St. Barths – Part 1, March 26th to April 4
St. Barths: The eight-square-mile island that never gets old, never disappoints, and seems to get better with age. The island is certainly a personality within itself, one that people have given a life of its own and one that people are never tired of talking about.
We arrived on a Sunday and drove to our villa for the next four nights, Villa JAY. JAY was perfect: beautifully maintained with lush gardens, nice big bedrooms with large windows and natural light, not to mention warm breezes and the sound of silence. I’ve become very fond of Mont Jean because it is so quiet. There are no motor scooters, traffic, or construction. An easy dinner at Gloriette, early to bed…and we were ready for the week ahead. We’d be touring villas, including ones new to our collection, as well as returning to old favorites.
One outstanding theme throughout the trip was how kind everyone was. In such unsettled times, I found everyone to be happy, pleasant, eager to help, and so sincere. Everyone at WimcoSBH had big smiles and even after a long season, they were always pleasant and warm with our guests. We found the same to be true of the services in the restaurants with no exception. It was inspiring to say the least, and refreshing, too.
After JAY, we moved to one of my favorite spots on St. Barths: Villa MOZ. I have decided I would probably rather stay here than anywhere else. It is a very child friendly villa with everything under one roof, including easy access to the heated pool. The location is private and with the sound and sight of the surf below, it’s almost hard to read a book—you don’t want to miss anything Mother Nature is offering! Children can spend hours looking for the whales that swim by, play in the pool, watch satellite TV with all the channels, all while waiting to see the most amazing sunsets. The housekeeper brings in a continental breakfast in the morning, does turn down service, and is an amazing laundress—one of my favorite amenities. Of course, there are other villas that are more modern, but MOZ is by far, the most comfortable villa and is a destination within itself.
Our timing in St. Barths was such that we were fortunate enough to participate in the last lunch served by Taiwana. WIMCO’S CEO Tim, being the ever-gracious host, invited a handful of people and it was most memorable. The food was delicious and it was bittersweet, as I am sad to see one of the last original hotels shut its doors.
Before I left for St. Barths, I was invited to Anguilla for three nights at a beautiful villa called Blue Diamond (AL AL2), part of a collection of three villas, on Shoal Bay West. The manager Carl greeted me at the airport, and off we went. Again, kindness was the theme.
When you are looking for deluxe accommodations, look no further. The whole compound looks fantastic. The original two villas have been redone and are crisp and inviting. The third one, African Sapphire, has not been done yet, but I still wouldn’t hesitate to stay there. The staff is incredibly attentive and it runs like a well-oiled machine.
The beach at the compound Altamer is fantastic, although you need to go about 50 yards to the right of the property for magnificent swimming. The grounds are groomed perfectly and the beach is dotted with comfy chaise lounges and large umbrellas, with tables to accommodate your book, suntan lotion, and cool beverage.
In addition to exploring the villas at Altamer, I visited Villa Santosha (AXA SAN), a very cool villa that reminds me of Mustique with its plantation style architecture and high ceilings. I met with the Director of the Malliouhana, which is an Auberge resort, as well as the Four Seasons (what used to be the former Viceroy). The grounds looked beautiful as did the entrance, but I thought the service was lacking compared to the Malliouhana. If you have any questions about accomdations on Anguilla, of course I’d love to share more of my thoughts!
After a whirlwind but beneficial trip, we took the 8:30 flight from AXA to SBH. 12 minutes, easy, no fuss, back to St. Barths.
On Saturday morning, Glennie and I walked St. Jean beach thinking about the day ahead. After quickly picking up our books just up the street at villa LLA, we decided to rent chaise lounges and umbrellas at La Plage so we could enjoy the beach all day. We had a blast! The cabana boy brought beach towels and drinks. The water was glorious and the people watching was even better! We had lunch at La Plage and the service was wonderful, as was the food.
Nearby, we also toured the Tropical Hotel. It really has a nice vibe, with a young energetic group in charge. The bar was inviting and they are really working on putting their food and beverage efforts on the map—we had breakfast one morning which was delightful. Their chef used to be at Bonito, and the renovations this summer are going to take the rooms to a whole new level.
Other St. Jean happenings? Rumors have it that the fence at the end of the runway is coming down, and a guard will be appointed to keep people away from the runway when planes are taking off.
This trip was wonderful. Relationships, memories, kindness—all common themes. I was truly inspired by how being kind and helpful to someone is such a gift. St. Barths is a truly a “club” that I’d like to continue be a part of.
One of my fondest memories was laying on a chaise at MOZ. I was happy, relaxed, soaking up the warmth of the sun, totally ensconced in my book All the Light We Cannot See reading the passage:
“Inside each airplane, a bombardier peers though an aiming window and counts to twenty. Four five six seven. To the bombardiers, the walled city on its granite headland, drawing ever closer, looks like an unholy tooth, something black and dangerous, a final abscess to be lanced away.”
Zoom! As I’m reading this, a Tradewind Pilatus plane flies over MOZ and I jump out of my chair! I waved at everyone that was leaving paradise, hoping they’ll all be back soon.