It’s Julie Nally’s turn to share her recent trip report with you. Julie has been a St. Barth Specialist with St. Barth Properties for 18 years. When she began her career with us, she had not yet had children. Over the years, she was blessed with two very nice boys. If you are considering going to St. Barth with your family and have younger children, Julie gives some insight on what a family trip to St. Barth can be like.
I hope you enjoy it!
Will Kids Love St. Barth?
By Julie Nally
“Will my kids love St. Barth?” is a common question I get from potential clients planning their next family vacation. Well, the answer has always been “yes” for a variety of reasons. However, now I can speak from my own experience, the answer is an even bigger “YES!”
I just returned from my latest island villa and hotel inspection trip. This trip was different than any other because I was not traveling alone or with a friend but with 5 kids! That’s a “busload.” The age range was from 10 to 21 years old and included my two sons, Jack, 10, Keith, 13 and my three nieces ages 14, 16 and 21.
The initial interest in planning this trip was sparked by my son Keith. He was curious about St. Barth and always asking if he could come with me when I went for work. He was determined to be on the plane to St. Barth with me. I granted his wish and it had a domino effect for all the other kids.
We flew from Boston to San Juan on Jet Blue and then took Tradewind Aviation from San Juan directly to St Barth. The Tradewind Aviation flight is ideal for anyone traveling to the island. Convenient, quick, and comfortable – a good start to any trip.
After arriving, it was on to Villa Eclipse in Camaruche. This villa with its long lap pool, amazing view, privacy, and oversized indoor and outdoor living spaces was the perfect choice for our group. The US Satellite TV in both the living room and master bedroom didn’t hurt either. The NBA Championship games were on and I have two sports enthusiasts for sons! The owner of Villa Eclipse also owns the amazing Villa Wings located in St Jean and the convenient condominium Wahoo in Gustavia. Three different locations, three very different properties but all top-notch villas that offer great amenities for the appropriate clientele.
After some refreshing pool time, we were treated to quite a surprise – an amazing fireworks display that lit up the skies. Lucky for us there was a large high-end wedding on the island and as it turned out Villa Eclipse had the best seat in the house. The kids were so excited!
After, we left for a casual first-night dinner at L’Isoletta in Gustavia. This chic little bistro offers the best gourmet pizza slices on earth and outdoor dining on comfy couches and candlelight. We ended the evening with my niece giving a toast and that started a fun tradition.
Saturday and Sunday were filled with swimming and lounging at the villa and beach exploration (Saline on Saturday and Flamands Beach by the hotel Taïwana on Sunday). We had dinner at L’Entracte in Gustavia and JoJo Burger in Lorient and kept the nightly toast tradition going. My niece Ava gave it at L’Entracte and my son Jack at JoJo Burger. I also enjoyed some needed “girl time” Saturday night with two of my nieces Lindsey and Haley, at one of my favorite local bars Sayolita. It’s owned by two free-spirited St. Barth surfers Daniel and Sylvain and the girls loved the vibe and the “chill” atmosphere.
The absolute highlight of the weekend was our jet ski tour around the island on Sunday afternoon. Wow! None of us had ever jet ski’d on the open ocean before and what an adrenaline rush it was. Ninety minutes of pure fun, gorgeous scenery, and lots of laughs. Jeremy at Ouanalou was our guide and he was terrific.
Come Monday morning it was time for me to start my villa visits. I felt the best spot to get the kids situated was at St Jean Beach. They could watch the planes come and go, hang out at La Plage, the beach restaurant at the Tom Beach hotel, and walk to local shops. To my surprise, my son Jack opted to come with me for the day as opposed to beaching-it with the rest of the crew. He wanted to get an inside look at these properties he had only seen on our website before. Let me tell you, it was an absolute pleasure having him with me as my “little assistant.” His eye for detail, knowledge of all the technical gadgets (I had never heard of a “launchport” before.), and genuine interest in discussing the properties after seeing them was a nice surprise. He accompanied me again on Tuesday. I now wish he could be with me on every inspection trip!
I knew I wanted to capture this family vacation on film in some form or another. How could I not take advantage of this opportunity of our all being together in paradise?! Of course, there was collectively hundreds of selfies taken by the kids but I wanted something more. I made arrangements with island photographer, Chrystele Escure to come to the villa for a photo session. On Monday evening with cool music playing on the Bose surround system throughout the villa, we started what turned out to be a real (and fun, and exciting) photo shoot. Chrystele gave every person their time in the spotlight and a chance to be a “supermodel” – and captured their spirit. Seeing just how much fun everyone was having and the unique pictures that Chrystele was taking of us as a group and individually was priceless!
I highly recommend booking a photo shoot. It’s a fun and creative way to shed inhibitions and capture your time on St Barth. It’s a once in a lifetime experience! Just ask Julia or Magda, our concierges to arrange it for you.
Before our vacation together came to an end on Wednesday, the kids were able to get in a few more midnight swims at the villa, browse the shops in Gustavia, and enjoy their last delicious meal at Bar L’Oubli -followed by yummy gelato of course. I didn’t want to see them go because, of all the trips to the island, this was the one that brought me the most joy and happiness. I loved that they picked up on the true spirit of St Barth …the people, the beauty, and that “mysterious vibe” that floats in the air and puts a smile on your face. Anyone who has been to St. Barth knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Before they left on their Tradewind Flight back to San Juan, the girls and I recalled that classic movie Wizard of Oz we all know and love. However, instead of clicking ruby slippers, they were clicking summer sandals and flip flops thinking “There’s no place like St Barth…there’s no place like St Barth.”