Archive for June, 2012

St Barts Trip Report June 2012 by Kathy Schlitzer

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Many of us have just returned from another great trip to St. Barts where we did our homework for you by inspecting and re-inspecting our villas and hotels in order to ensure that you Live Your Dream® on beautiful St. Barth while you vacation there. Kathy Schlitzer, one of our very experienced Villa and Hotel Specialists, shares her trip report in this guest blog.

Merci beaucoup, Kathy

End of High Season Lunch with the St. Barth Properties US Team and Celebration of Tom Smyth's 20 Years wiith SBP

End of High Season Lunch with the St. Barth Properties US Team and Celebration of Tom Smyth's 20 Years with SBP

St Barts Trip Report June 2012

By Kathy Schlitzer

It’s a good travel day when all your connections are on time and everything goes smoothly. Such was the case for my recent working trip to St Barth.

I arrived in St Barth on Tradewind Aviation from San Juan. You’d think after all these years it would be old hat but I’m always excited to be landing on this beautiful island. The weather was glorious and seeing all the familiar faces at the airport is like coming home. Odile at Gumbs Car Rental and our St Barth Properties booth had my car ready and I was off to my first accommodation, the Hotel Taïwana on Flamands Beach.

The Taïwana is under new management and I was anxious to experience the hotel, the rooms, beach, common areas, and get to know the staff. Felipe, the manager, took me on a tour of the rooms and explained the changes planned during the September and October hotel closing. He was excited about new furniture, painting, renovation of the remaining bathrooms, and pointed out the already completed improvements to the gardens.

Carl, the beach manager, had my beach chair saved and ready for me each morning. Jeremy at the bar was a delight. I was his tester for several newly created cocktails; he is an artist behind the bar! All in all I had a wonderful experience and highly recommend the Hotel Taïwana for our hotel clients wanting to be on Flamands Beach. With the addition of the Hotel Taïwana we now have two great luxury hotels on Flamands Beach, and congrats to the Hotel St Barth Isle de France for recently receiving 5 star status.

After three too short vacation days I was ready to commence my villa visit schedule and move to Villa Privée with my colleague Julia Hurd, our St. Barth Properties US office’s Concierge. I started my visits with a bang at Villa Vitti, a 5 bedroom Grand Cru villa located above Shell Beach. Vitti is a fabulous house in a great location. The villa is perfect for couples and families and has the unique ability to host large events and parties as well. The chef’s kitchen has table service for 100, and on the lower level there is a ballroom set up with professional disc jockey equipment and even a disco glitter ball! The morning after party guests needing peace and quiet can escape to the peaceful Zen garden off the living area.

I wish I could give you a rundown of all the villas I saw but there were far too many to list in one trip report. I typically concentrate on houses that are new to us, newly renovated or added to, and houses I haven’t seen recently. Villa Seascape for instance is a fabulous new 6 bedroom modern and comfortable villa in Pointe Milou. The views in that area are breathtaking. The bedrooms are large and each one has an ocean view. The pool is infinity and heated, and for the active there is a staircase down the cliff to a small beach – but be prepared to climb back up after your swim! If you prefer to get your exercise the conventional way, Seascape has an air-conditioned very well-equipped fitness room.

Villa Privée was our home for 3 nights and we enjoyed the sunset view and the proximity to the Hotel Christopher for cocktails and dinner. It’s a very comfortable and charming villa for two couples or a family with older children.

Last fall I toured Villas Naturelle 1 and Naturelle 2 hillside in Gouverneur but they weren’t completed at the time so I was anxious to go back to see the finished product. These two – 4 bedroom villas beside one another are perfect for a large group wanting 8 bedrooms, or individually for a family or couples looking for 1 to 4 bedrooms. The villas are large and luxurious with all the extra amenities; several of the bedrooms have private pools and large private deck space.

Villa Colombe in Colombier is a nice addition to our inventory. Moderately priced for those wanting a 1 to 3 bedroom house, the villa has amazing views of Gustavia and the surrounding islands, a large pool, and all the comforts indoors and out.

Also newly added are Clair de Lune and Reflet de Lune in Colombier. These two villas are near each other and can be rented separately with two bedrooms each or together for a family or couples needing 4 bedrooms. Both offer spectacular sunset views.

From Villa Privée Julia and I moved to Crystal Dream on St. Jean Beach for three nights. Crystal Dream is a very popular villa and for good reason. The villa has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, its own private swimming pool and is near Hotel Tom Beach with its famous La Plage restaurant and Pink Parrot bar. Villa Crystal Dream is known for having direct access to a great beach while still maintaining privacy. -Perfect.

My trip report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wonderful meals we shared during our stay. One of my all time favorite restaurants is Le Gaïac at Hotel Le Toiny, chef Stephane Mazieres is a culinary artist. The beet ravioli starter and the chocolate mint ice cream dessert were not only beautiful but delicious.

Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese starter at Le Toiny's Gaïaic Restaurant

Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese starter at Le Toiny's Gaïaic Restaurant

Le Toiny Gaïac Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Dessert

Le Toiny Gaïac Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Dessert

I could go on and on about the meals we ate, every one of them a treat, but you need to experience the cuisine in St. Barth yourself to fully appreciate the talent of these fine chefs.

It was another successful trip to my favorite island and I was, as always, sad to leave. I look forward to going back in November. Until next time! … À la prochaine!


St. Barts is for Sailors Who Love to Race

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

John Casey, who is the U.S. Multihull Champion, has fallen in love with St. Barts, too! I am pleased to present his first guest blog with hopes of more to come.

John Casey (left) with racing partner Dalton Tebo

John Casey (left) with racing partner Dalton Tebo

With St. Barthélemy’s rich sailing tradition, being discovered by Columbus in 1493 and used by French pirates to stash Spanish galleon spoils, the eight square mile island has remained a number one world sailing destination.

When I first arrived from Florida in 2009 to sail in the prestigious catamaran regatta, the CataCup, I was taken aback by how unique the island actually was compared to other Caribbean destinations. There was not a piece of trash anywhere. There was no McDonald’s or Subway. There were no people milling around with nothing to do. It felt like a productive island. We arrived at an open island villa built on the side of the mountain. It felt as if the structure itself admired the view as much as I did. At that exact time I thought, “This is a place for me!”

The next year, 2010, I came back to race the CataCup and we improved to first place! Then I really thought it was a place for me. During that regatta Peg and I decided to create the St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sailing team. I thought it was a perfect fit. St. Barth is one of the loveliest sailing locations in the world with its green way of living and rich sailing history. Peg and St. Barth Properties have been winning as many awards as hotel and villa specialists as I have for sailboat racing, so it was easy for us to develop a winning strategy.

Our eye on success was unwavering and last year the St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sailing team earned a second place in the CataCup against world champion and Olympic competition.

This year we are back stronger than ever! We have a new boat, new sails and a continued great relationship.

A big thanks to Peg and the St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty team for helping us live our dream!

John Casey
St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty Sailing Team
U.S. Multihull Champion

Parlez-vous Français? Would you like to learn or brush up on your French before you next visit to St. Barts?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I am back in St. Barths with some of my team. We are running around the island and have a full schedule of meetings as well as villa and hotel inspections. We are enjoying fabulous lunches and dinners and working on a big surprise for you.

Our first night at Andy's Hideaway  Left to right Peg Walsh, Connie Walsh, Julia Hurd, Kathy Schlitzer, Kim DiMascio, our great waiter Franck and Tom Smyth

Our first night at Andy's Hideaway Left to right Peg Walsh, Connie Walsh, Julia Hurd, Kathy Schlitzer, Kim DiMascio, our great waiter Franck and Tom Smyth

St. Barts is a French island, so I get to speak a little French while I am here. Don’t worry; you can come here on vacation without speaking French. People in the restaurants and shops as well as at the staff at my St. Barts office speak English. However, the islanders love it when visitors attempt to speak their language.

Have you always wanted to speak French or improve your vocabulary? Next month, you can join me at Dartmouth College where I am taking a French immersion course for the third time. It is called ALPS (Accelerated Language Programs) and it was created by John Rassias whose Rassias Method of teaching produces immediate results. The ALPS website states, “The goal of the Rassias Method is to make the participant feel comfortable and natural with the language in a short period of time. This is accomplished through a specific series of teaching procedures and dramatic techniques which seek to eliminate inhibitions and create an atmosphere of free expression from the very first day of class. Our method of language instruction places the participant at center stage and seeks to replicate the relevant, life-like situations encountered in the target language. The emphasis throughout is spoken language and familiarity with the culture of the country whose language is being studied. The classroom techniques involved are rapid-paced, theatrical, highly creative, imaginative, and necessitate great quantities of enthusiasm”.

The Rassias Center

This course is intense so you really need to be committed to spending 10 days (and evenings) learning everything you possibly can about the French language. The ALPS program offers immersion courses for everyone. Whether you are a rank beginner or a very advanced student, there is a course for you. Upon arrival, you will be assigned to a small group with other students who are on the same level as you are. You will take three Master classes each day followed by “drills” that support what you are learning. You will have lunch and dinner with your fellow group members and a staff member will join you. You are supposed to speak only French while you are being immersed, so it is quite a challenge.

You will hear lots of people speaking other languages while you are there because other groups will be learning Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and German during the session. The Rassias Method works because you have to think on your feet – no time to stop and translate anything in your head – this is true immersion.

The dates are July 6-15 2012 and I would love to see you there. You can apply on-line and opt to stay in the Dartmouth dorms or a nearby hotel. The Marriott Residence Inn in Lebanon has special rates for ALPS students. Let me know if you are going; it would be great to meet you and we can rave about St. Barts in French!

The Rassias Center
Dartmouth College
6071 Blunt Suite 315
Hanover, NH 03755-3526 USA
Phone: (603) 646-2922 Fax: (603) 646-2240