Toiny, a reminder of the past that remains in the present
Le Toiny’s Hotel guests will discover small coral rock houses built by the first residents of St Barthelemy at the far end of the bay of Toiny and underneath the beautiful namesake hotel, close to a splendid white sandy beach.
The managers of Le Toiny hotel, Guy and Dagamar Lombard, have decided to restore these dwellings in the most beautiful of fashions to take visitors into the past and share a slice of the way of life of the first residents.
Solar panels and a windmill currently supply energy to this site and part of the adjoining beach. The rainwater tank has been restored to resume its initial purpose. A fresh layer of lime mortar on the floor and the inside walls has brought back lustre and shine to these houses. It is a beautiful bridge between the past and new technologies of our modern world.
At night, the sunlight captured by solar pannels and stored during the day enables the creation of the atmosphere required to stage concerts under the coconut trees lining up the beautiful white sandy beach.
The managers are firmly convinced of the usefulness of the notion of sustainable development, which enables the improvement of the hotel’s offering to its clients. They do not spare any effort to offer varied and diverse improvements.
The colour of the energy-saving lamps has been carefully chosen, the use of water-based paint for the inside walls and frames, the use of organic washing products and cleaners, the installation of solar pannels and lava stones allowing to heat the water of the pools are clear indications of the willingness of the hotel to distinguish itself amidst the pervading conservatism.
At a stone’s throw, a vegetable garden enables the hotel which overlooks the place to supplement the menu of its restaurant with a large variety of organic fruits, vegetables and aromatic plants. Owing to the success of the initiative, the vegetable garden, which initially had a surface area of 100 m2, has been extended to 300 m2 and 500 m2 of greenhouses and it could further be extended. More than twenty species like tomatoes, carrots, capsicum, beetroot, radishes, maracuja (passion fruit) and aromatic herbs count among the vegetables of the season.
Various sports and cultural activities enable hotel residents to better discover Saint Barthélemy, its history, its natural heritage and its biodiversity.
The sportier among visitors can enjoy the surf spot below the hotel, which provides those interested with surf boards. Trekking and jogging can be practised on the multiple trails in the surroundings. Nautical activities like scuba diving or kayaking can also be performed.
It is to be noted that Guy and Dagamar Lombard enjoy a very good relationship with Hélène Bernier, who manages the Easy Time structure. Hélène regularly visits the hotel in search of people eager to discover another St Barthelemy, its wonderful nature, its secret pedestrian itineraries, its exceptional viewpoints, its fauna and flora as well as its artistic, historic and cultural heritage.
Felix, a nature specialist, spends time at the hotel twice a year to share his knowledge with a lucky few.
An imposing marine landscape
The finger of volcanic land pointing to the sea shows the border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. With a little chance, Le Toiny’s residents will see shoals of dazzling fish wriggling around, chased in the water by carangue fish, wahoos or barracudas and from above by pelicans, brown boobies (Sula leucogaster), royal terns (Sterna maxima) or frigate birds, which drive them towards the shore, where the shallow waters will be fatal to them.
The swell from the open sea grows whenever the trade wind blow and the rollers then provide a playground for the best surfers on the island. One can see the crests of waves blowing in the wind before fading into a rainbow of iridescent colours.
The magic of a colourful flora acclimatized to the sea
A narrow path takes visitors around the point of Toiny, among thousands of night blooming cereus (Cephalocereus peruvianus), “Tête d’Anglais” (literally English’s Head) cacti, with one or more flowers whose fruits taste like blueberries, carrion flowers (Stapelia gigantea) whose beautiful flower looks like a starfish or the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) with red flowers.
Visitors will enjoy a journey through the meanderings of time alongside trees of life (Guaiacum officinale) loaded with scarlet fruits. Its hard wood proved a very precious resource for the first settlers on the island, who used it to build solid huts that would withstand the tropical storms or to manufacture pulley grooves for their sailboats. Visitors will also come across pink trumpet trees (Tabebuia pallida), which are renowned for the quality of their wood, or fish poison trees (Piscidia piscipula), whose leaves have been used for centuries by fishermen to poison fish in hoop nets.
Next, visitors will surrender themselves to the charms and to the burst of colours of the flowers growing in these places: hibiscus which turn from light yellow to scarlet red within hours, mauve milkweed plants (Calotropis) that venture on the beach, close to the rollers, pink trumpet trees (Tabebuia pallida), whose fragile light pink flowers will single out in this arid mineral world. You will also catch a glimpse of the various nocturnal flowers that have survived the first rays of the sun on the night blooming cereus.