St. Martin- August Advice

Old Jul 6th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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St. Martin- August Advice

Hi,
Heading to the Westin - Dawn Beach for a week in August and was looking for some advice on the following:
1. Transportation to and from the airport? Is renting a car an absolute must? May also consider Loterie farms one day and maybe visiting other islands?
2. Recommendations for other activities?
3. Restaurant/dining recommendations- Dont want to spend too much time dining at the hotel, what are great restaurants (moderately priced), also, enjoy breakfast, what about places for breakfast in that part of town, particularly for coffee, or is the hotel the best bet?
tdbonz is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Absolutely head to Loterie Farms! Allow time for lunch at the Hidden Forest Cafe. The food here is excellent. Other good food choices would be just about any restaurant open in Grand Case (be careful of the lo-los though).

Marigot has wonderful shopping and a climb to the ruins of the fortress will reward you with a glorious view.

Philipsburg can get crowded, especially on days when numerous cruise ships are docked.

You can also do a little research at this website:
http://www.everythingstmaarten.com/

Enjoy your trip!
LesMuse is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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1) A rental car is almost essential. The alternative is to use taxis, which can push up the cost, and they are not always right there when you need them.

St Barts is easilly accessible by fast ferry leaving from Captain Oliver's Marina which is close to your hotel.

Anguilla is also worth a visit. The ferries leave from the Gare Maritime in Marigot (capital of the French side of the island) but you will need your passports - not just photo ID, as that is insufficient.

2)If you are a 'water person' try snorkelling. There are plenty of possibilities on the island. You can also windsurf, kite surf, and parasail etc. The best place for those activities is Orient Bay on the French side of the island - a 15 minute drive from the Westin in the direction of Marigot.

Certainly visit Marigot, it is an interesting town with a wide variety of shops, some expensive and some cheap, and good market on the sea front selling souvenirs etc. It also has a pretty marina (Marina Royale) where there are many shops and restaurants - my personal favorite is the Tropicana.

3) As LesMuse says, you can't go far wrong with the restaurants in the main street of Grand Case - it is the cullinary capital of the Caribbean. Most of them are not cheap but, by and large, you get what you pay for.

Regarding breakfast, I don't know where you got the idea that the Westin is located in a town ! It is situated on a pretty beach - but with 'rollers' a lot of the time - and it is some distance from other facilities. Captain Oliver's Marina, or Busby's Beach Bar are the closest alternative places for breakfast - but the choice is limited.

You really should head for Orient Bay where there are plenty of pleces to eat, both on what most people reckon is the best beach on the island, and in the attractive village square.

Have a great vacation.
DavidSXM is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2009, 05:06 AM
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The Westin is pretty isolated, so a car is absolutely essential and pretty cheap in the off-season. I wouldn't hesitate to have one for the entire stay. The island has loads of restaurants, but the best are on the other side of the island in Grand Case. But there are good places to eat in Phillipsburg and around Orient Bay.
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 05:37 AM
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DavidSXM,
How long of a fast ferry ride is it to St. Barts? Do you have the website for it? We're returning to St. Martin next spring, and are planning on a day trip to Anguilla and Pinel. Is St. Barts worth a day trip as well? We'll have our 4 and 1 year old with us.
thanks!
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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The ferry to St Barts takes about 75 minutes (I think) from Captain Oliver's Marina. The website is www.voy12.com. In any event, it takes a little longer from the Gare Maritime in Marigot. DO NOT FORGET THE PASSPORT REQUIREMENT. It is well worth a day spent there.

I really like Pinel. It has a nice relaxed atmosphere, with quiet beach bars (only 3) with good food, and always flat calm water because of it's location - ideal for small children. The ferry from Cul de Sac costs $7 return - don't miss the last one back or you sleep under the stars !

Anguilla has some great beaches (particularly Shoal Bay) and some good restaurants, but personally I find it rather flat and not very interesting - that statement should provoke some comment!!

Grand Case really is the place for food, but some of the restaurants might be a bit sophisticated for your young offspring.

If you have not already booked, and if you have the option, I suggest that you stay on the French side of the island - that is unless you feel that you will like the high rises, casinos (12), KFC, Burger King and lots of time share property on the Dutch side - none of which (apart from one small time share) will you find on the French side !

I hope this helps.

I openly admit to being predjudiced because I live on the 'civilized' side - that statement will also, I expect, provoke more comment !!
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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Apologies to kellybeaches ! The passport requirement which I mentioned above relates to ANGUILLA - not, as far as I am aware, to St Barts.

You must have passports (not just photo ID) in order to go to Anguilla, but I do not think it is neccessary for St Barts. Anyway, it is always wise to keep your passport with you when travelling.
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Hi DavidSXM,
Thanks for your advice! We stayed in a villa on Bai Rouge beach about 5 years ago and will be staying in a villa on Happy Bay on the french side next spring. We'll definitely be bringing our passports as we're coming from the US and need them for all of those islands. Do you have any specific restaurant recommendations for us in Grand Case or Anse Marcel that would be child friendly (or even ones that aren't if we do a "adults night out dinner"? Any particular great bakeries too for pastries for breakfast? Thanks!
kellybeaches is offline  
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