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hgirl Sep 2nd, 2003 01:58 PM

Your favorite hotel/inn on St.Maarten/St. Martin?
I have never been to St. Maarten/Martin and I am looking for a hotel (mid Nov) on a great beach for snorkeling, room with a water view, not too commmercial... & a walk to good restaurants. I prefer the local charm over "vegas-like" settings. Any recommendations?

Also, will I need to worry about hurricane season in mid Nov?

baker Sep 2nd, 2003 03:32 PM

Hands down our favourite hotel on St.Martin is L'Hoste. Check out their web site at . It's right on Orient Beach, has a restaurant for breakfast, a beach bar and restaurant, a pool, videos to rent. Rooms are spacious; come with king size bed and sitting area (or 2 large beds), microwave, coffee maker, small fridge, large bathroom. Each has a patio or balcony; from the upper rooms you can see the water. A 2-minute walk away is a small plaza with a deli, and a newer area with several restaurants, ice cream, beach shop. All along Orient Beach there are beach restaurants and bars. We prefer the French side and have stayed happily at Hotel Beach Plaza, Nettle Bay Beach Club, Mercure Simson, Anse Margot. At Christmas we're at the Grand Case Beach Club (Grand Case is a town with restaurants from one end to the other) and in March we're back at L'Hoste. Orient Beach is a clothing optional beach at one end, but where L'Hoste is you'll see topless. We would never do all-inclusive in SXM because there are too many great and inexpensive places to eat. Hope this helps; ask away if you have more questions.

baker Sep 2nd, 2003 03:36 PM

Sorry, you asked about snorkeling and hurricanes: there are many great places to snorkle; I've seen people snorkle at Orient Beach as well as other beaches (Grand Case, Baie Rouge).
Hurricane season officially goes until December but most usually come Sept/Oct although one of the worst was in early Dec.

Carola22 Sep 2nd, 2003 10:30 PM

We used to stay at the Esmeralda Resort on Orient Beach. This is an excellent hotel, very nice accommodations with nearly private pools. The reason we no longer go there is that for us, Orient Beach has become too busy. We particularly hate the noise from the jetskis! We now go to Captain Oliver's resort on Oyster Pond. Not a 'fancy' hotel but we love the atmosphere. And while it's not on the it's only a short ride by 'water taxi' (free) to Dawn Beach. Dawn Beach is wonderful, sure it's lively with some vendors, but no jetskis or motorized watersports, thank God.
Something else you could try is stay at one of the hotels in or near Grand Case, such as the Grand Case Beach Hotel. Lotys of great restuarants within walking distance. Hope this helps!

Lizzie518 Sep 3rd, 2003 03:14 AM

We like Le Meridian/Le Habitacion on the French side. It is not within walking distance to any great restaurants....but the beach is private (shared with the marina and a nominal timeshares), and they have a few restaurabts there. We like it because of the privacy, it is relatively quiet, the staff is very nice, and the grounds are beautiful. I cannot comment on the snorkeling. If we want a little more activity or some great restaurants we just take a cab. (And I would highly recommend going to Grand Case for the restaurants. We never eat at the hotel except for breakfast.)

As a previous poster noted, hurricane season lasts through November, but we have been going to St. Martin around the Veterans holiday for years. We have only encountered a problem once (1995 Hurricane Luis). We just changed travel plans with minimal hassle.

GoAway Sep 3rd, 2003 05:16 AM

Not on the beach, but with a great view of Grand Case bay and Anguilla in the distance, is L'Esplanade Caraibes in Grand Case. It is small, quiet, and as nice as the website makes it look. You will walk down the hill to Grand Case's restaurants and a quiet beach, but you can also drive about 15 minutes or less and get to many other beaches. We've have stayed there twice and both times it has been absolutely great.

RAB Sep 3rd, 2003 08:22 AM

Grand Case Beach Club gets a lot of favorable reviews. It is quiet, but is on a nice beach, has a watersports program, and has some snorkeling with easy access to Creole Rock off-shore. An easy walk to the many restaurants in Grand Case.

Statia Sep 3rd, 2003 08:26 AM

I would say with your criteria, Grand Case Bay, hands down. I haven't stayed in the area in awhile, but you can do a search for the numerous small hotels the area has right on the beach.

Grand Case has very calm water in a quaint setting, along with the best restaurants on St. Maarten, all in one easily walkable area.

doncat Sep 3rd, 2003 10:40 AM

Esmeralda or L Esplanade are both excellent, have stayed at both and they sound like they are what you are looking for!

hgirl Sep 4th, 2003 10:21 AM

Thanks so much for the info everyone! Travelocity has a good package deal for the The Grand Case Beach Club so I think I may go there!

Couple more questions :)
What should I be anticipating for the cost of drinks at this resort or SXM in general? Is it really expensive to buy alcohol and keep it in my room? Is it frowned upon to bring a drink container to the beach?

baker Sep 4th, 2003 12:21 PM

Sounds like you made a good choice. We'll be staying there too but over New Years. There are a couple of little supermarkets in Grand Case and you can buy all kinds of drinks there. There is also a large Match supermarket in a plaza just as you enter Marigot (Fr. capital); it's on the left as you come from Grand Case. It carries European as well as N.American products and has a large liquor section. There is also a pretty good bakery in the same plaza.
In Grand Case itself you could eat at a different restaurant every lunch and dinner and still not get to them all. Le Pressoir is good; we also frequent the "lolos" or rib shacks. Don't be put off by food sitting on the table; in more than 20 years of going to SXM and eating at the lolos we've never gotten ill. We love "Talk of the Town" where our favourite meal is ribs, potato salad,coleslaw, johnny cakes, beer and a Coke; we walk away stuffed and the bill is about $20 (US). In Marigot we love a new place "O Plongeoir" right down on the harbour. A meal for 2 is about $US 40-60. Of course if you add bottles of wine and fancy desserts the price goes up. I don't drink, my husband has a beer or glass of wine and we're usually too full to have dessert.

We take a fold down cooler and take it to the beach with us filled with ham, cheese, fruit, drinks, baguette...and lots of ice. The last few trips we took breakfast fruit and pastries as well as lunch and then we go out for dinner. We're travelling from here in Canada with Signature Vacations and breakfast is included at the GCBC.

wenkranz Sep 8th, 2003 06:04 AM

beer, wine, and alcohol are all inexpensive in SXM. There are no restrictions that I know of, as far as keeping it in your room, or taking it to the beach; although if you are renting a chair at Orient, I would assume you'd be expected to purchase drinks.
Creole Rock is a very good place to snorkel; also a short $5 ferry ride from Cul de Sac [between Grand Case & Orient Bay] is Isle Pinel. There are two beach restaurants there, as well, with great grilled fish.
Have fun!

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