Vacation Diary – 6 Friends Enjoy Endless Sunshine in the Caribbean

A much-deserved break from routine in St Martin and St Barts

For months, Edward and Richard anticipated the moment they would step off the plane into the hot Caribbean sunshine. Both Villa Specialists at Luxury Retreats, they knew their St Martin/St Barts vacation would be top-of-the-line everything, but it was the unexpected moments along the way that made a truly unforgettable experience. 

Sitting down with their iPhones out excitedly reminiscing about a recent vacation they shared with four of their closest friends, Richard and Edward remember the adjustment from the bracing Montreal spring to the heavenly weather in St Martin, “We were blinded by the brightness”, Edward says, “It remained that way for the whole trip–we didn’t see a cloud for a week.”

Arriving in St Martin from Montreal after a brief stop in JFK, the group was eager to settle in to Hacienda, perched atop a hill providing endless views of the Caribbean sea. “The first little while we just explored the property–it’s so expansive we each had our own separate wing”, notes Edward. The villa is a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom estate decorated with contemporary furnishings and surrounded by lush greenery, conveniently situated only three minutes away from sunset hotspot Long Bay Beach. After settling in, next on the to-do list was to begin exploring the culinary delights of the island. Richard remembers the great first impression that Bamboo Bernie’s sushi spot made, “The cosmopolitan cocktails were amazing, and we made a point to order different dishes from the menu so we could all try something new. Plus they had a live DJ spinning so we loved the ambiance.”

“The yacht tour is an ideal day trip for travelers who love to socialize! Plus, we got to stop by Prickly Pear Island, to snorkel over the reef–it was magical”

Aside from exploring the island’s foodie scene, the group also had fun on a yacht tour aboard the Aquamarine Tango, “We had to be there bright and early at 8:30am. We didn’t know what to expect, but everything, from the Caribbean music, to the super friendly staff who encouraged everyone to relax and have fun, was far beyond what we could have asked for,” notes Edward. Richard remembers how perfectly this activity matched their group, “The yacht tour is an ideal day trip for travelers who love to socialize! Plus, we got to stop by Prickly Pear Island near Anguilla, to snorkel over the reef–it was magical.” This, with the oh-so-necessary lunch break on the beach in Anguilla, will make for a lasting memory.

After a day on the water, imagine cruising around in a soft-top jeep, watching the sun go down at Sunset Bar and dancing the night away at Sky Beach while the electric vibes of the St Martin Carnival provide even more excitement. And that was just the first half of the trip–on the fourth day of living it up in St Martin, the group hopped on the plane for a change of pace in St Barts.

“We loved having two distinct villa experiences–in St Martin, the Hacienda was expansive and ritzy, while Heloa was the epitome of cozy luxury”

“The St Barts leg of the trip was incredibly relaxing” says Richard. With one of the best views on the island and an upscale cozy cottage vibe, villa Heloa offered a totally different experience than the sprawling Hacienda. Edward describes Heloa as, “Nice and intimate; the property is nestled on the side of the mountain in a charming little neighborhood. We loved having two distinct villa experiences–in St Martin, the Hacienda was expansive and ritzy, while Heloa was the epitome of cozy luxury.” Heloa’s sun-drenched lounge chairs around the immaculately kept pool, looking out to the sparkling sea, were the perfect place to sip morning coffee.

The friends made a point of exploring all the legendary beaches on the island. “We really wanted to check out Colombier, Saline and Gouverneur,” says Edward. “They were all stunning, but we enjoyed Saline Beach in particular. The water was immaculate and the temperature and waves made it perfect for swimming.”

From endless hours on the beach to enjoying cocktails at the see-and-be-seen hotspot Nikki Beach; as the sunshine and good times continued, the trip seemed like it could last forever. Edward sums up the experience shared by all, “Once you taste this kind of travel, you never want to go back. Whatever you have in your imagination for a dream vacation, your fantasies can become a reality–and that reality is better than your fantasy.”

Find out more about villa Heloa, St Barts

Find out more about Hacienda, St Martin