I tried to share our meal experiences over the last 10 days in smaller reports since I know that I can get long winded. Hopefully, some of the pictures and or meal descriptions helped inspire you to try something different or in other cases avoid something that wasn't to your liking. We all have different tastes and preferences but I can't think of any other place that can offer the range and depth of experiences that Saint Martin/Sint Maarten can.
Our final day was Friday May 20th and it was spent at Karakter's. We had a 3:04 pm flight so it worked out perfect for us to get a couple of hours of sun in before we showered and checked out of our AirBnb rental. One last perfect bloody mary and some shark sighting excitement while we were there. We were laying in our chairs when a man walking the beach was warning folks to be careful due to two sharks swimming close to the beach. He pointed them out but I only saw one 3-4 footer. Several people followed them down the beach with their phones before turning around.
This was our first time staying on the Dutch side and we really enjoyed it! We stayed the first 7 days in Orient Bay and the last 3 in Simpson Bay. Our stay on the Dutch side was at 111 Simpson Bay Road in Unit #5. It was a comfortable one bedroom one bath unit located on the second floor of a small six unit complex and close to everything. Beautiful views and five minutes from more restaurants than you could ever visit. I do like the convenience of being close to the airport on our day of departure since it helps alleviate the stress of when to leave for the airport and not getting stuck in traffic. It made for a relaxing last half day and didn't necessitate us showering at Karakter's and drying off with t-shirts before heading to the airport. This time we were able to hang out at beach until 11:30, go back to our apartment, shower, check-out at noon and go back to Karakter's for lunch (one last serving of their tuna tartar with fries). We arrived at the airport by 1pm and had no issues checking in with very short lines at the Delta counter. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/39027867?source_impression_id=p3_1653229539_YYEtMKbbx6jjmWEn
I finally got to play tennis at Saint Martin! I'm a huge tennis fan and play year round at home in Atlanta. Usually, I'm involved in multiple leagues and teams throughout the year and always miss playing when I go on vacation. Unfortunately, I never bring my tennis rackets, shoes and requisite knee braces since we don't travel with other tennis players but this trip was a bit different. My men's team had made it through the playoffs to the city championship and I was scheduled to play the day after we got back. I knew I needed to at least hit some balls this time and found the Country Club at Port de Plaisance. I was able to book a 30 minute lesson with the pro, Stephane Szeberenyi, which was invaluable in preparation for the upcoming match. Stephane teaches at the club as well as at La Samanna so you have access to both hard courts, clay and artificial grass. He's not only a good instructor but also very accommodating to what you want out of your time.
I will continue to use Kenny's Car Rental because of Lesley Bruce. I like giving my business to people I trust and can rely on. His cars vary based on condition but they don't break down and I know the man behind the business will take care of you if you need his help. He's a true gentleman and a good person.
My wife and I still prefer the Orient Bay/Grand Case area best. It's hard for us to really quantify why this is but I'll try. We like the quaint charm of walking around Orient Village and Grand Case. There's a sense you are in a foreign country and I enjoy hearing people speak a language I don't understand (except for a few words). The food on the French side is more appealing to us. We had great meals in Simpson Bay but there were a ton of places we looked at online and ruled out based on presentation. This isn't to say that every meal needs to have a gourmet/artistic presentation to be good but it makes a difference. If I'm going to spend my money for a meal I want it to be what I want it to be. The Simpson Bay area along with the Maho area is too built up for our tastes. I don't want to be around that many people and I'm not interested in the night life.
We had a couple of rainy days early on but overall had great weather. Very little traffic issues except for the drawbridges. This was the first time I caught both drawbridges in the same week.....what are the odds?
I can't wait to go back in November!