Looking for a quick rundown of some of the best villas in St. Barths, from all shapes and sizes? WIMCO Villa Specialist Bill gives us his hit list…plus, tells us where he ate along the way. Tough job.
Steve and I stayed in WV RIV at the top of Flamands Rd – perfect villa and honestly, the views are way better than pictures show.
We were invited to dinner with Tim and Julie at Tamarin for their opening night—mmwaaah—parfait! They’ve done a spectacular job with their gardens, and night-ambience lighting rivals the best US gardens—reminded me of mini-Fairchild Gardens in Coral Gables for sheer exotica. Food: excellent. Pave de thon (tuna) and rocket salad for me.
Our first villa was l’Oustau (WV OUS) above WV MOH and across from WV PAS. Loved it! Yes, it has real 17th-19th-century artwork and antiques, but also some modern pieces to create balance. Owners have lovingly built a dream home. No road noise. Next was Castle Rock (WV CSK) in Lorient. Well-designed, deluxe villa, and owner Martine couldn’t have been nicer. Lots of gadgets.WV AME hasn’t changed a bit: great villa. Fun fact: their Weber grill is caramel color “Genesis Special Edition”.
Lunch with Julie at Les Bananiers: lobster salad. Afternoon began with WV GDF in Colombier–LOVED! Owner David Magras took us around. Just stunning: sunset views, ambience, and the kitchen has now been opened to the living room, which has AC. Cannot go wrong with this villa.WV AHA (Sea Bird) in Mont Jean has undergone some pleasant changes re: furnishing, spiffing up etc.Villa WV LIT in Anse des Cayes (near the old TID & Claridge for you octogenarians) is a cool all-glass villa. Views everywhere. Very deluxe.
Back to Colombier and David Magras again, this time for villa WV CLO. CLO’s views are absolutely stuunnning (Gloria Upson herself will attest). (By the way, I hope you’re not plotting these on a map with pushpins & protractor because if you do, you’ll end up with a messy map—we followed no logical sequence).
WV NOR in Corossol was a tidy little no-nonsense place, meaning that it worked! We then met WV AGV’s owner at his villa in Vitet – cute little 1br. WV CMA is a spectacular villa in Petit Cul de Sac – consists of 4 bedroom “Casa del Mar” and 2 bedroom “Casa del Sol”. Huge pool (Casa del Sol has its own pool, too), and a glassed-in living room–truly a special villa in all regards.
Steve and I swam at Gouverneur Beach—still a favorite—and only two other people there. Quickie lunch at JoJo Burgers (cheeseburger with bacon, mushrooms & pepper sauce), which was perfect. Later that afternoon we met at villa WV VUE where the ladies (colleagues Bethany and Stephanie) were staying. Steve and I then ate at Le Piment for dinner—excellent! (merou poele – look it up, chorizo & rice).
WV EGO (Jasmine) is a superb villa with awesome view in Gouverneur. Lunch at O’Corail: thai salad.WV XAN (Xanadu in case you couldn’t guess) was a cool villa in St. Jean. Eclectic safari décor. We liked it.
Andrew Bardon, Henry Greaux’s grandson, was a very personable guy who showed us HEN SOU (Sous la Falaise). There’s been a considerable amount of work done to WV SOU, although really it’s the setting that is outstanding and is the villa’s raison d’etre. There’s a cool dock with a trap door for storing lobsters – very peaceful, old world, early St Barths feel to the property. About a 3-minute walk to what I call East of Eden (the stretch of St Jean Beach near Camp David).
WV HSL was a new villa for me and I liked it very much—great views, comfortable, in short, no problems. We got a chance to see Estrella (WV ISA) at the far end of Flamands Beach, actually just across the street and up a steep driveway. Villa wasn’t 100% finished but was still presentable enough to see. Great choice for those who want to walk to beach. This is a value villa.
Loved WV RIG! Personality plus—cool floorplan as well. Julie W. decorated it recently – looks great! WV CHG is a tidy little one bedroom in good shape on St. Jean Beach. Lunch at Santa Fe – I mean, how can you beat that! Baked cod with scallops on rice. Views to south and west—owner Manu was gracious as ever.
Villa WV PAT was perfection.Nearby WV PAR has undergone a small metamorphosis and now sports a spacious kitchen, in addition to the new pool which was built last year. This is another gem. Steve and I then checked into our second villa, WV TCK, above Flamands Beach. Goats welcomed us! WV TCK is very modern, and offers spectacular sunset views in addition to having an easy path (one minute) to Flamands Beach near the Taiwana.
Stefanie joined Steve and me for dinner at La Plage, which was bathed in a magical blue light and within sound of the surf. Lobster/spinach appetizer (too salty), and shrimp with ginger and veggies were good, not great. On previous trips this had been my favorite restaurant.
Steve and I walked to Colombier Beach that afternoon and it was awesome! Lots of tortoises en route, and the water was warm and calm. We noshed on BBQ chicken later on from the Charcuterie in St Jean—their BBQ sauce was delicious and not the red ketchupy stuff we’re used to.
We all grouped at a new, unfinished 6 bedroom villa called Maison Blanc-Bleu in Gouverneur, just above WV JAX. This will be one of the best villas when it gets done—white painted floors, huge pool, sunset views, and expertly crafted furniture and built-ins. AC in the living room. Can’t go wrong for any discerning client.
WV AYA is a modern 2 bedroom villa in St Jean, just past KIR. We loved it. One of the favorites of the trip was WV GIA in Gustavia, on cliff’s edge near ROX. Modern, all-white, stylish, sunsets, long pool. Lunch at Le Jardin was awesome and convenient! I had bavette de boeuf with pepper sauce (basically flank steak quick-seared in butter and oil with a wonderful, savory golden sauce of peppers, cognac etc). Dessert (shhh) was a Café Gourmand, consisting of espresso, peanut chiffon, lemon poundcake (cupcake size), cookie and framboise sorbet.
That little amuse-bouche was just enough to fortify us for the visit to WV ROW in Lurin—the villa was in excellent shape. Two of the three bedrooms have views.
Camp David was next on the list – talk about sprawling! You need GPS to navigate the grounds. The owner has taken several older Antilles “cases” as his original focus then added to and embellished it. There’s a mixture of Balinese and Nevisian styling throughout, and the property features winding paths with subdued lighting, all very lush and exotic. Several pools, tennis, gym, beach, paddleboards, kayaks, spa treatment areas, numerous dining areas etc. Camp David has it all.
As an aside, I’ve always called this area East of Eden because it’s east of the Eden Rock, and when I mentioned this to manager Frederique, she loved it and said she might take my suggestion and use it for one of the 13 bedrooms.
We enjoyed a continental breakfast at WV KRL (Kir Royale) courtesy of villa owner, Caroline, who was most gracious and a pleasure to talk with. She served us canneles, which are a pastry specialty of Bordeaux. Caroline and her husband have lived on several continents. Her love of the villa and attention to detail make the villa a winner!
WV CEO (Domingue) on Pointe Milou is in excellent shape as usual, so no surprises. Immediately below is the little one bedroom called Bel Amour, although we couldn’t get in because guests were there. Incidentally, the liana vines here (and everywhere on St Barts as a matter of fact) were covered with white butterflies – quite cool!).
Quick lunch at Chez Joe above the airport, and strangely, wasn’t bad – had my second bavette de boeuf with sauce poivre, topped off by a tarte framboise. Our afternoon visit was with Laetitia at Le Toiny—there is definitely a younger crowd here, in 20s and early 30s. Toiny has undergone major renovation and rooms are in soft tones.
WV FLC (Fleur de Cactus) is one of the cool, impressive villas on island – features modern décor and isn’t wanting for any accoutrement. Last stop was My Way (WV WAY) on the little corkscrew road between Colombier and Flamands. Has its own underground garage, gym, large pool and the property features spectacular views. Actually, what the property really features are Frank Sinatra mementos everywhere! Living room has gigantic movie screen as well as baby grand, which I played—excellent sound.
The evening was capped by the Vendôme Guide launch party at Tamarin – seems like everyone was there, new faces, old faces, and assorted irregulars. Lot of fun!