By Michele Snakovsky | Director of Concierge Services
After working with St Barts for many years – finally – I was off to meet our gracious on-island vendors! “Excited” didn’t even begin to describe it. Along for the ride were my seasoned traveling companions: Allegra and Richard in our Sales Department; and Jennifer – my fellow Concierge.
After an early flight from Atlanta – then Charlotte – then St Maarten…
Allegra and I were lucky enough to get bumped to the next available flight to St Barts. The plan was to collect the cars and get a few supplies before Jennifer and Richard’s arrival. When it was time to board the flight we scurried to the front of the line to claim our seats. Allegra kept telling me how this was her most favorite flight. As I boarded the 10-seat aircraft, I could see why. This was going to be fun!
TIP #1: If you are flying to St Barts from SXM, I highly recommend allowing your Concierge to arrange VIP Transfers for your party. Why? Well, typically, when you land in St Maarten, you must wind through the corridors, up and down the stairs until you reach Customs / Immigration. From here, you stand in long lines with forms, passports and carry-ons in hand before getting to baggage claim. Once you are cleared and find your bags, you must then re-check your luggage with the next airline. It’s all a bit chaotic.
However, this can be avoided with VIP or Premium VIP Transfers….
After disembarking your flight, a greeter will meet you at the door of the aircraft and escort you directly to the VIP Lounge where you can sit, relax or freshen up while they clear you through Customs and Immigration and retrieve your luggage. Should your incoming flight to St Maarten be delayed and you miss your outbound connection, every effort will be made to get you on the next available flight out. Sooooooo nice!!
Back to the trip….. We landed without a hitch (less our luggage that failed to make the early connection), collected the cars as planned and headed to the grocery store for a few “essentials”: fresh baguettes, yummy French cheeses, a little charcuterie and of course – wine! What more could a girl ask for? Oh wait, I know! A trip to the pharmacy next door to purchase the best lotions and potions from Ligne St Barth! This island was starting to grow on me.
After procuring the “bare necessities”, we headed back to the airport (which was literally across the street) and met one of our on-island partners. She would provide our accommodations at Villa Angelina – ANG and the villa tours for the next couple days. Once we collected Jennifer and Richard, we arrived to Angelina – ANG. Angelina is perfectly placed on the hillside just above Gustavia; literally minutes away from the best shopping, beaches and nightlife that Gustavia has to offer. In classic Caribbean fashion, the home is divided into separate cottages, spread across an expansive piece of land. It boasts four bedrooms, all with ensuite baths, and ample indoor/outdoor living spaces. My room was the most recent addition to the property and was set steps above the rest of the property for a truly amazing view. It also included an outdoor shower, massive covered deck with wet bar and a huge Jacuzzi! Ah, but I was here to work…..
As we set our things down, it was already time to leave for our first appointment. Jen and I headed to Grand-Cul-de-Sac to meet Simao, general manager of Ligne St Barth’s to tour the spa and villas at Le Sereno Resort. The villas are huge, private and extremely well-appointed. Resort amenities are extended to their villa rentals as well. The treatment rooms are cozy, separate cottages that open up Oceanside. Imagine soft, gentle breezes and the sounds of the ocean as the stress of your day is massaged away with Ligne St Barth’s finest oils. If you prefer the privacy of your villa to the spa… even the most die-hard spa junkie will appreciate that Ligne St Barts spa services are available just about anywhere on island. Their mobile services are decadent and professional. How do I know? Yes, Simao was extremely kind and arranged services for us after the tour.
TIP #2: Consider having your Concierge schedule a massage or spa treatment at your villa just after you arrive. After a long day of travel, this is the perfect way to start your vacation!! Follow up near the end of your trip by treating yourself to a salt scrub and facial to brighten up that deep St Barts tan you worked so hard on.
When we returned to Angelina, we were greeted by the smells of something wonderful! Romain with Fabulous Feasts brought Nicholas, one of his many talented chefs, to prepare a “Welcome” feast for us. And feast we did!!!! What an amazing treat to end this incredible day!
West Indian Menu – 79€ per person
|Mise en BoucheChef’s Surprise|
|AppetizerChilled Cucumber & Coconut Soup
Mesclun Salad with Caramelized Pecan & Papaya
|EntreeBaked Caribbean Lobster with Saffron Orange Sauce
Roasted Sweet Mashed Potatoes & Ginger
|DessertPear Belle Helene
Hot Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Sauce
TIP #3: You’ve arrived, unpacked, and are officially starving. Who wants to cook??? An arrival meal prepared by your own private chef is a MUST! Choose from several sumptuous pre-fixed menus or go all out and book chef services for the entire week. Need a butler too? No problem. Romain and his capable comrades can arrange that too. Ask your Travel Keys Concierge how!
The next day was full of meetings….car rentals, boating suppliers, new contacts etc. As Jennifer and I toured the marina, Caroline and Emmanuel of Jicky Marine Services invited us on a 4-hour catamaran trip to Colombier beach. Um…yes, please! The crew told us that Colombier is also known as “Rockefeller’s Beach” as David Rockefeller once owned the property that surrounds the cove.
The best way to reach the beach is by water, though it can also be accessed by walking one of two trails (20 to 30 minutes). So we sailed, snorkeled and sipped frosty cold beverages. Not a bad way to end the afternoon.
TIP #4: For Colombier or any of St Barts’ fabulous beaches, it is a good idea to bring your own water and provisions. Unless there is a resort on the beach, amenities will be hard to find.
DAY THREE: After another morning meeting, Jennifer and I had the chance to explore until we were to meet up with Allegra, Richard and our on-island partner. So we went into full Concierge mode! We toured nearby grocery stores, gas stations, shops and bakeries. We also found our way to a couple of beaches!
After a delicious lunch with Allegra and Richard at La Creperie (Rue du Roi Oscar II, Gustavia), we met our partner back at Angelina. Villa tours was next on the “to do” list. We viewed incredible villas like Domingue, Manoir de Lurin, Dunes and Vitti, all with stunning views!
TIP #5: St Barts takes lunch breaks very seriously. After 1PM, many restaurants and shops will close so be sure to plan ahead!
Allegra and Richard viewed many more villas in the last two days and it was time to reward them. Caroline and Emmanuel kindly offered our entire group a sunset cruise aboard their incredible 55’ Sunseeker Motor Yacht. Caroline joined us and Richard even had time to take a dip in the ocean.
TIP #6: I firmly believe the best way to truly appreciate any island is by water. Whether by sail, yacht, catamaran or fishing vessel, your best memories will be aboard a boat. We know who the best charters are because we’ve experienced them first hand. Ask your Concierge for details – you won’t be disappointed!
Once the sun set and we were back in Gustavia, it was time for one last dinner. We cleaned up and headed to Maya’s. Since 1984, Maya’s is known as one of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. It is located on the water’s edge in Anse de Public just outside Gustavia and offers fresh fare and creative daily specials. Maya herself still works the kitchen, greeting guests and pleasing their palates.
TIP #7: Dining on St Barts is an event all its own. Many visitors plan their vacations around their dining experiences so it’s good to know that during the months of September and October, many restaurants close altogether. Reservations for both lunch and dinner are highly recommended during peak seasons.
DAY FOUR: The next morning it was time to depart. We packed our bags, boarded our tiny flight and headed back to St Maarten. This was a whirlwind trip for sure! Not a moment wasted, nor experience missed. The only regret was that we weren’t there longer. Note to self: I must return….immediately.