25th Anniversary St. Maarten

Old Aug 29th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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25th Anniversary St. Maarten

We are planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary the week of Thanksgiving by going to St. Maarten. Already have the airfare, now need a place to stay, would like to make this something special. Our likes are the beach, shopping, and eating out, we are not big drinkers but I prefer to drink moderately occasionally. From the posts, I am leaning on staying on the French side. Also, is renting a car a good idea to get around? Restaurant suggestions would be helpful too.
nittany1 is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2004, 12:56 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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I would suggest looking into L'Esplanade in Grand Case. Kristin will take most excellent care of you! She and her husband built the place and it routinely gets amazing write ups and is known as one of the top "boutique" inns in the entire Caribbean!
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Old Aug 29th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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The L'Esplanade looks interesting, just how far is the beach, they say it is a five minute walk down the hill. Is it a true 5 min. walk and how "big" is the hill? I don't mind walking but I do mind sweating to get to the beach.
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Old Aug 29th, 2004, 03:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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It is a 5 minute walk....but I'd rent a car because you'll want to see the other beaches of SXM. Grand Case beach is an okay beach....but not in the class of Orient or Dawn Beach. Both requiring driving from Grand Case. Friar's is a nice little beach right down the road from GC as well. Grand Case is the culinary capital of St. Martin and probably the entire Caribbean. If you want to stay on the beach, I'd suggest staying on Orient beach. I have some suggestions if you are interested in this. Another place that comes highly recommended is Green Cay Villas in the Orient area of St. Martin.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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I'm leaning to staying on the beach, one preferably that we can go for walks on, especially in the morning. If this helps, our typical vacations consists of a morning walk on the beach, sightseeing/shopping in the late AM, and then laying in the sun at the beach/pool, going out to dinner in the evening and doing some sort of mild nightlife afterwards.
nittany1 is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2004, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We checked out L'Esplanade while on St. Martin, because we'd heard so many good things about it.
It did look lovely, but a bit far from everything, for us anyway. We did the walk down to the beach and it is closer to 10 minutes (if not 15) than 5. Walking to the center of Grand Case, the boulevard with all the restaurants, takes about 15 minutes. And it was hot... Since we try to drive as little as possible (I don't drive, and my husband doesn't really like to drive) we decided that location-wise it wasn't the place for us.
Carola22 is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Well, I would certainly agree with the recommendation to rent a car. St Martin seems to have everything you could want, but not in one place.

When we went, we stayed at the Grand Case Beach Club which is between the end of Grand Case Beach, and a smaller beach called Petit Plage.

We are also walkers, so we would get up and drive the short distance to Orient Beach, which is a nice beach for walking. Then we would go do whatever sightseeing we wanted, then go back to Grand Case. The advantage to staying in Grand Case is that you can then walk to dinner. There are quite a few very good restaurants in town, and we really enjoyed the leisurely walk back and forth to dinner.

If you want to just hang on the beach, Petit Plage is great for that.

Grand Case Beach Club is an older but very well maintained resort, that seems to get consistently good reviews.

Just another option to consider.

Ken_in_Mass is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Thanks Ken and Carola. Thats what I was looking for, you confirmed my suspicions about the distance. If you had to do it again, where would you stay? I like the idea about walking to dinner, that way I can drink without the hassle of a DUI
nittany1 is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2004, 04:26 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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I think I know where L'Esplanade is, and its on the same end of town as the Grand Case Beach Club.

GCBC was also about a 10 minute walk to the center of town. I'm pretty sure you pass the road to L'Esplanade on the way.

A 10 or 15 minute walk to dinner wouldn't bother us at all. It can get warm, and I don't recall any of the restaurants that we ate at having A/C, so you just wait until sunset when it gets cooler.

For lunch (or a casual dinner) there is a lolo called Taste of the Town on the way into town that has great ribs. It was the only place we ate at more than once.

Being able to have a nice bottle of wine and possibly after dinner drinks and not having to worry about driving home was a big plus for us. We would return to Grand Case for sure if we go back to St Martin. Most likely we would stay at GCBC, its just nice to have resort activities (and chairs/umbrellas) right at the beach.

Congratulations on your 25th anniversary.

Ken_in_Mass is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2004, 10:38 AM
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From what I've read here and at other boards, looks like GCBC gets good reviews. Sounds like the place to be. What does anyone recommend as to what form of transportation to get from the airport to GCBC, sounds as if i'd be better off renting a car from GCBC instead of at the airport.
nittany1 is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2004, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sounds like Grand Case Beach Club is a good recommendation - we checked out this place as well and it looked very nice.
We always stay somewhere else; we've been to the same place 3 times in a row, and about to go back for a 4th which we've never done before: Captain's Olivers resort on Oyster Pond. But frankly I wouldn't recommend it for a honeymoon. We love it because it's VERY unpretentious and laid-back and because there are several nice restaurants within walking distance (the hotel has a restaurant too, but that's not very good), but it's hardly a luxury place. Also, it's not on the beach, though a little boat goes free of charge across Oyster Pond to Dawn Beach in 5 minutes.
But again, for a honeymoon GCBC seems more appropriate.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 05:40 AM
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We always stay at Le Habitacion when we go to St. Martin. It's just a lovely resort and IMO would be a little more special for an anniversary trip than GCBC.

The plusses for staying at Le Habitacion are the privacy and prettiness of resort. The beach is semi-private (shared with the marina and a few nearby timeshares), so you don't have to fight crowds or vendors. It has two lovely pools and a friendly and accommodating staff. I would stay in the Domaine section if you were to go here.

The drawbacks: It's a little out of the way from main attractions, so you would either need to rent a car or take taxis to explore other beaches or go to Grand Case for dinner. This has never been an issue for us. Also, the beach is private, but short...so you really can't take a mile long hike unless you were to walk back and forth. We really only eat breakfast at the resort...the dining is so great in St. Martin it is just worth it to venture out.

Dining recommendations in Grand Case: Bistro Caraibes, Rainbow, Little France, Le Pressoir, Le Cottage. We also enjoy La Vie en Rose in Marigot.

If you want to be on a longer (also more crowded) beach, I would look at some of the resorts on or near Orient. I think Alamanda Resort is one, as well as Esmeralda. You might also want to check out Le Petit Hotel (owned by L'Esplanade). It is on the beach, but I don't know that much about it.

Our friends have been pushing for us to stay at GCBC because of the convenient location. We toured the resort (including accomodations), and while it was nice and clean and convenient....it just didn't strike me as special. Good luck. We love St. Martin and hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.
Lizzie518 is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 264
TO Nittany1; we also love SXM and have been going there twice yearly for more than 20 years. We stay on the French side; this past year it was the Grand case Beach Club in December and then back to L'Hoste for a week in March. This year we've booked 2 weeks at Christmas and for the first time L'Hoste has a package at Christmas. Check out their web site...www.hostehotel.com The rooms actually look even better than the pictures show. The hotel is right on Orient Beach, large rooms, large bathroom,kitchenette, balcony or patio, pool, small resto at the hotel as well as a beach resto and bar. This hotel is just 2 storeys, Caribbean style; they just acquired the hotel next door so perhaps that's why they are offering at Christmas. They deal with Signature, a Cnd company.

In Grand Case the best lolo is Talk of the Town. In Marigot try Au Plongeoir )diver) on the waterfront in the harbour area (right by the gendarmes stn) In the Marina there are lots of restos and shops; try La Belle Epoque. In Cul de Sac (between Grand Case and Orient) try Le Petit Cul de Sac (excellent pizza).

We would never go all-inclusive as there are too many great places to eat and they come in all price ranges. We take a fold down cooler; we even take breakfast to the beach now; baguettes, ham, cheese, fruit, drinks, pastries and we just munch whenever. Orient is a great beach to walk; it's a couple of Kilometres from one end (Club Orient) to the other (Mont Vernon)...just like the pics..white sand and turquoise water.

Yes, yes..rent a car; it's a great island to drive around. We get a good price at Budget, one of many near the airport.

Enjoy the island.
baker is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2004, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 37
French side is definitely what you are looking for. I would recommend the Alamanda Resort on Orient beach. Lovely hotel (not really a resort at all) right on the best beach on the island - perfect for those long morning and evening strolls when its not crowded.It does get crowded during the day however, and be warned the whole beach allows topless bathing and the east end is completely nudist (but not compulsory!).

The other recommendation you have had of the Grand Case Beach Club is also an excellent choice though the beach is good but ot outstanding. A big plus is that you can walk to the fine restaurants of Grand Case in the evening.

tropicaldan is offline  
Old Sep 19th, 2004, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 98
I found extensive review of the island at the following site. This may be helpful to you. (http://home.carolina.rr.com/edsandra/trip_report.htm)

My husband and I have been going to the island about once or twice a year for last few years.....and we think Ed and Sandra's review is reliable.

Mochi is offline  
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