Once upon a time, a young American girl came with her family, on holiday to St Barts…a distinctly energetic, fun-loving and vital woman. At that same time, a young man, who had come to the island to experiment with tourism, saw her descending from the plane and instantly fell in love. It would only take 5 days of courtship for them to realize that they would soon marry and that this idyllic island, native to neither, would be their home. It was destiny, or rather like the big bang theory…a collision of two forces that would fuse to form a new reality. It was romantic and all together right. In 1974, Brook and Roger Lacour were this couple, and the Sibarth Success Story is their own, 30 years in the making.
The Sibarth Success Story is by no means a mere example of your average professional success. It is the story of an authentic St Barts couple and their vision. A vision that has evolved and matured over time to include, today, Sibarth Real Estate, led by Christian Wattiau, as well as the international voice of US-based WIMCO. The Lacours’ story is exceptional in that two non-native residents have come to embody the island’s most intrinsic values: respect for the natural environment and the preservation of this unique and beautiful place, appropriate and restricted developmental projects in harmony with the island, the importance of family and a profound respect for privacy and serenity. From their professional activity, to their selection of business partners, to their own personal lives, Brook and Roger Lacour are quintessential St Barts success.
Sibarth began naturally and grew structurally over time. In 1974, Brook and Roger established a small insurance company, where, from their beach bungalow in St Jean, they typed up insurance policies on a dusty, old typewriter. Later in 1975, they opened La Calèche, a semi-tourism office, welcoming visitors to the island. They attracted tourists with beachwear and supplies and then seduced them with real estate opportunities and villa visits, to find the perfect rental for their next trip to St Barts. Dozens of visitors to the boutique came for information about island activities or a new bikini and left with a newfound appreciation for West Indian architecture and exciting plans for their next vacation.
From his small desk in the back corner of La Calèche, Roger managed the first two villa rentals that formed the foundation of Sibarth Villa Rentals. Brook took an active interest in the numerous villa requests from boutique clients and her network of stateside friends. Soon, the word was out and their unpretentious, backroom office quickly became Sibarth Villa Rentals. Not quite yet a bona fide business, Brook and Roger’s natural sense of hospitality made it more about sharing their wonderful and idyllic island living experience with friends and acquaintances. While Roger specialized in land and villa sales, Brook assisted owners in finding renters, within her attractive network of New York friends and associates, many of whom had heard vaguely of St Barts and who were interested in discovering the island’s allure.
In 1983, Brook and Roger were joined by Christian Wattiau, an avid sailor and adventurer, who had arrived in St Barts a few years earlier from Belgium with his wife. Christian’s exemplary work ethic and passion for excellence breathed new life into an already blossoming enterprise. The growing market for real estate led the trio to form Sibarth Real Estate, initially managed by both Roger and Christian.
By 1983, the word was officially out. Sibarth began to notice a significant quantity of visitors who returned year after year and often brought new friends with them. In New York, talk of a “fabulous Caribbean find” began to spread in business, entertainment and artistic circles. St Barts was gaining notoriety and the demand for villas was on the rise. It was during this time that Roger and Brook founded WIMCO, West Indies Management Company. The company was based in Connecticut and aimed to increase communication efforts in the US and to facilitate business transactions at time when email and international FedEx were not quite yet what they are today. This US branch of Sibarth provided the modern, international marketing and reservations efforts that have helped catapult Sibarth into the realm of leading, global real estate forces today.
With the ever-increasing client demand, Sibarth Villa Rentals and Sibarth Real Estate quickly began to outgrow their tiny, beach boutique. So, in 1987, Brook and Roger closed La Calèche and moved their successful Villa Rental and Real Estate company to Rue de Général de Gaule, where Sibarth has since occupied the harbor-side, landmark building known as La Maison Suédoise.
As both sides of company continued in their rapid evolutions, the decision was made to restructure. In 1997, Christian joined the Sibarth family formally, as the sole Managing Partner of Sibarth Real Estate, while Roger and Brook continued to foster the burgeoning growth of Villa Rentals. For the past 10 years, the two companies have operated independently, all the while maintaining a harmonious and symbiotic relationship that provides maximum benefits for each clientele.
Today, Sibarth Villa Rentals oversees more than 250 of St Barts’ finest villas. A staff of more than 30 friendly employees assists clients with everything from total property management to the organization of the most intricate details of your personalized, luxury vacation in St Barts. Thanks to WIMCO’s continuous international marketing and reservations efforts, Sibarth maintains a steady, year-round stream of rental clients, who are still telling their friends and neighbors about the warm embrace and authentic hospitality of this unique island paradise.
At Sibarth Real Estate, Christian and his staff of 8 knowledgeable professionals offer a complete range of services designed to facilitate your real estate transaction. SRE provides the most extensive portfolio of villas, apartments and land in St Barts and holds the island’s record sales, including the Gitana Bay Estate, sold for $21.4M in 2005 and a Flamands beachfront residence, sold for over 20M€ in 2007.
With the ever increasing international clientele, SRE has developed an extensive program to aid foreign purchasers in every aspect of their investment, including in-house, professional translation, specialized legal support and much more. Clients having worked with SRE attest to the professionalism and total competence of a company with more than 30 years of experience. Gaining the client’s trust and confidence is their number one objective.
In addition, Sibarth Real Estate boasts an exclusive affiliation with leading, luxury real estate mogul Christie’s Great Estates, and several other elite partners.
Today, Sibarth has earned a reputation as a prominent international enterprise, but success has not altered the authentic, simplistic values by which it all began, back when word-of-mouth and a cozy, back corner office did just the trick. Never is a sale fostered with the intention of aggressive development, never a villa is rented to a client without respect for the island and its serenity. No, the fundamental values of the company have not been shaken by its prosperity. Respect for the island’s environment, preservation of this unique place and of the tranquility that reigns here and authentic hospitality, inviting all to share in this exceptional island living experience, remain the hallmarks of Sibarth.
Those who pass through the doors of La Maison Suédoise, will find themselves at home, warmly welcomed and very much a part of this unique family of individuals living the dream. Sibarth exudes a sense of bien être that is so true to the rhythms of the island. Brook, Roger and Christian all came to St Barts for the unique allure of this very special island. Today, they are, themselves a part of the allure. They have become a part of the island itself and their company, a 30 year old enterprise, is the trustee and protector of the authentic St Barts experience.
- Saint-Barthélemy, Guadeloupe