Posts Tagged ‘Villa Marie Saint Barth’

Another firsthand report on the post-Hurricane Irma recovery

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Post Hurricane Irma blog November 06-10, 2017

November 06, 2017

Monday morning is bustling. Trucks are full of supplies and workers are everywhere. The landscapers are tending to the gardens, masons are repairing the stone walls, the children are back in school after the Toussaint (All Saints) vacation and people are heading back to work. Sneakers and Fitbit back on, we head to Gustavia again. Today’s walk takes us to Shell Beach. The shells are back! The beach is pretty, although the left end is missing some sand. The right end is wider than ever.

The shells are back on Shell Beach!

Shell Beach is doing well.

We checked out Shellona and came to the conclusion that it will be fine. The building looks the way it did one year ago when the owners were pushing hard to get it open in time for Christmas; the lower part of the restaurant that sits on the sand needs to be restored with its tables and bar, but I don’t think it is a big deal. For sure, it will be open for the holidays (In my humble opinion, that is). The word is that it will reopen December 22, 2017.

Shellona is boarded up and still standing. The beach front area needs to be set up.

I went back to the villa and worked remotely, then went to my office to meet with Benoit and Pascale about the schedule to do the repairs of both offices as well as our plans for your arrival and other administrative matters.

We dined at Black Ginger which had reopened a few days before, and had another delicious dinner. It’s St. Barth, after all. By coincidence, Pascal Ramette, one of the owners of La Guérite, was at the next table. I asked him when his gourmet restaurant was reopening, and he said, without hesitation, December 22nd! What a great spot to have your New Year’s Eve dinner and then watch the midnight fireworks. We can make the reservation for you.

Black Ginger is one of our favorite restaurants.

November 07, 2017

More good news! I received the following email from Mathilde Tissot, the owner of the 5 star Villa Marie, a Sibuet boutique hotel.

“Dear Peg,

I can now confirm the official re-opening date for the hotel Villa Marie Saint-Barth on March 9th, 2018!

Villa Marie Saint Barth will even offer 2 additional units to the existing 18 villa and bungalows:

– A second master villa with sweeping ocean views and private pool
– A third master villa (without private pool) which can be divided into a Prestige bungalow + a Caribbean bungalow: perfect for a family or for two couples in search of a Caribbean getaway.

Reservations are now open!”

So, all you need to do is contact me or one of my very capable St. Barth Villa and Hotel Specialists at reservations@stbarth.com. I love, love, love this hotel. I think you will too. Even if you do not stay there, you must dine at their gourmet restaurant, François Plantation. It is supposed to reopen in December and it’s a wonderful experience. You can also have lunch at their intimate poolside restaurant. If you want to hang out there for the day, we can reserve some chaises for you when we make your lunch reservation.

Our walk took me to the stairway up to Fort Karl. I had expected the steps that are built into the hillside would have been totally washed away, so I was happy to see them intact and waiting for you to use them.

Climb the steps up to Fort Karl to take in the fabulous view.

No trip to St. Barth is complete without having a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Le Select, so today is the day! The problem? One of my pet peeves is those tiny plastic ketchup packets that I can never open, except with my teeth, and my dentist- husband forbids me to do that. Knowing that we would be going to Le Select, I always bring my own bottle of ketchup (it must be Heinz), so I checked every grocery store on the island and: NO Heinz Ketchup whatsoever! No any kind of ketchup, either, so, off we went to the American Store in Gustavia; surely, they would have it, but no, nothing there except a jar of “Original Ketchup.” I settled for that, went to check-out and found out it cost 13 euros! It was ok, but nothing like Heinz, I do understand that it is not a priority and it may take time to stock the shelves.

I had to settle for a 13 euro jar of ketchup. The 2 cheeseburgers plus an order of fries cost exactly the same – 13 euros.

No trip to St. Barth is complete without having a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select.

That evening we dined at Le Repaire and watched the Voyager ferry come in on its last run from St. Martin. We always enjoy dining there.

November 08, 2017

Today is full of meetings. I met with Claire Hillau from Le Barthélemy hotel to discuss the reopening. I was disappointed to hear that no date has been set. She thinks she will know the beginning of December, but it looks like it won’t be until the fall of 2018. For sure, they will be open by November because they have a wedding scheduled there that month.

We dined at L’Isola, had a nice corner table and an outstanding meal, the vitello limone for me, and shrimp and lobster risotto for Steve. We were warmly greeted by both Fabrizio the owner, and Ricardo the manager. We met a nice couple who said that they want to buy property on St. Barth, so I said that my St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office will take care of them.

We loved our evenng at L’Isola and are very happy that they reopened so quickly.

November 09, 2017

I knew you would be asking me about Saline Beach, so off we went to check it out. The salt pond was full, the path from the parking lot was nice and wide and we began our hike. The rocky access up seemed a bit tougher and steeper to me, but that might be because I have not climbed it recently. When we reached the top, the view was as breathtaking as ever and was incredibly expansive. There was quite a steep slope to get down to the beach itself. Good exercise for you! It has not yet been approved for swimming due to the high level
Of the salt pond but it should be ok very soon.

Bonjour from the top of Saline Beach!

Saline Beach is wide and enticing.

This afternoon I inspected Villa Aloa in Flamands. It looks good and is ready for your stay. The owners were there and pointed out that they have added AC to the living room.

From Villa Aloa, I had a bird’s eye view of the garden bungalows at Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. I am still waiting for a reopening date.

Time for another casual night. So, we went to 25 Quarter in Gustavia. We loved it! It was lively and fun. The décor was unique. We shared a beef quesadilla appetizer followed by Mahi Mahi tacos for Steve and Tuna Tataki for me…really, really good. We chatted with owner Chris Davis who told us that he is going to have a rum room featuring rums from all over the Caribbean.

Thursday Night Football was on in the bar area of 25 Quarter.

November 10, 2017

Today brings us to Flamands Beach. The beach front buildings really took a hit from Irma. To get onto the beach at this time, you need to take the entrance at the far end of the beach. We started our reconnaissance from there and walked all the way down to the hotel Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. The hotel’s beach front restaurant, pool and rooms need lots of repairs. Some of our villas suffered less damage than others and will be ready for guests in a few weeks.

Today, it is Flamands Beach.

If you are coming to St. Barth soon, you will see damaged houses but you can still enjoy Flamands, a classic wide Caribbean Beach.

The hotel Baie des Anges is already open – a very positive sign! The beach itself lost sand and is much lower than before but it is really wide and as beautiful as ever. You can spend the day there. Bring your beach chairs and cooler or order our VIP picnic package that includes the chairs, an umbrella and a delicious picnic basket.

The sand on Flamands Beach is soft and perfect for sun bathing or just taking a nice walk.

As we finished our Flamands reconnaissance walk, this little guy said bonjour, ensuring me that all is well with the St Barth animal life.

Fittingly so, we had dinner, poolside, at La Langouste restaurant located at the Baie des Anges. We always share the Christophine appetizer, one of my very favorites. I had the Dover sole, another favorite. Steve loved the langouste tagliatelle.

We could hear the sound of the waves while we enjoyed dinner at La Langouste.

That’s it for now. I do not want to bore you too much. Stay tuned for my next chapter.

Just back from St. Barth June 2017

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

A whirlwind trip full of new St Barth information that I gathered for our next Live Your Dream catalogue.

THE PRIVATE CHEFS OF ST. BARTH

My week in St. Barth was full of appointments and new experiences, even for a veteran like me who has been going there for 31 years. Connie Walsh who works with me (no, we are not related) and I had a mission: Obtain as much new and interesting material as possible for our next Live Your Dream catalogue. Although it will be unveiled at our Beachside Bash on December 02, 2017, we needed lots of lead time in order to meet the deadlines for publication.

We began by acting like a client to see what it is like to stay at the new 5 star Villa Marie Saint Barth. Tucked away on the Colombier hillside where the former François Plantation hotel used to be, we were charmed by our suites. Like all of the suites, Connie’s Family Suite and my Prestige Bungalow were decorated differently, which is a nice touch. My suite had a king bedroom, spacious living room with sliders leading out to a big deck furnished for outdoor living and sunning. Connie’s was similar but had a small child’s room with bunk beds and small 2nd bath. The view over Flamands was stunning. The en suite baths had both a shower and a clawfoot bathtub. We enjoyed our first night’s dinner in their gourmet restaurant, aptly named François Plantation. It was pricey but delicious. Breakfast is served by the swimming pool and is included in the very reasonably priced rate at this Sibuet boutique hotel.

Villa Marie St Barth has a view over Flamands

Our next stay was at the 5 star Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa which sits directly on Grand Cul de Sac beach. Our Ocean Luxe Suites were on the 2nd story and gorgeous. The en suite bathroom has louvred doors over the sink, so I always had a sea view even when I was brushing my teeth! A comfortable sitting area is at the foot of the king bed and sliders open to the covered balcony where I could sit at a table for 2 or on a comfy chair. To me, the pièce de résistance is the amazing automatic screen that is invisible to the eye. Just click a button to open it to the breezes or leave it down. The colorful water view is the same. I was up early one morning as were the kite surfers playing with the wind over the lagoon. We enjoyed dinner at their Aux Amis beachfront gourmet restaurant. During the day, it is more casual and this is where we had breakfast (included) and lunch. Another day we decide to have lunch at the Le Turquoise bar and restaurant near the pool.

Le Barthélemy Hotel & Sp sits directly on Grand Cul de Sac beach

Don’t get the idea that we just lounged around all day. Unlike you who are on vacation to relax, we had plenty of work to accomplish on this trip. We interviewed the private chefs with whom we collaborate and book for you when you want to just chillout at your villa. For starters, we interviewed Pascal Preynat of PASCAL COOK. His favorite cuisine is Provençale. We learned that he makes his own Foie Gras. We loved it! If you are lucky enough to spend the holidays in St. Barth with us, you will receive this as a gift from St. Barth Properties.

We interviewed Pascal Cook in the conference room at our new waterfront St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office.

Homemade Foie Gras by Pascal Cook

Then there was Philippe Masseglia, the former Executive Chef of 22 years at Le Guanahani who created his new services as a private chef under the name, Food Square. From tataki to tangine to pasta puttanesca, Philippe has clients’ cravings covered. Italian food is one of his passions, but he recognizes that many people today prefer to eat lighter, healthier fare. Clients love him so much they often ask him to go with them when they travel elsewhere. He happily obliges.

We interviewed FOOD SQUARE owner Philippe Massegilia at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa on a French holiday when nobody else would work. Philippe was happy to work that day. Merci beaucoup, Philippe.

Another chef with whom we often work is CHEF XO. Christophe Moreau loves interacting with the clients, he answers questions and lets them get involved if they wish – chopping vegetables and stirring bowls and pots. Christophe is often the chef that we use for Our Drive Dine & Relax package. Our clients always rave about the meal that he prepared for their complimentary candlelight dinner.

CHEF XO, Christophe Moreau, loves cooking for you in your villa.

On our last evening, LOLO’S PRIVATE CATERING wanted to cook for us! By this time, Connie and I had moved to Villa Sur Le Port in Gustavia. The owner had kindly offered us two complimentary nights, so that we could experience a stay there. If you do not mind a short but steep walk down a hill, it’s a perfect villa for Gustavia lovers. It even comes with a parking space! Lolo (Laurence Philippot) walked in at about 5:30 with loads of food and equipment for the job at hand. We sat at the bar and watched her do her magic while we interviewed her. She told us that the Lacanche stove at the villas was “The Rolls Royce” of ranges and she thoroughly loved using it. As we have new staff at our St. Barth offices, they needed to sample her cooking, too. Her culinary repertoire encompasses Indian and Asian cuisine and some of her special dishes offer creative innovative fusion. We have vegan clients who book her year after year, as well.

Lolo’s Private Catering cooked for us at Villa Sur Le Port on our last night.

Speaking of having new staff at our rental and sales offices, I was very happy to meet Laura Commaret on her very first day with our St. Barth Properties – St. Barth villa rental office. Laura and Anne Laure Amy are sharing the front desk and reservation duties now that Magda has left and Aurélie Janvier has assumed the Concierge position. Aurélie has lots of innovative ideas to enhance your St. Barth experience with us. Laura comes to us from Le Sereno hotel where she handled reservations at both their St. Barth and Lake Como hotels and interacted with the hotel guests. By the end of the week, she had fully adapted to her position and told me that she loves her new job! Welcome Laura.

Here I am with our newest St. Barth Properties – St. Barth rental offce staff member Laura Commaret

I do have lots of other news but will save it for future blogs, so that you are not on overload.

Julie Nally’s St. Barth Trip Report

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Discover some new St. Barth favorites

Julie Nally

Julie Nally

Our St. Barth Villa Specialist, Julie Nally (20 years with SBP) just returned from her spring inspection trip to St. Barth. She stayed at various places for a night or two, as is customary when the staff is on one of their reconnaissance tours that occurs twice a year. Julie spent a few nights at the new 5-star hotel, Villa Marie Saint Barth. (Loved it!) She said, “Standout Hotel: Villa Marie – Brand new boutique hotel located in Colombier. One of the room amenities I loved the most was the super soft bathrobe provided for all guests.  Bathrobes are obviously not a new item offered. However, this specific robe was the most comfortable and best fitting I have ever had. I wanted to buy one to bring home, but unfortunately, they are not for sale. Their branded Pure Altitude facial and body products provided are lovely as well.”

Villa Marie

Julie loved having breakfast, poolside, at the hotel Villa Marie

Julie continued to say, “The ambiance at the property is very nice…tropical, lots of vegetation, hillside.” The restaurant at the hotel is called, François Plantation in tribute to the former restaurant that used to occupy the same spot when the hotel with the same appellation was there many years ago. Julie dined there and said, “It was very good (gastronomique) a bit expensive, also.  Of course, right?!  LOL.” I’ve dined there a few times myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s well worth it and it’s always full, so please make sure to ask us to make a reservation for you.

François Plantation restaurant at Villa Marie

François Plantation restaurant at Villa Marie

Julie then checked into Villa Aronnax – This luxurious one bedroom pied-à-terre is in the heart of Gustavia. Julie loved it for its views, infinity pool and location. She said. “Aronnax – Great for a couple or solo traveler who wants to experience the heart of Gustavia and all it has to offer…delicious food, tasty treats, fabulous shopping, and lovely people to meet and converse with.  Being able to keep my car parked in its own designated spot and walk to Shell Beach earns Villa Aronnax extra stars!” Its proximity to Tom’s Natural Juice Bar was perfect. Julie would start her day with one of their fresh fruit & vegetable smoothies or acai bowls. She’d pick up some house-made hummus and sunflower crackers to fuel her for a morning full of villa inspections.

Gustavia sunset

Julie captured this Gustavia sunset while walking back to Villa Aronnax

Other tidbits from Julie. “Standout spots for the health-conscious traveler: In addition to Tom’s Juice bar, there is a new place in St Jean, Chez SO, specializing in organic salads made fresh daily at 6 euro/bowl as well as smoothies, sandwiches, and desserts.”

Julie inspected, many, many villas on her trip and told me her, “Standout villas: Villa LAO – Brand new, located high on the hillside in Corossol with three en suite bedrooms, all with a private Jacuzzi. The view is amazing and the location is private, peaceful, and convenient.” She also loved Villa Clés des Vents that is located in the gated community of Mont Jean. In her own words, “Incredibly private, serene, tranquil.   Furnishings and décor are classic but luxurious.  A ‘home away from home’ style and comfortability.”

Villa Clés des Vents

Villa Clés des Vents is one of Julie’s new favorites

I am heading back to St. Barth on Sunday to gather information for our next Live Your Dream magazine and looking forward to writing articles for your enjoyment. I will also be organizing and planning our beachside party when we unveil the magazine and launch the new season. It will be in the late fall. I can give you the exact date when I return. I hope to see you there!