Archive for January, 2019

What’s New on the St. Barth Hotel Scene?

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Have you been wondering about the future of the severely damaged hotel Emeraude Plage on St. Jean Beach? I have exciting news for you! The owners of Le Barthélemy hotel have purchased the property and plan to transform it into a hotel with a totally new concept. I will monitor the progress and keep you informed on the transformation.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy. Not only am I doing villas inspections, but I am also conducting site inspections of the newly reopened hotels. The 5-Star Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth Isle de France was first on the list. The hotel team invited me to come and to bring members of my staff, who jumped at the opportunity. We visited several of the 42 rooms and suites along with 4 new one bedroom beach suites with the new décor created by French designer Jacques Grange, and direct access to gorgeous Flamands Beach. The Case de L’Isle restaurant has been redone and reinforced to further protect it from future storms. The bar was moved to a more central area and the boutique is nearby. We were treated to a sampling of the hotel’s new lunch menu. Each one was as delicious as the other.

The St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty team loved the site inspection and lunch at Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth Isle de France.

The hotel will be closed May 31, 2019 for further exciting renovations. It will reopen in the fall of 2019 with 20 new rooms and suites, bringing the total number to 62. French designer Jacques Grange, with his contemporary vision that embraces vibrant patterns, rattan furniture, warm woods and airy cotton will continue his handiwork. Renowned landscaper Madison Cox will enhance the lush tropical gardens adding to the ambiance. Honeymooners will continue to love the romantic Garden Bungalows and families can settle into the 2 bedroom suites.

Last week, I had the opportunity to do a site inspection at the recently re-opened 5-Star Le Sereno hotel. GM Samy Gachem kindly escorted me around and proudly showed me the exciting changes. First of all, the main bar has been moved to a more central location behind the restaurant. The rear section offers a nice place to sit and relax while sipping a cocktail. A new boutique is nearby. There is a lovely beachfront area with comfortable seating where guests can enjoy cocktails and conversation.

Beachfront sitting area at Le Sereno St. Barth.

We walked along the all-new wooden walkways and began our tour. There’s a small gym and all-new spa with 2 treatment rooms. The third treatment room is in a seaside pavilion. The Bungalow Piscine rooms have been completely redone. They boast cathedral ceilings, have a light color palette, and feature a corner sitting area and a sliding drawer minibar. The covered terraces offer outdoor seating and a table for two, in case you want to order room service. Some of these rooms offer a pool and sea view. The bathrooms are brighter, have rain head showers and a separate Toto toilet (Love these!). In fact, all of rooms and suites have them.

Waterfront spa pavilion at Le Sereno.

The new minibar drawers at Le Sereno.

The Grand Suite Plage category of suites have been enlarged. The closet spaces were moved closer to the bathrooms, which have tiled floors and are much brighter now. The wood floors are beautiful. The sunken living area leads to the terrace where guests can sit to enjoy the sound of the surf and the beautiful view.

While we were touring, hubby Steve sat by the restaurant to enjoy a libation. Samy then invited us to have lunch at a table overlooking the beach and the gorgeous colors of the lagoon. Steve ordered fish and remarked, “This is the best sea bass I have ever had”. The flavorings were perfectly created by the chef. I ordered the warm Goat Cheese Salad which was deliciously prepared as well. I highly recommend the Sereno restaurant to anyone who is vacationing here. I also would be pleased to book a room or suite at Sereno, Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth Isle de France or any of the other hotels that we represent.

The seasoning the Executive Chef Alex Simone put on the skin of his sea bass permeated the entire fish.

Le Sereno’s warm goat cheese salad was outstanding.

Happy New Year! Bonne Année! From Sunny St. Barth!

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Wherever you are, I hope that you enjoyed the holidays. What a difference a year makes. I am happy to report that St Barth is back to its former self! The mega-yachts are back, and our villas are full. The boutiques are full of shoppers and the restaurants are doing so well that they must turn people without reservations away. We had to allow more time to get into Gustavia for dinner because finding a parking space was a real challenge. We did eventually find one every night and happily walked along the harbor to get to the restaurant we had chosen for that particular evening. Smart vacationers used our concierge services to book taxis for them – a very relaxing way to enjoy the evening.

Before the rush, I inspected some of our new villa listings and even stayed in two of them. We decided to try staying in Gustavia. I loved it! I could walk to my offices in 6 minutes flat. We strolled to one of Gustavia’s restaurants almost every night and walked around the harbor for exercise. Suite Paradis is a wonderful 3 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment located on the inner harbor above La Cantina. It is fully air-conditioned and well-equipped. The master bedroom, on the main floor, has a king bed and large en suite bath. Two more bedrooms are up a flight of stairs and share a bath. We loved sitting on the balcony people-watching, gazing at the boats and enjoying the sunset. It is a great choice for those who like to be “in town.”

View from the balcony at Suite Paradis

We have many requests from people who want to come to St. Barth and insist that they must stay on the beach. Ninety percent of them have never been to St. Barth before, so they need to be educated as to why it is not important to do so. I always sing the praises of exploring the beaches and describe Gouverneur, Saline and Colombier beaches as being unspoiled and beautiful. Staying in the hillsides on this tiny island is the norm and, once they come here, they understand what I meant.

Don’t get me wrong, we do have some lovely villas that are on the beach, or walking distance to the beach, or on the water. We just listed the three Sable d’Or Residences that are situated in a gated area on the Baie de St. Jean and located on the other side of the runway. They are walking distance to St. Jean Beach.

So, here we are staying on the water at Villa Sable d’Or III, where guests can literally jump in for a swim or use the complimentary paddle boards from the front yard! I can see all the way across the Baie as well as the expansive beach from here. Guests can walk along the private road behind the villas and access a private area on St. Beach that is set up with lounge chairs. There is also a private tennis court (rackets and balls are provided) that is lit at night and a walking/jogging trail for guests to use, so, there is no excuse not to use them to stay in shape after dining at all of the fabulous St. Barth restaurants.

Villa Sable d’Or III is located on the Baie de St. Jean

We can listen to the sound of the surf, sit on the terrace and dine outdoors, or sit on the chaise lounges. Other chaises with an umbrella are in our front yard. We can also sit on the lounge chairs on the private balcony off our en suite bedroom that is located upstairs. There is a guest bath on the main level. Villa Sable d’Or I is identical to this one. Villa Sable d’Or II is the same, but there is a second bedroom with en suite bath off the living area.

This year, we decided to skip the New Year’s Eve celebration in Gustavia and opted to dine at the Santa Fe restaurant instead. It was a beautiful evening and the place was full. David had his regular menu available which is very refreshing as most places have a Prix Fixe menu starting at well over 250 euros per person. And, get this, if you wanted to go to Nikki Beach, the prices STARTED at 5000 euros per person! Well, it did include a show with Mariah Carey.

David took this selfie at the Santa Fe New Year’s Eve.

David also had a special holiday menu that included, among other things, dishes with Foie Gras. I always wanted to try the Langouste Thermidor, but I have a small appetite. David chose the smallest one for me and now I am hooked on it. Steve opted for their signature Dover Sole Meunière one of my very favorites. We finished before midnight and headed home. I was surprised and delighted to see a display of fireworks right off our front yard!

The Langouste Thermidor at the Santa Fe was outstanding.

Here is the view of the fireworks from our front yard at Sable d’Or III.

I hope to see you on St. Barth very soon. You will love it.

Sunny regards,

Peg
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