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I have been coming to St. Barts on vacation now for 20-plus years (the last 14 with my partner Daniel Benedict). Gone are the days of Mini-Mokes (the golf cart-esque cars in neon colors that were the only vehicles on the twisting roads) and Autour du Rocher (the indoor/outdoor nightclub island aficionados still long for), but the chic French flair remains, and the island is still one of my favorite getaways. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is now a heady mix of lunches, dinners and parties. Vacation? It may be frenetic, but it’s our version of paradise.
Monday, Dec. 26: Arrive from New York. Dinner at Maya’s, the island’s most popular restaurant, with Rachel Zoe and her husband, Rodger Berman. Rachel tells me that her luggage went missing on her flight on American Airlines. All of her irreplaceable vintage resort pieces are gone. Rupert and Wendi Deng Murdoch, Ronald Perelman and others at tables all around us.
Tuesday, Dec. 27: Day at the beach, and then dinner under the stars at the revamped (under chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten) Eden Rock hotel, with It girl Olivia Palermo and her model-boyfriend, Johannes Huebl.
Wednesday, Dec. 28: Lunch at Taiwana with Sony CFO Rob Wiesenthal. Taiwana is the notoriously expensive — used to be cash-only — hotel and restaurant with an owner famous for throwing people out, celebrities included, if he didn’t care for them or if they misbehaved. Lunch is hopping; Brett Ratner, Tamara Mellon and more pop by our table. For dinner, it’s Maya’s again, this time with designer Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone. After dinner, Daniel and I head to Russell Simmons‘ annual party at the Eden Rock. It’s wall-to-wall celebs and island scenesters. We leave at around 12:30 a.m. as the fete is going strong.
Thursday, Dec. 29: Back to Taiwana with Marc and Lorenzo for lunch, and we join Tamara and famed makeup artist (and Anna Wintour favorite) Pat McGrath. Lots of table-hopping in between noshing on crevettes en brochette. Dinner at new hotspot Bagatelle with Rachel (as of this writing, her suitcase still had not turned up!), Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman. Harvey has much to be proud of these days with The Artist, My Week With Marilyn and The Iron Lady. Music is blaring, and dinner turns into a full-on party!
Friday, Dec. 30: Lazy day at the beach, then back to Maya’s with Rodger, Rachel, Lorenzo and Marc. (Again, you may ask? It really is the best, and the menu changes every night, so it never gets old.)
Saturday, Dec. 31: For the past two years, Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer team owner Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova have hosted a New Year’s Eve party at Roman’s spectacular villa on my favorite beach, Gouverneur. At the first party in 2009, Gwen Stefani performed. Last year, it was the Black Eyed Peas. And this year, it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The party is a staggering mix — everyone from Jerry Bruckheimer and George Lucas to the Murdochs, Mischa Barton, Will Arnett and Jimmy Buffett — and Roman and Dasha are the most gracious hosts. It’s an incredible way to ring in the new year. We stay past 3 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 1: Harvey, a big football fan, decides to host a dinner/viewing of the big Giants vs. Cowboys game. Rodger and I offer to help corral a fun group for dinner at Bagatelle. Harvey and Georgina, Russell, Brian Grazer, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Martha Stewart, Larry Gagosian, Vivi Nevo and more all holler at the plasma screens in between bites of grilled tuna, sliced steak and truffle pizza. (Not your average football party!) At about midnight, the Giants win! Yeah! Bonne année!
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