What side of the island?

Old Apr 8th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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What side of the island?

I am planning a four night holiday on the island with my partner for the end of May. I need help deciding what part of the island to stay on. French/Dutch?

The following things are very important:

1 - Delicious FOOD options within walking distance;
2 - A relaxing beautiful beach;
3 - BARS where we can chill out and enjoy tasty beverages, hopefully including wine.

Also, we are looking for a nice, updated, fancy, yet reasonable place to stay. Any advice here is very much appreciated. Also, how are the wine options in St. Maarten?

Thanks to everyone.
mkf954 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Nevisian is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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If you want all of that in one place (walkable), one suggestion is Grand Case on the French side. Some of the highlights include:

- A couple dozen great restaurants (along with inexpensive and casual lolos) along restaurant row, all within walking distance
- A pretty, mostly uncrowded beach, though it is lined with restaurants and apartments
- Several entertaining bars, some on the beach (e.g. Calmos Cafe) and some in the village (e.g. Blue Martini)

We stayed at Le Petit Hotel, which is right on the beach in Grand Case. (The same owners also own L'Esplanade, which is also in Grand Case but on a hillside overlooking the bay). I highly recommend Le Petit as a charming, comfortable, casually elegant, well-equipped place to stay. See my trip report here: (Grand Case Beach Club, at the other end of the beach, also gets good reviews, but it's a larger property.)
Callaloo is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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I think that pretty much your only choice is Grand Case. There are certainly a few places that are in or around Orient Beach, but the really good restaurants (and the only ones walkable from a beachfront hotel) are in Grand Case.

However, you will not find a "fancy" place to stay in Grand Case, and the price may not be too reasonable with the falling US dollar. St. Martin is French; the wine choices are excellent.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2008, 07:08 AM
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Here's another vote for Grand Case for what you are seeking.
Statia is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2008, 04:50 AM
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French side is better, IMHO! Great dining and wine in Grand Case. We took taxis everywhere and recommend Maria as a great driver. I haven't stayed there, but I hear that Grand Case Beach Club is nice and you should be able to walk to restaurants. We stayed at Esmeralda and their onsite restaurant, Astrolabe is excellent! The hotel is set up like bungalows and each one has 4 rooms for people. There are pools for each bungalow to share. Very nice.
Wine is available everywhere and there are a lot of options. When you walk the street in Grand Case, the menus are posted and you can walk in to whatever looks good to you. What I love about Maria is that we get in the taxi and say...take us somewhere good and she does it. She goes in and speaks with the host/hostess and we always have an amazing waitstaff and meal.
The dutch side seems extremely busy to me, but that is where most of the casinos are located, so if that is important, please consider it. The cost of a taxi from french to dutch was $35 2 years ago each way. Ouch! Before tip!
Please post a trip report.
iw is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2008, 08:40 AM
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I second Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case.
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