In early June of this year, I had the pleasure of returning to the island for my spring inspection trip with our new US-based concierge, Pascale Lord. Due to Covid and working remotely these days, I had never spent any time with Pascale. Not only was I looking forward to returning to the island, but doing so and getting to know Pascale was going to be fun.
We departed from my house before dawn on a Friday to get to the airport in Boston for the early morning direct flight to San Juan where we would connect on Tradewind Aviation to St Barth. With the VIP treatment, it was smooth sailing. We landed and were greeted by the smiling Marion and she escorted us through the rental car collection after which we followed her to our home for the first few nights, the gorgeous Villa Royal Palm. It seems each summer, it is getting busier and busier. Since Pascale had never been to the island before, having the greeting and escort to the villa was good. She was able to experience it and see what our clients will encounter which also allowed her to familiarize herself on how to get to the villa. Being a passenger is good, but as a driver, she really got a sense of the routing etc. I believe she was very pleased with the view from the villa when we arrived.
We dropped our things in our rooms, freshened up, and headed back out to the supermarket in St Jean to get a few items to get us through the weekend. Along the way, I pointed out certain places for Pascale to try to remember. That night we had an early dinner at Santa Fe which seemed to be filled with clients of St Barth Properties. Following dinner, we hit our pillows hard.
The next morning we visited a few wonderful villas like Bibi and Nature in Vitet. Villa Bibi is wonderful for a few couples and has a great view and pool area. The kitchen looks like a great place to prepare some memorable meals with friends. After the villa visits, we drove to Gustavia to visit our office and say hello to our team there. That afternoon, we had a delicious lunch at Grain de Sel in Saline which was lovely and then we drove around the island to help Pascale get better acquainted. After the tour, we took a dip in the pool and enjoyed the view before getting ready for dinner.
Dinner that night was a VERY special treat. We had reservations for Zion in St Jean. I had never been there and when we arrived, we were escorted to the counter overlooking the kitchen. Our concierge, Laura had surprised us with an experience. We were seated at the Chef’s Table. WOW is all I can say. Pascale and I both consider ourselves “foodies” and this was truly a wonderful experience. I loved watching how they prepare everything and presented it to us with an explanation as I shamelessly took a zillion photos and videos of each course and the chefs. For an additional fee, you can add a wine pairing. As I was driving, I was not ready to have seven glasses of wine that night 😊. After the seven courses, our tastebuds and senses were fully satiated, however I am very much looking forward to experiencing this again soon.
Sunday morning, we slept in a bit, ventured into Gustavia to the Marche (happening the first Sunday of the month) and checked out some shops and the new Atelier Robuchon which was eye candy for sure! After that, we made our way over to Pearl Beach Hotel in St Jean for some beach time and a feet in the sand lunch at the restaurant at the hotel. The location of this is perfect for watching planes arriving and departing the island as well as having easy access to the calm and refreshing waters iconic of St Jean bay.
Later that day after returning home to change, we zig zagged across the island again to Gustavia for a late afternoon tour of the Carl Gustaf hotel and dinner at their restaurant overlooking the harbor. The rooms at the hotel are very comfortable with nice views and an easy walk downhill to town and Shell beach. Also, the views from the restaurant over the harbor and out to sea are breathtaking.
Monday was a holiday on St Barth and we were moving villas that day so, we packed our things, loaded our cars and said farewell to comfortable Royal Palm and headed to St Jean to drop our luggage at Villa Meli Melo and down the hill to have a lunch at Nikki Beach. The service and vibe at Nikki beach are always great. I think Pascale really enjoyed the “scene” (and probably made her a little homesick for France) plus, we enjoyed yet another yummy meal. While dining we did notice a French actress who has recently been seen in several english language tv/streaming productions so that was kind of fun. It’s nice on St Barth when a celebrity is there, they can go relatively unnoticed and seemingly unbothered. While there, we introduced ourselves to the hostess at the restaurant and thanked them for a nice afternoon.
After lunch, we returned to our new villa up on the hill overlooking St Jean and Saline to take a dip and get settled. I love being able to unpack and really start to feel like a guest at the villas. Meli Melo is a large villa with three bedrooms, a fitness room, a pool with views from the deck overlooking St Jean and also a grassy area overlooking Saline. I ended up spending some afternoons catching up on work on the breezier Saline side and being visited by some resident turtles.
Once it started to get dark, we drove into Gustavia, window shopped and took a stroll around the harbor followed by dinner at Black Ginger before the busy part of our week was to start the next day.
Tuesday was a big day of villa visits. Some standouts were, gorgeous Neptune (great for two couples with fab views out to sea in a very peaceful location in Gouverneur/Lurin), Krystel (in Lurin overlooking St Jean), Joy Gouverneur (a charming traditional style villa with a wonderful view and breezes above Gouverneur beach which will be getting a facelift this year) and Villa North Waves which is located on Flamands beach (perfect for beach lovers). That night, we had dinner at the ever unique, Tamarin and were joined by our charming team member, miracle worker and fab concierge, Laura.
The next day involved some more villa great visits in the morning and some favorites were: Enigma, Infiniti, Only View and Citron Vert and Little Citron. Citron Vert and Little Citron will be a great spot for three or four couples or a family traveling with a teen. Little Citron (website listing and photos coming soon) is located across the driveway from Citron Vert which is located on the Toiny/Grand Fond road. They will be added a gate and more foliage help with privacy and the sound of the road when you are staying at Citron Vert. I love this spot and the clean, crisp feel of the rooms at the villa. Little Citron is a little less private feeling but still very charming and would be perfect for a teen or nanny.
Lunch on Wednesday was at my new favorite spot, Gypsea. I loved absolutely everything about this place – the location, the décor, the menu, the whole thing. Plus, the falafel and accras de morue (cod fritters) were the best I have ever had on the island. That afternoon included a few more villa visits, a late afternoon jet ski expedition on the high seas (starting from the harbor) and then back to the villa for a team dinner prepared by a new chef. It is always nice to be able to get together with the whole St Barth Properties team for dinner, especially at Villa Meli Melo and catch up before the summer.
For our last full day on the island, Laura treated us to a trainer first thing in the morning at the villa (thank you, Laura) and then some villa visits. Two of my favorites were Villa Star, (3 bedrooms overlooking Lorient bay) and the new and the highly impressive villa Embrace, overlooking the harbor of Gustavia. Embrace is immense and absolutely everything has been thought of here. It is very elegant without feeling too stuffy. I could be very comfortable as a guest there 😊. There is a huge pool, large bedrooms, an office with a separate entrance for guests who come for meetings, a chef’s dream kitchen, a fireplace (!), a waterfall, a large underground parking garage, and a path bringing you to Gustavia so you may explore it on foot.
I ended the day/week with a massage outside at Meli Melo on the Saline side of the villa with a nice cool breeze and then prepared for a fun night out with Laura and Fuen (who works in the Sotheby’s real estate sales office in Gustavia) at Sella (where Maya’s used to be located) in Public followed by a nightcap at Sayolita in St Jean.
I had a wonderful visit with Pascale and I think she also enjoyed herself. I am sure she needed time to process all she saw and learned about. I know when driving, I was constantly pointing things out to her. This is exactly why we do these inspection trips once or twice a year. She started a few months before her visit to the island and I am sure now, having had the opportunity to visit the island, she is much more confident and surely can better suggest these special experiences to our guests and help make your memories more distinctively extraordinary.
Living the Dream ™ – A bientot St Barth! See you again this Fall!