Villa Guru

We're called The Holiday Home Experts for very good reason and our Villa Guru shows you why! We're happy to share the answers to questions that have often been asked by previous guests to help you make the most of your holiday rental. New to rentals -or back for another visit and want to check something out-Villa Guru can help!

 

What is a villa?

Here in St. Barts we use the term villa to describe a large single family home, normally with landscaped gardens and quality amenities and some level of domestic staffing. Very different from the definition in Australia where a Villa is something much more modest! The term Villa actually originated in Roman times to indicate an upscale country house, in modern times however Villa has come to mean several different things from St. Barts villa vacations to luxury villa real estate.

The term Villa is also used as an umbrella to group together different types of vacation homes available for rental. These vacation homes include apartments and condos, town houses and standalone properties that share the common theme of providing an aspect of luxury above that of normal accommodation. This may be reflected in the location of the villa, the quality of fixtures and fittings or the presence of staff dedicated to helping you get the most from your villa rental. Blue Sky Luxury appreciate the needs of each individual and are committed to providing the perfect St. Barts villa vacation to suit you.

Choosing a vacation villa rental can be quite a daunting proposition and so at Blue Sky Luxury we have chosen to segment our vacation rental villas to help you find the right style of accommodation. You can find some more information about how we categorize our St. Barts villa rental properties below.

Search for your St. Barts Villa rental today!

Your Style -what does it mean?

Our classification of properties into four 'Styles' is intended to quickly and easily provide a sense of the type of quality of the accommodation to help you choose the right type of holiday home - a bit like the star system used by hotels. Whatever your preference, our wide ranging assessment of each of our homes will help to ensure you find the perfect holiday villa or apartment to match 'Your Style'.

  • Flagship: These represent top quality in every respect. They tick all the boxes -superb location, superior quality accommodation, luxury furnishings and professional co-ordinated styling with an extensive array of amenities. In addition they are spacious and provide a high level of privacy and offer additional features such as a gym, tennis court or home cinema/high tech media room. They are further defined by the exceptionally high levels of hospitality offered by the dedicated and professional team of staff -usually comprising a chef, butler and housekeeping staff as a minimum. They are supported by ground staff and security to give a total experience of superior care.

  • Luxury: These homes are upscale and offer high levels of comfort with a degree -or more- of extravagance! The accommodation and furnishings are refined and stylish reflecting an enhanced level of quality throughout. This is complemented by an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This level of quality accommodation is typically matched by well tended grounds.

  • Classic: These properties are furnished to a high standard of comfort and typically offer more space and privacy than other properties with the same number of rooms. Furnishings and styling tend to reflect traditional Caribbean influences. They offer hospitality and service in keeping with the scale of the property.

  • Essential: The defining characteristics of these holiday homes are that they offer comfortable, clean and pleasant accommodation in excellent locations. They appeal to the more value conscious traveller or family looking for a relaxed and casual home away from home. Maid service is provided at least once a week in these properties -sometimes more.

In addition to the Minimum Standards listed below all our homes are assessed against 230 specific quality criteria and are rated on 24 quantitative criteria in order to determine the 'Style' classification.

 

Minimum Standards

 Note; all properties are managed by an approved Property Management company.

  • Plunge Pool/Swimming Pool/ Beach Front

  • Airconditioning and Ceiling fans/Standing fans in all bedrooms

  • Maid Service -minimum once a week

  • Equipped for full occupancy with matching linens, beach and bath towels, crockery and cutlery

  • Telephone and Wireless Internet

  • Television with cable/international channels

  • Hair dryers in each bathroom

  • Parking space for at least one car

  • Fire extinguishers and Smoke detectors

  • Security safe -at least one

  • Side tables and side lamps in all bedrooms

  • Minimum 2 pillows per guest for maximum occupancy

  • Washer and Dryer/Laundry Facilities

  • Toilet paper and bath soap provided

FAQ

Renting a Holiday Home for the first time may be somewhat daunting, and you and others in your group no doubt have lots of questions. You can of course contact us directly with any questions you have regarding the process but we have also compiled the following list that hopefully tackles your most pressing ones and will let you get one with the fun part of looking at the best in class Holiday Homes in our portfolio.

Why a Holiday Home rental?

There are many reasons to rent a Holiday Home in St. Barts but we think it boils down to three key things, Value, Service, and Customisation.
 
Value – While this may surprise you, when you examine what you get when you rent a Villa or Apartment you will see that the value on offer often exceeds similar hotel accommodation. Looking at the per person per night rate for a property can really illuminate this and you will find this measure included in the rates sections on our property pages. Do compare to other accommodation options in St. Barts, we think you will be in for a surprise.

Service – In St. Barts, and with Blue Sky Luxury holiday homes in particular, staffing is included to varying degrees with most of the properties. The staffing ranges from someone who will help make sure your holiday has the minimum of boring household tasks like laundry and washing up, to larger properties where you enjoy being pampered by a full staff. If you ever wondered what it would be like to have a Butler now you can!

Customisation – Even before you arrive at your holiday home in St. Barts the breadth of choice available in the type of home you choose to rent from Blue Sky Luxury means that you can already choose just what kind of holiday you are seeking. Be it a tranquil villa getaway swathed in luxury and privacy or an elegant modern apartment on a hillside or close to nightlife. When you rent a holiday home from Blue Sky Luxury what you do is up to you. There are no restaurant closing times, no competing with other guests for the prime poolside spots, and if you want to stay up late and have a dip in the pool before bed, there is no one to scold you, well, baring irate spouses of course.

What is the price range of the holiday homes?

Blue Sky Luxury offers a wide range of rental options for your Holiday Homes, these range in style and type from beach front apartments with the essentials for a relaxed getaway to private estates where you can pamper yourself with luxury in a private tranquil setting. This is reflected in the price of the holiday homes we offer which range from a low of $385 in the summer to $14,300 in winter.

How many properties in your portfolio have been personally inspected by Blue Sky Luxury?

Blue Sky Luxury staff conducts a comprehensive evaluation of every property we accept into our portfolio. These inspections are used to complete a checklist which covers all aspects of the property in fine detail and we use this document to ensure the property matches our standards. In addition this document serves to determine how we classify the property with a Style. Many of our properties are also managed by our sister/parent company, so we have the utmost confidence these standards are maintained.

Will I have access to a Concierge?

Yes. A member of the concierge team will be in contact with you well before you arrive on island to ensure that everything is ready for your trip. In addition once on the island they will be just a phone call away to arrange any additional needs you have, be it as simple as recommendations and bookings for excursions or as off the wall as live peacocks for a wedding. Yes, you read that last one right, needless to say we do our best to help however out there the request might seem.

What is included with the properties?

What each property offers is particular to each property but we do have certain minimum standards which you can view in the "Your Style – What does it mean?" section above. As you are renting a holiday home, everyday expenses like food and drinks are not included in most villas but our concierge can arrange for a villa to pre-stocked if you would prefer.

How do you determine the maximum occupancy for a property?

As a rule of thumb, for each bedroom in a property two adults can stay. This is not a hard and fast rule however, as in some case bedrooms may not be suitable for double occupancy. This is why on every property page you can see the max number of guests for the property under normal circumstances. There can be special cases where an owner will allow the use of temporary bedding to extend this max occupancy so check with one of our holiday home experts if you think you require this.

What is the minimum length of stay?

The minimum length of stay varies depending on the property and the season. You can see what these are in the rate section of each property but as a rule you will not find any properties that rent for less than five nights.

Are damage deposits required at all properties?

Yes. The holiday homes you are renting are someone's home away from home and the fit and furnish reflect this, these are not your average sterile hotel rooms. As such a refundable security deposit will be charged to a valid credit card on arrival and released 7 days after departure.

Who do I contact in the event I have a problem at the property?

Should an issue arise at the property that the staff cannot assist with; your first point of contact will be the property manager. The property manager will do their best to address the issue as quickly as possible. In addition to this the property manager will then advise our dedicated guest relations team so they can follow-up and ensure that the issue has been resolved in the best possible manner.

Staffing

As a part of the whole Villa Holiday experience, staff are provided at all of our holiday homes - from a weekly maid service at some of our Essential apartments and smaller homes to a fully staffed household of butler, chef, housekeeper and maid at our Flagship villas. In addition, there are also staff providing pool maintenance and gardening services who may be on property during your stay from time to time.

Our Staff

As you might have noticed if you have read some of our Guest Reviews our staff are often mentioned as one of the highlights of the holiday. Details of the staffing and hours worked by the staff at your rental property can be found on the specific web page of your holiday home and we recommend you familiarise yourself with this information. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask your Reservations or Concierge Specialist.

Staffing Levels

Staff are provided at all of our holiday homes - from a weekly maid service at some of our Essential apartments and smaller homes to a fully staffed household of butler, chef, housekeeper and maid at our Flagship villas. In addition, there are also staff providing pool maintenance and gardening services who may be on property during your stay from time to time.

Specific details of the staffing for your holiday home are provided on the property web page. If you require additional staffing please let our Reservations or Concierge team know so we can advise you of the options and the cost.

 

Hours of work

These vary according to the size and style of the property.

  • Most Housekeeping - Staff work from 9:00 to 17:00 but this may vary from house to house.

  • Maid Service Only - This is usually a 4 hour shift to change linens and towels and undertake some minor cleaning tasks. Timing will be advised by your Property Manager and duration will depend on the size of the property.

  • Cook - Breakfast and Lunch 9:00 to 17:00 may also include some preparation of dinner items if you are dining in.

  • Cook - Lunch and Dinner 12:00 to 20:00

  • Cook - If breakfast and dinner are being catered the cook will work from 9:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 20:00

  • Chef - Depending on the meals required hours are typically 9:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00

We recommend you discuss your plans for meals with the house staff so they can make the necessary arrangements to facilitate your plans.

Overtime - Can be arranged in many cases but please note this will be charged to your account at an additional cost. In some cases  (usually after 20:00) you may also be required to pay for transport home as public transport is not very frequent in the later part of the evening and some of our properties are a little 'off the beaten track'. Staff will endeavour to fit their breaks for meals around your own plans.

Grocery Shopping - Some House staff will shop for you if required although some guests prefer to shop for themselves and enjoy visiting both our Supermarkets and Farmers markets -transport costs may need to be covered if the staff are required to do this. Our Concierge team can also arrange for groceries, wine or other supplies to be delivered to your holiday home in time for your arrival and during your stay.

Entertaining Additional Guests - Staff are provided to accommodate and cater for the maximum number of guests permitted at the property. If you plan to entertain additional visitors be advised that numbers are limited to 50% of the maximum occupancy -for example, if your holiday home sleeps four, the maximum party size that can be accommodated/catered will be six. Any additional guests or catering requirements are subject to the approval of the Owner or Property Manager and additional charges may apply.

Your Property Manager or Guest Relations Representative will inform you of the staff and working hours at your holiday home on your arrival. Please remember that these vary from house to house so if you have previously stayed at another Blue Sky Property the staffing may not necessarily be the same. Below is an outline of the tasks and responsibilities typically undertaken by the staff who work in our villas and apartments.

Roles

  • Housekeeper - Prepares the home for your arrival and manages the cleaning during your stay. Some housekeepers will launder the towels and linens as well as guest laundry (where this service is offered -but not undergarments). A Housekeeper will also oversee any junior staff -such as in a larger household- and in some cases they may assist with table setting, serving a meal or drinks and help tidy up the kitchen when a cook or chef is provided.

  • Maid - Prepares and sets up the property for your arrival. Makes the beds and replaces linens and towels and may also undertake laundry duties -but do not launder guests personal effects.

  • Laundress - Strips beds, removes towels, sorts and launders these items. Irons, folds and stores all soft furnishing items.

  • Cook - Prepares basic, tasty island cuisine using local ingredients and will develop a menu for each day of your stay in consultation with your preferences. They will recommend a list of items required to prepare the meals -items can be ordered through Concierge, bought by the staff or Butler (if this service is offered at your property) or self-purchased.

  • Chef - Prepares a variety of international dishes and will develop a menu for each day of your stay in consultation with your preferences. They will recommend a list of items required to prepare the meals -items can be ordered through Concierge, bought by the staff or Butler (if this service is offered at your property) or self-purchased. A chef has received formal training through a recognised culinary institute.

  • Butler - In charge of the household staff. Our Butlers will meet with you to ensure your requests can be accommodated and implemented by the household team. They will take responsibility for ordering or purchasing food and beverages including wines and liquors for the household as per guest requests. They oversee the serving of meals and refreshments and are responsible for liaising with the guest in respect of billing for the household purchases during the stay.

    Note that in some homes a staff member may perform a combination of roles.

Tipping

Knowing who and how much to tip can be a difficult thing to determine. We think that while tipping is meant to be a sign of appreciation for a particular service, it should be given against a background of having received appropriate and respectful treatment. There is no service charge added to accommodation costs and a gratuity is completely at your discretion but is always greatly appreciated. If you would like some specific recommendations please ask your Property Manager or Guest Services Representative.

Travel to St. Barthélemy

We know you're excited about your trip to St. Barts, but make sure you have all of the items on the checklist below and you familiarise yourself with a few key things before a couple weeks before you come. After all, you don't want any surprises after you arrive!

Travel Documents - Passport

A valid passport as well as a round-trip ticket or proof of continuation of travel is required to enter St. Barthélemy. Your air reservation name must match your passport EXACTLY! This will save you a lot of time and frustration. It is highly recommended that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled arrival date. It is helpful to also have a separate photo identification card which may be occasionally required for use while on island enabling you to leave your passport in the security safe at your property.

Travel Documents - Visas

FOR VISITORS TO ST. BARTHÉLEMY THE FOLLOWING ENTRY REQUIREMENTS APPLY

NO visa is needed for stays under 30 days for:

- Nationals of: The European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland.

- Nationals of: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*, Seychelles, Taiwan (passport bearing identity card number), Uruguay, and (exempt only for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Martin only), Anguilla, Tortola, Turks and Caicos Islands.

*bearers of biometric passports only

- Nationals of: Australia, Brazil (except for French Guiana), Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Venezuela. This exemption does not apply in the case of gainful employment in a DROM.

Some visitors must have a French visa that states COLLECTIVITE DE SAINT BARTHELEMY ET SAINT MARTIN "valid for France except CTOM" or "DFA" (French Departments in the Americas). All visas must be issued by the French Embassy before travel begins.

If you require a visa visit: Short stay visas

Electrical Standards

St. Barthélemy's voltage is 220 AC, 60 cycles. American-made appliances often require French plug converters and transformers.

Currency and Banks

On February 18, 2002, the French Franc has ceased to be legal tender, having been replaced by the Euro (€), the currency of the European Union, of which France is a prominent member. The official exchange rate (July 2005) was approximately .82 € for US$1.00. The rate is subject to change, though changes are rarely rapid. Dollars are accepted everywhere, and prices are often quoted in dollars.

Banks include:

  • Banque Française Commerciale (B.F.C.), rue du Général de Gaulle, Gustavia (Tel: 059-027-6262), and in St. Jean (Tel: 059-027-8775)
  • BDAF, accross from the Post Office in Gustavia (Tel: 059-029-6830)
  • B.N.P (Banque Nationale de Paris), rue de Bord de Mer, Gustavia (Tel: 059-027-6370)
  • Bred, La Savane, St-Jean (Tel: 059-052-0600)
  • Credit Agricole, rue Jeanne d'Arc
  • Change Caraïbe, exchange office in Gustavia (Tel: 059-027-5757)

Hours are generally Monday to Friday, 8:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 3:30pm; banks close on weekends, holidays, and afternoons preceding holidays.

Also, American Express has an office (Tel: 059-052-9706) on the island, at La Savane Center in St Jean. They offer American Express Cardmembers the usual services, and since local ATMs do not accept American Express Cards, they fill the gap by providing emergency check cashing in Euro or USD.

Credit Cards

Most businesses in St. Barthélemy, including hotels & restaurants encourage and accept major credit cards. The most widely accepted ones are Visa, AmEx, MAster Card, Diners Club, En Route, Eurocard, and Barclaycard. Banks have ATMs/ABMs that will accept major credit cards and dispense local currency based on the current exchange rate. Traveler's cheques in U.S., U.K. and Canadian funds are also cashable at many retail outlets. However you should note that some of the smaller business establishments operate on a cash only basis so its best to have some local cash or USD on you as you explore the Island.

Drivers License and Permit

Renting a car is an ideal and adventurous way to discover more of St. Barthélemy while on your vacation. The cost starts from about Euro €35 - €75 per day. The only thing you need is a valid driver's license, or an international driver's license. Roads here are narrow, winding up and down mountains but exhilarating with spectacular vistas at every turn!

St. Barthélemy Customs and Duty Free Allowances

The duty free allowance is as follows:

200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco, 1 litre wine or spirits, 170ml (6ozs) perfume.

Restricted or Prohibited Items

Please note the importation and wearing of camouflage clothing is prohibited in St. Barthélemy. Visitors should leave such items at home to avoid confiscation.

The importation of certain articles are restricted or prohibited in order to protect the community and to maintain and protect animal and plant life. Prohibited articles such as weapons of war, illegal drugs and pornography will be seized and persons may face penalties or prosecution. Restricted items may be released after inspection by the appropriate agency or detained until conditions of the restrictions are met. Receipts are issued for all articles detained by customs. Among the restricted items are:

Fruits and Vegetables. All fruits, vegetables, plants, cuttings, seeds or unprocessed plant products must be declared to customs and presented for inspection by a Plant Quarantine Officer. Fresh fruits from certain countries are prohibited in order to prevent the spreading of pest and plant diseases.

BRITAIN - Duty Free Allowances for Returning British Citizens

Each returning resident over 17 years of age may take back:

  • 1 litre of alcohol
  • 60cc of perfumes
  • Up to £145 worth of other goods

CANADA - Duty Free Allowances for Returning Canadian Citizens

Persons whose stay is in excess of 48 hours can claim up to $400 CAN. per trip.
Persons whose stay is in excess of 7 days or more can claim up to $750 CAN. per trip.

Each returning Canadian resident may take back:

  • 1.4 litres of alcoholic beverages OR 1.5 litres of wine
  • 24 12-oz cans/bottles of beer.

Minimum age for alcoholic beverages vary with port of entry.

No duty or GST is charged on purchases under $300. GST charge on entire total purchases. Duty varies on alcoholic beverages.

Gifts: Persons while abroad may mail casual gifts (except alcoholic beverages) free of duty and taxes, to friends and relatives in Canada, providing the value of the gift does not exceed CAN$40.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Duty Free Allowances for Returning American Citizens

Each returning citizen whose stay is in excess of 48 hours may on his return, take back, free of duty, articles totaling up to US$400 (based on the retail value of the items in the country of purchase).

Duty on purchases in excess of the US$400 exemption is 10% on the next US$1,000, and thereafter at the rate duty applicable.

Duty free liquor is allowed at one litre per person for persons over the age of 21.

Gifts: In addition to the US$400 exemption, each person can mail back gifts valued at $50 each to friends and relatives back home, provided the addressee does not receive more than one gift parcel a day. No declaration is required, and no tax is levied. 

Vaccinations and Vaccines

There are no specific vaccinations required for visitors travelling to St. Barthélemy, however it is always best to be up to date with your immunizations. Your personal physician may recommend preventative measures for general travel such as a Hep A or Hep B vaccination. Please do note that it you are travelling to St. Barthélemy from an area known to be infected with Yellow Fever you are required to produce a vaccination certificate.

How the rental process works

So you have decided that you want to enjoy all the benefits of renting a holiday home in St. Barthélemy. Here is a step by step walk through on how to proceed.

  1. Browse BlueSkyLuxury.com and identify a shortlist of rental properties that fit your requirements. The search tools will help narrow your choices based on criteria ranging from Your Style (guiding to Quality) to Wow Factors (things that make the properties stand out). You can of course also search by criteria like number of bedrooms or dates -the practical considerations! Once you have shortlist or a particular villa in mind use the "Enquire Now" button on any property to submit a request online. If you prefer you can use our toll free number to speak to one of our Holiday Home Experts who will happily guide you through the selection process.

  2. Once we receive your enquiry, one of our Holiday Home Experts will check on the availability for your dates and properties then feed these back to you and discuss further which option would be best for your needs. This is where the knowledge of properties which the Experts possess really helps ensure you can make informed decisions and get the rental property that suits all of your needs.

  3. Having selected your property, your Expert will issue you with the rental documentation which includes details of the deposit we need to secure your booking for your dates.
     
  4. As your travel date approaches a Concierge representative will be in contact to look after any additional needs you may have while on island. Our Concierge team will assist you in arranging everything from airport transfers, car rentals and provisioning to more exotic requests. Even live peacocks have failed to stump the team!

  5. Once you arrive, depending on your chosen method of transport from the airport, you will make your way to the property, collect your keys, take a quick tour your holiday home and begin your amazing holiday. The property manager or Guest Relations representative will be in contact to arrange a visit, where you can fine tune further arrangements and ask any further questions or seek assistance in booking restaurants or excursions.

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