Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Just Back From: St. Barths

Caribbean, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Saint Barth's


January 2018

I am so thrilled to be able to tell you that despite the devastating winds of Hurricane Irma, the beloved isle of St. Barths is alive and well – thriving even, in shockingly green glory. It was such a joy to land and see how much the island has recovered from those hideous pictures post storm. Praise the fertile temperatures of the Caribbean. It was also a sincere pleasure to be down there and appreciate the beauty of the island in a way I had never before. My weekend was filled with early morning hikes through the woods and even hunting using the best used compound bows for sale, also yoga followed by afternoons lazing by the beach with personalized picnics to boot.  It was truly heaven.

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The views from Petite Saline


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Hiking at Le Toiny with the lovely Aminata


Of course, it’s not all roses. The damage is still evident, particularly near Pelican Beach, Grand Cul-de-Sac and behind Le Toiny, and the majority of the five-star hotel properties are shuttered until the end of the year with the exception of Hotel Christopher and Villa Marie opening in late February and early March. Some of my favorite restaurants (Maya’s, Bonito) remain closed though I finally went to Blue Ginger this year and wow. Yum. In good news, the villa product remains stronger than ever, the people are as upbeat and charming as always and the operating businesses are showcasing their innovative and service-oriented characters to the n’th degree – particularly Eden Rock Villas, whose pop up beach club (photo below) is a marvel, executed flawlessly, and WIMCO, whose catered beach picnic set up at the beach of your choosing (also pictured below) was a true highlight of my weekend.

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Eden Rock’s Popup Beach Club on Lorient Beach

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WIMCO Beach Picnic at Gouveneur Beach

Given the predominance of villas for this next year, I was able to tour a few spectacular ones with the affable and knowledgable, Guillaume of WIMCO. He took me to three top villas distinguished by their views, design and setting. Below is the view from the appropriately named, VILLA VUE. To say that setting on that deck is nothing short of vacation perfection is merely stating the obvious.  For more details on specific villas, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am so happy to be able to confidently promote the island and help aid in its recovery with the support of tourism.

The view at Villa VUE

The view at Villa VUE



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Hard not to have a big grin when you’re in St. Barths, and at Eden Rock Pop Up Beach Club to boot!



Posted in: Caribbean, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Saint Barth's

Published by Meg, Wednesday, January 24, 2018 No Comments

Caribbean Family Vacation Planning

Beach, Family, Friend Of A Friend Consulting



Oh how those beaches do siren call

Oh how those beaches do siren call. This one is on Mustique

Right now I am in the middle of planning various Caribbean family vacations for some clients. Three years after the debut of my book, Caribbean Hideaways, I find that I’m still just as drawn to those beautiful islands, but now not just for a solo adventure or romantic jaunt, but also for a no-fuss, visually and culturally engaging family trip that won’t break the bank. I’m convinced they exist, it’s simply a matter of matching the client to the right place.

Many of my clients them have young kids, like me, and are eager for a getaway that promises sun, sand and simple pleasures. Shockingly, it’s harder to find than you think. This is where the taste-meter play such an integral role in working with a Travel Advisor. With a gluttony of so-called options and worse, misleading photos and unreliable reports online, planning a vacation feels like a brutal gamble, ultimately fueling the need for one even further. What I try to do for my clients is first, recommend places I know firsthand, which helps that I’ve visited 22 islands in the Caribbean for my book and make annual pilgrimages to my favorites.

A new resort that's caught my eye: Balcones del Atlantico. What can I say? I'm a sucker for model boats

I’m a sucker for model boats

Then, second, help them discover places and learn to look at them critically based on what’s online. Having researched places online for almost ten years now, there are Buy Viagra various warning flags that I can spot from a website alone – particularly Caribbean or beachfront properties. For instance: if you don’t see a shot of the building or any part of the property showcasing that it’s actually on the beach – it likely isn’t. Websites will lure you will arching palm trees and aquamarine waters, but if you want to ensure they’re right out your door or just steps away, be sure to investigate directly.  This tip and others are what, I hope, will lead my client base to grow. I’ve done this for years folks and I hope to get to every place I recommend so that I can feel 100% confident in it being a fit for my clients – especially for those highly-anticipated, annual spring-break trips.

With all that in mind, below is a newly relaunched resort in the Dominican Republic, Balcones del Atlantico, that I’m currently considering recommending to clients and friends. I have yet to go myself, and so I’m looking into a quick jaunt next month to verify its fit. Anyone been?  It seems ideal by my research, but nothing matches actually visiting for real verification and vetting.

The view from the water

The view from the water

The aerial view of the pool

The aerial view of the pool

Interiors look quite chic, though I wonder about the natural light since this photo is taken with all the lights on

Interiors look quite chic, though I wonder about the natural light since this photo is taken with all the lights on — another thing worthy of noting when you look at interior photos.

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Posted in: Beach, Family, Friend Of A Friend Consulting

Published by Meg, Monday, February 11, 2013 No Comments

about meg

About Meg


Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.