This season we spent a couple of months in Gustavia and adored it. Steve and I were delighted to have SBP’s marketing consultant Connie Walsh and her husband Mike join us for a week at Suite Paradis. They loved it as much as we did and as this month’s guest blogger, Connie shares her experiences.
Trip Report St. Barth – April 2019
By Connie Walsh
As a marketing consultant for St. Barth Properties, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this beautiful little island many times. Over the past dozen years, I’ve checked in to almost every one of its celebrated 5 star hotels and some lovely, lovely, villas. I’ve enjoyed Toiny’s dramatic coastline, the stunning views from the hills of Vitet and been within walking distance from one of my favorite beaches—Flamands. Oh, and having just a “short hop” home after some table-top dancing at Pointe Milou’s notorious Le Ti St. Barth is a plus.
In early April, husband-in-tow, I stayed in the heart of Gustavia with Peg and Steve and it was a whole new, and delightful experience. Our digs for the week were a charming apartment across the street from the little capital’s iconic harbor. View? Check.
Suite Paradis (bi-level, with 3 bedrooms and 2 and ½ baths) has a spacious living room and a compact kitchen that open to a balcony overlooking the harbor. Coffee and pastries in hand, we took a seat and watched the island come alive each morning. Joggers and dog-walkers, boaters and fisherman heading out to sea and parents bringing their children to school. It inspired us to take advantage of the cooler mornings and get in a walk around the harbor ourselves.
And what a spot for sunset cocktails! That fiery orb pairs well with a chilled glass of Pouilly-Fumé Ladoucette 2015—recommended by the local vintners. Timing is everything in life, so guests at Suite Paradis should plan a pre-sunset stop at nearby Zagury’s for some mouth-watering nibbles. We loved the many goodies from France: cheeses, olives, patés, and chocolate. The shop does a significant amount of yacht provisioning and has shelves full of premium spirits and a nice selection of wines including the uber-popular rosé Whispering Angel and jeroboams of Champagne—should you be so inclined. You probably won’t be driving to and from dinner. Just sayin’.
Being within walking distance of so many restaurants is a huge benefit of staying in Gustavia. Our first night we strolled down the street to Le Repaire for dinner. Located across from the ferry terminal, this casual eatery opens at 7 am for breakfast, they serve lunch and there are always appealing specials on the blackboard. I opted for a filet of pork and potatoes dauphinoise. Loved it. Reasonable prices and great people watching are a bonus.
We walked to some of our other favorites—Black Ginger, where they shake up a perfect Mai Tai and my husband and I always order the chicken curry and Mahi-Mahi in black pepper sauce. Dining on the top level, under the stars is special. The chichi harborside Bagatelle (location, location, location, superb service, cool vibe …) always makes our list. Bagatelle’s other jet-setter locations include its flagship in New York as well as London, Miami, Rio, and Buenos Aires. So that gives you an idea before you book your table (For clients of St. Barth Properties, be sure to do that through their concierge, and you’ll receive a complimentary apéritif.). Think French Mediterranean influenced cuisine and a south of France ambiance. Their signature dish Poulet Rôti Entier à la Truffe is de mourir pour (if I’ve conjugated the verb” die” correctly) and for me, it’s a difficult decision between this fabulous roast chicken and their linguine and clams. Consider their black truffle pizza to start.
Suite Paradis rentals come with a parking spot at a nearby lot, which is a real bonus. One evening we drove out to the Tamarin and dined in its enchanting garden We got our pizza fix at Les Bananiers—St. Barth-style with a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. And for us, no trip to St. Barth is complete without dinner at Santa Fe.
On every visit, we try to include newer additions to the island’s dining scene. We enjoyed two feet-in-the-sand lunches, one, a post-site-inspection at the Hotel Manapany in Anse des Cayes (Love this hotel with its eco-friendly policy and its Dr. Hauschka- branded spa.)
The other was St. Jean’s lil’ Rock Beach Club. Just down from the Pearl Beach Restaurant, you’ll see wooden tables and chairs set under umbrellas and just behind them a faux beach shack set up for those wanting more shade. With any luck, you’ll hear everyone’s favorite island crooner—Soley. The “joint is jumpin” on the weekends and just the spot if you are looking for a party scene. Weekdays are quieter. The burgers—beef and Mahi-Mahi—are terrific and come with hand-cut fries. We recommend the salade niçoise and the barman makes a fine Planteurs.
Staying in Gustavia, with proximity to all those marque designer shops can be dangerous though. Le Carré d’Or Shopping area is always fun, and on the other side of town, I love the West Indies Design Store. If there’s a chance to pop into the Longchamp’s Shop and treat myself to a new purse, well, I’m there. However, we especially enjoyed browsing the boutiques tucked away in the streets adjacent to the harbor. In search of a new bikini? Pain du Sucre has a tiny outpost here.
Les Canebiers, a luxury swim and resort brand from Saint Tropez, has some hard to resist creations and MC2 stocks Caribbean-colored sportswear for the whole family. Anytime is a good time to stay in Gustavia, but during the annual sales – Les Soldes! (May 4-June 14, 2019) might just be ideal. The team at St. Barth Properties will be happy to help. Enjoy!