St Martin Trip Report March 2008

Apr 10th, 2008, 06:35 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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St Martin Trip Report March 2008

You'll have to bear with me on the trip report. I write them as a way for us to remember our trips. So if it's too long, please pardon me.
We flew from our local airport to Philadelphia and then flew directly to St Martin. I called US Air to try to upgrade our tickets a few times with no success. The night before we left I decided to call again and they actually had two seats that just opened up, so we very happily traded some FF miles for 2 first class upgrades. We left very early in the morning and had two uneventful flights. We had a cooked breakfast in 1st class from Philly to SXM and we abided by our motto that �It�s noon somewhere� and even had a cocktail or two.
In SXM we went through immigration quickly and we were out the door into paradise. We rented a car with Bruce from Kenny�s car rental. This was our 2nd time renting with him and we were again very happy with the car. We rented a phone with Sharon Harris which we did last time also. The phone worked great. We tried our Verizon Wireless phone once just to see if it would work. It did work on roaming and we�ll see what the charges end up being next month.
We stayed at Esmeralda this time in a deluxe room. The grounds are beautiful. They have trees and flowers all around. It reminded me of a nicely maintained golf course. The hotel consists of about thirty or so one story houses that contain 4 rooms in each house. We were in room 468. We had a partial ocean view from our back porch if you leaned way out and we had a view of the hillside villas. We were also very close to the beach, Coco�s and to Astrolabe. The pool that we shared had a nice ocean view. We were very pleased with our room.
The other two times we were in SXM, we stayed at the Alamanda which is a sister hotel to Esmeralda. Alamanda is newer and is closer to the beach, but the grounds at Esmeralda were much nicer. I guess we pretty much liked them both. The staff at both resorts were very nice. We were a little disappointed with the beach drink service at Coco�s. It looked like they only had one guy working the beach area for drink service. He didn�t come around very often which was good for us because our tab wasn�t as high as it could have been � LOL! The waves were very high on the beach so we didn�t get to go into the ocean. I can�t swim and if the waves are way over my head I just don�t go in. We did enjoy swimming in our pool a few times even though it wasn�t heated.
To be continued...
travelenthusiast is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 02:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Can't wait to hear more. We stayed at Esmeralda last summer and it was great....except for the 3 break-ins that happended while we were there. I thought the beach service was yucky, but that was fine. The pools are a nice addition. It is a beautiful beach and Astrolabe was fantastic and the service was awesome!
Keep the report coming!!
iw is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,832
How wonderful - a trip report from St. Martin! My husband and I originally were thinking about going to St John and staying at the Westin, but are worried about a lot of kids. He has since mentioned the Westin in St Maarten. By any chance, do you have any information you can pass along? Whether you saw it or heard people mentioning it? Nice to hear that our Verizon might work there.
Am looking forward to you next chapter...
Knowing is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 02:58 PM
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Knowing - We didn't get to see the Westin although I would have liked to have seen it. We tend to stay at smaller properties. We've stayed at both sizes of resorts in the past and the smaller ones meet our needs better. We also don't like to have a lot of kids running around. We don't have any and I guess I'm not used to a lot of activity. I have thought about staying on the Dutch side if we go again since their nightlife is so much better.
travelenthusiast is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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Restaurants We ate at Astrolabe twice. We went there our first night and enjoyed the food immensely. We both had escargot for an appetizer. DH had lamb ravioli with foie gras and I had the mahi mahi with coconut, pineapple and ginger chutney yum!
We heard that we chef at Astrolabe was the same chef who was at the Alamanda in 2003. We remembered how great the meals were then and they were just as great this time. The second time we ate there was for the Friday Lobster Night.
That night Astrolabe had a singer named Shine who was very entertaining. He played songs that everyone knew. We had a great time that night. He was talking with us during a break and we told him we were celebrating my 40th birthday this trip. He then went on to play a few songs by UB40. My husband and I have a very corny sense of humor so we thought this was very funny.

We ate at Planet Orient one night which was surprising not crowded. The food there was excellent and the setting was just as nice. I would definitely recommend it. We had an early dinner at Kontiki once before we went out for the night to the Dutch side. We had an appetizer sampler plate that I liked and we had fish dishes. We had breakfast a few times at Cocos and once we ate lunch there when rain came through. Their food was fine but nothing special.
We only ventured out to Grand Case twice this trip. We had lobster at Talk of the Town. It was good but the lobster at Astrolabe was much better. The other dinner we had in Grand Case was in Auberge Gourmand. We shared foie gras and escargot appetizers. I had the Chilean sea bass and DH had the roasted duck. We had a pistachio macaroon special for dessert. The entire meal was fabulous.
We went on a catamaran trip to Tintamarre. We had an amazing time. It included lunch and drinks. For those of us who couldnt or didnt want to swim onto the shore, they had a dinghy that shuttled us back and forth. The people were all very nice and we enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately I got a little seasick on the way back, but the crew was very nice and told me that I wasnt the first person that got sick and I wouldnt be the last one. I thought that was very kind.
The big 40th B day celebration On the night before my birthday we had planned on going to the Sunday night Kontiki party which we had gone to on our two prior trips to SXM. Those trips were 4 and 5 years ago. The party was still being advertised and we got there at about 10 PM. No one was there. Instead we heard music coming from the Bikini Beach Buddha Bar, so we went there. It seemed like the crowd did not age at all in those five years. Needless to say we felt old and we didnt stay too long.
On the day of my birthday after we got back from the beach I had a wonderful surprise. My husband ordered a tropical flower arrangement for me from Au Temps des Fleurs in Marigot with the help from the front desk. He also decorated the room with 40th B Day signs. It was a great surprise.
On Monday the night of my B Day I wanted to have fun and listen to music, so we drove over to the Dutch side. We didnt plan ahead for where we would eat and we just kind of wandered into The Wharf. They had a duo playing music. When we went into the restaurant they were playing Michelle by the Beatles, so I knew we made a good choice. It was karma. I requested Brown Eyed Girl or Just the Way You Are and they played both for me. For never really hearing of the restaurant, the food there was very good. We again had escargot and lobster. This is getting to be a theme for the trip. Another woman there was celebrating her birthday with a group of her friends. The band played Happy Birthday for us and we had a great time.
After dinner we ventured over to the Red Piano Bar and saw the guitar duo, Max and Gianfranco. They were very good and we had fun. My husband drove there that night so we didnt stay too long after midnight. When we were leaving we noticed that they had a chalkboard advertising who was playing there and it happened to be right in front of where we parked. As DH was getting the car ready to go, I read that Frankie G from Tennessee was playing the next night. We had seen him play in Barbados in November as a recommendation from a tourist from England who was staying at our hotel there. His show in Barbados was so much fun that I hoped that we could see him again.
I was so excited and our plans for our last night on the island suddenly changed. We decided to take a taxi this time which was a wise decision. The front desk at Esmeralda arranged a taxi for us and he gave us his phone number to call when we wanted to go home. The sign said his show started at eight and we knew we would have to leave relatively early, so we got there right at eight. Frankie G graciously started a little early for us. He even did his Play One, Drink One, Cocktail routine while I had my aunt on the phone who had gone to Barbados with us and saw him too. We bought 3 of his T Shirts. We had so much fun! I love singing along to songs. He played all the standard sing along songs and also did some obscure ones. He sang his famous Cancun Honeymoon and a British song called Alice Who the @#$% is Alice! We had way too much fun that night. I was never so glad that we had an afternoon flight- LOL! We had pretty much packed and took our vacation video and hotel pictures the day before so we were okay. On our way back we switched planes in Charlotte and had run for our connection. Luckily it was delayed 10 minutes and we made it. We had a great time in St Martin celebrating our 40th Birthdays and I cant wait to go back!
travelenthusiast is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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I am loving your trip report! It sounds like you had a great time....thanks for sharing and Happy 40th Birthday! I spent mine in Negril last year.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Apr 12th, 2008, 02:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Happy Birthday!!
Yeah to us 40 year olds! I just spent mine in Las Vegas! Not the carib, but.....teachers can't go to the carib in February. LOL>
I loved Astrolabe! I can't think of our waiter's name, but he was a winner and the after dinner rum... Oh my! Good stuff.
I can't believe how much St. Martin has changed. We have been to the french side 3 times in 15 years. The traffic is something. Funny thing is we always take cabs and Maria has been our taxi driver each time. Great lady and she knows her restaurants.
iw is offline  
Apr 13th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for the kind words. We had so much fun this trip. I think I just wanted to get away from everything and we definitely did.
travelenthusiast is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 05:08 AM
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Glad you had such a nice birthday trip, travelenthusiast. Thanks for the report.
Statia is offline  
Apr 14th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Happy Birthday! Glad you had so much fun! Thanks for sharing.
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