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Meg Dec 19th, 1999 07:38 AM

Grand Case or Orient Bay?
Planning a trip to St. Martin next fall. Would like opinions about where to stay. I want something directly on the beach and am leaning toward a chalet at Orient Bay, but I know that I want to spend some time in Grand Case. Would a rental car be necessary? Where is the best snorkeling? We are not at all interested in shopping or gambling on the Dutch side. All responses appreciated.

Meg Dec 21st, 1999 03:43 PM


sandy Dec 22nd, 1999 01:04 PM

Just returned from St. Martin. I stayed at the Grand Case Beach Club - wonderful place, not real large - nice rooms with great views, kitchenettes in all and some are actual 1 or 2 bedroom units. Staff superb. Beach great - very laid back and informal. Small waterside restuarant with complimentary continental breakfast - heard other meals were good. The reatuarants in Grand Case are fantastic - mostly french and expensive but well worth it. Didn't do any snorkeling because the waters still stired up by hurricane Lenny but good snorkeling avail close to Grand Case and hotel will arrange. spent the afternoon at Orient Beach - also beautiful beach - much larger and longer than Grand Case - lots of surf - Grand Case very calm. 5 beach side restaurants - beach is quite clothing optional including quite a bit of total nudity. May be offensive to some. When I go back I will stay at the Grand Case Beach Club again. Car rental is necessary if you want to get the most out of the island - just beach hopping - and I would go to Orient Beach for the day- I also had no interest in casinos or shopping although there is a quaint open air market in Marigot. Hope this helps. It was totally not what I had envisioned especially due to the vegetation damage by Hurrican Lenny but it only took a couple of days to fall totally in love with the island.

Kella Jan 6th, 2000 09:26 AM

Grand Case has the best restaurants and scuba/snorkeling on the island. Orient bay is the "hotspot" with clubs and a real riviera atmosphere. I prefer the less obnoxious Grand Case. I returned in January and loved the french side.Car rental is definately necessary. Check out Anse Marcel, Dawn Beach, Baie Rouge, Plum Beach and Baie Longue.

Ken Feb 4th, 2000 11:50 AM

My wife and I honeymooned on St. M. in 1995 and we were there again in early '98. Both times we rented a car our entire trip and circumnavigated the island several times. Stayed at Maho on the Dutch side in '95 and at a moderate hotel called St, Tropez which lies in the middle of Orient beach in '98. No question the top restaurants are in Grand Case- there are a dozen or so sqeezed together so you can browse menus before deciding. These are pretty upscale places. There are also many good restaurants in Marigot, but they are spread around due to it being a larger town. If your mostly interested in where you'll be spending the majority of your time, on the beach and in the water, I would definitely go w/ Orient beach. It runs about a mile and a half long and, depending on where you toss down your towels, can be fairly busy or pretty unpopulated. No question in my mind though it's the best beach on the island. There are some food vendor's and jet ski hawkers, but they mostly keep to the south end of the beach close to Club Orient(nudist). Grand Case is not what I would think of as a beach vacation. It's on the ocean but is really more like a cove with water that is very still with a VERY narrow beach. It's only 5 minutes or so from Orient so better to stay at Orient and go to Grand Case for your special meal(s). RENT A CAR. It's worth it, both in taxi savings and because there are a number of nice beaches/views worth checking out. <BR> We've been considering a villa the next time we go also- epecially if you go out of season (fall) or w/ other people it's no more expensive than an average hotel room. Go to your search engine of choice and type in "St. Martin villas" and you can browse many pictures of villas/condos for rent. Let me know if you have other questions. Good luck. Ken

Meg Feb 4th, 2000 03:23 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I am still torn between the two places, but we are leaning toward a villa at Club Orient. <BR> <BR>Has anyone done any diving down there? Any dive operations to recommend or particular dive sights (easy ones - we're just now getting certified) that you enjoyed?

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