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Thread: lightning round...

  1. #1
    jpa742001 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2019 Kearny Posts: 23

    lightning round...

    What was the first year you went to St. Bartís, why did you pick there, any cool first trip stories?

    You all read mine. I want to hear yours.

  2. #2
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,010

    Re: lightning round...

    Great challenge...give me a minute....
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  3. #3
    PeterLynn is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Mar 2014 Houston Posts: 300

    Re: lightning round...

    2014. Both kids in college, I dusted off some old links about the Caribbean for our first couple vacation in 21 years. Settled on St Martin, but kept seeing St Barth in the discussion. Ended up with three days on the French side of St Martin before flying out of Esperance for a week in a villa just past the Pharmacy in St Jean. Our first night's dinner was at the Hideaway where we were totally charmed by Andy. He's gone, but we've been back every year since.

  4. #4

    Re: lightning round...

    1986...we were on a business trip to St. Croix the year before where we met an interesting young couple in the St. Thomas airport who were heading to a place called St. Barts...never heard of it before...the following year on another business trip in Caribbean we decided to try St. Bart’s...the rest is history...would love to find that young couple to thank them..
    Steve and Aimee

  5. #5
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 623

    Re: lightning round...

    2006. Researching Neckar Island on Google....not in our budget! Ended up on the Isle de France website somehow and fell in love from afar with St. Barts. Ultimately booked Villa Kyody in Marigot for our first trip BEFORE researching flights. Did I mention I donít like to fly? I think the copilot for Winair sensed that as we were preparing to board for the flight and he told me not to worry, that we would take off as soon as the other pilot got back from the bar. Lol. Said he needed a drink to calm his nerves for the trip over. I was ready to go back home at that point. We landed (actually look forward to it now) and thought the worst was over.

    Little did we know that following the scooter-driving villa guide to Marigot was going to be scarier than the plane ride! Afraid to drive too far for dinner, we ate at Le Rivage at the bottom of the hill. Our most memorable meal that week was at Le Gaeic (sp?) for two reasons...the amazing food and the bill. We had gotten used to paying in euros all week and this bill was presented in francs, and I initially thought it was $2,000 for the two of us. I looked at my husband and said $2,000!!! a little too loud, he grabbed the bill and realized it was in francs. I still think it was around $400, but it seemed like a bargain after thinking it was 5 times that. The truffle dishes were worth every penny and I still crave them.

    Weíve been back to the island every year since except for one when there was an ice storm and AA cancelled flights for most of the week that our villa was booked. Started buying the travel insurance after that experience! Took our kids in 2012 for the first time and itís been their favorite place as well ever since. We try to do spring break with them and a winter couples trip.

  6. #6
    jillianleab is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Mar 2007 DC Metro Posts: 44

    Re: lightning round...

    This should be an interesting thread, great question!

    Our first visit was in 2005, on (gasp) a cruise ship! Hubby heard about SBH and we found a cruise that stopped in Gustavia. Seemed a good way to test it out before committing to an entire week.

    We arrived on a cloudy, rainy, cool day. Rented a car and explored. First meal was at Le Piment for breakfast, and now we make it a point to always return. Lunch at La Route Des Boucaniers (now Victoria) where we had the best croque monsieur of our lives. Before getting back on the ship we bought the spiciest hot sauce of our lives at a tiny shop that's no longer there. That night at dinner most people complained about how expensive the island was, how many shops were closed, and the ones that were open were all high end and luxury. We were smitten. Returned a few months later and stayed in a villa in Marigot.

    We've made 8 trips since then, now with our two children. They are just as smitten as we are and it honestly makes me fall more in love with the island to see them there. They'd rather go to SBH than Disney!

  7. #7
    cec1 is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,154

    Re: lightning round...

    1978 . . . visited on the recommendation of an archeologist friend who had just returned from participating in a "dig" on the island. His travel advice: "You won't need sox, underwear, or a swimming suit!" It was a beautiful, simple place. Electricity went off nightly between about midnight and 7 AM. No large trucks . . . only slow cars & "mini-mokes." No telephones and no credit cards (restaurant owners gave our bills to Brook Lacour, proprietor (with husband Roger) of Sibarth, who paid them and, as we departed the island, said "send a check when you have time"). The "airport" was little more than a short length of white picket fence, where a gendarme met arrivals to check passports. Seating while awaiting departing flights was on primitive benches under the branches of a large tree which remains in place across from the present terminal. The airline company that served the island was Windward Island Airways -- abbreviated "WIA," which locally was said to stand for "When It Arrives." The schedule was notoriously unreliable. We were enchanted by everything.

  8. #8
    jcmc is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Mar 2012 Posts: 100

    Re: lightning round...

    1994, my wife found a special deal at carl gustav $2500 4 nites,car (moke),and breakfast. we fell in love. le repaire was and for the most part still is our go to casual place. mat Stephan and Bernard and they sort of adopted us in terms of sending us to "new" restaurants over the ensuing years. mayas was new, annies later la langouste,and a few others.the walk around to columbier the overall beauty of this wonderful place simply captivated us and still does. looking forward to our annual November trip!!

  9. #9
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 597

    Re: lightning round...

    Honeymoon April 199mummbly mummbly. I'm a bad husband and I can't actually remember how many years we've been married. I know its more than 20 and less than 100. LOL.

    Didn't know anything about St Barts. Travel agent booked everything. It was amazing from the moment we landed in that tiny plane and walked through the open air airport. Agent from the hotel picked us up and whisked us to the hotel. Had a bungalow overlooking the beach. Amazing view every morning.

    Rented a mini moke and drove all over the island. It was like driving on a roller coaster up and down hills around bends through rain and in the sun with no doors and not a particularly effective roof. I remember seeing cows in Grand Fond, when there was nothing but a few building around the roundabout in St Jean and nothing on Shell Beach but shells.

    The funniest story I recall from that first trip involves the restaurant Au Port. We loved the place from the first time we went and had dinner several times. So my lovely bride and I are on the beach at Gouverneur. Not too far from us are a young woman and a much older woman. Both are sunbathing topless. I can't help but stare at the younger woman as she looks so familiar. My new wife asks what I'm looking at and I tell her that I know the young woman from somewhere. She looks over and agrees that the face is familiar. That night we go back to dinner at Au Port and guess who is our waitress? I ask her if she was at the beach today and she says yes. I told her we saw her and she was with an older woman and I ask who was she. Her grand mere! So only in St Bart are you waited on by a server that you saw topless with her grandmother a few hours before.

  10. #10
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,294

    Re: lightning round...

    Terrific.
    I do have a few editing comments, and they too could be wrong. The Gustaf was still new, opened 1993 with Isle de France and Toiny, and Maya's recently celebrated their 35th, so not so new in '94. Stephan and Bernard were island fashion mainstays for so long. They are seeing the world as they enjoy their well earned retirement.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  11. #11
    Hawke is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2011 Posts: 604

    Re: lightning round...

    I have told this story a few times. In my early days of working on Nantucket, installing carpet and some landscaping, an interior decorator asked me to bind and install a stair runner on one of her projects. In exchange she offered her 3 bedroom villa in Flamands for a week over Thanksgiving. Seemed like a no brainer to me. My wife, her sister ( in exchange of babysitting duties ) and five children went to the island. We rented a Moke and discovered paradise. Beaches, Mayas, Hideaway, Sante Fe 'Mexican food back then'. Even sunset drinks at Carl Gustaf. Lost track of the times we have been back. Hopefully again in November.

  12. #12
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,294

    Re: lightning round...

    So many KEEP COMING BACK! Love it........
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  13. #13

    Re: lightning round...

    Cheryl and I were married in 1987. Looking for a special place to honeymoon. I had never been to the Caribbean so she researched Islands with a trade wind for the beginning of June. Voila...stayed at the old El Sereno, didn’t love the beach however a student of mine recommended Filao which had this incredible beach right by the airport. We drove to the beach at St. Jean every day and used one of those old white beach lounges I think made out of fiberglass. Filao never charged us for those chairs. They did keep us happy with drinks on the beach through. Except for two years we have visited every year since. Returning next May

  14. #14
    krand1 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2011 NY, NY Posts: 159

    Re: lightning round...

    1993 Honeymoon. I had never been to the Caribbean...my childhood and early adulthood did not include fantasical trips to "exotic locations". We stayed in an apartment overlooking St. Jean that was owned by my husband's best friend's parents, can't remember the name of the complex. St Barths was almost overwhelming to my unsophisticated self and I was appalled that we were spending $100 for lunch! Memories are fuzzy, but I remember Saline being the most beautiful beach I had ever seen. I remember we had lunch at Chez Francine on St. Jean and I am pretty sure also had lunch at the Manapany location. Fast forward 11 years and we started visiting with our children (sometimes in a good year, twice) and haven't stopped since then.

  15. #15
    LMAC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2003 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,543

    Re: lightning round...

    We went to Guadeloupe for a number of years, then Martinique, Saint Martin and then St. Barths in 1986. Then for several years we split the trip between Guadeloupe and St. Barths and then said .... WHY? Have been every year in Feb. since (except for two) and about seven times in the summer with our kids....... hard to believe it's been over 30 years. Fun to read the memories of Mini Mokes, no telephones, no t-shirts for sale, and wonderful restaurants now long gone.
    Libby

  16. #16
    jpa742001 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2019 Kearny Posts: 23

    Re: lightning round...

    These stories are great! Keep them coming.

  17. #17
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,396

    Re: lightning round...

    Honeymoon November 2001.

    A client of my wife's had just returned and told Lisa about it. Back in those wild old days, you couldn't just google it to learn.

    We worked with a travel agent (kids, ask you Mom what that is/was).

    We arrived just too late for our SXM-SBH flight. I still remember standing outside Gate 10 looking at the small prop plane taxi away....

    Another couple that was on our flight were St Barths vets and told us about the ferry. Off we went to Marigot!

    The ferry was not pleasant to say the least but neither of us donated to the sea, so to speak.

    Once at the dock, we shared a cab with the other couple. We were staying at the Guanahani, they at a villa enroute.

    We stopped at their villa first and went inside to check it out. It was amazing and although dark, we could tell the view was to die for.

    Off to the Guanahani we went. Checked in, showered and went to the restaurant for dinner only to be told no shorts!

    They allowed me to stay, though. Charles I can't remember his last name was playing the piano. He has since passed.

    The next morning, we awoke to the beauty that is St Barths.

    The week was spent beaching, dining, drinking and, well, it was our honeymoon!

    I remember that we did not know of the no tipping protocal and we left 20 to 25% each meal.

    Wait staff were hugging us and walking us out to our car. Not until we returned did I learn that service was included.

    It was such an amazing time and I remember trying to tell friends where we went only to be met with "where's that?"

    St Barths has changed just in those fast 18 years but although we are not annual visitors, it still holds a very special place in our hearts. Always will.

    Heading back this November to celebrate my 60th.

    Oh, and we are firmly villa people now!

  18. #18
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,294

    Re: lightning round...

    The late Charles Darden
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  19. #19
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 810

    Re: lightning round...

    1975 was to be my 1st visit to SBH with then fiancee before going to St Croix to stay with my former landlords(I lived/worked there 68-69), but the flight from SXM to SBH left without us, ended up going to Saba for a day, then to St Thomas overnite then to St Croix. Remarried in '78, Bermuda was quick & easy & great little guest house, then tried Elbow Cay in the Abacos for a few years of house & boat rentals, not enough restaurants so SBH somewhere late 80's or early '90's became our go to place after a couple of early Windstar cruises...no gasps please, we still cruise...once to the original Eden Roc when Remy owned it, just lunch, next time to restaurant at hotel building where I think Cheval Blanc is now, remember the basket with the langouste in it for our approval. Hurricane destroyed that hotel, but it sat there empty & ugly for a very long time. I had originally known of SBH from reading about it in a Town & Country magazine years ago that had photos of a just married couple named Blanchard and scenic shots so that's when I knew had to visit. I will have to count the number of villas & stays in each one to figure how many years we've visited our beloved SBH. And I remember gate 10 at SXM, the old airport there & on SBH too.

    Have been to most of the islands...Bermuda about 20 times, Bahamian Out Islands & most in the Caribbean, there is not another out there like SBH,, never will be.

  20. #20
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,294

    Re: lightning round...

    is that the same Blanchards that opened a fabulous restaurant on Anguilla?
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  21. #21
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 810

    Re: lightning round...

    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    is that the same Blanchards that opened a fabulous restaurant on Anguilla?
    Amy a stretch to remember the name Blanchard at all ! Don't know, never stayed on AXA, just a WM flight en route to SXM stopped there 1st. But will be at Anguilla in Dec. for a day, before SBH ! Dinner ?

  22. #22
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 623

    Re: lightning round...

    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    is that the same Blanchards that opened a fabulous restaurant on Anguilla?
    Have you read their book about the restaurant? It’s really good.

  23. #23
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,558

    Re: lightning round...

    Nancy, the restaurant that you are thinking of was probably La Frťgate at the Hotel Baie des Flamands. It was just up the beach from the Cheval Blanc site.

  24. #24
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,294

    Re: lightning round...

    Tiffany, bought the book on the Isle of Long and on our next visit the entire staff, front and kitchen, signed our copy!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  25. #25
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,294

    Re: lightning round...

    Have not been there in a while, Nancy. Maybe Linda P can jump in with a suggestion.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  26. #26
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,371

    Re: lightning round...

    1996 for us for our 10th wedding anniversary. Honeymooned in ‘86 on Oahu and Maui for 2 weeks. After that, we had been all over the Caribbean: St. Thomas, St John, the Bahamas multiple times, Barbados, Aruba, etc. We initially were going to go to a hotel on the French side of St. Maarten but due to a hurricane in ‘95 (Luis I think) the hotel was badly damaged as was a good bit of the island. A co-worker had asked if we’d ever been to St. Barth...I said where’s that!!? LOL! The rest is history. A friend of mine was a travel agent and arranged our trip, stayed at the old Manapany for one week. We were hooked! We had one of the 3 or 4 individual beach cottages...it was splendid! While dining at the hotel restaurant, there was the photographer “Alain”, who approached our table and asked if we’d like our picture taken...we felt like rock stars! Picture is in our living room to this very day. Great memories! Gary and I both decided our search for our “happy place” has officially ended and haven’t looked back. Splendid dinners at Le Sapotillier (sp?), Newborn for Lobster, La Mandala, La Marine for moules frites, On the Rocks at Eden Roc, etc. The only other hotel we ever stayed at was Christopher in ‘98, and are villa people now. Our son and daughter were ages 4 and 2 when we took that original trip and Gary’s parents kindly watched them for us at that time to give us a break. A year or two later was our first trip as a family and rented what was then called Villa Le Suite Maison up on the hillside of St Jean directly across from airport. Fun watching the planes take off and land, and killer sunsets. Kids loved it and we continued coming back with them after that. Fast forward to 2016: 30th wedding anniversary trip for us with our now grown kids, plus son’s girlfriend (NJIT graduation gift for her). Unbeknownst to us, Ryan had planned to propose to Virginia on that trip...very special place for them now as well. And so it goes! When traveling to a Caribbean destination, this is it for us...no need to look elsewhere - ever! St Barth is deep in all of our hearts and souls...our very special happy place. Many wonderful memories have been made, and many more to come. Can’t wait!!! Enjoying reading everyone’s history and memories...keep it up!

    Gayle

  27. #27
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 623

    Re: lightning round...

    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    Tiffany, bought the book on the Isle of Long and on our next visit the entire staff, front and kitchen, signed our copy!
    Thatís wonderful! It was a neat little story about how it came to be. Would love to go there, but canít pry ourselves away from St. Barts.

  28. #28
    TJH is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2013 North of Chicago Posts: 215

    Re: lightning round...

    1991 BC (before children!) - we read a travel article about SBH, that it was a blend of Europe and Caribbean, and it sounded like exactly where we'd love. And we did! Stayed at El Sereno Beach Hotel, rented a Moke for part of the week, but walked around quite a bit. Didn't come back until husband's 40th in 2000 to Le Toiny, and then came at least once a year 2001-2014 with the three kids. First few years in that stretch, stayed at Sofitel Christopher-->Christopher Hotel (various incarnations) and then a villa in Gustavia. Taking a little break now, but we'll be back some day.

  29. #29

    Re: lightning round...

    We were invited to stay with friends on SBH in February 2001 (maybe 2002?). We were travelling from London which meant the most sensible route seemed to be through Antigua since there were direct flights on BA, Virgin Atlantic and a few other European airlines.
    Booking a flight from ANU to SBH meant using a travel agent in those days, and we ended up with a Winair flight leaving about 90 minutes after our BA flight landed. Of course, we landed behind the Virgin flight and at least one other very large airplane.
    In those days, ANU airport was about the size of current day SBH and passport control was swamped with all of those passengers off of those 747s! My rather direct German partner (husband now) took charge and dragged me to the front of the line so that we could make it in time for the Winair flight. Phew!
    But, of course, there was no Winair staff at the Winair checkin stand. We eventually tracked down someone in a Winair uniform who told us that a) the last flight left an hour ago and our flight had been cancelled several months ago, and b) we did not actually have a valid ticket as our travel agent had gone out of business without paying them. He told us to come back in the morning and someone could help us figure it all out then.
    We called several hotels near the airport but were unable to get a room for one night. Someone (maybe an official airport info person, maybe a friendly local?) said they could book us a room for the night and we jumped in a taxi that took us about 2 miles to a building behind a shop at the end of the runway. They had a room. With florescent lights and a mattress on some springs. After a long flight, anything will do. Until about 11pm when a street light outside of the window came on and the rooster underneath thought it must be sunrise. He crowed his head off all night long. I slept not at all.
    Winair did sell us another ticket the next day, took our bags......somewhere, and told us to wait at the gate. The gate? There were several. No signs. Winair flights weren't on posted on a screen or a board anywhere. We had no idea what was going to happen. Somehow, we saw a small group of people lining up to be taken to a plane. The guy in charge turned out to be the pilot and he casually told us to follow him. I wasn't really sure what was happening at this point.
    I think I actually sat in the co-pilots seat for that flight - don't they have to have 2 pilots on flights these days? Or maybe it was the outrageous approach past Gustavia harbour and over the hill and down the runway to the sea that keeps that flight etched in my mind. We finally arrived on the island about 15 hours late.
    They say that the best places are hard to get to. So true of SBH, at least for the first 3 or 4 of our trips. We have other stories! So much better these days.
    We were met by a couple of our friends at the airport while the others prepared breakfast at the villa. The drive was mesmerising and we eventually wound our way to the end of a road near the top of Vitet. The villa was called Tranquil. It was fairly simple then but I think it has undergone a huge renovation since those days. But the views!
    My aforementioned German husband walked out onto the balcony and took in the sight out over Marigot and Grand cul du Sac. He turned quickly and virtually stomped his foot to attention before announcing, "We stay!" Everyone melted into hysterical laughter, although, to this day, nobody really knows if he meant to be that funny.
    Our friends were the best guides to introduce us to the island and they had a routine. Saline featured heavily. And Tamarin at least 3 times that week. I still love Tamarin but those first visits were magical - the tree, the garden, the parrot, the hidden spaces, the cocktails..... Pure relaxation.
    We fell in love with the island and have since discovered new and equally amazing places and restaurants and people. We have fallen into a routine on our visits over the years. It's a fabulous routine and I wouldn't change a thing. We will return next year for our 11th visit and 6th year in a row.
    Yes, the best places are hard to get to. But SBH is worth the trip every time.

  30. #30
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 810

    Re: lightning round...

    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    Have not been there in a while, Nancy. Maybe Linda P can jump in with a suggestion.
    No not dinner on AXA, but SBH !

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