Hotel Le Toiny on St. Barts
by Tim Warburton
By way of a brief introduction...
For those of you who do not know Relais & Chateaux Le Toiny. Read on – For those of you who do – just take a quick break and enjoy.
The week before last, my wife told me she had to go to St. Bart's and she had a suite at Le Toiny... Did I want to join her? This was two days before she was leaving and I had not planned on going... But... when she said she was staying at Le Toiny... Well...two things. First, I said no, I couldn't make it. Second, internally I said, 'How am I going to make it?' Calling up trusty Wimco air person Ann Murphy she finds me a bulk air ticket for $512 Wednesday afternoon for travel Thursday. Now we are talking. Clearing my desk was a cinch. My wife had already left for NY earlier, and about 9 pm, I called saying I would be coming along for the ride the next morning.
Ok. Definitely spur of the minute. And how great was that? I arrive at Le Toiny, greeted by Manager David Henderson, a Scot who is possibly one of the funniest guys on the planet, and whose humor is exceeded only by the seriousness of attention to detail he gives Le Toiny every day, and it shows.
We get ready to pop down to the new Suite 17 – "Oh, sorry, Tim, but I would have given you the larger new 18 – but Julie said she was coming alone...Oh too bad old boy." "Let me know how you like it".
Needless to say while this is going on we are sipping champagne as we check in, and within minutes are whisked down to the suite. Mind you - suites are individual villas with pool, living area with an excellent work desk (private fax, web connection etc), bedroom, and a bathroom seriously large enough for the both us, and the largest wide screen TV around. (They could use a few more channels – oh, sorry Dave…) Nevertheless, I did spend a fair amount of time in front of it. I think Kerry was wrapping up the for gone conclusion at the time.
As soon as we are in the room, a sweetheart of a girl arrives with some little fresh fruit canapés as well as another plate of chef’s delights. Key here being very ‘light’, and not filling. This, by the way, happens every afternoon about 4:30. The only question is: Are we sleeping off lunch or not? Popping into the pool was easy, as was a long soak in the tub later leisurely catching up on all the reading I had been anxious to do over the past few weeks. Lying in the tub has the additional attraction of having a TV repeater so if reading becomes tiring, watching the tube is even easier! (And yes, the tub does have Jacuzzi jets)
Breakfast arrives each morning at the appointed hour (to the nearest minute as far as I could tell) at your table set up by your private pool. A perfect dieter’s breakfast of fresh fruit and pain au chocolat, and any newspaper in the world you want – downloaded within 20 minutes of asking. It comes tabloid size and is an ideal complement to the morning – especially if you want a little more than the Times Fax which does arrive with breakfast unbidden.
In our four days we made the restaurant rounds, Maya's, Lafayette Club, Francois Plantation, Filao, Le Toiny, Guanahani, Annie’s La Langouste and, no, I am not going to rate them, But I would recommend Le Toiny’s Sunday lunch buffet, as well as ever the style and pleasure of Lafayette Club. With the soon to be closing Filao, those of you who love eating there need to do so right away. It is a sad loss, and while I am delighted that David Mathews is taking over and rebuilding Filao as part of Eden Rock, I cannot overstate my sadness at losing the garden oasis that is lunch at Filao. Peaceful, quiet., grown-up and good. Having gone to the Sandbar a number of times during the Holidays, we skipped it this time around. But it remains one of my personal pleasure spots.
Starting down the restaurant path on St. Barts is always a mistake, since there are too many more now that I am missing, but forgive me. Somewhere in this story is the fact that the wind started blowing from the north, and as we arrived at the Airport (there is no need to mention the passport story) to leave, we were told that the planes could not land that day. Pulling out the cell…“Oh David, can we stay another night? Please…” “Oh I suppose so… Come on back”. And ‘come on back’ we rushed. This time we stayed in and had room service and watched a movie. It was an unexpected free night!! And we completely relaxed. (Not that we hadn't been before.)
So if you need a quick break, take it from me... this is the spot to get away from it all. And David says to be sure and remind you that the special package running this summer is a terrific value. Check it out if relaxing in a Relais & Chateaux is your style of comfort. It is hard to beat.