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TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years #272378
01/02/2022 04:41 PM
01/02/2022 04:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 483
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 483
Long Island, New York
TRIP REPORT 12/18/21 – 1/1/22 Christmas/New Years


Hi everyone. We just enjoyed another fabulous 2-week vacation in our favorite 2nd home. We have been going to St. Maarten since 1984, with our first stay at Mullet Bay. How the island has changed since then!! The weather was beautiful our entire stay, though a bit windy during our first week. Probably had the least amount of rain we have seen in MANY years!


FLIGHTS
Delta Airlines direct flight from JFK, New York. No issues in either direction. We just had to take a Covid antigen test the day before we were flying home.


CAR RENTAL
Unity Car Rental (Michael) – We have always had consistent great service from Michael. Our cars never break down, and are never vandalized.


ROYAL ISLANDER LA PLAGE / MAHO area
The resort was beautiful and well-maintained as always, During our first week, the ocean was a bit rough. However, the second week, I was actually able to snorkel by the rocks next to the Sonesta Hotel. Can’t remember the last time it was calm enough to do that!!

The internet worked pretty decently this trip. We still have access to the Sonesta Maho Hotel gym on the 3rd floor. The tennis courts are non-existent at this point.

Overall, we love our little home away from home, and wouldn’t dream of staying anywhere other than the Royal Islander La Plage. The landscaping is breathtaking, and there are always workers raking, cleaning, pruning, and generally maintaining the property. The location can’t be beat, with the Casino Royale across the street, and many GREAT restaurants, bars, and clubs within walking distance.


RESTAURANTS and BARS
We mostly have breakfast and lunch in our room, but look forward to our dinners out. Here is a recap of all of the restaurants and bars we visited:

Mario’s (Cupecoy) --- moved to The Cliffs at Cupecoy—always outstanding food and service. The only place we regularly go that serves duck on the bone… yum!!!

Spiga (Grand Case) --- went twice this trip; best pumpkin ravioli anywhere; short ribs to die for; never had a bad meal; best Italian food on the island, in our opinion.

Moulin Foo (Maho) –-- fantastic French food, attentive service, and a lovely atmosphere; love the escargot there

Skipjacks (Simpson Bay) – best grilled lobster on the island, in my opinion; always friendly service and excellent food

Croissant Royal (Marigot) – seems to have changed its name from Le Croissanterie; went for breakfast two times; excellent crepes and the freshest croissants I’ve ever had; friendly efficient service; beautiful location right on the Port La Royale Marina—sadly the marina has seen better days

Buccaneer Beach Bar (Simpson Bay) – great hamburgers and pizza – we eat lunch here when we sit on Kim Sha Beach, but also a good place for a casual dinner

Sunset Bar and Grill (Maho) – Good food, and a fun atmosphere watching the planes; Went for a late lunch on day we arrived; go after 3:00 when the cruise ship crowd has departed

Taloula Mango’s/Blue Bitch Bar (Phillipsburg on the boardwalk) – great ribs for lunch on the beach; if you sit on the beach chairs in front of the restaurant, your “beach boy” will bring you a menu and deliver your food

Friar’s Beach Café (Friars Bay) –nice restaurant, with good food and a comfortable atmosphere right on the beach; if you eat there, you will get a discount on the umbrellas and chairs; excellent burgers

St Maarten Yacht Club (Simpson Bay) – went for a delicious breakfast – watched the big ships come in and out of Simpson Bay through the bridge.

Navy Beach (Del Sol Marina, Simpson Bay) – this is a new restaurant on the island; there is another one near us in Montauk, NY and I believe they are also building one on St. Thomas; we were invited for their soft opening, but only the bar was open (no food); We love this restaurant on Long Island, but sadly the drinks were pretty bad, the bartenders a bit confused, and I think there may be a learning curve before they equal their fabulous NY location.

The Pub (Simpson Bay) -- went twice on Monday nights for Ronnie Santana's jam. His band has 2 horns and is off the charts; fun outdoor hang listening to music


BEACHES
Orient Beach – Bikini Beach – comfy chairs, service a bit slow—they were short handed; but a beautiful beach day; took a walk down to Club Orient—so sad to see all the destruction still there

Great Bay Beach (Phillipsburg)—we sat by Holland House on relaxing lounge chairs, and took out lunch from Taloula Mangoes

Friar’s Bay -- Beautiful cove w/ calm water; no problem parking; great lunch at the Friar’s Beach Café; decent snorkeling near rocks on right side of cove, but I don’t think there is any great snorkeling on the island

Maho Beach – this is our home beach; was able to swim or take out a raft every day on our second week – very calm; I even snorkeled by the rocks on the right side by the Sonesta Hotel, for the first time in MANY years; beach was crowded most days down towards the Sunset Bar, mainly from the cruise excursions

Kim Sha/Simpson Bay Beach – always a very calm and pretty beach; convenient good lunch at Buccaneer Beach Bar; some watersports available here



ACTIVITIES
Flyboard, Orient Beach
Wave Runner, Simpson Bay Beach
Diving, Phillipsburg, aboard boat, Plan B
Rainforest Adventures—Ziplines and Tubing
Casino Royale, Maho


NEW YEARS EVE
Dinner at Sublime in Maho; new restaurant located where Bamboo Bernies was in Maho; excellent food and service—when that is the case on a holiday, I know they must be great on an average night!; then watched fireworks from neighbors’ penthouse balcony at the Royal Islander (as we do every year). There also seemed to be a display coming from the Mullet Bay/Cupecoy area, and another towards Phillipsburg. Saw 3 beautiful displays at once




MISC.
--Covid – we felt extremely safe everywhere we went; most of our meals were outside; we had to do a rapid test the day before we came home, and everyone we know there tested negative
--Mosquitos were not bad at all
--Maho area is picking up like the old days; New Years Eve was crazy busy like it used to be
--Simpson Bay was hopping every night with terrible traffic jams from Maho many nights– seem to be more new restaurants there every year
--New bridge continues to be a blessing (about 8 mins from Maho to Marigot – used to take 30 mins)
--Marigot Marina Port Royale continues to go downhill; the two ladies’ bathing suit stores there, Banana Moon, and the one next store (name??), have moved onto the main street near Longchamp; But surprisingly, the restaurant, La Main a La Pate, which used to be outside on the harbor, has moved to the interior marina


Overall, we had another fantastic trip. The beauty of a timeshare is that you are hanging with the same people that week year after year. It’s like a camp reunion every year. People at home say to us, “you like going to the same place year after year?” We wouldn’t dream of spending Christmas and New Years anywhere else! So many wonderful friends that we look forward to seeing each year. Sadly, many did not come this year due to Covid. But still got to hang with some great friends and acquaintances. That’s about all I can remember. Post any questions here, or feel free to e-mail me privately. Already counting down to next year!!!!



Last edited by Bobbie; 01/02/2022 04:45 PM.

Bobbie smile
SXM Sponsors
Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272381
01/02/2022 06:02 PM
01/02/2022 06:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 16,639
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 16,639
Auburn, WA
Thanks for your report. Really like your format.

Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272384
01/02/2022 06:13 PM
01/02/2022 06:13 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,354
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,354
Central Florida!
Thanks very much for the report!! Great organization and lots of info!


Carol Hill
Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272385
01/02/2022 06:17 PM
01/02/2022 06:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,283
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,283
Yonkers, NY
Thanks for the details. We loved Sublime and agree on the plain croissants. Would love to check out the new restaurant you mentioned.

Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272396
01/03/2022 10:35 AM
01/03/2022 10:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,044
Cobourg Ontario Canada
J
jeepers Offline
Traveler
jeepers  Offline
Traveler
J
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,044
Cobourg Ontario Canada
great report! Where exactly is la main a la pate now? It's been for years facing out to the water in the marina & you can see Tropicana across the water from there. Have they moved away from the water? All being well & flight still going we will arrive sunday & we frequent there a lot. Wonder if Ricardo is still there?
Thanks. Good to know where they are.

Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: jeepers] #272402
01/03/2022 11:56 AM
01/03/2022 11:56 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 483
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 483
Long Island, New York
I guess then it is actually in the same spot inside the marina. I believe that MANY years ago, that spot inside the marina had a restaurant called Brasserie De La Gare, or similar. When I was last on island 2 years ago, I did not notice that La Main a la Pate was no longer on the outside of the harbor. Oops. Good luck with your flight Sunday. We had no issues at all with flights or Covid smile

Last edited by Bobbie; 01/03/2022 02:47 PM.

Bobbie smile
Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272404
01/03/2022 12:10 PM
01/03/2022 12:10 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 483
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 483
Long Island, New York
I can't seem to find an EDIT button on my initial post. I inadvertently left out three good restaurants from the "Restaurants" section.
VESNA TAVERNA (Simpson Bay) is always great!! We went there twice this trip for dinner. Owner, Vesna is a friendly, funny and gracious hostess, and the food there is outstanding! Her fish is always fresh, and well prepared. And the homemade desserts are delicious as well!

AVANTIKA is an excellent Thai restaurant in Simpson Bay. We had the clear noodles with duck and the pineapple fried rice. Both of these dishes were extremely delicious!!

EMILIOS was a great new find! Everyone was talking about this restaurant, and I could not get a reservation. Luckily, the fabulous jeweler I use hooked me up! The food and atmosphere at Emilio's was superb. The restaurant is on an old plantation (with the Rainforest Adventures), and has a different feel than most St. Maarten restaurants... just beautiful inside and out! All three of these restaurants were awesome, and def on the list for next year as well!!!

Last edited by Bobbie; 01/03/2022 02:45 PM.

Bobbie smile
Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272405
01/03/2022 12:30 PM
01/03/2022 12:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,354
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,354
Central Florida!
Bobbie-the time to edit your post had passed, that's why you could no longer edit it.

Thanks again for the report.


Carol Hill
Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: Bobbie] #272438
01/03/2022 08:59 PM
01/03/2022 08:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 144
under the Paul B in 39073
wct49 Offline
Traveler
wct49  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 144
under the Paul B in 39073
great report. thank you.


"I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”
Re: TRIP REPORT Xmas/New Years [Re: jeepers] #272441
01/03/2022 10:26 PM
01/03/2022 10:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 257
CANADA
L
LINNY Offline
Traveler
LINNY  Offline
Traveler
L
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 257
CANADA
Yes Ricardo is still there


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