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Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip #126525
04/06/2017 06:50 AM
04/06/2017 06:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 4
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fleckre Offline OP
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fleckre  Offline OP
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Hello! I've read to ~23 pages of posts on this site and they have been tremendously informative. What a great community - thanks for being here.

Given the level of familiarity on the island here, I'm seeking your advice on where to stay. Our situation:
My wife and I will be visiting for our ten year anniversary. We loved St. John on our honeymoon, but wanted to try a different island. I'm not expecting this to be "like St. John." We will mostly do beach stuff, including Orient Beach and value the freedom of the beaches on the French side. I expect to do "nightlife" like in Maho / Simpson Bay once or twice during our week stay. We like to walk to dinner normally in the states, but understand from some of the crime reports that may be unwise almost no matter where you stay / how close you are to the restaurants. With those as are interests in mind. Where would you stay? We are looking at three places specifically:
Les Terres Basses
Orient Bay
Oyster Pond

We're leaning toward being closer to the nightlife and staying in Les Terres Basses, even though we'll use that less, because we think it's better to and we'd rather drive a little longer during the day for the beach than at night for dinner and nightlife. However, I really value the input from this group. Thanks for your help!

Last edited by fleckre; 04/06/2017 06:51 AM.
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Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: fleckre] #126526
04/06/2017 06:56 AM
04/06/2017 06:56 AM
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Posts: 4
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fleckre Offline OP
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fleckre  Offline OP
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Meant to add that we'll be visiting in mid-June if that changes any opinions.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: fleckre] #126527
04/06/2017 06:59 AM
04/06/2017 06:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 155
Central Connecticut
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4Driver4 Offline
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Central Connecticut
If you like to walk to dinner, stay at GCBC.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: 4Driver4] #126528
04/06/2017 07:13 AM
04/06/2017 07:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,450
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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I would highly recommend Grand Case Beach Club given your parameters. We've stayed there and parked our car and never felt the urge to use it again until we returned home but this was four nights at the end of a two week stay elsewhere in the island.

At GCBC you have the freedom to enjoy both of their beaches, one of which has chair service for drinks and such, the new and improved swimming pool and their lovely restaurant and bar but you also have all of the GC eateries, from the lolos tonthe high end places at your fingertips. You can easily walk or use the little jitney service that runs around GC at night as it's very reasonable and kind of fun.

You can treat this place as a full service resort and enjoy all its amenities as such, or you can treat it as a hotel and travel the island at your leisure. I truly felt it was the best of both worlds when we were there.

Personally, I don't think SXM is remotely like St. John but that's just one opinion and we only stayed on StJ once. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: pat] #126529
04/06/2017 07:33 AM
04/06/2017 07:33 AM
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fleckre Offline OP
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fleckre  Offline OP
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I agree that it won't be like St. John. That's part of the reason we picked it (though we liked St. John).

I should add a couple more clarifications:
1. We like to stay in detached stand-alone places - not larger (or even smaller) resorts.
2. For dinner we enjoy more laid back types of places and don't need high-end (and don't enjoy too much pretense). Great outdoor atmosphere is king for us (sounds like we'll get that plenty in St. Martin).

I hadn't looked much in the Grand Case area, given number two above, but could if you think walking from non-GCBC VRBO type places in the area would be feasible. Interested in your thoughts.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: fleckre] #126530
04/06/2017 08:18 AM
04/06/2017 08:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 69,733
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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There are LOTS of small places to rent right on the beach in Grand Case. Most of those, you can walk to dinner without any problem and there are lots of high end places in Grand Case, but many that aren't, also. The only problem with walking in that area to dinner is that if you are up around the bend there, where Le Petit hotel is, for example, that there are no sidewalks and it's kind of dark, and you'd have to walk in the road. In the main part of Grand Case, it's pretty well lit and you are fine walking there, so long as you just pay attention looking for cars. There are also a ton of places in Orient Village where you can walk to dinner without any problem. Personally, for your criteria, I would eliminate the places in Basse Terres, and in Oyster Pond, as you could not walk to ANYWHERE from there. And if your main emphasis is going to Orient, you should probably stick to Grand Case or Orient Village. All of that said, it depends also if you are only going to go for nightlife once in the week, as you stated. If so, it would be fine to stay in Orient or Grand Case. If you are wanting to go 3 or 4 times in the week, then there are lots of places along Simpson Bay where you could walk to dinner, or at least, have a very short drive, and you would be close to nightlife.


Carol Hill
Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: Carol_Hill] #126531
04/06/2017 09:42 AM
04/06/2017 09:42 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,236
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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Nettle Bay Beach Club has stand alone units on beach. Several places to eat within walking distance from pizza to full gourmet.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: RonDon] #126532
04/06/2017 10:38 AM
04/06/2017 10:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 173
Nebraska
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joyfully Offline
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Nebraska
It all depends on your priorities, I guess.. We have always stayed in Orient, because: 1-we like the French village feel of the place 2- We appreciate the beach "freedom", as you put it, on Orient 3-we like being able to walk to the beach/morning bakery/evening restaurants. Both Grand Case and Orient offer restaurant options ranging from casual (ribs, burgers...) to 2-hour, 5-course, continental meals... Grand Case, having more restaurants, offers more variety. BTW, we think you can pretty much walk anywhere in Orient village any time of the day, with little risk... OK, the beach gets real quiet late at night and you might not want to walk it at all hours but otherwise... Anyway, that's our 2 cents. As Carol said Terres basses doesn't seem to provide much in the way of walkable anything, so from there, I think you could plan to drive to everything. But, as Carol said, if you really decide you are most comfortable on the dutch side, then Terres Basses might be a good option. Whatever you decide, you'll have a great time - just try to visit different areas so as to get a feel for what is best for you.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: joyfully] #126533
04/06/2017 12:54 PM
04/06/2017 12:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 228
Towson, Maryland
pault21093 Offline
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We will also be there in June beginning the 17th. This is our forth trip and have sampled different parts of the island. We like both sides. I'm not comfortable driving far a night there. Poorly lit windy roads with few signs guiding you. Depending upon how long you are staying, you may wish to something similar to our plans.

The 17th - 22nd, we will be at the Grand Case Beach Club. We have not stayed their before, but by all reports an excellent place. That gives us easy access to all those delicious restaurants in Grand Case. We will have a car so we will be going to Orient, Friars, Happy Bay, Bai Rouge etc.
From the 22 -27th, we are staying at BSV (Beachside Villas) in Simpson Bay. This will be our second time there. Very nice place. That location is convenient to Simpson Bay, Maho and Cupecoy. My favorite beach is Cupecoy (near Shore Pointe and Dany's Beach Bar). Lot's of place to eat with a short drive. Other than El Zafiro, I wouldn't suggest walking to them.

" value the freedom of the beaches on the French side." Does this mean topless or are you looking for nude? Or am I misinterpreting.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: pault21093] #126534
04/06/2017 01:56 PM
04/06/2017 01:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 132
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BobNLiz Offline
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We normally stay in a private villa... a bit more pricey but we travel with another couple so the price difference in negligible. We stay on Dawn Beach (Dawn Beach Estates) which is very close to both French and Dutch sides making access to both easy. There are a couple of restaurants on Dawn Beach but if you are wanting to experience all the options the island offers you would need to drive. Bob does not find the driving very difficult, even at night but to each their own. I'd rate Dawn Beach our 3rd or 4th favorite beach behind Baie Rouge, Mullet and Orient but that does not diminish the fact that it is fabulous in its own right. The island is so diverse in what it has to offer that we like the flexibility. If we are looking for a club (we like the Red Piano) we head over to the Dutch Side... Pure beach days and a lolo we head to the French Side.... Anyway I am jealous.. we are not headed back until May of 2018 (kids related events making us miss this year) so have fun!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: BobNLiz] #126535
04/06/2017 06:05 PM
04/06/2017 06:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 218
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vacanakey Offline
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Hi Fleckre,
We faced the same dilemma as you and started splitting our stays when visiting SXM. The last couple visits we have stayed the first 3 days at Flamingo in Simpson Bay, which is walking distance to restaurants, bars, and casino. We then move to Orient Village for the last 4 days of our stay. I know many here don't like the idea of the hassle of moving mid-week, but it isnt a big deal, and didnt cost us any beach time at all. We stayed at Club Fantastico in Orient Village and it was absoultely perfect for us.

Good luck and enjoy the planning process.

Last edited by vacanakey; 04/06/2017 06:06 PM.
Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: vacanakey] #126536
04/06/2017 08:03 PM
04/06/2017 08:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 41
Virginia Beach, VA USA
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Fleckre, we stayed one week in Simpson Bay ( dutch side ) one week in Orient Beach, and one week in Grand Case - vbro or homeaway for our 3 different trips. Grand Case is the place to be, you can find high end restaurants, but there are lolos at the north end where you can eat at a picnic table, and picnic table fare and a pizza place at the sound end of town as well. While the street is dark, and there is no sidewalk, just watch where you are walking , we walked to dinner and back each night, no problems. If you want to go to Orient for a day, it is a very short trip. Orient Beach got very quiet at night, and very few dining options on the beach, though there are more in the Orient village area. If you rent a VBRO or homeaway in Grand Case - check on the parking - not sure if it matters as much in June, but in the busy season it is nice to have dedicated parking. You won't need a car if you just stayed in Grand Case, but we liked taking day trips to other nearby beaches.

Last edited by barryvabeach; 04/06/2017 08:06 PM.
Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: barryvabeach] #126537
04/06/2017 08:17 PM
04/06/2017 08:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 792
North Carolina
OhDrinkBoy Offline
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My advice is to stay in orient village close to the village center. close to the beach, walk to dinner most nights. lots of places on vrbo (townhouses and condos). grab a cab if you want to go to maho. yea, it will cost for the taxi, but you said you only plan to go a couple of times. short drive to grand case for dinner. most of all, you don't have to drive at all if you don't want to.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: fleckre] #126538
04/06/2017 08:31 PM
04/06/2017 08:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,864
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
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My suggestion would be to stay in Simpson Bay or Maho area to be close to restaurants and nightlife and travel to the French side beaches during the daytime. This works great for many here on the forum.



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Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: islandgem] #126539
04/07/2017 06:07 AM
04/07/2017 06:07 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,236
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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What type of nightlife are you looking for?

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: RonDon] #126540
04/07/2017 09:52 AM
04/07/2017 09:52 AM
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fleckre Offline OP
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All good thoughts. Varying opinions to some degree, but it's helping think through the trade offs of each location.

RonDon, we are typically more the Red Piano type - more chilled vibe with live music, but given vacation and no kids we may do one or two nights of dancing / night club scene - a la Refuge. Would be especially interested in the latter if there's an event or special party of some sort, but it looks like those will be less prevalent in June.

Re: Advice on where on the island to stay - 1st trip [Re: fleckre] #126541
04/07/2017 09:57 AM
04/07/2017 09:57 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,076
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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Based on that, I would agree with IslandGem's suggesting of staying in the Simpson Bay or Maho areas. You can travel to the beaches during the day, but be close to home for evening entertainment.


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