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Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: fabila (
Date: May 09, 2010 08:10AM

We returned from our vacation tanned, refreshed and already looking forward to trip number 17. Nothing like returning to work the following day and having all that “refreshed and recharged” feeling go right out the window! I really need a day off before returning to work so going forward our trips will be on the weekends.

JETBLUE – Flights were on time with a minimal amount of turbulence both ways. Outbound flight was sold out but inbound flight had a few open seats. We flew Wednesday to Wednesday direct from JFK. You are allowed one checked bag each so we had to pay $30 for our third bag. As a side note the Jet Blue counter at Princess Juliana doesn’t open until 12:30 PM on the week days and 11:30 AM on Saturday and Sunday’s. Needless to say getting to the airport at 11:30 AM was disappointing because we couldn’t check in until the desk opened. Luckily we were the first on line because they had problems with the computer and printing boarding passes which dragged our time there even longer.

Immigrations/Customs in SXM – not fun. We arrived along with 3 other large planes so it took almost an hour before we could get our luggage and leave the airport. That doesn’t sound like a long time but the a/c didn’t seem to be working and it was aggravating because all the lines were open and filled with agents yet still took a while to process us through. God Bless “island time.”

Accommodations – this was our second stay at Paradise Bungalows. We like it so much we are booked for another week on our return visit this Fall.

Bruno is such a gracious host and available should you need anything. He provides you with his cell phone number making him easily reachable either by phone or walking up the driveway to his home. We initially stayed in the one bedroom, “Tintamarre” room but the a/c was pretty loud so after two days I left him a note explaining the problem. When we returned from the beach he had the a/c guys working on it. How’s that for quick service! He apologized and said because they’d be working on it for a while longer he moved us to the large two bedroom loft bungalow, “Pinel”. We loved the easy access to the pool from this room and that we could take advantage of entering or exiting from the front or back. We have now stayed in 3 of the four bungalows which are all well furnished, large with lovely views of Orient in the short distance and a great large deck. We would highly recommend his lovely cottages.

Phone – We continue to rent from Sharon, easy pick up/drop off and affordable with no problems to phone service.

Car Rental – our 15th rental with Unity and fifteenth time having what my husband refers to as his green “Raver!” I did most of the driving this trip so my husband could enjoy the scenery. I don’t mind driving from Orient to Grand Case and back otherwise I leave the driving to him. Either people are driving painfully slow so I want to pass them or they drive like a lunatic practically on my bumper. I easily accommodate them and move to the side. Our lives are too precious for me to play “chicken” with them.

We did not encounter any traffic to or from the airport or in our travels this trip although we didn’t do much driving. €20 was all it took to refill the gas we used before returning our Rav 4.

Since we initially had a small refrigerator we did not pick up many supplies. Stopped at the mini market next to Royal Palm to pick up a few things. After a short ride we noticed the new supermarket Market Garden or is it Garden Market? I ran in while David stayed with the car and picked up a few more items. Nice store.

Food, glorious food!

– Andy & Cheryl’s twice. Our favorite is the Philly cheesesteak omelet although we tried the chili cheese omelet for the first time and well, fuggettaboutit! OMG it was equally as good and huge. On both occasions we split breakfast. The only other breakfast we ate was croissants from Tap 5 one morning otherwise we skipped that meal. The regular croissants from Tap 5 were quite flaky and tasty, better than they’ve been in the past. I’m partial to the ones at La Crossanterie and Zee Best which we did not get to this trip.


– Andy & Cheryl’s several times. My absolute favorite dish is the Margarita Buffalo shrimp which you can get served over salad so it’s a very satisfying meal and absolutely “lip smacking good!” David and I shared a plate of ribs on another day with onion rings for $14.50, yum-o. David had a hearty burger on another visit, which was very good and I had the Margarita buffalo chicken. A must stop for us to visit with them and hang out at their beach relaxing and eating.

–Palm Beach – still doing 1 to 1 at the beach bar for cocktails only. Restaurant and beach service is €1.25 to $1 for food and cocktails. We had surveyed several beach bars on Orient and while Orange Fever posted their food prices in USD and had a very interesting reasonably priced menu; Sun Beach looked great and lemonadey along with an advertised bathroom we opted for Palm Beach for the large beach area away from everybody else along with TTOLers past recommendations. While pricey we were not disappointed and spent two days on their beach. On our first visit we ate at the beach bar which is very convenient and has a great view. I had a goat cheese chicken burger served with salad, pickles and fries and David had the mahi-mahi burger. We enjoyed our lunch. With one cocktail the bill was €34 - $43.

We made reservations for lunch at 12:30 PM for our second day although it was unnecessary. Both days were quiet on that side of Orient where we thoroughly enjoyed “alone time.” I had a glass of Chardonnay and shared a fabulous shrimp cocktail (€14) served in a martini glass with a few pieces of mango and salad. Drizzled on the plate was a balsamic glaze and a flavorful curry aioli. I ordered the Pasta with Shrimp in cognac with tagitalle pasta (€17). It was delicious with an enormous amount of pasta. Too much for lunch and even dinner that is how big the portion was! David had chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce (€19) served with potatoes gratin, a broiled tomato and a large piece of Plátanos maduros (sautéed sweet fried plantains). He loved his dish which I agreed when I tasted it. You could not see the mushrooms in the sauce but it was definitely infused with the flavor and very good.

Additionally we had 2 sodas and 3 vodka cocktails at the bar which total €80, $100 but… The server charged my card €100 instead of €80. He apologized and handed me a €20 bill back. David and I felt the refund was a little short but since we were unsure what the currency rate was we squashed it. When I got home the $100 withdrawal from my debit credit converted to $129 so there was a difference in their favor. All receipts stated the service was not included? We had good service and a sweet waitress so we left her a nice tip. We did not leave 20% but a healthy tip to her. We also tipped the beach boy and bartenders each day so both days turned out to be pricey but we enjoyed ourselves. We really liked the chairs, beach area, service, clean bathrooms and food. Our beach of choice in the past was Waikiki but at €1.40 to $1 they lost our business.

–Chez Laundra (sp?) – (late lunch/snack) on the advice of a friend for a delicious BLT on a hero we had a late snack one afternoon and he was right – very good at $10.00 with $2.00 for beer. On another occasion toward the end of the day I drank a mango colada ($7) tasty and huge. I watched the woman make my colada with a fresh mango that she cut up and put in the blender. We’ve had wraps in the past but not on this occasion. Would like to try eating there again. They told us they stay open until 5 PM.

–Buccaneer’s beach bar. We had intended to spend the last hour on the island at Sunset watching the planes and eating but a friend who really likes SBAG burgers said it was awful so we changed plans and went to BBB. David had the burger with fries and I had the teriyaki chix burger/fries and a BBC. We made a good choice for food and drink. The BBC was yummy and was my first and last this trip. Both the burger and chicken were delicious and very satisfying. Did not mark down the price.


–Rancho del Sol – €1.20 = $1. A chicken burger with fries, and salad for David. Scallops (6) served with veggies and garlic potatoes. Meal was only OK. Fries were undercooked and all my veggies were less than lukewarm. Scallops were flavorful but they too were on the cold side. We ate here our first night so were hungry otherwise I may have been tempted to send back some of my meal and also ask for better cooked fries. Our total price was $58 with a note that the tip was not included. They left a bottle of passion fruit/ginger rum on our table which was very good. I highly doubt we would return.

–Dinghy Dock – still have “pour your own” drinks for happy hour from 5-7 PM. David had the ribs which are fall- off- the-bone and extremely tasty. I opted for something light and was very disappointed. I had a shrimp salad. Shrimp were small and not very flavorful and a bit “flat.” Drinks plus 2 dinners was only $31 and we had fun so my poor choice for dinner was my own fault.

We found out that the bar/restaurant was sold 10 days prior to our arrival. The new owners are expected to keep the same format and not change anything according to the bartender we spoke too. We missed the new owners by a few minutes and did not get to see the previous owners Matt and Cara who ran a great place and also accommodated very well the two TTOL parties we hosted there. We wish both parties much success.

We went to Bikini Beach the same night as Dinghy Dock and ordered shrimp wontons and Vietnamese rolls. Both were more than adequate in taste but with two drinks the cost was on the high side. €37.50 which came to $50. The conversion was not in our favor so going forward we only stopped by for drinks during happy hour (6 – 7 PM – 2 for 1 with lower cocktail prices during that time.) To our delight Carina was bartending a few nights as well as Laura.

–Safari Grill – ate dinner with Donna and Scott (mscottc). We had a very enjoyable time with them. I had the red snapper with rice and salad and David had a small steak with potatoes and salad. One wine and Vodka & Tonic was $69 for the two of us. I’ve had the same dish before which is OK. Nice piece of fish served with a sauce on the side just doesn’t ring my bell but there isn’t much else on the menu that appeals to me. David said his steak was delicious as well as his potatoes. Convenient being right in the village but otherwise I wouldn’t make the effort to eat there again.

–Le Cottage – très bon. Our meal was absolutely wonderful from start to finish. We dined again with Donna and Scott at a very nice outdoor table I had asked for in my reservation request made through email with Bruno directly. Bruno welcomed us at the entrance with kisses for the woman and handshakes for the men. It really was an impeccable meal. David and I shared the tuna sashimi appetizer. My main course was a large piece of sea breel which was flown in from France that day. It is similar in texture and flavor to Chilean sea bass and was served with a mélange of veggies; a very unusual cup of rice foam that topped several different pieces of fruit in a sauce. It was to die for!

David and Scott both had the duck which was superb tasting and Donna’s filet mignon looked amazing. David and I shared the Grand Marnier soufflé served with a vanilla sauce on the side, two French macaroons and a small cone with sherbet in it while Donna and Scott shared the chocolate soufflé with chocolate sauce on the side. A magnificent meal.

If you stay at Bruno’s place you receive 10% off your bill. The exchange rate was very favorable. €113 - $129. We more than enjoyed our meal and the service so we tipped at 20%. As a side note, Bruno’s menu changed this past Monday. We did not have a chance to see the new menu but did run into one of his staff at Sesame Kafe who told us the menu will be more international? We wish him the best of luck.

–Caribbean Creole Food – best find this trip! Our friends stay next door and have been eating at this local establishment on Grand Case de Blvd for years. We ate there twice but visited three times. We found the meals well priced and tasty. Upon first glance the front bar tables don’t look like much but there are two dining rooms behind as well as a second bar, and a few tables on the beach. Place is quite large with two bathrooms. The owner is a sweet man who dropped by our table several times to make sure we were happy with our meals and to ask if we needed anything else. Very good customer service.

On our first visit I had the shrimp, mahi-mahi, swordfish kebob served with salad and a choice of white rice, rice/peas or fries. I had the rice and peas. There was a sauce on the side but the fish was so flavorful it didn’t need it. Enjoyed my dish immensely, priced at €14. David had ½ bbq chicken with salad and fries -- €12. There is music on Saturday nights, a male singer and woman who backed up and danced, excellent entertainment. Conversion was €1.25-$1.

On our second visit we shared the flank steak/chicken kebob with salad and rice/peas and split the cod fritters. We were served at least 10 small cod fritters €5and the kebob was €15. Our total bill was very reasonable which included several drinks to help celebrate Marie’s birthday of the famous duo – Marie and George. They have a full menu some of the other items that interested me to name a few were the creole shrimp, whole red snapper, steak. Looks are deceiving so if you’re looking for good food at a reasonable price overlooking the ocean give this place a try. The restaurant/bar is located south of the new Rainbow Café on the water side right before the STOP sign.

– Sesame Kafe – ate their last year (off the beaten path in Grand Case) across from the supermarket on side street down from Bistrot Caribes. Our friend Dave Morris was playing that evening so we went to listen to him sing and play guitar. Unfortunately the chef was hospitalized so they were not serving food until he returns. We met friends there and had a great evening listening to Dave play some solid old rock, new stuff and original stuff. He plays from 7 – 10 PM every Monday and plays non stop. His gig is up at the end of this month when he returns to Europe but will be back in mid October. We ended up eating a quiche and Croque Monsieur at the bakery across the street. Both were just OK although the breads and desserts looked good. We returned to Orient Village hungry so a quick stop at Tap 5 (they close at 11 PM) to pick up yet another Croque Monsieur which did not heat up well in our microwave. The crab in our second sandwich was almost non existent but since it was a baguette it was substantial. We were very hungry so with a small can of Pringles we were happy just to have eaten.

We are grateful once again to have had a wonderful time, were safe and got to do most of what we laid out for ourselves. Our priority is always to spend quality time together as a couple, along with sun bathing, dining and spending time with old friends and making new ones. We accomplished all of it and then some. Looking forward to our Fall trip.

Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2010 12:56PM by fabila.

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: Neil Rooney (Moderator)
Date: May 09, 2010 09:50AM

Thank you!

Just Another Ho Hum Day On D Planet

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: Barbara1 (Moderator)
Date: May 09, 2010 11:37AM

great trip report!


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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: jan & chas (
Date: May 09, 2010 03:50PM

Great trip report. I am fairly new to this forum but notice that trip reportson here do not have any pictures. From what I can tell, there is no way to attach pictures to a trip report on the forum? If not, would be nice to attach a link where your pictures are providing they have been downloaded onto your computer. Pictures are such a great part of trip reports and I love looking at them especially being new to the St. Martin area. Just my opinion.

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: Barbara1 (Moderator)
Date: May 09, 2010 06:02PM

you can definitely attache pictures if you have them uploaded to another site like flickr or photobucket etc
\use the icon above ..the square with the hill and sun.
you then get a box where you can enter the image URL.
like this:


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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: jan & chas (
Date: May 09, 2010 07:16PM

yea, I know how to do that...I wish others would do it too.....I love the pictures that go along with the report.

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: janejls (
Date: May 11, 2010 12:39PM

I am new to this forum. Actually new to any forum. Enjoyed all of the info. My husband and I are going to SXM May 18 and am very excited. I took notes on all of your favorite restaurants and am looking forward to trying them out. You also mentioned that you rented a phone from Sharon. Do you have her contact information. Thanks,

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: fabila (155.72.24.---)
Date: May 11, 2010 02:38PM

You can rent a phone via her website. There are many good restaurants on the Dutch side - both casual and more upscale that we visit but not on this trip.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2010 02:39PM by fabila.

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: ANON (
Date: May 20, 2010 11:18AM

Very nice report. I guess we gotta get around more since I dont think I ever heard of half of these places. Looks like we have a whole lot of new ideas for the next trip.

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Re: Spring 2010 Trip Report - 4/28-5/5
Posted by: contessa (
Date: May 20, 2010 12:36PM

Lou, excellent report! I could taste your food! grinning smiley I also love Palm Beach. What a classy place!! Glad you found Chez Leandra.....where have you been? The wraps are delicious and huge. Only complaint is the's been slow. I know...what's the rush? But, I don't like to spend 2 hrs. for lunch. Also, love the Shrimp Margarita ala Andy! Somethings a-miss in the new place, IMHO, pehaps it's just me. Still one of my top favs on OB. Was disappointed with Orange Fever, but again, MHO. And of course, the Bungalows!! Hubby and I were among the 1st to have stayed there. When we're alone we stay there but when with friends we rent a villa. Feb. we were in Bruno's villa. A really nice place!
Thanks for sharing.

smileys with beer Contessa

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