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Romantic stay on St. Martin for newlyweds (sort of)

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My husband and I are in our mid50s, empty nesters, have been married only 2 years and this is our first real destination vacation together. We have already decided to go to St. Martin for a week in early December and need to be pointed in the right direction based on our interests and personalities. Based on what I've read in these forums, I just know there are like-minded folks out there with brains jam-packed full of info that they might be willing to share.

We are from Colorado and aren't really interested in the spa type of resort. Ideally we'd love a little hut on the beach (ok, well maybe a room with a view of the beach) within a nice resort with easy access to nightlife, restaurants, hiking, kayaking, etc. We'd ideally like a mix of a lively friendly resort but able to have some down time to relax. We're not gamblers at all. We plan to rent a car for access to more than what's within walking distance.

I have read both good and bad things about both sides of the island and quite frankly am overwhelmed by information overload. Do I stay on the French or Dutch side? So much to think about!

So based on what I've mentioned above I was hoping that there are others in my demographic with great experiences on St. Martin who can point me in the right direction for lodging. Once we're there we can deal with choosing restaurants.

Thanks!

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