Westin St Martin vs Radisson St Martin

Old Oct 27th, 2009, 05:56 AM
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Westin St Martin vs Radisson St Martin

Has anyone stayed at either? Suggestions? I'm looking for a nice stay for my BF and I. We like to have a little breakfast, go to gym to work out, then head to the beach all day. Maybe a nice dinner at night on or off the hotel. Would the Westin or Radisson be a good match or should we do a small hotel(no GYM) or a villa(again no gym) We are in our early 30's btw....
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Old Oct 27th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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The Radisson is situated on the French side of the island, and is, physically, a very attractive hotel - which the Westin certainly is not.

The Radisson boasts the largest swimming pool in the Caribbean, and had the 'official opening' of it's Spa / Fitness set up last week end, where the facilities are expensive, as I found out yesterday! The hotel also has a nice private beach - but then so does the Westin, but with a lot more constant breeze.

If you intend to spend time in a casino, the Westin has it's own, and there are 11 others to chose from on the Dutch side of the island. You will not find any casinos, nor KFC, Burger King or high-rise property on the French side !

Hopefully someone else will add a comment, as I acknowledge that I am rather predjucied as I live on the French side of St Martin, just above Orient Bay, and I do not like the indiscrimate construction, and heavy commercialization of the Dutch side.


Neither hotel is easy to get to, so whichever you choose, you will need to rent a car, unless you intend to remain within the confines of the hotel for your entire stay, or use taxis which are quite expensive, and usually have to be 'summoned'.

There is a lot more to do within relatively easy access of the Radisson. Grand Case - the cullinary capital of the Caribbean - is about 10 minites from the hotel, as is Orient Beach, which is generally considered to be the best on the island.

Another 'high quality' hotel that you could consider is L'Esplanade, located above Grand Case. It only has 24 rooms, but has a very good reputation. I suggest that you take a look at the website.

I hope that I have been of some help.
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Old Oct 27th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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Thanks..anywhere you'd suggest to stay on beachfront of Orient Beach. We usually stay on beachfront resorts, but this island is a bit different(in a good way) to other places we've been.
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Old Oct 27th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Sorry to hijack the thread, but David SXM, do you have any Grand Case restaurant suggestions or other suggestions in the vicinity of the Radisson?

We'll be staying there for 6 nights in December, and while we intend on spending a day in Anguilla, too, we would like to take advantage of all of the great restaurants. Ideally, we'd like to eat at places that do the 1 to 1 exchange for USD to Euros so it's not cost prohibitive. Based on my Chowhound reading last night, it looks like most of the Grand Case restaurants I'm interested in, Le Cottage, Il Nettuno, Bistro Caraibes, etc., do accept the 1 to 1 payment as long as it's in cash.

Thanks!
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Old Oct 28th, 2009, 03:36 AM
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In December, in Grand Case in the 'high' season, you will probably find it difficult to get 1 to 1 in the best restaurants (unless there is a continuing lack of tourists willing to spend 'real' money!). As the tourist levels are (so we are being told) getting back to normal, we must wait and see.

If you do, you will certainly have to use cash to settle your bill.

The current tourists on the island are mainly from cruise ships, are here for a day only, and spend, on average $150 per person. That is very little, and though they would almost certainly never venture near Grand Case, that sum would probably buy you a meal for two in one of the good restaurants there - provided you didn't drink !

Le Cottage is good, but is not on the water side. Right opposite is one of my favorites L'Escapade, it's pricey, and the portions are not enormous, but the presentation and ambiance make it worthwhile. You would do well to book there, and ask for a table directly overlooking the water.

Il Nettuno and Bistro Caraibes are also good, but I have not eaten in either for some months. If you like fish, try The Fish Pot, also overlooking the water.

There is a new addition to Grand Case Boulevard this year, La Villa. It is practically next door to Le Cottage. The menu is limited, but the food has been excellent each time we have visited. The last time we ate there was a couple of weeks ago, the bill for two, including tip, was $145, but unfortunately (as I can no longer drink alcohol, and my Partner tends not to either as she doesn't want to bring back memories for me !) there was no wine or other drinks involved.

I also like Le Tastevin, my Partner prefers it to L'Escapade, though I don't agree with her ! Price-wise both are on a par, and both have good food, a nice ambiance, and overlook the water.

Frankly, in Grand Case you will find it difficult to find a 'bad' restaurant, though some are obviously better than others

Have fun, eat well, and worry afterwards about how much you have spent !!

By the way, though all of the restaurants, and virtually all the shops, on the island, accept credit cards (remember your credit card will be debited in Euros if you use it on the French side) some do not accept American Express - or possibly add a surcharge to your bill for doing so.

I hope this helps.
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Old Nov 6th, 2009, 05:41 AM
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DavidSXM
you seem to know the two hotels very well. I am going to St. Martin during next new year and my wife choice is only among these two hotels. I am a poker player so I am also looking to be close to casinos.
Do you know if the Westin casino offers texas holdem poker? Up to last year they had not. But it may be changed. If so the choice will be for the Westin.
Otherwise which of the two hotels is closest or easier to reach from casinos in Simpson area?
Tx for help.
ciao
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 02:35 AM
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Hi.

Casinos only exist on the Dutch side of the island, therefore there is no casino in, or very near, the Radisson.

There is a rather unattractive casino in house at the Westin, but not being that sort of gambler, I suggest that you call the hotel and ask if they have introduced Texas Holdem by now.


I know that The Atlantis World Casino in Maho has it, as do some of the other very good casinos in that area, so does the Princess Casino, just across the Dutch / French border from Marigot - which is the nearest casino to the Radisson - 15/20 minutes drive.

If money is no problem, and your wife prefers a nice hotel and beach, though you prefer the green baize, why not try La Samana ?

The hotel is arguably the best on the island, very close to the Dutch border, and about a five to ten minute drive from all the best casinos, which are located in the Maho area, rather than around Simpson Bay, which is closer to the Westin, but still about at least a 20 minute drive away.

Another alternative - less expensive - would be to actually stay in or around Maho itself. There is good hotel / surplus time-share rental accomodation in the area, excellent restaurants, and the best nightlife on the island.

By the way, though both the Westin and the Radisson have nice beaches, they are pretty isolated when it comes to doing anything else. The Radisson is very pretty, and the Westin is very ugly, but if those are the only choices, read the notes above !!

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Good luck on the tables !
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Getting back to the original topic....

My husband and I stayed at the Radisson this past spring. We really enjoyed our stay there. DavidSXM gives you great information and advice. While there were many guests who stayed put at the Radisson during the day we prefered spending our days at Orient Beach. The Radisson pool is huge as is the hot tub. The beach is also pretty nice but again, we prefer Orient.

We had one dinner at one of the Radisson restaurants and it was expensive and so-so. The buffet breakfast, on the other hand, was scrumptious. We also ate at the Italian restaurant in the little shopping village just across from the hotel. It was good, although I remember service being exceedingly slow, even for the Caribbean.

Our favorite meal of this trip was at Sol é Luna, which is about 10 minutes from the Radisson in Mont Vernon. It was delicious and a very nice ambience. We also ate at a couple of the restaurants in Orient Village, which are all pretty good.

The spa and fitness center were under construction when we were there so I can't comment.

We found all the hotel and restaurant staff to be very friendly and helpful.

You also asked about Orient Beach hotels. We stayed at L'Hoste a few years ago. It's very basic but it was very clean, the staff was friendly and it's on our favorite beach.

As an aside, we spent almost a week at the Radisson and then went over to Anguilla for another week. The two islands are very different but we like both of them. We stayed at one of the very expensive and raved about hotels. While it is undoubtedly on a gorgeous stretch of beach we didn't love it. My husband commented to me that he enjoyed our stay at the Radisson more. Don't get me wrong, our hotel room on Anguilla was very nice and not your run-of-the-mill hotel room. But the hotel just didn't live up to its expectations, or the price. And I can assure you we spent a LOT more money on our hotel in Anguilla.

Bottom line -- I would, and will, stay at the Radisson again.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 02:23 AM
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My apologies Sweetness (what a name - I hope, by the way, that you really live up to it !)I forgot to respond to your question about hotels on Orient Beach.

The best bet is the Alamanda. It is seperated from the beach by just an unpaved access road, and I have only heard good comments about it. It is not as basic as L'Hoste, but it certainly is neither the Radisson or the Westin. The only iffy comment I have heard is that if you have a room around the pool, it can be a bit noisy late at night, but I should not let that put you off.

It is also located right in the centre of Orient Bay, and is a stones throw from pretty Orient Village, shops and restaurants and all the best beach bars.

Another possibility, perhaps a bit more up-market, though not quite so well located, but still pretty close by, is the Esmeralda Resort.

This consists of mini condos with 3 or 4 grouped around their own tiny pool. It also has a very good restaurant 'on site'. It is about a 50 yard walk along the beach from Orient Village.

Regarding the Radisson, I think that the Italian restaurant close by in Anse Marcel where Sharona ate, was VERY closed when I was at the Radisson a couple of weeks ago - as were many others of the small number of boutiques etc in the little shopping area opposite the hotel. It looks very much as if the leases are up, and the whole place looked very unkempt and thoroughly unattractive.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 02:30 AM
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Oh I forgot !!

We had dinner at the Bistro Caraibes in Grand Case on Friday evening, and had an excellent meal which - for Grand Case - was fairly reasonably priced.

The Fish Pot is still closed, and I am beginig to wonder if it is perhaps not just for the 'low season' as it has a rather 'forlorn' air about it ! It may be that the owners are taking an extended late vacation however.
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Old Nov 18th, 2009, 02:26 AM
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Yep, we also had dinner at Bistrot Caraibes recenlty and it was excellent. Love the staff there, and prices are slighlty better than elswhere we think. Also love Spiga and Ti Provencal in Grand Case. Sol e Luna in Cul de Sac...
www.st-martin-maarten.com offers discount vouchers at some of the grand case restaurants, including le cottage and bistrot caraibes... they come in useful!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 07:04 AM
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We recently returned from SXM. We stayed at the former Cap Caribes. It is reopend and just as before. Simple, pleasant and close to the beach. We dined at La Villa which was very good. Talk of the Town (Lolo's)which was cheap good food. Le Cottage was truly the highlight on this trip - the meal was full of surprises and off the chart. La Belle Epoch in the Marina was also very nice and continues to be frequesnted by locals. As far as work outs in the mornings, in a week's time I would go to the gym 3x. I would get up early drive to the hotel on the dutch side (on the Simpson Bay bridge) and then drive back. The island is small enough to simply make the drive - just get up early so that you are heading back pre-8AM "rush hour." In twenty five years of visits those are some of my thoughts.
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Old Dec 18th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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As a matter if interest, a government auction will take place at the Westin today (18th December), as it seems that the hotel has not paid any room tax due since it's opening !!
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Old Dec 18th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Hi DavidSXM,
We will be there (staying on Happy Bay in a villa) in May, and were looking into 1 meal to eat out for dinner in Grand Case. Keeping in mind that we will have a 1 year old, (2) 4-year olds, and an 11 and 14 year old with us (plus 6 adults), do you think California Restaurant (www.california-restaurant.com/) would be good for us? The menu and pictures look great. Just wondering if you have been there and have any thoughts, or if you think there would be somewhere that would suit us better. We all eat pretty much anything, but are looking for seafood with a french flair. thanks!
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 03:43 AM
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Hi.

The California is one of the few restaurants on the Grand Case Boulevard where I haven't eaten !

I have passed it many time, but somehow haven't got around to eating there. I have become something of a 'creature of habit' and tend to frequent the places I know and like, and where the staff know me - it gives you a comfortable feeling to be greeted as a 'regular' and you know you will be well looked after !

I am 'off island' until New Years Eve - enjoying the New England snow - it's a nice change from 80 degrees plus every day, and Santa on a sleigh is more 'real' than Santa on a jet ski !

When I get back I will check out the California for you, and let you have my comments.

One thing I should say now is that some of the very 'classy' restaurants in Grand Case are - like me - not exactly fond of very young children ! This is particularly so in the evening, so you need to be rather careful with your choice.

I will comment further on my return, meanwhile, have a great Christmas and New Year.
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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Regarding my earlier comment on the 'forced auction' of property at the Westin, according to the on-line version of the local Dutch side newspaper, The Daily Herald, the auction of beds, flat screen TVs etc. etc. was postponed to enable the hotel to 'fight it's case', as the owners claim to have a 'Comfort Letter' from the previous government of the island giving them exemption from payment of the tax for the first 5 years of operation.

As this was never 'legally' agreed, the tax authorities were about to do their job in accordance with the law, until the matter was, temporarily de-fused at the very last minute.

The situation now appears to have become something of a 'political football', as the 'new' government do not seem to be impressed by any 'sweetheart deal' entered into by the previous administration, now the opposition !

Await the next fascinating installment !

Meanwhile, the Westin operators have deposited the disputed sum in an escrow account pending the outcome of the forthcoming legal hoopla.
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Hi DavidSXM,
Thank you for your feedback. I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on California and how kid friendly they are. That is one reason I'm asking around too for restaurant recommendations-we want to be sure wherever we go is very kid friendly. On another note, what is your favorite adults only dinner place in Grand Case (with seafood)? In case we take turns going out for adult dinners?

I'm outside of Philly and am also enjoying the 20 some inches of snow, although if I had my choice I'd be on an island somewhere! Have fun!
Kelly
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 04:46 PM
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FYI, David, The Fish Pot is open. I was in Grand Case tonight and saw it open.
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Old Dec 21st, 2009, 03:45 AM
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Hi Barbara.

Thanks for the update !

The Fish Pot is one of my favorites, and I was quite worried when I noted that it had not re-opened at the end of the 'low season' holidays.

I really like the restaurant, and it is - as far as I am aware - the only one in Grand Case which specializes in fish dishes, though most of the others do have some fish - or shellfish (primarily lobster) - on their menus.

So there you are Kelly, that is your answer !

I don't know how 'kid friendly' The Fish Pot is, but it does have a slightly more relaxed atmosphere than some of the other very 'chic' waterfront restaurants.

If you manage to survive the current snow conditions in Philly, and eventually make it to SXM to thaw out, may I wish you Happy Eating !
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Old Dec 21st, 2009, 05:03 AM
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Fish Pot. Got it. We'll swing by during the day to check it out on the kid friendly scale too before going there, and we could always go there "just adults". Thanks for your recommendation!
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