St. Barths: My Own Little Shangri-La


by Glenn Ormiston

Thinking of my most recent sojourn to St. Barths, the word “paradise” kept popping into my head.  Why?  Well, that was the password for accessing WiFi in one of the villas we were fortunate enough to stay in.  How absolutely fitting—and one which I shall never forget….

I took a deep breath exiting the plane—the cold and damp of a Newport winter evaporated, leaving only a sense of joy and happiness to be returning to what is in my mind my second home.  The genuine smiles greeted us at every turn, whether it was our incredible staff or perhaps a waiter who remembered us from years past. It all combines to make St. Barths my own little Shangri-La!  It certainly is not reality as we face it every day, but that’s what makes it all the more special.  Of course the island’s changing—or perhaps evolving for some—but it still holds (and will always hold) a charm unlike no other island I’ve ever had the opportunity to truly experience.

The timing could not have been more perfect: between The Bucket, Les Voiles, and school vacations, the island was humming yet not frenetically busy.  Days rushed by with mornings spent seeing both new and older houses.  I’ve dubbed this trip “Two Bedrooms I’ve Known and Loved” for obvious reasons.  And what a great selection we have in all price ranges—from CBA (just adorable) to LNA (quite spectacular) to VLY (breathtaking views)—villas that are sized for couples or families and within means.

St. Barths: My Own Little Shangri-La
Villa CBA in Grand Cul de Sac

For those looking for the ultimate summer retreat, I cannot emphasize how wonderful MOZ is.  The only sounds are the waves crashing below. Mosquitoes? Not possible—how could they land with those constant breezes? Whereas some of the new (and shiny) houses are spread over large decks, even larger living areas and huge kitchens, MOZ offers the opportunity for guests to be languishing in the pool, reading or snoozing in the incredibly comfortable chairs under the shade, or mastering the perfect rum drink in the kitchen all while conversing with one another.  MOZ is not for show—it’s a home—and that’s what I feel when I have the opportunity to experience it.  And oh, this is the house where the password is “paradise”.

Another wonderful option for summer would be BEV.   Those breezes which may chill you in January will be welcomed in July or August!

St. Barths: My Own Little Shangri-La
The outdoor living room at Villa MOZ

Quick thoughts on “happenings” around the island:  The Carl Gustaf is a huge construction zone with the demolition of the roofs pretty much completed.  It’s going to be interesting to see what rises from the ashes on this site.  Taiwana will be reconstructing their restaurant (the first part of the renovation, now that they are owned by Cheval Blanc) and from what I understand it will become more of a beach restaurant, but I could be wrong.  Le Barthelemy has great potential.  We visited the rooms and I must say that the staff at every point was just terrific, and although the service we experienced at the restaurant during lunch was less than stellar, the setting made up for the flaws in service.  I remain extremely hopeful that it will continue to improve. The area of Grand Cul de Sac is a personal favorite.

Even with all the construction, St. Barths continues to be one of the most magical places I’ve ever had the pleasure to be!  It’s not just a destination—it’s a place in your heart and soul that once there never truly leaves. And I for one am so very grateful to have had this experience for 27 years. Yes, it’s changed and yes, it will continue to change, but the essence of St. Barths will always remain the same at its core and that’s what’s important to remember.

We’re not just renting villas, we’re giving guests an experience to last a lifetime – one that if we do it correctly they will repeat again and again.

Book your St Barths villa now