Posts Tagged ‘Santa Fé’

Early December 2014

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I was happy to finally clear my calendar and get back To St. Barth last month. I needed my fix! It was nice to see how well the island had recovered from Hurricane Gonzalo’s wrath. Most of the damages were to the boats that were moored in the harbor area because there was no warning that a hurricane was developing. It was supposed to be a tropical depression that was just passing through so no advisories were given to boat owners to alert them that they should be seeking shelter. As a result, 42 boats were destroyed. The population on St. Barth is resilient so the cleanup began immediately. The only lingering signs that I could see were a couple of boats that had washed ashore and had not yet been removed and I observed some loss of vegetation at a few of the villas that I inspected and that was quickly growing back. When you get to St. Barth, you won’t even notice.

As always, I had lots of things to do including villa and hotel inspections and checking out anything new so that I could tell you about it. I invited friends to join us and we stayed at Villa Capri in Pointe Milou. Tradition finds us at Andy’s Hideaway on our first night.

I’ll be back in St Barth in a few days and will be based there until May. I hope to see you at our weekly cocktail party held at La Plage restaurant on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm!

In the meantime, Connie Walsh, our marketing consultant has written her trip report as a guest blog.

The highlight of the trip was our big party, the Seaside Soirée that was held at the hotel Taïwana November 14. It was a huge success with more than 200 guests attending.

TRIP REPORT – November 2014

Connie Walsh

I made my annual pre-season trip to St. Barth the week of November 7, and like many other island devotees, I salivate enroute over the plethora of fabulous restaurants. I have my favorites, but I’m always excited to see what’s new. Upon landing my husband and I received a VIP meet & greet by St. Barth Properties’ president Peg Walsh, and we were off to Pointe Milou and got settled into Villa Capri. What a view!

We had a first-night dinner reservation with Peg and her husband Steve at M&P. I hadn’t dined there in a few years, and it was as good as I remembered. The acronym stands for Meat and Potatoes, and admittedly it sounds at odds for chi-chi St. Barth. But a breezy steakhouse on the road to Saline Beach, its sophisticated menu is a carnivore’s dream, but trust that vegetarians have loads of choices. We noshed on the Chateaubriand, accompanied by a choice of over a dozen sauces, Bordelaise, Roquefort, Porcini … my fave Béarnaise, and two sides.

M & P (Meat and Potatoes)

M & P (Meat and Potatoes)

We had some divine Gratin Dauphinois and Kenyan (fair trade) green beans. Thursday night is burger night at M&P if you’re in the mood. We always get our burger fix at the iconic beach-shack Le Select, now celebrating its 65th season. Jo Jo Burger in Lorient gets rave reviews– and they make a mean mahi-mahi sandwich too. I’ve promised myself I’ll stop in one of these days for a post-beach burger.

The always fun Andy’s Hideaway is our go-to for pizza, thin-crust and relish. We also love the pies at the little Gustavia eatery L’Entracte but it was undergoing a major renovation – next time. By the way, Grand cul de Sac’s La Gloriette, which we adore for leisurely feet-in-the sand lunches – and their ginger rhum – offers pizza in the evenings.

Our musts are Le Carré located in the glam shopping arcade of the similar name, Le Carré d’Or; it has a charming Parisian sidewalk café feel. Go for lunch and dinner. It’s that good. They had me at the truffle oil popcorn starter on my first visit, and I think they make the best Margarita on the island. And of course, Santa Fe. Trip advisor rates them # 1 in St. Barth. No surprise. It’s another lunch-and-dinner stop, the afternoon breezes and the views over Gouverneur pair beautifully with a bowl of gazpacho and a glass of rosé. Mussels are Thursday’s lunch and dinner special – mark your vacation calendar. Our small group dinner there began with a coupe de Champagne, their signature Wahoo fritters and went on to include a number of classical French dishes. We shared escargots redolent with garlic, Beef Bourguignon, Sole Meunière that would make Julia Child weep….and oh, the desserts. My favorite is the Peach Melba.

The new & noteworthy include the restaurant and crêperie L’Ardoise in Villa Créole St Jean. They pay homage to the island’s ties to Brittany where the crêpe was invented and called a galette. The soft dessert crêpes include the uber-popular Nutella and a deconstructed profiterole. The atmosphere is casual and lively, the prices reasonable and it’s catching on with residents and visitors alike. Cocktails are being stirred and shaken at the brand new and lounge-y bar Modjo. From the outside, an unassuming edifice (next to Andy’s) has been totally renovated with an exposed loft ceiling and industrial-chic lamps. The room’s focal point is a long bar and it is filled with oversized sofas and comfortable chairs. Open nightly from 7:00pm – 3:00 am, they offer a creative menu of small plates. And there’s alternately live music or a DJ spinning tunes. C’est très hip!”

Our best dinner? That was St. Barth Properties’ annual launch-the-season Seaside Soirée at the Taïwana Hotel. F&B director Octavio and his team outdid themselves with elegant passed hors d’oeuvres, starters, mains, and desserts. We did the taste-testing one afternoon on our June trip, and it was as amazing as remembered and with the addition of music, a starry night and over 200 people – spectacular.

A few days into our stay, we were joined at Villa Capri by another couple and mixed some vacation time with our work. The bedrooms at Capri, like so many, have baths en suite and loads of pool-side outdoor living space making it ideal for sharing with friends. We took turns making the morning baguette and croissant run, enjoyed our coffee with a view, post-beach pool time and toasted the Technicolor sunsets before heading out to dinner. (The new owner is planning some fabulous changes. Stay tuned.)

Villa inspections are always on our work-agenda and we stopped in to see the refurbishments at the charming Villa Rosebud – sure to make it more popular than ever – and the brand-new and breathtaking Villa My Way.

Peg and I inspecting Villa My Way which overlooks Flamands

Peg and I inspecting Villa My Way which overlooks Flamands

This gorgeous five bedroom home in Colombier was named for Frank Sinatra’s theme song and the bedrooms, décor and amenities (a grand piano, projector and giant screen and a fabulous sound system) give a nod to his fellow mid-century songsters.

Let the season begin!

St. Barth Properties US office Concierge, Julia Hurd’s Trip Report

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes that makes your trip to St. Barth so remarkable?

Here is one of the reasons:

Bonjour Everyone,

Julia Hurd

Julia Hurd

I hope that you had a very enjoyable summer. Today’s blog was written by our fabulous Concierge Julia Hurd from our US office. If you have not already had the pleasure of working with Julia, you will be very impressed when you do. Julia helps all of our clients arrange any services they may wish her to organize for them…car rentals and dinner reservations, private chef and spa services, babysitters, birthday parties etc. Basically, everything on a person’s wish list will magically be set up and ready upon arrival.

In order for Julia to accomplish this feat, traveling to St. Barth to touch base with our St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty office’s Concierge, Magda Votava and meet all of our service partners is a must.

Enjoy,
Peg

Julia’s Trip Report

by Julia Hurd
US Concierge, St Barth Properties

Kathy Schlitzer, one of our St. Barth Villa Specialists, and I travel well together and this trip was no exception. We departed Boston, MA with JetBlue direct to St. Maarten. Once we arrived Easyway VIP Service was waiting for us to assist us through the St. Maarten airport to the Voyager Ferry.

Photo of Easyway VIP Agents in SXM

Easyway VIP Agents in SXM

Once we arrived into St. Barth we headed off to the Hotel Taïwana and we had the most beautiful two bedroom Jade Suite with a private pool. We settled in after a long day of travel and Sunday woke up and walked the beach of Flamands. The hotel is stunning and everyone there was so generous and kind. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Monday morning I went to our office in Gustavia to start my work week with Magda, our on island concierge. We speak daily and it is nice to see her in person. My first order of business is to collect updated information of the new and exciting things that the island has to offer, so we headed off to the Tourist Office in Gustavia.

SBP Office in Gustavia

SBP Office in Gustavia

The island of St. Barth has so much to offer, each time I visit, I learn something new.

I was excited to dine at some new restaurants on the island: Black Ginger, Ocean and of course my all time favorite Santa Fé.

Here is my Dover Sole that I enjoyed at Santa Fe

Here is my Dover Sole that I enjoyed at Santa Fé

I love fish, so I heard that the grocery store in Lorient called L’Oasis now has a Fish market for those guests that want to sleep in and not meet the local fisherman in Gustavia to see what the daily catch is. I took a ride to check it out. WOW if you want to stay in one night and cook, then I would suggest taking a look at their beautiful array of fish. They have many choices and all are packed on ice to stay fresh.

photo

photo_1

photo_2

I wanted to take a ride around the island to explore, so Magda and I decided to take a little excursion in Grand Fond; many clients enjoy hiking to see the Washing Machine. Make sure you wear sneakers; no flip flops for this hike.

photo_1

photo_2

We also took the hike to Fort Karl, 63 steps up to the most spectacular view overlooking Gustavia harbor on one side and Shell Beach on the other.

photo_2

photo

photo_1

After that Magda and I hopped in the car to explore; we came across some new friends on the road. I also saw some ponies at the stables in Gouverneur.

photo

photo_1

After our adventure I headed to the beautiful villa Méli Mélo where I would stay until I departed. This villa has the most stunning views from the front and the back. The front view overlooks St. Jean, the sea and the planes landing over the mountain; the villa was provided with binoculars, so I took advantage of using them. It was amazing to see the planes land and take off. The rear view looks out to the beautiful water at Saline Beach.

photo_2

I was lucky to be on the island for our last cocktail party of the season held at La Plage on St Jean Beach, I was happy to meet so many of our clients that I talk to and assist in planning their dream vacations on St. Barth. It was nice to spend time getting to know them better and in person. It just so happened to be Magda’s birthday, so Kathy and I invited her and her beautiful daughter Valérie to join us for dinner.

It was, as always, sad to leave, but I had to get home to make sure that I could share all my adventures and new knowledge of St. Barth with all of you. Call me anytime. I love my job!

A bientôt, St. Barth.

November in St. Barth – Trip Report by Connie Walsh

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

I am happily back on St. Barth and am based here for at least the next 5 months (poor me). Last month I was also here doing some villa inspections, spending time with friends and hosting our 25th Anniversary party celebrating the silver anniversary of when I founded St. Barth Properties. My colleague Connie Walsh was with me and I am pleased to share her trip report with you as a Guest Blog.

Connie Walsh’s Trip Report November 2013

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

One of the things I love best about the island of St. Barth is the charming small-town ordinary-ness of its daily life. It both belies and yet compliments the TMZ-like Jay Z & Beyoncé-ness which reaches its star-studded zenith over the Christmas and New Year holidays. But even then, residents, which include many whose families have called St. Barth home for generations, are out and about, stopping in at the post office, buying a baguette or grabbing a burger in Gustavia’s Le Select. And if they meet Mariah Carey popping out of a shop, Dave Letterman jogging the hills or are seated next to Hollywood’s latest starlet in a restaurant, it’s all in a St. Barth day.

Come August and September, many of the hotels and some restaurants shutter for an annual closing period. It’s a quiet time and one that many vacationers love, for just that reason. Come October, everything begins re-opening up with great energy. Hotels sport a range of renovations, announce new chefs and menus and everyone, residents and visitors alike are excited to see what new bistros and boutiques the season will bring.

I’ve been traveling to St.Barth in November for a number of years now with the St. Barth Properties (SBP) team for the pre-season inspection trip. I find the enthusiasm as tangible as the whiff of the scent of fresh paint. This year I added in some vacation time. Joining SBP’s president, my client and friend Peg Walsh. Together with our husbands and other friends, we shared the delightful Villa Nirvana. It was perfect for 3 couples, like many villas in the portfolio, its en suite bedrooms are privately situated and the poolside outdoor living spaces are designed to gather and socialize and take in a spectacular view. And we did.

Villa Nirvana

Villa Nirvana

My husband and I loved the Lurin location in part due to its proximity to Gouverneur Beach, one of our favorites. We could jump in the car and head down for a morning swim and be back in no time for a 2nd helping of French pastries. (Our St. Barth guilty pleasure.) The week went by all too quickly, a shopping trip combined with burgers, ice cold Caribs, and people-watching at the legendary Le Select; picnic lunches and swimming at St. Jean Beach where, end of day, we’d stroll down to La Plage’s Pink Parrot bar for a late-afternoon glass of rosé and a lovely day at the Christopher. The Pt. Milou hotel offers Day Passes and 80 euros per person will reserve you a plush poolside sunbed, umbrella and towel. The seafront pool here is the island’s largest and just gorgeous. A welcome cocktail and lunch at the feet-in-the-sand Mango is included. Spa aficionados can upgrade the Pass to include treatments at the hotel’s Spa Sisley. Check-in the with SBP’s concierge team to reserve the Pass.

Christopher pool

Christopher pool

The gang at the Christopher

The gang at the Christopher

And now on to the restaurant round-up. Our tradition is to have our first night on-the-island dinner at Andy’s Hideaway. The beloved old shanty with a view of the parking lots has been spiffed up. Brightly painted, plus new chairs and tables give it a contemporary look. Dare we say très chic? The thin crust pizza is still fabulous and the vanilla rhum, yummy. Andy belted out Sweet Caroline as he is wont to do and the crowd joined in. In short, it’s as much fun as ever.

Santa Fe has long been on my must-dine list (I always finish with the old-school Peach Melba.) and I’ve now added Le Carre Lounge. I love the way owner Franck Mathevet describes the preparations of each dish, with fingers aflutter like he is actually feeling the ingredients and I love everything on the menu starting with the truffle oil popcorn. Recommendations: the Gnocchi Maison “al pesto” and the crispy chicken rolls with ginger and lime.

Le Carre Lounge

Le Carre Lounge

We dined at Hotel Le Toiny‘s Relais Chateau restaurant Le Gaïac where on Tuesday nights they offer their popular 3 course pre-fixe Fish Market. The Mahi-Mahi was delish and I was blown away by my dessert of chocolate ganache served with a crispy biscuit, banana foam and avocado sorbet. (No, really.)

The Mahi-Mahi at Le Toiny's Le Gaïac

The Mahi-Mahi at Le Toiny’s Le Gaïac

We lunched at the Sereno and the Guanahani hotels. Le Sereno is boasting a new concept and menu and we devoured a starter of eggplant chips with tzatziki sauce and a salad of assorted melon tossed with arugula and dressed with a balsamic reduction – cool and refreshing. My favorite starter of this trip was the Guanahani’s Indigo resto’s Wahoo ceviche sprinkled with coconut.

This year, SBP upgraded their annual Beachside Bash in honor of their Silver Anniversary and everyone gathered at the Hotel Taïwana’s newly-christened restaurant Casa Flamands for an elegant buffet supper. With that as a “taste” we are looking forward to more.

My favorite of the new eateries is Gustavia’s just-opened Thai restaurant Black Ginger. The décor of the bi-level edifice is dramatic with a bold red and black color scheme. Head up to the 2nd floor and dine under the stars. Dishes are authentically prepared and we love that they incorporate the local fish. The black pepper Mahi-Mahi was a huge hit with our crowd and I loved my chicken curry in coconut milk. Newly opened on the harbor, Les Coulisses is casual, fun and a great stop for lighter fare. They serve tapas and very good pizza.

Black Ginger

Black Ginger restaurant

Our last day on St. Barth was a busy one and we planned to fit in lunch at a little restaurant that we heard was a favorite of locals, Le Jardin. Housed in a garden pavilion and tucked away in the shopping plaza across from the airport, it was simple, bright, airy and absolutely charming. I was delighted to see gazpacho on the menu and it was perfectly chilled and seasoned. However, I did have my eye on the two-fisted juicy burgers that were served up to the guys at the table beside us. Next time. We slowed down, ordered a glass of rosé and “hung out with the locals”. Put it on your list. It’s open for breakfast if you fly in early and it works well for a pre-departure cocktail. And who knows the crowd that day might include a celeb like Mick Jagger or a “special” local like Jimmy Buffett. But in St. Barth. everyone feels, well, special. Enjoy!

Julia’s Trip Report for SBH June 2013

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Bonjour!

On occasion, I mention that the St. Barth Properties team members travel to the island quite often in order to inspect and re-inspect our villas and hotels so as to ensure that each and everyone one of you receive the best service and advice when planning your dream vacation to St. Barth.

Once you have chosen your accommodation, then what happens? You hear from our super-friendly and very well-informed U.S. Concierge, Julia Hurd who is at-the-ready to make any and all arrangements including car rentals, air charters, transfers, private chef bookings, restaurant reservations, snorkeling trips, massages, private yoga lessons, babysitters etc. You name it – Julia will do it for you. And, once you are on St. Barth our Concierge in our St. Barth office, Magda Votava takes over.

In order to make recommendations Julia must also travel to St. Barth. Here is her trip report:

Julia’s trip report June 5, 2013 through June 13, 2013.

On June 5 I reported for work – on St. Barth – and I assure you it’s a pretty awesome place to work! As the St. Barth Properties US-based Concierge, my regular island visits are critical to serving our clients well and (shhh) lots of fun for me too! This year was no exception. I was excited to see Magda, our on-island Concierge. She is my counterpart and we are in daily communication by phone, email and IM so it’s great to spend “real time” together and she was a great help in fulfilling my mission – catching up on all the new places to dine on the island and all of the activities that I recommend to our clients.

Photo of me with Magda

Photo of me with Magda

I wanted to experience the Voyager Ferry from St. Martin to St. Barth as it’s an alternative to flying and we often have requests for that option. And as I frequently do for our clients, I booked a transfer with Easyway VIP Service from St. Maarten Airport (SXM) to the ferry dock. They were waiting with smiles in the transit area, handled my luggage and drove me to the ferry dock. Their name, Easy Way VIP says it all and I highly recommend them. The best way to travel is to have Easyway VIP Service assist you through SXM airport whether or not you are flying or taking the ferry to St. Barth.

My ride to the ferry was waiting for us as we exited the airport

My ride to the ferry was waiting for us as we exited the airport

Easyway VIP Team in Sint Maarten from left to right Jeffrey, Leslie, James and Shawn

Easyway VIP Team in Sint Maarten from left to right Jeffrey, Leslie, James and Shawn

Once we arrived into the port of Gustavia and after having settled in at the villa, my first stop was Andy’s Hideaway to join colleagues Peg Walsh, Kathy Schlitzer and Julie Nally for pizza. It’s a first-night-on-the-island tradition. They changed up the menu a bit but I was glad to see they were serving my favorite pizza mushroom and ham. Delish!

The week was filled with meetings but my agenda also called for experiencing some spas. I had a facial at Venus Institut, located in Gustavia; they offer a full menu of services. The owner Anne Picard assessed my skin and then I was treated to one of the most relaxing experiences, I ever had. It was just what a concierge or any island vacationer needs… And I was glowing when I left! Contact me and I will be happy make your appointment(s) for any of their services. juliahurd@stbarth.com.

Magda and I also booked a spa & lunch package at the Manapany Hotel’s Spa Payot. Sophie was my massage therapist and she was just the best. A full body massage followed by lunch at the hotel restaurant for 80 euro per person was exactly what I needed. Magda and I both had the Caesar Salad for a starter and I followed that with a big bowl of pasta with red pepper ragu. Yummo. Magda loved her spaghetti and meatballs.

Like everyone else, I love the restaurants on St. Barth and this trip I dined at Santa Fé, Dð Brazil, L’Esprit, La Table de Jules, Les Bananiers, Andy’s and for lunch, La Gloriette.

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

My lunch at La Gloriette, the Mahi Mahi

For my accommodations I was lucky enough to stay in two beautiful villas with stunning views. I divided my time between Villa Valentina, a beautiful four bedroom villa located in Pointe Milou and Villa Belle Bague a warm and inviting 4 bedroom villa located in Colombier.

From the moment I opened the beautiful large wooden door at Villa Valentina I felt as though a Garden of Eden awaited me. The large Buddha Fountain welcomed me to this incredible villa. The living room is fully screened, so a refreshing breeze was always swirling as I sat on the sofa and gazed out at the large pool and fantastic sea view. The bedrooms are spacious and lovely with large bathrooms and comfy beds. The pool area offers a wonderful pergola with a large sunken dining table. The property is large enough to host a great party amongst the luscious gardens that this villa offers. Villa Valentina is perfect for families or just a romantic getaway for two.

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Valentina gardens

Villa Belle Bague also had an incredible feel from the moment I walked through the door. It is such a warm and inviting villa. Stop at the fully stocked bar, make yourself a cold cocktail and enjoy the beautiful views. It boasts a magnificent fit-for-a-chef kitchen which is perfect for me because I love to cook! The pool has a fountain, which at night has several color options, blue, white, yellow, green and even Disco. The bedrooms are elegant with 4-poster beds fitted with top-of-the-line linens and en suite bathrooms. Each bedroom has instructions on the use of the satellite TV; I found this to be extremely helpful. On top of it all, there’s a mini-gym for those who like to maintain their fitness routine while on vacation.

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague bar

Villa Belle Bague is very accommodating for families as it has all of the beach accessories, such as sand toys, floats, umbrellas and beach chairs. Oh and that view! On a clear day take a look through the binoculars that are conveniently hanging in the kitchen and look at St. Martin as well as the beautiful boats sailing by. Once you arrive it will be very difficult to leave this wonderful villa.

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Villa Belle Bague kitchen

Both Villa Valentina and Villa Belle Bague are just perfect for either a girlfriends getaway a couples retreat or a family vacation.

All in all it was a wonderful trip and after 6 years of working for St. Barth Properties, I have made some wonderful friends on the island and it was great to see them all and say “Bonjour”.

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.