More fantastic St. Barth Villa and Restaurant Recommendations

September 13th, 2018
Allegra

Allegra Pawlowski

St. Barth Hotel and Villa Specialist Allegra Pawlowski’s Guest Blog and Trip Report

I hope that you enjoyed your summer and are thinking about going to St. Barth, now that Labor Day is behind us. To get you in the mood, I am presenting a guest blog written by our fabulous St. Barth Hotel and Villa Specialist Allegra Pawlowski. Happy reading!

Hope to see you in St. Barth,
Peg

This past May I took my spring inspection trip to the island with our US based concierge, Julia Hurd. Julia is not comfortable with flying (she outlined her experience in her trip report a few months ago) but she did great! We flew Tradewind Aviation (her first time) and she was a total pro. Here she is upon landing in St Barth with the pilot:

Upon landing, we collected our rental cars. We picked up two cars as Julia had plans to check out new restaurants, services etc. on the island and I had a separate one which I used to explore the island and perform my villa inspections. We drove straight up to our villa, L’Adrech which would be home for 3 nights. L’Adrech has an outstanding view over St. Jean (from Lurin). I could spend the whole day sitting on the terrace or in the pool and watching the planes come and go from the airport in the distance below. This is a wonderful spot for a multigenerational family. The master bedroom (which is HUGE) is located in the main villa with a large walk-in closet and massive en suite bathroom. Next to it, there is also the TV room which could be considered part of, or separate from, the master suite. The suite also has its own access to the pool terrace and the view. Stunning! In this same building, you will find the fully AC’d living, kitchen and dining rooms – all of which are open to the view.

View from Villa L’Adrech

The pool is a few steps down from the main building and has a small waterfall and lovely mature foliage framing the view. The pool has a beach feeling entry – no stairs and is very gradual making it great for little ones or older guests (beware, there is no railing). Surprise! Julia had rented a giant inflatable flamingo and a pizza slice for us to lounge on while drifting in the pool. The second building on the property houses the two other bedrooms which have their own en suite bathrooms and face the view. These two bedrooms can also be joined if you have a nanny traveling with you or a few kids who want to have connected rooms and be separate from the parents in the master. This is a fantastic property for a family to stay and take in the view while giving everyone some space. It is still available for the holidays and the owner will allow a 7 night stay! Please ask me more if you can see your family here for Christmas or the New Year.

Pool at Villa L’Adrech

We had a chef-prepared lunch at the villa with our on-island office on our first full day and it was the perfect spot for breezes and views. I had to leave the lunch early to meet and show some clients some potential villas for the holidays but here are a couple of mouth-watering photos of the delicious menu:

Some other great family villas I saw that week were: Brise de Mer (located just a short walk from gorgeous and the calm part of Lorient beach with two bedrooms under one roof with a pool – great for a family with little ones), Gros Ilets (Fab sunset views and both bedrooms under one roof on a lower level), Fabrizia (gorgeous views over the harbor and well equipped for a large family), Sur le Port (located in Gustavia so you can walk to dinner, shopping and Shell Beach), Sea Sand & Sun, Caribbean Breeze, Moulin (at the end of the runway on St. Jean Beach), Vie en Rose (very comfortable villa with lots of land for kids to play and explore with water access from the property and a short walk to the beach and tennis courts within the gated neighborhood).

Villa Caribbean Breeze

Villa Fabrizia

Villa Moulin

After a few nights, we switched to another villa. This one was located a bit lower on the hillside in St Jean and had a more modern décor than where we had been. We loved the set up of Le Diamant (which is perfect for two couples as we each had a bedroom flanking the living, dining and kitchen area. The large zero edge pool was warm and a great place to end our days before heading out to dinner. Going to dinner and our daily excursions were made easy with the central access to all parts of the island from Le Diamant. Julia had arranged a surprise for our last afternoon, massages by the pool. A PERFECT way to end our tough week (wink wink). Merci beaucoup Julia!

Pool area at Villa Le Diamant

From IN the pool at Villa Le Diamant

While on the island, as is always the case – some FANTASTIC meals were had – we loved Tamarin, fishCorner (we went there twice in 6 days and Julia raved about the meal already so I will only show you some photos), L’Esprit, Le Repaire, Bagatelle, Le Piment, 25 Quarter, Quarter Général, François Plantation, Ociela, and the staple, Les Bananiers. Let us also not forget the chef at the villa and the chef-prepared picnic lunch to accompany our Sea Bob outing on Sunday. (Please see Julia’s rave review of the Seabob adventure – This is now something I will do each trip!)

Strawberries and millefeuille at L’Esprit

fishCorner…again – repeat offender

The now highly revered lemon meringue pie at fishCorner

Chocolate soufflé at Villa Marie St Barth’s François Plantation

Wild mushroom raviolo and grilled prawn at L’Esprit

François Plantation at Villa Marie St Barth’s take on our new infatuation, the lemon meringue pie – deconstructed

Eddie crafting and igniting cocktails at 25 Quarter

Lunch selection at fishCorner

Some of the other villas I saw that week which stood out were: Serenity (a new favorite spot high above Gustavia for three couples), LAO (outstanding views over Corossol from here – watch the boats and have a great sunset – all afternoon sun by the pool), Java (modern décor with nice views over Marigot Bay), Aigue Marine (great views over Flamands Beach – short walk to the sand or enter the water right from the property), Wide View (Sunrise lovers will enjoy this spot – also a great location if you must fit in your daily run), Sophia (wonderful spot on Marigot Bay with water access – great for three couples or a family with teens), Golden (high above Marigot Bay – wonderful view and refreshing breezes – I am “borrowing” some decorating ideas from here), La Boussole (great set up for two families traveling together), Aronnax (convenient in town location – everything at your doorstep), Colony Club E2 (great for the solo traveler), Colibris (perfect for honeymooners), Sucriers (great for two couples or a small family), Lyra (idyllic spot for extended family or a group of couples traveling together with stunning Gouverneur Beach views) and the island’s newest addition, Neo.

View from Golden over Marigot Bay

Villa Golden

Looking down at Lyra’s levels and gorgeous Gouverneur beach below

Dreamy pool at Villa Sophia

Pool view at Villa Wide View

Irma has certainly left her mark on the hearts of St Barth lovers, but the island has done an incredible job dusting herself off to welcome all of us. I think we may always have little reminders of Irma and Maria’s wrath, but hopefully we will be able to grow to have a sense of humor about some parts of it as evidenced by a property owner in Gustavia.

After the tough week, it was time to say our “ à bientôts and “au Revoirs” to our favorite spot in the Caribbean. Once again, Julia was a pro and remarked that she will ONLY fly this way now.

Boarding Tradewind

Post script – Right after I got home, I attempted the lemon meringue pie. While a valiant effort, it’s just not the same. It must be the butter….

Attempt at the lemon meringue pie in the US

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After 11 Months, One of My Most Favorite St. Barth Restaurants Re-Opens!

August 15th, 2018

Like so many of you who keep asking me for Post-Irma updates on the reopenings of the restaurants that are so much a part of The St. Barth Experience, I have waited and waited to hear news on one of my most favorite. Well, the time has come!

I am so happy to announce that the newly refurbished Santa Fé restaurant reopened on July 29, 2018.

The Santa Fé restaurant in Lurin reopened its doors on July 29th, 2018! I sent a congratulatory note to the very charming owner, David Mouton. He excitedly responded, “Hi Peg, Thank you for your nice words. You can imagine how happy we are after 11 months to open our doors again; I needed to open to feel that vibe back in my heart and also for my bank account…lol.” The restaurant will close again for its annual closure on August 25, 2018. I asked David about the reopening and he said, “We’re thinking of opening around Oct. 20th to be ready for a wonderful season; I hope your past season was not too bad and wish the next one will be magnifique!!…and looking forward to your visit asap. Thank you for your help. My best to Doc and Tom & family, Bisous.”

I love the entrance and bar area at the Santa Fé.

The menu is exciting, and I am happy to say that my very favorite dish, Dover sole meunière, is on it. Mark your calendars for Moules-Frites (mussels and fries) @29 euros every Friday (based on their arrival). We will make the reservation for you! View menu

The view at lunch is just as wonderful as ever.

The view from the Santa Fé is just as stunning in the evening.

September is the quietest month of the year for tourism. The annual closing of most of the restaurants, boutiques and hotels is drawing near. The reason? Not only is it the peak period for hurricanes, employees of France (therefore, St. Barth) are automatically guaranteed 5-6 weeks vacation every year, unlike in the US where vacations are usually based on the number of years a person has worked at the company. So, closing for 5-6 weeks works well for enterprises in St. Barth. They take advantage of the time to refresh their establishments. Who on St. Barth does not take these September vacations? The government, some enterprises, including several restaurants and parents with school-age children because the schools in St. Barth reopen the first week in September. Both of our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sales and rental offices remain open to serve you.

Many of our clients love to go to St. Barth during this period because they are seeking quiet relaxation. Although, the majority of restaurants will be closed, the good news is that you can dine at a different place every day.

What’s Open:

Le Bouchon
Café Gloriette (Closed Sunday)
Grain de Sel (Closed Sunday and Monday)
Vietnam (Closed Tuesday)
Quartier Général
Le Repaire
25 Quarter (Reopens Sept 5. 2018)
Le Select (Only closed September 7-16, 2018)
Les Bananiers (Closed Sunday)
Bar de L’Oubli (Closed Sunday)
L’Ardoise (Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday)
Au Régal (Closed Sunday and August 25-September 01, 2018)
Le Jardin (Closed Sunday)

So, if you vacationing on the island during the quiet period, you can still dine at a different restaurant every day if you wish. Bon Appétit!

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Ever Wonder Why Our St Barth Properties-USA Concierge Knows How to Personalize and Enhance Your St Barth Vacation Experience?

July 24th, 2018

Today’s blog is written by our amazing SBP-USA office concierge, Julia Hurd who has been with the Company since 2007. For those of you who have traveled with us in the past, you know how perfectly Julia assists you with any extra service you may desire. For those of you who have yet to book their St. Barth vacation with St. Barth Properties, you are in for a treat. Here is how Julia keeps on top of things for you. Enjoy.

Sunny regards,
Peg

Julia’s Trip Report St. Barth May 2018

It has been a year and a hurricane since I have been to the island of St. Barth, so I was very excited to see how the island and my colleagues have been doing along with the friends I have made since I have been with St. Barth Properties. I set off from Boston on a JetBlue direct flight into San Juan with my coworker Allegra Pawlowski, a St. Barth Properties Villa and Hotel Specialist. Now, here is the funny part, anyone who knows me is very aware of my fear of flying, so I have never in the 11 years of working as the St. Barth concierge ever flown on Tradewind Aviation. Yes folks, that is correct I always fly into SXM and take Winair, St. Barth Commuter or one of the ferries, Voyager or Great Bay Express, The ferry being my first choice.

Well, after a stern talking to myself, I decided I would give it a try. We arrived into San Juan and we were met by a Tradewind Aviation VIP Service agent who took us right to the Tradewind Aviation lounge to relax, have a cold drink and snack while the agent retrieved our bags and got us both checked in – what a breeze. I highly recommend the additional cost of $150.00 for this service; there is no additional charge if you are a party of one or eight.

I met Tom, one of the Tradewind Aviation pilots, in their VIP Lounge.

Once the plane was ready for takeoff, they let me board first and pick a seat I felt comfortable in. Tom, one of the pilots, was so kind and often looked back to make sure I was ok. I have to be honest I am mad it took me this long to fly Tradewind Aviation; it was such a smooth flight on the aircraft, a Pilatus PC-12, an 8 seater providing two pilots, a pressurized cabin, AC, cold drinks and snacks. I was NOT going to look out the window on my inaugural flight, so I got to watch 2 episodes of a 30 min show on my iPad. One hour later I was in St. Barth not even realizing we had landed. Two thumbs up to the crew and Tradewind Aviation for making this the best first-time experience ever.

We arrived and went to our SBP booth where we picked up our rental cars at Gumbs Car Rentals. We said hello to Odile who kindly lets us share the booth with her; Our greeter Romain was there to escort us to our villa L’Adrech and treated us just as if we were clients of SBP. Allegra will tell you all about this gorgeous villa in Peg’s next Guest Blog detailing her trip report.

The first night we ate at Les Bananiers; Aurélie Janvier, our St. Barth office Concierge, and Laura Commaret our St. Barth office Villa Rental Specialist, surprised us by walking in. We all had dinner together; it was great fun catching up.

I love working with St. Barth Properties-St. Barth Concierge Aurélie Janvier.

The Royal Wedding happened to be taking place that Saturday, May 19th. I thought it would be fun to arrange a Chef Lunch at the villa for our island staff along with some Tiara’s and Top Hats. We had Pascal, of Pascal Cook, one of the wonderful chefs we use on-island, prepare a Royal Feast.

Royal Lunch at Villa L’Adrech L to R- Laura, Allegra, Pascale, Me-Julia, Nadine, Romain and Benoit.

Pascal the Chef

I was lucky to be able to spend time with Aurélie our island Concierge, as we speak daily and work very closely together. It was wonderful to be able to spend every day doing new things and dining out at all the great restaurants that St. Barth has to offer.

We dined at:

fishCorner is only open for lunch; they sell freshly-caught fish daily from 8:30am to 12:00pm then again from 3:30pm to 6:00pm; they are open 12:00pm to 3:00pm for lunch and are located in Gustavia in the alley by the Bar de L’ Oubli. I had the Fish and Chips and the most amazing Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. I went back twice just for the pie. I even contacted the pastry chef Margaux Bellorgey and asked if I could have the recipe. NO SUCH LUCK, I will have to meet her next time; maybe she will allow me to be her assistant and we can make it together.

fishCorner Fish n Chips

The Lemon Pie at fishCorner is out of this world.

L’Esprit, located in Saline, Jean Claude DuFour is the owner and chef, such a great meal wonderful to see him and his staff. Ociela located in Gustavia has a wonderful view; it just so happened that Soley the musician was singing there that evening, which was a wonderful treat. Bagatelle located in Gustavia -always a wonderful time; 25 Quarter was also a great spot; we visited the new Rum Room after dinner and had a rum tasting, it was amazing. So many rums from all over the world.

25 Quarter’s fantastic Rum Room.

L’Isoletta was a restaurant I have never been able to fit into my schedule but this trip Aurélie and I made a point to have lunch; we had pizza, a salad, dessert and coffee for 20 euro pp – can’t beat that price. It was delish. Located on the upper road in Gustavia.

Aurélie devoured the pizza combo at L’Isoletta.

My Berry Ricotta dessert at L’Isoletta was very good.

We also were able to spend a day at the hotel Manapany pool and have a wonderful lunch; we toured the Spa and some suites at the hotel. What a tough job I have.

The Manapany is on Anse des Cayes Beach.

You can have lunch by Manapany’s main pool or use the adults-only pool at their spa.

Tamarin located in Saline – what a great restaurant. I love Heart Rocks and collect them in my travels, I simply fell in love with the one in the lily pond. I wish it fit in my luggage. The dinner was fantastic, everyone was happy and the tables where full. What a delightful night.

Here is Tamarin’s heart rock in one their lily ponds.

Allegra and I loved dining at the Tamarin.

I also wanted to try the St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic and some of the other activities that we offer, so we arranged a Beach Picnic with Chef XO Christophe and a lesson with Cyril Reymann to try the Seabobs. The St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic lunch was set up on Shell Beach as our lesson was there. The food from Christophe was outstanding as always, it was a pleasure to see him and one of his helpers. I highly recommend the SBP Beach Picnic; simply contact me and I will arrange everything for you. It was a great day. The Seabob was so much fun. You must try it!

Try the St, Barth Properties Beach Picnic next time you go to St. Barth.

While we were picnicing on Shell Beach, Allegra and I had a blast learning how to swim with the Seabob.

One item on my bucket list was to have a massage at a villa and boy oh boy was I one lucky and happy lady. It seems being a concierge can be stressful at times, believe it or not. So what other choice did I have but to have a massage? Allegra and I moved to the beautiful and very private Villa Le Diamant in St. Jean. (All of us at SBP love to experience the Villa Lifestyle just the way you do so that we can give you first-hand knowledge of the accommodation.) Nadine from Venus Institute set up her table poolside and within minutes I was in heaven. I can’t think of anything better to arrange for you than a fabulous massage to help you relax.

Nadine from Venus Spa came to our Villa Diamant to give me an excellent in-villa massage.

Nadine was fantastic. Venus Institute is a wonderful Spa in Gustavia that has many services from hair, makeup, mani, pedi, massages and so many more services, simply contact me at juliahurd@stbarth.com and I will give you all the details. In-villa or at the spa can be arranged.

I could not get over how wonderful the island looked and how green and beautiful it was. Other than a few obvious observations (such as the fronds on the palm trees not being 100% back), you would never think a category 5 hurricane visited. The people of St. Barth have worked so hard and are so grateful to bring the island back to its splendor.

St. Barth has so many coiorful flowers.

Another activity that Aurelie and I tried was Janzu, with Body and Soul. We met Nanda at the far end of smaller side of St. Jean Beach. Janzu is a type of water massage; it is practiced in the pool or ocean (but your villa pool can’t be too deep). It induces a state of deep relaxation, allowing energy blockages to emerge. Nanda places a nose water clip and tells you to breath out of your mouth, she listens to your breathing and tells you to close your eyes. The session was not only relaxing and calming, it was very emotional at the end; both of us found ourselves moved to tears, in a good way. Thank you, Nanda at Body and Soul. I still feel your energy. For more details contact me at juliahurd@stbarth.com.

Nanda and I are on the quieter side of St. Jean beach for Allegra’s and my Jenzu experience.

Right after Hurricane Irma hit St. Barth, the citizens began cleaning the island of debris. Each weekend a different spot is chosen. Trash bags and gloves are provided. Allegra and I volunteered to pick up trash along the roads of Corossol on a Sunday morning along with our island office; we did a great job. The more hands the better.

Benoit, Aurélie, Laura, Alllegra and I went to Corossol to join in the cleanup on Trash Day.

I can’t get over how fast the week went by, it was great to see everyone and see how well the island is doing. I am thankful to all the wonderful people and places I visited while I was there. It is one amazing island. Thank you to everyone in St. Barth for making my work week so enjoyable, it is always sad to say goodbye. Thank you to my copilot Aurélie, you’re a great partner.

Aurélie bid us goodbye. We will be back very soon.

One Response to “Ever Wonder Why Our St Barth Properties-USA Concierge Knows How to Personalize and Enhance Your St Barth Vacation Experience?”

  1. […] concierge, Julia Hurd. Julia is not comfortable with flying (she outlined her experience in her trip report a few months ago) but she did great! We flew Tradewind Aviation (her first time) and she was a […]

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St. Barth Restaurants – June 2018 trip report

June 25th, 2018

St. Barth Restaurants – Even More Choices – It Just Keeps on getting better!

To continue my blog about gathering information for our revised Live Your Dream® magazine, Connie and I went about our business. Yes, it was a working trip and always fun. We met with people regarding the revision of some of the articles we had written. For example, the Coral Restoration St. Barth project has been drastically changed by Irma. We are hoping to bring the association’s effort to the public’s attention because St. Barth must preserve and restore what makes it so special. The Coral Restoration St. Barth’s undertaking really needs funds, or they cannot continue. I just made a personal donation and I hope you will, too.

A big part of the St. Barth Experience concerns the outstanding variety of places to dine on St. Barth – from casual to gourmet. I need to be up-to-date on the latest restaurant news because people are always asking us to give them recommendations. It’s another very pleasant part of my job. Many of you know that the Gloriette restaurant on Grand Cul de Sac Beach was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma. Owner Albert Balayn is uncertain of its future but built a new place almost directly across the street from my offices. (The staff pops over there almost daily to get lunch-to-go.) Café Gloriette just opened and is run by Albert’s daughter, Sandra who prepares freshly made dishes and drinks daily. Connie and I tasted numerous selections, including the Salade Crudité, the Quiche Chèvre, the Tortilla and the Cake Salé Chèvre. – Delicious.

Salade Crudité dressed with fresh lemon juice at Café Gloriette is a must.

I was so happy to to see Sandra Balayn at her Café Gloriette. (My pin says 95 in honor of Marius’ birthday)

You can purchase Albert’s famous Rhum La Gloriette and branded souvenirs at Café Gloriette, too. (Open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day except Sunday. However, the first Sunday of the month, it is open until 1:00 p.m. to coordinate with the Marché that is held in Gustavia once a month.)

Café Gloriette is open everyday except Sunday.

We also enjoyed a different food experience: The St Barth staff joined Connie and me at the beautiful and luxurious 6 bedroom Villa Lyra that is located above Gouverneur Beach. Villa Manager Ronas Ledee cooks and serves breakfast and lunch for the villa owner and his family. You can be pampered like this too. Villa Lyra is part of our Grand Cru Collection, that includes extra services such as continental breakfast. As a bonus, Ronas is also available to prepare light lunches for 6-12 people (buffet-style) with 2 appetizers, 2 main courses with veggies, and 2 desserts. The cost is only 300 euros for her service (shopping and cooking) per lunch (clients pay for the food and beverages). We wanted to try her cuisine before you do. We began with a glass of chilled rosé wine with ice, which I was told by my French colleagues is called Rosé Piscine. The buffet included tomatoes with mozzarella, salad with balsamic dressing; breaded chicken cutlets, beef medallions with bacon, rice and fresh broccoli. The desserts were an incredible Tarte Tatin as well as a serving of ice cream. If you would like to enjoy your St. Barth vacation at Villa Lyra, we are offering an introductory special reflecting a 10% reduction for any reservation that occurs between June 26 and November 15, 2018. Please contact reservations@stbarth.com.

The tomato and mozzarella appetizer prepared by Ronas at Villa Lyra was light and fresh.

We finished our lunch at Villa Lyra by devouring Ronas’ delicious Tarte Tatin.

Speaking of lunch, Connie heard us raving about the new fishCorner restaurant, so she wanted to try it for herself. She was not disappointed! We wrote about it in our April 2018 newsletter, Le Bulletin. In case you missed it: Love fish? Then we have just the restaurant for you: fishCorner.

Johny Laplace, who comes from a long line of island fishermen, partnered with Nicolas Almeda (whose dad is co-owner of Black Ginger) and turned the former Stephane & Bernard Boutique into a fish market that transforms into a restaurant at lunchtime. Fish is sold from 8:00 a.m. till noon, and then again from 3:30 p.m. until 6:00. Lunch is served from noon until 3:30 p.m. every day – fresh fish, of course, and you’ll love the homemade sides. It’s so popular you’ll need to reserve your table, and we’ll be happy to do that for you. You’ll find fishCorner in the alleyway by Bar de L’Oubli. It’s open every day but Sunday.

fishCorner is hidden in an alley near the Bar de L’Oubli

I had the fish and chips; Connie ordered the local sole as her main course. Both were outstanding. The lemon tart is so popular with many of my staff that when our US concierge Julia Hurd and St Barth Villa and Hotel Specialist Allegra Pawlowski sampled it on their May trip to St. Barth, they tried to get the recipe from the pastry chef. She refused. Both Allegra and Julia are trying to duplicate it but can’t. By coincidence, I met the chef at my office and I told her to keep the secret. (Sorry, Julia and Allegra.)

The fish and chips at fishCorner is light and tasty (Warning- Don’t ask for ketchup!) Connie’s delicious local sole is in the background.

The famous lemon tart at fishCorenr cannot be duplicated.

For the last two nights of our stay, we moved to the newly named Pearl Beach hotel, formerly known as Tom Beach. We each had a balcony room upstairs. The view from my room #10 was beautiful with tall palm trees, lush gardens and a glimpse of the sea beyond. There was a minibar and a table with 2 chairs on the deck to enjoy an apéritif. Connie’s room #12 had a deck with a table and 2 chairs, plus 2 lounge chairs for sunning. Each morning, we enjoyed breakfast at their beachside restaurant which is open for lunch every day. It is also open on Friday and Saturday nights, so we dined there on Friday while listening to the sound of the waves.

My view from Room 10 at Pearl Beach hotel was gorgeous.

To finish off the week, we enjoyed lunch at Nikki Beach. If you have not done so, try it on a non-Sunday. It is a great, more relaxing experience.

The Salade de Langouste is one of my Nikki Beach favorites.

Hope to see you on St. Barth!

4 Responses to “St. Barth Restaurants – June 2018 trip report”

  1. Peggy King says:

    Has Eden Rock reopened? How about “Emeraude Plage?”

  2. admin says:

    Hi Peggy,

    Eden Rock has not reopened but is expected to open right before Christmas. Emeraude Plage is not expected to reopen. Its future is uncertain at this point. Stay tuned…Peg

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Marius Stakelborough’s 95th birthday

June 20th, 2018

Is longevity a trait of the people who were born in St. Barth?

Many of you are familiar with our Live Your Dream® magazine that we publish. It features articles, information on our USA and St. Barth offices and their staff as well as descriptions of our villas and hotels. Last summer, as usual, I worked on it, had all of the content proofread and sent the final OK to be printed in France. Then along came Hurricane Irma with her evil eye passing over the island on September 05-06, 2017. – STOP THE PRESS! – Almost everything that was written was no longer relevant and had to be edited or redone. So, Connie Walsh (no, we are not related), who coordinates the content with me and I went back to St. Barth. I chose to be there during Marius Stakelborough’s 95th birthday celebration. And what a celebration it was! For those readers who don’t know about him, Marius founded the famous Le Select bar that is located in the heart of Gustavia in 1949. He later added food, so it’s where you can get a Cheeseburger in Paradise, have fun and watch the world go by.

Three days of partying! The actual birthday was June 5th, but the festivities began at Le Select the evening of June 4th. Lots of people had flown down just the occasion and, of course, the people who live on the island were there, too. The next day, we gathered at Le Select around 11:00 a.m. Marius was at a table where drinks and wine were served; Champagne flutes as well as yummy hors d’oeuvres were being passed around. Soley came to serenade us.

The 95th birthday celebration spanned over 3 days.

The family was asked to come forward for a team photo – Marius has 9 children, lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren – so the group was large. At about 4:00 p.m., everyone took a break, but the party resumed at 7:00 p.m. with an even larger crowd who joined in the festivities and danced to the music of a local band.

The family photo I took here shows some, but not all of Marius’ relatives – These are mostly the grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The following evening the celebration continued at Eddy’s restaurant. Eddy is one of Marius’s sons; his wife Brigitte and son Mahé help run the place. Marius was still going strong and people like me flocked to give him a hug.

Marius is one of my most favorite people. It’s an honor to know him.

Hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served, followed by a shrimp appetizer, a choice of Red Snapper or Chicken Colombo and birthday cake. The restaurant was packed. Soley was back to entertain. We sang Happy Birthday to Marius many, many times. He loved it as did we. Long Live Marius!

Stay tuned for more about my June 2018 trip in my next blog. Hint: St. Barth dining – Believe it or not, even more choices.

One Response to “Marius Stakelborough’s 95th birthday”

  1. JP Hennequet says:

    Dear Peg

    About longevity ( in average) of islanders :

    – during the Swedish sovereignty the king of Sweden sent a scientific mission to study the case ( why so many people live more than 100 years?), which concluded that it was favored by many factors: healthy Air thanks to the alizés winds; healthy food régime thanks to eating a lot of seafood; healthy physical activities due to hilly grounds…

    – and it seems to remain valid as not long ago the oldest living woman worldwide lived here…

    Best regards

    JP Hennequet

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

May 22nd, 2018

What a Difference Five Months Makes

Bonjour!

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

Enjoy!

Sunny regards,

Peg

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

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

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

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

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

The sunsets at Villa Birdy were glorious.

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

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

The birthday dessert at François Plantarion was fabulous.

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

Colombier Beach

The main pool at the Manapany hotel is beachfront.

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

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

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

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

We walked to the Natural Pools at Grand Fond.

Another photo of the Natural Pools in Grand Fond.

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

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

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

Sweet packaging by Bijoux de la Mer.

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

The view from the park behind the hospital is breathtaking.

Our last sunset from Villa Birdy was beautiful.

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

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2018 Transat AG2R transatlantic sailing race

May 9th, 2018

The incredible St. Barth La Transat AG2R LA MONDIALE

Life goes on in St. Barth. Some things have not changed and that is the Maritime traditions that continue to take place – Irma or no Irma. We had the CataCup, the St. Barth Bucket Regatta, Les Voiles de St. Barth, the West Indies Regatta, and now the biannual La Transat AG2R LA MONDIALE is on its 17th day of the race.

The Transat AG2R is a transatlantic sailing race that takes place every other year. The departure point is Concarneau Harbor in France, and the finish is Gustavia Harbor in St. Barth, a total of 3890 miles. Each boat has only two crew members and are identically equipped 33’ Figaro Bénéteau II single-hull sailboats. It is amazing that so many sailing buffs scramble to find sponsors, spend three to four weeks in cramped quarters with as few supplies as possible so as not to weigh them down, and risk getting on each other’s nerves big-time. The challenge for the crew is to take advantage of the wind while determining the best route.

For the 2018 Transat AG2R, 19 boats left Concarneau on April 22, 2018, heading off to St. Barth where the islanders intently follow their progress. This year is extra special because our very own St. Barth resident, Miguel Danet (The St. Barth Sailor), is racing on Le Macaron French Pastries sponsored boat with Eric Perron.

The St. Barth tean Miguel Danet (Left) and Eric Perron are very skilled sailors.

As of today, the first boat is very near St. Barth and Le Macaron French Pastries is in 8th place. No matter what time of day or night, many people jump in their own boats and chase out to Colombier to give each finisher a hero’s welcome and a personal escort into port. Each boat is welcomed in the same exuberant fashion, from the first to last. The final true celebration does not take place until the last place boat finishes. And then, what a celebration! Awards, food, drinks, music and dancing, all of which takes place on the Quai Général de Gaulle with everyone kissing one another and congratulating all of the exhausted crew members who successfully completed the race.

Follow the race here: http://player.georacing.com/player_ag2r2018/

Miguel and Eric, skippers on Le Macaron French Pastries race to the AG2r Transat finish in St. Barth

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Bonjour, Pearl Beach Hotel

April 10th, 2018

Au revoir, Tom Beach Hotel and La Plage restaurant
Bonjour, Pearl Beach Hotel – Saint Barth and Pearl Beach restaurant

That’s right. One day, the sign read Tom Beach Hotel, and the next day, it read Pearl Beach Hotel.

The Tom Beach Hotel is now known as Pearl Beach Hotel.

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Kim came down here to visit us with one of her girlfriends, Heidi, sans husbands, for 8 fun filled days.

No St. Barth vacation is complete without stopping at Le Select for a Cheeseburger in Paradise and an ice cold beer. Kim (L) and Heidi loved it!

Almost every weekend, we go to our usual spot on St. Jean Beach. The breezes are nice, the water is beautiful and there is always activity to observe. I have watched the rejuvenation of hotel Tom Beach and its restaurant over many months. From dragging in new palm trees in early December, to setting up a makeshift beach bar in time for the Christmas holidays, the crew worked long and hard to reopen its hotel as well as its restaurant.

We were sitting on St. Jean Beach with Kim and Heidi on Saturday, March 24, 2018, the day the plywood walls came down and the new restaurant opened. Curiosity took the better of us, so we walked over there to inquire. One of the waitstaff told me that the restaurant was open for hotel guests only that day and the next, because they wanted to have a soft opening before opening it to the public on Monday. The new beach bar was not off-limits, however, so we decided to order drinks and take it all in. We were lucky that we did, because the word had spread all over the island, and it seems as if the entire population of St. Barth was there on Sunday. So much for being open for hotel guests only. It was a huge deal for islanders to see yet another place recover, and recover well, I might say. People wanted to join the celebration of the rebirth of another of Hurricane Irma’s victims. The beach parking lot was full and people partied until the sun went down.

The beachside bar at Pearl Beach has swing-like bar seats on one side.

The bartenders at Pearl Beach mix up great cockails and are super friendly (cute too).

I asked the bartender if it the bar’s name was still the Pink Parrot and he said, “No, those days are over.” I noticed that the entire staff wore shirts displaying a round palm tree logo printed on the back and learned that the owner also has a Pearl Beach restaurant in St. Tropez that uses the same logo.

Pearl Beach Logo

A few days later, I met with the hotel manager and then made a reservation for lunch. Entering by the hotel’s front door, we walked by the rooms where I saw a new courtyard with a few small tables and chairs, and a reinvented swimming pool with waterfalls that created a relaxing ambience.

The new pool at Pearl Beach Hotel has a waterfall and is for guests only.

A new staircase led down to the restaurant. It was 1:30 p.m. and busy. Our beachfront table for two was in a perfect spot to watch the beach activity as well as the fashion show, with two beautiful women modeling beachy outfits from a Gustavia boutique. We shared the shrimp tempura; both of us ordered the mahi-mahi burger with homemade fries and shared a yummy crème brulée for dessert. We really enjoyed it. The restaurant is spacious, and there is a second main bar for restaurant patrons.

Pearl Beach restaurant is open for your beachside lunch.

The restaurant bar at Pearl Beach

If you would like to reserve rooms at Pearl Beach Hotel, please contact reservations@stbarth.com. New photos will be up soon. You can make restaurant reservations with our concierge, Julia Hurd before you travel, or with our on-island concierge, Aurélie Janvier, once you have arrived. Pearl Beach restaurant is currently open for lunch, but they hope to open for dinner a few nights a week and offer a beach BBQ on Sunday evenings. Bikini Saturday, with pink flamingos and a DJ, still exists and is great fun. Not to worry, we will send you a restaurant reservation form before you leave home.

Pearl Beach Hotel has beachside service, too. You can rent chairs and an umbrella for 20 euros ona first- come- first-served basis.

4 Responses to “Bonjour, Pearl Beach Hotel”

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    Peg, I am so glad I found your blog. Lots of helpful information! 4 of us are coming to St. Barths May 1 – 8. 3 years ago was the last time there for me.

    Can you tell me — is Santa Fe Restaurant in Lurin open? I cannot tell from the other online sources I have found.

    Thanks a million!

    Jim

    • admin says:

      Hi Jim,

      Unfortunately, the Santa Fe has not reopened. I do see work going on there, however, but it looks as if it may take a while.I miss it terribly. I hope you subscribe to my blog. As soon as I have news, I will be writing about it. Enjoy your time in St. Barth.

      Sunny regards,

      Peg

  2. Karen Gotcher says:

    Peg
    So glad to have found your blog! You seem to know the island well! Next time we visit I will be contacting you.
    Do you know what happen to La Boucherie? 3 years ago it was a wonderful place to get smoked meat on weekends and they had the best deli ever! I think it was across from Le Piment.

    • admin says:

      Bonjour Karen, Thank you for commenting. I look forward to plan your next St. Barth vacation! La Boucherie sold his St. jean location toe PATI, who sells St Barth French West Indies products.He reopened as Meat My Fish which is located on the main road road toward Marigot, just before the turn to Pointe Milou. Unfortunately, he no longer does chicken and ribs on weekends. We really miss that too. The Boucherie Che Yo that is located in Les Mangliers (St. Jean, in the complex behind the gas station) sells roasted chickens on Saturdays and Sundays. They are yummy and ready at about 11:30. We learned the hard way that you should reserve them in advance. (Our concierge can do that for you, if you wish). There is also a little place across form teh old post office in Lorent that does ribs on weekends, but you should also order in advance. Sunny regards, Peg

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More fantastic signs that St. Barth is recovering well: New 5-Star hotel opens; Nikki Beach to reopen!

March 22nd, 2018

Yes, that’s right! Nikki Beach is set to reopen on March 30, 2018! View the flyer for more details.

Just contact juliahurd@stbarth.com to pre-book a reservation before you travel, or contact aurelie@stbarth.com (0590-29-75-05) to book once you are here.

This past weekend was just like the old days. The St. Barth Bucket regatta took place and the island was hopping. Steve and I, my son and VP, Tom Smyth and his wife Amy, my grandson Tyler (on his spring break), and two of my most favorite clients/friends, Kevin and Stan, were lucky to be able to sail on a St. Barth Sailor catamaran to watch the start of the race up close and personally. What a thrill. We watched these beautiful sailing yachts maneuver around the water itching to get started. The J Boat Class boats were first to start at the sound of the gun, followed by the larger category yachts, each with their own personal start time. They tried to time it so that they were at the starting buoy exactly when the gun sounded. Flo, our skipper, skillfully kept us in the perfect spot to watch it. I hope that you can experience the Bucket next year (March 21-24, 2019).

We watched the 2018 St. Barth Bucket regatta from one of St. Barth Sailor’s catamaran. Front – Tom, Amy, Peg, Kevin and Stan. Rear – Tyler and Doc.

The J-Class boats were the first to start the St. Barth Bucket on March 16, 2018. The view of them racing by our cataramarn was breathtaking.

Back to post-Irma news. You may be asking, “What’s up with the hotels?”

Many of the 5-star beach hotels that were damaged by hurricane Irma have not told me when they will reopen, making it difficult for our hotel clientele to plan their next St. Barth vacation. Never fear, the Manapany is here! Many St. Barth regulars likely remember the old Manapany—perhaps they dined in the hotel’s restaurant or visited its spa. But few would recognize it these days. Purchased, and excitingly recreated by the young, dynamic B Signature Hotels & Resorts group, the Manapany opened as a 5-star beach hotel on March 13, 2018. It’s a wow!

I have already inspected the hotel twice and love the casual luxury it exudes. The 5-star Manapany is dedicated to respecting and protecting the environment in its natural setting. It has it all – Toes in the sand dining, 43 accommodations, including a villa, cottages, and suites with beachfront decks and steps down to the beach; hillside rooms and suites, some of which can connect, making them a great choice for families; a beach/pool bar, two seaside swimming pools (one for adults only) a fitness room, boutique, game room. and the Dr. Hauschka-branded spa are all there for you to enjoy. I took these photos to give you an idea.

Lunch time at the Manapany.

Waterfront tables on the sand are available at the Manapany, too.

This is the main pool at the Manapany. The adults-only pool is located at the spa (pictured here behind the guy who is treating the pool).

The Manapany bar is located by the restaurant’s tables and the main swimming pool. The jalousied windows can be adjusted according to the breeze.

We will be getting more pictures soon. In the meantime, here is the link: Manapany. If you would like more information on the hotel’s “dynamic pricing” (meaning the rates are based on the demand at time of the request), and would like to stay at the Manapany, just email reservations@stbarth.com.

The Christopher
As mentioned in my previous blog, the 5-star Christopher hotel that was due to reopen February 20th, 2018, was unable to do so due to the devastating fire that destroyed their main restaurant, Taino three days before. However, the hotel’s feet-in-the-sand restaurant, Mango will be open for lunch, and their Sisley Spa will be open for treatments as of today, March 22, 2018. The pool will not be ready until July, but their rooms were untouched by the fire, and are open to guests looking for reasonable rates while the reconstruction of the restaurant is going on. Regular rates will apply starting October 15, 2018. To book, contact reservations@stbarth.com for more information.

The Christopher’s waterfront Mango restaurant is open for lunch. (photo credit P.Carreau)

Christopher Sisley Spa (photo credit Max-VanderNoot)

One last note: Lil Rock Beach Bar on St. Jean beach closed on Monday, March 19, 2018 and will begin building its beach restaurant in the near future. We are looking forward to having another restaurant on the beach for your dining pleasure.

2 Responses to “More fantastic signs that St. Barth is recovering well: New 5-Star hotel opens; Nikki Beach to reopen!”

  1. Iris giuffre says:

    Hi peg
    It’s iris and Iggy
    Just wanted to say it was a pleasure meeting you last week when we stopped by to see Pasquale to give her money to get cages to catch the cats and get them fixed.
    Your husband, a fellow Nj person! Was very sweet
    See you in April!

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New Restaurant Opens in St. Barth! Plus, Should You Bring Some Cash When You Travel to St. Barth?

March 12th, 2018

It has been 6 months since powerful Hurricane Irma struck our little island. St. Barth looks healthy and is thriving. Almost every one of our villas is booked during the month of March. Everyone I bump into goes out of their way to tell me how much better than expected their St. Barth vacation has been. They love seeing how well the island has recovered and cherish the laidback vibe. I still see subtle signs of the recovery. My power walk along the harbor on Saturday brought me by a skilled stone worker replacing stone tiles.

The stone tiles are being replaced along the harbor by an expert – just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

I have been enjoying the view and sunsets from my villa and am still trying out new restaurants. Do you remember Hervé Chovet’s restaurant Le Rivage that was at the St. Barth Beach hotel (the first place we stayed when I came here in 1986) many years ago? Then he opened Côté Port on the harbor? It was scheduled to be closed in favor of dockage on the harbor and Irma did the demolition for the Collectivité. Hervé worked diligently on securing a new spot and opened Quartier Général (Headquarters) diagonally across from the Gustavia post office a few weeks ago. We tried it and loved it! It’s a long narrow venue with comfortable tables and cushioned seating, a long bar and dim lighting (use your flashlight feature on your phone). The menu is varied, and I was happy to see that some signature dishes from the days of Le Rivage are still on there. Quartier Général is open for both lunch and dinner. It was very busy. We will be happy to make a reservation for you.

I love the curtained entrance to Quartier Général.

Quartier Général had a nice ambiance.

A bit of sad news: The hotel Christopher was due to reopen on February 22, 2018. Sadly, a fire broke out in their Taïno restaurant’s kitchen 3 nights before the opening. Evidently, electrical wires that had been damaged by hurricane Irma caused the fire and the restaurant was destroyed. The hotel will not reopen until October, so we are in the process of relocating our clients who were booked there. Contact us, reservations@stbarth.com if you would like us to assist you. The hotel is working on opening its Mango restaurant for lunch (no pool, however) and Sisley Spa. Ask our office for more details.

The Taïno restaurant at the hotel Christopher burned down February 19, 2018 (photo credit Mathieu Gladius)

A new challenge presented itself Sunday night March 4th, 2018 when the Internet and cell service went down island-wide. Of course, no one knew that it was an island issue until they asked their maid or went out to get their baguette and overheard the local gossip. I drove down to my Gustavia rental office; it was bustling. No one was upset – this is an island, after all. Go with the flow. Miraculously, we had a Wifi connection in the office, so our clients were able to check their emails and we could print their boarding passes. What happened? The huge Nor’easter that wreaked havoc on the east coast of the US, believe it or not, came all the way down to the Caribbean producing huge swells. The result? An underwater cable belonging to the carrier Orange snapped. We had to adjust to the situation.

The swell caused flooding in Gustavia.

We can really say that this is what St. Barth was like 25 years ago – a time gone by, when we were able to truly take a vacation and enjoy the relaxation without the distraction of sneaking a peek at a device. We wrote our name and the time we wanted to dine on a pad pf paper that was hanging outside of a restaurant. This time, our concierge, Aurélie Janvier physically went to the restaurants to make reservations for our clients. Restaurants cooperated by taking the credit card information manually and would charge the card once the Internet was restored. Carrying some cash while traveling Is always a good Idea. If you want euros, you can go to your local bank or AAA office, if you are a member, and ask for euros. They will give you a decent exchange rate. If not, US dollars are accepted everywhere on St. Barth. Our villas are equipped with a safe where you can store the money.

All is well with the Internet now but, remember, that you are not at home and the connection here can be slow. Take the time to disconnect, you will be happy you did.

I never get tired of the sunset view from Villa Everest.

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