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Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 #184878
02/20/2019 07:44 PM
02/20/2019 07:44 PM
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Virginia Beach, VA USA
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barryvabeach Offline OP
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We arrived back to SXM after our trip last year was changed due to IRMA. We are staying in Grand Case, and overall I think the recovery efforts have paid off, though of course, there is much more to do.

We ate the first night ate at the Lolo's - the scenery looking out over the beach was very nice.
The second night we went to Piazza Pascal - I thought the Shrimp Scampi was perfect, not oozing in melted butter, or overpowering garlic, just everything seasoned exactly right. My wife agreed. She had the pork tenderloin with blueberries and described it as yummy.

Tuesday during the day we went to Orient - due to some not positive posts here, we went past Bikini, and went to Kontiki. Very impressed with the rebuild, and I had a burger which was pretty good, though the fries were excellent, my wife had the Kontiki bowl with mahi and sesame dressing, and she said it was quite good, for dessert, she had the key lime cheesecake with rasberry sherbet. I told her it was not a contest, but she won, I had a peach infused with jasmine tea and we both agreed it was not very flavorful. I thought the service was pretty good, we got there at 10 and were able to get chairs in the first row ( $30 for two chairs and an umbrella) but the chair guy said if we wanted to stay for lunch we should make reservations, which we did. Within a short time, all 3 rows of chairs were full, and they were pretty busy at lunch. Lunch came out pretty quickly, but there was a delay for dessert, in part because a 5 minute rain shower emptied the beach into the restaurant.

The next night was Capt Frenchy's. He is now operating out of a container, and normally serves lunch only, and rents chairs, but he said he would be open Tuesday night due to the Festival, and I wanted to support him so we went. It is a few picnic tables on the sand, and we were the only ones there around 6, but the chicken was great, and so was my wife's burger. We then went back down the street for the festival - much more crowded than the last time we were here Pre Irma - and not only crowded with visitors, they had some great offerings. In addition to artwork, jewelry, and food, they had 3 bands of live music, spread out enough so they didn't conflict, and my favorite was a children's sized mechanical bull - I watched two kids ride it and they had a blast.

Today we went to Friar's Bay. A little disappointed, the beach has lots of pebbles, and in my opinion, not as nice as Grand Case beach. The restaurant did not accept credit cards, and I may have misread it, but I think the sign said the exchange rate was $1.4 dollars to the euro. We didn't stay very long, and headed back the Grand Case beach. For dinner tonight we wanted something quick, and found a pizza stand Olympia Pizza, near the bridge. He only had 4 bar stools and a bar facing the street, and seems to have a fair amount of takeout traffic. He had a great pizza - a cross between a New York Style and a neapolitan . Not a cracker pizza like Orange Fever, and boy do I miss OF, but still very good.

All in all, the beach itself in Grand Case is in great condition. Capt Frenchy's and Rainbow offer chair rental, though I don't know where people park. While many of the restaurants on the water are still not open, and probably quite a long way from it, if you include the many hotel restaurants, there are still quite a few choices in walking up and down the street.

Sorry, no photos, I took some but have not figured how to upload them to the web from here.

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Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184880
02/20/2019 08:03 PM
02/20/2019 08:03 PM
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Auburn, WA
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$1.40 exchange rate is highway robbery considering it's currently slightly below $1.14. With not accepting CC's you are at their mercy. I remember last May it was cash also with a high exchange rate that was nowhere near the actual rate.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SXMScubaman] #184883
02/20/2019 08:36 PM
02/20/2019 08:36 PM
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Ontario
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When we were there a few weeks ago I noted that they took CDN dollars and I believe that was at 1.4 which is reasonable, I thought the USD rate was less. Maybe someone on the island can check for sure.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184906
02/21/2019 08:53 AM
02/21/2019 08:53 AM
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Virginia Beach, VA USA
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Canuck, that may be it, I say a small sign with the rate, and it could be that it was Canadian. Overall, we were not that impressed with the food and thought it was a little bland . I had a Mahi Burger, and my wife have a chicken burger, and both seemed to lack seasoning.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184910
02/21/2019 09:20 AM
02/21/2019 09:20 AM
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Rhode Island
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Good update info. Where did you stay?

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184916
02/21/2019 10:22 AM
02/21/2019 10:22 AM
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Hi. Hopefully this is just the first installment in your report? I hope you're staying longer than 3 days!! I may have to try that Olympia Pizza in June.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SXMScubaman] #184926
02/21/2019 11:25 AM
02/21/2019 11:25 AM
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Denver, Colorado
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Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
$1.40 exchange rate is highway robbery considering it's currently slightly below $1.14. With not accepting CC's you are at their mercy. I remember last May it was cash also with a high exchange rate that was nowhere near the actual rate.


Just a quick clearification. We were at Friar’s Beach on Saturday. The exchange rate was $1.20 US TO 1 Euro. $1.40 CAN to 1 EURO

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: mdldgl] #184930
02/21/2019 12:17 PM
02/21/2019 12:17 PM
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Good rate for Cdn.......to buy from Canada is 1.53

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184933
02/21/2019 12:43 PM
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Definitely a good rate for Canadians. But, for the U.S. dollar this is insufficient. If credit card use is not possible, then using euros would be a smarter choice. The break-even point for U.S. funds should be no more than 1.14 to one euro and no higher. I suppose if you travel around the island on the french side it may be wise to carry both types of paper currency and use the one that is in your favor when you make a purchase.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SammyM] #184934
02/21/2019 01:01 PM
02/21/2019 01:01 PM
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Auburn, WA
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Or pay in US cash at 1.20 and leave no extra gratuity which would be built into the bill any way.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SXMScubaman] #184935
02/21/2019 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
Or pay in US cash at 1.20 and leave no extra gratuity which would be built into the bill any way.


Think most are marking it up to 1.20. Which is probably fair. I usually pay in cash anyway and if say Restaurants are paying between 2.50-3% on credit cards, even at 1.13 rate, for cash, very few would agree I would have thought, for a one on one arrangement. Suppose one can always ask. Stores might agree, not sure if higher end restaurants would though?

Scuba, are you referring to places that add say 15% service charge regardless if one leaves a tip or not? I don't know many that do. Think for a good Restaurant with good service anything less than 10% is not the way to go. I usually leave 20%. Not sure what others do here but perhaps Tipping needs its own section.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #184936
02/21/2019 01:28 PM
02/21/2019 01:28 PM
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I could be mistaken but I think Scuba was referring to restaurants on the French side where, in most cases, our normal US habit of tipping 15 to 20% is not necessary since this is already built into the prices you see on the menu.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #184941
02/21/2019 02:06 PM
02/21/2019 02:06 PM
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Auburn, WA
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"Scuba, are you referring to places that add say 15% service charge regardless if one leaves a tip or not? I don't know many that do. Think for a good Restaurant with good service anything less than 10% is not the way to go. I usually leave 20%. Not sure what others do here but perhaps Tipping needs its own sectio"
No i'm referring to French restaurants that are supposed to have SC fixed in their menu price.

"I could be mistaken but I think Scuba was referring to restaurants on the French side where, in most cases, our normal US habit of tipping 15 to 20% is not necessary since this is already built into the prices you see on the menu."
Correct

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184955
02/21/2019 04:03 PM
02/21/2019 04:03 PM
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Virginia Beach, VA USA
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Ron and Carol thanks. Yes we are staying through Sunday. We are staying at L'Atlantide, it has 6 or so units, some owned by different owners, the one we rented from listed his unit on Homeaway. It is two buildings north of Rainbow Cafe , We stayed at the building next to Rainbow the last time we were here, and unfortunately, the music on Monday night was pretty bad , though right now Rainbow appears to be closed on Monday, at least it does not have Mojito Monday. I looked at a number of other places in Grand Case on the water, it was pretty easy to find studios, but I much prefer the extra space of getting a full bedroom. Many of the places on the water in Grand Case are still being worked on, so there may be more selection next year.

The real downside of staying in Grand Case on the water, it that it is hard to do much better. We went to Simpson Bay - Karakters today, since I have read so many posts. The drinks were quite good, and the food was okay, though again, I prefer the beach here, it is a little calmer.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184957
02/21/2019 04:08 PM
02/21/2019 04:08 PM
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Rhode Island
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Thanks Barryvabeach. I envy you staying in GC. Next year we hoped to stay at Grand Case Beach Club but I'll now check out where you are staying too.

Ro (not Ron---it's supposed to be Ro & Don)

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184958
02/21/2019 04:13 PM
02/21/2019 04:13 PM
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barry--If you get the chance to check, which restaurants are open on the water side in Grand Case now? I know that Rainbow, the lolos, and what used to be Il Nettuno are open (under another name). What other restaurants are open, if any, on the waterfront? Looking for dinner on the water, NOT land side. Is there any action going on to rebuild Ocean 82, for instance?


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184964
02/21/2019 05:00 PM
02/21/2019 05:00 PM
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Portland, OR
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Barranco, a new place, has opened on the water side, just after the lolos, if I remember correctly. It's getting a lot of positive comments.


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Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: jazzgal] #184965
02/21/2019 05:02 PM
02/21/2019 05:02 PM
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I was thinking that was the place that used to be Il Nettuno?? Or not?


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: Carol_Hill] #184968
02/21/2019 05:35 PM
02/21/2019 05:35 PM
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Winterset, Madison County, IA
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Yes I believe so, our friends had dinner there in January.


Mike & Dixie
Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SXMScubaman] #184969
02/21/2019 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
"Scuba, are you referring to places that add say 15% service charge regardless if one leaves a tip or not? I don't know many that do. Think for a good Restaurant with good service anything less than 10% is not the way to go. I usually leave 20%. Not sure what others do here but perhaps Tipping needs its own sectio"
No i'm referring to French restaurants that are supposed to have SC fixed in their menu price.

"I could be mistaken but I think Scuba was referring to restaurants on the French side where, in most cases, our normal US habit of tipping 15 to 20% is not necessary since this is already built into the prices you see on the menu."
Correct



Confused. How do you know that the tip is built into the prices? I am probably missing something here. So are you saying that they wont be offended if no tips are left at all? L'Auberge, Le Pressoir, etc....
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
Or pay in US cash at 1.20 and leave no extra gratuity which would be built into the bill any way.


Ah, the penny has dropped, just re-read what you said......Round it up to 1.20..so 20% on top of the Euro price?? But if lets say in 2 months its 1.15 for example. Won't that be on the low side with the tip?

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #184970
02/21/2019 06:09 PM
02/21/2019 06:09 PM
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Auburn, WA
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French law states that SC has to be incorporated in the menu price unless otherwise noted on menu. And even that just a few euros is plenty enough if not noted.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SXMScubaman] #184975
02/21/2019 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
French law states that SC has to be incorporated in the menu price unless otherwise noted on menu. And even that just a few euros is plenty enough if not noted.


Wow, never knew that? So on lets say a €120.00 meal, (today's rate)what would be acceptable in Dollars including tip please? Thank you.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #184978
02/21/2019 06:52 PM
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In France, most of Europe, and to be honest most of the world except the US, servers etc are paid a living wage, so do not need the American 20% to make up their pay. Obviously a tip will still be appreciated on the French side. lol

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184989
02/21/2019 08:42 PM
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We've had the mandatory service charge added at restaurants on both the dutch and french sides. Some of them; not all of them. At Chesterfield's, for example it was written directly on our check. At this place we pay in U.S. funds, so if the service was good I automatically add another 10% to the ten percent service charge to even things out. So, you kind of have to look for this on your bill.

On the french side, some (not all) of the restaurants pre-print the higher rate on the menu if paying in U.S. funds. I think the last time we ate at the Rainbow Cafe it stated 1.10-to-1 if paying in U.S. dollars. Or, something like that. If the service is good we'll typically round up the bill whether paying in either euros or dollars, and if the service was out standing (like the last time we dined at Ocean 82) the waiter was so awesome that I did tip the guy another 20 percent.

Hopefully, this doesn't confuse anyone further! Just watch for the service charge and ask about it if you must. Then, calculate your tip accordingly if one is present.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #184994
02/21/2019 09:29 PM
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Virginia Beach, VA USA
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Carol, There are quite a few, I will try to make a list tomorrow. One option is Cerises, a k a Le temps des Cerises Restaurant, it is attached to the hotel next door , and they have a second floor balcony with dining tables and bar stools facing the water. I haven't eaten there, but if you look it up on trip advisor, you will see photo showing the dining area, and the bar stools facing the ocean. We have passed by Oceans 82 a half dozen times, and I haven't paid enough attention to see if they are working, yet another thing for me to do tomorrow.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: Uksimonusa] #184999
02/21/2019 09:54 PM
02/21/2019 09:54 PM
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Bummer is, when server’s tip included the service many times suffers. Service in States where servers get good tips for good service it shows. Servers in the states don't want tip included in their pay because they have to report all as income. Most i know prefer tips not a set base salary and i like it that way too. Go to an all-inclusive where tipping isn’t allowed or anything but very high end Europe restaurant or bar and won’t get same service. Just my opinion and experience.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #185001
02/21/2019 09:57 PM
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There is a French law regarding tipping. It applies ONLY to restaurants on the FRENCH side of the island. Many restaurants on the DUTCH side add 15% to your bill. Look for it added before you pay. Still many restaurants on the DUTCH side leave the tip to your own descretion and do not add it . If not added, you can leave an appropriate amount for the tip.

ON the FRENCH side,keep in mind that the SERVICE and TAX are both included in the price you see on the menu (indicated by the words service compris, and it’s 15%). I repeat, the tip is already included. Keep that in mind when you’re considering tipping in France. The servers are paid a very good wage and do not depend on tips to supplement their salary.

If you leave additional money on the table, you’re tipping twice! Leaving a few euros for a particularly great meal/great service is always appreciated but never expected. If you decide to tip, just leave the coins in the plastic tray with the receipt on the table. It’s perfectly fine to round a bill up if you had good service like leaving 40euros if the bill was 37 euros. You can go a little higher at a particularly fancy restaurant where you had a wonderful meal. But it would be unusual to leave a 20%, USA style tip at a mediocre casual restaurant, so don’t do that unless you really feel compelled for some reason. The tip you leave is called a pourboire which is just the amount the server can use to purchase a drink for himself or herself. If you choose not to leave a tip that is perfectly OK too!



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Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: islandgem] #185002
02/21/2019 10:03 PM
02/21/2019 10:03 PM
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Auburn, WA
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Great explanation.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #185003
02/21/2019 10:27 PM
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Hi Barry. I probably should have made my question a separate thread. So if you don't mind, if you could post a separate note with the list of the restaurants on the water? I'd appreciate it!!!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: islandgem] #185009
02/21/2019 11:07 PM
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If you leave additional money on the table, you’re tipping twice! Leaving a few euros for a particularly great meal/great service is always appreciated but never expected. If you decide to tip, just leave the coins in the plastic tray with the receipt on the table. It’s perfectly fine to round a bill up if you had good service like leaving 40euros if the bill was 37 euros. You can go a little higher at a particularly fancy restaurant where you had a wonderful meal. But it would be unusual to leave a 20%, USA style tip at a mediocre casual restaurant, so don’t do that unless you really feel compelled for some reason. The tip you leave is called a pourboire which is just the amount the server can use to purchase a drink for himself or herself. If you choose not to leave a tip that is perfectly OK too![/quote]

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: barryvabeach] #185010
02/21/2019 11:11 PM
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Thx for the explanation and not to pursue this any longer but you mentioned Euros. I only travel with dollars...so, lets use your example please. The bill comes to 40 euros but they automatically convert that to $48.00 when they hand it to me. as I state I am paying in dollars. Leave $50.00, $55.00. What would be sufficient and correct? TIA

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #185011
02/21/2019 11:26 PM
02/21/2019 11:26 PM
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Auburn, WA
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Leave 48 since current rate is less than 1.14 which is more than expected.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #185012
02/21/2019 11:28 PM
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Auburn, WA
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Isn't that what islandgem just said?

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: SXMScubaman] #185015
02/21/2019 11:42 PM
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Isn't that what islandgem just said?

Yes and No.......Wanted the dollar amount which you posted......just clarifying. Learn something new every day. Eat out a lot so saved me a fair bit. Thx.

Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: bran] #185016
02/22/2019 12:52 AM
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Not sure why you quoted part of my post and replied to me, but hopefully it was because you understand the tipping law now. It really does make dining on the French side easier when you are aware of what is customary.



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Re: Trip Report Grand Case Feb 17 - 20 [Re: islandgem] #185058
02/22/2019 02:26 PM
02/22/2019 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by islandgem
Not sure why you quoted part of my post and replied to me, but hopefully it was because you understand the tipping law now. It really does make dining on the French side easier when you are aware of what is customary.


Your not kidding. Many thanks.


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