Posts Tagged ‘Santa Fé’

My stay at Villa Valentina and Le Select’s Marius Stakelborough’s 90th Birthday

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I went back to St. Barth for 4 days 2 weeks ago so that I could work on our next Live Your Dream catalogue and inspect a few more villas. I just came back from another 4 day trip that I specifically planned in order to meet with some travel agents from Ireland who work in an agency that specializes in villas and have clients who want to enjoy our very unique tiny island, so I lined up a bunch of villas that we could visit together. Coincidentally St. Barth Specialist Kathy Schlitzer and our US office Concierge Julia Hurd were traveling on the same day I was (June 5). I arrived ahead of Julia and Kathy because they had opted to take the ferry in order to give you their take on the experience. We were staying at Villa Valentina in Pointe Milou. As soon as I pushed open the carved wooden door I knew we would love staying there. The rear courtyard has Balinese décor with a pagoda structure. Long settees flank the shady area and a smiling Buddha fountain that is lit at night adds a soothing touch.

St Barth Properties

St Barth Properties St Barth Concierge Magda Votava confers with our US office Concierge Julia Hurd

I entered the fully screened beautifully furnished living room and was captivated by the view of the gorgeous pool that seemed to overflow into the deep blue sea beyond. There is huge new deck with lots of sunbeds and a built-in sunken gazebo with a big table making outdoor dining a must. The villa has 4 bedrooms; I opted to stay in the Master (Hey, I arrived first, after all). It has a wonderful king bed, en suite bath with a rain shower, US Satellite TV and sliders that open to the deck and the view. When Kathy and Julia arrived, they looked at the other 3 bedrooms. One has a king sleigh bed and en suite bath and is located down a spiral staircase or can also be accessed from the lower parking area. Another king en suite bedroom is located just off of the other side of the living and dining areas while the 4th en suite bedroom is accessed from the deck and offers the option of having either a king or twin beds. All of the bedrooms offer US satellite TV. If you would like to stay in Villa Valentina, please email reservations@stbarth.com. You will love it!

Villa Valentina view

Villa Valentina view

Villa Valentina Living Room

Villa Valentina Living Room

After unpacking, per tradition, we went to our favorite first night restaurant, Andy’s Hideaway where we had a delicious meal followed by some rhum vanille and headed down to Gustavia. Lucky us! June 5 was Marius Stakelborough’s 90th birthday and the all day party at Le Select was still going on when we arrived. The place was packed, the booze was flowing and a band was playing. I plied my way through the crowd to try to find Marius. It was pretty late (10:00 pm) so I wasn’t sure if he would still be there seeing as the party started at 11:30 am that day. I bumped into a friend of mine who brought me into the area in back of the bar and voilà there he was! 90 years old? You would never know it. He is so active and cheerful; he walks to Le Select everyday and I think that his daily sip of Le Select’s famous Ti Punch has certainly helped him stay and feel so young. In addition to the islanders, Marius has so many friends from all over the world; a whole bunch of them traveled all the way to St. Barth just to be at his party. He welcomed me with open arms and I gave him a big Happy Birthday kiss.

Marius

Kathy took this photo on Marius’ 90th birthday, June 5 2013. Check out the picture on the wall. Recognize anyone?

I had a successful four days which included a lunch at the Santa Fe restaurant with everyone. No one passed up the dessert even though we had more inspections ahead of us.

Santa Fe

Julia, Magda, Kathy, Peg, and Irish travel agents Alex, David, Linda, Niamh enjoy a Santa Fe lunch. The Langouste Club was a big hit.

Dame Blanche at the Santa Fe

Dame Blanche at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake with a runny chcoolate center) at the Santa Fe

Fondant au Chocolat (Warm Chocolate Cake with a runny chcoolate center) at the Santa Fe

L'Ananas Frais (Fresh Pineapple) at the Santa Fe

L’Ananas Frais (Fresh Pineapple) at the Santa Fe

I am back on Cape Cod but Kathy and Julia are still in St. Barth so that Kathy can finish her inspections and Julia can attend more meetings with Magda Votava our on-island Concierge as well as with all of our partners in order to enhance your experiences while you are vacationing in St. Barth. Of course she had to try some services for herself and raved about the massage and facial that she had at Venus Institut in Gustavia. Kathy has clients who are staying in Steve Martin’s Villa Au Soleil at the moment and she told me this morning that they invited them over for drinks last night and really loved seeing them as well as that exceptional view. They have already reserved the villa for next year.

I am heading out again tonight. Stayed tuned to know where it will be…

St. Barth is a lot about the food

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

My husband Steve and I played tourist when my son and SBP VP Tom Smyth brought his family down here for Presidents Week. He did his best to be in vacation mode and I tried to take some time off from work to spend time with them. My grandsons Tommy Jr. and Tyler as well as my daughter-in-law Amy and Amy’s parents, Bob and Barbara were here too. It was Bob and Barbara’s first time to St. Barth and I loved watching them discover just what makes this island so special.

Sunday lunch at Nikki Beach: Ok, so what is the hype all about? I saw it firsthand. If you want to party all afternoon, this is the place to go. Be ready to spend big euros – they recommended that my daughter-in-law select a 345 euro magnum of Rosé when she asked about the wine. She kindly declined and ordered a much less expensive bottle. If you do order the expensive stuff, they make a big deal out of it and come running out with sparklers on the bottle when they deliver it to your table. We enjoyed our wine, took our time and shared appetizers before ordering our main courses. I love people-watching so it was entertaining to see diners get up and dance and then later end up dancing on the tables while the DJ’s decibels steadily increased.

Sunday Lunch at Nikki Beach

Sunday Lunch at Nikki Beach

By contrast, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France’s beachfront restaurant, La Case de L’Isle on another day. The setting is gorgeous; it has a view of Flamands Beach. My crispy chicken salad with fresh ginger, cashew nuts and poached eggs breaded with coconut was delicious. My grandson Tommy Jr. especially enjoyed the shrimp & marinated chicken wok (not to mention the gorgeous young woman who constantly walked by our table modeling some very sexy swimwear). Actually all the guys at our table were quite enthralled with the fashion show. (The restaurant has one every lunchtime and features another one on Tuesday evenings.)

Dinner at the Santa Fe was, as always, a fabulous experience. Almost everyone ordered the Langouste (aka Caribbean Lobster) Thermidore while I had their famous Dover Sole. Andy’s Hideaway is always a must for a fun casual dinner with pizza and their signature Pierrade when we all cook our combo platter with duck, chicken and beef on the hot stone in front of us and then we dip the cooked results in one of 4 yummy sauces (Think fondue [but without the oil] that we “more mature” folks used to have at dinner parties).

Dinner at the Santa Fe

Dinner at the Santa Fe

One evening, our St. Barth Properties Concierges arranged for us to have private a chef, Manu. He cooked and his assistant served us at Villa Au Soleil where Tom and his family were staying. Appetizers were served while we looked out over the pool to the view of the twinkling lights of St. Jean. We then moved to the dining area for our meal. This particular evening was a real highlight of the week. We spent a leisurely evening wining and dining and having great conversation. Manu topped it off with an incredible Soufflé Grand Marnière with ice cream vanille.

Several years ago, Tom, Tommy Jr. and Tyler took a Scuba diving course and were certified here in St. Barth; they dive whenever they are in St. Barth. So, on Wednesday, we had arranged for them to meet us for lunch at Le Select after their dive. A Cheeseburger in Paradise is a “must” when you are vacationing in St. Barth.

Le Select

Lunch at Le Select

Every vacation should include a night out at Le Ti St. Barth. Our St Barth Concierge Magda Votava reserved an excellent table for us and we had an up-close-and-personal view of their sexy fashion show followed by a very professionally done cabaret show. Steve and I go there often when we have guests; this particular night we saw a totally new show and it was really great.

Le Ti St. Barth on Tuesday night

Le Ti St. Barth on Tuesday night

Friday – their last day. Magda had booked a full day catamaran trip with Miguel, the St. Barth Sailor. Unfortunately I had some last minute and urgent work to do so I had to back out at the last minute and I was not able to go out with them as planned. However, Tom called me about 12:30 to check in with me and see if I could join them. I told him I would love to, so they arranged for a dinghy to come and get me in Gustavia at 2:00 pm and take me to meet them at their mooring by Colombier Beach. I held onto the sides of the dinghy for dear life as we sped to meet them. When I made the transfer from the dinghy to the catamaran, I was happy to see that I had made it just in time to join them for a late lunch. They had anchored off of Forchue Island earlier where they snorkeled and had been served hors d’oeuvres before heading to Colombier. Miguel served us a fantastic lunch that had been prepared by one of my most favorite chefs, Jean-Claude Dufour, the owner-chef of L’Esprit restaurant in Salines. (We all had dined at L’Esprit a few nights earlier and loved the alfresco experience.)

Lunch by Colombier Beach aboard the St. Barth Sailor's catamaran

Lunch by Colombier Beach aboard the St. Barth Sailor’s catamaran

Of course beach time and boutique shopping filled out the rest of their week. If you get a chance to vacation in St. Barth with your family, it will create memories of a lifetime. Live Your Dream®.

SBH Trip Report November 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Bonjour Everyone,

I’ve just returned from Cannes where I attended the ILTM (International Luxury Travel Mart). I met with many travel agents from all over the world in order to tell them how wonderful St. Barth is. I am off to St. Barth next week and I can’t wait to get there.

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

Sunset view from my room at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes

I have asked colleague Connie Walsh who traveled with me to St. Barth last month, to write a guest blog describing her trip.

Enjoy!

SBH Trip Report November 2012

By Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

We had a smooth late afternoon landing, courtesy of Tradewind Aviation, and in no time we were settled in at Villa Everestand enjoying some wine and cheese. (I highly recommend pre-arrival villa provisioning!) Dinner at Andy’s Hideaway is our first tradition and as always it was rollicking fun with locals and vacationers who have it on their gotta-go list. I adore their thin crust pizza – and their house-made vanilla rhum.

Villa Everest

Villa Everest

Our schedule was chock a block with villa and hotel inspections and, trying new-this-season restaurants and the company’s annual Beachside Bash. The venue was again Shell Beach’s Dõ Brazil where songstress Christine Gordon had the crowd up dancing.  The Champagne corks were popping and everyone enjoyed a buffet with samples of new menu items. My favs were the Mahi-Mahi sliders and the ribs.

New restos on the scene include La Tables de Jules in Lorient offering dinner staring at 29 euros for 2 courses  and a very cool – and cozy – sushi bar corner and in the heart of Gustavia, island restaurateur Franck Mathevet formerly of the Wall House has brought his culinary magic to the covered courtyard of Rue du Port. He has named it Le Carré and everyone in our group loved it…from the first kernel of truffle oil popcorn to the last spoonful of sorbet. Tucked between Hermes and Cartier the sidewalk café ambiance is tres chic.

There’s a brand new chef at Le Sereno, Jean Louis Brocardi and we were delighted to meet with him when we dined there one evening.  He is just as charming and engaging as he is talented and we had quite a feast!  Could one have too much freshly caught mahi-mahi?  We think not.  He presented us with a gorgeous appetizer platter of tuna prepared in different – and delicious ways.

We visited Hotel Le Toiny’s poolside Le Gaïac – for a “working lunch.” The pool itself has had a do-over in lava stone and the restaurant is resplendent with a new classic decor. We also lunched at Santa Fe, feet-in-the-sand Gloriette (fab chicken curry and rice) and of course, stopped for a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select.

Armed with a list of villas newly added to the portfolios we were pleased with what we saw. Here’s a sample:

Villa Imagine – 3 bedrooms:  A beautiful Marigot location! A domed skylight floods the living area with light and a classic picture window frames the view. I loved the comfy contemporary furnishings and the artful combination of chic industrial and whimsical accessories. A striking extra long pool sparkles in the sun all day.

Villa Imagine

Villa Imagine

Villa A – 3 bedrooms:  A formal French maison, its grand salon must be seen to be believed and it opens to an expansive pool terrace facing the sea. Villa A features a huge eat-in kitchen with every culinary amenity and would be a WOW setting for a wedding or event.

Villa A Grand Salon

Villa A Grand Salon

Naturelle 34 bedrooms:  Worthy of an Architectural Digest layout, and like its two “sister villas”, the name comes from its gorgeous but natural tropical landscaping. A sprawling main-level deck features an extra long infinity edge (and heated) pool. The views are spectacular! Two en suite bedrooms are on opposite ends of the villa and the other two, also en suite, are situated just down the hill in a bi level pavilion. Each has its own plunge pool. A spacious open air mini-gym is just one of many special features.

Villa Naturelle 3

Villa Naturelle 3

And for honeymooners – Ti Acerola. This very private mini-compound’s main pavilion has a kitchen, dining area, bedroom and bath. The 2nd pavilion houses a cozy air-conditioned living room. Both are adjacent to a delightful pool. And what a view!

Villa Ti Acerola

Villa Ti Acerola

Our hotel inspections included the Carl Gustaf.  The suites’ plunge pools have been retiled in sparkling white and new contemporary furnishings and décor give the living rooms and the bedrooms a fresh new airy – and 5 star look. The Hotel Saint-Barth Hotel Isle de France is boasting new white marble flooring in it iconic breezeway.  We toured the newly refurbished rooms as suites on the beach as we; as the garden bungalows and they are gorgeous. We checked in at the Hotel Taïwana and its new top-level bedroom suites are nearing completion.

It was a busy and productive trip with a nice Sunday break in the middle. We began with a breakfast of ham and cheese croissants  at La Petite Colombe and a morning swim at Gouverneur Beach; and then on to St. Jean Beach for a picnic lunch – and some great people watching. Parfait.

More Neat stuff about St. Barts

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Do you remember one of my previous blog’s where I mentioned the very talented Tomas Doncker Band that was playing at the Baz Bar over the holiday period? Tomas kindly stopped my office in Gustavia to give me his latest CD, “Power of the Trinity”. It is excellent. I thanked him and told him that we would go to his last show on Sunday night before the band headed back to New York. We enjoyed it immensely. If you get a chance to see the band, you will not be disappointed. Check out their website www.tomasdonker.net.

I gave my grandson Vince a trip to St. Barth as a combination Christmas/ 21st birthday present and I invited his girlfriend Samantha (“Sam”) to join him before they return to the University of Miami where they are both top students (Yes, I am allowed to brag.) I used my frequent flyer miles to get them as far as St. Maarten and then secured the inter-island flights for them. They have been having a great time. We went to St. Jean Beach one afternoon. The next day they toured all the way around the island by Jet Ski and yesterday they hiked the goat path to Colombier Beach. (You must do that at least once or take a catamaran there. That is the only way to access this gorgeous beach and great snorkeling spot.)

Vince-and-Sam-get-ready-to-Jet-Ski-around-St

Vince and Sam get ready to Jet Ski around St Barth

The-Jet-Ski-instructor-uses-this-map-to-point-out-the-natural-reserves-where-Jet-Ski's-are-forbidden-to-enter

The Jet Ski instructor uses this map to point out the natural reserves where Jet Skis are forbidden to enter

Colombier Beach

Colombier Beach

Our evenings have been full, too. We went to some of my favorite restaurants. Tuesday evening we went to our St. Barth Properties cocktail party which we host every Tuesday evening (late November to the end of April). It takes place from 6:30 to 7:30 at the gorgeous Bonito restaurant which overlooks the harbor. We enjoyed talking to our villa and hotel clients and then stayed on for dinner. The food was excellent.

A week in St. Barth should include one night at Le Ti St. Barth. It describes itself as being “A Caribbean Tavern.” We went there for dinner and were entertained by a fashion show at 9:30 followed by a cabaret show. You should try it. Today we’ll hit the shops and tomorrow we’ll have a “cheeseburger in paradise” at Le Select.

Fashion-show-at-Le-Ti

Fashion show at Le Ti

Vince-and-Sam-at-LeTi-St

Vince and Sam at Le Ti St Barth

Last night we went to the Santa Fe restaurant (delicious as always!) and as we were leaving, a gentleman introduced himself and his wife to me. He said, “Peg? I love your blog.” Well, that stopped me right there in my tracks, “You do????” He said, “Yes I wouldn’t miss it.” It was great to hear that. So, if any of you feel the same way, I certainly do not mind if you add a comment to let me know. You can also ask me questions about St. Barth and suggest topics you would like me to explore.

Robert-and--Susan-Waite-at-the-Santa-Fe-restaurant

Robert and Susan Waite at the Santa Fe restaurant

It turns out that this couple is a longtime repeat client of SBP. They have come to St. Barth and used our services every year since 2002. Happy 10th Bob and Susan!

Julie-Nally

Julie Nally

They told me that they love working with Julie Nally who is one of our St Barth Specialists. Julie has been with SBP and assisting clients with their choice of villa or hotel since 1997. Her contact info is julienally@stbarth.com. This is the 5th time in a row that Bob and Sue stayed at Villa Sud Ouest which is a real testimony on how enjoyable it is. I hope to see them again at our cocktail party next Tuesday.

What Can Teenagers Do During Family Vacations in St Barth? (Part One)

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Day 1 and 2

I surprised my beautiful granddaughter Reegan with a trip to St. Barth as her present for her Sweet Sixteenth Birthday. I booked the trip for Reegan and her friend Andrea at midnight on Friday. They flew on JetBlue from Boston to San Juan and then on Tradewind Aviation from San Juan to St. Barth and arrived at 4:00 pm on Sunday. We picked them up and took them to our villa. Tired but very excited, they were fine with our plans for their first evening. They quickly unpacked, changed and we were off to see the sunset at Victoria’s Lounge at the hotel Carl Gustaf.

Arrival-Day-on-the-Tarmac

Arrival Day on the Tarmac

Then we headed over to Andy’s Hideaway which is the perfect place for weary travelers who wish to dine in a fun inexpensive atmosphere. The wait staff is excellent and ever so friendly and Andy always is a hoot! We love to order the Pierrade which is a hot stone on which you cook your food. They have a combo platter with beef, duck and chicken and they have a fish platter with shrimp, scallops and Tuna. All of this comes with salad and potato or fries and it is only 22 euros per person.

The Fish Pierrade at Andy's Hideaway

The Fish Pierrade at Andy's Hideaway

The next day, the girls were up early and ready to explore St. Barth. Reegan is very fair and burns like crazy, so we decided that we would go to the beach later in the day. I had an appointment at the office and I brought them with me so that they could plan their week with our St. Barth Concierge, Magda Votava. They chose some fun activities and Magda made the reservations for them. She also made all of our dinner and lunch reservations. In the meantime, my husband made sandwiches and packed the cooler for the beach.

Andrea-(L)-and-Reegan-(R)-meet-with-Magda-to-plan-their-activities

Andrea (L) and Reegan (R) meet with Magda to plan their activities

We arrived at St. Jean Beach around 2:15. Reegan and Andrea had signed up to take a windsurfing lesson with Jean Michel at Carib Water Play at 3:00. What fun! Jean Michel started them out on the beach so that they could get the hang of it; then it was time to actually get in the water and wind surf. They did quite well and enjoyed it. We stayed on the beach until about 5:30 and headed back to the villa to shower and get ready for dinner.

Windsurfing lesson at St. Jean Beach with Jean Michel

Windsurfing lesson at St. Jean Beach with Jean Michel

Time to try it in the water

Time to try it in the water

We chose to dine at the Santa Fé which is one of our favorite places. There was a full moon that evening and we enjoyed being able to dine on their delicious fare while looking at the twinkling lights emanating from St. Kitts, Statia and Saba in the distance.

Santa-Fe's-Wonderful-Croustillant

Santa Fe's Wonderful Croustillant de St. Jacques et ses Petites Legumes

Sole-Meunière

Sole Meunière at the Santa Fé

Beef-Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon at the Santa Fé

Only-Half-the-Calories-if-You-Share-Dessert

Only Half the Calories if You Share Dessert

More activities to follow in my next blog.