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Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 #213866
01/13/2020 10:03 PM
01/13/2020 10:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 197
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StMartinFan Online content OP
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StMartinFan  Online Content OP
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We’re spending two weeks, so here’s a report on week 1. We spent our first week on the French side and second week will be at Divi.

Flight: United from Minneapolis, via Chicago. Flights were on time, with no glitches and got us in about 4 p.m. Had to complete a card with info for immigration.

Accommodations: Surprisingly quick trip from the airport to Grand Case, where we rented an apartment at Catalina, the building across the street from LaVilla, where we stayed in 2017 and an earlier year as well. It’s a nice two bedroom unit on the second floor with wonderful balconies overlooking the street and the bay. Love sitting on the balcony looking out at the water and boats in the harbor. The building was damaged by Irma but the unit we rent was fine, except for a new railing on the back balcony. The top floor unit is still being renovated from the hurricane but the second floor ones are in use.

Dinners:
Talk of the Town Lolo

Bistroit Caraibes. My favorite place in GC, and it didn’t disappoint. It was full on Sunday night including several larger tables of French families

LaVilla. Enjoy the staff and atmosphere here, even though the food doesn’t match other places in GC, at least based on what we ate, but it was busy most nights.

Pizza Pascal. Food was OK, but we really missed Donna’s attention to detail and supervision of the wait staff. The service was friendly but pretty slapdash compared to what we were used to. For example, someone at another table didn’t get offered any fresh parmesan until she was halfway done with her pasta and my appetizer plate wasn’t cleared when the entree was served. They were out of mushrooms and sausage, so a couple of items weren't available, nor could they make a dirty martini for another table. Waiter explained that they were unable to get some items from their supplier, and we know that there were 4 empty refrigerator cases at Super U on Saturday with a sign saying they could not restock until Friday because of weather and disruption caused by the road blockages. That may have been the reason but we hadn’t encountered any issues at other restaurants. I don’t think we’ll return; too many other great choices.

Ocean 82. The restaurant is back as good as before. Lovely dinner enjoying the sound of the waves.

L'Auberge Gormand. Great dinner with gracious service. The house smoked salmon appetizer was amazing and more than enough for 3 of us.

Beaches/Lunches
Enjoyed GC beach right outside our door, with chairs provided in the apartment.

Orient
LaPlaya - rented chairs and ate lunch, but left early because of frequent rain showers. Their chair area was full, with the front rows all reserved for hotel guests, and a side section for a cruise group, so we were way back from the water. Bar area is built but restaurant is just tables very close together under a large canopy with kitchen in a travel trailer nearby. Food was excellent, but there were several large tables of cruisers, so it was loud and not a relaxed atmosphere. It looked as if a large group had been brought there by a cruise excursion. Disappointed in our experience and won’t return until restaurant area is rebuilt.

Bikini - rented chairs and ate lunch. Not real busy so great beach chair location. Like the new restaurant with multiple seating areas, and food and service were good.

Grand Case
While it’s not as busy as before Irma, it was nice to see shoppers checking out the places that have reopened during the day and dinners walking the streets at night. Both Captain Frenchy’s and Rainbow were busy on the week end and had entertainment during the week too. There are still many buildings that remain damaged but at least some are back and work is underway on more. We felt safe walking the main street at night and saw no left over traces of the blockade from earlier in January. The bakery around the corner from Bistroit Caraibes is open for breakfast croissants.

Marigot
We spent part of a day there visiting Roland Richardson’s gallery and the market. It was a Thursday but the market was full of venders because there were lots of cruise ships in port. I’ve not spent much time in Marigot so it was nice to see how busy the streets were in the shopping areas.

La Main a la Pate. Enjoyed lunch at thIs marina location which we haven’t visited for years. It was full with mostly locals and my husband said his mussels were great.

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Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213867
01/13/2020 10:30 PM
01/13/2020 10:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 11,008
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Nice week. Sorry to here the way LaPlaya is.

Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213873
01/14/2020 02:46 AM
01/14/2020 02:46 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,741
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Portland, OR
Nice report. Looking forward to your comments about Divi.


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213877
01/14/2020 06:05 AM
01/14/2020 06:05 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 14,653
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Ohio
Thanks for the report, hope week 2 is good also.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213887
01/14/2020 08:23 AM
01/14/2020 08:23 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,173
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Thanks for the report. I'm surprised to hear that La Playa is entertaining cruise excursions now, as that wasn't the case in November and December when we were there. We also didn't find the tables too close together under the shade sail, and enjoyed excellent food and service there. We spent four different days there during our three week stay.

Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213890
01/14/2020 08:47 AM
01/14/2020 08:47 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 197
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StMartinFan Online content OP
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StMartinFan  Online Content OP
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It was very obvious there was at least one group of cruisers ar La Playa. Not sure what the arrangement was. We saw one group being led to a reserved area of chairs. In the restaurant the tables paid separately but then left as a group with two people who were obviously their tour leaders.

The dining area would probably be ok if it wasn’t completely full, especially with a couple of large tables, which made it loud. Poor staff were doing their best but were very busy. In contrast I really liked being able to see out to the water like I could at Bikini vs the more enclosed feeling of the awning. Food was excellent.

Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213902
01/14/2020 09:18 AM
01/14/2020 09:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 70,328
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Thanks for the report! Think I gained ten pounds just reading about it!! grin Enjoy the rest of your stay!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213910
01/14/2020 09:37 AM
01/14/2020 09:37 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,014
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Online content
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SXMNorm  Online Content
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Thanks for your report. I know of at least one other Beach Bar on SXM that have arrangements with cruise ship tour people for either or both chairs/or meals for a predetermined price. It's just part of the business now.


Next SXM visit - Jan23-Feb11, 2020
Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: Carol_Hill] #213915
01/14/2020 10:01 AM
01/14/2020 10:01 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 197
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StMartinFan Online content OP
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StMartinFan  Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by Carol_Hill
Thanks for the report! Think I gained ten pounds just reading about it!! grin


We live in a suburban area with mostly boring chain restaurants so spending a week in Grand Case with the amazing restaurants, especially all the fresh seafood, just a few steps from our door is such a treat for us. We don't eat like this regularly! And yes, our second week will be decidedly less gourmet in style! We did have take out pizza one night in GC, but I couldn't remember the name of the shop.

Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213919
01/14/2020 10:33 AM
01/14/2020 10:33 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,173
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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If it was very windy, they probably had the plastic curtain down, which does impede your view of the water. When the weather is nice, that's not down, and the view is stunning. Please give La Playa another chance when there aren't a lot of ships in. Right now all of the restaurants on Orient are trying to come back from being out of business for nearly two years after Irma, and entertaining cruise tours is one way to increase revenue. If extended stay visitors patronize them more, they won't need to entertain the cruise tours.

Re: Trip Report Jan. 4-11, 2020 [Re: StMartinFan] #213921
01/14/2020 10:38 AM
01/14/2020 10:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 70,328
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Oh, I wasn't criticizing. I'm envious!! smile


Carol Hill

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