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How or when did you discover SXM? #303382
06/29/2023 05:52 PM
06/29/2023 05:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,541
Vermont
sxmmartini Offline OP
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sxmmartini  Offline OP
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Posts: 7,541
Vermont
My first trip to SXM was in 1982. Hubby saw an article in a magazine that had St. Maarten/ St. Martin the top beaches in the world. Most actually discovered SXM on their first cruise to SXM.

SXM Sponsors
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303384
06/29/2023 06:53 PM
06/29/2023 06:53 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,657
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Posts: 14,657
Brookfield, CT.
We were just kids back in 1973 when we won our first trip through a contest sponsored by a local business we dealt with. It was incredible - plane tickets, accommodations at Mullett Bay Resort and breakfasts and dinners included, along with three fancy cocktail parties. All we had to pay for were lunches if so desired and the two dollar departure fee.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303385
06/29/2023 08:50 PM
06/29/2023 08:50 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 435
Beverly MA (Boston's North Sho...
timnboston Offline
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Posts: 435
Beverly MA (Boston's North Sho...
In 1999 I was teaching at our local community college and had no plans for "spring break". I had a friend who was staying in SXM at the Royal Islander in a two bedroom and he invited me down. My brother was a pilot for American Airlines. And in those days, American owned the Caribbean, and you could actually travel on the employee passes. Well, with a free place to stay and a free flight, it was a pretty easy decision. Bought my first week at the RI before I left. Now, 25 years later I'm retired with 3 weeks - best decision I ever made.

Last edited by timnboston; 06/29/2023 08:51 PM.
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303386
06/30/2023 06:08 AM
06/30/2023 06:08 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,582
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 17,582
Ohio
A Carnival cruise in 1991, went back in 1993 for a stay at Divi and have been going back regularly since. We have maintained a friendship with the taxi driver (and his family) we had in 1991 as well. Back before we got into dog competitions (and the air was much less expensive), we would make 2 and sometimes 3 trips a year. We have been on several cruises that stopped in SXM and probably close to 70 or so total visits over the years.


J.D.
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303388
06/30/2023 06:57 AM
06/30/2023 06:57 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,037
Westchester /NYC
Colour1 Offline
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Colour1  Offline
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Posts: 2,037
Westchester /NYC
In the late 90"s we heard great things about SXM. But through a travel agent, she said they just had a VERY BAD hurricane and suggested the Bahama's for our honeymoon. Worst mistake we ever made. It wasn't until 2002 we took our first trip and stayed at Divi because I thought staying near the airport was going to be to noisy!! LOL!!! We've only missed going a couple of time since then!! Sometimes twice a year, one year three times! It's a great addiction!!


Sand Gravity, got to love it!
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303389
06/30/2023 06:59 AM
06/30/2023 06:59 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,391
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Tom Offline
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Tom  Offline
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Hershey, Pennsylvania
1984. Worked for Xerox and won a trip to SXM. Stayed at Dawn Beach resort (destroyed by hurricane a few years later). It was our family vacation (1-3 weeks) every year for 35 years. Most of those years at Belair on Little Bay.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303392
06/30/2023 07:17 AM
06/30/2023 07:17 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,440
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
I'm pretty sure our first visit was in 2004; friends and co-workers of David suggested we try it. Based on their recommendation, we stayed at Le Meridien in Anse Marcel (now Secrets). We pretty much stayed at the beach there most days, but went into Grand Case for dinner every night. The next year we stayed at Cap Caraibes, spending most days on the beach at Waikiki or Kakao, and again, dinners in Grand Case or La Vie en Rose in Marigot. Towards the end of that week, we decided that we should look into timeshare, since we were paying north of $2,000 for one week in a hotel room. On the back cover of the little guidebook you pick up at the airport was an ad for La Vista: "Timesharing Done Right, No Gifts, No Gimmicks." That sounded like us, so we went to La Vista the day before our flight home departed, walked up to the bar, and announced to the bartender (after ordering drinks, of course), that we wanted to buy a timeshare. Without missing a beat, he ran to get Caribbean Al, who showed us around the resort, explained how things worked, and showed us the list of the units that met our criteria. We ended up buying two consecutive weeks at La Vista Beach, and were fortunate enough to get a third week, all in the same unit, a couple of years later. We're continually amazed at how lucky we were to have chosen probably the most well-managed timeshare on the island on a whim and without any research.

Our three week visits now include a different beach pretty much every day, and mostly dinners on the Dutch side. But the best part is the lifelong friends that we see on the island at the same time every year, and visit at opposite ends of the US, North and South as well as East and West, throughout the year. Best decision we ever made.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303393
06/30/2023 07:29 AM
06/30/2023 07:29 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,317
RI
jomarc Offline
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jomarc  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,317
RI
In the early 90’s we went on a Western Caribbean cruise. (It did not make a stop in Sint Maarten.) We decided that cruising wasn’t for us, so on our next vacation in 1993 we wanted to fly to an island.

A co-worker of mine had travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean and highly recommended the Esmeralda Hotel on Orient Beach. Decision made. We had a fantastic trip, celebrating 15 years of marriage.

Our 40th visit is coming up in September. We certainly have found our happy place, complete with fun and memorable times, wonderful friends, beautiful beaches and a great assortment of fabulous restaurants.


Jo-

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303394
06/30/2023 07:37 AM
06/30/2023 07:37 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,773
So. Shore MA.
jollymonsrv Offline
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jollymonsrv  Offline
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Posts: 1,773
So. Shore MA.
In 19977 read a small ad in the SundayBoston Globe for a week at Summit resort, all meals, airfare for $299.00 pp. up above Main building for MulletBay Resort, Jumped on it. 49 trips since then

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303395
06/30/2023 07:56 AM
06/30/2023 07:56 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 186
East Tennessee
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Posts: 186
East Tennessee
On a cruise ship originally, but when we decided to make the trek to Statia to visit with my mother's cousin, it made sense to base in St. Maarten and just hop over there on Winair. That was only in January 2020, but despite COVID, we've made 4 trips since then and planning #5. We're hooked!


Laura
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303399
06/30/2023 09:13 AM
06/30/2023 09:13 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 204
Clarksville, Maryland
KarenandRick Offline
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KarenandRick  Offline
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Posts: 204
Clarksville, Maryland
Our first trip was in 1999. My in-laws built a vacation home in Orient Bay Estates. We have been going at least once a year with our latest visit being August 2022. It's been a spectacular 23 years and I don't know if I would have visited SXM if my in-laws had not built that house. My husband and I and our 3 children LOVE SXM. Unfortunately my in-laws sold the house recently. I am retiring April 2024 and plan on visiting SXM again after that. Now we need to find a place to stay! Considering BSV based on positive reviews here on TTOL. After so many years on the French side I do wonder how different the Dutch side would be ...

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303400
06/30/2023 09:17 AM
06/30/2023 09:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
First trip to SXM on Carnival Celebration in 1987. We went shopping downtown ALL DAY. Wow. Several more cruises to SXM after that, then in February 1995, we booked Green Cay Villas through Jim Ruos, god rest his soul. During that trip, while at the Mullet Bay Casino one night, we happened to meet up with some very nice folks that had been our tablemates on one of those cruises. We played a LOT of roulette on that cruise, and I walked up behind him at the table and chided him for not playing #4, which is his wife's birthday. I recognized him right away, but I could tell he was quite puzzled to begin with, to try to figure out who we were! We laughed a lot. Then sadly, that September came Luis. But we were determined to support the island, so the next February, we stayed at L'Hoste on Orient Beach, which was just about the only place open on the beach. Club O, of course, was gone, but we went to the beach there every day. Lots more cruises since then, but have now mostly gravitated to SXM. Although we are looking for another cruise for the future..


Carol Hill
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303401
06/30/2023 09:44 AM
06/30/2023 09:44 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 711
L
lcote Online content
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lcote  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 711
Our first real trip to SXM was after we went there on a cruise. Michael found a great deal on Redweek for a place at Divi. We bought it sight unseen because we had enjoyed our trip there on the cruise. Later that year,we bought another timeshare from Redweek for Aruba (also Divi and also sight unseen). At the time, I was more excited about the Aruba one. We visited SXM and thoroughly enjoyed Divi. A few months later we went to Aruba. And we liked it there but Aruba was too much like going to Florida.
For several years we did one week in SXM and one week in Aruba.
Several years ago, we exchanged our Aruba timeshare and our one bedroom on the Little Bay side for two glorious weeks on the Great Bay side of Divi. Our room looks out over the ocean not over the cruise ships. We have to look to the left to see the cruise ships. In our opinion, best room on the resort.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303404
06/30/2023 10:44 AM
06/30/2023 10:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,939
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 18,939
Auburn, WA
First was on the Royal Caribbean Song Of Norway in 1989. After a few more stops on cruise ships we opted for a 10 day stay at Belair in 1999. Took a property tour at Flamingo while there, purchased and that is how it all started. Now we have 4 weeks there and go every year. Already booked air for next May.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303405
06/30/2023 11:00 AM
06/30/2023 11:00 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 480
Maryland
Jim_Laraine Offline
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Jim_Laraine  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 480
Maryland
We first visited in May 1988. Laraine's sister and her husband had bought a timeshare at the Flamingo the year before and could not use it in 1988, so they offered it to us. Our chosen flights had us on the island a few days early so we stayed a few days at La Belle Creole (owned by Hilton at the time) in the lowlands. We went back every 6 months for a number of years and stayed at La Belle Creole most of the time.

La Belle Creole was an amazing property (some pics attached, we took most but a couple are from post cards). On one trip the hotel had a screw up and was overbooked. Ian, the manager put us up for free at Mount Vernon for the whole stay. On our next trip we were greeted with flower and gifts when we arrived at La Belle Creole. Of course the hotel was heavily damage by hurricane Luis in 1995 and never reopend. We have not been able to bring ourselves to tour the ruins.

We also owned 2 summer weeks at the Pelican which we greatly enjoyed for about 15 years. We ended up turning them in when the AMF's went too high. We've been doing AirBnB, VRBO etc since then but are doing BSV in the fall (thanks for the tip you all).


Attached Files LBC2.jpgLBC3.jpgLBC4.jpgLBC1.jpgLBC5.jpgLBC8.jpgLBC6.jpg
Last edited by Jim_Laraine; 06/30/2023 11:02 AM.
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303406
06/30/2023 11:07 AM
06/30/2023 11:07 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
Thanks for the pics of Le Belle Creole. We never saw it when it was open. It looks lovely.


Carol Hill
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: Carol_Hill] #303407
06/30/2023 11:19 AM
06/30/2023 11:19 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 480
Maryland
Jim_Laraine Offline
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Jim_Laraine  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 480
Maryland
Yes, it was kind of a magical place. Like a quaint European village, I believe that most all rooms in the resort were unique in design. From what I heard, now it's quite dicey to visit the site. Among other reasons, it's turned into an unofficial paintball war venue. We drove about halfway in the entrance road earlier this year but chickened out and did a U turn.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303409
06/30/2023 11:54 AM
06/30/2023 11:54 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,495
Anguilla, British West Indies
NeilRooney Offline
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NeilRooney  Offline
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Posts: 2,495
Anguilla, British West Indies
I flew from New York to SXM in August of 1988 for a job interview at La Belle Creole. I moved there September 01, 1988 and lived on property for three years. I moved on to other opportunities and opened Sunset Beach Bar September 01, 1996, Peg Leg Pub September 2001, Buccaneer Beach Bar December 2002, The Yacht Club in 2003 and Rum Jumbie Bar at the airport in 2005. I left in September 2007


Another Day On Planet Earth
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303410
06/30/2023 12:03 PM
06/30/2023 12:03 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 705
Lake Texoma, Texas
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cruzer Offline
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cruzer  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
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Lake Texoma, Texas
We first visited in 1998 doing a back-to-back Wind Jammer cruises out of St. Martin. Between cruises, we had a very enjoyable 3 days on the island, remailing on the ship. After 2007, we did lots of sailing with Wind Jammer, mostly the 13 days trips from Antigua to Grenada and were very happy with that. First real trip to the island was in 2007, the year WJ spectacularly failed due to financial malfeasance, and since we liked SXM and GCBC so much, that became our go-to place every year, aside for 2017 and 2020.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303411
06/30/2023 12:21 PM
06/30/2023 12:21 PM
Joined: Nov 2022
Posts: 10
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sxmmimi Offline
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sxmmimi  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2022
Posts: 10
Ad in NY Times travel section - Mullet Bay - $25 per day, American Plan. Traveled in June 1971. Fell in love with St. Maarten and Mullet Bay and bought condo in Mullet Bay two years later and then THE hurricane happened. Also timeshare owners at Royal Islander since 1990. Covid was the only thing that kept us away. First trip - just my husband and I. Three children and many years later we all still love our vacations at The Royal Islander, this year in November. Will return in April '24 - myself, three children and spouses, six grandchildren, one married, her husband and my great grandson. Amazing !!

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmimi] #303412
06/30/2023 12:35 PM
06/30/2023 12:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
So lovely to hear everyone's stories! Keep 'em coming! clapping


Carol Hill
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303413
06/30/2023 12:59 PM
06/30/2023 12:59 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 352
crsxm Offline
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Posts: 352
First trip was in 1987 with a two year old and grandparents in tow. We stayed in the hotel at Divi. After checking out, I picked up a brochure regarding the timeshares that were going to be built. By the time the plane landed back in NY, I had convinced by dad that he should buy one for all of us to enjoy! Not one to disappoint his only daughter, the timeshare was bought via telephone from NY. We went back in 1988 staying in the new two bedroom timeshare. We added another little one in 1989 and have enjoyed every year since. Well I guess we did miss one year -- hurricane Luis happened and we went to Aruba. Now we are grandparent wannabes but still enjoy taking our kids and their significant others to the Island we love!

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303421
06/30/2023 02:17 PM
06/30/2023 02:17 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,833
Galena, IL
indi Offline
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indi  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,833
Galena, IL
We honeymooned in St. Thomas in 1987. My gynecologist owned a timeshare in Anse Marcel and kept urging me to check out SXM.

So in 1991 we spent a week in St. Thomas and flew to SXM for a week. We stayed at Point Pirouette.

We really had not researched the island and didn't realize that there was a Dutch and a French side!

Three years later we returned and stayed in the Orient area at what was then Green Cay Villas....Jim Ruos (RIP) was our "guide" to the area.

Eventually we were able to return each year (except for hurricane years).

We stayed in the Orient area 8 times, Oyster Pond twice, Cupecoy 3 times, and now gravitate toward Pelican Key.

TTOL parties introduced us to folks who have become dear friends!


Last edited by indi; 06/30/2023 02:19 PM.

Joyce M-C
[Linked Image]
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303422
06/30/2023 03:37 PM
06/30/2023 03:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 568
Bucks County, PA
S
snuba Offline
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Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 568
Bucks County, PA
Back in 1998 we were on a hunt for our annual trip to Caribbean, we traveled to a different island once a year and stayed at an all inclusive resorts and very much enjoyed it. My husband saw a small add for Beachside Villas on island of Saint Maarten in Philadelphia Inquirer. We never been to SXM at that point yet so did some research and liked what we saw. Contacted Yolanda Mascarin, got her brochure in the mail and eventually booked a week in April of 1999.
We really enjoyed our stay at BSV and island of Saint Maarten and thought we would come back to BSV next year. Well, Mother Nature had different plans, Hurricane Lenny had descended onto SXM in November of that year and totally destroyed Beachside Villas and the island. But we were determined to come back the following year and rented a Villa on Beacon Hill that was not destroyed. Once BSV were rebuilt we went back there and been staying there once or twice a year with an exception of a few times when we rented a Villas on Beacon Hill.
The only regrets I have that we were so hooked up on SXM that we missed out on traveling around the world as back then we could only afford to travel once or twice a year. Now we are catching up traveling all over the world and still managing to squeeze a few weeks a year on SXM! Unfortunately the time is ticking and the bucket list is still very long.


Life is short, travel the World.
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303423
06/30/2023 03:41 PM
06/30/2023 03:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 188
Washington State
Todd_Melinda_K Offline
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Todd_Melinda_K  Offline
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Posts: 188
Washington State
Sometime in 2000 we went on the search for a vacation spot. Being from the west coast, Hawaii was the obvious choice. But we wanted somewhere warm and non US feeling, so we bought a Fodor’s Caribbean guide and started to research. We chose the French side of St Martin due to the European feel, food, beaches etc. We booked our first trip in Feb 2001 at the St Tropez Hotel on Orient. The first International travel for either of us, ages 26 & 29. We’ve been hooked ever since, always staying in the Orient area. This January will our 14th trip, this time for 3 weeks!

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303424
06/30/2023 03:43 PM
06/30/2023 03:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 339
S
StMartinFan Offline
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StMartinFan  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2011
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Our first visit was in 1996, when the damage from Luis was still very evident. We'd been to Grand Cayman and Jamaica and wanted a different Caribbean experience. Stayed at BelAir but they were dredging to replenish the damaged beach, so we loaded up our two elementary aged kids and explored all the different beaches. Fell in love with the island so we walked next door and bought a timeshare at Divi before we left, despite all the damage still to be repaired at the resort. Have loved returning almost every year, as the kids got older and brought friends and then a husband, and now a granddaughter.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303435
06/30/2023 06:11 PM
06/30/2023 06:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,992
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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The_Lurker  Offline
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Connecticut
We saw an ad in the brochure of ABC Tours in the early 80"s.
We knew nothing about SXM and were a little nervous when we hoped on a shuttle to Nettle Bay,
We ended up renting a car and learned more about the island, which we then fell in love with.

We stayed at so many different places (Treasure Island, Cupecoy Beach Club, a private condo, The Summit, etc.),
until we decided to check out Beachside Villas and have been there
ever since. We absolutely love it there.
We go twice a year.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303439
06/30/2023 07:56 PM
06/30/2023 07:56 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 882
Arizona
M
marybeth Online content
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Arizona
My introduction to SXM was off a Sitmar cruise in 1978. Spent the day shopping & drinking - no beaches. Returned on another Stimar cruise in 1979. Then no visits till 1990 while on a Princess cruise. We were living in SLC and the only island I cared about going to was SXM. Had such a fabulous time on Mullet Bay Beach we went back in 1991 & 1992. Then other travels took us to some fabulous places but it was imperative I get out of SLC in the winter! So a friend traded a timeshare week into SXM for us in 1999 where we stayed at the Pelican. The island was still a little rough after Luis but we discovered Orient and were hooked. Next year we got 2 weeks of her her timeshare trade into the Sapphire and Flamingo. We bought our timeshare weeks (9& 10) at the Flamingo in the villas which were still pre-construction, But whoever owned the timeshare accommodated us for the next 2 years till they were out of bankruptcy. Then we started going twice a year winter and early winter staying at l'Esplanade. The twice a year ended in 2013 when Don's health took a downward turn, but we still made it back every March till after Irma. I haven't been back since then as Don could no longer travel. I'll be back in 2024 , without Don as he died this April. One of our discussions was the I needed to use the timeshare weeks or sell/give them away. I decided to use them!


MB
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303440
06/30/2023 08:03 PM
06/30/2023 08:03 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 207
Clearwater, FL
RABBY Offline
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RABBY  Offline
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Posts: 207
Clearwater, FL
My husband, Larry, chose the island at random to celebrate our honeymoon in 1985. We stayed at the Marina Royale in Marigot. We will be retuning in a week, probably around our 26 th or 27 th visit ! We had not traveled extensively at that point. So we felt very “sophisticated” staying on the French side ! Lol. Every afternoon, espresso and French cigarettes at the little coffee shop under our room in the Marina. We felt like “Bon Vivants” for sure 🍷🍾♥️

Last edited by RABBY; 06/30/2023 08:05 PM.

..."there's this one particular harbor"....
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: marybeth] #303441
06/30/2023 08:24 PM
06/30/2023 08:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 83,123
Central Florida!
marybeth--sorry to hear of Don's passing. Glad you will be able to return though.


Carol Hill
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303445
06/30/2023 09:10 PM
06/30/2023 09:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,914
Portland, OR
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Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,914
Portland, OR
I have been going on jazz cruises for a few decades; they are always to the Caribbean. That’s given me the opportunity to visit many different Caribbean islands, but Sint Maarten was always my favorite.

Some friends of mine, also from Oregon, were on one of the cruises. I knew they had several timeshares, including Mexico, Hawaii, and SXM, so I asked them to tell me about timeshares. “Have we got a deal for you!” They were in their 80s at the time, and traveling from Oregon to SXM was getting to be too much for them. I purchased their two weeks at Divi, sight unseen, for a very reasonable price; there were still about 25 weeks left on the 40-year contracts. My first time sleeping on SXM was staying at my new timeshare at Divi, which I knew nothing about. I had lunch with them after returning; they were on pins and needles wondering if I liked it. Their relief was palpable when I said I loved it.

A couple of years later I wanted to stay for three weeks. The owner of the third week was using his week so I had to move next door. At some point, I knocked on his door to ask if he wanted to sell his week. He did! So I then had three weeks in the same unit; his contract had about the same amount of time left on it as the two weeks I already had.

From 2007 until 2021, I enjoyed my time at Divi, but the bloom is now off the rose. I had become familiar with Horny Toad when extending my stays after my Divi weeks and when returning in November. I find that I prefer the intimacy of a small property as opposed to a sprawling resort. It remains to be seen what I do about my Divi contracts (I don’t have to pay maintenance fees in any year I don’t use my unit). For now, I am happy coming twice a year for five weeks each and staying at the Toad.


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Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303447
06/30/2023 10:22 PM
06/30/2023 10:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,939
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 18,939
Auburn, WA
That mirrors our purchase of our second week in a row for the Flamingo penthouse purchase. Every year we were in week 20 we talked to owners of week 19. Gave them a standing offer if they ever wanted to sell. Low and behold I got a call three years later and asked if still interested. Before I said yes they disclosed the other couple in it with them were getting a divorce and had to sell. I said the offer changed and with a low ball offer bought week 19 for 2 weeks in a row. Found week 21 top floor on the end point ocean view on Ebay for a bargain and now am set. My original week 28 is traded in for week 22 and now there for 4 weeks with 1 move. Nice to know where you're staying every year and dates to buy early air tickets when prices are best.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303450
07/01/2023 05:40 AM
07/01/2023 05:40 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 64
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CharlieAndElaine Offline
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CharlieAndElaine  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 64
After trying several c/o beaches in Florida and New Jersey we found out about SXM and Club Orient. Our first trip was 2007. Never stayed at Club O but spent most of our time between Club O beach and Happy Bay. February 2024 will be trip #14 and July 2024 will be #15. Over the years we have made great friend with folks that come at the same time that we do each year. Plus now we have just as many friends who live on the island. They really have become our island family.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303451
07/01/2023 08:59 AM
07/01/2023 08:59 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,146
Louisiana
o2bnsxm Offline
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o2bnsxm  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,146
Louisiana
We went to SXM on our 25th Anniversary in 1998 on a Cruise. Fell in love with the beautiful Island. Started flying there on vacation, and no matter how long we stayed (first trip was 5 days), it was never enough. We kept increasing our Island time and started booking Club O for 2 weeks.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303452
07/01/2023 09:26 AM
07/01/2023 09:26 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 5,345
Kennys Offline
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Kennys  Offline
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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 5,345
Flew in from Curacao ( 1980), the Island of birth and started working as a Cashier at Mullet Bay Resort , then moved up to a Bartender at Hillside Disco / Le Club and went to run Holiday Car Rental . Graduated from Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island 1992, Hotel and Restaurant Management and left Mullet after Luis and started Kenny's Car Rental which is named after our Daughter Kenya .


Last edited by Kennys; 07/01/2023 09:30 AM.
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303454
07/01/2023 09:52 AM
07/01/2023 09:52 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,327
Vancouver, WA
Todd Offline
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Todd  Offline
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Posts: 4,327
Vancouver, WA
As a young lad I had gone to the Caribbean in the late 70's on an Eastern Airlines deal where we visited Antigua, San Juan PR and the St John in the USVI. Went back to the USVI then again in 1981. I was hooked on the Caribbean, so then later in life MJ won Delta Airlines tickets that allowed us to go anywhere domestically but included the Caribbean so we went to the USVI. MJ grew up going to Hawaii which is common for us left coasters but she also found the draw to the Caribbean so we then won another set of DL tickets in 2002, we had a timeshare in WA State so we decided to book to San Juan and then puddle jump to where ever we got a timeshare and ended up at Divi. We had a great time and knew we had still a lot to see and try so we scheduled to go back just shy of two years later. On our first trip we purchased four items at a store that was at the far end of Phillipsburg and the plate that was included in that purchase broke on the way home. We go back to the same store to get a new one, the lady running the store states "I remember you", of course our immediate thought is after about 20 months, BS. She saw the doubt and then stated exactly what the four items we purchased were. We spent less than $50 in that store, that is when the hook was permanently set and we knew we would keep coming back.

We love the beaches, the food, the vibe but by far it is the people we have met on island that keep us coming back. Incredible friendships created with other tourist as well as residents of the island.


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303455
07/01/2023 09:53 AM
07/01/2023 09:53 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 90
Long Island NY
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SurferMike Offline
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SurferMike  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 90
Long Island NY
I bought a Foders Caribbean travel book in December 2003 and was reading about the different islands. Not sure why we picked St. Maarten. Just sounded inviting. We read about the Horny Toad, called up and spoke with Betty who was the owner at the time. She had availability for March 2004 and just loved the place. We’ve been going ever since.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303456
07/01/2023 10:12 AM
07/01/2023 10:12 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,132
CaribLee Offline
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CaribLee  Offline
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Posts: 1,132
My brother-in-law, the developer, began developing a few timeshares in Florida in the early 90's. While they were still selling units, he called my wife in 1995 to say they had excess inventory and he offered us a free week to go anywhere in the world that had a RCI resort. I had always wanted to go to the Caribbean so I bought a Fodor's book on the Caribbean and began my research. I ended up deciding on St. Maarten because of the following reasons: many beautiful beaches, known for great cuisine, owned by two different countries offering an international flare, and one of the more affluent islands meaning less crime. It also didn't hurt that it was known as the friendly island. So we made our first trip down in July of 1995.....a month and a half before Luis tore through the island. The island was still recovering the next year so we decided to try Aruba. While Aruba was O.K., I realized that I much preferred St. Maarten. So we returned to St. Maarten in 1997 and have been back every year since other than one covid year. We return in August for our 30 plus visit (so many trips I lose count). We have visited Aruba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic but it just leaves me wanting to return to St. Maarten. I realize that for the wife and me, it is our happy place. 5 weeks and yes I'm counting.

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Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: sxmmartini] #303458
07/01/2023 10:36 AM
07/01/2023 10:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 874
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Southshore Offline
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Southshore  Offline
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Posts: 874
Mississauga, ON, Canada
July 1992. We had just finished paying off the mortgage on our first house. Prior to that we had been booking vacations on a "last minute" site to get a cheap holiday anywhere we could. Now we had the opportunity to expand our horizons a bit. My husband had worked in the Caribbean for the first 20 years of his career and wanted to go to an island that he had not worked on. That made for a short list. We were in the habit of going to all-inclusives and looked for one in St. Martin. At that time, Le Flamboyant in Nettle Bay offered an all-inclusive that turned out to be first class. Ordering from a menu, table service, French cuisine, superb plating.
We rented a car for a couple of days to have a look at the rest of the island and fell in love with it. Came back 25 times over the years, staying at different places on both sides of the island. My husband said he liked the "adult vibe" of the island. We came with other family members on occasion, encouraged friends and family to come and see what this island had to offer. (Encouraged my husband's son to come. Big mistake. He can get into trouble anywhere.)
Always stayed on the French side until an unfortunate incident on the road late one night made us think twice about driving at night. We switched to the Dutch side and spent our final trips at Maho.
Love this island. Great memories.

Re: How or when did you discover SXM? [Re: CaribLee] #303459
07/01/2023 10:47 AM
07/01/2023 10:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,939
Auburn, WA
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 18,939
Auburn, WA
I remember Laguna. One of the best Italian restaurants on the island at that time.

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