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“Paradise in the Caribbean”
Review of St. Barthelemy

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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
100 reviews
131 helpful votes
“Paradise in the Caribbean”
Reviewed March 25, 2009

We're just back from our 12th trip to St. Barth in 17 years. What draws us back year after year? it is quite simply paradise. A magic little 8 square miles of beautiful beaches, stunning vistas, marvellous food and wonderful people. If your idea of a vacation is high energy go go go, you should likely go elsewhere. This is the kind of vacation which we describe as kind of like being dead, only we keep on eating. We rent villas through one of the agencies operating there-- our preferred agency is WIMCO because they seem to have the best houses--but certainly not the cheapest. There's nothing particularly cheap about St. Barth in the first place. And that likely contributes to its cache and keeps bargain vacationers to a bare minimum. This year, there were a few bargains to be had--especially in the Prix Fixe meals at several of the islands top restaurants--Les Pecheurs in the Sereno Beach and Le Gaiac at Le Toiny--$45 Euros or about $60.00. K'Fe Massai, all very atmospheric, is wildly popular for its fixed menus which start at 29 Euros. The night we were there,
I opted for a 39 Euro menu which included Duck Breast Carpaccio followed by a Confit of Duck in a foie gras laced sauce. For dessert, a superb Grand Marnier and apple souffle.
My partner upped the anti to 42 Euros for Foie Grad followed by perfectly grilled Tuna and for dessert a triple play of chocolate.
We also highly recommend Eddy's, an institution in Gustavia, the capital of the island where no reservations are taken and where eeveryone ends up eventually. Expect to spend about 100 Euros for 2 there. Our daily schedule: Off to Saline, the superb and clothing optional beach that never ever sees a crowd --even on weekends. Back to the villa for a lunch purchased from one of the very good take out places or put together from the excellent selection available at the large Match supermarket. An afternoon by the pool and perhaps a little retail therapy at the excellent shops in both Gustavia and St. Jean. So wonderful to find clothes that won't have you seeing yourself coming and going all next summer back in the States. The prices? As high as the style they represent. We stayed nine nights and the day we got home, booked for next year. So if you're not prepared to be hooked by a heavenly place, you can't wait to get back to, avoid St. Barth at all costs!

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2 Thank Writer46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
17 reviews
16 helpful votes
“Best food and wine in St Barths”
Reviewed January 27, 2009

Hi st barths Friends lover,

A wonderfull time there. The beaches are so nice, and water so warm.

Restaurants are absolutely fabulous, or could be fun and friendly like Le Select.
Very happy to stop in a wine shop in Grand Fond "Absolutely wine", a wonderfull and authentic place where you could find all what you need about French wines, they offer a very good deal. This is a fine grocery as well, with selection of rare olive oil, special salt, speciality from spain like Pata Negra, if I remenber. We did a wine tasting during more than hour here, very intresting and we had 4 differents wines to taste, excellent. I recommand it.

If you like do hiking you have a nice walk in grand fond which cross the montain, a fabulous view on Toiny. Be carefull to the cactus...

An excellent fish tartare at Le grain de Sel. It's next to saline beach.

The favorite beach is Saline BEACH, long and clean water.

For dinner we loved Le Toiny Gaïac. A very great service, and a nice sommelier call MARION. She give us good advise for the wine.

One evening we tried a wonderfull catering service "Licorice & Saffron" outstanding food and service, the chef use products from caraibes but using it on a french style. They have a nice web site: www.ls-catering.com

The Best

Bruce

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Thank BruceNY97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 helpful votes
“Trip Report - St. Barth, JULY 8-15, 2006”
Reviewed October 30, 2008

Posted on: 8:48 pm, July 17, 2006 Save
Just returned from St. Barth's and have to highly recommend it.

Beautiful, small island covered with lovely villas and small boutique hotels. We stayed at Villa Coco (SIB REP) in Camaruche; a very modern villa with spectacular views and sunsets. All of the villas are open air, meaning you'll have a/c in the bedrooms (check first) though the living/dining areas are open i.e., no walls. Can be an issue with mozzies though there is often a beautiful breeze to help carry them away.

The locals are absolutely wonderful and more than helpful. We never had a problem and must say that everyone went out of their way to make our stay most enjoyable - one restaurant (Andy's) even phoned other restaurants for availability after we arrived there after closing time.

Highly recommend LeSereno for lunch (fabulous view and food); the chicken curry at La Plage (the yogurt sauce is to die for); fresh breads at the markets and bakery (Match best market) and delicious wines.

St. Barth's is very european so do keep in mind that smoking is allowed in all areas.

Shopping - designer brands (LV) are pricey, we're in SF and can get the same items for quite a bit less. Sale days are fun but still expect to pay 20+ euros ($26+) for a kids t-shirt. Though you'll find some spectacular silks an shoes that you won't find here in the states.

The flight into the island is a hoot! You can only reach St. Barth's by boat (40 minutes) or small aircraft and you basically drop out of the sky onto the shortest runway in history. I took Dramamine and Sauvignon Blanc to calm my nerves.

Premium Service - is an outfit that will get you through customs, bring you to the head of the line at security, take care of your passport paperwork and leave you in the lounge while you wait with wine and appetizers for your next flight. (We went through St. Maarten.) They meet you on St. Barth's, greet you, take your luggage and bring you to your villa. They do the same on the return. It was well worth the hefty price on the way there but we basically didn't need them on the return. (They were with us but we easily could have done it on our own.) For the hefty price of 240 euros, two people, round trip. That doesn't include the 12 minute flight to St. Barth which cost 460 euros.

Keep in mind it is not an inexpensive holiday, even during the low season. Though it is well worth the peace and quiet, limited tour boats, and lovely private beaches.

The roads are extremely narrow, cars small, and the people drive fast, so be careful. We were almost taken out by a crazy Frenchman (tourist) as he took a blind corner at high speeds.

We'd go back in a second.

Helpful?
2 Thank mcdherr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
282 reviews
115 helpful votes
“New Favorite Island”
Reviewed August 11, 2008

I couldn’t do a hotel review since we stayed in a villa, so I figured I would do an overall review of St. Barths. My husband and I married in Cozumel, and then went to Anguilla and St. Barths for our honeymoon.

We loved St. Barths! The beaches, the food, the people, the views – everything was excellent!

Villa Santal: Our villa was overlooking Lorient Bay. The hill leading up to Santal was incredibly steep. Thank God we rented a four wheel drive! The villa was beautiful with gorgeous views and a great pool and hot tub. Santal was also extremely clean and well-kept – both inside and outside. The grounds were very pretty.

Santal has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It’s perfect for two couples. Both the pool and hot tub offers great views of Lorient. There is also a good amount of privacy at Santal.

Food: We had breakfast at the villa every morning. For lunch, we usually bought sandwiches from the bakery right down the road from us. The food there was delicious – especially the pastries! We had lunch one day a Kiki-e-mo’s, which was very good. We ate dinner out three nights: K’fe Massai, Santa Fe, and O’Corner. Every meal was had in St. Barths was excellent. We wanted to go to the Wall House, but it was closed.

Beaches: The St. Barths beaches are gorgeous and our favorite was Governour. We also went to Saline, St. Jean, and Grand Cul de Sac. None of the beaches were ever crowded. I’m not sure if it’s different during high season here.

Overall: We’ve been to many Caribbean islands and St. Barths is now our favorite. The island has a very chic, but casual feel to it. Plus, we found the people to be very friendly. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with the restaurants. Three pieces of advice, rent a four wheel drive, don’t bother going out to dinner until at least 7:30 p.m. and ENJOY!

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2 Thank Godiva0318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
1 review
2 helpful votes
“Beware”
Reviewed April 10, 2008

St. Barth's is our favorite vacation spot in the world. But this year we were cheated and want to warn others to avoid:
1. DO NOT RENT Bel Esprit, a rundown villa in disrepair. Don't let the great views fool you. There was no water, poor service and locals attacked the villa and scattered garbage on the grounds in protest. Avoid this one!
2. CaribbeanWay and/or Caribbeanway.com. Do not rent thru this agency. As we learned the hard way, they get cash up front and provide no service or support. Upon our return from being stranded in a disastrous villa, they were useless.
3. St. Barths Properties. This is the company that claims 24/7 concierge service for every need or problem. The reality is unanswered voice mails and unanswerered problems.

Witness: No water in one unit. No hot water in two other units, no utensils, no propane for the grill, repeated requests we leave the villa so they could show it to buyers-- a terrible company that all vacationers should avoid.

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2 Thank Lorient1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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