By Ellen Ellen CaywoodAugust 11-19, 2007
The folks we met on Anguilla kept saying that they enjoyed living there versus St Martin, because St Martin is too busy. I didn’t think there would be such a contrast, but there was. St Martin has a faster pace and there are a lot more activities and places to go. The villas themselves hold a peaceful, private atmosphere, but once you leave that enclave, the island offers lots of energy.
Alas, the storm has veered away and we are back on track for our final stop of the trip in St Barts. We jumped into our 8-passenger plane which I'm pretty sure was just a 1975 Cadillac with wings and our 20 year old supermodel pilot had us on the runway and off the ground in a matter of seconds. This was my first time landing with the hillside approach and it was just as exciting as you could possibly expect, especially from the front row of the plane!
Our first night was spent in the Tropical Hotel which was great since it was just 2 minutes from the airport and we were in the water at St Jean beach 10 minutes after that. It also allowed for a quick walk down to St Jean for dinner. Back to Andy's for dinner with a "view of the car park" and some vanilla rum.
For a small island of maybe 7000, St Barts is always buzzing. There are always cars zipping around every corner and sometimes I just wonder where they are all going. But instead of questioning it, it's just better to join in. Driving there reminds me of a roller-coaster and I actually find it so entertaining that it makes me giggle. We spent most of this trip on the Eastern end of the island since our villa was in Pointe Milou. Villa SIB AJF had a very elegant feel to it, all white with marble floors and baths, but with really warm, lovely furniture that was quite comfortable. Amazingly I ended up in another villa with 2 pools (just like my first trip). It's great for groups that want to have some separate living areas.
We actually visited a lot of villas that are being renovated, newly built or are just coming into the rental market, so its exciting to see what will be available next for clients. Villa SIB MAK is a great new 2 bedroom in St Jean that is very private and has a gorgeous pool with green tile. The villa style is very simple using dark woods and white accents. Villa SIB BLA is way up in the hill right between Grand and Petit Cul De Sac, with awesome views of both. This is a 2 bedroom, but there is also a bonus room with bunk beds for those traveling with children. The pool area was a lot of fun with an infinity pool with a palm tree in the middle and an outdoor kitchen and BBQ area. Just down the drive is a really sweet 1 bedroom that is of the original St Barts home style with low ceilings (you have to duck to get through the doors) and terracotta floors. It has a pretty large outdoor space for spreading out, including gardens, a Jacuzzi, and a view of Grand Cul de Sac.
If I can digress to food for a while, I had what I believe to be the best meal of my life so far at La Gaiac in Le Toiny hotel. The atmosphere was relaxing with a mild breeze coming off the water and Alan Landry at the piano, the service was the definition of impeccable, and the food was fresh, creative, beautiful, and absolutely delicious. Certainly a treat I most appreciate and will always remember. The food in St Barts really does stand up to the hype. It's entertaining to see the restaurants and test out the menus. Other big hits of the trip were O'Corner for lunch in Gustavia and La Mandala for dinner in Gustavia. And for breakfast, we twice enjoyed the bakery in Lorient.
Friday night was the Sibarth party at Le Toiny, so we decided to try out a local spa for a pedicure to get ourselves ready. Recommended was Saline Spa which is a lovely little retreat with an Asian flare. We sat outside and enjoyed our pedicures poolside with great breezes coming through. They have a full menu of services and a small pool for relaxation after massages. I would highly recommend this spa to anyone looking to get off the beaten path and out of the hotel environment. They also can perform their services in the privacy of your villa if you choose.
The party at Le Toiny was fabulous. The champagne was constantly flowing and everyone was smiling. The weather was dry but extremely windy as a result of the storm. At one point champagne glasses started blowing from the tables, which just brought up the excitement and energy level at the party. Le Toiny wowed once again with an assortment of creative passed hors d'oeuvres. It seems to be the signal of a great party in St Barts when dancing ensues, and so the music went up and there was plenty of dancing.
St Barts just oozes a fun, sophisticated, social atmosphere. From the restaurants to the bar at Le Ti and the SB Jam on the docks in Gustavia, there was always a great time to be had. I'd guess it's the result of a recipe of a stunning island in a warm climate with beautiful vibrant people, top-notch food, and a general contentment with life as it is. Au revoir et à bientôt.
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