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Thread: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

  1. #1
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Hi all,

    My wife and I have not been back to the island in nine years or so. We have been busy raising children and paying the bills but are planning to return in June!!! We are so excited to return to our honeymoon spot and favorite place on earth!😜

    It has been a real pleasure to see some of the same names and faces still active on this board as many of you were helpful in the past helping to plan our last few trips.

    We are trying to decide between a villa or staying on the beach. We are considering Les Ilets on St. Jean and I am concerned that there may not be much beach left in front of it? I was also wondering if the beach is still divided or barricaded somewhat? I have seen many references to that in past posts but also that it may be completely open now?

    As always, thank you for any help or ideas.

    Michael

  2. #2
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,219

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Don't plan on a beach at Les Islets. Don't plan to walk at will between Les Islets and the rest of St Jean.

    If you must stay on a beach then consider Les Mouettes, a very small budget hotel in Lorient. https://www.lesmouetteshotel.com/

  3. #3
    Cwater is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2016 Long Island Posts: 426

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    I agree with Kevin. There was not a lot of beach last year and there might be more restrictions on the walk from beach through airport to beach. You could also check out hotel Le Village in St. Jean. We always stayed in Sereno or Filao or Emaruade Plage and last year we stayed in a villa and were incredibly happy with our choice. We will be there at the end of May and a couple of days in June hopefully we can hook up. Wherever you decide paradise awaits.

  4. #4
    Tiffany is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 714

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    For a hotel, also consider The Christopher. It’s a beautiful setting and they usually have summer deals. Have fun planning!

  5. #5
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,219

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    I like Le Chris too. If you want to choose a hotel that is a bit more upscale, the Christopher is one to consider. It is on the water, and has a beautiful pool area, but it has no real beach. https://www.hotelchristopher.com/en

    If you really want to be on St Jean, have a look at Pearl Beach, which was Tom Beach when you were last there. It's on the other side of the runway from Les Islets, avoids that "crossing the runway overrun" problem, and has a good restaurant. https://pearlbeachstbarth.com/

  6. #6
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,187

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    More on the expensive side, le Barthelemy and Sereno on Grand -Cul -de Sac- nice beach, snorkeling with sea turtles and colorful fish, diving pelicans, windsurfing, seadoos, kayaks, small sailboats, parasailing- all available within a protected bay.

  7. #7
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Thanks all! We have previously stayed at Le Guanihani and Villa Azu in the hills of St. Jean, as well as the old St. Barts Beach Hotel after a terrible one night stay in a villa in the hinterlands (wild story about that one:) paid double on that trip).

    A recent post discussing waking up on the beach (before sleeping-in spouses awake) really got me thinking how nice it would be to be beachfront. However, we definitely prefer the villa lifestyle with the private pool and views. We are also looking at Villa Perchoir and trying to make our dates work in mid-June when our kids are otherwise occupied.

    It sounds like a lot has changed on the island yet many things have stayed the same. Other than planning on where to stay, our usual plan is to have no plan and see what each day brings us. We like to have long leisurely lunches at beachfront restaurants and chill on the beach afterwards, followed by a rest in the late afternoon and dinner somewhere in Gustavia usually or take-out. Sounds like that plan is still doable and the island has pretty much recovered from Irma.

    I will probably have a million questions between now and June and will be on this Board daily getting fired up for our return visit. Thanks again for chiming in. BTW, what happened to MikeR? I miss seeing his posts.

  8. #8
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,759

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    For a nice villa on the beach look at Les Basses


    Andy

  9. #9
    steelpe is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Posts: 418

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    We have only visited the island 3 times. We have never stayed at a hotel and more than likely never will (even though I am sure they are wonderful). For my wife and I, nothing can match a villa experience. We have previously stayed at:

    VDD: on Flamands
    MJS: high up in Flamands
    Passage: On a hill above Corossol

    Each villa was unique in every way.... including price. I don't think we could choose between the two of them. We actually tried to rent Azu for our Honeymoon but were turned away by the owner. We ended up with VDD which was all we could have asked for.

    Do you have a specific budget you are working with or any particular area you are trying to focus on?

  10. #10
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,219

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Mike now spends more time in the BVIs than he does on SBH.

  11. #11
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    For a nice villa on the beach look at Les Basses
    Wanted to rent that one last trip. Looks great and right up our alley. It was not available and doesn't look available this time either.

  12. #12
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Azu was incredible. We have a modest budget. $500 or less a night. Don't really have a preference for areas but would prefer to be closer to Gustavia. Thanks for the recs. I will look at those.

  13. #13
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 424

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by steelpe View Post
    We have only visited the island 3 times. We have never stayed at a hotel and more than likely never will (even though I am sure they are wonderful). For my wife and I, nothing can match a villa experience. We have previously stayed at:

    VDD: on Flamands
    MJS: high up in Flamands
    Passage: On a hill above Corossol

    Each villa was unique in every way.... including price. I don't think we could choose between the two of them. We actually tried to rent Azu for our Honeymoon but were turned away by the owner. We ended up with VDD which was all we could have asked for.

    Do you have a specific budget you are working with or any particular area you are trying to focus on?
    My only issue with MJS was the mosquitos. Even though there was a nice breeze there were still a lot of mosquitos in the "main building". Since it only had roll down screens instead of doors that seal, it seemed the mosquitos came and went as they pleased and the dark wood for hiding seemed to make it worse. But, it was a very nice villa with a great view and we loved sitting out at the little covered, outdoor table looking out over Flamands for breakfast or wine and cheese. Outdoor shower (was very private) only if that is an issue. The pictures of the villa on the Wimco website are very accurate

  14. #14
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,369

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jmp1968 View Post
    Thanks all! We have previously stayed at Le Guanihani and Villa Azu in the hills of St. Jean, as well as the old St. Barts Beach Hotel after a terrible one night stay in a villa in the hinterlands (wild story about that one:) paid double on that trip).
    I'm super intrigued by this...never heard of a villa gone so wrong. Don't want to dredge up bad memories but it has to be a wild story indeed.

  15. #15
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Oh boy. Here goes. While planning our honeymoon, an old law partner at my firm whose name is on the top of the doorplate and letterhead, came into my office and said that he heard that we were planning to go to St. Barts for our honeymoon. I confirmed that was the plan and he told me that he had a lovely "villah" in the countryside of St. Barts with a pool and a jeep that came with it. My wife and I were all set to go to the Carl Gustaf where our sister and brother in law went for their honeymoon a few years before and they obviously loved it. The geezer said that he would love for us to use his "villah" for next to nothing and he would give us the friends and family rate. Being a second year lawyer at the firm and also dirt poor, I reluctantly agreed (did not want to reject said offer of the lovely villah from a name partner).

    Thus, arriving in St. Barts in the dark, after multiple flights, speaking no French and having no idea where the hell we were or how to get to the villa, we finally were able to get a taxi there using landmarks only per the partner's directions. It was certainly over the hills and far away it seemed. Upon arrival, we realized that the villah was un-airconditioned (first deal breaker, it was June), had no view at all and the pool was actually a hot tub overlooking what seemed to be pasture land. Not a promising start.

    I told my wife not to unpack but we would see what it looked like in the daylight although I was not feeling it, AT ALL. Opening the (screen-less) doors to get some type of air moving, we finally tried to sleep. It did not go well. Sweating and swatting bugs all night, I finally got up with the roosters howling around 5:00 a.m. with my mini "St. Barts Alive" book (pre-internet days) to try and find other lodging before my wife even woke up. I was really disappointed with myself after changing the Carl Gustaf plans to appease a law partner.

    Around 6:00 a.m. as day broke, I also saw a note from the owner in the kitchen that said, sorry, the jeep is broken down but there is a bottle of wine in the fridge and make yourself at home. The pitiful white zinfandel was no salve (yes, I poured a glass at 7:00 am) and tried making a few calls. The Carl Gustaf was booked, Le Guanihani was $1200 a night and I did not know that other villas existed or had the first clue in how to rent one. Finally, after my wife awoke and saw the non-existent view and me sweating profusely and scratching like an 8 year old summer camper with poison ivy, she told me to rent the first thing available. Alas, the St. Barts Hotel "at the Cul de Sac", had a few rooms and we were welcome to come any time. The hotel even sent a van to pick us up. We could not get there fast enough.

    We arrived with our bags, sight unseen and ended up having a blast for the rest of the trip. Got a mini-moke, raced around the roads, ate the best food of our lives and vowed to return, albeit next time with a better plan for our lodging.

    I ended up resigning from the firm two weeks after returning from St. Barts (for a better paying job) but still to this day, I want a dang refund from the old geezer.

    I still do not know where that "villah" was located but I am pretty sure it was over yonder in the Toiny region.

    Michael

  16. #16
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,642

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by steelpe View Post
    We have only visited the island 3 times. We have never stayed at a hotel and more than likely never will (even though I am sure they are wonderful). For my wife and I, nothing can match a villa experience. We have previously stayed at:

    VDD: on Flamands
    MJS: high up in Flamands
    Passage: On a hill above Corossol

    Each villa was unique in every way.... including price. I don't think we could choose between the two of them. We actually tried to rent Azu for our Honeymoon but were turned away by the owner. We ended up with VDD which was all we could have asked for.

    Do you have a specific budget you are working with or any particular area you are trying to focus on?
    We, too, tried renting Villa Azu and we also were turned away by the owner. Apparently they were using their villa at the time we were interested in renting it. It then fell off my radar. We wound up staying right below it at Villa La Maison on St Jean hillside. Spectacular view. This was pre-Irma and it’s since been redone. Worth looking into in my opinion. AC in bedrooms only...

    https://www.stbarth.com/villas/detail/suite/maison-la

  17. #17
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 2,086

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    I had Villa La Maison booked for the end of this April with Anita through Happy Villa Rental. We were excited and looking forward to our upcoming stay at Villa La Maison. Thankfully, Oliva and Guillaume of Happy Villa Rental recently alerted us to the fact that there was going to be construction next door, commending in March and extending well into 2021. The Owner of Villa La Maison passed along that information to Happy Villa Rental regarding the upcoming construction. Olivia and Guillaume once again are lifesavers and cheerfully moved us to another Villa. Hopefully, one day in late 2021 we can enjoy Villa La Maison once the construction is completed next door.

  18. #18
    Hawke is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2011 Posts: 883

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    We stayed at La Maison. It is a beautiful villa. When the construction is finished I definitely recommend it.

  19. #19
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 2,086

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Hello JMP1968,
    I would recommend Villa Le Perchoir. I have stayed there on two separate trips. Michel and Jany are wonderful Owners, you will be very well cared for. The views are excellent.

  20. #20
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,759

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jmp1968 View Post
    Oh boy. Here goes. While planning our honeymoon, an old law partner at my firm whose name is on the top of the doorplate and letterhead, came into my office and said that he heard that we were planning to go to St. Barts for our honeymoon. I confirmed that was the plan and he told me that he had a lovely "villah" in the countryside of St. Barts with a pool and a jeep that came with it. My wife and I were all set to go to the Carl Gustaf where our sister and brother in law went for their honeymoon a few years before and they obviously loved it. The geezer said that he would love for us to use his "villah" for next to nothing and he would give us the friends and family rate. Being a second year lawyer at the firm and also dirt poor, I reluctantly agreed (did not want to reject said offer of the lovely villah from a name partner).

    Thus, arriving in St. Barts in the dark, after multiple flights, speaking no French and having no idea where the hell we were or how to get to the villa, we finally were able to get a taxi there using landmarks only per the partner's directions. It was certainly over the hills and far away it seemed. Upon arrival, we realized that the villah was un-airconditioned (first deal breaker, it was June), had no view at all and the pool was actually a hot tub overlooking what seemed to be pasture land. Not a promising start.

    I told my wife not to unpack but we would see what it looked like in the daylight although I was not feeling it, AT ALL. Opening the (screen-less) doors to get some type of air moving, we finally tried to sleep. It did not go well. Sweating and swatting bugs all night, I finally got up with the roosters howling around 5:00 a.m. with my mini "St. Barts Alive" book (pre-internet days) to try and find other lodging before my wife even woke up. I was really disappointed with myself after changing the Carl Gustaf plans to appease a law partner.

    Around 6:00 a.m. as day broke, I also saw a note from the owner in the kitchen that said, sorry, the jeep is broken down but there is a bottle of wine in the fridge and make yourself at home. The pitiful white zinfandel was no salve (yes, I poured a glass at 7:00 am) and tried making a few calls. The Carl Gustaf was booked, Le Guanihani was $1200 a night and I did not know that other villas existed or had the first clue in how to rent one. Finally, after my wife awoke and saw the non-existent view and me sweating profusely and scratching like an 8 year old summer camper with poison ivy, she told me to rent the first thing available. Alas, the St. Barts Hotel "at the Cul de Sac", had a few rooms and we were welcome to come any time. The hotel even sent a van to pick us up. We could not get there fast enough.

    We arrived with our bags, sight unseen and ended up having a blast for the rest of the trip. Got a mini-moke, raced around the roads, ate the best food of our lives and vowed to return, albeit next time with a better plan for our lodging.

    I ended up resigning from the firm two weeks after returning from St. Barts (for a better paying job) but still to this day, I want a dang refund from the old geezer.

    I still do not know where that "villah" was located but I am pretty sure it was over yonder in the Toiny region.

    Michael
    That is worthy of a chapter in a book. A wonderful rendition of everything that can go wrong. Being a former geezer in a law firm I can relate to you wanting to appease a named partner but thankfully no one in my firm ever heard of St Barts.


    Andy

  21. #21
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,369

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Wow, that was quite a story. Glad you found an alternative and didn’t let that ruin your trip. We’ve always rented villas, using numerous agencies, and always felt they honestly repped them.

    Enjoy the hunt for accommodations, it’s one of my favorite parts of trip planning.

  22. #22
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    That is worthy of a chapter in a book. A wonderful rendition of everything that can go wrong. Being a former geezer in a law firm I can relate to you wanting to appease a named partner but thankfully no one in my firm ever heard of St Barts.
    I know right? Not only did this partner know St. Barts, he owned a villa there. What are the odds??!!

  23. #23
    Cwater is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2016 Long Island Posts: 426

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Amazing story and better amazing result. The ultimate making lemonade from lemons

  24. #24
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by marybeth View Post
    Wow, that was quite a story. Glad you found an alternative and didn’t let that ruin your trip. We’ve always rented villas, using numerous agencies, and always felt they honestly repped them.

    Enjoy the hunt for accommodations, it’s one of my favorite parts of trip planning.
    MaryBeth,

    Thanks. We had a ball and returned 10 years later when we rented Villa Azu after three nights at the Guanihani. We have been trying to get back but life has gotten in the way. However, we are dead set on returning this June and think we have found the perfect villa. I hate to pull the trigger, because you are right, it is so much fun planning where to stay. There always seems to be a better option. Thanks for making me relive that story.
    Michael

  25. #25
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Cwater View Post
    Amazing story and better amazing result. The ultimate making lemonade from lemons
    Cwater,
    It really turned out fine. Does anyone know what happened to the St. Barts Hotel?

  26. #26
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 26,142

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Now Le Barthélemy Hotel is thee. Restaurant Rivage is no more. However many of their favorite dishes are available at Herve’s. RESTAURANT QG in Gustavia.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  27. #27
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,219

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jmp1968 View Post
    Cwater,
    It really turned out fine. Does anyone know what happened to the St. Barts Hotel?
    The property was sold, demolished, and construction of a new hotel was started. During the recession, work was seemingly idle for quite awhile. Somewhere along the way, in an order unknown to me, construction resumed, and a new owner took over. After about 9 years, the completed hotel opened as Le Barthelemy in 2016. Like other beachfront hotels, they got beat up a bit by Hurricane Irma in September of 2017. Also like most other beachfront hotels, they have reopened stronger and better than before.

    More people seem to go there for lunch than dinner (not uncommon with hotel restaurants), and reservations are recommended.

    https://www.lebarthelemyhotel.com/en

  28. #28
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 26,142

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    They have a rooftop bar open for evening cocktails. Very pleasant and small plates are offered at moderate prices. We like it if we have had a big lunch and want a lite dinner with a swaying palm tree resort feel to it.

    Reservations suggested the name is WTF as in Whisky Tango Foxtrot think military play on words
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  29. #29
    jmp1968 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Atlanta, GA Posts: 104

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinS View Post
    The property was sold, demolished, and construction of a new hotel was started. During the recession, work was seemingly idle for quite awhile. Somewhere along the way, in an order unknown to me, construction resumed, and a new owner took over. After about 9 years, the completed hotel opened as Le Barthelemy in 2016. Like other beachfront hotels, they got beat up a bit by Hurricane Irma in September of 2017. Also like most other beachfront hotels, they have reopened stronger and better than before.

    More people seem to go there for lunch than dinner (not uncommon with hotel restaurants), and reservations are recommended.

    https://www.lebarthelemyhotel.com/en
    Wow! That certainly isn't the place we stayed. It looks incredible. We will definitely have to have a meal there to conjure up the good times had before. Thanks.
    Michael

  30. #30
    Rocket is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2016 Posts: 23

    Re: Returning to paradise for 20th anniversary-a few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    They have a rooftop bar open for evening cocktails. Very pleasant and small plates are offered at moderate prices. We like it if we have had a big lunch and want a lite dinner with a swaying palm tree resort feel to it.

    Reservations suggested the name is WTF as in Whisky Tango Foxtrot think military play on words
    For the two of you for this special occasion try Haute Maison, best views on island, infinity pool, free car, high above Columbier. We stayed at its sister Villa Kerkliff and its was spectacular. The only downside is you rent from the owner, not an agency, so if little things go wrong it can take a little longer to rectify

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