You know that feeling of traveling somewhere, and then being able to tell others your favorite spots – what you loved, and what you didn’t love? It’s the reason behind our familiarization trips. Our Villa Specialists treasure knowing villas like the back of their hands. And it means when they hear what you’re looking for, they can recall the details of the villa perfectly. (Have a favorite island? Skip ahead to St. Martin, Anguilla or St. Barths)
Your trip started in St. Martin. How would you describe it?
Jean: St. Martin has grown since I last visited. I have a much better appreciation for this island and what it offers our clients. It’s one of the few places you can fly to on a direct flight [New York, Chicago, Philly, and Paris to name a few] and the grocery stores offer everything one would need.
Michael: St. Martin has a feel all on its own – one half Dutch, the other half French. It’s a good mix of two interesting European countries.
All in all you visited 32 villas in two days. What were some of the highlights?
Jean: There are a number of truly impressive villas, for groups of all sizes. But Villa Milles Fleur (PIE MFL) was a standout. It’s an older villa, but really comfortable, with great outdoor furniture. Villa La Perla Bianca (PIE LOR) is right on the beach, and perfect for honeymoons or any couple’s trip.
Michael: Villa Sandylane (PIE SAN) is over the top, but was great to see. It’s a six-bedroom estate with a tennis pavilion and gym. We also visited a number of hotels in St. Martin. It’s not as well-known to clients, but WIMCO books hotel rooms as well, which is great if you’d like to spend a few nights relaxing in St. Martin before heading off to St. Barths or Anguilla.
Villa Sandylane (PIE SAN), 6 BR, St. Martin
St. Martin has been dubbed the culinary capital of the Caribbean, though we’re sure there might be a debate on that!
Michael: In our two days on the island, we stayed primarily on the French side, though next time, the Dutch side needs some further exploration. Dining wise, there are plenty of good options—easily enough for a week or two.
Jean: We spent one afternoon at The Dream, a fantastic beach club. I enjoyed my steak tartare with pomme frites, and a piña colada. Of course, it then became a search for me to find out who had the best one…Sushi is also on the menu at the club, and the service was very good.
You took the ferry to nearby Anguilla to start day three.
Jean: Our local concierge was waiting at the dock to take us to Villa Tequila Sunrise (RIC TEQ) [something WIMCO clients can expect upon arrival]. The maid at the villa was happy to do our laundry, as well as prepare daily breakfasts of fresh fruits and pastries.
What is the villa like?
Jean: I think it’s a real winner for clients who want to be on the ocean. Looking out, you can see St. Martin and all of its twinkling lights.
Michael: The villa’s fridge is also stocked upon arrival, which is another thing clients can expect and something we can organize in any destination.
How would you compare St. Martin and Anguilla for those who are not familiar with these neighboring islands?
Michael: The villas on Anguilla are much more spread out than in St. Martin, and they are generally larger. Location wise, they tend to be just a short distance to the beach, instead of directly on them, as you can find in St. Martin. Square mile wise, Anguilla is similar to St. Martin, though its topography is very different. Its name comes from the Latin word for “eel”, due to its shape. It really has some excellent beaches and restaurants, and seems to be growing in popularity every year.
Jean: Right, the beaches are beautiful. The villas are quite deluxe and well cared for, and come with many amenities. It’s also fun to spend time at the beach restaurants, like the Straw Hat. [For more spots to dine, see our Anguilla restaurant guide.]
Villa Tequilla Sunrise (RIC TEQ), 3 BR, Anguilla
Last but not least, you took off for your “favorite island” St. Barths.
Jean: We arrived at 5:30 on St. Barths where Guillaume [one of WIMCO’s on-island Personal Concierges] was waiting for us, and escorted us to Villa La Baleine (WV BAL), which was stocked with treats and drinks from Maya’s To Go.
Michael: And lo and behold, awaking on Sunday morning, continental breakfast was waiting for us in the kitchen—thank you Guillaume! This is a service that all WIMCO clients receive the day after arriving, and can also be arranged daily. Sunday was our day of leisure after four days of villa visits, and I have to say, it was great to be back on St. Barths with time to savor the sights and sounds that make this such a draw for so many visitors. We stopped that day for lunch at Santa Fe, always a favorite which did not disappoint!
We assume the next day was back to the grind?
Michael: After a quick stop at the bakery in Colombier we arrived at our WIMCOsbh office to a warm greeting from all there. This office is a huge reason why clients love staying with us in St. Barths.
Jean: Antoine was our guide for the next four days, and he is wonderful. The whole team is fantastic and is loved by our clients, many of whom become good friends with them.
For those that have never traveled with us to St. Barths, can you tell clients about our WIMCO sbh office?
Jean: Clients are assigned a Personal Concierge throughout their stay. Whether you have Moe, Antoine, Guillaume, David, Clement or one of our other special team members, that person will be waiting for you at the airport or ferry dock to take your bags, pick up your rental car, and take you to your villa. Cathy and Majda are also on hand at the front desk if you ever feel like popping in, hopping on WiFi, or just grabbing some waters for the beach.
Michael: Once at the villa, your Personal Concierge will explain all of its features (like the A/C or sound system), answer any questions, and in addition, give you their phone number and email. They truly pride themselves on being available to you throughout your entire stay. A quick text or call and they’ll arrange restaurant reservations or private chefs, daily outings, and help with any questions you may encounter.
The delightful Moe, one of WIMCO’s Personal Concierges on St. Barths
Where did Antoine take you first?
Jean: We visited a few villas that we will soon be adding to our growing collection on the island, which is exciting. The highlight that day was Villa Joy (WV JOY) in Marigot. It’s a new favorite of mine, and offers everything, including a gym and sauna. Villa Angelique (WV NGE) in St. Jean is newly built, and is very modern with wonderful views. We capped off that day with a delicious dinner at Italian favorite L’Isola, with great wine.
We’re dreaming of pasta now! Isn’t part of the fun of these trips that not only do you visit a multitude of villas, you also stay at them, and test out the beds and water pressure?
Jean: Exactly, and often times we stay at several throughout our stay on each island. We moved to Villa Apache (WV APC) after a few nights. I enjoyed this villa very much—it was open, spacious, and had wonderful bedrooms and baths with stone showers. Plus, it has AC in the bedrooms, which is always a perk.
Villa Apache (WV APC), 4 BR, St. Barths
What were some of your favorite villas?
Michael: Definitely Villa Castle Rock (WV CSK), which Moe jokingly described as “Disney Land”. Five bedrooms with one huge master, great for four couples or five (with a coin flip for the master!) Each room has its own Espresso station and a miniature fridge. The living room opens on to the pool deck with ample room for relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. And the kitchen could easily be in a five star restaurant—it has all and more you could need, including a rotisserie.
For a more sedate treat, we stopped by Villa Led (WV LED) in Colombier. This is a delightful hilltop perch with three bedrooms and a great view. For comfort and convenience, I would also pick Villa Les Jardins d’Emmanuel (WV EMM) a two bedroom in Lorient.
Jean: We spent one morning in Gustavia seeing both the stunning Villa Roxanne (WV ROX) and the new (aptly named) Villa Gustavia (WV GIA). They were actually shooting a mini Moke commercial there, and we were grateful to still be let in. I love this villa—it’s crisp, all-white, and has very equal bedrooms. Villa Sky Vista (WV JPC) is a really cute two bedroom in Gustavia, and Villa Avenstar (WV STR) is still such a beauty, and comes with great amenities, like daily breakfast included in the rate.
Villa Sky Vista (WV JPC), 2 BR, St. Barths
Speaking of breakfast, any other amazing meals on island?
Jean: We had lunch at Mango at The Christopher Hotel with our feet in the sand—that was lovely. And Tim [WIMCO’s founder] also happened to be on island. We all had dinner at Maya’s one night. It’s still the best food and company one could have on St. Barths.
Michael: I had plans to explore some new pizzerias on island, but alas, ended up at my favorite Andy’s Hideaway. Their Vivaldi pizza is quite nice for take-out at the villa!
How was it returning back to reality?
Michael: Well, before we left, we were treated to a fireworks display on our last night. It was coming from St. Jean beach, and may have been for a wedding party we had seen earlier in the day. It was a great send off for us, especially with our viewing spot from WV APC.
Jean: It was a great trip and we saw and learned so much about each island and all the villas we visited. I came back eager to speak with clients in the next few weeks about holiday and winter plans!
We have several trips planned this fall across more islands and with other Villa Specialists and look forward to delivering you the best of the best!
To speak with a Villa Specialist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 401 849 8012.