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St. Maarten

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Jul 10th, 2012, 03:58 PM
  #1
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St. Maarten

We are thinking of traveling here in January, we are looking at staying at Princess Heights Resort. Has anybody been to the island or resort? Any kind of details and help would be great, Thanks!!!!
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Jul 11th, 2012, 05:33 PM
  #2
 
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Lots of people has...and DavidSXM lives there. I stayed in a Villa near Princess Heights - i.e. by the Westin and Dawn Beach. What do you want to know? Ask specifics and you'll get all kinds of insight!
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Jul 14th, 2012, 12:37 AM
  #3
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What is there to do? Is this island as nice as jamaica (the only carribean island I have been to). Is there better places to stay? Ill take all the info i can get Thanks!!!!
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Jul 14th, 2012, 12:59 AM
  #4
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We are looking at Princess Heights- I think its near Dawn Beach. We are mainly coming for the beach atmosphere. How is the beach? Is this a good place or do you recommend a different place? What is near here? Or should we be looking at another part of the island? Sorry we are confused at what to do?????? the only place we have been in the carribean is Sandals in Jamaica so we are really not seasoned travelers, any help would be great, Thanks!
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Jul 14th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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I think St. Maarten is much nicer than Jamaica...and I like Jamaica..just got back from Sandals Grande Riveria in Ocho Rios and loved it.

Dawn Beach is nice. It faces east (I prefer west/south to get better sunsets)...Dawn Beach at night though is all twinkley with lights.... Go to Mr. Busby's Beach Bar...check out the Westin/Casino.....Oyster Pond area...but get a car and explore the island.

French side is beautiful and quaint. Go to Orient Beach - fantastic, fun beach lined with beach bars....Bikini Beach and Kakaos (I think the spelling is right)....you can parasail, it's fun.

Take a ferry (oversized canoe - fits a lot of people though) and go to Pinel Island. Water is turquois and always calm...and you can get a great lunch.....the ferry is like 7.00 round trip...a must do.

Eat in Grand Case...fine dining in the Caribbean...you can also get GREAT BBQ at the local Lolo's.

Shop in Marigot...high end shopping, a nice port area with some nice restaurants too.

Go to sunsets on Cupecoy Beach....or Mullet Bay....I'd hang out on Mullet Bay beach during the day as well....

Check out Sunset Beach Bar...you can listen to the Airport tower talking to the planes coming in....the sites of the planes landing/taking off is incredible.

go to Maho/Cupecoy area - some great restaurants...La Gondola/Rare are a few favs.

Simpson Bay/Beach...on Simpson Bay Beach - check out Karacters for lunch...GREAT place..free WiFi...GREAT food... GREAT beach...can't say enough

Simpson Bay is loaded with restaurants like Pineapple Petes, Lee's Roadhouse Grill...there are a lot of casinos too.

Phillipsburg is GREAT for duty free shopping....some good restaurants too - Talula's Mangos, Chesterfields, Holland House, Le Escargot, and Antoines...highly suggest all of these.

Vist near by islands...take the Ferry to Anguilla and go to Elodia's beach bar...where you can rent chairs/umbrellas and have a nice lunch...walk around the bend to Gwens...great place.

You can also take a catamaran to Prickly Pear - a national park....beaches on Anguilla are 2nd to none...well, 2nd to Turks, Bahamas, Tobago Keys.

You could also take the ferry to St. Barts....a very chic french island with beautiful people. I'd rent a jeep and go to Salines, governours, and St. Jean Beach...go to the grocery, grab a bagette and some cheese and wine and enjoy.

You could also take a ferry to Saba....the jewel of the caribbean - no beaches, but the island is incredible.....google it and you'll see what I mean.

If you have more questions, ask away.

St. Maarten is a great island to explore...and it is EASY to get to other islands...which I highly recommend.
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Jul 14th, 2012, 10:32 PM
  #6
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Holy cow- I was worried we wouldnt be able to find anything to do we will be there for a week- My wife LOVES the beach, and a few local adventures would be great- what would you say are MUST DO activities?
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Jul 14th, 2012, 10:52 PM
  #7
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And where do you recommend we stay? Or is our choice good?
Thank you so much for your help!!!
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Jul 16th, 2012, 07:23 AM
  #8
 
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Must do's.
1. Rent a Car (not from Thrifty though - look at other thread on this forum)
2. French Side -Go to Pinel Island, easy to get to (ferry off of Cul de Sac), beautiful beach, great restaurants (pick your own lobster if you want)
3. French Side -Eat in Grand Case - twice - fine dining once, and the Lolo's the 2nd time (I think the name is Taste of the Town)
4. Dutch Side -Go to Karacters for lunch ( on a great beach - Simpson Beach, behind the airport), then go to Sunset Beach Bar afterwards for a cocktail and see the planes.
5. Dutch Side - Shop in Phillipsburg (Marigot is beautiful, shopping way out of my budget) Phillipsburg has great restaurants and duty free shopping.
6. You may be able to get their from Oyster Pond -not sure - can definitely get their from Dutch Side/Pelican -Take a Catamaran to Prickley Pear. BEAUTIFUL beach and great ride over. You catch it near Pelican Condo area
7. French Side - Go to Orient Beach for the day. Can Parasail -lots of restaurants.
8. Dutch Side - Go to Mullet Bay (get to from the golf course)/Cupecoy to watch sunset - then head to La Gondola's for dinner (make reservation)
9. Early in the trip you may want to drive around the island....take a sheet, stop at some beaches (say Happy Bay for example)..but just drive around it and get acclimated.

As for where to stay...now you are literally on the border between the dutch and french side. In order to do any of the things above, you'll need to drive. (Not a big deal, I stayed in a villa here in 2009)...if you want to change...it's up to you..the french side is lovely and quaint...the dutch side has casinos, some high rises.....next February I'm heading back to a condo (Unforgettable Las Arenas) on the dutch side (walking distane to Karacters)...a perceived downer on the french side is electricity and the EURO, they'll accept dollars, they just may charge you more - check that out when you eat around the french side.....
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Jul 16th, 2012, 10:23 PM
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Ok I just looked into Las Arenas- looks BEAUTIFUL!! The prices arent bad either. Would you say Simpson Bay is a great place to stay? Sorry for all the questions- but you have been an awesome help!!! THANK YOU!!!
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Jul 17th, 2012, 03:41 AM
  #10
 
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Hi BellaClaire

You seem to have covered most points, but I am not sure what you mean by the electricity on the French side being a bigger problem than on the Dutch side of the island !

GEBE (the Dutch side electricity provider) is NOTORIOUSLY unreliable. Yes we DO get power outages on the FRench side, but they usually don't last very long - unlike those on the Dutch side.

Also, you say that the Dutch side has 'SOME' high rises - that is a masterpiece of understatement - particularly in the Maho / Cupecoy area !!
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Jul 17th, 2012, 07:49 AM
  #11
 
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I personally LOVE Simpson Beach...there are no highrises on Simpson Beach..just beautiful Yachts and sailboats in the backyard (LOL) every day....Cruise ships pass by in the AM/PM - fun to look at. Bring binoculars! Simpson Beach is just condos and 2 boutique hotels - The Horney Toad(right next to Las Arenas) and Mary's Boon (great history)....I also love the area...it's easy to get to restaurants in Simpson Bay, Maho, and Cupecoy. Phillipsburg is 20-30 minutes based on traffic. To David's point, the Dutch side does have casinos, KFC's, Burger Kings and high rises in Maho/Cupecoy and is not as quaint as the french side. Las Arenas is behind the airport so some people perceive that as a downer. I didn't. I liked watching the planes take off. And all the traffic stops at like 1030pmish...and doesn't start up again until the next morning. All that said, the condo is perfect...1st floor walk out...steps to the pool, steps to the beach...Panoramic doorwalls (ceiling to floor obviously that open) high end amenities, daily housekeeping except Sundays...I can send you some pics if you want.

David....as for electricity...do some of the hotels on the french side have 220 or different plugs? For some that want to curl their hair and such, that could be an issue - LOL - not for me...I could care less as I am on vacation! If I'm wrong on that one, sorry!
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Jul 17th, 2012, 09:10 AM
  #12
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Yes please I'll take all the pictures you can show me!!! I'm a newbie so how do we do this?
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Jul 18th, 2012, 08:39 AM
  #13
 
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Here is a link to my pics on Flickr...I never used Flickr before, but you should be able to see the pic and the title describes where we were. If you have more questions after looking at them, let me know.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
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Jul 19th, 2012, 07:38 AM
  #14
 
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DavidSXM,

I'm sorry to post on this unrelated thread, but I was following some comments you made several years ago regarding safety in St Maarten/St Martin and I was hoping you could help me. My wife and I will be traveling to St Martin and Anguilla this August and I was wondering if you could recommend a safe place to stay. Not to be paranoid, but my wife is pregnant and I want to avoid any potential unpleasant experiences. We don't really go out at night, and neither of us really drink, so we won't be doing anything foolish. But I'd be very thankful for any specific advice you could provide on areas to stay or specific hotel recommendations.

Thank you,

Joseph
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Jul 19th, 2012, 08:42 AM
  #15
 
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So it's July - do you have a place confirmed and are wondering about the area?

Wyo1bowhunter....hope you saw the link to my pics...each year, My sisters and I leave our husbands at home and go to the caribbean. every pic on Flickr is also on my list of must dos....The pics include where we are in the title. I'm reposting my link...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
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Jul 19th, 2012, 11:34 AM
  #16
 
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BellaClaire,

I'm literally booking this week. We're flying in on the Dutch side, and I think we want to stay on the French side, but we don't know which area would be best...
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Jul 19th, 2012, 04:26 PM
  #17
 
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DavidSXM will fill you in on the french side although he knows the entire island quite well. Do you want luxury hotel, condo, villa? Do you want something quaint, or with more action - casinos? French side has fine dining, quaint villages - like Orient Beach area...has the Radisson and some other nice hotels....Dutch side has LaSamanna, Westin (which is in remote area)...the island is safe, just don't keep anything in your car at any time. I wouldn't walk on the beach at night, I wouldn't walk in town at night and I would stay away from local areas at night. If you stay at a villa or condo, lock it up at night or when you are not there as well. I wouldn't just say this for St. Martin, I'd say this no matter where you go.
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Jul 19th, 2012, 06:34 PM
  #18
 
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Hi

Let's deal with the electricity first !

The French side of the island is completely different from the Dutch side in many waye (thank goodness !)

The electrics on the French side are 100% French ! The system is 220v / 60Htz, on the Dutch side it is - as in the US - 110v / 50Htz, so unless you have a converter for appliances which are not suitable for both voltages you need a converter, also the plugs are different anyway. Many hotels though, on both sides of the island, are 'plumbed' for both voltages, but it us just as well to equip yourself with a ;multi-plug, as not everywhere are they offered as a service of the hotel.

Another point is that - would you believe - it is an INTERNATIONAL phone call from one side of the island to the other !!!

Point 2. La Samanna is actually on the French side of the island - though only just !

Joe_Shuster

You have left it rather late to seek advice as to where to stay if you are about to fly ! Also, what is your bubget for accomodation ?

All sorts of last minute 'deals' can be done at this time of year, and I don't think that you will have any problem.

I strongly suggest that you do stay on the French side of the island, and not in the areas just on the frontiers
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Jul 19th, 2012, 06:39 PM
  #19
 
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Sorry, I hadn't finished when I hit the send button !

Give me an idea of your per night budget, and maybe I can help you.
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Jul 21st, 2012, 01:38 PM
  #20
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Yes I got your link BellaClaire and thanks so much!!!! The pics look great and the beach looks awesome- we are in the final stages of planning our trip- Im sure I will be asking more questions so stay in touch- thank you!!!
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