Posts Tagged ‘Sable d’Or’

Allegra Pawlowski – St. Barth Trip Report May 2019 What’s happening on St. Barth

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Our wonderful St Barth Hotel and Villa Specialist, Allegra Pawlowski shares her St. Barth experience with you today. She has lots of good information about places to stay, things to do and where she dined.

Happy reading!

Sunny regards,

Peg

Allegra Pawlowski

I always look forward to my spring inspection trip as I usually get to travel with Julia Hurd, our US-based concierge. This year, on the way to St Barth, we planned an overnight stop in Puerto Rico to test out a new hotel on Condado Beach, the Serafina Beach Hotel. This made our travel day so easy – a direct flight from Boston to San Juan and jump in a taxi to the hotel.

Since neither of us had ever spent any time in San Juan before, we checked into our room (oohed and ahhed over the fabulous sea view) and then took an Uber to Old San Juan to explore that part of the city. What a treat! I loved this part of our stay here – we stumbled on a crafts fair at the fort, watched some traditional performances and then continued our exploring.

Charming Old San Juan

Parasols in San Juan

Starving, we found a nice spot called Rosa de Triana to get some tapas, located on a beautiful park. We overordered and enjoyed having the place to ourselves. Stuffed, we continued wandering the cobblestoned streets and then late in the afternoon, returned to the hotel to rest a bit before enjoying our dinner outside at the hotel’s restaurant, Amare.

Serafina hotel San Juan at night

This is a great hotel to split up your trip to St Barth, especially if you are traveling from the West Coast of the US. It is a short taxi ride from the airport and is located in an area with many options for dining and some shopping. The views from here are gorgeous to wake up to as the waves crash on the beach below the hotel. They also make a yummy Pina Colada. Please let us know if you would like to try this hotel as we will be happy to help secure it for you.

Good Morning, San Juan

The next morning, we returned to the airport for our scheduled Tradewind flight to the island on one of their 8 seat Pilatus air-conditioned aircraft. Besides flying privately, this is truly the best way to get to the island. It was a clear day and I love looking out the window to see all of the Virgin Islands as we fly over them as we approach the legendary landing on St. Barth, which is always thrilling. Upon landing, we were greeted by Romain, our wonderful and always welcoming team member who escorted us through getting our car rental and then we proceeded to our home for the next few nights. We had a nice surprise with the car – instead of getting what I usually prefer, a Terios, we got a bright orange mini cooper convertible for the week. I am now dreaming about this for my next car at home 😊. It really was a treat to explore for the week with the mini! However, some villas have accesses where the mini won’t work because it sits too low on the road. We will let you know if your villa qualifies when it is time to book your car.

Home for the first three nights was Fleur de Cactus, located in Lurin. It is a totally air conditioned 3 bedroom villa facing the sunset. What a spot! There are two bedrooms and a sitting area on the entry level and then an interior staircase to the lower level where you find the kitchen, living room, dining area and another bedroom, all facing that view! We loved this for the ease of getting to work in the morning in Gustavia and then getting to finish the day there taking in the view. From here, it is a VERY easy drive into town, Gouverneur Beach or one of our favorites, Santa Fe for dinner! We also have some other villas in close proximity, if your group is larger than 6 people and need other properties in the same area.

I love the bar that is inside the pool at Fleur de Cactus.

On the weekend, we visited the new addition to St. Jean beach, L’il Rock Beach Bar/restaurant. We enjoyed the beach with their lounge chairs and lunch with some members of our team on Sunday. The island’s famous, Soley performed while we ate and enjoyed the day lazing on the beach.

L’il Rock sits on St. Jean Beach.

Monday morning meant the start of the work week and after getting Julia set up with her car, I was off to the office to get my marching orders for the day. Luckily, we were to start a bit slowly. During these twice a year trips, I always have a long list of villas I want to revisit or see for the first time. On this trip I really wanted to visit our cottages, DahouëtVal André and Cap Fréhal and in the Sable d’Or area of St. Jean as well as the boutique hotel, Les Îlets de la Plage next door.

Surprisingly, I had actually never been on this side of the runway before and instantly felt transported in time to “old St. Barth” once you pass through the gate. These properties are all equipped with modern conveniences but have maintained the island charm which keeps people coming back to this island year after year. The Sable d’Or cottages are situated at the waters edge, but do not have a beach. To access the sandy beach, you will have to walk down the road a bit, back towards the runway, but there is water access from the cottages (remember your water shoes!).There is also a tennis court included with the cottages if you feel up to an early morning workout. The nearby hotel, Les Îlets de la Plage also has a step back in time feeling with comfortable rooms and cottages with or without sea views. They also have a hotel pool and are a short walk to the sandy area of St. Jean beach.

During the week, I crisscrossed the island seeing new properties and revisiting others for which I needed a refresher. Some standouts were Wish and D’zir, located in Colombier (think – sunset views over the mouth of the harbor and a short walk to Les Bananiers or the bakery, La Petite Colombe), Iris with its new sleek look,  modern feel and fun new TVs, Dei Sogni– my ideal beach house on the sand of Lorient beach (utter perfection in my estimation), Villion located high up in Petite Saline for its privacy, value and views, Au Paille en Queue and Anse Etoilée located in St. Jean with nice views and very bright, fresh feeling interiors (including morning delivery of fresh French pastries included with a 7 night stay), Beach House for the ability to walk right out your door and be on the sand in St Jean, Lumière for its fantastic renovation and views.

The view from Villa D’Zir took my breath away.

Dei Sogni is for Lorient Beach lovers.

The view from Villa Villion is gorgeous.

Imagine you are staying at Beach House – Just open the gate and jump in the water on St. Jean Beach.

On these trips, I aim to test out some of the restaurants on the island and traveling with our concierges, we certainly do. Some of the spots we tried this visit included Santa Fe (for lunch), Nikki Beach, Victoria, La Guérite (for the last night of the season), fishCorner (we had to try the dreamy lemon meringue tart again), Le Toiny (for lunch at their beach club), JoJo Burger (always a great burger) and Maya’s. I had not been to Maya’s in a few years and was very pleased to see nothing has changed and their cooking and presentation remain reliable and simply delicious. The service at Maya’s is superb and of course that view and breeze off of the water are welcome after a hot day racing around the island on visits.

Lunch at the Santa Fe never disappoints.

No trip to St. Barth is complete until I have devoured the lemon meringue tart at FishCorner

Lunch at Nikki beach

Our second home for the week was Villa K, located in Anse des Cayes. As with most areas on the island at this time, there was construction here during the day, but when it stopped, I loved hearing the waves crash at the end of our sandy path. I imagined having our concierge arrange a massage at the villa and to set it up near the path at the end of the day. This would be a perfect place, as it gets dark, to really start the relaxation part of vacation. Note to self……… 😊

One day during the week, we took an afternoon off to enjoy a catamaran excursion with our colleagues in the office on the island. We sailed to Colombier on “Wayayaï” with Top Loc and our captain. There, we snorkeled and followed turtles and sting rays. It was truly a perfect afternoon on the water.

We experienced a catamaran day, just like our clients!

At Villa K, I won the coin toss on the master suite. It is HUGE with two separate lounging areas with gorgeous sea views and a very luxurious bathroom with separate steam shower and tub. This villa is very well set up for an extended family traveling with teenagers or a nanny. We had our last night dinner with the on-island office at Villa K and dined outside while enjoying the incredible talents of one of our favorite chefs, Christophe.

Julia and Chef Christophe adore each other.

I am looking forward to the next visit in November to reconnect with our team on the island and see all the new properties at that time, as there will be much more to see!

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
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