A bad rap or....

Nov 19th, 2002, 12:09 PM
Ellen Hutton
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A bad rap or....

I used to frequent St. Martin quite a bit, and while I recognized it was not the playground of the rich and famous, nor is it peaceful and quiet, I still always found it to have some lovely beaches, good food and some cool French culture. I have not been there in ten years and am going back next month. There is nothing but negativity on this site, and I was wondering if there is something terribly different or is it just a matter of taste between people who like solitude and people who don't mind the hustle/bustle? Help!
Nov 19th, 2002, 12:21 PM
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We have visited SM several times beginning about 10 yeas ago. The last time were there, about 4 years ago, we vowed not to go back. It had nothing to do with hustle and bustle vs. solitude. The island was hard hit by several hurricanes in a short period of time and they just never seem to recover. Large resorts were devasted and never rebuilt or repaired - just left to crumble away. When we drove by some areas it appeared as if it was bombed out. Not the perfect setting for a vacation. This was a while ago so maybe something has been done since then. Good luck on your trip.
Nov 19th, 2002, 01:04 PM
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Just returned from Anguilla and met people that stayed on St. Martin before coming over. They told us a tourist was shot and robbed at a gas station duirng their stay. They could not wait to get off the island and told us some pretty cheezy stories......like I said this was last week. I do not think these typed of crimes are reported due to the tourism business, but they are happening. Better off spending your money onnn a safer destination - BVI, BWI, St. Barths etc.
Nov 19th, 2002, 05:05 PM
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St Marteen is still a good stop over point for a day or two for gambling and Orient beach to laugh at the naked French people(serves for great entertainment),great islands like Anguilla and St Barts only a quick flight or ferry ride away.
Nov 20th, 2002, 04:57 AM
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I've been to St. Martin 6 times (most recently last year) and wouldn't hesitate to go back. The bad stuff is overstated. Your assessment is still accurate.
Nov 20th, 2002, 06:13 AM
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yep there ain't nothing funnier than naked French people.
Nov 20th, 2002, 07:46 AM
R. Bailey
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More built up and touristy than 10 years ago (epecially Orient), but the beaches are still good, the restaurants are as good as ever, and there is still some French culture. Crime is a concern, but it is nowhere near as bad as some of the posters would have you believe. As for unrepaired hurricane damage, that is limited to a couple of sites and you need never see it. Most of the island is pretty clean. As for the naked French people, most of them are actually Americans.
Nov 20th, 2002, 08:51 AM
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Just returned from St. Martin and Anguilla...wonderful vacation.

It was our first trip, so can't comment on changes from years ago.

We were warned of crime against tourists, about crowds, overdevelopment, about dilapidated conditions in some areas due to hurricane damage, and were somewhat concerned. Our worries were needless. We found the island warm, hospitable, beaches beautiful, food phenomenal. We took normal precautions, and never once felt uncomfortable or threatened in any way.

I've been to USVIs, BVIs, many Bahamian islands, T & C, Grenada, Trini/Tobago, St. Lucia. St. Martin was not my favorite (I definitely left my heart on Jost...our all-time fave), but we did have a great time. Don't know if I'll return-only because there are too many islands I have not visited.
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:28 AM
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I go to SXM monthly and I second R. Bailey's comments. There hasn't been a hurricane in the past couple of years, hence time for clean up efforts.

Crime has gotten much worse over the past decade, but not any worse than other major cities, it's just more concentrated. You just have to be careful.

There are a lot more hotels, resorts, restaurants, etc. than ten years ago, as well. The island has built up quite a bit. I think it boils down to whether you prefer hustle & bustle or quaint and quiet.

Have fun.
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:51 AM
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Maybe there has been time between hurricanes to get the clean-up done, but has it been done? As for the comment that there is still some disrepair, but you don't see it - one destroyed resort (Mullett Bay, I think) is located on either side of one of the main roads. How can you miss it?
Nov 20th, 2002, 11:31 AM
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Just returned 11/12/02. The island was clean and green. It still has some lovely beaches, great food, and culture. Since Mullet Bay is on the Dutch side and specifically on Maho Bay, if you stayed on the French side you would never see it. Indeed, you could travel throughout the island and avoid that area if necessary but a hurricane did the damage and an unscrupulous owner prevents repair. There is no reflection on the island itself nor its people. They would love to have those jobs back.
Nov 20th, 2002, 11:32 AM
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Yes, xxx, I'd say the majority of clean up has been done and a lot of new building has gone on in various areas of the island. However, Mullet Bay continues to be an eyesore and a source of contention among all the local islanders.
Nov 20th, 2002, 01:26 PM
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Was In St. Martin last year (on the French side--always stay on the French side). Going back in November. Had a delightful time and hope to again. Yes, there are crumbling homes from the hurricane (mostly on the Dutch side) however the experience of wonderful food, beach and small hotel made the trip perfect.

By the way, I agree with another post, most of the naked folks were American.
Nov 20th, 2002, 03:58 PM
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Have to agree with the poster, Alan...the French side was/is better, especially for the beaches and restaurants.

The Dutch side, especially around Phillipsburg is not so great.

Do your homework and check out the hotels; there are some that have not fully recovered from the hurricanes in the past and just let things go.

I wouldn't discourage folks to visit there, but after being there myself, I would rather go to another island than a repeat the trip.

Pls. consider posting with your comments after your trip down there next month.
Nov 23rd, 2002, 07:10 AM
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Visit www.traveltalkonline.com and go to the St. Martin forum.
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