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Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 #159500
04/23/2018 02:28 PM
04/23/2018 02:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 372
Teresasxm Offline OP
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Teresasxm  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 372
We were in St. Maarten from April 3-10th, 2018. Unable to fly direct from Canada due to Hurricane Irma, we flew to Miami, spent a week in Key West and Key Largo and then continued on to SXM. We flew American Airlines and were lucky enough to have the flexibility with our work schedules to fly on a Tuesday when the flights were a little more reasonable than the weekend when fares almost doubled. Supply/demand and we paid way too much. Sigh.

We landed at the airport extremely emotional and happy to be there. I had booked online with Ace Rent a Car and they were waiting for us. I got the car for nine dollars a day but by the time the insurance was added it had more than doubled the cost of the rental. We just shrugged and handed over our credit card…at least we were covered.

The joy we felt about being back on SXM was indescribable. We were braced for the destruction because we had seen the pictures on line following Irma’s tragic trek but it still tugged at your heart and left you speechless when you drove past the ruined, sunken boats and the rubble of what had previously been paradise. Enough said. We were there to support the island, the economy and our friends and that is exactly what we did.

We stayed at Mary’s Boon and they have lovingly built it back to its former glory. It had been severely damaged like every other hotel with concrete and rooms missing. When I complimented one of the maintenance workers about all their beautiful work, he offered this: “Irma came through and broke the island up so we just put it all back”. Then with a big smile he was off walking towards his next project. Simple logic spoken by a man that had been through many hurricanes.

We had a Beachfront room with a small kitchenette which we used a lot. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in our room enjoying our chairs and table on the balcony overlooking the ocean - it was sheer bliss. We usually eat out a lot more but this trip was different. We were saving our tourist dollars so we could do some humanitarian work on the island. More on that in a moment. We were told all the mattresses were replaced after the hurricane and the beds were super comfy. The bathroom was wonderful (good shower) and the kitchenette came fully stocked with everything a cook could need including paper towels and coffee filters.

We were so happy to see the new “Mary’s Boon” sign go back up during our week’s visit and there was daily painting and fixing going on around the property. The sounds of their busy work didn’t bother us at all and we found the staff to be wonderful and so accommodating. It had always been in my plans to stay here but with past timeshare agreements we always had a place to go to. Those days are over for us (we were part of the Caravanserai/Alegria fiasco) so we’re looking forward to trying out some new places. Mary’s Boon was perfect. We loved the location, Simpson’s Bay Beach was beautiful and it was so nice to come out of your room and walk up to two chairs and an umbrella – and plant for the day. We ate in their restaurant several times and enjoyed the bar. I’ll do a separate post on our food experiences on the island in another report.

We laid low this trip. Usually we’re buzzing around the island from beach to beach and restaurant to bar but this time we stayed close to home which was the Simpson’s Bay area. We did drive around the island one day, however, so we got a good look at everything. Here are some random observations in no particular order.

Airport: They’ve started work on the roof. A big Skyjack crane was in full operation every day we were there with a few workers walking on top of the structure. They have a long way to go.

Beaches visited: Simpson’s Bay, Kim Sha, Maho, Longue Baie (Long Bay), Plum Beach, Orient, Mullet. We brought water shoes due to debris but didn’t wear them once. We were fine but I think people should still be cautious. Orient was shattered as everyone has discussed in previous threads. But Luis was there to greet us with a huge smile. I bought a sarong/beach cover up from him and we purchased drinks at Chez Leandra. The bathroom facilities were across the parking lot on the Club O side located in a metal container and guarded by a boy that looked to be no more than ten years old. I was charged a dollar and told “not to flush” because he would do it when it was “full”. It was very rustic but it got the job done. Simpson’s Bay was beautiful, Kim Sha and Maho were okay, but Mullet blew us away. I have NEVER seen it look so beautiful. There was no big shelf drop off, just a nice easy glide into the turquoise crystal, clear water. Rosie’s is back in operation under a tent and everyone was so nice to us. This was the welcome we had read about where the locals were so happy to see us. There was even a porta-potty located close to the parking lot that I hadn’t seen before. Sorry to keep going on about the bathroom facilities but it’s important to us women folk. LOL. Right now, Rosie’s BBQ is open Tuesday to Sunday and on Monday they sell sandwiches and drinks. The other bar at the far end of the beach is back in operation as well but we didn’t go over because we love Rosie’s so much. We were at Mullet many times during the week and were in heaven.

There was no one on Long Bay or at Plum Beach and it was unsettling to see La Samana deserted. There was lots of building going on at Trump’s Villa…it made it through Irma in pretty good shape.

Philipsburg: There were four cruise ships in port the day we ventured in to see our friends at DK Gems International. Almost all the stores were open, however, foot traffic was light – not the crowds like years before. The beach was super busy with wall to wall beach chairs and umbrellas. The restaurants along the Boardwalk are doing great business. Raj, Anjali, Jeff, Kamal and the gang at DK Gems are doing well after the passage of Irma but you could tell they are worried about the next few years with the threat of more serious hurricanes while the island rebuilds. They told us they were incredibly grateful that their loyal customers have come back to see them on the cruise ships this year. In fact, lots of people that usually travel to St. Maarten have opted for cruises this year with a day stop in SXM. We ran into a few families that were touring for the day. ALL of them said if they were to do it all over, they would have booked a St. Maarten holiday. They were incredibly sad to have to get back on the cruise ship at the end of the day and leave. As we watched the parade of cruise ships motor past Simpson’s Bay in the late afternoon we were so glad we had screwed up the courage and mortgaged the house to pay for our airfare to St. Maarten. (LOL – just kidding.) We will be so glad when there are more economical flights to SXM in the future.

Almost all the stores were open in Philipsburg and now is the time to buy. Every place we strolled into had a sale going on. Some merchants would be even more forward. I walked into a store of clothing and tablecloths etc. and the owner said very loudly, “Hello, what can I help you BUY today?” Yes, he put heavy emphasis on the word BUY. All merchants are in desperate need of sales and customers right now – I bought what I could but I worry for all of them.

Sunset Beach Bar vs Driftwood: We are airplane fanatics and have spent so many happy years on Maho beside Sunset Beach Bar. It’s just our thing and brings us tremendous joy. This year we were at SSBB ONCE. It was so quiet and the bar staff wasn’t very nice or friendly. It was so empty they had closed down the section closest to the beach which is where we wanted to sit. One beer and we were gone…across the sand to Driftwood which was hopping. They’ve expanded their operation and are being rewarded with lots of customers and business. SSBB seems to be for cruise passengers now and the days we hung out at Driftwood we noticed SSBB was all but closed by the time 3:30p.m. rolled around. All the chairs were stacked up, the bar area closest to the beach was chained off and there were more staff than customers at the long bar near Refuge. The new owner of Caravanserai/Alegria, SSBB and Refuge etc is being paid back for his actions against good people like Marty who owns the Dream Bar, the owners of the burnt down C Bar and Lounge, the Chinese store and the hundreds of people who were screwed in the Timeshare and Full Ownership debacle of the resort. The Government hasn’t done much to look after the people who laid down hard earned money to buy a Timeshare on the island so people are taking matters in their own hands and spending their cash elsewhere. Karma is a “B” Mr. Sidhoum.

Giving Back: When Hurricane Irma hit, we along with many other concerned tourists, sent some money to St. Maarten to help with immediate needs. This trip we wanted to do more. Jeff Jhangiani of DK Gems has a Foundation called “All About a Smile”. He’s been doing amazing work channeling many people’s money (and his own) into helping the good folks of St. Maarten. When we were ready, he directed us to a Center that has been set up on 3rd Street in Philipsburg called the “Come Center”. It is run by Pastor Sam and his church and serves as a Welcome and Drop-in Center for anyone needing food or pastoral care. We stopped by and met them all, asked for a shopping list of what they needed and then went to a store called “Prime” in Cole Bay that resembled our “Costco’” operations in North America. We filled up two carts and a trolley with chicken, rice, spices, oil, coffee etc – everything they had asked for and brought it back to the Center where we loaded up their freezers and cupboards. We were hugged and thanked so much –then Pastor Sam came up and prayed over us. It was truly emotional and so rewarding to help these kind hearted people. Marlyne, who runs the kitchen lost her entire house in Irma but comes every day to cook for over 100 people who have nothing to eat. Elderly people, mothers with small children, men who need some help – all are Welcome at this Center. If anyone is traveling down to St. Maarten in the months ahead, I urge you to find the Come Center in Philipsburg and ask them what they need. Jeff at DK Gems can help you find them as well or steer you to others on the island that need assistance. So many of you have been so generous to SXM but we can’t forget that their struggles continue and will for several more years to come.

In closing, I’d like to say we were incredibly happy to visit the island this year and we’re glad we went. It’s quieter and a little different but all the things we know and love about the island are still there. The people need us – the island does too. We’re already planning our next trip which we hope happens in the next few months.

Stay tuned for my “All about the Food” post…..

Last edited by Teresasxm; 04/23/2018 02:34 PM.
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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159501
04/23/2018 02:41 PM
04/23/2018 02:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,285
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Posts: 12,285
Brookfield, CT.
Beautifully said and done. Thank you, Teresa! 😊😊


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159505
04/23/2018 03:35 PM
04/23/2018 03:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 14,010
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 14,010
Ohio
Thanks for the report. A very good read. Personally, I think the lack of foot traffic in Philipsburg is due to the lack of stay-over visitors on the island. With the severe lack of lodging and decent air, it is tough for many of us to make a trip. Looking forward to your dining post.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159507
04/23/2018 03:40 PM
04/23/2018 03:40 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,574
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Posts: 3,574
Portland, OR
Thanks for the report; look forward to the food portion. Good to know about the Come Center; I hadn't heard of it before.


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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159509
04/23/2018 03:43 PM
04/23/2018 03:43 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,547
originally Long Island, NY/now...
irish1223 Offline
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irish1223  Offline
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originally Long Island, NY/now...
Very nice report. We are also looking forward to hearing more. Can't wait to get there in June!


Robin & Ed

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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159510
04/23/2018 03:52 PM
04/23/2018 03:52 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 68,881
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 68,881
Central Florida!
Thanks so much for the report and the info on giving back!!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159517
04/23/2018 04:27 PM
04/23/2018 04:27 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 405
Northern California
T
thesimpsons Offline
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thesimpsons  Offline
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T
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 405
Northern California
Thank you for your nice report!

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159519
04/23/2018 05:22 PM
04/23/2018 05:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,825
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
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islandgem  Offline
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Posts: 12,825
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Teresa, I so enjoyed reading your report and learning about your " different" trip to SXM. Hopefully later in 2018, I will be able to return too. Thanks for sharing your recent experience and assisting those in need.



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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159520
04/23/2018 05:22 PM
04/23/2018 05:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 71
Virginia
dfmsml Offline
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dfmsml  Offline
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Posts: 71
Virginia
Great report....thanks for your nice perspective !


dfmsml
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159522
04/23/2018 06:04 PM
04/23/2018 06:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 140
Shelby2 Offline
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Shelby2  Offline
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Posts: 140
Loved your report and great spirit of giving, thx for sharing. Might go back in 2019....does Mary's Boon have night time security? Thx in advance...

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159526
04/23/2018 06:39 PM
04/23/2018 06:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 443
Maine
SXMbeacher Offline
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SXMbeacher  Offline
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Posts: 443
Maine
Thanks for a great report and your selfless acts of kindness........................That SSBB ownership debacle is shameful!



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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159530
04/23/2018 08:46 PM
04/23/2018 08:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 773
Oshawa
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BGH Offline
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Posts: 773
Oshawa
Don’t get fooled ...we brought beach rubberized shoes .. picked up several pieces of broken beer bottle glass at Mullet .on two different visits .. be safe then sorry ..

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159534
04/23/2018 10:47 PM
04/23/2018 10:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Michigan
R
rasmig Offline
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rasmig  Offline
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Posts: 29
Michigan
Thanks for the great review on Mary's Boon. We are checking in this weekend. Our time share at Royal Islander isn't up and running yet. We have gone to Mary's Boon quite a few times in the past so we thought we would give them a try. From your report it sounds like we made a great choice.

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159535
04/24/2018 12:53 AM
04/24/2018 12:53 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,780
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Online happy
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Biturbo  Online Happy
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Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Nice, enjoyable read. Thanks.


"It's a magic kind of medicine, that no doctor could prescribe." JB
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Shelby2] #159568
04/24/2018 12:20 PM
04/24/2018 12:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 372
Teresasxm Offline OP
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Teresasxm  Offline OP
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Posts: 372
Originally Posted by Shelby2
Loved your report and great spirit of giving, thx for sharing. Might go back in 2019....does Mary's Boon have night time security? Thx in advance...


Shelby 2 - Yes, Mary's Boon had night time security when we were there. We were in bed around midnight or 1 a.m. most nights so I don't know about overnight but I would imagine so. Every time we came back from dinner or from listening to music at night, the security guard would greet us. It was comforting to know that someone was there.

Rasmig - You've made a great choice in staying at Mary's Boon. Gary and I can hardly wait to go back!!! Plus - don't forget, they provide paper towels and coffee filters - two things you don't have to buy or bring from home.

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159671
04/25/2018 12:57 PM
04/25/2018 12:57 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 6,934
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
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SXMNorm  Offline
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Posts: 6,934
St Louis, MO
Thanks for your report and efforts to help the people of SXM.


Next SXM visit - October 25-Nov8, 2019, Jan23-Feb11, 2020
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159701
04/25/2018 06:43 PM
04/25/2018 06:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,100
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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The_Lurker  Offline
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Posts: 2,100
Connecticut
Very nice. We just returned and felt so good being back.
Everyone was so pleasant.

We will return this year.

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159708
04/25/2018 07:32 PM
04/25/2018 07:32 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 764
Cobourg Ontario Canada
J
jeepers Offline
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jeepers  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 764
Cobourg Ontario Canada
Thank you for your report & taking vacation time to let us know how things have progressed since we were there in January. We knew it would keep improving but it's nice to get specifics.
Cheers

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159730
04/26/2018 07:31 AM
04/26/2018 07:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
K
Karen012748 Offline
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Karen012748  Offline
Member
K
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Thank you so much for your report and sharing your great heart with us. Could you please post where money can be sent to help feed the people

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159734
04/26/2018 09:08 AM
04/26/2018 09:08 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 16,872
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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Posts: 16,872
St Maarten
Donate here: https://allaboutasmile.org/

Surprised we didn't bump into you at The Boon Teresa! Glad you had an enjoyable trip!


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159761
04/26/2018 02:16 PM
04/26/2018 02:16 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 286
Chicago, IL
M
Mbrott Offline
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Mbrott  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 286
Chicago, IL
Was the Crepe truck open in Grand Case. It used to be in the parking lot near the Lolo's? Best crepes?

1 Months...can't wait!



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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159779
04/26/2018 06:13 PM
04/26/2018 06:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 443
Maine
SXMbeacher Offline
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SXMbeacher  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 443
Maine
I think i read somewhere that it was open, but maybe someone can confirm that.



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Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Teresasxm] #159787
04/26/2018 07:09 PM
04/26/2018 07:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 95
Pennsylvania
B
Beachnut82 Offline
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Beachnut82  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 95
Pennsylvania
Yes Crepe truck was in parking lot when we were there last week

Re: Trip Report April 3-10th, 2018 [Re: Beachnut82] #159791
04/26/2018 08:04 PM
04/26/2018 08:04 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 286
Chicago, IL
M
Mbrott Offline
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Mbrott  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 286
Chicago, IL
Originally Posted by Beachnut82
Yes Crepe truck was in parking lot when we were there last week


Thanks!!!



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