Posts Tagged ‘Le Piment’

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!

Hurricane Irma Update 4

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

The latest news plus, how do you see photos of St. Barth in real time?

We know many people are confused by some information that has been reported in the media. It is true we were hit by a very powerful storm. Some media have lumped St. Barth together with other islands that had certainly suffered greatly and are not as fortunate to possess the resources for such a rapid recovery like St. Barth. Our hearts go out to our neighbors and we wish them the best in their efforts towards recovery. We know they will all rise up again.

Gustavia 10-12-17

Irma before and after 10-13-17

Below you can see the current list of updated business and restaurant openings as well as airport/ferry information. All of this can be found on our Hurricane Irma update page on which we have posted nearly every day. We invite you take a moment to read this page. Be sure to start from the bottom of the page to see all updates. We think you’ll be impressed with the progress.

Business/Restaurant/Airport/Ferry Info

  • Private Villas:
    • We have assessed all of our properties and are pleased to report that many are ready for their November or December arrivals and most ready for high season. A few may take a bit longer but with 250 beautiful homes in our inventory we have plenty of great choices to offer you.

Villa Royal Palm in Vitet received its first guests October 23, 2017. They are thrilled! Photo taken 10-22 17.

  • Shops & Businesses:
    • The majority of shops in Gustavia and St. Jean are open now or will be re-opening as originally scheduled in October & November.
  • Restaurants:
    • Open now or by the end of November: Bakeries island wide, Le Select, Bar de L’Oubli, Galawa (former Pipiri), 25 Quarter, Le Jardin, Le Vietnam, Island Flavors, Au Regal, Bistro Josephine, Le Bouchon, Les Bananiers, Modjo, Yo Sushi Mania, L’Esprit de Saline, La Langouste, La Cantina, Le Piment, Papas Pizza delivery, Le Rendez-Vous, Eddy’s, Le Tamarin, Black Ginger, François Plantation, L’Isola, L’Isoletta, Orega, Chez Rolande, L’Entracte, Spice of St. Barth, Jo-Jo Burger, Mayas to Go.
    • Opening in December: Mayas, Le Ti St. Barth, La Bagatelle, La Plage, Shellona (former Dð Brazil), La Guérite (former Wall House), Kiki é Mo, Baz-Bar.
  • Airports/Airlines/Ferries:
    • St. Barth Airport: OPEN Re-opened in September and is fully functional.
    • St. Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport: OPEN Re-opened Oct 10 to commercial flights.
    • San Juan Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation is currently flying daily flights between St. Barth and San Juan and will maintain a full schedule for the high season.
    • Antigua Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation will resume its flights between Antigua and St. Barth and expects to add additional flights for the high season.
    • St. Thomas Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation will resume its flights between St. Thomas and St. Barth for the high season.
    • St. Kitts/Nevis Airport: OPEN Tradewind Aviation will resume its flights between St. Kitts/Nevis and St. Barth for the high season.
    • Great Bay Express: Ferry service between St. Martin and St. Barth resumed October 13.
    • Voyager Ferry Service: Ferry service between St. Martin and St. Barth resumed October 13.

The residents of St. Barth have worked hard so that they can welcome you back this season. If you are considering a St. Barth vacation and support our beloved island, everyone there will be happy to see you! I would be delighted to assist you in securing the right accommodations. Some who know St. Barth are saying this could be the perfect year to visit as it may be a bit quieter than recent years, a nice reminder of the St. Barth in simpler times. I look forward to assisting you. Contact me pegwalsh@stbarth.com or our St. Barth Specialists at reservations@stbarth.com, 1-800-421-3396.

Many of you have asked for photos of the island. Everyday it gets greener and greener. For a live update 24/7, check http://www.st-barth.com/livecam5.html. You can follow along to see the improvement right up until your day of travel.

The greening of St. Barth continues…10-22-2017

Post Irma, only 7 weeks later, the palm trees that looked like Q-tips as described by Tom Smyth 2 weeks ago are now coming back with gusto 10-22-2017

Anne-Cécile Bedford’s May 2016 Trip Report

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

BONJOUR! As many of you know, our staff travels to St. Barth at least twice a year in order keep up-to-date on all that is happening on our favorite little island. It is extremely important that we inspect and re-inspect our Properties, dine at the restaurants, participate in activities and meet with our on-island colleagues. That way, we can better serve you when planning your St. Barth vacation.

Today’s Guest Blog is written by our Bilingual St. Barth Specialist Anne-Cécile Bedford.

Enjoy.

Sunny regards,
Peg

Anne-Cecile Bedford

Anne-Cécile Bedford

I just returned from a week on St Barth, my favorite place to work! As you all may know by now, I take two trips a year, in the spring and fall, to inspect our new properties and revisit villas I have not seen in a while as well as the one that went through renovation. I must have full knowledge to report back to all of my clients and be able to match them with the best property!

There are so many to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming, so my job is to make it easy for you and guide you through the selection process. From a romantic villa for two perched high up on the hill to a family-friendly place by the beach or a luxurious 5 star villa or hotel, you can rely on my expertise to find your dream place on this little piece of paradise.

Villa Inspection

Villa Inspection at Villa Jade, a 5 star villa in Marigot

This time my trip was a bit bittersweet because I had to say goodbye to two of my long time coworkers who are moving on with their lives and leaving the island for a new promising future. I will miss Ted’s “Joie de vivre” and Mai’s Zen attitude but I was happy to welcome Anne Laure who tagged along with me on some of my visits. Many of you will have the chance to meet her on the island; she is very professional and simply gorgeous.

On my first night I had dinner with Peg at the Les Bananiers restaurant located in Colombier. It is a casual but wonderful restaurant, adjacent to La Colombe bakery where they bake the best baguettes on the island. Les Bananiers serves French and International cuisine; the perfect place to chill out after a day of travel! Their pizzas are as good as the ones at The Hideaway and I had the best Mahi-Mahi dish I have ever had on St Barth. I could not resist having “Escargot” (snails) as an appetizer of course; it is very French. This place is open for lunch, dinner but closed on Sundays.

Mahi-Mahi at Les Bananiers

Mahi-Mahi at Les Bananiers

This time I stayed at villa Mon Cheri, a deluxe property located hillside in Lurin with incredible views. For those looking for proximity to town, this is the ideal place to be. Both St. Jean and Gustavia are within a 7 minute drive. The villa features a large living area and kitchen with two equal bedrooms on both sides and a third little bedroom perfect for a child or a nanny. As a plus, the villa is fully air conditioned.

The living room opens up to a nice covered terrace where guest can dine by the pretty edge pool while watching the sunset. To my surprise the owner has added a Jacuzzi which was perfect for me to relax after longs days of visits and standing on my feet.

Villa Mon Cheri

Villa Mon Cheri

Mon Cheri Jacuzzi

Mon Cheri Jacuzzi

From Mon Cheri, I enjoyed the convenience of walking to one of my favorite restaurants, “Santa Fe” to say a last goodbye to Manu the owner. He is off to the South of France where he spent his childhood attending school there and seemed pretty happy about it. Do not worry, the Santa Fe will remain but with a new owner.

Amongst the new villas I visited, I absolutely loved Villa Kelly, a chic three bedroom villa, located near Gustavia and perfect for families. From the villa you can enjoy the panoramic view of St. Jean and a constant ballet of planes in the distance. The villa is beautifully designed in a nice contemporary style and features 3 bedrooms (2 bedrooms can communicate), a fitness room, a nice outdoor living space with a bar/kitchenette and a large barbecue to dine alfresco! The indoor living area and kitchen is fully air conditioned for those who cannot handle the heat. The long infinity heated pool (58 by 11 feet) is gorgeous with a shallow part where you can lay on chaise lounges. You will enjoy the convenience of being near your favorite restaurants and shopping spots in Gustavia.

Villa Kelly

Villa Kelly in Lurin

While you are strolling the streets of Gustavia, take the time to stop at the “Eden Fine Art Gallery” located near L’Isola restaurant and owned by Cathia Klimovsky. The gallery, hosted by Lynda Jacques, specializes in artwork and sculptures from selected leading International artists. They have several boutiques in the world; 3 in New-York, 1 in San Francisco, 2 in Tel Aviv and 1 in St. Barth. You will recognize the amazing work of the brilliant Yoel Benharrouche. Check it out! You may find your next piece of art or recognize yourself through the art piece.

Eden Fine Art GalleryEden Fine Art Gallery

Don’t forget while parking in Gustavia to put your Blue Disc on the windshield of your car and indicate the time you have parked, as there is a limited time (90 minutes) authorized. I omitted to put mine on there for a quick stop and ended up having to pay a parking ticket of 17 Euros. If this ever happens to you, the thing to do is to go to the Collectivité Locale (located by the stop sign on the corner that goes up from Le Select and is near the police station in Gustavia). Go there first to get a stamp and then go next door, to the police station but it closes at 5:00 (because our island is so safe!). It’s on the right, not too far past the Choisy bakery on the upper exiting road in Gustavia.

The Blue Disk that is used for parking in certain areas of St. Barth

The Blue Disk that is used for parking in certain areas of St. Barth

On other villa news, I am happy to announce that Villa Arrow Marine in Mont Jean is back in our inventory. It is a wonderful property for families or group of friends and the sunrise views from this villa are just stunning. Villa Arrow Marine features 4 bedrooms and can be rented as a 5 bedroom villa in combination with Villa Alphane located on top of the property. It is a breezy area and the view is gorgeous.

Villa Arrow Marine

View from Villa Arrow Marine in Mont Jean

On my last day, I had to make a stop at La Gloriette restaurant, open for lunch (every day except Wednesday) and for pizza and burgers but only at dinner. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing Sunday lunch, feet in the sand, facing the lagoon at “Grand Cul de Sac”.

I was happy to run into Albert the owner whom I had not seen in many years. I purchased their wonderful vanilla rhum to take home and I was glad to find out that they now ship to the US (shipping fee starts at Euro 40), France and Europe. Check their web site rhum-lagloriette.com.

Quick news: L’Oasis supermarket in Lorient has reopened, under new management, offering a variety of Bio products. If you are a wine lover check Le Papillon Ivre located in St. Jean up from Le Piment. They serve salads, sandwiches and fresh homemade products. In Gustavia, Le Quarter 25 is a fun place to start the night and enjoy a cocktail. They also have a dinner menu and offer delicious fish tacos and zesty popcorn. Their selection of bourbons is quite impressive.

My trip to St. Barth would not be complete without a swim in the beautiful warm ocean. Clients often ask, “What is the best beach to go to”? Which one do you recommend?” It is true that as tiny as St Barth is, the island offers 16 beaches! They are all beautiful and easy to access with free parking. My favorite is Saline Beach simply because it is unspoiled and just spectacular, a place where nature meets with the ocean and where part of my heart will remain always…

Saline Beach

Saline Beach

I can’t wait to share with you all of villas I have inspected. Call me at 508-570-4477 or email me at anne@stbarth.com and book your trip now to take advantage of the low season rates.