I flew down to St. Barths on a Saturday from LA. I tend to take a morning flight to Miami and then on to San Juan, where I stay for a quick overnight. There are so many great hotels near the airport, and I must say, I love arriving in St. Barths wearing a tank and sandals. Tradewind makes the next day easy, skipping you past security. I find everyone who works there to be so friendly, as are all the passengers. My sister and I joke that whoever else is on your flight to St. Barths, you’ll see them at every meal for the rest of your trip. Depending on who you talk to, that can be a fun way to make some new friends.
The Taste of St. Barth Gourmet Festival was taking place when I arrived. It’s similar to LA or New York’s restaurant week, where you have prix fixe diners at great prices. But, all of the restaurants have flown in a stellar international chef to work side by side to the normal executive chef. We tried dinners at Case de L’ile and Guanahani. They both impressed me – small bites of different dishes like langoustine and raviolos and studies on carrots. For anyone who considers themselves a foodie, this is a weekend I really recommend tying into your vacation plans. (Read about last year’s festival here)
I spent most of Monday and Tuesday working remotely from our villa, WV FER in Mont Jean (just past Le Ti). I love working in the fresh air, and feel motivated to work a bit more efficiently so I can take that afternoon swim.
Always eager to try the new fitness trend, I heard there was a fantastic trainer named Loic Lapeze who does boxing. I arranged to have a few early morning sessions with him. Loic, who is probably the nicest person I have met in the last year, also happens to be one of the best trainers. He is super focused on form, “Ezzer” (that’s the French pronunciation of Heather, btw) “suck your stomach in more.” He is a Muy Thai boxing champion, and we spent the last 20 minutes of every session practicing boxing. I loved it. It’s very empowering, and interesting to do a cardio activity primarily using the upper half of your body (as opposed to spin, or running). If you are fitness-obsessed and have an upcoming trip, ask our concierge department to arrange sessions with him. Besides from toning up here and there, he will also make you laugh.
On Tuesday, November 10th, WIMCO threw a party to celebrate the new issue of the Vendôme Guide. The magazine is a guide to St. Barths—where to eat, what to do, and of course, where to stay. We publish the magazine every two years, and so in a sense, it acts more like a coffee table book. Which is perfect, because if you’re anything like me, there are certain times of the year that the urge to go to St. Barths hits you hard. (Mondays, mostly). The magazine can happily rest on your desk and remind you of this intoxicating place. Or it can also act as your guide on which villa to rent next.
WIMCO threw the party at Tamarin, the oasis at Saline beach which was renovated just last year. In the Vendôme Guide, we dubbed it as “the place to be”, and that it certainly is. While I never tire of ocean views in St. Barths (particularly the view of St. Jean bay just as you’re descending the hill from Lorient) there is something a bit magical—perhaps even sexy—about the non-view at Tamarin. The lily ponds and ancient Tamarin tree create a secret garden effect. And there are quiet a few hidden spots to have a private conversation or a photo with friends. Tres romantique.
There must have been 300 guests at the party—clients on the island, friends of WIMCO, and the many advertisers who help make the guide possible. Waiters offered me champagne and mini beef sliders everywhere I turned. There’s nothing better than a cocktail party with loads of treats, right?
Having worked on the Vendôme Guide for most of the summer, it was amazing to see it come to fruition. I can’t wait for a box to be sent to LA, where most everyone I know will be receiving a copy. For fans of the illustrations in the New Yorker, I hope you like this issue. We commissioned many illustrations for this issue, giving a bit of whimsy to all our sections. (If you have Instagram, you can see more from the designers at @malikafavre (who designed the cover), @kateywakefield @clymeverden and @danwilliams. While you’re at it, we’re @wimcovillas.
I had never been to St. Barths in the beginning of November. (I have spent one Thanksgiving here, where Maya cooked us the best turkey ever). While there were a few mornings of rain, it’s a great time to be there. The island is super green (all the better for your photos) and there’s a hint of that buzz that permeates in December, minus the traffic. Plus….plus! The sales! Never have I ever witnessed a sale in St. Barths. I purchased a few tunics and beaded dresses at Calypso that were steals. Is it just me, or the second you land in St. Barths are you wishing for a new wardrobe, one’s that’s just a bit more comfortable and less conservative?
Another new discovery was the restaurant at Sereno. The owner of La Petite Maison has taken the helm, and while the interior remains the same, the menu is totally revamped. The last time I visited my sister in London, she and her husband took me to La Petite Maison for just about the best brunch I have ever had. The veal chop dish was so good, we asked for the recipe on the marinade. (You can’t go wrong with maple syrup, yogurt and rosemary, for the record.) The menu at Sereno is decidedly Italian, with a whole section on pastas, and burrata pairings. But you can still eat light if you like. While they are still working on the service aspect, the food here was one of the highlights of the trip.
Two practical pieces of information to share: The first is that the parking lot in Gustavia (across from Cartier) is now a pay-lot, of the sort you see in the states. While this feels distinctly un-St.Barths, the advantage could be that you might actually get a parking spot in town when you need one. My other piece of information? Head to Sunday brunch at La Plage and order the spiced shrimp brochettes with pineapple. I am telling you, they are out of this world.