A little background: I spent two separate weeks at the Belair with my Dad in the late 80s. I loved it so much and always wanted to return so my husband and I went together several times starting in the early 2000s. We stayed at villas in Dawn Beach (RIP SCAVENGERS), Cap Caraibes in Orient, and a few private villas in Orient. Just like NYC, St. Martin has changed a lot but still has its awesomeness and we always have a great time. Husband even proposed to me right in front of the airport before getting back on the plane to go home in 2002! After several years in a row of St. Martin, we did get a little burned out on it so we visited some other islands (Barbados in 2010 and Jamaica many, many times 2012-2019). After 9 years away, we decided this year to go back to St. Martin. Here's my Trip Report.
Jet Blue out of JFK, flight was perfect. I watched JLO in Hustlers
Going thru immigration wasn't too long. The line moved quickly. We bought some rum at Duty Free, got our bags, and headed out to the car rental van. Picked up rental car and headed over to our condo rental on the beach in Simpson Bay. Hung out a bit, drove over the (newish) Causeway to Carrefour for groceries, and walked over to Mary's Boon for dinner. Entertainment that night, a woman singer/bass player. She was great and I had a nice convo with her after she played. Dinner was good, we both had fish entrees. They make an excellent Cosmopolitan for *only* $9!! (I live in NY, so a good $9 Cocktail is actually quite a steal!). It began to rain while we were there and stormed pretty hard for a little while. They had to shut the windows. I ordered a second Cosmo and we sat and chatted and enjoyed being back in SXM.
Day 2 Breakfast at home (we ate breakfast at home every day). We stayed close to home. Breakfast in apt. Lunch at Karakter. That place has changed a lot in 9 years! It's way more polished. Professional. But it's still awesome. After lunch we walked the beach and wound up at the Dinghy Dock for some beers. They have quite the beer selection, including tap brews made especially for them. Hung out there a while, met the cutest local dog named Ciccio, and then headed back home. We had a snack, hung out on beach, I took a nap, and we stayed in for dinner. I made us salads.
Day 3 - . Hung out a bit. Then hit Philipsburg for a stroll on the boardwalk and lunch at ISLAND FLAVOR. Great jerk chicken, rice and peas, salad and potato salad lunch with a great view and very friendly service. After lunch we did a little shopping. Then we headed over to Belair (I always visit my first home in SXM) and DIVI (we love GIZMO the parrot) for a drink at the bar. DIVI and BELAIR were both very busy. Good to see a lot of people enjoying themselves. We left and headed over to Maho. 1st stop, Sunset Beach Bar for a beer (also amazing how huge that place has gotten. I admit I miss the smaller feel. Also, the bartenders were not very attentive. It feels like a complete tourist trap whereas bitd the smaller vibe felt more authentic, imho). We walked the beach over to Driftwood bar. Didn't stop for a drink. Headed into town and could not believe Cheri's is gone. I have not done a lot of research since the hurricane. It just makes me sad. Anyway, wow. Cheri's. Just the frame and the little kitchen building remain. Lots of stray cats being fed in there. We went into Casino Royal. I had a not so great time with the dealer at the only roulette table open (she sold me my chips and then immediately rolled the ball giving me no time to place my bet . When I called her out on it she gave me horrible attitude. she was SO RUDE to me. Didn't apologise and was just really not cool at all). So I cashed out and we left without gambling. We never went back to Casino Royal. We used to have so much fun there! We will try again the next time we go back which will hopefully be next January. We decided to stay in Maho for dinner and we chose La Rosa. We had eaten there in the past and remember enjoying it. Food and service were excellent. Two thumbs up. After dinner we ducked into Tropicana casino but just did a walkthru. Didn't stay. No table games if I am correct. Went home and hung out for the rest of the night.
Day 4 - Drove to Orient. It was SUPER WINDY. Every day was windy but this particular day was the windiest. We wanted to go this day to Orient as there were no cruise ships in town and figured the beach would be more quiet. Didn't matter cause it was just too windy to even be on the beach. We had lunch at Yellow Sub. The Pelikaan beer taps were being cleaned by a rep from that brewery and we talked with him about beer and stuff. Then we tried their sessions ale. It is very good! We decided to stay at Yellow Sub for lunch. We each had salads, which were very expensive but very good! I don't mention how expensive all the food in the restaurants is, I'm just going to say that now and only once. It is expensive. But at least it is all really good. We didn't walk the beach because again, that wind was just too much. So we got back in the car and drove to Dawn Beach and just drove around the hills up there a little, remembering our first trips together to St. Martin and staying in that neighborhood. We didn't notice any goats! Well, one goat. Are there any more goats??? After that we went home. Husband swam, I took a nap, back to MB for dinner. LOBSTER NIGHT and entertainment from a guy from Mexico City named Issac. He was great. Dinner was delicious. Everyone had a good time. Excellent evening. Started raining again (always when we are at MB!) and we walked the street home in the rain.
Day 5 -We drove to Dany's Beach Bar in Cupecoy. The day was just getting started. There were a few other people around, not many. Husband had a beer. I had a rum punch. Believe the hype - Dany's rum punches are fabulous. He makes each one from scratch - not a pre-made mixer with rum thrown in. We played some Yahtzee while we enjoyed our drinks and the view and some convo with Dany. We decided since we were already up closer, why not head over to Grand Case for lunch? When I was in St. Martin with my dad back in the 80s, we stayed at the Belair but we spent many of our days in GC. I think my dad made a lady friend there and he could trust me (I was 16) to run around on the beach. We drove through the sites where they were burning cars a week or so earlier and the cars were still strewn about in the streets. That was interesting to see. I didn't take any pics of the cars cause we had to keep the traffic moving. So we get to Grand Case and decide to have lunch at Rainbow Cafe. It was very windy again so we wanted to be on the beach but inside. Rainbow Cafe is very nice. Good service, excellent food (again, expensive, but we already know that) and a nice lunch all around. I wish we could have spent more time in Grand Case. We will next year. After Grand Case we went to ParotteVille! If you love birds then this is your place. You get a cup of seed and the birds just fly onto you, the cup, your head, etc. The gal who works there and hung out with us and took us into the museum (I think her name is Jules) is such a smart young woman. We learned a lot about the birds from here and she was great. Headed back to Dinghy Dock on way home and there was football playoffs happening so it was packed. We stayed for a quick beer then headed home. Chilled out at home. I made us pasta for dinner.
Day 6 - So there was a huge oldschool Yacht named SHERAKAHN parked in the water in Simpson bay every day we were there. It didn't move for days. Then suddenly it moved and we thought maybe it would go thru the drawbridge so we drove over to Kim Sha beach to get a closer look. After that we had drinks at SBYC and waited. In the extreme wind (full beer bottles were flying off table, that is how windy it was) for Sherakahn to come thru so we could see her up close. She didn't come through that day. She wound up going thru a day or 2 later while we were out to lunch so we missed that. If I ever win the lottery I am taking 24 of my closest friends and fam on this boat for a private cruise. After SBYC we had lunch at Bombay India. It was decent. We then went back to Kim Sha and laid our towels in the sand and tried to lay out - we lasted a little while before we got tired of getting pelted by wind and sand. Plus the water looks murky so we didn't want to swim. We went back to apt and chilled, played some Yahtzee on back deck, and had leftovers for dinner.
Day 7 - Kinda just hung around at home and on beach. I don't remember what we did for lunch. We had dinner at Moulin Fou. I love that restaurant. I had the whole Dover Sole and husb had Lobster Risotto. Can't wait to go back to eat there. We hit the Casino in Cupecoy which was cute, nicely lit, bright, but it was empty... so wasn't really a party atmosphere. We played $90 on roulette and lost. Took a taxi home and hung out til sleep.
Day 8 - The Pelikaan beer rep we met in Orient told us about Lagoonies in Cole Bay so we headed there for lunch. Cute spot! Interesting lunch menu. Friendly dogs which always makes us happy. Spent rest of day at beach and around the apt. and packed. Had take out food (I can't remember where it came from) for dinner at apt.
Day 9 - Lunch at Karakters and a drink at MB before we leave to go home.
Overall, we loved our return to St. Martin! We tried to pack in as much exploring in without over doing it. We can't really sit still for too long so this always works out well for us. I am ok with Simpson Bay, but I admit I loved living in the mountains better. Simpson bay is a little more built up than I prefer but is also awesome when you want to walk places and not have to drive. And the beach at Simpson bay was pretty quiet near us. So that was good! I'd stay there again for sure. I'd stay anywhere as long as I am there. I really wanted to eat at Mario's but didn't get to this trip. Next time.
We are glad we went back!