Recent St Barts News
January 31, 2010
Shared Private Jet Charters from the U.S.
AirSXM is offering a new service: shared private jet charters on a Hawker 400 jet from New York and South Florida with seamless connections to St Barth. Departures from the New York area will be on Saturday mornings with departures from South Florida scheduled for midday on Saturdays. Return flights from St Maarten will depart midday on Sundays. Seats are available on the following dates, routes and for the following fares. For more information or to make reservations call 599-527-7966 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
February 5 - St. Maarten - Boca Raton, FL - $9000 per seat
February 5 - Boca Raton, FL - St. Maarten - $4500 per seat
February 7 - Boca Raton, FL - St. Maarten - $9000 per seat
February 9 - St. Maarten - Boca Raton, FL - $9000 per seat
February 11 - Boca Raton, FL - St. Maarten - $9000 per seat
February 11 - St. Maarten - Boca Raton, FL - $4500 per seat
The Stadium – A Work in Progress
The sports stadium in St Jean has been undergoing a major transformation thanks to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovitch, who recently purchased a villa compound in Gouverneur next to the beach. Abramovitch is also the owner of the British soccer team Chelsea FC and has spent an estimated 1.3 million euros to put artificial turf in the stadium and to improve the surrounding athletic track. Work is projected to be completed by the end of February. We can only assume that his soccer team will be practicing there and providing great entertainment to all the soccer aficionados of St Barth.
One Week Dedicated for Discovering Biodynamic Wines
February 8-13 will be a great week for wine lovers. Jean-Baptiste Bars, the owner of Absolutely Wine in Grand Fond, has organized a week-long program to introduce biodynamic wines to St Barth. The production of biodynamic wines can be compared with the principals of organic farming. Representatives from four French vineyards who follow this practice to produce their wines will be on hand to explain the process during presentations that will be followed by wine tastings. Dinners that showcase the wines will be hosted the evenings of February 9-13 at five different restaurants.
Pre-Carnaval Celebrations Continue
Only about two more weeks remain until Carnaval on February 16! Get your costumes ready and prepare to party and be entertained. Meanwhile, every Sunday evening, a group will parade through the streets of Gustavia starting on La Pointe around 6:00 pm and ending up in front of La Cantina around 7:00 pm. This Sunday’s theme, presented by the group YOUNGZ, is "Tourists” and the "dress code” will be holidays. The photo at the left shows the drum group as they started off on La Pointe last Sunday.
Bits and Pieces
Ti Zouk K’afé, a bar and restaurant on La Pointe in Gustavia, is organizing a big sale on March 14 with vendors from the island participating.
AirportConnect Kiosks: As any of you who have traveled to St Barth know, the normal route is to fly to St Maarten and either take a small plane or a boat to St Barth. Princess Juliana International Airport will soon have self-service check-in kiosks to improve the process of checking in passengers and customer service.
Another Sale to Raise Money for Haiti: By popular request, the Rotary Club, the Lion’s Club and the Red Cross are organizing another sale to raise money for Haiti on Saturday, January 30 from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm on the quay in Gustavia. Local store owners will be selling mostly clothing and shoes at enviable prices. If you’re on the island, you can probably find some good deals and contribute to a worthy cause at the same time.
January 15, 2010
Performances Aboard La Loupiote
The sailboat, La Loupiote, which is currently anchored in Gustavia, is the locale for a few days for shows combining circus, dance and theater. For the last five years, La Loupiote has traveled the world presenting its shows. Shows will be presented on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from January 16 through January 20. The couple, Franck and Delphine, use parts of the sailboat as props in their shows. The first show, "The Navigators,” is inspired by Buster Keaton and silent films. The second show, "Between Island and Wing,” is about relationships between men and women. The shows last 20 minutes and are free, although donations are appreciated. January 16, January 20, January 22 and January 23: "The Navigators” at 6:00 pm and "Between Island and Wing” at 7:30 pm.
Still a Few Days Left to Enjoy the Music Festival
This year’s annual Music Festival is almost over, but you still have four days to enjoy the shows. There is no reserved seating, so it would be best to arrive early as the shows are quite popular.
St Barth Rallies for Haiti
We’ve all read about the terrible disaster in Haiti and have seen live reports and videos of unimaginable devastation after the island was hit by a 7.0 earthquake. It seems that everyone, worldwide, is rushing to their aid, and St Barth is no exception. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 16, the Rotary Club, the Lion’s Club and the Red Cross in conjunction with all the shops on the island have organized a stock sale on the quay in Gustavia with all profits going to Haiti. The Rotary Club has donated 14,000 euros, which along with 25,900 euros from local businesses, will be used to order "Shelter Boxes” that contain survival materials for 10 people. Their goal is to be able to order 100 of these boxes, at a cost of 700 euros (about $1000) each. President Bruno Magras has also advised the Territorial Council to donate 200,000 euros to aid Haiti. The Lion’s Club is working with Sister Jean Morice and a religious association in Haiti who helps children who will use funds to buy food and first-aid products. The Red Cross is already present in Haiti and is working hard to provide water for 40,000 people. In addition, the St Barth Restaurant Association will be bringing food to the quay to sell as another way to raise funds. If you’re on the island, please participate in this effort to help.
A Pub in St Barth?
Tonight, January 15, the St Barth’s Pub opens at 7:00 pm in the former spot of the Hot Spot Café in Lurin. The pub will offer 14 different beers and finger food, such as pizza and croque monsieurs, and provides seating both inside and outside. In addition, they’ll have large screens for watching sporting events, pool tables, video games, and live music Tuesdays through Saturdays. Tuesday’s music will consist of jazz and blues; Thursday is "theme night;” Friday offers "ambiance” rock; and Saturday nights are for R&B and Electro. So head up to Lurin and check out this new gathering spot.
It’s Never Too Soon for Carnaval!
Although Carnaval is February 16, the fun is starting now to help get everyone in the spirit. Every Sunday evening until Carnaval, a group will parade through the streets of Gustavia with costumes of a different theme each week. They depart at 6:00 pm from La Pointe and end up in front of La Cantina on the harbor in Gustavia around 7:00 pm.
Bits and Pieces
The new La Gloriettte opened on January 5 on the site of the previous Cocoloba in Grand Cul de Sac. Come eat with your feet in the sand and enjoy their chaise lounges on the beach. Welcome back!
The Tom Beach Hotel on the beach in St Jean is offering a special from January 20 through February 10 if you stay two nights or more. For 395 euros/night, you’ll get airport transfers, a double room, Continental breakfast, a welcome cocktail and gift, and a rental car.
Chess Tournament The Master of Gustavia chess tournament will take place on Saturday, January 23 at 2:00 pm. The tournament is open to novice players, unconfirmed and unlicensed, starting at age 7. At 8:00 am on the same day, the "Challenges” tournament will be held for licensed players. For information, call 06 90 5512 14.
December 31, 2009
The Yacht Club’s VIP Room
Get ready for some serious partying at The Yacht Club’s new VIP Room. Jean-Roch, an international DJ who has hosted VIP Rooms in St Tropez, Cannes, Paris and London, is spending his holidays in St Barth this year and will be the host at The Yacht Club’s VIP Room from December 25 through January 10. The Yacht Club, on La Pointe in Gustavia, recently expanded to make space for a restaurant, sushi bar, boutique and the VIP Room, which has two dance floors. Jean-Roch, nicknamed "the king of the night,” has opened several nightclubs and is also a composer. His music consists of soul, rock and hip-hop.
26th Annual St Barth Music Festival
The time is quickly approaching for the much anticipated St Barth Music Festival – almost two weeks of spectacular music. This year’s festival takes place from January 12 through January 20, 2010. Tickets are for sale at the tourist office beginning Monday January 4. Advance tickets at 10% discount are available January 4 through 9. If you plan on attending several events, you can buy a "Season Pass Book” for 10% less than individual tickets. There is no reserved seating, so it would be best to arrive early as the shows are quite popular.
Art Exhibit at Eden Roc
December 21, 2009 until January 31, 2010, the Eden Rock Gallery is hosting an art exhibit called Water/Bodies from the New York Academy of Art. The exhibit is being curated by David Kratz, president of the New York Academy of Art, and work by Eric Fischl and Jenny Saville, Senior Critics at the Academy, will be showcased. Each of the paintings or sculptures is related to the theme of nature, water and the body. The Eden Roc Gallery and the New York Academy of Art have an ongoing relationship which includes an artist-in-residence program in which up to 10 students or graduates of the Academy can visit St Barth and participate. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s exhibit will be used to fund this program. The Eden Roc hotel is located in the heart of St Jean on the beach.
New Year’s Eve Regatta 2009
Since 1995, sailboats of all sizes have participated in a New Year’s Eve Regatta around the island under the supervision of the Saint-Barth Yacht Club and the port of Gustavia. This year, a fleet of about 30 boats will make the annual tour. The sailboats will begin departing at 10:00 am from Gustavia on Thursday, December 31, heading toward Corossol. Trophies will be awarded at 5:00 pm on the quay in Gustavia. The best views of this impressive regatta are from Lurin, from high up in Anse des Cayes, the lighthouse above Gustavia, the beach of Flamands and the lookout point where the road ends in Colombier.
Bits and Pieces
Discounts on the Exchange Rate - Finally, a couple of businesses in St Barth are following the trend on the French side of St Martin by giving tourists a break in the high euro-to-dollar exchange rate. Le Bête à Z’ailes, a bar, restaurant and night spot for live music on the harbor in Gustavia (also known as BAZ) is offering a slight discount 1.00 euro for a $1.35. B4, the restaurant that used to be Le Sapotillier in Gustavia, is offering a great deal at 1 euro = $1.00. Hopefully, others will follow suit.
Stadium to Reopen in Late February The sports stadium in St Jean has been closed since mid-October while work is underway to install artificial turf and a running track with a synthetic surface. The work is being paid for by Roman Abramovitch, owner of a British soccer league who recently bought a 70-acre villa compound in Gouverneur.
December 15, 2009
Rockin’ at Eden Roc for New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and, as usual, there will be many events from which to choose among on the island. For the third year, the Eden Roc hotel in St Jean is hosting what is sure to be a spectacular party. D&K Events is organizing the event in conjunction with the hotel. Start the evening with cocktails followed by a multi-course gourmet dinner in the "On the Rocks” restaurant. At midnight, as we enter 2010, fireworks will explode over the bay of St Jean. After that, it’s dancing on the beach til you drop to the music of DJs from St Barth and London under a full moon. 500 euros per person will reserve you a spot for the gourmet dinner and 1/2 bottle of Dom Pérignon. A VIP table at the Sand Bar for the "After Party” will cost you a mere 6000 euros per table for six people! But, this does include two bottles of Dom Pérignon and a magnum of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque. For more information, visit www.nyeparty.edenrockhotel.com or call 06 90 35 55 82 to make reservations.
New Year’s Eve at the Indigo
The Guanahani Hotel & Spa in Grand Cul de Sac is hosting a New Year’s Eve event at its beachside restaurant Le Indigo. The buffet menu is 290 euros, followed by fireworks and music by DJs on the beach. For more information or to make reservations, call 05 90 52 90 00.
New Building Opens at the Hospital
A year later than originally thought, the new building at the hospital in Gustavia opened its doors on December 5. At a cost of around 3.5 million euros, the new two-level building houses the pharmacy and other technical offices on the ground level and 18 beds on the second level. The second phase is scheduled to begin in February, 2010, and will focus on updating the original portion of the hospital. When completed it will house a general-purpose room, administrative offices and a meeting room.
New Boardwalk Is Complete
Earlier this year, hurricane Omar destroyed the wooden boardwalk along the harbor in Gustavia. Now, after four months of work, the new stone-surfaced boardwalk is complete. The goal was to have this completed in time for the high season. I know that many women will appreciate how much easier it is to walk on the new boardwalk while wearing heels than on the wooden boardwalk, which could be treacherous if a heel got caught between the boards!
Carnaval Brazilian Style?
The association St Barth Allegria in inviting all its members who want to take part in the preparation of a traditional Brazilian carnival to come forward. They are also planning to hold workshops of folk dances typical of various areas of Brazil. For more information, send an email to email@example.com or call 06 90 88 85 05.
Sea Charts of the Area Being Updated
Le Pourquoi Pas?, an oceanographic ship of the French institute for research of the sea and of the hydrographic and oceanographic service of the Navy, is in the waters around St Barth. Its mission is to re-chart the sea access to St Martin, St Barth and the channel of Anguilla. The last time these waters were charted was in 1950. It is also hoped that this exercise will provide some insight to the volcanic and seismic activity in the area and an understanding of the risk of tsunamis.
Bits and Pieces
Chez Ginette, a locally owned bar in Anse des Cayes, was recently destroyed by an electrical fire. Ginette made probably over 50 types of flavored rums and was featured on a Food Network "Taste of the Caribbean” series hosted by Alton Brown. The bar was a fun place to play pool, bélote (a French card game) and Scrabble as well as a place to listen to music on Fridays and Saturdays. An island institution has come to an end.
La Marine, a restaurant on the harbor on La Pointe in Gustavia, has with The Yacht Club and is now called Le Restaurant and Sushi Bar. It’s open 7 days a week from 7:00 pm.
The new incarnation of La Gloriette in Grand Cul de Sac is scheduled to open December 15.
"Blue Zone” parking, as described in an earlier issue of News Bytes, will start on December 15.
November 30, 2009
"Blue Zone” Parking in Gustavia
On November 9, the Territorial Council voted to create "blue zone” parking to help ease traffic and parking in the center of Gustavia, and to prevent people who work in Gustavia from leaving their car parked all day in prime parking areas. The "blue zone” will be identified by signs and will include parking on the streets along the waterfront and from the pharmacy to the entry of Gustavia. How does it work? Drivers will be allowed to park for free for one and a half hours between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm from Monday through Saturday when using a parking disk. After 6:00 pm and on Sundays and holidays, parking is free for as long as desired. Two thousand disks are available through the Collectivity and at car rental agencies.
Hôtel Le Toiny Receives First Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Distinction in Caribbean
Hôtel Le Toiny in Grand Fond is the first Relais & Châteaux property in the Caribbean to receive a Grand Chef distinction. At the annual conference of Relais & Châteaux in Biarritz, France, Chef Stéphane Mazières was presented with the Grand Chef Taittinger award. Quite an accomplishment for a chef of age 34! Chef Mazières supervises the hotel and restaurant (Le Gaïac) kitchens and offers sophisticated French and Creole cuisine. Last year the hotel built a greenhouse to grow vegetables and herbs, and this year they plan to construct two more greenhouses to grow their own fruit.
Rotary Club Works to End Polio
As part of the World Polio Day initiative, the St Barth Rotary Club has placed a collection box marked "END POLIO NOW” in the boarding lounge at the airport where passengers may leave donations. Since 1985, the International Rotary Club has donated more than $650 million to help eradicate polio by vaccinating more than two billion children in 122 countries. Think of your donation as a small departure tax and help this worthy cause.
Each year the Lions Club of St Barth participates in the French fund-raising Telethon. This year the "Center of Promise” for the Iles du Nord will be held in St Barth at the marina in Gustavia on December 4 and 5. M. Adolphe Brin, who is in charge of the details this year, has urged all the schools, associations, radio stations and residents to participate.
Bits and Pieces
A Competition for Window Displays - For the first time, the Tourism Committee is organizing a competition for window displays among the merchants of Gustavia and St Jean. Although they don’t specifically say that the window displays will have a Christmas theme, it seems likely since the last day for registration is December 11.
Tendances, the home furnishings store in Anse de Cayes and Gustavia, is holding a sale with prices reduced up to 60% before their final closing.
La Rotisserie, which recently closed and changed ownership, is open once again. This very popular shop in St Jean, with a branch in Gustavia, prepares excellent dishes to go or to eat in their small, but pleasant dining area and has added a salad bar – perhaps the first in St Barth. The shop also offers breads and pastries plus a nice variety of gourmet items such as wines, chocolates, olive oils and confitures among others. The location in St Jean also includes an outdoor snack bar.
November 15, 2009
Le Sereno Hotel Adds Three Luxury Villas
Sereno, a 37-suite luxury hotel on the beach in Grand Cul de Sac, has just added three ultra-luxury villas. Designed by Parisian designer Christian Liaigre, the four-bedroom villas can be shared by several couples or families. Both levels have spacious patios, with a private pool on the top level. The main living area has glass walls that overlook the sea and flows into the dining area and a contemporary kitchen, all of which open onto the pool and deck.
St Barth’s Political Status to Change Again?
In 2007 St Barth voted to become an Overseas Collectivity, which gave the government more autonomy. Now, the Territorial Council has just recently voted to become a Peripheral Overseas French Territory (PTOM). This request must be approved by the French government and then by the European Council by a unanimous vote. If the new political status is granted, St Barth will be able to opt out of European legislation while still remaining part of France. On November 6, during the first Conseil Interministériel devoted to overseas territories, French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced that France will support the transformation of St Barth into a PTOM. Not all French legislation applies to life on a small island in the Caribbean. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming years.
St Barth Cata Cup 2009
The second edition of the St Barth Cata Cup will take place November 20, 21 and 22 on the beach in St Jean. Organized by the Association of Saint-Barth Multihulls and the Nautical Center of Saint-Barth, the race is open to catamarans for sport and has already reached its limit of 35 crews. Three days of regattas and events are planned at La Plage restaurant and on the beach. The boats will depart at 9:30 am on Friday, November 20; at 9:30 am on Saturday, November 21; and at 10:00 on Sunday, November 21. Saturday’s events include a wind-surfing exhibition by the members of CNSB at 3:00 pm and salsa music by the group San Juan-Habana following an 8:00 pm dinner at La Plage. At 2:00 on Sunday, there will be an exhibition of Optimist sailboats by young members of the St Barth Yacht Club, followed by an awards ceremony at 4:00 pm for the wind-surfers and the Optimist sailors. The three-day event will conclude with an awards ceremony for the Cata Cup racers and music by San Juan-Habana. For more information, visit www.stbarthcatacup.com.
Le Toiny Ranked #3 by Condé Nast
Hôtel Le Toiny is a luxury hotel located on 38-acres overlooking the sea in Grand Fond on the island’s southeastern coast. Its 15 villa suites are designed in the French Colonial style and each has an ocean view, large terrace, private heated swimming pool and kitchenette. The hotel’s Le Gaïac restaurant features innovative French cuisine with a Creole accent. This superb hotel has been ranked No. 3 of Caribbean/Atlantic hotels by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2009 Readers Choice Awards. More than 25,000 readers voted on more than 10,000 properties worldwide. With a rating of 92.2, Hôtel Le Toiny was the highest rated hotel on St Barth. I can attest that there are few things better than their Sunday brunch followed by a dip in the beautiful pool at the restaurant’s edge.
Comic Relief during Thanksgiving Weekend
After the Thanksgiving feast has been enjoyed, continue the festivities over the weekend by heading over to the theater next to the Catholic Church in Gustavia to be entertained by "The Count of Bouderbala.” Sami Ameziane, a stand-up comic, was once a French basketball player for the Huskies at the University of Connecticut in the 2004 and 2005 NCAA championships. He has performed in clubs in New York and Paris and was recently invited to perform in St Barth by the local theater group SB Artists. Ameziane’s routine pokes fun at his life in a suburb of Paris, his experiences in the United States, the habits and customs in France and the U.S., the American health care system, current events and religion among other subjects. Although three performances are scheduled for the weekend, the one in English is scheduled for Friday evening at 8:00 pm. Tickets are 20 euros and are for sale at the theater from 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm. For reservation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hôtel Christopher Reopened on November 12
The 41-room Hôtel Christopher in a garden setting in Pointe Milou has recently reopened after completing major renovations. The poolside restaurant Mango is open daily for lunch and beverages. Poolside massages are also available for a reasonable fee. The restaurant Taïno, facing the sea, serves breakfast and dinner daily. In collaboration with Linde Gallery, the hotel has also opened a small store featuring a collection of beachwear, bikinis, dresses and sarongs from the Linde Gallery as well as perfumes, scented candles and art books. Taïno is offering a three-course Thanksgiving dinner with a Caribbean influence starting at 7:00 pm at 48 euros for adults and 30 euros for children. The menu will include corn chowder with spiced lobster, turkey with chestnut stuffing, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, glazed carrots, pumpkin cheesecake, coffee or tea and petit fours. All that and no dishes to wash!
Bits and Pieces
Once upon a time, not too long ago, there was an excellent restaurant in Grand Cul de Sac right on the edge of the sea called La Gloriette. Not only did the restaurant serve delicious food, they made and continue to make and sell one of the best vanilla rums on the island. The latest rumor is that the former owner’s daughter is planning to reopen the restaurant. La Gloriette was just next door to Cocolobo, also owned by Albert, but a more casual, outdoor restaurant with tables in the sand under sea grapes and palm trees. Speculation is that if La Gloriette reopens, it will be more along the lines of Cocolobo.
Le Tamarin has reopened and is now being run by Toff, who ran La Mandala in Gustavia.
Dö Brazil, the restaurant that overlooks Shell Beach in Gustavia, has two new owners: Serge Adelski and Xavier Pignet. After many vacations on the island, they have realized their dream of living there. Recognizing the long success of the restaurant under the former ownership of Boubou, they aren’t planning to make changes. The restaurant is open daily from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm and is a wonderful spot for lunch or sunset cocktails followed by dinner.
Les Artisans, a jewelry store and art gallery that was located across from La Creperie in Gustavia, has recently moved to the former location of the Baghdad art gallery down the street from Le Select. Be sure to visit this shop. The talented and amiable owners design most of the jewelry and you’re sure to find some pieces you can’t resist!
From November 9 to 28, catch the sounds of Gemma Genazzano, a Latin and Soul artist, with Joe Scott on the keyboard and Jerry Dealce on bass at Bête à Z’Ailes in Gustavia from 9:00 pm to midnight.
August 31, 2009
Jazz Dance Lessons Available
Chloée is offering modern jazz dance lessons every Wednesday from 7:30 pm until 8:45 pm for 12 euros at her studio Studio Atmosphère, Rue Jeanne d’Arc, Gustavia. For more information and to register, call 06 90 56 88 02.
More Roadwork Underway
As always during the summer months, St Barth takes advantage of fewer tourists and less activity on the island to make improvements for the upcoming high season. Roads have been improved almost everywhere on the island and lots of sidewalks have been added. The road leading from Lorient as you’re heading to Grand Fond that cuts over to Saline will be closed from September 1 until February 1, 2010. While that’s an inconvenience, the results are sure to be worth it.
A Small Boutique Hotel in Lorient
The Normandie Hotel in Lorient is one of the island’s oldest hotels and has been totally renovated. Guest rooms are in two separate buildings that are connected by a large deck of gorgeous Brazilian wood that surrounds the pool area. Amenities include WiFi, flat-screen plasma TVs with French and US channels, telephones, air-conditioning, refrigerators in all rooms and bathrobes. Room prices include a Continental breakfast and complimentary wine in the afternoon. Prices vary depending on the season but range from 90 euros to 165 euros. The hotel is a mere two-minute walk from tranquil and beautiful Lorient beach and is in walking distance of several restaurants, small grocery stores and a wonderful bakery. For more information and to make reservations, call Wimco at 1-800-932-3222.
Bits and Pieces
September is usually the calmest month on St Barth as many people don’t like to visit the island during the height of hurricane season. As such, many restaurants take advantage of this time to close their doors, take a bit of vacation or do improvements. Among those that will be closed for the month and possibly until mid-October are Maya’s, Do Brazil, Nikki Beach, La Marine and the Yacht Club.
La Mandala Update La Mandala, high on a hill in Gustavia with spectacular views of the harbor, closed on August 25 and, when it reopens for the season, will be under the new ownership of some Argentinians. It will be interesting to see what changes they make.
Rumor has it that Le Sapotillier, the restaurant in Gustavia in the charming stone "house”, will be managed by Patricia Deravin, who was the manager of Caviar Island in the Carré D’Or in Gustavia.
Sports Road is a new bike shop that has recently opened in St Jean in the little shopping area called Les Amandiers. The shop is open from 10:00 am until 7:30 pm and carries brands such as Nike, Newton, Under Armour and Zoot.
August 15, 2009
St Barth Catacup
St Barth Catacup is a catamaran race among some of the top catamaran racers in the world. First started in 1992, it was interrupted by hurricane Luis in 1995 and did not take place again until 2008. Hopefully, with its return this year, it will become an annual event. The race is open to 35 boats and, thus far, 24 teams have expressed interest in competing. The 2008 event was sponsored by the Nautical Center of Saint Barth, the Saint Barth Yacht Club, the Collectivity of St Barth, and the non-profit organization Saint Barth Multi-Hulls. They are hoping that this race will become the most important event for catamaran racing in the West Indies. All events will take place on the beautiful beach of St Jean. For additional information, visit www.stbarthcatacup.com. (Information gathered from an article by Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, a long-time St Barth resident and writer.)
60th Anniversary of Le Select!
Those of you who have already visited St Barth most likely know and love Le Select, the bar and grill in the heart of Gustavia. New visitors will surely discover it quickly. Le Select was first opened 60 years ago this November by the well-loved owner Marius Stakelborough, who was born on St Barth in 1923. The anniversary celebration will take place Friday, November 6 until Sunday, November 8. Among the many musical events that are planned is one that will draw crowds from all over: Jimmy Buffett, a long-time friend of M. Stakelborough, will be performing on the quay in Gustavia on Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 pm. See below for the weekend’s schedule of events. Let’s hope that Monday is declared a holiday!
Friday, November 6
11:00 am – Noon: Complementary appetizers and happy hour
11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Gunslingers Steel Band
5:00 pm: Choir performance by the Chorale du bon Coeur
6:00 pm: Speech by Marius Stakelborough, followed by a cocktail reception (This is sure to be a moving moment
8:00 pm: Music by Math’s Connection and The Tremendous Johnsons
Saturday, November 7
11:00 am – Noon: Complementary appetizers and happy hour
11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Gunslingers Steel Band
6:00 pm: Gunslingers Steel Band on the quay in Gustavia
8:00pm: Jimmy Buffett on the quay in Gustavia
10:00pm: Music by New Generation at Le Select
Sunday, November 8
11:00 am – Noon: Complementary appetizers and happy hour
11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Gunslingers Steel Band
4:00pm: Screening of the film "The Friends of Marius” at the Capitainerie (upstairs at the Harbour Office)
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Gunslingers Steel Band
8:00 pm: Fireworks, followed by a closing party with music by Les Romantiques at Le Select
Dive with Plongée Caraïbes
Dive with Plongée Caraïbes on the catamaran Blue Cat every day, including Sundays and holidays. They offer excursions to 15 sites leaving at 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 2:00 pm from the quay in Gustavia. Private excursions can be arranged for 1/2-day periods, morning or afternoon. A maximum of 10 people can be accommodated. Fees start at 40 euros. For more information, call 05 90 27 55 94 or 06 90 54 66 14.
Bits and Pieces
This fall Winair, the most popular airline between St Maarten and St Barth, will be replacing their smaller planes with larger 18-seat Twin Otters.
AirStMaarten is offering low charter fares to and from St Barth until November 15, 2009, with seats starting as low as $100. Booking a charter guarantees no delays, no lost luggage, no cancelled flights and no waiting. To reserve a seat, visit www. airsxm.com/request.php?o=48 or call 599-527-7966. If calling from the U.S., you must first dial 011.
The Carl Gustaf Hotel in Gustavia will be closed until November 20, 2009. This follows the recent death of the owner.
Condé Nast magazine has named the beach at Colombier as one of the best in the world. Colombier is only accessible by foot, via a 20-minute hike from Flamands, or boat. Many times, it’s like having your own private beach and is a great place for a picnic and a little fishing off the rocks toward the right.
July 31, 2009
New Ferry to Start Service August 1
Beginning August 1, the Great Bay Express ferry will begin twice daily crossings between Oyster Bay, St Maarten and St Barth. The ferry, a catamaran, has both air-conditioned and open-air seating for 45 passengers and takes a short 45 minutes. The round-trip fare for adults purchasing a ticket in advance is 55 euros; the cost is 60 euros if the ticket is purchased on the day of departure. A one-way crossing is 45 euros when purchased in advance and 50 euros if purchased on the day of departure. Tickets are for sale at the travel agency Saint Barth Tours and Travel, Gare Maritime on La Pointe in Gustavia. You can also call the Great Bay Express at 011 590 590 52 45 06, fax them at 590 590 52 41 38, or email them at email@example.com.
Works in Progress
As always, summer in St Barth is a busy time for the Collectivity as many projects are undertaken to maintain and improve the island’s infrastructure. This summer is no exception—their plate is full.
The Boardwalk in Gustavia:The boardwalk in Gustavia, which provided 40 "parking places” for small boats, was destroyed this past year by Hurricane Omar. It will be replaced with a boardwalk built on concrete pilings and a pontoon with riprap to break the swell. Work is expected to be completed by November before high season starts.
Ranch in Flamands Moves to Lurin:The horseback riding ranch high in the hills of Flamands is being moved to Lurin. Work is expected to be finished in September.
War Memorial Moves Close to the Hôtel de la Collectivité:The War Memorial, which is in the center of Gustavia, is being moved close to the Hôtel de la Collectivité. With its new location, the traditional commemoration services, speeches and receptions can be conducted without disrupting traffic.
Improvements in Grand Fond:Lots of work is being done in Grand Fond. In addition to redoing the road leading from Lorient to Grand Fond in concrete, the Collectivity is also replacing water pipes that transport the city water and putting in place underground sheaths to hold telephone and electric cables. The current stone retaining walls will be reinforced or replaced by low concrete walls with a stone façade. Plans also include adding a sidewalk the length of the road.
Work in Vitet:As you enter Vitet, there is a small bridge. The Collectivity is redoing the retaining wall and widening some portions of the road. As in Grand Fond, they are also replacing water pipes and adding underground sheaths to house telephone and electric cables.
And also in Gouverneur:In addition to the road improvements being made on the road down to Gouverneur (and one of the most popular beaches on St Barth), underground sheaths to house telephone and electric cables are being added as well as water pipes down to the beach.
Papaguyo, the beloved American percussionist is bringing his music along with Tanya Michelle to several restaurants from August. 4 to August 22. Tanya attended Berklee College of Music in Boston on scholarships and performed as a lead vocalist in Vocal Jazz shows and Gospel choirs. Her singing style ranges from sultry, sensual vocal jazz to funky, spiritual and soulful packed R&B, Motown and funk. A night spent enjoying the music of Papaguyo and his guests is always guaranteed to be a good time.
Annual Painting Contest Is Underway
The annual painting contest, which is sponsored by Saint B’Art, is starting. The art is normally displayed at a local gallery at the end of the competition and many pieces are for sale. This is a great opportunity to bring home a unique souvenir from St Barth. If you wish to participate, request the registration form from Association Saint B’Art, BP 477-97097, St Barthélemy CEDEX or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bits and Pieces
Hôtel Guanahani & Spa has live music with Courtney Williams and his musicians every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until August 16 beginning at 8:00 pm at the outdoors Indigo Restaurant. Call 05 90 52 90 00 for reservations.
Le Tamarin restaurant in Saline is offering a new summer menu. For 20 euros, you can have a large composed salad, one drink and a coffee or the special of the day, one drink and one coffee. The restaurant is open daily for lunch except for Mondays.
Eight new parking places have been added across the road from the entrance to Marigot beach.
Dior in Gustavia has closed.
July 15, 2009
Ceramic Tile Beach Signs Now Posted
Several months ago, Véronique Vander Noot, an artist in St Barth, proposed making signs from ceramic tiles for each of the beaches on St Barth to reflect the natural beauty of each beach and to provide information for tourists. The Collectivity accepted the proposal and financed the project. A total of 16 signs are now in place. Each sign portrays the view seen from the beach and also encompasses an element that defines that particular beach.
Hôtel Christopher to Reopen
Located in Pointe Milou at the edge of the sea, the 4-star Hôtel Christopher will reopen in November 2009. The hotel was closed for a couple of years during which it refurbished its 41 rooms and two restaurants. The hotel offers luxury accommodations at an affordable price. The poolside Mango Bar is open from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm, and the restaurant is open from noon until 2:30 pm. The hotel offers 10 poolside rooms, 24 ocean view rooms, four deluxe ocean view rooms, one ocean view junior suite, one "Aloes” Suite, and one panoramic suite.
The Summer Festivals Are Beginning!
With at least five summer festivals on the agenda, the next two months will be full of music, competitions, dancing and plenty of food and drink. Below are the schedules for the first two festivals, which will take place the weekends of July 18 and July 25.
Fête de l’Anse des Cayes, Saturday, July 18
9:30 am: Belote and volleyball tournaments
1:30 pm: Pétanque tournament (doubles)
2:00pm: Scrabble tournament and kayak races
2:30pm: Skits and games throughout the afternoon
4:00pm: Jam String session (string band)
5:00pm: Awarding of prizes for the winners of the tournaments and kayak races
6:00pm: Food and beverages
8:30pm: Dance with music provided by The Jolly Boys, Prince and the Majestik Boys, and Party Crew DJ
Fête des Quartiers du Nord, Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26, Flamands Beach
Saturday, July 25
2:00pm: Domino tournament
3:30pm: Various games
5:00pm: Games, skits, dances
7:00pm: Food and beverages available (hot dogs, cheeseburgers, paninis and more
8:00pm: DJ Local
11:00pm: DJ Outkast
Sunday, July 26
7:00am: Mass at the chapel in Colombier
9:00am: Beach volleyball, beach soccer and bélote tournament
12:00pm: Music, prizes awarded, food and beverages available
5:30pm: Dances and skits with invited guests from St Thomas
8:00pm: Dance and music
Discover the Underwater World of St Barth
Beautiful coral reefs and colorful sparkling fish – the scenery underwater is as spectacular as the scenery on land. Discover this other paradise with St Barth Plongée, a diving operation that has 16 years of experience. They are open seven days a week and offer morning and afternoon departures. Dives offered are Level 1 Open Water, Level 2 Advanced PADI, and a night dive on Wednesday evenings. For more information, call Bertrand "Birdy” at 06 90 41 96 66.
Bits and Pieces
Texas Hold’em has arrived in St Barth! On July 19, a Texas Hold’em tournament is being organized by the Association Lézards des Cayes and the Propeller Club at the site of the Association Lézards des Cayes in Anses des Cayes. The cost to play is 20 euros and the fun starts at noon.
Harbour Saladerie on La Pointe in Gustavia has just recently opened. The owners, Thiery and Patrick, were the owners of the former, very popular, Saladerie just steps away. The menu consists mostly of salads and pizzas, which makes for a nice casual dinner on the harbor.
Word is that the restaurant Le Sapotillier in Gustavia has been sold and will reopen this fall with a new look and new name. The restaurant is in a very charming, old stone house with ambiance galore.
Next to Le Tamarin restaurant in Saline, which is only open for lunch, a new place – Medina -- offering drinks and tapas in the evening has recently opened.
Rumor for now, but it’s been said that Do Brazil on Shell Beach, L’Entracte in Gustavia, and La Route des Boucaniers on the harbor in Gustavia have all been sold. Just had dinner on July 13 at La Route des Boucaniers as they hosted a Soirée Antillaise with live music. As always, the food was excellent. Since the new owner of L’Entracte is new to the restaurant business, the chef and previous owner have agreed to stay on until March 2010. Hope the new owners of these restaurants maintain the high standards that each is known for.
June 15, 2009
New Travel Requirements by the TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing new travel requirements and is giving each airline its own set of dates to meet these requirements. The requirement is that by mid-summer the name of a traveler’s air reservation must exactly match the name as shown on the traveler’s passport or other government-issued photo identification. If you have a Frequent Flyer account, you should ensure that the name on the account matches the names on your passport to guarantee that the booking process is smooth and that you receive your proper mileage credit.
Strike Planned by Air Caraïbes Pilots
The National Syndicate of Pilots for Air Caraïbes has announced that the pilots are planning to be on strike every weekend from June 20 until September 7. They are striking in hopes of gaining more respect for time to relax between flights, paid vacation, improvement in working conditions, and new rules for calculating salaries. Air Caraïbes is one of the airlines that flies between St Maarten and St Barth. Others to contact are WinAir and St Barth Commuter.
The Wall House Ownership Has Changed
The Wall House, which is a very successful and popular restaurant on La Pointe in Gustavia across the street from the harbor, has undergone a change in ownership. The previous owner, Franck Mathevet, is moving to Montreal in November to spend some time with his son. He has sold his share of the restaurant to his colleague since 2006, Bernard Tatin. M. Tatin has hired a young chef from France, but several of the current chefs and waiters plan on staying also. M. Mathevet has graciously shared his recipes for some of the most popular dishes with M. Tatin. But, M. Mathevet’s departure from the island will be brief. He and his wife will be returning in April and plan to open a new business. No indication at the moment as to what that new business will be, but one might logically think that he’ll be opening a new restaurant.
Bits and Pieces
Entre-Deux recently opened in Gustavia in the location of the former La Gamelle, which after closing became the site of the restaurant Central Park, which recently closed. This latest restaurant is owned and run by Jackson and Sinclair Questel. Many of you might know Jackson as the former bartender at Le Bête à Z’ailes (or BAZ). You won’t see Entre-Deux from the street as it is located behind the store Totem.
Rebirth of La Saladerie? Rumor has it that Thiery and Patrick, of the former Saladerie, were working on the building that housed the now-closed Jao restaurant on La Pointe in Gustavia and are expected to open a new restaurant there the end of June: Harbour Saladerie. La Saladerie was their former restaurant, which was located just steps away.
The road to Grand Fond, via the road in Lorient, is being completely redone and is closed until the end of the summer or early fall. To get to that side of the island, you’ll need to take the road through Marigot and Grand Cul de Sac.
The St Barth Sprout Farm has recently opened. They will be supplying wheatgrass, sprouts and micro-greens. Although they are not listing their location, you can call them at 06 90 59 30 09.
May 31, 2009
Minor Earthquake Felt in St Barth
If you felt the earth move on Wednesday, May 20, around 9:00 pm, it wasn’t too many ti punches or a little too much wine with dinner. A mild earthquake, measuring around 4.3 on the Richter scale, was felt for about 2 to 3 seconds in St Barth and Saint Martin. The quake’s epicenter was recorded to be about 28 km north-north-east of Saint-Barth. A second tremor was also felt on Saturday.
Friday Tasting Menu at Le Gaïac
Le Toiny’s fine-dining restaurant Le Gaïac is offering a Tasting Menu every Friday evening. Le Toiny is an exclusive hotel located in Grand Fond. One night’s menu included pan-fried foie gras, crawfish ravioli and spinach and almond cream, pan-fried duckling with mango and lime, and a chocolate cannelloni with strawberries and basil mousse. You can be sure that each Friday’s dinner will be just as delicious. The cost is 60 euros/person. Don’t forget to take your bathing suit so you can enjoy their beautiful pool before or after dinner. Bon appétit!
Calendar of Summer Events
While the summer months may be low season on St Barth, they are months full of local festivities. Check the calendar below to find an event that coincides with your visit. The beach festivals held by each village provide a day or two of food and beverages; games; competitions of pétanque, dominoes, and bélote, a French card game, where a goat may be first prize!; and an evening of music and dancing. As you can see, the upcoming dog-days of summer are chock full of local (free) events.
Caribbean Football Stars Tour 2009 (June 9): Come to the stadium in St Jean to see a soccer match between some of the Caribbean’s best professional players and local St Barth’s teams. The games start at 6:00 pm and the entrance is free.
Fête de l’Anse des Cayes (July 18): First of the beach festivals with games, competitions, food, beverages and music in the evening.
Fête des Quartiers du Nord (July 25-26): Lottery, games, food, beverages, competitions and a public ball organized by ASCCO / Colombier
Fête des Quartiers du Vent (August 8-9): Fishing tournament, regattas, games, food, beverages, volleyball, lottery and public ball in Lorient
Pitea Day (August 14-15): Commemorates the twinning of St. Barths and Pitea, Sweden. Held on the beach in Public.
SBJAM Festival (August 15): Groups from around the Caribbean will be playing on the quay in Gustavia
Fête de St. Barthélemy (August 24): Festival to celebrate the island's patron saint, Saint Bartholomew. Political and social functions, regattas, public ball and fireworks on the quay in Gustavia.
Fête de St. Louis (August 25): The last beach festival of the summer is held in the tiny fishing village of Corossal. Games, competitions, regattas, food, beverages, lottery, and a public ball.
Upcoming Study Will Chart the Area’s Waters
In November, 2009, the Pourquoi-Pas? will be in the waters around St Barth to conduct a study of the marine access to St Martin, St Barth and the channel near Anguilla. The Pourquoi-Pas? is an oceanographic ship of Ifremer (the French Institute of Research for the Exploitation of the Sea) and SHOM (the hydrographic and oceanographic service of the French navy). The ship’s crew will conduct a campaign called "Zmag” that is intended to improve hydrographic knowledge of the region. Current recorded information of this type dates from the 19th century. The results will be used to increase knowledge and to understand the navigational needs, including those of cruise ships, in the area. It is also hoped that the results of this study can be used by organizations that monitor volcanoes and earthquakes in the area to understand the risk of tsunamis. The campaign is scheduled to begin on November 22 and to be completed in early 2010.
Language Café and Ciné Plage
Tuesday evenings at 8:00 pm, kick back with your feet in the sand and watch short French and American films under the stars. That’s right – the screen is right on the beach at the Tom Beach Hotel in St. Jean. This is a good opportunity to meet locals and tourists, practice your French or English and enjoy a good meal. The cost is 33 euros for food, wine and the films.
Bits and Pieces
T Saveur, which opened on May 21 in Les Amandiers shopping area in St Jean, is a tea salon and catering service. They are open every day from 9:00 am until 6:30 pm, serving breakfast for 9 euros, tartes, salads, soups, pastries and fruit cocktails.
WinAir’s summer special fares will save you 130 euros on a round-trip flight between St Maarten and St Barth.
Ky and Zy, a new boutique for children with clothing, toys, jewelry, and accessories for the bedroom, has recently opened in Gustavia on Rue Oscar II (across from the old Mairie building).
The Flamboyant Tennis Club in Grand Cul de Sac will sponsor a tennis tournament from May 29 through June 7. Four competitions are scheduled: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Doubles, and Young Singles (ages 11-16). To register and obtain more information, call 590 590 27 69 82, 590 690 85 05 55 or send an email to email@example.com.
May 15, 2009
Hôtel Le Toiny Has First Greenhouse on the Island
Le Toiny is a luxury hotel situated on 38 oceanfront acres on the southeastern side of the island. They have long been known for their private villa suites and fine dining at the restaurant Le Gaïac. They have now taken the cuisine up yet another notch by establishing their own 1000 square-foot greenhouse – the first on the island. After consulting with a horticulturist, they enriched the soil with bio-organic earth and organic fertilizer and then planted organic seeds supplied by a company in France. Currently, they are growing eight varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots, peas, eggplants, peppers, melons and a host of herbs, all of which is incorporated into their daily menu. Future plans include adding bananas, papayas and mangos. Kudos to Le Toiny for their dedication to fresh and healthy food!
CFN to Co-Sponsor 6th Edition of the Chess Championship
Since 2004, Saint-Barth Echecs, the local chess club, has organized a chess championship play-off that has been co-sponsored by Sibarth and Saint-Barth Assurances. As Sibarth is ready to retire its partnership this year, it will be assumed by CFN, Caribbean Financial Network-American Express, which is located in St Jean next to the grocery store Match. The tournament, Chess Championship Trophy CFN/Amex, will take place May 29-May 31 at the Hotel Guanahani and Spa in Grand Cul de Sac. Players from age 16 and up are eligible and can sign up by calling 590 690 55 12 14. There will be a total of seven games, the first one taking place on Friday, May 29 at 8:00, then four games on Saturday, with the final two rounds occurring on Sunday. First prize if 150 euros, second prize is 100 euros, and third prize is 50 euros. Dal Tucker of CFN, is a skilled chess player and will taking on the challenge this year. Bonne chance à tous!
Whale Watching in St Barth
Even the humpback whales seem to prefer the waters of St Barth! The whales migrate here to give birth, and the marine park is getting calls three to four times a week reporting whale sightings. If you happen to be on a boat when you spot the whales, it is safest to travel alongside them maintaining a parallel course at least 100 meters away. Approaching them from the back or front is threatening, and they will do what is necessary to protect their young. Enjoy the opportunity if you are so lucky and respect their habitat and space.
Bits and Pieces
Aquagym and adult swimming lessons are being offered at the municipal pool in St Jean. The schedule for Aquagym includes a focus on arms and legs on Mondays from 12:20 to 1:05 and on abs and gluts on Thursdays from 12:20 to 1:05. The swimming lessons will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays from noon until 1:00 and Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:00. The lessons will focus on swimming techniques, endurance, resistance and breathing. Medical certificates are required for both classes. Both the pool and the facilities are top notch and the instructors are well qualified. I can vouch for the Aquagym – good exercise without getting hot and sweaty—for those of you who like to stay cool!
On June 1, an effort to clean up the beach of Petite Anse will be underway. They are looking for volunteers to clean up any garbage and other debris as well as trucks to cart the debris away. If you want to help, call 590 590 27 88 18 or pass by the office of the Marine Reserve on the quay in Gustavia.
The AirSoft SBH Iguana Association invites all AirSoft players to join them on Sunday, May 17. If you would like to participate or would like more information, call 590 690 39 04 94.
St Barth has undertaken yet another anti-pollution initiative. Now, before cars are crushed for disposal, they are drained of all fluids: oil, gas, antifreeze and brake fluid. The service has been effect since last March and takes only 15 minutes.
Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France on the beach in Flamands is offering a special summer rate of 95 euros for their spa services starting May 1.