Late Sept - early Oct in St. Martin/St. Maarten

Old May 7th, 2012, 10:37 AM
  #1  
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Late Sept - early Oct in St. Martin/St. Maarten

I know this isn't the ideal time to visit the Caribbean, but to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, we are determined to go. After research, I have narrowed it down to St. Martin.

Now, how to choose which location we want to stay - Grand Case, Great Bay, Simpson Bay, etc. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

Also, would one side of the island perhaps get "better" weather or nicer breezes during this time frame?

Thanks for your assistance!
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Old May 7th, 2012, 12:28 PM
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It depends what sort of vacation you want.

The French side is quieter, and is a lot less built up.

Grand Case is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, but you won't find much nightlife anywhere near. It is also on the Caribbean side of the island (only just) and the water is usually nice and calm.

A few minutes away you have Orient Bay with lots of beach bars, water sports etc, and the longest beach on the island.

The weather should be pretty much the same on both the French and Dutch side of the 37 square mile island, but if you are interested in nightclubs, casinos, KFC, Burger King and licenced brothels, then head for the Dutch side.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for your reply! And I love the way you sum it up at the end Quiet and relaxing are what we're after, but would like to take advantage of sightseeing, good food, and of course, beautiful beaches. We're not looking for nightlife - and I couldn't imagine traveling to St. Martin to eat at Burger King! Our motto is, if you can get it at home, don't bother.

I'm hoping the heat and humidity won't be too stifling. Will there still be a nice ocean breeze on the leeward side of the island?

Would you choose Grand Case of Simpson or Great Bays?

Thanks again1
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Old May 7th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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Simpson Beach (not bay) is LOVELY.....quiet...beautiful beach, no highrises....just a lot of condos and 2 boutique hotels....There are great restaurants on the Dutch side of the island as well, La Gondola and Rare for example by Cupecoy....and there are great mid-range restaurants - Pineapple Petes, Lee's Roadhouse to name a few...yes, I agree with David SXM, the french side is beautiful and quaint...the dutch side does have casinos, etc.....but I wouldn't rule it out as it also has great things to offer...Cupecoy at sunset Mullet beach during the day, shopping in Phillipsburg to name a few.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:45 AM
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Hi Sunshine !

BellaClaire is quite correct (as usual !), there ARE nice places on the Dutch side of the island, and she has named some of the best restaurants there, though I don't personally like the Simpson Bay 'strip' where Pineapple Petes and Lee's Roadside Grill (not Roadhouse !) are located. I would also add Temptations in Maho to that list.

Having agreed with the above, I am very firmly of the opinion the the French side of the island has much more charm (but as I live there I do also admit to being rather prejudiced !) and it is certainly not as over-built as the Dutch side, also the infrastructure is not as over-stretched.

If you are thinking of staying in the Grand Case area, take a hard look at the websites of the Grand Case Beach Club or L'Esplanade. The latter isn't on the water, but is a bit more classy, and has a pool, but it may not be open at the time of year that you plan to come here.

The shopping in Philipsburg, the Dutch side capital, is excellent, but if you want designer clothes go to Marigot, the French side capital.

Whatever you decide, do rent a car, or you will miss out on a lot, and pay too much for taxis! Also remember that the island IS only 37 square miles, so nothing - on either side - is far away.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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That's easy, Grand Case! small charming fishing village, gorgeous water, loads of restaurants and bbq stands (lolos), quiet. My fav place in the world
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Old May 8th, 2012, 09:35 AM
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Thank you all for your input and advice. What a tough decision!

BellaClaire, what is the distinction you made between Simpson Bay and Simpson Beach?

Will I get a better sea breeze on one side or the other? (Just wondering if there are typical weather patterns that send winds in one direction...)

No one spoke directly to Great Bay. Any thoughts on that area?

Thanks again!
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Old May 8th, 2012, 09:47 AM
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One more question - will a lot of the shops and restaurants be closed in late September and early October? Would that apply to both sides of the island?
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Old May 8th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Most of the shops on both sides of the island will still be open in late September/early October. Some of the restaurants (again on both sides) will be closed in that same time period. Don't worry though, you won't go hungry. There will be plenty of restaurants that will be open.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 12:19 PM
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I stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay, it's okay, water is calm but not as clear or beautiful as other beaches. It's within walking distance to Phillipsburgh where the shopping and cruise ships arrive. Not much going on there in the evening though and I found it a bit rough around the edges especially for walking about in the evening. There's really only the boardwalk along the beach.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 06:12 PM
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Hi, Simpson Beach is on the ocean, Simpson Bay is inland...Simpson Beach is not touristy....there are low rise condos and 2 boutique hotels, Mary's Boon which has a great history and The Horney Toad Guesthouse. Simpson Beach will be near the airport...I did not find it noisy or a distraction, I enjoyed watching the planes and they stop at like 930p or 10p.....If you have any more questions, ask away!
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Old May 8th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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Thanks DavidSXM...I meant to say that above.....and I do LOVE the french side. SXM as a whole is my favorite Caribbean Island. To me it has everything one could want. Fine Dining, Panoramic views, nice beaches, great shopping, and you can take day trips to other fantastic islands...St. Barts, Anguilla and Prickley Pear, Pinel, Tintimarre, and Saba!
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Old May 10th, 2012, 02:46 PM
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While you are there, consider spending a night or two on Saba. The flight is about 15 min from St. Maarten. October is "Sea and Learn on Saba" month - experts on topics ranging from geology to marine biology to botany are brought in the give an evening talk (held in a bar or restaurant so refreshments are near at hand), do a field course, and give a talk at the school. The talks are great, the field courses are always fun and fascinating. (A couple of years ago we took a hike with a botanist who is working to catalog all of the plants on the island. Last year we helped collect water samples from the shallow hot springs for the scientist to use in preparing a grant proposal.)

They don't have the 2012 schedule yet, but you can get an idea of what it is like from their website www.seaandlearn.org.
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