trip report

Old Feb 16th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
trip report

hi everyone

my hubby and i returned to NJ from st martin and got home at 9 30 pm this past saturday. when we woke up we had 24 inches of snow. Made the vacation even better.

I highly reccomend Hotel L'Espande on the french side if you want a fabulous hotel with great service, great pool, easy access to the beaches of grand case and of course, the restaurants. The hotel is amazing and the staff even more so. Overlooking the sea , the views are remarkable.

St Martin was really good. lots to do even if you do not want to sun it. The French side is certainly more quiet and very different from the dutch side

On the french side, the currency is the euro. SO-many places if you pay US dollars in cash will give you a 1 dollar to 1 euro rate. this actually amounts to about a 20% savings.

On the dutch side, the currency is the guilder and the dollar is 3 times better-so, you get a much better bang for your buck.

In grand case a new place opened up called blue martini and it was happening. also, marlins for breakfast. casual lunch and dinner. right on the beach, marlins will let you use a beach chair and sit all day long if you order food. very reasonable too.

in grand case, we loved bistro caribes and the fish pot. Le testivan in our opinion was overrated and overy snotty. California had great pizza and good food. The lolo bbq's in the center of town were great and also very reasonable.

Grand Case beach club was very good traditional french food.

On the dutch side, we were at pineapple petes in simpson bay-a fun place and at the sports book across the street for super bowl. we spent some time at the atlantis casino in cupecoy and thought the sugar cane restaurant for casual dining was good and very reasonable priced.

Phillipsburg is a disaster to park at and in general, there is more traffic in st martin then rush hour in NYC. I recommend taking a cab. The liquor prices are amazing and i think worth carting through the airport. $8 fo a liter of stoli or dewers. champagne at $25 for moet and chandon brut imperial. I am not a fan of the french but at these prices, it was worth it.

Also-the airport hasn't been renovated since my hubby and i were there 20 years ago on our honeymaoon. what a nightmare but they are building a new terminal.

We went to creole rock for snorkeling and it was nice=although not as great as grand cayman. We also took the ferry to anguilla for the day and had a great time at shoal beach. we snorkled, sat on the beach and had a great lunch.

So-i would be more then happy to answer any ??s you have.

I thank everyone who helped us plan our trip from this forum

karan is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 237
Great report.. thanks for sharing!!!
VegasM is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2006, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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We've been to St. Martin 3 times, it's only been for the cruise ship day visit. We are taking my parents on a cruise & will visit there again for the day and are looking for a place to eat lunch. We are in casino and the Kangaroo Cafe in Phillipsburg before, but I hear so much about the food on the french side that we'd like to try over in Marigot when we go there for the morning. In my research for restaurants on the french side, they all seem to be either expensive or extremely gourmet, which we're not into. Not that we want hamburger/french fries or anything. Any suggestions?
O2BCarib is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2006, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Karan, Thanks for the report. I love where you stayed, great hotel. The traffic in SXM is horrible, isn't it. And yes, it is almost impossible to park! A taxi is a great suggestion. Glad you had a good time.
MIM04 is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Dear O2,

Sorry I cannot recommend anything in Marigot. We only were there to ride the ferry.

In grande case there are several nice restaurants that aren't too gourment and are reasonable-especially that they take $1-1 Euro: California is one, Marlins is another and the Lolo's-local BBQ's are great.

karan is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2006, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Karan, are there any bars on the French side near Grand Case at all that would be good for some after dinner drinks?

Am I right to guess there are more bars near Phillsburg even when cruise ships aren't in town?
dusalis is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Hi Dusalis,

Not sure if my comment posted.

Blue Martini in Grand Case was very busy many nights. Live band and backyard garden.

There was a place a think called the pub or something like that but it didn't seem nearly as cool.

lots of bars in phillipsburg and simpson bay

karan is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:27 AM
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I enjoyed your report, karan, and am glad to hear of some new places to give a try on our next trip over. So glad to hear you enjoyd Grand Case, as well. It's one of my favorite areas of the island.

O2BCarib, I agree with karan that you can find more casual restaurants on the French side, both in Grand Case and in Marigot. Aside from her suggetions, you will also find some casual places at Marina Marina Royale in Marigot, which is the harbor in town. There are several restaurants there with menus posted outside which might fit what you are looking for.

I agree the traffic on the island is horrible and has steadily gotten worse in recent years. For those of you seeking parking in Phillipsburg, you can usually park easily on the salt pond (for free) and walk the couple of blocks over to Front Street. That's what we usually do (if the pay lot in town is full) and it works well.

With regards to the new aiport terminal, it is slated to open in June or July (fingers crossed). I would like to add, however, that there have been a lot of changes and reonvations to the current airport in the 13 years that I've been living nearby and going to the island very many times per year (both to stay and make connections). So, they have been making many improvements in the past decade but the new terminal will hopefully make things run even smoother.

Thanks again for the informative report, karan, and so glad to hear that you had a nice time.
Statia is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:38 AM
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Believe it or not there were no spots at the salt pond the day we went. Not sure if it was because of the cruise ships or the rain-quite an experience though.

We really enjoyed our trip and if we had more time, we probably would have snorkled at the island off orient beach.

karan is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:39 AM
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Sorry Statia about misspelling
karan is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:05 PM
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karan, you mis-speller, you! The spelling police are here now! (Just kidding, of course.) I've been known to have my share, too.

That's surprising that there were no parking spots on the salt pond, but with the traffic I've seen on the island in the past year I wouldn't doubt it. Heck, it's even getting bad on my tiny island.

As far as snorkeling, I guess we have so many great spots here on our island that it's the last thing on our mind when we go to "the big city." I have seen some good snorkeling at Creole Rock in Grand Case, but that's about the limit of my snorkel experience there.

I'm still glad to see you had a good trip. Quite frankly, going to SXM for DH and I is like an errand running marathon and it's rare we get any good R&R in while there. So, it's always nice to see a good trip report from SXM. Thanks again for sharing.
Statia is offline  
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