Where do I stay in St. Marteen???

Jul 10th, 2010, 02:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 27
I almost feel like a stepchild being pulled in two different directions here. lol J/K BellaClaire and DavidSXM. You both have taken time out of your day to provide me with your knowledge and opinions, for that, I am sincerely grateful.

The data has been collected, and a final decision is about to be made. All that is left to do is wait and experience SXM first hand!

@DavidSXM, (on a side note) I read that prior to the Westin being erected, there was somewhat of big push by the local populace to stop the project. Due to the massive environmental displacement and destruction of an otherwise "untouched" Dawn Beach. I did not look deep into the story, but it caught my eye. Thought it was worth mentioning for conversation sake. Yet more evidence of how much free time I have at work!

Now, if anyone cares to tackle this pondering thought.....where can I find the best tasting, juicest steak on the Island? If there is one thing I and or my budget does not shy away from, it's food.....great food. After all, this is one of the big reasons I choose SXM.
pittsburghsteeler_12 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 11,157
We stayed at the old Dawn Beach Hotel a couple of times 20 years ago. There was nothing over there except the Oyster Bay Hotel which was tiny back then. We rented a car and had no trouble getting around the island every night. Well, there was the one time we almost hit the cow standing in the middle of the road. I remember many wonderful meals at the restaurants in Grand Case.
Birdie is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 476
Isn't Princess Heights a high rise -not on the beach? And bring some Euros - as a lot of the establishments on the french side charge EUROS....and bring an adaptor as the electricity is different too.....I stand by what I write.....soon enough our friend will make up his own mind....the orient bay side is very pretty - our villa on dawn beach was FANTASTIC - I just choose not to stay there....another restaurant for you - on your way to Orient - Bikinis (also check out Kakoas (not sure of spelling - but great pizza and salad - right on Orient) - but there is another new restaurant called the view - high on a hill overlooking Galleon and Orient - views are wonderful - food is good and reasonable....also another excursion - Tintamarre! another wonderful place to visit.....and don't feel bad - just go and have a wonderful time - everyone has their own opinions.
BellaClaire is offline  
Jul 10th, 2010, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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oh - for Steak - there is a place called the Keg (or something like that) supposedly great steak......
BellaClaire is offline  
Jul 11th, 2010, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
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@Pittsburghsteeler_12 It sounds like you are all set to go. After much passionate dialog lol. Have a great trip. Would love to hear about it.
bdshotsauce is offline  
Jul 11th, 2010, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,676
More and more, I'm so glad we made the decision to stay on the French side. We'll be there in the third week of November.

As for having to take euros, well, my Canadian dollar isn't accepted everywhere so it's normal for us to use a another currency when we're travelling to a foreign country
SusanInToronto is offline  
Jul 11th, 2010, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 433
The official currency on the French side of the island is indeed the Euro, however the US$ is readilly accepted virtually everywhere - except in the post office !

Not surprisingly then, prices are marked in Euros, however many places - particularly out of season - show prices based on $1 = Euro 1. Others use their OWN rate of echange which is usually clearly shown, and is ALWAYS favorable to the tourist BUT will only apply to payments made in CASH. If you intend to pay that way, establish - in adsvance - what rate will be used for the conversion.

If you use a credit card the charge will be debited in Euros, and your credit card company will treat the debit as a 'foreign currency transaction' and convert the Euro figure to US$ on your statement at whatever rate is being used by the card issuer on the day on which the debit is received.

In a VERY FEW establishments on the Fench side of the island - if you use an American Express card - you may be debited directly in dollars, BUT be aware, AMEX is NOT readilly accepted (very frequently not at all) in a large number of shops and restaurants.

The Dutch side of the island is totally different and is, effectively, a US$ zone - though the OFFICIAL currency is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder (or Florin) - so everything is priced in US$, and all purchases will be directly debited to your credit card in that currency.

It is advisable to, as far as possible, use cash (Euros or Dollars) on the French side of the island, but try to avoid carrying large wads of bank notes, and - if you do so - be sensible, and don't flash the money around.

If you gamble in any of the casinos (which exist only on the Dutch side) and 'win big' it is just as well to have a security guard accompany you to your car, unless it has been valet parked. A friend, staying with me last year, did not do so, and was 'relieved' of $9,000 early one morning after leaving a casino in Maho, and I have heard of other similar cases.

Just use common sense, and don't leave your brain at home !
DavidSXM is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 119
DavidSXM helped us alot with St.Maartin, although we havent gone & plan to go soon, I found out so much about Grand case Beach Club & although I havent gone , I wanted to tell you that there rates right now are cheaper then Feb when I was considering & they have an oceanfront bedroom available at this time. If you are considering the French side with less tourist traps.Enjoy
drsaloni is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 433
Grand Case Beach Club is in an excellent location, and - pittsburghsteeler - if you haven't yet firmed up your booking,it could suit you perfectly, and it is far better located (more centrally for the French side of the island, Orient Bay, Marigot etc.) than the Oyster Pond / Dawn Beach area which you are considering, which is as far away as possible from everything..

If you do book there, you should make sure to get a beach front unit - really 'toes in the water' to the resort's private beach.

The fact that the excellent restaurants in Grand Case Boulevard start about 300 yards down the road is a plus as well.

It's certainly well worthwhile checking out the deal.
DavidSXM is offline  
Jul 13th, 2010, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 528
pittsburghsteeler-did you get a chance to read my trip report on here? We stayed at GCBC for a night. It also lists all the places I would recommend checking out.
kellybeaches is offline  
Jul 13th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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@DavidSXM, Kellybeaches, bdshotsauce, BellaClaire. First and foremost, as always...thanks so much to all of you!

I HAVE NOT made a final decision yet. This Thursday the 15th -in two days!- I book our flight and place. Needless to say, right now is crunch time. Work has unpredictiblity become a bit crazy. With that said, my g/f has taken the bulk of the last minute research, and she is following this post as well. This is one website we are currently checking out: http://www.st-maarten-rental.com/villa.php as suggested by kellybeaches...Happy Bay Villas looks awesome BTW- and I finally had the opportunity to sit down and read your full report. I must say, you do not miss a beat! Very enjoyable and discriptive review to say the least.

In a perfect world. I would have a place with the rates of Princess Heights, right on the sand of Orient Beach!

@drsaloni. Yes, DavidSXM has been extremely helpful with us as well. I thought I was completely sold on PH until a few more posts appeared. Truthfully, I would absolutely love to find a nice place on Orient beach. Its mostly a budget factor at this point. Were going to be there for 15 nights/16 days. So we also want something a little accomadating.

@Birdie, Good to hear you didn't have any trouble getting around the Island from Dawn Beach. I hope the cow was ok!

@BellaClaire. Thankyou for the desscriptive inputs! The website at ....http://www.caribbeandays.com/st_mart..._arenas...This

and the steak house! (Keg) I have not looked into yet, but I will let you know

@DavidSXM, very nice rundown on the Island finances.

Well if everyone were present at SXM during our stay down there. We would ceartinly stop by at your favorite watering hole and treat you to some of your favorite cocktails! We very much appreciate the time. This is valuable knowledge, and such a great site.

Of course, on Thursday...I will let everyone know what the "For real, wirtten in stone, after I book it, final decision has been.
pittsburghsteeler_12 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2010, 12:58 PM
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Posts: 27
FYI--Don't hold anything against me. It's late, my head is a bit cloudy. I forgot to do spell check b-4 I sent this last post. Thanks!
pittsburghsteeler_12 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2010, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1
my wife and i went in February, Stayed in a little studio with a loft called residence La plage, right behind Bikini's. Hung out mostly at la playa beach bar (free lounges for the stay) and at Pedro's by club orient(good snorkling). The village has a number of good restaurants and a grocery for later. We went back in June and took four kids and still had a great time. we stayed at the carribean riviera behind kakao beach bar in a three bedroom with plenty of room. If you are interested in Orient Visit edsandra.com they have a great large panaroma picture with the sites labeled. The area has a great vibe.
batman42 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2010, 12:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 471
I haven't stayed at Grand Case Beach Club - only at L'Esplanade. One of the things that staying right in Grand Case has going for it (among a host of other things!) is that you can walk to the restaurants. You won't need a cab, and you won't have to worry about finding and paying for parking (which probably isn't a problem in August anyway, though), and you can walk back to your hotel after eating and drinking.

It always seemed like there was something going on at night somewhere in Grand Case when I've been there, maybe not a real hopping nightlife, but it didn't seem that it was completely non-existent...
GoAway is offline  
Jul 14th, 2010, 07:04 PM
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As I think I mentioned before, take a look at Caribbean Princess - no it's NOT a cruise ship - it is a hotel on the beach at Orient Bay. The apartments are spacious and well furnished (at least the only one I have been inside was)!

Rates pretty much everywhere should be negotiatable at the time of year when you will be here - though that may not apply to the Grand Case Beach Club which usually has a high level of occupancy, with lots of repeat visitors (like my son and daughter-in-law) which says a lot about the way the place is run.

Don't forget to let us all know when you have made 'the executive decision' !
DavidSXM is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 04:48 AM
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Posts: 27
@DavidSXM and all others. In the end, Princess Heights was victorious. All plans are official at this point, just a matter of counting the days now.

Expect a full report from me come the first week of September. I can't thank everyone enough for all their help.

Two weeks of a kicked back lifestyle cannot come soon enough. It's going to be a long flight with a connection in one of my favorite cities (Amsterdam) but all well worth it in the end.

DavidSXM, were looking forward to enjoying a toast with you and Tiki!

Enjoy the rest of the summer, be safe and look forward to my SXM review! Thanks again!
pittsburghsteeler_12 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 433
Hi pittsburghsteeler.

Glad to have been of some help.

Have a good and safe flight. See you at Bikini Beach when you have got settled in.
DavidSXM is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Hello everyone....

I'm glad to see that the Mister decided to explain why we made our choice of PH. In his posts, he failed to mention that he is one of the biggest adventure junkies I know. Having a beautiful place to stay (although, yes we know it's a bit off of the beaten path) at half the price of a villa or even Grand Case would seriously cut down on his "crazy things to do" list.

If given the option to be in the heart of the action and being more secluded, I personally like the second (Mister would probably go with the first ). Yes, we will be going to visit lots of beaches around SXM, going on the day trips to other islands, sightseeing like crazy, and hopefully engaging in something that neither of us will ever forget. I can't imagine having to turn down an opportunity to cliff dive or parasail because we decided to spend the extra money on the place that's closer to the action instead of having fun.

If we decide to come back one day with friends, we will probably go with the villa option. It ends up being so much cheaper when you share the cost. The places are amazing, and I can see why they were recommended.

After all things considered, our list of adventurous possibilities seem almost endless just to sacrifice a little bit of driving time. Location was truly only our con for this place.

Plus they have poolside yoga at the Westin (right next door and we have free access to) for me.... and a swim up bar for him to sit at and watch...

Seeing him again will be amazing (we have sort of a work related long, long, long distance thing going on....) and I'm sure that you will be hard pressed to not see a smile on our faces at any given moment, even if we get hit with a hurricane.

So, the countdown is on. I'm buying things like crazy, and can't wait to get on that plane for a beautiful vacation!

DavidSXM, I'm super excited to meet you and Tiki!!!

Thank you all for the tips and suggestions. Every option we were given was considered. If anyone else is there the second half of August, let us know.
MrsPittsburghSteeler is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 433
Hi MrsPittsburghSteeler !

Sounds like you two are intent on having fun !

I am not quite sure what you mean by "engaging in something neither of us will ever forget", but my imagination is running riot !

Under the circumstances, as you describe them, I don't suppose either of you will give a damn if there is a bloody hurricane !! As a matter of interest, I spent a few days shut in a bedroom in Bermuda years ago, for pretty much the same reason, and I still have very pleasant memories of that island !!
DavidSXM is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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haha, that was not intended to hint anything other than doing things that we can't do here in PA. Vacations for me (usually Hilton Head Island) have always been on the calm side and typically the only exctiement we want is deciding where to go to dinner. Now with him I will be doing all the crazy adventurous things. Thus, something neither of us will ever forget. But on the other hand, a hurricane probably wouldn't phase us at all!
MrsPittsburghSteeler is offline  

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