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St. Maarten, 4/17 - 5/1
Posted by: pat (
Date: May 15, 2010 10:07AM

First of all,let me offer my thanks to all who shared my favorite island time of year and have already written such terrific trip reports. Each of them has been awesome. Since it's my custom to use a lot of words and often not say much, please feel free to follow the bold print to save yourself some time in reading it.

Departed JFK, AA, Sat. April 17th – We were picked up at 4:45am and got to JFK in no time at all, doing all the airport stuff quickly for a Saturday departure. We checked luggage this trip which is unusual for us and we had awesome seats which made for a perfect flight. Our SXM arrival was early and we were ahead of the other Saturday flights which meant we had immigration all to ourselves along with the luggage carousels. We were out of the airport fast and met by Lesley Bruce of Kenny’s Car Rentals in the parking lot where we quickly did the rental thing. His arrangement with Sharon Harris for cell phone deliveries allowed us to be in our car with our phone and on our way in no time.

Check in at The Towers was a pleasure
. Same staff and friendly faces though Maggie is still on maternity leave. She brought her baby girl in for everyone to see and what a cutie pie she is.

As for The Towers, our two bedroom suite was immaculate, the grounds looked nice and yes, the golf course is really looking passé and even the rain Gods aren’t being kind to it this year. The St. Maarten Open was going on and it was sad to see them playing under those conditions but those who played still had a good time. Bottom line - we’re in paradise and that’s what counts.

We spent the rest of the day doing first day things and connecting with Kim and family already there enjoying their week one. And the not so fun stuff - unpacking, and grocery shopping at LGM with lunch at Marks for convenience sake. We ended our day with dinner in our apartment and sun-downers on the balcony and an early bedtime. It really was a very long and tiring day.

Sunday was a quiet day spent mostly at the pool greeting old friends and making some new acquaintances. Our only venture away from The Towers was dinner at Uncle Harry’s and while I don’t recall what we had or what we paid, I do know that it was good and we enjoyed it.

Monday we had breakfast on the balcony – fresh pastries and baguette toast with Dutch butter and cheeses and then off to Karakter on Simpson Bay Beach. The water was rough but we enjoyed the overall experience much as we did last December. This beach is a nice addition to the Dutch side options and they work very hard to make it a good experience for their guests. We spent several days there and felt pricewise, it’s a reasonable day when you factor in the chairs and umbrellas along with the quality of their food, drinks and service available and the immaculate conditions of the beach. We headed back to The Towers and were in time to enjoy Terri’s Bingo on the pool deck. John won the last round and we met co-winners BeermonMD and his wife. Dinner at Antoine’s with the family.

Tuesday was a lost day
– we spent most of it being lazy and doing nothing - just what vacations should be about.

Wednesday found us back at Karakter’s. I had the pleasure of finally meeting and chatting with Elizabeth (Islandgem) and her husband, so thanks, my friend, for hunting us down. We had dinner at Mark’s Place with the family – it was pleasant and certainly reasonably priced.

Thursday was our only day at Mullet Bay Beach. Now there’s a real first for us. Spent the day ‘en famille’ and enjoyed our only BBQ rib lunch at Rosie’s over the two week trip. Since I was very vocal about the trash on Mullet Beach last Nov/Dec., I need to say the beach was very clean the day we were there. That evening we had a dinner date with our grandchildren at The Hideaway. It was a nice evening but something there felt different this year, but time with our Grands is always a treat so that’s okay.

Friday and another poolday, only venturing out to go to Pizza Pasta, another first for us. Dinner was very good but Wow! It sure was warm inside!! We bumped into Rajeesh of Caribbean Gems who told us it’s one of his favorite dinner places on the island. Who knew?

Saturday, Kim’s family headed home and we headed to AXA. We spent three nights at Alamanda Beach Club on Shoal Bay. Lunches were at Gwen’s (I may have gotten the secret ingredient to her incredible pasta salad but I have to try it myself and she swore me to secrecy….) and dinners at Zara’s. Shamash was singing up a storm and his meals were excellent. Things have slowed markedly since our trip two years ago. It was the same story at Gwen’s. Even on Sunday when she’s rocking, it was easy to get a table for lunch while the band played. I don't know if the problem is the economy in general or that part of Shoal Bay having suffered such beach erosion problems, but it sure wasn’t as busy as past years. We had a great four days and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again. It’s very inexpensive in low season, has a full kitchen and is immaculately clean. And you can still enjoy the beach and the hammocks.

Back to SXM on the 27th, taking the ferry to Bonita’s Cantina where we had lunch before picking up our car and heading back to The Towers.

I told AXARob we’d make every effort to attend his party at Tijon in Grand Case. It was a pleasure to see some old friends again and to make the acquaintance of some new ones. And Rob’s photoART – OMG!!! For those who couldn’t be there, you missed a treat so do check his things out on line - the work is gorgeous. And DH finally got to buy ‘HIS HOUSE’ at the end of Baie Rouge. Regardless of what Sharon Harris says, it’s his house – he saw it first!!

Wednesday was our only Philipsburg shopping day. We drove in early parking near the Greenhouse since the midtown lot was filled with Jouvert celebrators. Breakfast at Holland House, a little shopping, some quick hellos to the folks at Caribbean Gems and then back home again. This was our only experience with major traffic since the early morning partiers were all out and on the roads and it took us a full hour and forty-five minutes to get back to the Towers. John was really thrilled to be reminded this was the night we were going back into town for dinner with more SXM notables - Barbara and Dee Cannegeiter and Annie – one more very pleasant evening and I thank you all for joining us.

Thursday - another Karkakter day – are you getting the picture here? And what would a trip to St. Maarten be without a dinner of grilled Caribbean lobster at Lee’s? As always, terrific!!

Friday and we needed to think about heading home tomorrow. Or not! Spent most of the day at the pool and attended a party that evening at Royal Islander Club Le Plage. How beautiful is this place, and the views from the penthouse unit were spectacular!! And what a nice assemblage of SXM notables!! I can only say thank you, Sandy and Bill, for including us and how nice it was to meet JD’s lovely wife Ronalee and Elaine’s Bill along with so many others that evening.

All good trips have to end eventually and Saturday found us off to the airport where we returned our car to Lesley. Checking in at AA and getting through the security check points was no big deal at PJIA, even on Saturday, and believe it or not, things went just as smoothly in NY.

General observations: traffic for the most part wasn’t a big deal with the exception of getting back from Philipsburg that one day. The roundabouts are definitely helping the traffic flow in most of the trouble spots. The weather seemed warmer and more humid than I recall in past Aprils although for the first week we turned off the a/c and enjoyed wonderful breezes in our 7th floor unit. More and more restaurants are adding the TOT and gratuity to meal checks on the Dutch side of the island. For anyone familiar with The Towers, they finally got new chair cushions for the pool lounges. Yes!!

My only negative trip: we stopped at a place in the heart of Grand Case on the night of Rob’s party (I forgot the time and we got there an hour early - I’m so glad DH has a sense of humor!!!) and since it was happy hour, we ordered two pina coladas. I almost choked over the prices - $9. US per drink, one of which was virgin. I guess I don’t spend enough time barhopping but this seemed like a lot for a so-so drink and not even any peanuts – I guess I’m not up with the times. Live and learn. But on the positive side, the place was very nice and the sunset was incredible so I guess that’s the price you pay.

We made our usual small deposits at Casino Royale and watched the street show one night. No major purchases this year other than my raid at Longchamps in Philipsburg.

All in all, we had a great two weeks - ate too much, drank too much, spent way too much with not much done and nothing we wanted to do left undone and now we start planning the next one.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2010 11:34AM by pat.

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Re: St. Maarten, 4/17 - 5/1
Posted by: WOW (
Date: May 15, 2010 11:04AM

Great report Pat.

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Re: St. Maarten, 4/17 - 5/1
Posted by: Barbara1 (Moderator)
Date: May 15, 2010 11:10AM

thnaks pat
I love your trip always
sounds like you had a good time.
and I know you did!


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Re: St. Maarten, 4/17 - 5/1
Posted by: double-D (
Date: May 17, 2010 07:14AM

Thank Gawd I can still get my Pat Report over here!!

Sounds like you had a blast!!

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Re: St. Maarten, 4/17 - 5/1
Posted by: ANON (
Date: May 20, 2010 11:15AM

vERY nice report Pat. Someday I want to stay for two weeks and do a lot of nothing. Do you ever stay just on Anguilla? Someday I'd like to stay over there to.

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Re: St. Maarten, 4/17 - 5/1
Posted by: Lucy (
Date: June 04, 2010 12:35PM

Hi, I noticed that you stayed at the Towers-- was this the Towers at Mullett Bay? Probably (how many towers can there be, right?) but I just wanted to make sure. How are they? There isn't much info about them online. My husband and I are preparing for a trip in July and we haven't decided where to stay, but the "Towers" is one we're considering. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!

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