Trip Report as Covid 19 Winds Down. New Villas and the Reimagined Carl Gustaf Hotel
After having to cancel several trips to St. Barth due to Covid-19, I was finally able to get back to paradise with my husband, Steve (aka “Doc”). My daughter Kim and her friend Heidi, both of whom left their hubbies at home, joined us. Lucky me! Villa Crystal Dream was available and perfect for our stay. Being on St. Jean Beach is so convenient and fun. In addition to sitting by the pool, we love to sit on the beach, so I rented two very sturdy beach umbrellas from Carib Water Play, and they were kind enough to put them up and down for us each day.
I tried not to work too much so that I could spend some leisure time with my family, but I did do some villa and hotel inspections while I was there. My first stop was easy because Villa Kumara is only 2 doors down from Crystal Dream. I loved the refurbishment. It is so elegant yet “beachy-casual” and perfect for two couples or a family with older children because there is a separate en suite pavilion with a bunk bed that has a trundle bed, so three people can sleep there. Kumara is on the beach yet set back with a sunny pool, so it feels a bit private.
Then it was off to Pointe Milou to visit a villa that we (St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty) sold to one of my clients. After three years of first tearing it down and rebuilding it, the final product is the five bedroom villa known as Cap Azur was well worth the wait! The view is breathtaking, and the attention to detail can be seen throughout the entire property. I met the happy owners right before they left the island, and we listed the villa that very day. It is located above the Christopher, so you can hop in your car and drive down to enjoy lunch, dinner or a spa treatment in 2 minutes.
I had a site inspection at the 5-star Carl Gustaf hotel. The last time I did that, I was wearing a hardhat as it was still under refurbishment by its new owners, the Barrière Group. The “new” hotel is gorgeous. It features one and two bedroom pool suites, all with a view and an aquabike for the plunge pool on each suite’s covered terrace. There are many steps that cascade down the property, so be careful and hold onto the hand railings if need be. We toured the beautiful spa and the well-equipped fitness room.
The pièce de resistance is the Michelin star restaurant, Fouquet’s, that overlooks Gustavia harbor. Tables with comfortable seating are along the deck; the lounge and bar line the interior. It is the perfect spot to enjoy sunset cocktails before dinner. Our meals were outstanding. My lobster (Maine) ravioli was to-die-for, just the right portion for my appetite. We found the wine list to be reasonably priced, which is important when we dine out. Later, Executive Chef Gil Dumoulin stopped by our table, and we told him much we enjoyed the entire evening and his cuisine. You must add this dining experience to your restaurant reservation list. We will make the reservation for you.
We enjoyed dining out at my usual faves, but only had ten days to do it, so we could not frequent all of them. We tried Ti’Corail on Grand Cul de Sac Beach for lunch. For those who remember O’Corail, it has been closed since Hurricane Irma hit the island. Odette has moved on to France. Under the same ownership, her brother, Turenne Laplace of Ouanalao Dive, rebuilt the restaurant and partnered with chef Yann Vinsot, a former chef at Cheval Blanc, to manage it. Ti’ means small and so named because Turenne had to reduce the size. It’s a cute little place on the water with a few tables and a small bar above the colorful water and some tables on the beach serving light lunches, snacks, and cocktails in a “food truck” concept with reasonable prices. The view and the breezes are delightful, but finding parking is a challenge. It is so popular that reservations are a must. As always, we happily make your dining reservations for you. (Closed Monday)
No trip is complete without dining at the Santa Fe.
As the end of our trip approached, we knew that we had to have negative results of the covid-19 antigen tests to re-enter the US, so here is the Covid 19 info for returning to the US as of May-June 2021. We strolled over to the spot where the Red Cross administers them in the rear of the St. Jean Beach parking area two days before our departure. There is an entrance to enter the line; you will see a bar code to scan. Each one of you needs to fill out that form. When we tried to save it, we could not do it but left that page up. When we got to the head of the line, one of the people checking us in came to help us and registered us. Then we went to a tent for the free antigen test that was administered at about 10:00 am. We had the results emailed to us by 3:30 pm that afternoon. Voilà!