By Nancy Anderson, McLaughlin Anderson Luxury Villas
The buzz throughout St. John and in the world of luxury villas is all about the impressive scale and the barefoot elegance of À La Mer! Waterfront on Great Cruz Bay, this magnificent new estate holds court within an oasis of stately palm trees, boasting probably what is the largest private pool on St. John.
Within the sun-kissed world of À La Mer, the Main Villa takes center stage, embraced by the aquamarine pool and the pool cabana, and bordered by a faux white-sand beach set with chaise lounges and a fire pit brazier. The expansive fully air-conditioned two-story Main Villa features seven bedroom/bath suites and a beautifully-proportioned Great Room graced with high arched windows and artistic stonework crafted in the classic St. John style. White slipcovered sink-into sofas and chairs are grouped around the Great Room to accommodate a large party, and a mahogany dining table for 14 is flanked by a stunning model yacht in full sail. Adjoining the Great Room, on the other side of the tiled entry foyer, is the large gourmet kitchen with a Viking range, a center island, lots of countertop space for several cooks, and a convenient pass-through window to the outdoor poolside dining area. The kitchen area also offers a wet bar with a beverage cooler and ice machine; behind that is a powder room looking into a walled garden.
Beyond the spacious kitchen is the blue family room, a cheerful space for lounging with a large flat-screen TV and a table for cards or games. Screened french doors open out to the front of the house from the family room, to À La Mer's outside front patio which features a bubbling fountain. On the other side of the family room, more french doors lead out to patios and pool. A hallway leads past the large laundry room to two of À La Mer's king bedroom/bath suites, both of which offer generous ensuite baths and screened french doors opening outside to small covered patios and to the pool beyond.
Twin mahogany staircases ascend from either side of the family room to À La Mer's upper floor, where five more air-conditioned bedroom/suites overlook the pool and majestic yachts riding at anchor on sparkling Great Cruz Bay. These suites all enjoy central air-conditioning, large ensuite baths tiled in charming designs, and via screened french doors, each has its own balcony. One of these five upstairs suites is À La Mer's master suite, a larger suite with a king four-poster bed, a private roofed patio with seating, and a spacious bath. The sumptuous master bath features a double vanity, a separate WC with a bidet, and a semi-alfresco double shower clad in glass tile and travertine. The other four suites have romantic four-poster king beds and ensuite baths (the corner suite has a tiled semi-alfresco shower). Two of these suites have a connecting door between them, perfect for parents who wish to be near their children. At the top of one staircase is an alcove with a desk with a printer and a two-twin trundle bed for children under 16 years.
Outside the Main Villa on the Great Cruz Bay side is À La Mer's shaded poolside terrace, furnished with plush upholstered seating for watching the kids in the pool, reading or napping, and a large round table under a roofed pergola for alfresco meals. The pass-through from the kitchen is incorporated into an adjoining counter lined with bar stools. This expansive outdoor living area, where you'll spend most of your time, also has two gas grills, one of them built into a charming garden patio, a ping-pong table for family championship competitions, and a deck lined with cushioned chaise lounges for sun worshippers. The pool is absolutely spectacular! It has a four-inch deep shallow shelf, perfect for sun loungers and for small children, a waterfall, and is bordered on the ocean side with a "beach," a strip of white sand set with more chaise lounges and a stone fire pit. The pool also features a swim-up bar with underwater bar stools at the pool cabana, a wonderful poolside entertainment pavilion with large-screen cable TV and DVD player, plus a wet bar with icemaker, beverage cooler and dishwasher. An electronic shutter rolls down at a touch of a button to secure the pool cabana when not being used. The pool cabana also has a handy powder room and outside shower. For experienced divers, there is access from the coral-and-sand waterfront into Great Cruz Bay for snorkeling - and you can also visit The Westin Resort's lovely white sand beach further down the Bay, about a 10-minute walk away.
À La Mer's Cottage is off to the side of the Main Villa, and on its upper level, offers a secluded fully-air-conditioned apartment suite, complete with a full kitchen, a bedroom with two queen beds and bath, a double-twin trundle bed in the living area for children under 16 years old, and a porch outside covered by latticework. The estate's ninth bedroom is on the ground level; it's a cozy and simple air-conditioned bedroom and bath with two twin beds. The Cottage's garage contains beach chairs, coolers, and a washer and dryer for your convenience.
Situated on over one acre of waterfront land behind an electronic gate landscaped with tropical flowers and graceful royal, foxtail and coconut palm trees, spectacular À La Mer's large-scale design and execution is an artful combination of both colonial West Indies and classic St. John, incorporating French antique terra cotta roof tiles, St. John shell- and stonework, aged brick, all melded to create stunning exteriors, and inside, a pleasing floorplan which flows easily and provides lots of space for everyone's comfort. Every handsome custom detail - mahogany cabinetry hand carved in Honduras, lovely tile design throughout, cypress ceilings, designer island decor, artisan lighting, botanical art prints, and a bounty of excellent features and amenities for guests' enjoyment - make luxurious yet beach-casual À La Mer a unique and matchless Caribbean villa experience for families and friends - five brilliant stars, and more!
* HEADCOUNTS ALLOWED FOR ADULTS + CHILDREN: at À La Mer, a maximum of 18 ADULTS ONLY will be accommodated in both the Main Villa (14 adults MAXIMUM in the Main Villa's 7 bedroom suites) and in the Cottage (4 adults MAXIMUM in the Cottage's two bedrooms). "Adults" are anyone 16 years old or older - no exceptions, please. 1 to 2 children (under 16 years old ONLY) may use the small two-twin-trundle beds in the Main Villa's upstairs alcove (included in the Main Villa rental rate), and 1 to 2 children in the Cottage's apartment living area trundle beds (included in the Cottage rental rate). If your group has more than 4 children under 16 years, please ask us for special permission to bring extra kids to sleep on twin air beds...we will ask the owners for their approval on a case-by-case basis, but please expect to pay a higher rental rate for this exception.
A 7-NIGHT MINIMUM RENTAL IS REQUIRED YEAR ROUND for À La Mer (WITH A 10-NIGHT MINIMUM REQUIRED DURING CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR'S)As is true in any popular destination, construction of a new home has begun in the lot next (to the left of) À La Mer. We do anticipate some construction noise from time to time. If you would like further details on the current status of this building activity, please inquire and we'll be happy to obtain the latest information for you.
1 to 14 guests (using 7 bedrooms, and not more than 1 to 2 children (who must be children under 16 years only, sleeping on the upstairs alcove's 2-twin trundle bed) will have use of the Main Villa ONLY. The use of A La Mer's Cottage (which sleeps an additional 4 adults and 1 to 2 children under 16 years, MAXIMUM, can be added to the Main Villa for an additional charge - see Rates. THE COTTAGE IS NEVER RENTED SEPARATELY TO ANOTHER PARTY.
At the nearby Westin Resort, À La Mer guests may purchase a weekly pass for $80, to use The Westin's gym and tennis courts. A day pass is $20. Tennis at The Westin Resort must be booked in advance, and depends on availability of courts for play. An additional hourly rate of $20/hour is required to use the tennis courts. Tennis racquets can be rented for $10 per hour, and tennis balls are sold at $8 for a can of 3. Guests must call to make appointments to use the Westin's spa, and must have a credit card in hand to confirm their appointments.
À La Mer
Cable TV (a 62" flat-screen TV in Great Room, 51" flat-screen TVs in blue family room + in pool cabana, 32" flat-screen TVs in all bedrooms EXCEPT Cottage twin bedroom; all TVs have a DVD player); play CDs and Blu-Ray DVDs in Great Room on Bose surround-sound system; iPod docking station, Sirius satellite radio + Pandora, movie + music collections, books, games; full central A/C throughout entire Main Villa and Cottage; Wi-Fi throughout property (inside and outside); upstairs alcove in Main Villa serves as an office nook with a DSL line for your laptop, all-in-one printer/copier/scanner/fax + answering machine; gourmet kitchen with Viking 6-burner stove, 2 ovens, 2 dishwashers, wet bar with icemaker + beverage cooler, and a pass-through to outside dining patio; hair dryers + bathrobes in all suites, safes for valuables in all bedrooms + in kitchen; binoculars, 3 washing machines + 3 dryers. IN COTTAGE: full A/C, complete kitchen with dishwasher in upper apt. suite; washer + dryer on garden level.
AT À LA MER, FOR ALL GUESTS: OUTSIDE: outside speakers, 3 hammocks, 2 gas grills. Pool cabana with swim-up bar, 51" flat-screen cable TV + DVD player, wet bar, icemaker, beverage cooler, dishwasher, powder room, outside shower + electronic roll-down shutter; waterfall in pool, pool volleyball, pool floats, foam noodles + pool games for children; basketball hoop, bocce ball, horseshoe pit, shuffleboard court; white-sand "beach" area with fire pit brazier; ping-pong table; outdoor patio with a fountain and seating for smoking; automatic generator, manually-gated driveway entry. INSIDE: full-size wooden crib, nylon Pack 'n' Play crib/playpen, highchair, baby monitor + assorted toys; exercise mat + ball, and small set of weights; coolers, fold-up beach chairs.