Re: Combined Trip Reports - since the board is so dead!!
Date: May 05, 2013 12:25PM
Well, I don't know if this will liven the site up or not, probably not, but we just returned Friday from two and a half wonderful weeks on St. Maarten. Carnival time is always an interesting time to be in St. Maarten and this year the added excitement of the 'swing bridge span' and it's arrival only heightened the excitement. We had strong breezes and nice temps and rain off and on for one day out of 17 but even on that day, we were still able to get in some enjoyable pool time, if not as much beach time as we might otherwise have liked.
We flew Jet Blue round trip this trip - good flights and early arrivals on both ends - no complaints at all with the flights, the planes or anything else with regard to travel. We were through the airport and in the parking lot in no time flat, even being a half hour early and Lesley Bruce of Kennys Car Rentals was already there waiting for us. Can't beat that for service, can you!! We were actually in our rental car and on the road to P'berg at the exact moment we were due to have arrived. It was a great beginning to a really good trip.
We stayed in the new section of Pasanggrahan Hotel on Front St., Philipsberg, for the first three nights - had a lovely upper room with a great view of the Front St. Boardwalk area along with the cruise ships. I'd stay there again in a heartbeat. While in town we ate at Pasanggrahan's Restaurant, Chesterfields, and of course, at Antoines along with lunch along the Boardwalk one day and we got to visit with our long-time friends and aquaintances in town, too so it was all good....
For those who would condemn Philipsberg, I would disagree heartily. We exercised a reasonable amount of good sense in choosing to drive to some of our destinations while there - not because we felt unsafe walking (though we did question the judgement in walking the Boardwalk back from late dinners and chose not to do it) - but because it was just easier to drive at night and some of our plans included walks that were just a lot longer than we chose to take. And for those who wonder about it, we were able to park in front of Pasanggrahan in their area out front the entire time we were there, but they do have their own gated underground parking for their guests only.
On the 20th we relocated to our timeshare at The Towers and had a wonderful two weeks there as well. Beautiful room high up so we were able to take full advantage of the views and the breezes the entire two weeks, and we didn't have to change rooms midstay which is always a plus so that just added to our enjoyment. It really doesn't get much better than that.
We ate, in no particular order, at the St. Maarten Yacht Club, Skipjacks, Rosie's, Friars Bay Beach Club, Toppers, Dreams Beach, La Rosa Too, Moulin Fou, Antoine's for the second time, as well as at the home of a friend along the way, and possibly a few places I've already forgotten about, too. Food was all good and the time shared with friends was delightful, particularly our evenings on Tamarind Hill, at Skipjacks and at LaRosa Too. And thanks to Jeannie, the grocery lady of Shop n Drop, we were well-stocked in our room provisions including delicious breakfast pastries for much of our stay. (for those who haven't tried it, most of them freeze beautifully and when reheated in the oven for about 5 minutes, they're just as good as freshly baked.
The day we were leaving, we checked in early at the airport because we didn't want to chance any potential traffic tie-ups due to the arrival of the bridge span. We were actually hoping to be able to snap a photo of it as we departed SXM and the plane made the big climb over the mountain, but wouldn't you know it, this was one of two times in 40 years worth of trips that we took off over the water!! We didn't get to see the barge through the drawbridge, but as we were taxiing down the runway, we did see it all lined up in place at the causeway where it will ultimately see the swing span off-loaded and installed.
All in all, we had a wonderful time and now we're home again, and back to the real world with chores and responsibilities to be met and handled, but trust me on this, I'm already counting down the days until the next trip.