My wife and I recently returned from our first visit to SXM. We arrived around 2:30 and headed straight to Sapphire to rid ourselves of the luggage. After reading several not-so-flattering reviews, I didn't have high expectations for the resort. Perhaps that is why we weren't too disappointed with what we experienced. Our 1BR was spacious, with 3 beds and two full baths. We also didn't expect the daily housekeeping service. Our TV in the living area never worked and was reported, but we didn't really need it anyway. The landscaping and pool area was nice and being on/near Cupecoy beach was also a bonus. We loved the caves and rocks, and the "bushwackers" didn't really bother us. We only saw one that was blatant about his intentions. We found Happy Bay to be our favorite beach - both for the seclusion and the beauty. We spent two days there. We spent two days in Pedro's chairs on Orient Beach. That is truly the place for people watching - whether the people are clothed or not. We also visited the beaches at Friars Bay, Baie Longue, Baie Rougue and Plum Bay.
We visited Pineapple Pete's twice for lunch and once for dinner. The Lobster Thermidor, Blackened Mahi Mahi and Jerk Chicken wraps were big hits with us. My wife really enjoyed the Rumrunners there as well. We were impressed with the service at Pete's. We also visited Talk of the Town three times. The service lacked a little on the first visit, but it improved greatly on visits two and three. The ribs and chicken were very good, as was the curry rice. The snapper was also good, but it appeared to be fried??? My wife also discovered Ting there by accident (tea was requested), but she really enjoyed it and ordered it two more bottles on the next visit. We couldn't believe how many roadside BBQs there were all over the island. We enjoyed the cruise ship-type entertainment at Cheri's Cafe, and the food was good as well. I had the Mahi Mahi and shrimp. She had the ribeye and shrimp. The service was not as good, which was surprising considering they don't include a service charge. The spicy shrimp pizza at the Pizza Galley was also good. We enjoyed a quick lunch while shopping in Philipsburg at the Taloula Mango's Caribbean Cafe. The Bonzai Chicken sandwich was very tasty. We tried the Sunset Beach Bar & Grill on Sunday night to hear Percy Rankin. I don't know if I have ever been ignored that long to order drinks at a bar. I doubt that I will ever have to wait that long again. I did venture over to feel the sandblasting from one of the departing jets. On our last full day on the island, we made it up to Anse Marcel. I think that will be the next place we stay when we return. Close to Happy Bay, Grand Case and Orient Beach - and very beautiful as well. I also spent two days diving with the staff at Octopus Diving in Grand Case, which is the only time I made it to Tintamarre. I wish we could have experienced the mudbaths. Oh well.
I really like Marigot, but hated the traffic that comes with it. We love the roundabouts and wish our state (Arkansas) had a few more. Speaking of roundabouts, I think Philipsburg could use another one between the Rima store and the one that is near the KFC before you head back up the hill toward Marigot / Simpson Bay.
I looked for the TTOL flags, so I could say "Hi" but I didn't see any. Thanks to all the contributors on TTOL for helping us learn so much about the island before we stepped foot on it. Otherwise, we would have wasted much more time and perhaps missed out on our favorite spot - Happy Bay.