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Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 #296869
03/03/2023 04:33 PM
03/03/2023 04:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Clifford Offline OP
Traveler
Clifford  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Our tenth trip to St Martin in 12 years. This one celebrating my wife's retirement. We stretched our stay from 7 to 10 days! Contrary to what negativity you may hear about the island, we had a wonderful time. When we arrived at Orient Beach the wind was blowing at 22 mph and the entire beach was choked with sargassum. The wind died down starting the next day and the sargassum cleared our for the rest of the week and the wind died down to the usual 12 mph.

It was our third stay at Residence Adam et Eve. It only holds 8 couples but was always occupied and with friendly people too. Alain and Caroline have created a wonderful resort. They also offer cruises on their sailboat. We were the only ones at the resort not to take the cruise to Tintamare and Pinel. We are notoriously un- seaworthy. But so were some of the cruisers and they had no problem. Hopefully we can take the cruise next year. Residence Adam et Eve may be for sale. I wish Alain and Caroline well.

The raindrops seemed to fall at dinner time. On our arrival we went to Telegraphe. It has a indoor area on the beach side. We wanted to hear the surf but not get the rain. Had pork loin and duck duo. Wai Plage has dinner Friday's only. DJ and not very crowded. Had their beef loin and whole snapper. It was very good.

Also went to Maison Mere in Orient Village. Indoor and out of the raindrops it was a relaxed and more upscale atmosphere than the rest of the village. Tables are farther apart. Larger chairs. Enjoyed pigeon with fois-gras and duck confit. Forget the name chocolate dessert was very enjoyable.
Between Maison Mere and Telegraphe is a new place La Favela. I saw paella on the menu as I walked by. Maybe next year.

Went to a friends condo at Sapphire in Cupecoy. Like the real estate advertising. A small pool on the deck. All glass view of the calm Carribean. Saba in the mist. Planes coming in. Sailboats drifting by. Three parking spaces! Four hundred to 700 per night. Busiest time is Christmas. Rented all year round. People come from Japan and Norway. They are lucky to get a couple weeks a year for themselves.

Went to dinner at Altro in Porto Cupecoy. Such different feel between the Dutch and French sides. Like having two vacations.
The next night we went to Grand Case. It is cleaner and has more attractions than before. We made a reservation for dinner three nites later at Le Bistronome. We walked the Boulevard taking in the sounds, sights and smells of the most interesting street in St Martin. We stopped for dinner at Bistrot Caraibes. We sat beside the lobster tank for entertainment.

Went scuba diving at Aquarama in Simpson Bay Resort. Warnings about heavy traffic led me to leave early. It was Valentines Day evidently one of the biggest days in St Martin. Seven AM and loudspeakers are hawking balloons and flowers at the intersections. Got there with plenty of time. Middle of the morning and afternoon heavy traffic especially around Cole Bay and the Marigot bus station. Friends said they didn't have any trouble driving by going down the east side thru Orleans and on the north side of the Salt Pond.
After diving had lunch at Skip Jacks. It's the same place. New owners. Watch the planes take off, little sailboats on Simpson Lagoon and people working on yachts. It is still a fish market so they have some good catches on the menu.

Next day we hiked the jungle trails of Lotterie Farm to the top of Pic Paradis. Lotterie Farm is known as an expansive green area with a pool and restaurant in the center. They have also added a children's area. You start off walking thru jungle zip-lining in the trees above. The jungle path is rocky and steep initially until less of a grade for most of the ascent. We were entertained by about a dozen monkeys along the way. Younger people sped ahead of us on the trail but what we learned on our previous trip to the summit 6 years ago was helpful. The concrete road is not the end. Rue du Pic Paradis is driven by many people instead of the jungle hike. Either way you have to climb the last 400 feet. Follow the cel towers they are at the Pic. There are three outlooks to view Orient Beach, Phillipsburg and Marigot and Simpson Lagoon. There is a north outlook I have never found.

Our last evening we dined at Le Bistronome. We had made a reservation 3 nites earlier. It is a small, old fisherman's cottage. It seats about 24 but everything is in the one room, patrons, chef at kitchen and bar. Potentially great meals are ruined by serving cold. We were ten feet from the chef. My grouper was hot to the last bite.
That was planned as our last evening but it wasn't. Our Friday flight back to Miami was delayed almost 6 hours. The second MIA flight came and went long before ours landed in the dark. We took off after 8pm and landed after 10. We were wondering how do we get reimbursed for our lost beach day?

We stretched our week vacation to 9 days mostly to add more time between connecting flights. Younger people may run thru the airport for their connection. Not for me. We ended up with about 6 hours of pillow time at a hotel before our next flight in the morning.
Flying may be safer and cheaper but it is more annoying.

Notes:
-Ten years ago the story was nothing is grown on St Martin. Now I see more small farms growing vegetables. Also more goats and cattle.

-More restaurants around the harbor in Marigot. Daytime only.

-The north end of Orient Beach is looking better. All units at Mount Vernon have blue roofs and there is a nice new swimming pool. Collective has installed game courts near the beach. I saw several people set up their own pickle ball games out on the beach near Mount Vernon. KKO has completed their bar on the Rock. Kind of a shame they are chipping away at a landmark like the Rock. Have a big stage and blasting away music toward Pinel one nite.

-The road excavation in Hope Estate between Leader Price and Super U is somewhat complete. West of the roundabout had some paving material installed, towards Orient was still fill material creating some dust and slowing traffic. The Al Dente Italian restaurant there is now a home furnishing store. Seems I have seen more furnishing stores this trip.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 03/03/2023 04:50 PM.
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Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #296872
03/03/2023 04:56 PM
03/03/2023 04:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,950
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,950
Auburn, WA
Like to hear more about your Diving experience and what sites they took you to. I've logged close to 300 dives with Dive Adventures and have enjoyed their program over many years.

Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #296873
03/03/2023 04:56 PM
03/03/2023 04:56 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,149
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,149
Central Florida!
Thanks for the report! I put in some returns to make it easier to read.

I miss Al Dente. I thought it was wonderful. Glad to hear that they have finally repaired the swimming pool at Mt. Vernon.

Sorry your flight got delayed, but I doubt you will get anything from AA for your trouble.

Overall, sounds like a lovely trip with some really nice dining experiences.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #296874
03/03/2023 05:27 PM
03/03/2023 05:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 172
R
RickandJulie Offline
Traveler
RickandJulie  Offline
Traveler
R
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 172
When did Al Dente close?

Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: RickandJulie] #296877
03/03/2023 07:41 PM
03/03/2023 07:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,149
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,149
Central Florida!
I'm not sure. I read it here a while ago.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #296912
03/04/2023 03:53 PM
03/04/2023 03:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,919
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,919
Portland, OR
Thanks for the nice report. Your friends' condo must be spectacular to command those prices! I couldn't tell from your report whether or not you liked Altro?


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #297090
03/07/2023 05:12 PM
03/07/2023 05:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Clifford Offline OP
Traveler
Clifford  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Scuba: We are not experienced divers. Our biggest problem with another dive shop was they were not diving on a regular basis. We go on vacation for a week and appreciate that Aquamania has two trips a day, every day. As far as where we went? Off the south (Dutch side). Between Phillipsburg and Simpson Bay. I'm not really good with landmarks from the water. We didn't go to the most common places like the airplane and the sunken ship. Somebody pointed out Andre Agassi' place on shore.

Jazzgal: I've never paid even $300 on the island. VRBO has Villa Sonrisa for $500/nite in April and $800 for Christmas week.
Altro was a nice place. The food and service were good. Most places on the French side don't get going until about 8pm. Altro seemed to be winding down by 8. The places that really excite me usually have multiple things on the menu of interest. It is the tough decision to choose. Maybe you can cajole someone else in the party to order your second or third choice just to see what your missing. St Martin has so many great restaurants it is a shame one can't go to all of them.

Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #297091
03/07/2023 05:15 PM
03/07/2023 05:15 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Clifford Offline OP
Traveler
Clifford  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Al Dente must have closed last year. It is now remodeled and open as a decorating place. You know how long it takes to get anything done in St Martin.

Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #297099
03/07/2023 06:14 PM
03/07/2023 06:14 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,950
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,950
Auburn, WA
Yes. If you went through Aquamania you had your dive with Dive Adventures who I always recommend and dive with. They always give you a dive briefing before the dive and the site name. Was just wondering which sites they took you.

Re: Trip Report Feb 8 - 17 2023 [Re: Clifford] #297125
03/08/2023 07:42 AM
03/08/2023 07:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,588
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
Traveler
BillandElaine  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,588
St Maarten
The decorating place has always been there, although new name in recent months. it was Peninsule (sp) for many years. Al Dente was at the right side of it.


Elaine
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God Bless the broken road....

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