St. Barts News & Events

Le Weekly - St Barth's News The official English language newspaper of St Barts, covering activities, special offers and news from the island of St Barts. The publisher of St Barth Weekly is the French Journal de Saint Barth, the weekly newspaper of St Barthelemy. The St Barth Weekly is available each week from November until the end of June.
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Gonzalo Strengthens to a Hurricane as it Hit St Barts

October 13th, 2014 Just about the time tropical storm Gonzalo tracked across St Barts, the storm was upgraded to a category 1 hurricane. Several SBHonline forum members were posting video and pictures as the storm approached the island. Each unanimously saying that the storm seemed stronger than what was expected.

Here are photos and discussions of the damage from the storm. Hurricane Gonzalo


St Barth Carnival

St Barth Weekly n°301
Saint Barth’s Mardi Gras celebration will be held on Tuesday, March 4 as the island goes into Carnival mode, with a parade through the streets of Gustavia in the afternoon and evening. Micheline Jacques, president of the island’s cultural commission had set February 16 as the deadline for groups to register for the parade. Five groups have signed up: The Youngz, La Pointe en Mouvement, AJOE, Nikki Beach, and Amazonia, a group comprising 15 dancers. These five groups, as well as individuals, will parade behind the Carnival committee float, which carries Vaval, the Carnival king. During a pre-Carnival meeting, the organizers insisted on enforcement of the rules, especially in respecting the level of alcohol authorized for drivers of the various floats: An abuse can lead to the group being excluded from the parade. On Wednesday, March 5, there will be a parade carrying Vaval to Shell Beach where the Carnival king will be burned in effigy to the sound of drummers from La Pointe en Mouvement and The Youngz.

Carnival St Barts Photos

2014 ST BARTS CARNIVAL SCHEDULE

Saturday, March 1 at 7pm
Pre-Carnival parade organized by La Pointe en Mouvement. Meet on Rue de la Paix in Gustavia (behind the Treasury).

Monday, March 3 at 7pm
Parade In Pajamas: Meet La Pointe En Movement at their atelier above the Treasury in Gustavia.

Tuesday, March 4 at 3pm
Mardi Gras Parade in Gustavia. The big parade starts at the commercial dock in Gustavia, and winds along the waterfront to the far side of the harbor and back to the main dock. Entry to Gustavia is strictly limited via the road through Public, making it critical for the Rue du Général de Gaulle to remain clear. In addition, in order to avoid disorderly and dangerous parking along the sides of the road, the Collectivity is making the parking lot near the airport available for parking. A free shuttle service (four buses) will take people into town as far as the parking lot near the ferry terminal. These shuttles will run back and forth between the parking lots in Gustavia and St Jean form 1pm to 9pm. However, from the start of the parade in Public, until the final group arrives at the Rue du Bord de Mer, all traffic is prohibited between Public and Gustavia.

Wednesday, March 5 at 7pm
Evening Parade in Black and White: A parade through Gustavia with an effigy of Vaval, the Carnival king, to be burned in a big bonfire on Shell Beach. A dramatic close to the Carnival celebrations.


Voyager Ferry Announces Direct Link to St Martin Juliana Airport

St Barth Weekly n°298
February 6, 2014

As of February 5, Voyager planned to start its new daily round-trip ferry service between Saint Barts and Juliana Airport on St Martin via Simpson Bay lagoon.

Take the ferry to Saint Martin. Just a few minutes later you are in the terminal at Juliana Airport. That should now be possible thanks to a new ferry service offered by Voyager, with a direct link to Juliana from Saint Barth on a daily basis. The boat will enter Simpson Bay lagoon to reach the dock next to the airport parking lot.

Departure from Saint Barth is at 10:15am | return is at 4:15pm.
Time of trip aboard the Voyager III, door to door: one hour.

The company did a dry run on Wednesday, January 29: "A positive trial," says Jean-Claude Latournerie, director of the company. The first commercial trip was planned for February 5.

"For residents of Saint Barth, as well as tourists, this will be revolutionary," promises Latournerie, who notes that a new pedestrian walkway will lead to the terminal. "Passengers will only have to walk 500 feet," he adds. "The same distance as if they left their car in the parking lot." For those who cannot, or do not want to walk that distance on foot, or if they have too much baggage, there will be a shuttle between the dock and the terminal.
voyager-juliana
voyager
The company also plans to open its own security post for clients as they embark or disembark from the ferry. But, passengers must have a valid passport for immigration in Sint Maarten, as there will be an official control for arrivals and departures as there is in Philipsburg, for example. In addition to business class, Voyager also plans a VIP service to bring passengers as far as the terminal take care of immigration and checking in of their baggage.

Voyager Ferry Information


St Barts Road Improvements

Monsieur Le President and his team were busy the last few years improving roads, and adding sidewalks throughout the island. If you haven't been to St Barth's in a while you'll be pleased to know that you can now walk comfortably on a sidewalk from the beach at Lorient to the beach at St Jean! The road from Petite Saline up over the hill to Grand Fond and Toiny also has a sidewalk now, providing a trecking route with spectacular views.


ST BARTS RESTAURANT NEWS 2014

The Taiwana Hotel took back management of its dinner menu and service, and Pacri is not on the island.

St Bart's Restaurant News Andy's Hideaway Cafe has completed massive renovations, and is now serving foie gras under glass and Chateau d'Yquem. There are attractive new tables and chairs and other updates, and it still has the best pizza, salads and prices on the island.

Black Ginger is a new Thai restaurant, with a stunning Asian inspired décor. It replaces Entre-Deux in Gustavia which has closed. Preliminary reviews in the forum are very positive. The new owner is said to be a former manager at Nikki Beach.

Boulangerie Choisy in Gustavia has changed hands as of October 1. It is now being operated by the team from Harbour Saladerie, Thierry, Gilles and Patrick, as well as returning staff. It will continue to operate as a boulangerie, as it has since 1912.

Pipiri Palace, has a new owner, Rodrigue, who was associated with Chez Joe/Aerosnack, the airport restaurant, at one point. The menu has been updated, with new items added. Some familiar ones remain, such as the Ribs, and the Warm Chocolate Cake "backed just for you".

New owners have opened a restaurant called Les Coulisses de St Barth, in the space formerly occupied by Harbours. There is a Tapas section on the menu, with prices starting at €8. One of the Harbour's Saladerie favorites, the Duck Breast with Honey, is on the menu, but there is no word as to whether the coin-shaped frites, which were previously served with the duck breast, have also returned. Les Coulisses continues to offer pizza in addition to their regular menu, with prices starting at €11.

St Barth Spice Restaurant News a new family-operated Creole restaurant, has opened on the road leading from Merlette down into Flamands. The menu has appetizers averaging €10, and no menu item is listed at more than €20. There are four different Accras (fritters) on the menu, the traditional Salt Cod, as well as Lobster, Shrimp, and Conch. There are several different Colombos and Ragouts offered as main courses, and Hamburgers (lunch) and Steak (dinner) for those who don't enjoy Creole cuisine. The Fricassee de Lambi, aka Creole Conch, is an eye catching menu item.

Thi Widi, a Creole restaurant, has replaced Ti Zouk K'fé on La Pointe in Gustavia. The Thi Widi menu is similar to the Ti Zouk menu

Manapany Hotel experienced with La Voile Rouge this summer, and now has a variation of that this winter. It's worth a trip down to Anse de Cayes to have lunch there

BeefBar, the St Barth outpost of a small European chain, replaced Le Strand, only to close within months and to be in turn replaced by a new incarnation of Le Strand.

OLDER ST BARTS RESTAURANT NEWS THAT MIGHT HAVE ESCAPED YOUR ATTENTION

Le Carré, a restaurant owned and operated by Franck Mathevet, former Executive Chef and Owner at Wall House, replaced 88, the open-air Greek restaurant next to the Le Carré d'Or shops in Gustavia in late 2012. Le Carré is open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Popular menu items include the Grenouillettes (Chicken Wishbones cooked in the style of Frog's Legs) from Franck's menu at Wall House, two kinds of Sliders (Mahi or Bacon Burger), and Smoked Salmon Bagels. (Yes, Bagels on SBH!)

L'Esprit de Saline has departed, replaced by L'Esprit de Jean Claude, which is owned and operated by Chef Jean Claude Dufour, who was formerly the Executive Chef at Eden Rock. L'Esprit de Jean Claude is arguably serving some of the best food on the island, with the menu changing based on availability

The former chef from L'Esprit de Saline has moved down the road to the former PaCri location, where he now operates Meat & Potatoes. M&P offers some great beef, as well as other options including several vegetarian choices. Beef offerings include a 1000 gram (35 oz.) Beef Chop for 2 (€69), and a 600 gram (21 oz.) Chateaubriand for 2 (€70). Vegetarian Plates include two, three, and four vegetable options



CLOSURES WITH NO REOPENING IN SIGHT
Le Tamarin, in the Saline neighborhood, has closed.

The Hotel Carl Gustaf has closed, with no public word on if/when it might reopen. The Carl Gustaf Lounge, with its great sunset views, has closed along with it, as has Victoria's, the hotel restaurant.

Le Piment – rushing to complete required updates to conform to code. The owners hope to reopen, but some question whether it will be possible.


WIMCO Villas: A Policy Of Service, Service, Service!

By Ellen Lambert Greaux for Le Weekly

WIMCO Villas Concierge Team
WIMCO has spent 30 years building itself into one of the leading villa rental agencies in Saint Barth. The secret to their success: "service, service, service—continuously improving," says Stiles Bennet, WIMCO president and COO. "If we provide a great vacation experience that is stress free, then clients are more likely to use us again, and refer their friends to us."

Bennet notes that, "the villa rental market is very healthy, and villa rentals are up significantly VS a year ago across each month, and it's both repeat clients and those people traveling with us for the first time." He finds that client demand seems to be focused in two areas: villas which have been recently built or renovated, with clean modern design, full of amenities; and villas which offer a measurable value compared to other villas and hotels, and are located in good areas, with attractive views

In terms of sales, "the real estate market also seems very active and healthy," asserts Bennet. "There have been numerous transactions. The market is not as transparent as what we are used to in the US, and information is not as readily accessible, which can slow things down. That said, the allure of investing in a second home in St Barth is strong relative to other islands, and St Barth's appeal is international."

WIMCO Reception
In terms of service, Bennet contents that WIMCO has the leading edge. "We know our clients have many options. They can call any number of companies and find a villa in St Barth, so our mission is to provide such a stress free vacation planning experience that they have no reason to try anyone else. It starts with weekly product training sessions in our US reservations office, so we can answer any question about any villa we represent, and get answers about what is or is not available faster than any one else.

We have invested in developing interactive digital floorplans for many of our villas on St Barth so clients can more easily see how a villa's rooms are laid out, simplifying the reservations process."

Once a villa is selected, WIMCO's concierge service team kicks into gear and helps clients book their international and local flights, their rental cars and any activities or services they want to book in advance. "Once the clients arrive here and we get them up to their villa, we want them to feel like we are always available to help them with any question or concern," Benett notes.

"They can call us with last minute requests for boat charters, restaurant reservations, babysitters, whatever, we will take care of it. In the end it's the level of service we can deliver at all stages of the vacation, whether the client takes advantage of it or not, that gives the client peace of mind, and makes them more likely to travel with us year after year," says Bennet, who notes "In most cases clients expect that a villa be in as good condition if not in better condition than their own home. They expect a clean and well-maintained home with a well-equipped kitchen, flat screen TVs with access to the channels they watch at home and clean towels and linens. They have every right to be irritated with anything less than that. Villas that fall behind quickly fall out of favor."

Villa Inspection
WIMCO's staff includes villa specialists like Bethany and Glennie who have been with WIMCO for over 20 years, plus a team of folks like them in our reservations department who have toured hundreds of villas, building a knowledge base that makes them the best in the industry in helping clients find the villa that is just right for them," Bennet explains. "Then there is our St Barth team, led by Fabienne and Laurent, who have invested years of their life in providing great service to visitors to the island. We just keep investing in those people, and the systems that support them, building up their knowledge and capabilities, so they can provide amazing service."

WIMCO also plays an active role in the community: "We do what we can to support events that make St Barth a distinctive and enjoyable place to vacation," says Bennet, citing The Bucket, Summer Music Sessions, and most recently the Taste of St Barth culinary event.

The WIMCO SBH office is located directly across the street from the St Barths airport, (blue house)
Website: www.wimco.com/sbh Contact: info@wimco.com or 1-401-289-8012


Exhibit: Art, Text and Fire Poems St Jean Beach, Tuesday, November 26

From St Barth Weekly n'287

An exhibit through December 15, "Art, Text and Fire Poems," organized by Art Saint-Barth, celebrates the work of Robert Montgomery, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, and Blair Chivers, three artists, at Eden Rock Gallery, with a performance by Robert Montgomery, on the beach in Saint-Jean, on Tuesday, November 26.
St Barts Vacation Infinity Pool

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