Hotel/Island search for early twenties couple :)

Feb 27th, 2003, 03:29 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hotel/Island search for early twenties couple :)

Hello- I'm hoping for some help in choosing an island first and foremost (and maybe eventually a place to stay) for a trip at some point this summer (June-Early September) with my girlfriend for perhaps 7 nights (we are both early twenties). We will travel from Los Angeles and we are hoping to spend 3000 dollars or less all togehter.

Priorities include white sand windex water postcard beaches...a la Turks/Caicos, but we also want some character to the island's interior (unlike the desert of T/C). Some nightlife would be good, but we dont require anything remotely close to a Cancun or St. Thomas atmostphere.

Here are the things I have considered so far and my brief thoughts. My hope is that maybe by reading my thoughts on some islands, that you might be able to better suggest ideas

Anguilla - Nice beaches, too deserty and unremarkable in the interior

Antigua - Looks good overall...

Turks/Caicos - Great beaches but similar drawbacks to anguilla

St. John - Nice overall, but lacks any sort of island culture...perhaps too american in heritage?

St. Thomas - too developed and crowded.

St. Lucia - Great character to the interior, but beaches arent as good as the rest of the caribbean

Curacao - same issues as anguilla and turks

Cozumel - same issues as anguilla, turks

Caymans - Overdeveloped? Ive heard that the same stuff can be had at other islands.

St. Martin - not quite sure what to make of this one...


Please help! Remember the 3000 dollar top level budget, and I'd love to hear any and all island and resort suggestions Thanks so much!
rsimper is offline  
Feb 27th, 2003, 03:47 PM
  #2  
 
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We're a family that love St.Martin; been going there for more than 20 years. Love the white sand, turquoise water, great food, shopping and lots of nightlife if you want that too. We always stay on the French side; and we've stayed at several hotels. I like the Hotel Beach Plaza in Marigot (French capital); next trip (in 10 days!!!) we're at L'Hoste Hotel which is right on Orient Beach. Check it out at www.hostehotel.com I can honestly tell you that the rooms look even better than their pictures. Their website offers various packages; we deal through Signature Vacations; if you're American not sure what companies might have packages with the hotel. Some people say SXM is too expensive but it doesn't have to be. We have a nice breakfast, pack a cooler for the beach and go out to dinner every evening; most dinners cost us $40-$50 ($US) for the 2 of us. If you have any questions about the island feel free to ask.
baker is offline  
Feb 27th, 2003, 06:15 PM
  #3  
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baker- thanks for your tips! Is there any particular reason you prefer the French side to the Dutch side of SXM? Is it at all possible for you to compare the relative quality of the beaches to any other Carib. islands? Ive seen some amazing pictures from SXM, but photoshop is a powerful tool

Is there much in the way of local culture on either side of SXM? My girlfriend and I love to go shopping at little local knick-knack stores...we've always had fun in Mexico doing this kind of shopping...little local crafts etc. What about local farmers markets or anything of the sort?

Id love to hear anything else you have to say on the subject. Consider me a sponge for information...even if I didnt end up going to SXM this trip, I assure you everything I learn will store itself in my memory for future consideration, but as of right now, i think SXM is in my top 3 or 4 for this trip
rsimper is offline  
Feb 27th, 2003, 10:57 PM
  #4  
 
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We have also been to SXM many times. We started out going to the Dutch side, but we have come to prefer the French side. The Dutch side of the island is much messier. Less is done about the crime problem, unfortunately. Construction on the Dutch side has really gotten out of hand, with lots of rather ugly highrise hotels still being built. The roads are worse, the food (being mainly American-style food) is not as nice, etc. Something else that we like is that many of the foodstuffs such as cheeses, ham, etc, that are sold in supermarkets on the French side are imported directly from France, so they are of very good quality.
So, lots of reasons for choosing the French side!
Personally we no longer like Orient Beach all that much anymore - very noisy and busy, crammed with cafes, lots of jetskis which we hate, etc. We now stay at Captain's Oliver's hotel which actually straddles the border - the hotel is on the French side, the restaurant on the Dutch side. Very nice place, basic and unpretentious, but very quiet location. Not on the beach, but you can take a water taxi to Dawn Beach and be there in 5 minutes.
Hope this information helps!
Carola22 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2003, 07:21 AM
  #5  
 
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My husaband and I are in =our late Twenties and we live in New York.
We have traveled to the caribben quite often and We LOVE St thomas and St John. A lot to do- Shopping in St thomas is amazing!! Best I have ever seen in the islands. Night life is there-Duffy's Love Shack not to be missed.. St John is 9 miles long with a quaint little baech side town with the MOST beautiful Beach I have EVER seen-Trunk Bay. Day trip to BVI. I can go on and on. Lot's of people our age and couples. St Thomas try the Marriott Frenchman's Reef and Morningstar, The ritz, or the Wyndam. St john the only resort as far as we are concerned is Caneel bay. We like staying in St thomas Better though with the option of a 10 minute 3 dollar ferry to St john for the day.
We honeymooned 3 months ago in Curacao. We fell in Love with it. Staeyed at the Emerld Resort-Marriott. One of the most romantic and Beautiful hotels and the cleanist!. We gambled, swam with Dolphins , Partied in town and on the Beach near the Sea Aquarium strip, Took a day trip to Aruba and loved the town look of a Dutch Storybook. People are feindly and Warm.
We will definetly go back to Curacao and know in 5 years from now it will be more Popular then it's sister Aruba.
Those are my personal suggestions and experience. Good Luck!
coffey1027 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 08:51 AM
  #6  
 
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Glad you liked my suggestions. We prefer the French side over the Dutch for several reasons: it just seems more "continental", you hear French spoken everywhere, the cafes are distinctly French. Not to be anti-American but the Dutch side has become too "Americanized"; the cruisers pour off the ships and immediately spot Burger King and the McD's. The French side seems to have retained more of its "French-ness". We have always found the hoteliers to be friendly and helpful and we have never had a bad meal. Contrary to another poster we still prefer Orient Beach but we go to the clothing optional side. If you can imagine this long curving white-sand beach divided in half; to the left is the noisy, busy,busy side with striped chairs and umbrellas, beach restaurants and shops,music blaring, sea doos, parasailing, windsurfing, etc. But to the right is the clothing optional side; no radios, cameras, just people lazing on chairs or the sand getting an allover tan. Believe me you see all shapes and sizes; we're in our mid-50's and in quite good shape but there are not many "10" bodies on the beach. As to your question about local culture: there are several artists who have galleries in SXM. Lots of souvenir shopping of course. I guess my "knick knacks" would be items imported from France like Hediard chocolates and coffees, L'Occitan soaps, Fabrics from Provence, various foodstuffs, clothing. There is a market almost daily at the harbourfront in Marigot where you can buy spices, wooden objects, jewellery from local craftspeople. You can also buy produce, fish,etc. We also sometimes buy French CD's and there are a few home decorating stores we frequent; one time we came home with a beautiful chair. Ahhh can't wait; one week today I will be sitting on Orient Beach catching those rays; sounds especially good when today's weather is calling for the coldest night yet of the winter!! Feel free to ask more questions if you like; we've stayed at most of the hotels on the French side. One tip: don't go all-inclusive to SXM; too many good restaurants.
baker is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 10:43 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I agree with "baker". Saint Martin is definitely a good place to consider. I have been there a couple of times, and I find it to be the better side of the island like "baker". I stayed at LeMeriden/LHabitation a couple of times, and I love it. We spent right at $2,900 for a very nice ocean-view unit. That does not include any food or drinks. I agree with "baker" about the meals. You would want to go, and experience the food. Don't take an all-inclusive on this island. As far as beaches go, I would have to say that St. Martin does have some pretty good ones. Orient Beach is a nice beach, and it sounds like the kind of beach that your are looking for. I will say however, that it is "clothes optional", which means that you could see a good bit of nudity. In fact, you will see that quite of few of women go "topless", and if that bothers you, then St. Martin would not be your best bet. I will say that the traffic is horrible, and that some of the roads are really rough. Also, don't fall into the trap and look at timeshares on this island. It is not a good investment, if you ask me. It is a good place to visit, but I don't know about living there permanently, or investing any of my long-term investments in it. I hope that this helps you. Also, another place that we visited was "Aventura" resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This is a "couples only" hotel that is "all-inclusive". We spent $2,800 for 7 nights including airfare. It is on the Caribbean, but the beach at this resort is very small. I had a great time at each resort.
rcannon is offline  

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