Hotel advice on French Side or Dutch Side?

May 26th, 2008, 04:19 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 63
Hotel advice on French Side or Dutch Side?

Hello,
My husband and I are not sure if we want to stay on the French or Dutch side. During the day, we'd like to spend a few hours on a beautiful, not too crowded beach (this is probably the most important thing to us). During the afternoon/night, we'd like dinner and shopping. We want to be close to "the action" but we aren't opposed to walking a bit or taking the occasional cab. We went to GC last year and walked EVERYWHERE, so we don't mind a 1-1.5 mile walk to get somewhere. If you have any suggestions, we'd love to hear them. I especially need help with the French side. I have a hotel in mind for the Dutch (Holland hOuse) but I'm not sure if this one will be too crowded. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks.
teachertraveler is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 06:12 PM
  #2  
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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More info...

OK, I think I'm set on staying on the French side. Here are 4 hotels I'm looking at. Any advice/recommendations about them would be greatly appreciated:
Le Flamboyant
Cap Caraibes
Jardin de Chevrise
Mercure Simson

Thanks!
teachertraveler is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 06:41 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2
Hello

I would recomend the Orient Baie area on the French side. Beautiful beach, restaurants and some night activity.

A place like La Planation is quaint, priced reasonable and you can walk to the beach or stay by the pool. Shopping is not to much but you can drive over to Phillipsburg for major shopping or go downtown Marigot on the French side for shopping.

Inside Marina Royale downtown Marigot there is a nice selection of french restaurants, or you can go to Grand Case about 5 minutes down the road from Orient beach to the Epicurean capital of the caribbean where there are at least 100 restaurants to choose from.

Not far from Orient beach are the dutch casinos for night life, either in the area of Phillipsburg or you can go over to Maho bay near the airport to Casino Royale or Sonesta resort for some of the larger casinos.

The people over at Caribbeanwave.com helped us setup our accommadations. I know they represent places like LaPlanation and a few others over in the Orient bay area. They had current photos and maps to help you select.....
Gone2SXM is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 02:50 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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www.tripadvisor.com.....it helped me decide on Le Petit Hotel in grand case. It's a great resource.
jonbon678 is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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We just returned from our first trip to St. Martin and stayed at Hotel L'Esplanade (the sister hotel to Le Petit Hotel) so my recommendation is for the French side as well. Hotel L'Esplanade is not on the beach, but the beautiful hillside setting is an easy walk to Grand Case beach and all of the culinary delights lining Restaurant Row. Orient Beach, which was our favorite beach, is five minutes away from Grand Case by car. We drove to Phillipsburg for the day and got our shopping "fix", but we were happy to return to French side at the end of the day.
posha is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 05:30 PM
  #6  
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Thanks for the suggestions!

GONE2SXM: Are the mosquitos a huge problem? I see that their are mosquito nets in the bed!!! How was the walk to the beach? Was the beach super-crowded?

POSHA: Thanks for the recommendation. Unfortunately, they require a 7 night minimum and we're doing 5 nights because we're spending 2 nights in Anguilla. Did you happen notice any other hotels that looked great?

Jonbon: Thanks for the advice. I like that hotel a lot, too but it's just a tad bit more money than we wanted to spend!
teachertraveler is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 02:01 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Mosquitos exist....we got some of the Avon mosquito wipes and they seemed to work just fine. Remember your in the islands.....various bugs exist no big deal

I never used the nets, just kept the doors shut to keep the mosquitos to a minimum.

It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk from one end to the other of Orient beach. The beach gets crowded on cruise ship days.... on non cruise ship days it ok
Gone2SXM is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 04:59 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Hi, we stayed at the Cap Caraibes last year. While not lavish, the hotel room was more than adequate with a very short walk to the beach (chair and umbrella are provided). The room has a small kitchen & refrigerator which is nice to save on food expenses. If value is important this is a nice stay/choice. Ask for a transformer ahead of time - power at the hotel is European. One outlet could be a problem - my wife suggests bring a small extension cord to help out. We haven't stayed at your other hotels - beach front on orient bay we did not have any problems with mosiqutos

Buy groceries, etc. on the Dutch side. There is a Food Express directly across from the Sonesta Maho Hotel near the airport. With the price of the dollar compared to the Euro - eating out on the French side in Orient Village can be expensive. Dutch side uses dollars; French side uses Euros.

If you have time, eat at Temptations on the Dutch side at the Atlantis Casino - easily one of the best restaurants on the island.

More thoughts if needed on planning your trip - we have been to St. Martin 3 times.

Enjoy your trip!
charlotteusa is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 05:21 PM
  #9  
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Thanks for your responses!

We're nervous about renting a car (we normally don't on trips, we just walk or rely on taxi's/public transportation---I'm a city girl). Is it really necessary in St. Martin? What are the average costs/day?
teachertraveler is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 09:53 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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We have rented a car each time we have been at St. Martin from Avis - there is a gas station at the airport Avis so filling back up is a breeze. We rented a small SUV for $199 for the week - last week.

We like the option of a car to better explore the island. Driving is similar to the US, on the right side.

Your vacation will probably be more cost effective with the car rather than taking a taxi. It will also allow you to maximize your time on the island.

If you are staying at Orient Bay you could probably get by without a car by simply walking to restaurants in the area.

Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip!
charlotteusa is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 10:42 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 198
I too would prefer to walk or take public transportation when on vacation. Having said that I have been to St Maarten 3 times and though I resisted initially renting a car was easy and the best way to get around. The only obstacle is the scheduled bridge openings, avoid these and driving should be hassle free and rewarding.
tyedye33 is offline  

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