Archive for the ‘St. Barth Trips’ Category

GUEST BLOG – Read all about what we did and discovered in St Barth last month

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

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.

One of views of the harbor from Suite Paradis

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’.

Harbor sunset view from Suite Paradis

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.

Filet of pork at Le Repaire

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.

Les Bananiers— Pizza St. Barth-style with a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

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 Manapany hotel thinks of everything.

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.

Soley entertained us at lil’Rock Beach

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.

Pain du Sucre has a tiny outpost at Case In Blue in Gustavia

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!

We stopped by Les Canebiers, a luxury swim and resort brand from Saint Tropez

Tom Smyth Guest Blog Presidents’ Week 2019

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Today’s Blog is written by St. Barth Properties Vice-President Tom Smyth who went to St. Barth on vacation (instead of for only work) during Presidents’ Week. (Full disclosure: Tom is my son) Happy Reading!

Most often, my time in St. Barth is comprised of days filled with meetings and property inspections. Don’t get me wrong, any time in St. Barth is quality time. But this February trip, business was put aside, and the week was all about enjoying St. Barth with our very good friends, Scott & Julie. We chose the Presidents’ Day week in February which is school vacation week in the Northeast, and which worked perfectly for Scott who is a school superintendent. The flights down from Boston went smoothly as we chose to connect via San Juan utilizing the services of Tradewind Aviation and their comfortable Pilatus PC-12 aircraft which zipped us to St. Barth in just 50 minutes.

Upon arrival our St. Barth Properties representative, Romain, greeted us with a friendly Bonjour. While we picked up our Mini Cooper from GUMBS car rental, Romain was already off to the villa with our luggage. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to stay in the beautiful and luxurious Villa L’Adrech.

L’Adrech pool at dusk

Set high on the Lurin hillside, this property sits on an acre and a half of beautifully manicured grounds and offers a panoramic view of St. Jean Bay. As the wooden entry gate swung upon, we knew we were in for a special stay as the entrance is framed with beautiful mature palm trees guiding us to a circular driveway meticulously detailed with impressive stone work. It was like a scene straight out of Jurassic Park! “Spacious” and “private” can’t begin to describe the gorgeous design of the villa. Let’s just say the master bedroom closet requires its own air conditioning zone. We quickly settled in, freshened up from the day’s travel, and were off to see David at the Santa Fé restaurant just around the corner for a Valentine’s Day dinner to start our vacation. If you have not yet dined at Santa Fé, be sure to do so. As always, the dinner and service were impeccable.

The dramatic entry at Villa L’Adrech.

We awoke Friday to a beautiful day with clear blue skies which would become our weather pattern for the full week. The heated pool at Villa L’Adrech resembles an oasis you may find at a luxury resort. With a zero entry as if walking in from the beach, access is a breeze. It is surrounded by natural stone and beautiful landscaping with hidden waterfalls and even a nook with spa jets for total relaxation. The infinity edge blends perfectly with the sea of St. Jean Bay as you lounge in the water.

My wife Amy and Julie were college roommates and as Amy an I were dating at that time, I became their third wheel by default. Needless to say, we all have some history together. In those days a competitive evening playing the card game “Pitch” was a regular activity. This tradition carried on when Julie met Scott some years later and now when the four of us get together it is boys vs. girls with bragging rights on the line. The cards are always available, and a game may pop up anywhere, including this trip while spending an afternoon at the Pearl Beach restaurant. Many years ago, we started keeping a log with the history of our scores along with notes of funny antics that may occur. It is always hilarious to go back and read them and to remember all the places we have been and the memories we’ve made together. (Yes, the girls won more games this trip… but we’ll have our chance again).

The trip was an equal balance of relaxation in the villa, activities around the island and of course wonderful dining experiences. A few nights out included Santé Fe, Bonito and Bagatelle restaurants and all where wonderful. A full day Catamaran trip with Miguel of “St. Barth Sailor” followed by a “Jo-Jo Burger” that evening is a tradition of ours and as always did not disappoint.

Loved using the SBP beach towels that our guests also use when on a St. Barth Sailor catamaran trip.

Another day we enjoyed the “St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic” on Gouverneur Beach where a private chef setup chairs, an umbrella and a cooler stocked with items from a preset menu (2 menus to choose from). All we had to do was arrive and sit to enjoy the day. They even saved us a parking spot right up front for when we arrived!

Relaxing and enjoying the St. Barth Properties picnic on Gouverneur Beach.

A hike to Colombier Beach and Sea Bob rentals in front of Nikki Beach (where we cruised with about a dozen sea turtles) rounded out our week’s activities. When it came time to say Au Revoir, we did so with the knowledge that we will be back again to make even more memories. Until next time!

We hiked along the goat path to Colombier Beach.

Here I am at Nikki Beach with my wife, Amy.

Our friends Scott and Julie at Nikki Beach.

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
.

Are you a Foodie and/or a Shopper?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Want to Get Away?

Are you a Foodie and/or a Shopper? Come to St. Barth now! Here’s why:

St. Barth has awakened from is annual slumber party. The majority of hotels, restaurants and boutiques are reopening. Our villas are refreshed and ready to welcome you, too.

St. Barth is lush, green and ready to welcome you – Photo taken by our SBH Concierge Aurélie Janvier October 16, 2018

Are you a Foodie? The St. Barth annual Gourmet Festival is taking place November 01-04, 2018. St. Barth Properties and a very select number of villa owners have joined together to offer you and your friends a complimentary Gourmet Festival dinner! No contests to enter – just a nice gift from us to you to thank you for being such a loyal client. Read all about it here!

That is right: SPECIAL OFFER: Book a minimum 7-night stay over the festival dates at any one of the participating villas listed and receive one complimentary 8 course tasting dinner per person, a €130 value per person.

Contact me, pegwalsh@stbarth.com or reservations@stbarth.com for your villa accommodation, then contact your airline to book your flights. We will take care of getting your car and arranging any other services you may wish to have while you are there.

Are you a Shopper? BONUS! The semi-annual Les Soldes (Sales) in the boutiques are going on from October 13 to November 23, 2018. Get those designer duds at a discount. The further into the dates of the sales it goes, the more the merchandise is reduced.

Time to get your new bathing suit and cover up.

The shops at Villa Creole are also having sales

After 13 months, Longchamp has finally reopened.

Here’s a reminder of how happy we are when we are in St. Barth! See you soon!

View video here

Have You Ever Considered Traveling to St. Barth in July?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Bonjour Readers,

Have you ever wondered what St. Barth is like in July? It’s a fun time to go. The prices are down, the visitor numbers are less (Yes, you can walk into most restaurants without a reservation!) and, as always, the people on the island are ready to welcome you with open arms. Todays’ blog features the St. Barth July 2018 Trip Report written by our bi-lingual Villa and Hotel Specialist Anne-Cécile Bedford. Anne-Cécile is originally from Brittany and loves the connection this French island affords her.

Enjoy!

Sunny regards,
Peg

What an exciting time to be back on St Barth this past July! The island was getting ready for its annual Bastille Day party and France was getting ready to become the next soccer World Cup champions. Bravo Les Bleus!

I landed on St Barth the day prior to the beginning of the festivities and set myself up at villa Chimère, a wonderful 2 bedroom villa located in the quiet area of Petit Cul de Sac. But beforehand, I had to make a stop at the Cemetery in Lorient to pay my respects to the legendary Johnny Hallyday (Our French Elvis) who had passed away in December 2017 and is laying peacefully in St. Barth where he owned a vacation home.

Johnny Hallyday is buried in Lorient

Upon arrival at villa Chimère I was nicely surprised to see that the owner had stocked the refrigerator with goodies like cheese, fruits and wine, which was welcome after a long day of travel. I chose the purple bedroom to the right of the living room that opens to the heated pool and outdoor space and offers a spacious bathroom with a private outdoor shower. This is a nice extra feature on St Barth! The second bedroom located on the opposite end was as desirable, making it the perfect villa for 2 couples. For those looking to stay fit during their vacation, villa Chimère offers a well-equipped gym located below the villa. I chose to adventure to Toiny every morning and do my 3 mile run from the villa. The small beach at Petit Cul de Sac is also accessible by foot (a 5 minute walk), so no need to hop in your car to enjoy a morning swim in the blue lagoon.

Pool at Villa Chimère

Can you picture yourself right now floating in this gorgeous pool, gazing at the sun? I can. Welcome to paradise!

My first working day took me to the western side of the island where I inspected the beautiful villa Mer Soleil located in Gouverneur. I loved the new second master bedroom with spectacular view, decorated in beige and blue tones. I also discovered the secret 3rd bedroom downstairs with the underwater pool view; it is right out of a James Bond movie. This villa will leave you dreamy with the blue sea all around, and the view of the neighboring islands (St Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Maarten). As part of St Barth Properties exclusive Grand Cru Collection, you will be served with a morning delivery of French pastries and evening turn down service. See what other exceptional properties include that same package.

Mer Soleil underwater view of the pool

While on that side of the island I also took a peek at villa Gem (a great villa for small wedding parties), villa Mirage (perfect for Gouverneur beach lovers), villa Bellissima (beautiful lap pool) and the gorgeous 6 bedroom villa Lyra (perfect for couples of group of friends) and villa Papillon (cozy villa with many interesting pillow accents).

Villa Papillon pillow

Did you know that Gouverneur holds a secret grotto? I decided to come back during my time off and adventure there on a hike. I had a difficult time finding the entrance of the path until some friendly goats showed me the way. What a spectacular view and what a headache to find the grotto! After 1 hour, I finally found it, but I did not dare go down that very narrow black hole via a cord that was attached…maybe next time and more courage!

I finally found the grotto

On Saturday I celebrated Bastille Day with my wonderful colleagues from our local offices (Laura and Anne-Laure). We started off at Bonito with a delicious cocktail before heading over to Ociela (a new Mediterranean restaurant in Gustavia) for dinner. We were welcomed there with a Coupe de Champagne (the perks of the job!) and the wonderful smile of Sylvain behind the bar. We ended the night at Bagatelle where it seemed the whole island was dancing the night away…fun, fun, fun.

Bastille Day at Ociela

Sylvain at Ociela

There was no time to sleep-in the next day; France was facing Croatia in the World Cup final and I had to be in Gustavia early enough to get a spot and watch the game. A giant screen had been set on Gustavia Harbor and fans gathered in their best blue, white and red outfit. I was so happy to be living this moment on a French territory with my peers and celebrate this great victory.

Ready and psyched for the World Cup game!

Besides being a dedicated reservation agent, I also must keep up with the hotels as some of my clients do prefer being pampered and have access to a restaurant and Spa onsite. I had the pleasure during my trip to meet with the all new hotel Manapany Reservation Director who conducted my visit. The first thing that appealed to me entering the hotel was the luxurious vegetation and the beauty of the blue ocean caressed by a gentle breeze. The hotel offers 43 suites from a standard ocean deluxe to a beach prestige suite, 2 cottages, and a 2 bedroom beachfront villa, all made in tropical woods with exotic islandly colors, combining nature and luxe. The beach invites guests to take a romantic walk and is a great spot for windsurfers.

Manapany’s outdoor restaurant

Hotel lobby where guests are welcomed

The Manapany hotel is also an eco-friendly resort using solar panels to produce electricity, offering electric cars as the only way to get around the hotel, growing fresh fruits and vegetables to provide organic cuisine at their restaurants. Even the hotel towels are made of bamboo. Their SPA located on the beach only uses organic products as well from Dr. Hauschka. There is a spa room, a duo cabin for a massage for two, a hairdresser and a long lap adults-only pool with lounge chairs by the beach to relax after a pampering day. Have I said enough?

Relax in one of Manapany’s lounge chairs

I ended my tour with a lovely lunch by the beach, savoring a Creole Style poached red snapper with risotto and sipping on a Pomegranate Margarita. The exotic fruit salad for dessert left me breathless!

Creole Style poached red snapper with risotto at Manapany

Manapany exotic fruit salad

My favorite new villa to discover this time was villa Golden located hillside in Marigot with a stunning view of the water. This is the perfect villa for 6 couples or a group of friends to enjoy together. All bedrooms are equal and offer a sea view with many features like Apple TV and a Bose sound system. There is ample space to sit around the heated infinity pool and enjoy a cocktail. The décor is appealing and contemporary-looking with a gorgeous fully equipped kitchen, a large living area and dining area.

Restaurant “Grain de Sel” in Saline remains one of my favorite places to dine. Make it a date! A deux c’est mieux” 😊

Vivaneau (Red Snapper) prepared by Eddy, former chef of Mayas to go

And don’t forget that July is the time to head to St Barth simply to take advantage of all the wonderful les soldes (sales) offered for a 2 week period!

St. Barth is a shopper’s paradise, especially during Les Soldes!

‘Til later, Namaste……

Namaste

Anne-Cecile Bedford
Bilingual St. Barth Villa and Hotel Specialist
St Barth Properties, Inc
+ 1 508-570-4477
anne@stbarth.com

More fantastic St. Barth Villa and Restaurant Recommendations

Thursday, September 13th, 2018
Allegra

Allegra Pawlowski

St. Barth Hotel and Villa Specialist Allegra Pawlowski’s Guest Blog and Trip Report

I hope that you enjoyed your summer and are thinking about going to St. Barth, now that Labor Day is behind us. To get you in the mood, I am presenting a guest blog written by our fabulous St. Barth Hotel and Villa Specialist Allegra Pawlowski. Happy reading!

Hope to see you in St. Barth,
Peg

This past May I took my spring inspection trip to the island with our US based concierge, Julia Hurd. Julia is not comfortable with flying (she outlined her experience in her trip report a few months ago) but she did great! We flew Tradewind Aviation (her first time) and she was a total pro. Here she is upon landing in St Barth with the pilot:

Upon landing, we collected our rental cars. We picked up two cars as Julia had plans to check out new restaurants, services etc. on the island and I had a separate one which I used to explore the island and perform my villa inspections. We drove straight up to our villa, L’Adrech which would be home for 3 nights. L’Adrech has an outstanding view over St. Jean (from Lurin). I could spend the whole day sitting on the terrace or in the pool and watching the planes come and go from the airport in the distance below. This is a wonderful spot for a multigenerational family. The master bedroom (which is HUGE) is located in the main villa with a large walk-in closet and massive en suite bathroom. Next to it, there is also the TV room which could be considered part of, or separate from, the master suite. The suite also has its own access to the pool terrace and the view. Stunning! In this same building, you will find the fully AC’d living, kitchen and dining rooms – all of which are open to the view.

View from Villa L’Adrech

The pool is a few steps down from the main building and has a small waterfall and lovely mature foliage framing the view. The pool has a beach feeling entry – no stairs and is very gradual making it great for little ones or older guests (beware, there is no railing). Surprise! Julia had rented a giant inflatable flamingo and a pizza slice for us to lounge on while drifting in the pool. The second building on the property houses the two other bedrooms which have their own en suite bathrooms and face the view. These two bedrooms can also be joined if you have a nanny traveling with you or a few kids who want to have connected rooms and be separate from the parents in the master. This is a fantastic property for a family to stay and take in the view while giving everyone some space. It is still available for the holidays and the owner will allow a 7 night stay! Please ask me more if you can see your family here for Christmas or the New Year.

Pool at Villa L’Adrech

We had a chef-prepared lunch at the villa with our on-island office on our first full day and it was the perfect spot for breezes and views. I had to leave the lunch early to meet and show some clients some potential villas for the holidays but here are a couple of mouth-watering photos of the delicious menu:

Some other great family villas I saw that week were: Brise de Mer (located just a short walk from gorgeous and the calm part of Lorient beach with two bedrooms under one roof with a pool – great for a family with little ones), Gros Ilets (Fab sunset views and both bedrooms under one roof on a lower level), Fabrizia (gorgeous views over the harbor and well equipped for a large family), Sur le Port (located in Gustavia so you can walk to dinner, shopping and Shell Beach), Sea Sand & Sun, Caribbean Breeze, Moulin (at the end of the runway on St. Jean Beach), Vie en Rose (very comfortable villa with lots of land for kids to play and explore with water access from the property and a short walk to the beach and tennis courts within the gated neighborhood).

Villa Caribbean Breeze

Villa Fabrizia

Villa Moulin

After a few nights, we switched to another villa. This one was located a bit lower on the hillside in St Jean and had a more modern décor than where we had been. We loved the set up of Le Diamant (which is perfect for two couples as we each had a bedroom flanking the living, dining and kitchen area. The large zero edge pool was warm and a great place to end our days before heading out to dinner. Going to dinner and our daily excursions were made easy with the central access to all parts of the island from Le Diamant. Julia had arranged a surprise for our last afternoon, massages by the pool. A PERFECT way to end our tough week (wink wink). Merci beaucoup Julia!

Pool area at Villa Le Diamant

From IN the pool at Villa Le Diamant

While on the island, as is always the case – some FANTASTIC meals were had – we loved Tamarin, fishCorner (we went there twice in 6 days and Julia raved about the meal already so I will only show you some photos), L’Esprit, Le Repaire, Bagatelle, Le Piment, 25 Quarter, Quarter Général, François Plantation, Ociela, and the staple, Les Bananiers. Let us also not forget the chef at the villa and the chef-prepared picnic lunch to accompany our Sea Bob outing on Sunday. (Please see Julia’s rave review of the Seabob adventure – This is now something I will do each trip!)

Strawberries and millefeuille at L’Esprit

fishCorner…again – repeat offender

The now highly revered lemon meringue pie at fishCorner

Chocolate soufflé at Villa Marie St Barth’s François Plantation

Wild mushroom raviolo and grilled prawn at L’Esprit

François Plantation at Villa Marie St Barth’s take on our new infatuation, the lemon meringue pie – deconstructed

Eddie crafting and igniting cocktails at 25 Quarter

Lunch selection at fishCorner

Some of the other villas I saw that week which stood out were: Serenity (a new favorite spot high above Gustavia for three couples), LAO (outstanding views over Corossol from here – watch the boats and have a great sunset – all afternoon sun by the pool), Java (modern décor with nice views over Marigot Bay), Aigue Marine (great views over Flamands Beach – short walk to the sand or enter the water right from the property), Wide View (Sunrise lovers will enjoy this spot – also a great location if you must fit in your daily run), Sophia (wonderful spot on Marigot Bay with water access – great for three couples or a family with teens), Golden (high above Marigot Bay – wonderful view and refreshing breezes – I am “borrowing” some decorating ideas from here), La Boussole (great set up for two families traveling together), Aronnax (convenient in town location – everything at your doorstep), Colony Club E2 (great for the solo traveler), Colibris (perfect for honeymooners), Sucriers (great for two couples or a small family), Lyra (idyllic spot for extended family or a group of couples traveling together with stunning Gouverneur Beach views) and the island’s newest addition, Neo.

View from Golden over Marigot Bay

Villa Golden

Looking down at Lyra’s levels and gorgeous Gouverneur beach below

Dreamy pool at Villa Sophia

Pool view at Villa Wide View

Irma has certainly left her mark on the hearts of St Barth lovers, but the island has done an incredible job dusting herself off to welcome all of us. I think we may always have little reminders of Irma and Maria’s wrath, but hopefully we will be able to grow to have a sense of humor about some parts of it as evidenced by a property owner in Gustavia.

After the tough week, it was time to say our “ à bientôts and “au Revoirs” to our favorite spot in the Caribbean. Once again, Julia was a pro and remarked that she will ONLY fly this way now.

Boarding Tradewind

Post script – Right after I got home, I attempted the lemon meringue pie. While a valiant effort, it’s just not the same. It must be the butter….

Attempt at the lemon meringue pie in the US

Ever Wonder Why Our St Barth Properties-USA Concierge Knows How to Personalize and Enhance Your St Barth Vacation Experience?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Today’s blog is written by our amazing SBP-USA office concierge, Julia Hurd who has been with the Company since 2007. For those of you who have traveled with us in the past, you know how perfectly Julia assists you with any extra service you may desire. For those of you who have yet to book their St. Barth vacation with St. Barth Properties, you are in for a treat. Here is how Julia keeps on top of things for you. Enjoy.

Sunny regards,
Peg

Julia’s Trip Report St. Barth May 2018

It has been a year and a hurricane since I have been to the island of St. Barth, so I was very excited to see how the island and my colleagues have been doing along with the friends I have made since I have been with St. Barth Properties. I set off from Boston on a JetBlue direct flight into San Juan with my coworker Allegra Pawlowski, a St. Barth Properties Villa and Hotel Specialist. Now, here is the funny part, anyone who knows me is very aware of my fear of flying, so I have never in the 11 years of working as the St. Barth concierge ever flown on Tradewind Aviation. Yes folks, that is correct I always fly into SXM and take Winair, St. Barth Commuter or one of the ferries, Voyager or Great Bay Express, The ferry being my first choice.

Well, after a stern talking to myself, I decided I would give it a try. We arrived into San Juan and we were met by a Tradewind Aviation VIP Service agent who took us right to the Tradewind Aviation lounge to relax, have a cold drink and snack while the agent retrieved our bags and got us both checked in – what a breeze. I highly recommend the additional cost of $150.00 for this service; there is no additional charge if you are a party of one or eight.

I met Tom, one of the Tradewind Aviation pilots, in their VIP Lounge.

Once the plane was ready for takeoff, they let me board first and pick a seat I felt comfortable in. Tom, one of the pilots, was so kind and often looked back to make sure I was ok. I have to be honest I am mad it took me this long to fly Tradewind Aviation; it was such a smooth flight on the aircraft, a Pilatus PC-12, an 8 seater providing two pilots, a pressurized cabin, AC, cold drinks and snacks. I was NOT going to look out the window on my inaugural flight, so I got to watch 2 episodes of a 30 min show on my iPad. One hour later I was in St. Barth not even realizing we had landed. Two thumbs up to the crew and Tradewind Aviation for making this the best first-time experience ever.

We arrived and went to our SBP booth where we picked up our rental cars at Gumbs Car Rentals. We said hello to Odile who kindly lets us share the booth with her; Our greeter Romain was there to escort us to our villa L’Adrech and treated us just as if we were clients of SBP. Allegra will tell you all about this gorgeous villa in Peg’s next Guest Blog detailing her trip report.

The first night we ate at Les Bananiers; Aurélie Janvier, our St. Barth office Concierge, and Laura Commaret our St. Barth office Villa Rental Specialist, surprised us by walking in. We all had dinner together; it was great fun catching up.

I love working with St. Barth Properties-St. Barth Concierge Aurélie Janvier.

The Royal Wedding happened to be taking place that Saturday, May 19th. I thought it would be fun to arrange a Chef Lunch at the villa for our island staff along with some Tiara’s and Top Hats. We had Pascal, of Pascal Cook, one of the wonderful chefs we use on-island, prepare a Royal Feast.

Royal Lunch at Villa L’Adrech L to R- Laura, Allegra, Pascale, Me-Julia, Nadine, Romain and Benoit.

Pascal the Chef

I was lucky to be able to spend time with Aurélie our island Concierge, as we speak daily and work very closely together. It was wonderful to be able to spend every day doing new things and dining out at all the great restaurants that St. Barth has to offer.

We dined at:

fishCorner is only open for lunch; they sell freshly-caught fish daily from 8:30am to 12:00pm then again from 3:30pm to 6:00pm; they are open 12:00pm to 3:00pm for lunch and are located in Gustavia in the alley by the Bar de L’ Oubli. I had the Fish and Chips and the most amazing Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. I went back twice just for the pie. I even contacted the pastry chef Margaux Bellorgey and asked if I could have the recipe. NO SUCH LUCK, I will have to meet her next time; maybe she will allow me to be her assistant and we can make it together.

fishCorner Fish n Chips

The Lemon Pie at fishCorner is out of this world.

L’Esprit, located in Saline, Jean Claude DuFour is the owner and chef, such a great meal wonderful to see him and his staff. Ociela located in Gustavia has a wonderful view; it just so happened that Soley the musician was singing there that evening, which was a wonderful treat. Bagatelle located in Gustavia -always a wonderful time; 25 Quarter was also a great spot; we visited the new Rum Room after dinner and had a rum tasting, it was amazing. So many rums from all over the world.

25 Quarter’s fantastic Rum Room.

L’Isoletta was a restaurant I have never been able to fit into my schedule but this trip Aurélie and I made a point to have lunch; we had pizza, a salad, dessert and coffee for 20 euro pp – can’t beat that price. It was delish. Located on the upper road in Gustavia.

Aurélie devoured the pizza combo at L’Isoletta.

My Berry Ricotta dessert at L’Isoletta was very good.

We also were able to spend a day at the hotel Manapany pool and have a wonderful lunch; we toured the Spa and some suites at the hotel. What a tough job I have.

The Manapany is on Anse des Cayes Beach.

You can have lunch by Manapany’s main pool or use the adults-only pool at their spa.

Tamarin located in Saline – what a great restaurant. I love Heart Rocks and collect them in my travels, I simply fell in love with the one in the lily pond. I wish it fit in my luggage. The dinner was fantastic, everyone was happy and the tables where full. What a delightful night.

Here is Tamarin’s heart rock in one their lily ponds.

Allegra and I loved dining at the Tamarin.

I also wanted to try the St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic and some of the other activities that we offer, so we arranged a Beach Picnic with Chef XO Christophe and a lesson with Cyril Reymann to try the Seabobs. The St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic lunch was set up on Shell Beach as our lesson was there. The food from Christophe was outstanding as always, it was a pleasure to see him and one of his helpers. I highly recommend the SBP Beach Picnic; simply contact me and I will arrange everything for you. It was a great day. The Seabob was so much fun. You must try it!

Try the St, Barth Properties Beach Picnic next time you go to St. Barth.

While we were picnicing on Shell Beach, Allegra and I had a blast learning how to swim with the Seabob.

One item on my bucket list was to have a massage at a villa and boy oh boy was I one lucky and happy lady. It seems being a concierge can be stressful at times, believe it or not. So what other choice did I have but to have a massage? Allegra and I moved to the beautiful and very private Villa Le Diamant in St. Jean. (All of us at SBP love to experience the Villa Lifestyle just the way you do so that we can give you first-hand knowledge of the accommodation.) Nadine from Venus Institute set up her table poolside and within minutes I was in heaven. I can’t think of anything better to arrange for you than a fabulous massage to help you relax.

Nadine from Venus Spa came to our Villa Diamant to give me an excellent in-villa massage.

Nadine was fantastic. Venus Institute is a wonderful Spa in Gustavia that has many services from hair, makeup, mani, pedi, massages and so many more services, simply contact me at juliahurd@stbarth.com and I will give you all the details. In-villa or at the spa can be arranged.

I could not get over how wonderful the island looked and how green and beautiful it was. Other than a few obvious observations (such as the fronds on the palm trees not being 100% back), you would never think a category 5 hurricane visited. The people of St. Barth have worked so hard and are so grateful to bring the island back to its splendor.

St. Barth has so many coiorful flowers.

Another activity that Aurelie and I tried was Janzu, with Body and Soul. We met Nanda at the far end of smaller side of St. Jean Beach. Janzu is a type of water massage; it is practiced in the pool or ocean (but your villa pool can’t be too deep). It induces a state of deep relaxation, allowing energy blockages to emerge. Nanda places a nose water clip and tells you to breath out of your mouth, she listens to your breathing and tells you to close your eyes. The session was not only relaxing and calming, it was very emotional at the end; both of us found ourselves moved to tears, in a good way. Thank you, Nanda at Body and Soul. I still feel your energy. For more details contact me at juliahurd@stbarth.com.

Nanda and I are on the quieter side of St. Jean beach for Allegra’s and my Jenzu experience.

Right after Hurricane Irma hit St. Barth, the citizens began cleaning the island of debris. Each weekend a different spot is chosen. Trash bags and gloves are provided. Allegra and I volunteered to pick up trash along the roads of Corossol on a Sunday morning along with our island office; we did a great job. The more hands the better.

Benoit, Aurélie, Laura, Alllegra and I went to Corossol to join in the cleanup on Trash Day.

I can’t get over how fast the week went by, it was great to see everyone and see how well the island is doing. I am thankful to all the wonderful people and places I visited while I was there. It is one amazing island. Thank you to everyone in St. Barth for making my work week so enjoyable, it is always sad to say goodbye. Thank you to my copilot Aurélie, you’re a great partner.

Aurélie bid us goodbye. We will be back very soon.

St. Barth Restaurants – June 2018 trip report

Monday, June 25th, 2018

St. Barth Restaurants – Even More Choices – It Just Keeps on getting better!

To continue my blog about gathering information for our revised Live Your Dream® magazine, Connie and I went about our business. Yes, it was a working trip and always fun. We met with people regarding the revision of some of the articles we had written. For example, the Coral Restoration St. Barth project has been drastically changed by Irma. We are hoping to bring the association’s effort to the public’s attention because St. Barth must preserve and restore what makes it so special. The Coral Restoration St. Barth’s undertaking really needs funds, or they cannot continue. I just made a personal donation and I hope you will, too.

A big part of the St. Barth Experience concerns the outstanding variety of places to dine on St. Barth – from casual to gourmet. I need to be up-to-date on the latest restaurant news because people are always asking us to give them recommendations. It’s another very pleasant part of my job. Many of you know that the Gloriette restaurant on Grand Cul de Sac Beach was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma. Owner Albert Balayn is uncertain of its future but built a new place almost directly across the street from my offices. (The staff pops over there almost daily to get lunch-to-go.) Café Gloriette just opened and is run by Albert’s daughter, Sandra who prepares freshly made dishes and drinks daily. Connie and I tasted numerous selections, including the Salade Crudité, the Quiche Chèvre, the Tortilla and the Cake Salé Chèvre. – Delicious.

Salade Crudité dressed with fresh lemon juice at Café Gloriette is a must.

I was so happy to to see Sandra Balayn at her Café Gloriette. (My pin says 95 in honor of Marius’ birthday)

You can purchase Albert’s famous Rhum La Gloriette and branded souvenirs at Café Gloriette, too. (Open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day except Sunday. However, the first Sunday of the month, it is open until 1:00 p.m. to coordinate with the Marché that is held in Gustavia once a month.)

Café Gloriette is open everyday except Sunday.

We also enjoyed a different food experience: The St Barth staff joined Connie and me at the beautiful and luxurious 6 bedroom Villa Lyra that is located above Gouverneur Beach. Villa Manager Ronas Ledee cooks and serves breakfast and lunch for the villa owner and his family. You can be pampered like this too. Villa Lyra is part of our Grand Cru Collection, that includes extra services such as continental breakfast. As a bonus, Ronas is also available to prepare light lunches for 6-12 people (buffet-style) with 2 appetizers, 2 main courses with veggies, and 2 desserts. The cost is only 300 euros for her service (shopping and cooking) per lunch (clients pay for the food and beverages). We wanted to try her cuisine before you do. We began with a glass of chilled rosé wine with ice, which I was told by my French colleagues is called Rosé Piscine. The buffet included tomatoes with mozzarella, salad with balsamic dressing; breaded chicken cutlets, beef medallions with bacon, rice and fresh broccoli. The desserts were an incredible Tarte Tatin as well as a serving of ice cream. If you would like to enjoy your St. Barth vacation at Villa Lyra, we are offering an introductory special reflecting a 10% reduction for any reservation that occurs between June 26 and November 15, 2018. Please contact reservations@stbarth.com.

The tomato and mozzarella appetizer prepared by Ronas at Villa Lyra was light and fresh.

We finished our lunch at Villa Lyra by devouring Ronas’ delicious Tarte Tatin.

Speaking of lunch, Connie heard us raving about the new fishCorner restaurant, so she wanted to try it for herself. She was not disappointed! We wrote about it in our April 2018 newsletter, Le Bulletin. In case you missed it: Love fish? Then we have just the restaurant for you: fishCorner.

Johny Laplace, who comes from a long line of island fishermen, partnered with Nicolas Almeda (whose dad is co-owner of Black Ginger) and turned the former Stephane & Bernard Boutique into a fish market that transforms into a restaurant at lunchtime. Fish is sold from 8:00 a.m. till noon, and then again from 3:30 p.m. until 6:00. Lunch is served from noon until 3:30 p.m. every day – fresh fish, of course, and you’ll love the homemade sides. It’s so popular you’ll need to reserve your table, and we’ll be happy to do that for you. You’ll find fishCorner in the alleyway by Bar de L’Oubli. It’s open every day but Sunday.

fishCorner is hidden in an alley near the Bar de L’Oubli

I had the fish and chips; Connie ordered the local sole as her main course. Both were outstanding. The lemon tart is so popular with many of my staff that when our US concierge Julia Hurd and St Barth Villa and Hotel Specialist Allegra Pawlowski sampled it on their May trip to St. Barth, they tried to get the recipe from the pastry chef. She refused. Both Allegra and Julia are trying to duplicate it but can’t. By coincidence, I met the chef at my office and I told her to keep the secret. (Sorry, Julia and Allegra.)

The fish and chips at fishCorner is light and tasty (Warning- Don’t ask for ketchup!) Connie’s delicious local sole is in the background.

The famous lemon tart at fishCorenr cannot be duplicated.

For the last two nights of our stay, we moved to the newly named Pearl Beach hotel, formerly known as Tom Beach. We each had a balcony room upstairs. The view from my room #10 was beautiful with tall palm trees, lush gardens and a glimpse of the sea beyond. There was a minibar and a table with 2 chairs on the deck to enjoy an apéritif. Connie’s room #12 had a deck with a table and 2 chairs, plus 2 lounge chairs for sunning. Each morning, we enjoyed breakfast at their beachside restaurant which is open for lunch every day. It is also open on Friday and Saturday nights, so we dined there on Friday while listening to the sound of the waves.

My view from Room 10 at Pearl Beach hotel was gorgeous.

To finish off the week, we enjoyed lunch at Nikki Beach. If you have not done so, try it on a non-Sunday. It is a great, more relaxing experience.

The Salade de Langouste is one of my Nikki Beach favorites.

Hope to see you on St. Barth!

Marius Stakelborough’s 95th birthday

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Is longevity a trait of the people who were born in St. Barth?

Many of you are familiar with our Live Your Dream® magazine that we publish. It features articles, information on our USA and St. Barth offices and their staff as well as descriptions of our villas and hotels. Last summer, as usual, I worked on it, had all of the content proofread and sent the final OK to be printed in France. Then along came Hurricane Irma with her evil eye passing over the island on September 05-06, 2017. – STOP THE PRESS! – Almost everything that was written was no longer relevant and had to be edited or redone. So, Connie Walsh (no, we are not related), who coordinates the content with me and I went back to St. Barth. I chose to be there during Marius Stakelborough’s 95th birthday celebration. And what a celebration it was! For those readers who don’t know about him, Marius founded the famous Le Select bar that is located in the heart of Gustavia in 1949. He later added food, so it’s where you can get a Cheeseburger in Paradise, have fun and watch the world go by.

Three days of partying! The actual birthday was June 5th, but the festivities began at Le Select the evening of June 4th. Lots of people had flown down just the occasion and, of course, the people who live on the island were there, too. The next day, we gathered at Le Select around 11:00 a.m. Marius was at a table where drinks and wine were served; Champagne flutes as well as yummy hors d’oeuvres were being passed around. Soley came to serenade us.

The 95th birthday celebration spanned over 3 days.

The family was asked to come forward for a team photo – Marius has 9 children, lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren – so the group was large. At about 4:00 p.m., everyone took a break, but the party resumed at 7:00 p.m. with an even larger crowd who joined in the festivities and danced to the music of a local band.

The family photo I took here shows some, but not all of Marius’ relatives – These are mostly the grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The following evening the celebration continued at Eddy’s restaurant. Eddy is one of Marius’s sons; his wife Brigitte and son Mahé help run the place. Marius was still going strong and people like me flocked to give him a hug.

Marius is one of my most favorite people. It’s an honor to know him.

Hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served, followed by a shrimp appetizer, a choice of Red Snapper or Chicken Colombo and birthday cake. The restaurant was packed. Soley was back to entertain. We sang Happy Birthday to Marius many, many times. He loved it as did we. Long Live Marius!

Stay tuned for more about my June 2018 trip in my next blog. Hint: St. Barth dining – Believe it or not, even more choices.

St. Barth Post-Irma Guest Blog from a 15-year St. Barth Visitor’s Perspective

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

What a Difference Five Months Makes

Bonjour!

Many of our clients love St. Barth so much that they vacation on this tiny piece of paradise more than once a year. Today’s Guest Blog is written by Amy M. from Summit, New Jersey.

Enjoy!

Sunny regards,

Peg

My love affair with St. Barth began almost 15 years ago with a special group of friends. The idea was a girls’ trip—no husbands, no children, just friendship in paradise. Every April for 10 years my friends and I returned to “our” island. We rented villas, enjoyed long sandy lunches, explored beaches, hiked, shopped, relaxed and laughed (a lot) until life and schedules got in the way. After 2 years away, I realized how much I missed St. Barth and decided it was finally time to introduce my husband to my “other” love. Just days into our first trip he was sold—he too loved the island’s winding roads, beaches, food, wine and of course, the warmth of its people.

After a few trips together, we decided to bring our daughters for a Thanksgiving holiday. They immediately loved the island and asked on that first Thanksgiving if we were returning for the next one. Yes, of course, we all agreed, this would be our new tradition. The next Thanksgiving was last November, not long after Irma, and we were determined to keep our plans. Several plane changes and 1 villa later (thank you SBP!) we were fortunate to return. It was a very special trip, one I will always remember with a few tears—not only for what the island had endured, but also for its strength and warm embrace. While St Barth had obviously suffered greatly, it was fighting back in full force and we were touched by its courage and spirit. We didn’t mind the scarcity of WIFI or no landline, we allowed extra time to drive the darkened roads at night and didn’t mind less choices for eating out. We spent a peaceful week amidst the quiet beauty of the island slowly greening, growing and rebuilding. It seemed especially fitting to end that trip with Thanksgiving dinner in the newly planted garden at Tamarin, beside the beautiful tree, celebrating and giving thanks.

Shortly after returning home, we made plans for next Thanksgiving. Knowing I couldn’t wait that long, I had an idea. My husband’s birthday falls the last week of April, and truth be told, a few were missed over the years due to SBH trips. He never minded when the group calendar synched that way and always said “go, have fun with your friends” so I decided this was the year to finally celebrate his birthday, together, on St. Barth. I got in touch with Julie Nally, my trusted SBP villa agent, and she arranged our week at Villa Birdy in Pt. Milou.

I couldn’t wait to see how far the island had come since November and it did not disappoint! Travel through SXM was much improved—the new temporary air-conditioned tents are comfortable and the entire process more organized. I flew down a couple of days early as schedules allowed, but even separately, both JetBlue JFK-SXM flights were on time, and both St. Barth Commuter flights actually departed early. Smooth and efficient, I landed and was greeted warmly as always by Odile at Gumbs.

On the drive to Pt. Milou I could see right away how much the island foliage had grown and how many palm trees had regrowth. There are still homes and roofs to repair, hotels to reopen, and work to be done, but the island felt much more like itself. I settled into the villa, perfect for the two of us, just above the Christopher hotel, and enjoyed the sunset.

The sunsets at Villa Birdy were glorious.

After a peaceful first morning at Gouverneur Beach, it was time to stock the villa. The Oasis market in Lorient hadn’t yet reopened in November but has since been nicely redone and is very convenient to the villa. Marché U was completely stocked, the freezer sections full and I found more than everything I needed. That night, I had the pleasure of meeting Julie for dinner (she happened to be on island for SBP business) at the wine bar Le Papillon Ivre in St Jean. Just up from Le Piment, it’s a sweet casual spot with wines by the glass, an extended menu of small plates and very friendly service. The food was delicious.

The next day, after a walk around Pt. Milou, I spent a few hours on Saline Beach before picking up my husband at the airport. We toasted his birthday at sunset and headed to dinner at François Plantation located at the Villa Marie hotel, a perfect choice for a special occasion. The room is stunning, the service top notch, and the food outstanding. In conjunction with the restaurant, SBP arranged a small birthday cake for dessert, candles and all. Delicious!

The birthday dessert at François Plantarion was fabulous.

Over the next few days we explored our favorite beaches. Gouverneur again was sparkling, a bit windy with perfect waves. The tree at the entrance is slowly growing back and there was ongoing dune restoration with great progress over several days. The path to Saline looked greener, and while the descent down was significantly steeper in November, it now seemed slightly less so. The lower hike to Colombier was as picturesque as ever and we finally found new access paths down to the beach after years of scaling the big rock. We noticed fewer rocks in the water and definitely less at the far end of the beach where many had accumulated post Irma. Several boats were docked, and, despite some wind, we found a nook and enjoyed a peaceful afternoon before hiking back and stopping at Shellona for drinks. It was fairly full at late afternoon and understand they have recently closed until June to expand their kitchen. Earlier that day we stopped in to see the recently opened beautiful Hotel Manapany in Anse de Cayes. A very pretty spot on the beach for lunch, drinks or dinner.

Colombier Beach

The main pool at the Manapany hotel is beachfront.

Loved the feet in the sand restaurant at the Manapany hotel.

That night we met Julie at the re-opened Bonito for sunset cocktails. Such a stunning room, very happy to report it is as beautiful as ever post Irma. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a perfect sunset over the harbor.

St. Barth Properties Villa and Hotel Specialist Julie Nally took this picture of us when we met her for drinks at Bonito.

Since we had a little time before dinner, we walked down to Baz Bar to see its re-do, always a special spot for drinks along the harbor. It looks very much the same, though miss the loungey feel of the original. We then walked up to L’Isoletta for delicious pizza, red wine and great service, perfect for a casual night. Another excellent dinner was Orega—one of our favorites. Everyone so friendly and welcoming with wonderful food, the tuna with foie gras a must. Greg, the owner, was as hospitable as ever, the restaurant beautiful. The next day we hiked to the natural pools at Grand Fond—something I’ve wanted to do for years. There are a few spots where you might not want to look down for too long (!) but it is a breathtaking hike and well worth the effort.

We walked to the Natural Pools at Grand Fond.

Another photo of the Natural Pools in Grand Fond.

After a quick change we walked down to a gorgeous lunch at Mango at the Christopher hotel. While rebuilding Taïno restaurant, the hotel has done a great job managing the construction while keeping Mango and the hotel spa open. We enjoyed the seaside setting and some of the best food I’ve had on St Barth. The chicken gyoza, soft boiled egg in mushroom crust, crispy chicken leg with tabbouleh, and yellowfin tartar were all excellent. We spoke with one of the staff who said the pool is scheduled to reopen in June, fingers crossed!

We enjoyed having lunch at the Christopher hotel’s feet in the sand Mango restaurant that is just a short walk from Villa Birdy.

That afternoon it was time to shop. Most stores in St. Jean and Gustavia have reopened (with a few to come) and after a quick run to Kiwi, we drove into Gustavia to M’Bolo for our favorite vanilla rum. The bottles we bring home never last long, so fortunately Sandy and Christian have started selling online at mbolo-rum.com. We stopped at Bijoux de la Mer to pick up a repair which Marie sweetly sealed in an envelope for our daughter, then visited a few other favorites like Baya before drinks at Bar L’Oubli. We restocked our wine supply at Le Cellier du Gouverneur and La Cave du Port-Franc on the way out of town and headed back to the villa for sunset, a casual dinner and a St. Barth full moon!

Sweet packaging by Bijoux de la Mer.

After service at the Anglican church Sunday morning, we drove up to the park by the hospital and took in the views before heading to Saline for our last afternoon. On the way back, we stopped at Eden Rock’s pop up on Lorient Beach for a glass of rose. It was very quiet that day, and we enjoyed seeing their temporary set up for lunch, drinks and lounging. We had a long chat with one of the staff who said the hotel plans to re-open just before Christmas. Later we walked down to meet a friend for cocktails and another gorgeous sunset at the Christopher. It was then on to dinner at Tamarin— the gardens as beautiful as ever. The restaurant was quite busy and the food, wine and service excellent. After dinner, back to the villa for vanilla rum and one last night of stargazing.

The view from the park behind the hospital is breathtaking.

Our last sunset from Villa Birdy was beautiful.

All in all, my plan worked! A very special birthday celebration and a perfect trip—travel, weather, villa, restaurants, shops, hikes, people—all fabulous. We are so fortunate to have been to St. Barth twice since Irma and very encouraged by, and in awe of, all that’s been accomplished. For those who know St Barth, do not hesitate to come back, you will find it as beautiful as ever and its spirit unchanged. For those considering a first trip, now is the time. In these months of rebuilding the island is quieter and more like its older self, while well on its way to becoming better than ever!