Posts Tagged ‘Le Repaire’

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

After 11 Months, One of My Most Favorite St. Barth Restaurants Re-Opens!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Like so many of you who keep asking me for Post-Irma updates on the reopenings of the restaurants that are so much a part of The St. Barth Experience, I have waited and waited to hear news on one of my most favorite. Well, the time has come!

I am so happy to announce that the newly refurbished Santa Fé restaurant reopened on July 29, 2018.

The Santa Fé restaurant in Lurin reopened its doors on July 29th, 2018! I sent a congratulatory note to the very charming owner, David Mouton. He excitedly responded, “Hi Peg, Thank you for your nice words. You can imagine how happy we are after 11 months to open our doors again; I needed to open to feel that vibe back in my heart and also for my bank account…lol.” The restaurant will close again for its annual closure on August 25, 2018. I asked David about the reopening and he said, “We’re thinking of opening around Oct. 20th to be ready for a wonderful season; I hope your past season was not too bad and wish the next one will be magnifique!!…and looking forward to your visit asap. Thank you for your help. My best to Doc and Tom & family, Bisous.”

I love the entrance and bar area at the Santa Fé.

The menu is exciting, and I am happy to say that my very favorite dish, Dover sole meunière, is on it. Mark your calendars for Moules-Frites (mussels and fries) @29 euros every Friday (based on their arrival). We will make the reservation for you! View menu

The view at lunch is just as wonderful as ever.

The view from the Santa Fé is just as stunning in the evening.

September is the quietest month of the year for tourism. The annual closing of most of the restaurants, boutiques and hotels is drawing near. The reason? Not only is it the peak period for hurricanes, employees of France (therefore, St. Barth) are automatically guaranteed 5-6 weeks vacation every year, unlike in the US where vacations are usually based on the number of years a person has worked at the company. So, closing for 5-6 weeks works well for enterprises in St. Barth. They take advantage of the time to refresh their establishments. Who on St. Barth does not take these September vacations? The government, some enterprises, including several restaurants and parents with school-age children because the schools in St. Barth reopen the first week in September. Both of our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sales and rental offices remain open to serve you.

Many of our clients love to go to St. Barth during this period because they are seeking quiet relaxation. Although, the majority of restaurants will be closed, the good news is that you can dine at a different place every day.

What’s Open:

Le Bouchon
Café Gloriette (Closed Sunday)
Grain de Sel (Closed Sunday and Monday)
Vietnam (Closed Tuesday)
Quartier Général
Le Repaire
25 Quarter (Reopens Sept 5. 2018)
Le Select (Only closed September 7-16, 2018)
Les Bananiers (Closed Sunday)
Bar de L’Oubli (Closed Sunday)
L’Ardoise (Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday)
Au Régal (Closed Sunday and August 25-September 01, 2018)
Le Jardin (Closed Sunday)

So, if you vacationing on the island during the quiet period, you can still dine at a different restaurant every day if you wish. Bon Appétit!

What does St. Barth look like 8-9 weeks post Hurricane Irma?

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

A St Barth first-person Experience November 02-05, 2017

My passion has always been St. Barth. My heart was aching for the people who experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irma and I longed to get back. Finding flights from Boston had become a huge challenge. I would book flights only to have them canceled. Finally, I found a flight through Miami to St. Maarten. Today’s blog covers my first few days back in paradise.

November 02, 2017:

My husband and I flew on America Airlines to Miami. Fortunately, the flight was on time and we made it to our connecting gate to St. Maarten in time. Both flights were full. I was surprised that so many people wanted to fly to St. Maarten because the recovery there is going at a snail’s pace.

I had heard that the terminal at Princess Juliana Airport was not open and was badly damaged. Make-shift arrangements had been made. That bit of news meant that I was clueless as to how to transit through to St. Barth. We had four heavy checked bags because we packed knowing that we would be here until May. I relied upon my fabulous concierge in our US office, Julia Hurd to arrange VIP services for us. What a smart move!

As soon as we touched down on the tarmac in SXM, I saw the devastation on both sides. I was so used to seeing pictures of how well St. Barth is recovering, it was a bit of a shock. It was as if Irma had hit only 3 days ago instead of 8 weeks ago. Our pilot parked the plane near some tents and we deplaned via a stairway. We were told to go to the “FOB” building. I had no idea what that was, so I asked a friendly guy at the bottom of stairs. He said, “Is your name Walsh?” He took me to Jerry who was handling my Easyway VIP service. Thank you, Jerry!

We deplaned in St. Maarten via a stairway.

We stood in line to clear immigration while Jerry retrieved our luggage, He then escorted us to another tented area where they had some counters and checked us in at Winair. Then we went to a booth to get our passports stamped again, this time for departure, and we went through a security checkpoint in a hangar serving as the departure lounge. It had some places to buy drinks and snacks and a restroom. Soon after, Jerry came to get us, and we were on our way to St. Barth.

We stood in line under a tent, in order ito go through immigration in a temporary building.

We waited for our Winair flight in a hangar that had become the departure lounge.

I admire St. Maarten for adapting to the aftermath of Irma by opening the airport to people like me. SXM is a gateway to many other destinations. I admire American Airlines for flying from Miami and Jet Blue from JFK every day, too. FYI If you are transiting through St. Maarten, please be sure to ask Julia to arrange the VIP service, you will be so happy that you did.

Vive La Différence! As we approached the island, we could see how green St. Barth is – already! We cleared immigration and headed to the St. Barth Properties booth that we share with Gumbs Car Rental. Odile was waiting for us with her always pretty smile and showed us to our rental cars. (Yes, we have two so that I can go off and work without stranding Steve.) 0ff we went to Villa Everest.

I tried to look at the surroundings as I drove. Yup, definitely, a hurricane had hit, the most obvious indication being the almost-naked palm trees. Otherwise, there were many signs of repairs and recovery that impressed me. Even the palms’ fronds had sprouted new growth showing that they were well on their way back to their stately beauty. We unpacked, showered and headed out to dinner. I had vowed that we would frequent every restaurant whose staff had busted their tails to reopen as soon as possible and show my support by dining there. We are always a bit tired on our first night and chose the casual Le Grain de Sel by Saline Beach; it was busy; they had blackboard specials, and we enjoyed the food, the friendly staff as well as the nice breeze.

November 03, 2017

I love waking up my first day back in St. Barth. Feeling rested, I grabbed my camera-phone and took a picture from the pool deck. The island looked nice and green and I remarked that Lorient beach looked beautiful. My mission is to give you firsthand knowledge of how St. Barth looks in real time but to also let you know how the people who lived through this nightmare felt and now feel.

My first morning view from Villa Everest was different but still stunnng.

Steve (aka “Doc”) went to his favorite warehouse in Lorient to stock up on supplies. In case you do not know my husband, he is Dr. Chatter and loves to talk to anyone. Maybe that is because he is a dentist and he was great at distracting his patients with banter between his dental assistant and him. He and the warehouse owner had a long conversation after the guy in front of him had bought every last bottle of Heineken out from under us!) The owner said that the guy owns a restaurant and people like him will go wherever they can to get what they need. Steve settled for Amstel Light and chatted away.

The owner said he had never experienced anything like Hurricane Irma. It was a category 5 but that is as high as the rankings go, and he thought of it as a category 7. In 1995, I remember when Hurricane Luis stalled over St. Barth for 36 hours. He said Irma was fast moving but was much stronger. Some people has lost part of their roofs and windows and when the eye hit at 7:00 am on September 6th, it was a blessing in disguise because people were able to go to the homes of friends and relatives and be safe. The backside was even worse. On September 7th, the island immediately began the recovery process. Everyone showed solidarity and pitched in to help one another. No one was going to sit back and wait for France to send help. The French didn’t think we needed it anyway because, “rich people come to St. Barth.”

Later, I met Anne laure and Laura from my rental office at Villa Les Embruns in Flamands so that I could visit it for a client of mine who is arriving in December. I saw people as well as the villa owner working on the villa, readying it for the first arrival on November 28th. Stonework was being done on a wall as well as repairs on the deck’s gazebos. When we went inside, it was perfect. The furniture looked as if nothing had happened. Laura successfully tested a “flybox” that enabled the Internet connection at the villa. I am going back next week to see the difference and report back.

I stopped at my offices in Gustavia to see everyone and to look at the damages. We have lots to do but both offices are open and ready to welcome you.

I stopped by my new St Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty sales office to check out the damages and to say hi to Benoit, Pascale, Nadine and Melissa.

That evening, we dined at another casual place, Bistro Josephine, which is on the road towards Shell Beach, not far from my offices. As soon as I opened the door, I saw my dear friend Audrey Ferrari who was the owner of Carpe Diem restaurant until the landlord decided to tear it down in favor of more shops. Audrey described the menu and the specials to us as we sipped our Coupes de Champagne. Once again, we had a delicious meal and had the chance to talk to Jean Paul, the owner. The bistro features a band once in a while; it also has a rear garden where you can dine alfresco. Try it, you’ll love it. We will make the reservations at any of the restaurants for you.

Doc and I are with Audrey and Jean Paul at Bistro Josephine.

November 04, 2017

Another day of reconnaissance found us driving past Grand Cul de Sac Beach, then turning left to view the lagoon from the righthand side. I wanted to see Le Barthélemy hotel and in the distance Le Sereno and Le Guanahani. The colors of the lagoon were as beautiful as ever; the beach looked inviting, too. The hotels are already in recovery – mode but it will take time before they can reopen. We have plenty of villas ready for your arrival. Maybe it’s time you try the Villa Experience. We can arrange every kind of service you may wish to have while you are there.

Next stop: Lorient Beach. We parked in our usual spot and took the footpath by the cemetery onto the beach. I looked to my left to see a very, very wide sandy beach. We walked the beach and realized that it was as wide as it is because the vegetation in front of the houses was gone. I saw homes that I had never seen before. It should all grow back soon. I spotted a woman with her two children playing on the beach near where the surf shack used to be and, as we approached, I realized that it was Hafida, the owner of The Hideaway restaurant. She told us that she is doing her best to reopen in December. I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Lorient Beach is looking good too.

We had dinner at Eddy’s which had just reopened October 30th. It was quite busy, and we enjoyed seeing Brigitte, Eddy and their son Mahé again. The restaurant itself didn’t suffer any damage. The front garden lost its big tree. Eddy remarked that they were very fortunate because the tree fell across the street instead of onto the restaurant. Our meals were delicious, and I can’t wait to go back.

It is always a pleasure to see Eddy.

November 5, 2017

Today is Sunday. The day of rest is taken seriously by the islanders, so most places are closed. I put on my sneakers, put my Fitbit on my wrist and we headed off to Gustavia for a combination power walk and reconnaissance trip. The bakery in Lorient was open and a coveted parking space was free, so we parked and went in to buy our baguette for sandwich-making, so we could head to the beach with them later.

We stopped to buy our daily fresh baguette at La Petite Colombe in Lorient.

We decided to start our walk towards the other side of Gustavia. A cruise ship was anchored outside of the harbor and passengers had come in by tender. Therefore, a few shops were open. We headed to my offices and saw both the Bagatelle and the Baz Bar were under renovation. They plan on being open in December. Yay! As we continued on, we saw a few places that had been harmed by Irma. The harborside buildings that once held Hervé’s Coté Port and Carole’s Yacht Club were already scheduled to be torn down in favor of more dock space for boats, so no need for repairs there. We walked past the Hôtel de La Collectivité, as handsome as ever, and turned around at the end of that side of the harbor. Minor things such as benches need repair and the palm trees need more fronds.

The Hotel de la Collectivité (city hall) looks great

Reversing our steps, we walked down the other side of the harbor past the ferry dock and fish market. Everything seemed normal. The Voyager ferry had just arrived from St. Martin, taxi drivers were offering island tours to the cruise ship passengers, Le Repaire was open for breakfast and the fish market was intact but not open because it was Sunday. I did see a piece of plywood on the window at Longchamp’s but not much more. Further up the Bar de L’Oubli was open, too.

The Voyager ferry arrived on this quiet Sunday.

The fish market showed no sign of damage.

The afternoon reconnaissance: St. Jean Beach. After packing the cooler, putting beach chairs and an umbrella in the car, we headed to the parking lot across from the beach. The path at the end of the runway, going onto the sand, was wide, once again, because the foliage was gone. Believe it or not, we found a tiny piece of beach where we usually sit, that was shaded by some rejuvenating palm trees.

The sand on the Les Ilets de la Plage side of the beach has come back nicely. I think it is because most of the fence washed away.

We walked the beach towards Eden Rock and saw the damage to Tom Beach, Emeraude Plage and Eden Rock. Lots of work to do there. Tom Beach is already on its way back and expects to be open in December. We saw piles of sand waiting to be spread in various spots along the beach.

The sand at the Eden Rock side of St. Jean Beach is recovering well.

A benefit from Irma is that the better parts of the fences washed away. You can walk the entire beach again. Hope it lasts.

I noticed a few chaise lounges with umbrellas at the spot where Carib Water Play’s booth used to be and stopped to chat with Lucas, Jean Michel’s son. He was open for business! Good to know – 15 euros for a lounge chair and 10 euros for an umbrella – well worth it.

Carib Water Play is open for business.

Lucas is ready to set up your chaise lounge and umbrella, rent you a surf board or give you a windsurfing lesson.

To end the day, we enjoyed a casual Sunday night dinner at Le Vietnam restaurant in Gustavia.

My next blog will be shorter, I promise, and I will tell you more about my adventures post-Irma.