Cartera and St. Martin!

Jun 26th, 2005, 09:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 899
Cartera and St. Martin!

Cartera: I see you just returned from a trip to St. Martin, GCBC and the wonderful restaurants of Grand Case! Could you ever be so kind to post a trip report? I'd love to hear about your experience as it is a place that doesn't get a lot of coverage on this site. Would you go back? How are the businesses handling the Euro/USD exchange rate? Any $1EC to $1USD restaurant deals? I'll speak for many of us that we love to live vicariously through others! Thanks Cartera!
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 241
I have been trying to find time to write a detailed report so I will just cut and paste and edit from another site.

This was our first real trip to St. Martin - I had spent a day there years ago when I visited Anguilla. Flew USAir from BWI to CLT then on to St. Martin. Flights went smoothly and all arrived earlier than planned. Customs went quickly. We were met by Kevin from AAA car rental who took us to our Corolla and sent us on our way. I wasn't sure I would ever find my way back there, but leave it to my teenage daughter to remember that we turn at a wall graced by a graffitti expletive. Stopped by Royal Palm to pick up rented phone from Sharon Harris. Only glitch there was that we were given the wrong phone so we had a different number than I had expected - no big deal to me but I guess it could have been for some people. I only used it to call out. Sharon's assistant noticed the mixup the next day and offered to drive over to switch phones but it was not necessary. Sharon offered a free rental for my next trip because of the mixup. We had trouble getting a signal at Grand Case but I had been warned. Sharon says her carrier is putting in a new tower so that should improve. The phone is a great deal. I was amazed at the traffic each time we ventured out - it was worse that I ever imagined - thank goodness the Corolla had good AC. We settled in at Grand Case Beach Club and set out for food. One of the groundskeepers recommended Le Ti Coin Creole right up the road. We were the only people there because it was early and we were treated very very well. Carl is great - giving us little local extras with our choices - great food and very reasonble. We walked by a market to get breakfast items and headed home. I never tired of sitting out by the ocean behind our condo at GCBC. We were there for hours each evening after dinner. Friday, we hung at GCBC, getting acquainted with people and planning the week. We had lunch at the Sunset Cafe and were pleased with the goat cheese salad. During the week, we did the Creole Rock snorkeling trip - Damian took us out and we had a great time - he is very good at what he does - I think he is part fish. My teenage daughter came home with a big crush. Our best meal was at Tropicana in Marigot - I love the location, the service was great and the food was wonderful. The desserts were spectacular. It was recommended by Laurent at the watersport desk - I always get good recommendations from staff. We shopped in Phillipsburg - I made a purchase I was happy with at Ballerina - dealt with Nick. We liked the shopping in Grand Case - Sexy Fruits and the other little boutiques. We bought prepared foods, fresh eggs, etc. at Le Bounty - great little deli. My friend wanted to go to the flea market in Marigot so I went but I was miserable - way too hot and the stuff is the same that you see everywhere in the Caribbean - I did buy some Laramar jewelry as gifts. The only other beaches we made it to were Baie Longue and Baie Rouge. We didn't stay long at Baie Longue because it was quite windy. We settled in at Baie Rouge but the wind kept uprooting our umbrellas there too. I missed our calm water at GCBC. We had lunch at MaTi Beach Bar - beautiful location with a view of Marigot. Good lunch too. We also had a good lunch at Kalmos in Grand Case - great place - they had a live band a couple of nights too. We enjoyed Talk of the Town also. We had a great trip - I really loved GCBC - it is easy to settle in there and not leave - many of the guests there have been coming for years and don't go anywhere else except walk into town for food. It is quiet, intimate and the grounds are lovely. My friend, who has only been to Bermuda, was surprised at the rundown look of the village, but that didn't bother me. My favorite island is Jamaica so I recognize poverty and this was not it. I would like to see some attention given to the beach between GCBC and the town. My only complaint was the traffic - it kept us from venturing out more. The construction is also alarming - there is construction of two large villas next to GCBC. I kept wondering how beautiful the hills and beaches would be had there been a little restraint years ago. I would go back but it did not surplant Jamaica as my favorite destination and will probably go there again first. Many of the restaurants do offer $1 EC to $1 US if you use cash or traveler's checks - I took a lot of cash because of that. The rate had improved by the time we got there so it was 1.20 at most places - except a gas station who did 1.3. Gas is very expensive in St. Martin. We didn't try many of the Grand Case restaurants for dinner because we got burned out on food after a couple of days - the heat took away my appetite except for fruit and creme brulee. I may be the only person who lost weight while in St. Martin.

cartera is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 997
Hi Cartera,

Thanks for the great report. I know you had some concerns about this trip, but you seem to be a traveler who adapts well and enjoys what every location has to offer. I always enjoy your positive comments about your daughter...seems like you have passed on a very positive attitude to her ! Glad to hear she was able to find Ting !

Fruit and creme brulee...YUM...what more could you want ?

Welcome home !


MarionCK is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 899
Thanks Cartera....glad you enjoyed your trip. I enjoyed our trip to St. Martin, as well. I don't know if we'll return, however. But Grand Case is truly a unique experience in its own. I might stay on Orient Beach if we do decide ot go back.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 241
When I first got to St. Martin, I didn't think I would return - I was still smarting from not being able to take the Jamaica trip that I wanted. But, as the week went on, I really settled into Grand Case - it is very much a mix of locals and tourists so it was not as culture-free as I had imagined - a plus for me. I would warn people that the town is shabbier than many expect - the streets narrow and a bit frightening and there are stray dogs and cats everywhere. The hotel is small and intimate and started feeling like home. The nights were wonderful on the water and we had the perfect sunset view every night. I'm not sure I would even bother to rent a car next time - I would just settle in, enjoy the water, veg and eat more. I am lucky that my daughter has always been a wonderful traveler. I recall her sitting in my lap as a toddler in a fancy restaurant eating every bit of my trout - I had to settle for her yogurt cup. I think she slapped my hand when I tried to sneak a bite .Everyone who passed us got quite a chuckle and commented on how well behaved she was - I think she understood then that if she wanted to go along, she had to get along.
cartera is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,113
Catera, I enjoyed the honesty in your report. Grand Case is not for everyone, but it has always been one of my favorite villages on the island and holds many special memories for me.

Glad you enjoyed it, too.
Statia is offline  

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