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Trip Report Alamanda trip report from 11/03

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My husband and I went to St Martin from 11/6/03 to 11/11/03. We stayed at the Alamanda, which is a new hotel on Orient beach. It is a wonderful boutique style, full service hotel. The staff was very friendly. We stayed in a duplex room, which has 2 stories and was oceanfront. We loved the hotel! I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. We want to give a shout out to all the employees who helped to make our stay there so great. Everyone at the front desk was so helpful, especially Alan. The hotel also has a fantastic restaurant/bar. They have a tiki hut with torches and everything. It was a very small romantic atmosphere. Their escargot appetizer was delicious. They have a great bartender/waiter, Adrian. His sense of humor matched ours and we enjoyed hanging out there, having a few drinks and talking at night. A lot of the other places on Orient beach closed kind of early. Esmerelda is the sister hotel to the Alamanda. We ate at their restaurant twice. The first time the food was delicious but it rained most of the night. This will be a recurrent theme for our trip. We decided to go back for their lobster night. They had a fun and very entertaining singer that night. Their lobster was a very different presentation than I am used to, so if we go back I will order something else. They have great desserts which we enjoyed immensely on both nights.
Orient beach is a very fun filled place during the day. By staying at the Alamanda, we had signing privileges at the 5 big beach restaurants near them. The beach chairs for the Alamanda hotel are in front of the Kakao restaurant. Eric was our beach boy for most of the week. He was a great guy who we enjoyed meeting. We saw him and his friends at the Kontiki Sunday night party and he was just as nice away from the job. We tried a new drink at the Kakao called a BBC, Bailey's, banana and coconut, which became my new favorite.
On Sunday night we went to the Kontiki party and danced a little which was fun. The waitresses at the Kontiki wore these cool red shorts with Kontiki written on the back of them. Of course I had to buy a pair as a souvenir.
We went to a TTOL party at the Bikini Beach Bar. We met a lot of people there. We ended up going to dinner with 2 other couples. We ate at the Boathouse restaurant. The food and atmosphere reminded me of a TGIF type of place. The company was great but the food was only adequate and paled in comparison to other places we ate on this trip. We were in another couple's rental car and when we left the restaurant at about 11 PM we discovered that the car had a flat tire. The two guys changed the tire and I sat in the car praying we wouldn't get mugged. A few men walked by, but thankfully no one bothered us. It ended up that the tire was not slashed. It was a regular flat tire.
It rained almost everyday we were in St Martin. We had a great lunch at Baywatch and shared a table with another couple from the States. We were able to get our lunch in but then it just poured down rain. Our curiosity got the best of us and we spent a day down the beach at Club Orient. It was calmer and quieter than I expected.
When I realized that our trip coincided with St Martin Day, I was ecstatic. I thought there would be huge celebrations and parties. I was sorely disappointed. It is a holiday, but all the stores and a lot of the restaurants close and it was a terrible beach day because of the rain. We ended up going to Waikiki for drinks. They had the best mai tai that husband has had since our maui trip! Later in the day we just hung out on our balcony having wine and cheese and watching people drive in through all the rain. The dirt/beach road that is between the hotel and the beach had turned into a moat from the excess rain.
St Martin is definitely the culinary capitol of the Caribbean. We ate at Grand Case three nights. Talk of the town is a fabulous outdoor lolo style restaurant. They cooked everything on an outdoor barbeque. We both had their lobster and it was hands down the best lobster we've ever had. When we go back in February we definitely will return! Next time I want to try their bananas as a side dish. We also ate at Il Nettuno, which is a waterfront Italian restaurant. Their food was excellent and the staff was very friendly. They make delicious brushetta. The third restaurant in Grand Case that we ate at was Alabama. It was a very upscale refined restaurant. Their food was also excellent.
We also visited the cities of Phillipsburg and Marigot. We did the prerequisite shopping and especially enjoyed the Marigot marketplace. In Phillipsburg, we bought some jewelry from Venetian jewelers and ate lunch at a cute little place called Kangaroo Court that had good sandwiches. We went to mass in Phillipsburg on Saturday night. We were hoping to then walk to a restaurant but we were surprised to find that most of the places in the immediate area closed early. Our last night in St Martin was so fun. A couple at the hotel had a private birthday party for the wife. We had met them at the bar the night before and they invited us. We already had dinner plans but we stopped by later to say hello. All of the staff people from the hotel and the Kakao beach were there and we had a wonderful time hanging out with all of them. It was the perfect way to end our stay!
We flew back on US Air and had to stay an extra night due to engine trouble. The plane that was flying in for our flight had to do an emergency landing. They couldn't get another plane in that day so we were put up at the Caravanserai. Our flight was scheduled for about 4 PM and we didn't get to the hotel until about 11 PM because wehad to wait in line for hours to reschedule our flight.
Overall the trip was incredible. Despite the rain, the car breakdown and the airport fiasco, we had an amazingly wonderful time. We are already talking about going back for a short trip in February.

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