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St. Barths: What's all the Fuss About?

October 2005
by Bob Brown

This past July I was transported to the island of St. Barths, which is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean. I was raised by an active family in a sailing world so found myself somewhat reluctant to consider spending what little vacation time I had to go to some little island that many refer to as "enchanting". What in the world was I thinking? Ok, for one or two days maybe I could sit on a beach, read a book, swim, go for a walk...go for another walk...but then what? For an entire week? Who was I kidding!? I thought for sure I would be bored, restless and simply thirsting for something to do such as pulling up a mainsail, trimming a jib, setting a course, and feeling the motion of the sea as it pounded on the hull of a sailboat. I had heard from many others about the charming allure of St. Barths and how it could capture your spirit, so I decided to see and experience first hand just what all the fuss was about.

The first challenge was to pick the best villa that suited the requirements of all the people traveling with me. We were a group of sailors and ocean lovers so the beach was our first priority. One of St. Barths’ charms is all the cliffside villas with fantastic views and breezes, but we wanted the beach. We were not quite ready for such a drastic transition. The challenge was this precious little island has very few villas located directly on the beach; however, with the help and expertise of the Wimco Sales Staff, I was able to find the perfect villa that fit my every little need ...on the beach, on the beach, on the beach, and on the beach.

The villa of choice was FAY. Villa FAY is simple, tastefully decorated, with a large deck, overlooking the beach and extremely private. I trusted their suggestions and presented the choice to my fellow travelers, rolled the dice, and took the chance that this was going to all work out. Was I ready for this pressure? Vacations are fun but can often present tricky situations when trying to keep everyone happy. If I chose the villa, the accountability would be all my own!

Months prior to departing, I gathered information and pictures of St. Barths from a variety of sources to share with the group. I hoped to build their interest and capture their enthusiasm for their vacation as they anticipated this brief moment in their lives. As the days grew closer, the momentum and excitement grew. From previous conversations with a host of people who had traveled to St. Barths, there appeared a profound infatuation with the island resounded. I seriously wondered how could this be possible... it was nothing more than a volcanic island devoid of any natural resources. Common sense and conventional wisdom would question how anyone could become so enraptured by such an environment?

After much anticipation and genuine curiosity, our villa and experience in St. Barths transformed into one of the most relaxing and peaceful experiences of my life time. The villa FAY was the perfect choice. The beach was pristine and more relaxing than I could have ever asked for. As a matter of fact, I found myself actually sitting still for hours on end and I read five books. A majority of our day was spent simply standing in the water and talking as the waves came crashing in on the shoreline. It was without a doubt, one of the most peaceful times in my life where I was not distracted by a series of outside events, but allowed to focus on the moment and the people I was with.

Much of our surroundings in the United States have become overrun by restaurant chains, (lousy ones at best), and huge hotels where every room is the same. This is not the case in St. Barths. We discovered fabulous restaurants that are scattered throughout the island. It became an adventure to tingle our taste buds with new foods that were so elegantly prepared. My days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the boat where long forgotten. The island was filled with legendary chefs who have developed an intensity and passion for food. Great care was taken in selecting the perfect ingredient for every meal. The presentation of each dish was a work or art could I even begin to compare it to an American "Happy Meal". Eating on the island was not something you simply did because you were hungry, but something you did because you had such a respect for the talent of preparing good food and sharing the experience with friends and family.

My pretty half and I managed to sneak away for few hours to experience the new spa at the Hotel Guanahani. The new spa at the Hotel Guanahani was a sanctuary that provided refuge from the stress of the world. The appointment was scheduled for day two of the vacation and was perfect timing to help relieve the body from the tension built up as a result of preparing to relax. We couldn’t wait as we felt that this full body massage would be the beginning of inner peace. We were not disappointed. The spa facility was hidden behind a discreet door that opened up into a world that exuded a sense of calm and well being. We could have stayed for hours and were invited to do so by relaxing by the private pool or simply dozing in one of the cushioned lounge chairs. The massage was heaven. We were pampered and revitalized and then returned back into reality to enjoy the enchantment of St. Barths.

Would I ever consider doing this vacation again?... In a heart beat. My fellow travelers would join me as well. And how could anyone complain?…. Great villa, great beach, great weather, great food, a spa treatment at the Guanahani Hotel, new shoes and bathing suites from fabulous shops, and a wonderful relaxing week on an intimate, enchanting and truly captivating island.


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