St. Martin Help!

Old May 8th, 2008, 07:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 312
St. Martin Help!

I don't know very much about St. Martin...I'm interested in knowing which side is better to stay on? Recommendations on places to stay?
Keep in mind however, we'll be 2 young 20 year olds who need to watch their money to a certain extent!
We love beautiful scenery, surroundings, lush environment, beautiful views, adventure, relaxing. We don't need all the hype of extremely touristy places. We'd be fine with relaxing beaches, maybe watersports, hiking, exploring, and some beach bars with maybe music? Any help would be extremely appreciated...thanks so much everyone! I extremely enjoy being a part of the forums, they are always so helpful! thanks again!
chgeeb is offline  
Old May 8th, 2008, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Sounds like you would prefer the French side over the Dutch. Try looking up Grand Case or Orient Bay. Bear in mind that Orient has some clothing optional areas, but that area also has a lot of water sports, restaurants, and nightlife. Grand Case is more relaxed with great restaurants but the beach is much more calm. Orient would be a bit busier and probably more what your age bracket is looking for....without being as touristy as the Dutch side.

Just my 2 cents.
Statia is offline  
Old May 8th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Look up Barbara on here, she IS the St. Maarten expert.
Old May 8th, 2008, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
I agree. Hopefully Barbara will chime in.
Statia is offline  
Old May 8th, 2008, 07:23 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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Hi Chgeeb

My wife and I spent our last vacation in St. Maarten at Orient Bay and the occasional nudity or partial nudity wasn't an issue, and most stays at one far end of the beach with only the occasional brave soul walking the beach. Even saw one Mom and daughter team go topless to their Mom's chagrin, but people are so layed back.

As for the best end of the island, the French side definitely. We're in our early 30s, and stayed at the Alamanda, a small villa like place right across from the Orient Beach (you just had to walk across a dirt road and you were on the beach). Got some great shots of the beach from the room patio too through some small trees/bushes.

Rented a car for the entire time, not expensive, and went to the Dutch side for night life entertainment. Grand Case for some nicer meals and to walk along the 'semi-back ally' type road they are all on. It's nice, just not what I had exptected. People were watching American Idol at some outdoor like cafe restaurant place across from the nicer restaurants.

There is also a Courtyard or Square right around the corner from the Alamanda where you could get pizza, or French food, and a few other choices for less. Service is always slow, but this was our favorite island to stay out of all the Caribbean islands we've been to, and we've been to a lot.

Nice to walk up the street at night, too. Wondering who owns the houses in the neighborhood...must be nice.

Driving around the island is easy, very easy. And it's hard to get lost.

Lots of beaches to visit too, but we enjoyed Orient the best. Wide sand, water sports, and plenty of room. The Alamanda had it's own beach chairs and umbreallas (blue I think). And they'll take your drink order sometimes, with plenty of bars on the beach to grab something to eat or drink.

Take a ferry over to Anguilla, for a nice relaxing few hours at Shoal Bay beach, it's neat, and in late May, there was no one on it but one other couple and a boat that dropped off some people to snorkel and I can't even remember seeing them again after an hour or so. Desolate and beautiful...great video camera spot.

St. Baarts is also an option by Catamaran, but I hear it's more expensive over there, but next time!

If you have any more questions, please feel free to shout out, and I'll try to get on to check. I'm actually here to look at Virgin Gorda for a trip next month, but couldn't resist trying to help someone out real quick. Good luck. You'll have a blast. Promise, so don't stress.

AxelF is offline  
Old May 9th, 2008, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 686
Thanks for calling me the SXM expert. I live there but don't know all about hotels. As far as staying on the french or Dutch side, it depends what you want.
Truthfully the island is small enough that you can stay on either side and travel wherever you want.
I agree..the orient Beach area is beautiful. Lots of nice places there to stay..but not much night life. The center of the night life is more on the Dutch side...especially in the Maho area and Simpson Bay. Here are a few night spots on the Dutch side.
The main clubs on the Dutch side are Bliss - it's very classy. And Bamboo Bernie's esp. on Wed. nights. They are right next to each other at Caravanserai Hotel.
Mansion is new and very nice's located above the Dolphin Casino in Simpson Bay...

Soggy Dollar Bar - Simpson Bay...good fun bar with good crowd.

Sopranos.....piano bar...Maho
Red Piano Bar...Pelican Resort

Buccaneer Beach Bar..Simpson Bay....behind the Atrium Hotel..Simpson Bay..... great location...some nights they have live music.
Green House (Tuesday nights - play local and American rap music) ...Philipsburg.
Also there is a more local spot called BooBoo Jam....French side at Orient Beach. They play reggae & soca music.
Bikini Beach Bar on Orient also has live music several nights.
The to Pineapple Pete's.. a great restaurant by the way... they have late night music at the Alley. and the restaurant itself also has live music some nights.
Sunset Beach to the the planes come in low over the beach.. live music many nights.. good hang out place.
Pick up a copy of K-Pasa when you arrive. It will list all the happenings for the week. Comes out on Thursdays. Also the Out and About section of the Dutch side paper, The Daily Herald - on Thursday too. and St. Maartn Nights.

Definitely rent a car. you will need one..

Ther are plenty of beach bars with music all over the island..
Grand case is a nice are too..lots of restaurants there.. gourmet and at the lo los air local places with fantastic grilled fish,ribs,chicken and cheap cheap cheap.
I am not sure what your budget is but I think you should do some research on lien and see what hotels you can find that appeal to you. I can always offer an opinion then.

Barbara1 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2008, 06:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 312
Wow thank you so much for the great responses!
I would definitely rent a car for us!
The hardest part is we're looking for a clean, nice hotel to stay at, that's right on the beach, and close to fun places! The lady has never been to the Caribbean so I want to make it extra-special for her, without complete killing my bank account
Just a nice place, that's clean, and has good views!! Thanks so much for the responses, they are extremely helpful! It's hard for me to tell how large the island is from a map, so I guess I'm just confused on the length of the drive, like if we stay at Orient Beach, how long is the taxi ride to Simpson Bay area or Philipsburg for the nightlife?
chgeeb is offline  
Old May 9th, 2008, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 686
when are you planning on coming ?
In high season the traffic is horrendous. On a good day you can drive all around the island in about 2 hours.
Orient to Philipsburg is about 20 minutes. Orient to Simpson bay or Maho is about 1/2 hour..again depending on traffic.

for good info on Orient beach hotels, go to
go to the St. Maarten forum there.
That forum is full of people who stay at various hotels on Orient. I don't knwo much about hotels over there.

the ones I do know that you might like, not in any particular order, are:

Barbara1 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2008, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 735
We love the French side. Esmeralda was clean and nice. Lots of places within walking distance on the beach to eat. Great restaurants in Grand Case.
iw is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2008, 09:08 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 30
Hi again,

Just wanted to let you know my wife and I had trouble picking a vacation island for this June so decided to go back to St. Maarten's Orient Beach. We were actually there in 2005, not 2006...if I said otherwise. I know we'll find lots more to do we didn't try last time. I hear the 2.5 hour jet ski tour is fun. Didn't know about that last time. Dawn Beach? Don't think we found that last time either (on the Dutch side barely). Looking forward to another great time. Maybe St. Barts instead of Anguilla this time. Maybe we'll see you there if mid June.

AxelF is offline  
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