoy!

SBH Trip Report November 2012

By Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

We had a smooth late afternoon landing, courtesy of Tradewind Aviation, and in no time we were settled in at Villa Everestand enjoying some wine and cheese. (I highly recommend pre-arrival villa provisioning!) Dinner at Andy’s Hideaway is our first tradition and as always it was rollicking fun with locals and vacationers who have it on their gotta-go list. I adore their thin crust pizza – and their house-made vanilla rhum.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

Our schedule was chock a block with villa and hotel inspections and, trying new-this-season restaurants and the company’s annual Beachside Bash. The venue was again Shell Beach’s Dõ Brazil where songstress Christine Gordon had the crowd up dancing.  The Champagne corks were popping and everyone enjoyed a buffet with samples of new menu items. My favs were the Mahi-Mahi sliders and the ribs.

New restos on the scene include La Tables de Jules in Lorient offering dinner staring at 29 euros for 2 courses  and a very cool – and cozy – sushi bar corner and in the heart of Gustavia, island restaurateur Franck Mathevet formerly of the Wall House has brought his culinary magic to the covered courtyard of Rue du Port. He has named it Le Carré and everyone in our group loved it…from the first kernel of truffle oil popcorn to the last spoonful of sorbet. Tucked between Hermes and Cartier the sidewalk café ambiance is tres chic.

There’s a brand new chef at Le Sereno, Jean Louis Brocardi and we were delighted to meet with him when we dined there one evening.  He is just as charming and engaging as he is talented and we had quite a feast!  Could one have too much freshly caught mahi-mahi?  We think not.  He presented us with a gorgeous appetizer platter of tuna prepared in different – and delicious ways.

We visited Hotel Le Toiny’s poolside Le Gaïac – for a “working lunch.” The pool itself has had a do-over in lava stone and the restaurant is resplendent with a new classic decor. We also lunched at Santa Fe, feet-in-the-sand Gloriette (fab chicken curry and rice) and of course, stopped for a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select.

Armed with a list of villas newly added to the portfolios we were pleased with what we saw. Here’s a sample:

Villa Imagine – 3 bedrooms:  A beautiful Marigot location! A domed skylight floods the living area with light and a classic picture window frames the view. I loved the comfy contemporary furnishings and the artful combination of chic industrial and whimsical accessories. A striking extra long pool sparkles in the sun all day.

Villa Imagine

Villa Imagine

Villa A – 3 bedrooms:  A formal French maison, its grand salon must be seen to be believed and it opens to an expansive pool terrace facing the sea. Villa A features a huge eat-in kitchen with every culinary amenity and would be a WOW setting for a wedding or event.

Villa A Grand Salon

Villa A Grand Salon

Naturelle 34 bedrooms:  Worthy of an Architectural Digest layout, and like its two “sister villas”, the name comes from its gorgeous but natural tropical landscaping. A sprawling main-level deck features an extra long infinity edge (and heated) pool. The views are spectacular! Two en suite bedrooms are on opposite ends of the villa and the other two, also en suite, are situated just down the hill in a bi level pavilion. Each has its own plunge pool. A spacious open air mini-gym is just one of many special features.

Villa Naturelle 3

Villa Naturelle 3

And for honeymooners – Ti Acerola. This very private mini-compound’s main pavilion has a kitchen, dining area, bedroom and bath. The 2nd pavilion houses a cozy air-conditioned living room. Both are adjacent to a delightful pool. And what a view!

Villa Ti Acerola

Villa Ti Acerola

Our hotel inspections included the Carl Gustaf.  The suites’ plunge pools have been retiled in sparkling white and new contemporary furnishings and décor give the living rooms and the bedrooms a fresh new airy – and 5 star look. The Hotel Saint-Barth Hotel Isle de France is boasting new white marble flooring in it iconic breezeway.  We toured the newly refurbished rooms as suites on the beach as we; as the garden bungalows and they are gorgeous. We checked in at the Hotel Taïwana and its new top-level bedroom suites are nearing completion.

It was a busy and productive trip with a nice Sunday break in the middle. We began with a breakfast of ham and cheese croissants  at La Petite Colombe and a morning swim at Gouverneur Beach; and then on to St. Jean Beach for a picnic lunch – and some great people watching. Parfait.

Another Quick Trip to St Barts

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

I was able to squeeze in a quick trip back to St. Barth because I wanted to check out the Summer Sessions music festival, I had some villas to inspect and I needed to attend several meetings.

I was traveling alone this time so I asked my girlfriend Paula if she would like to keep me company. She said “Sure” in a St. Barth minute!

The day of arrival, I had already taken advantage of our shopping service and ordered some goodies for the fridge (I highly recommend the homemade chicken salad) so we were all set when we arrived at Villa Everest. As soon as we walked in and Paula saw the view, she thought she had died and gone to heaven.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

I had a full day of appointments the next day and I am happy to say that I was very pleased with my inspections. As a result we have some new two bedroom two bath luxury apartment options for those of you who love to be in Gustavia. One Villa Mahi is located on the water with a lovely view of the boats and the other Villa Wahoo is located in a brand new building one street above. Its view of the harbor is wonderful too. (The furniture has yet to arrive, so I’ll let you know when pictures are up on our website www.stbarth.com). Guests can walk everywhere. Both are on the La Pointe side of the harbor and will be available for rent in time for Thanksgiving. Don’t miss out as we are taking bookings now. Contact reservations@stbarth.com.

Villa Mahi

Villa Mahi

Then it was off to Camaruche to visit Villa Eclipse, a 6 bedroom hillside beauty with a lovely view and a magnificent pool (heated in the winter). The bedrooms which are different sizes are scattered about and if you love to cook, the kitchen is to-die-for. The outdoor spaces offer shady places to relax and dine, and sunny areas to work on that tan. If you want to have a panoramic view and see the sunset, you can hike up to the viewing platform located on the top of the property. I did my tour with the villa’s gracious owner and he told me he is redecorating some of the indoor areas and assured me all would be finished by November. Please contact reservations@stbarth.com to book.

Villa Eclipse pool

Villa Eclipse pool

That evening we had reserved seats at the bar at the very charming hotel La Banane because we wanted to see Tom Howie and DJ Jimmy Vallance perform. If you have never been to La Banane, be sure to visit it and/or consider a stay at this intimate hotel. It is tucked away amidst lush tropical gardens, has 2 pools and is close to Lorient Beach.

Tom-Howie-Duo-with-DJ-Jimmy-Vallance-At-La-Banane

Tom Howie Duo with DJ Jimmy Vallance At La Banane

We met some really nice people and enjoyed the music immensely.

Peg-with-Hotel-La-Banane's-Manager-Benjamin-Fabbri

Peg with Hotel La Banane's Manager Benjamin Fabbri

Peg-with-Aymeric-Bourdin,-Hotel-Tom-Beach's--Assistant-Manager-and-Paula-at-La-Banane

Peg with Aymeric Bourdin, Hotel Tom Beach's Assistant Manager and Paula at La Banane

Friday found me visiting the very elegant one bedroom Villa Genia. The location is right near the hotel Guanahani’s entrance and guests can walk to two beaches (Grand Cul de Sac and Anse Marechal) or enjoy a drink at the hotel’s beach bar and dine at their restaurants. Formally furnished the villa features a king en suite bedroom and there are multiple places to sit as well as to dine. The pool and deck are delightful and there’s lots of privacy (parking too!)

Villa Genia bedroom

Villa Genia bedroom

The afternoon brought me to the newly refurbished Villa Ti Moun. OMG!

The view! I could not take my eyes off of it. Everywhere I looked was as gorgeous as the next….the entire harbor and its signature red roofs, St. Maarten, Saba, Statia and way over to the right the Baie de St. Jean with an occasional plane ascending into the sky. Oh and the sunsets all year long!

Sunset from Villa Ti Moun

Sunset from Villa Ti Moun

Yes, a villa does come with this view. Ti Moun has a just refurbished large nicely furnished living room and a new modern kitchen with a breakfast bar. Two en suite bedrooms with great views are on either side of the villa and the covered terrace features a comfortable outdoor living area and a couple of options for outdoor dining. Don’t miss out on this one!

More about this trip to come in my next blog…

What Can Teenagers Do During Family Vacations in St Barth? (Part Four)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Day 5

After a late night out at Le Ti, the girls decided to sleep in. When they awakened they wanted to sit poolside and enjoy the amazing view from Villa Everest.

The-View-from-Villa-Everest

The view from Villa Everest

Sunset-from-Villa-Everest-and-yes,-we-did-see-the-Green-Flash

Sunset from Villa Everest and yes, we did see the Green Flash

The agenda for today was to shop, shop and then shop some more as the week was winding down. They wanted to buy a few things for themselves but mostly for their parents, friends and siblings back home.

So, off we went to Gustavia again. They window shopped and then checked out a bunch of boutiques before deciding to buy anything. After making some purchases in Gustavia, I opened a whole new world to them by taking them to the boutiques in St. Jean. The result? Success! Each shop had the just-so-perfect gift for each and every individual on their lists.

Window-Shopping

Window shopping

Which-T-Shirt-should-I-buy-for-my-brother--Nate

Which T Shirt should I buy for my brother Nate

More-Shopping

More shopping

It was time to hurry back to the villa because it was Thursday and each Thursday from late November until the last Thursday in April, St. Barth Properties hosts a cocktail party for all of our clients who are on the island. It takes place from 6:30 to 7:30 at Bonito, the wonderful hillside restaurant that overlooks the beautiful harbor and the twinkling lights of St. Maarten in the distance. We had a great crowd that evening and enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing them rave about their accommodation, our services as well as the island itself. The guests mingled and made new friends.

SBP-Weekly-Cocktail-Party-at-Bonito

SBP Weekly Cocktail Party at Bonito

Then, off to Dõ Brazil on Shell Beach for dinner. When we got there I was very surprised to learn that the waiter had given our reserved (by our concierge Magda) beach front table away! You see, a couple at the cocktail party had kept me past the normal 7:30 end time and we had dinner reservations at 7:45. We showed up at 8:00 and I was scolded for being 15 minutes late! (Never mind that there wasn’t any parking nearby due to another event in the area that also slowed us down). Who ever heard of a restaurant in St. Barth giving away a reserved table less than 15 minutes before the diners showed up? Mind you, I am not Elizabeth Taylor who always insisted on being “fashionably late” (even to her own funeral!) But giving people a little leeway is always nice. The good news is that it all worked out and we ended up with a great table. It was lovely for the four of us to be able to dine while overlooking the beach.

Dinner at Do Brazil

Dinner at Dõ Brazil

Do-Brazil-menu-and-sign-on-beach

Dõ Brazil menu and sign on beach

Traveling to Paradise

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Tom, Kathy and I traveled to our favorite piece of paradise and touched down around 4:20 yesterday —Ahh just feeling the warm air as we deplaned and walked towards the arrival area put a big smile on my face. I really do love St Barth! Tom and I are staying in Villa Everest and Kathy is staying in Villa Les Embruns and then moving to Villa Crystal Dream.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

Villa Les Embruns

Villa Les Embruns

At this time of year we can take advantage of being able to fly directly from San Juan to St. Barth on Tradewind Aviation. We fly from Boston to San Juan and then take the 3:00 pm flight which is a shared charter (Pay by the seat). Their 8 passenger Caravan is air-conditioned and as a bonus, there are snacks and drinks on board! Sit back, relax and enjoy the view as you fly over the beautiful blue water and gaze down at the Caribbean islands below.

Tradewind Aviation Caravan landing in St Barth

Tradewind Aviation Caravan landing in St Barth

Tradewind’s shared charter prices vary depending on the day of the week and range from $395 to $595 + tax each way. The charter schedule includes 2 trips from San Juan to St. Barth (8:00 am and 3:00 pm) and 2 trips form St Barth to San Juan (10:00am and 5:00pm). Private charters on a Caravan or Pilatus are also available. Once you have reserved your accommodation with us, you may contact concierge@stbarth.com to book.

We have a full schedule ahead of us and I am very excited to see the updates that some owners have made. I will be inspecting some potential new villas and determine if we will add them to our portfolio. I will report back to you on my findings as well as any new restaurants and/or new enterprises that may be in the works.

Of course, the highlight of the trip is our Land Shark Beach party at Dö Brazil on November 06. Our guest list is growing and I will give you the low down.

Poor me, I have to work… not a bad job, though? Temperature is about 85° and if I get time to put my toes in the water, it will be about 75°. I would love to see you in St. Barth.

Villa Crystal Dream

Villa Crystal Dream

Villa Everest

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

People often ask me where I stay when I am in St Barth and if I own a villa there. The answers are:

1. My staff and I try to stay in as many different places as possible when we are on our inspection trips. It helps us to get to know our villas and hotels more intimately and pass on that information to our valued clientele when we are assisting with the selection process of where to stay.

2. I used to own a villa in St Barth but I sold it because I felt it might imply that I had a conflict of interest when suggesting a villa to one of my clients and it just so happened to be owned by me (even though it was the perfect match). So I sold my villa and built one on Virgin Gorda where no conflict exists. http://villaopendeck.com

When my husband Steve and I are living on St Barth we rent a villa for longer periods of time so that we don’t have to live out of a suitcase.

This year, we will be spending some time at Villa Everest in Vitet. The villa is so named because it is located on one of the highest peaks in St. Barth. The view is outstanding! It is so private and quiet up there.

Many upgrades and a few changes have been made:

• We bought a flat screen LED TV for the living room so that we (and you) can keep in touch and watch the news and sporting events on the satellite TV and we had new slipcovers made for the comfy couches

Villa Everest Living Room

Villa Everest Living Room

• We had a dishwasher installed in the kitchen because we do not eat out every night when we are there for extended periods of time. Although we dine out at least 4-5 times a week, we do enjoy eating in once in a while. It is very relaxing to dine poolside while gazing out at the stars and the twinkling lights of St Maarten in the distance.

Villa Everest Kitchen

Villa Everest Kitchen


• “Rain” Showerheads have been installed in the bathrooms
• There is AC in the living room
• We bought an iPod docking station
• We purchased a Nespresso machine

Other changes repeat clients will notice include the fact that that Villa Everest has a wonderful new maid Ida (pronounced eeda, the French way). Ida will keep your villa very tidy and she is SO nice. Another improvement is that I purchased some wonderful Ligne St Barth toiletries so that on that first evening, after a day of traveling, guests can take a nice relaxing shower under those great new showerheads while using superb island-made products.

What has NOT changed? The good things…

The owner who was a gardener by trade is still keeping the flowers blooming and tending to the shrubs and palm trees. He also cleans the pool and respects your privacy.

And…of course those beautiful sunsets!

Villa Everest View

Villa Everest View

I hope many of you will be able to stay at Villa Everest. It is very popular, so try to book early in order to avoid disappointment.