Where does the time go! November 6, 2013 marks 13 years with St Barth Properties!
My annual November trip to St Barth is never long enough because returning home means the beginning of the long, long, long winter in New England and busy high season at work.
Before embarking on the trip this year my first order of business was trying to fit several light but large packages of toys into a separate suitcase to bring to my friend and coworker Magda for her daughter’s November birthday and Christmas. As you can imagine Toys R Us doesn’t exactly have a mega store on tiny St Barth so ordering online is the way to go – but then the shipping to the island cost more than the gifts themselves so what’s a mother to do? —Order online and have everything shipped to our Franklin office – then convince unsuspecting coworkers to lug them to the island! Which is exactly what Anne and I did.
Borrowing a giant suitcase I arranged the boxes in the suitcase like a giant jigsaw puzzle. I managed to get several in without banging up the boxes too much and Anne would take the rest when she followed me to the island in a week. Trying to maneuver the huge suitcase, my own smaller suitcase, an under the seat briefcase and a backpack purse was another story. A helpful limo driver and curbside check in saved me and I was finally rid of the two suitcases and hoped they’d be there in San Juan when I arrived. Fast forward to arrival and they were indeed meandering around the baggage carousel waiting for me to claim them. With a porter’s help I got the luggage through the airport to the Tradewind Aviation counter. By the way, I love Tradewind – when I arrived at their small counter in San Juan it was vacant (It was hours from the flight departure time) but one call produced a nice young man who didn’t blink an eye at the large, battered, baby blue suitcase full of toys. Boarding the small plane a few hours later I got a glimpse of the baby blue stuffed into the luggage compartment of the small Pilatus 8 seater. Oh joy!
Now everyone talks about St Barth’s short runway that then leads to the sand of St Jean beach and into the surf if the pilot misjudges the landing. It’s never bothered me in the past but this time we were flying through rain and turbulence like I’ve never experienced over the many years I’ve flown into St Barth. About half way there the pilot announced that he was monitoring the situation but if St Barth closed the airport, as they will do when it rains hard, we would have to divert to St Maarten – a night in St Maarten is never welcome but at that point landing anywhere was on everyone’s mind. Five minutes from St Barth the pilot announces that he would “attempt” to land at St Barth —– ATTEMPT! ATTEMPT! There was dead silence on the plane and I wondered to which god everyone was praying! As it turned out the pilot landed beautifully with runway to spare and suddenly there was clapping on the plane. You know when things are serious when these sophisticated, world travelers clap at the end of a flight! Again lugging my suitcases to the Gumbs car rental booth I was, by that time, ready to hand over the contents of the blue suitcase to Magda sooner rather than later! With everything carefully stowed in the back of the Susuki Jimny I was off to the Isle de France for my first two nights.
Arriving late but safe at the Hotel St Barth Isle de France I was whisked to my room by two lovely young French reception desk ladies who showed me around my lovely room. Chilled Champagne and fruit waiting for me.
I spent two nights at the lovely Isle de France, but unfortunately didn’t have time to enjoy their beach, I did however have a beachside dinner at the Case de I’isle restaurant that first night.
Over the weekend I toured The Hotel Christopher, Le Sereno, and the Hotel Le Guanahani. Sunday morning I met the new reservations manager of Hotel Le Toiny, Nicole Foreson – a fellow Canadian by the way, for a site tour and the hotel’s famous Sunday Brunch. Great food, good service, and an ocean view that mesmerizes. After brunch Nicole took me down to the hotel’s little beach in her jeep. I looked up and saw 3 paragliders over Grand Fond. I’d never seen this in St Barth before and it was beautiful to watch.
Sunday afternoon I moved into the Villa Mirande, a private two bedroom villa in Pointe Milou. Mirande has been completely renovated from top to bottom and its fabulously comfortable and welcoming. The WIFI was working, the TV was American Sat,
I rarely go to St Barth without having a goat cheese salad at La Gloriette on Grand cul de Sac beach. I like this informal little beach bar restaurant because of the food but also because you can arrive and lay claim to one of the few beach chairs they have right on the beach and stay there all day with out being charged a chair fee. Now of course you’re expected to get a little lunch a few drinks through the day but the prices are reasonable and its not crowded or noisy so you can relax and finish that novel you started 3 months ago while you were working – read three pages at night then passed out for the night. The other big reason is the vanilla rhum they’ve been making for many years. I think its the best on the island.
After three nights at Villa Mirande I was packed and off again very happy with my time at Mirande. I recommend it if you like comfort and a great sunset view!
On Wednesday afternoon I lugged my bags to Villa Wings, home for the next three nights. My colleagues at St Barth Properties Gustavia and I were planning a party at Wings for Thursday night. The villa is new to us and I wanted everyone to see it at night, we always see the villas during the day but with the lights in the pool and the gardens on it’s a completely different villa. I was looking forward to hosting my good friends at my home (at last for three nights). We did ask the actual owner of the villa to come and he accepted – but he let me play host for the night and got a kick out of being a guest.
It was a great night with my island colleagues and friends. Champagne, great tapas that we ordered from Laurent a chef our clients love, and good friends.
Peg, her husband Steve and I tried the new Thai restaurant Black Ginger and enjoyed the food but I especially liked looking up to an open roof and the stars. Living in the northeast it’s a treat to eat in the open air. I enjoy Thai food anyway and this was especially good.