Posts Tagged ‘Hotel Manapany’

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

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!