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Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report #321942
07/08/2024 01:51 PM
07/08/2024 01:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Jim_Laraine Offline OP
Traveler
Jim_Laraine  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Flights and immigration / costumes were fine, United IAD - SXM on the way down and Delta SXM - ATL - BWI. Our United Explorer Visa card gave us United Club Passes which was nice for our IAD departure experience. It also pays for Global Entry which saved us at least 30 minutes to an hour in Atlanta on our return. The regular immigration lines were crazy long but no one was at the Global Entry Kiosks. I think the immigration officers like to have fun impressing travelers with the sensitivity of the recognition algorithms. As we were walking up to the Kiosk he called us by name to come over to the booth. This happened on our last international return as well.

Traffic was for the most part not bad at all. The Google Maps Traffic overlay did help on most around the island trips. However we were lucky enough to get stuck when the Causeway Bridge was stuck open due to a Gebe power outage. The bridge has a generator but the outage caused a malfunction to the switching system. No one waited for the bridge to close. Everyone either did a U turn over the low divider or backed down the roadway for a distance (which is what we chose).

Dining around the island was generally very good. There were no restaurants that we would recommend avoiding. (Boring but true) Just to put our dining in perspective, we don’t eat as big as we used to, so we usually just share an appetizer, entree and maybe a dessert.

Jax Steakhouse Our family gave us a gift certificate which we used on our 50th anniversary dinner. The shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and complimentary dessert were all perfect. The service was great but we were seated (closely) next to two people who were chatting pretty loudly through most of the meal. Not a huge deal but a bit annoying.

St Maarten Yacht Club was the spot for breakfast a number of times when we did breakfast away from the room. The eggs benedict is great as were all of the breakfast items we tried. The home fries are not the best so we usually substitute fruit which works fine. The staff is amazing. We also occasionally made an evening stop at the Yacht Club for a dessert. Koko makes a great espresso martini if you like that sort of thing.
Hoagie Sandwiches were a great way for us to picnic on the beach. On most beach days we would pick up a turkey or ham sandwich at Le Sucriere Bakery in Simpson Bay or at the Casino Market in Orient Village. Only about $5 for a sandwich.

Calmos Cafe was a joy to revisit as we missed their post-Irma reopening in October. The place looks great and the staff was wonderful. We had some drinks and, in spite of the extensive french menu offerings, a cheeseburger. The ambiance, food and service was excellent as in the Pre-Irma Cafe. The centipede infused rum is no longer available but that’s ok.

Sunset Beach Bar also had good breakfast selections. The egg sandwich is nice, large and reasonably priced. Of course this was not an option for us on cruise ship days.

Lal’s Indian is always a stop for us. He was not busy and had time to chat with us about his recent trip to Europe. The spinach chicken was amazing.

Buccaneer’s Beach Bar was our go-to place when we couldn’t think of anything else to do. The burgers and pizza were always good and reasonably priced. Entertainment is a plus when they have it.

Isola had good pizza and Chicken Parm on our visits. We sat at the bar and the service was great but that area is not air conditioned as well as the dining room. We also learned that you can park in the Simpson Bay Resort parking lot right across from the restaurant if you tell the guard that you are going to Isola. Guess this would work for the Hollywood casino as well.

El Rancho has one of our favorite thin crust pizzas with a beautiful view of Orient Bay. The peacocks wandering around the tables makes for an interesting experience as well.

Chesterfields is a place we always visit a few times. Over a number of visits we had chicken wraps and steak subs which were very good. They have some nice T-shirts and I bought two for $15 each. When I got back to the room I took a closer look and the mermaids on the back were a bit more detailed than usual. No big deal, just have to use some judgment on where to wear them.

The Dutch Blond is a nice upstairs bar / restaurant on the Front Street boardwalk. Had a nice drink and talked with the owner while overlooking the beach and activity. We didn’t stay too long since the heat was brutal that day and, like many places, the bar was not air conditioned.

Sublime upstairs in Maho has a great two for one happy hour and good discounted appetizers. The bartender, “Bee” was nice to chat with.

Beirut is always a stop for a yummy shawarma and a hooka pipe. (We don’t smoke except for this)

Dom Pizza is a place that we heard was very good. Maybe it’s a matter of preference but we were not crazy about the pizza, since the cheese was not mozzarella. Not really bad just not at all what we expected.

Driftwood was a stop for a shawarma which was good but not quite as good as the one at Beirut.

The Perch at Club Orient Beach was consistently good with nice salads and sandwiches that were very reasonably prices. If you eat during happy hour, from 1:30 to 2:30 the drinks are two for one as well.

Le String on Orient Beach was a great place for lunch, beach chairs and food. John and the staff are very friendly and accommodating. Free chairs if you buy lunch / drinks.

Orange Fever was our beach chair and lunch spot one day when Le String was closed. The lobster roll was delicious and the beach chairs were nice. Free chairs if you buy lunch / drinks.

Tap and Still Had a very good double burger but I think we would settle for a single next time to make it more manageable to eat. Wings were decent. Very nice staff.

Willies Jeep is the restaurant owned and operated by Willie, the famous bartender extraordinaire from the pre-Irma Perch. Wille and her husband, whose name is actually Jeep, run the breakfast and lunch spot in Hope Estates. We had the chicken wrap on this visit which was great and prices were very good.

Seacret Seafood is a fairly new place on the back road past the police station on Simpson Bay. The atmosphere, service and lobster were all very good. Lee and Bobby Jager were doing the entertainment which is always a good time.

La Rosa in Maho was a new stop for us on this trip. The chicken parm, good service and a nice bottle of wine made for a lovely evening. The atmosphere is quite fancy and formal.

Lolo’s in Grand Case. Take your pick. We had good ribs and island veggies.

Greenhouse in Simpson Bay had a good small lobster for $29 and two for one drinks at happy hour.

Lee’s Seafood We tried the grilled Mahi. It was not as good as it used to be, but they were slammed since it was Mother’s day. Parking is terrible but while we were on the island we heard that Lee won his lawsuit against the old landlord and the island of SXM. He will supposedly be moving back to the old location on Airport Road.

Peter McCool Irish Pub We stopped in for a drink and corned beef sandwich but corned beef was not on the menu??? Settled for some nachos which were actually pretty good.

Entertainment and some more dining was great around the island. We did not see any musicians that were not really good.

Hupple the Pub The Monday night jam was amazing and always with Ronnie Santana, Alfredo and many more. Some food was available which was good and drinks were reasonable. This was only a few steps from our condo so we hit it multiple Mondays.

Rendezvous Lounge in Porto Cupecoy was our stop one Sunday afternoon for, well, Sunday Jazz. Alfredo Acosta did a great performance with a group of very talented musicians. The appetizers were all good.

Bamboo House on Thursday evening was amazing as always. We enjoyed the Sugar Apple Band and happy hour (Every day) from 5 to 7. Great appetizers and drinks.

Seacret Seafood has great entertainment on Wednesday evenings. Lee and Bobby Jager were doing the job which is always a good time. Good food and drinks as well.

The Hole in the Wall was a fun time for various live entertainment. The music is very loud but there is a nice patio out back that’s a bit lower volume.

Parrotville Bird Park was a fun diversion. You walk around carrying a bird seed holder and the birds come by to visit. Did not cost much.

IGY Marina was the docking location for St David, the Mega Yacht currently being used for filming of the Below Deck "Reality" series. We stopped by the marina bar for a glass of wine. The bartender told us that the crew was fun to interact with since parts of the series were filmed in the bar.

Explorer Lagoon Boat Cruise We reported on this while in SXM. Nice affordable way to cruise around the Lagoon with narration and drinks. Here’s the link.

Shopping is always an interesting and educational activity in SXM.

We did most of our food shopping at Fairway near Bobby's Marina, Cost U Less or the Super U in Marigo and Hope Estates. Fairway is somewhat less expensive but does not have the selection of the others. We shopped as we do at home. If something is currently overpriced we don’t buy it. As expected some things were cheaper than at home some were more expensive.

We bought a Senseo Coffee maker at Super U for use on the island and to take home as a spare, since we bought one last year. Just put it in our large checked in suitcase. They make amazing coffee and they are not sold in the US. We have a 220v converter to power it at home.

DK Gems is our go to place for jewelry on the island. Jeff Jhangiani and his family are great to work with. Pieces that we have bought from him over the years always appraise at home greatly higher than the sale price. We traded in and upgraded Laraine’s diamond hoop earrings to celebrate our anniversary.

The Little Boutique (That’s not the name) next door to Calmos Cafe in Grand Case has some great European style fashions for ladies at good prices. Laraine bought 3 skirts and a dress that all look amazing.

Attached Files PXL_20240522_182340479_censored.jpgPXL_20240601_213615313.jpgPXL_20240514_170427613.jpgPXL_20240517_180513200.jpgPXL_20240523_223343520.jpgBamboo1.jpgPXL_20240531_162058355.jpgPXL_20240525_234709371c.jpgPXL_20240601_213644168_censored.jpg947dcf96-f52d-4d7d-96a4-a0252a7445b0.jpegPXL_20240514_194614581.jpgPXL_20240522_180822768_censored.jpgPXL_20240526_202631424.jpgPXL_20240601_203411429.jpgPXL_20240601_200000339.jpg
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Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321945
07/08/2024 02:17 PM
07/08/2024 02:17 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,268
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 83,268
Central Florida!
Thanks for the report and the pictures. Too bad that your trip got cut short, but sounds like you were busy regardless. I don't know why, but I thought that Willie had left the island. Glad to know she is still around.


Carol Hill
Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321946
07/08/2024 02:27 PM
07/08/2024 02:27 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 852
Ontario Canada
Whale Tail Offline
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Whale Tail  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 852
Ontario Canada
Thank you for your reports Parts 1 & 2 and all the pictures. They made me miss my island time even more. Too much time between our visits to SXM, might have to adjust that.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321949
07/08/2024 03:19 PM
07/08/2024 03:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,461
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
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fabila  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,461
Yonkers, NY
Thank you for the comprehensive report. It appears that Sublime now offers a two-for-one deal during Happy Hour, which seems to be new or at least since our last visit in October. We enjoyed the discounted cocktails and appetizers. Personally, I'm not a fan of two-for-one options because one drink tends to get watered down.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321954
07/08/2024 04:45 PM
07/08/2024 04:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
2 for 1 works better if your partner is having the same drink. Just stagger the delivery.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321962
07/08/2024 06:38 PM
07/08/2024 06:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Jim_Laraine Offline OP
Traveler
Jim_Laraine  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Yep, we usually drink the same thing so it works out.

We also found that some of the Happy Hours were not so great. Some places only offer specials on a few specific drinks and/or dishes.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321964
07/08/2024 07:17 PM
07/08/2024 07:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 258
Shelby2 Offline
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Shelby2  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 258
Another option, what I used to do at Buccaneers, is get both drinks, second with no ice...when ready for your second, add ice and ready to go! My friend would get beer, have them put second beer on ice in a small ice bucket. P s...enjoyed your reports and photos!! 😎

Last edited by Shelby2; 07/08/2024 07:19 PM.
Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321968
07/09/2024 05:41 AM
07/09/2024 05:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,620
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,620
Ohio
Nice report. Thanks.


J.D.
Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321970
07/09/2024 06:12 AM
07/09/2024 06:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
I noticed you indicated the chairs were free at Orange Fever if you ate or bought drinks. I know they used to be but we were charged 5.00 this last May. We'll be there this trip again also. French Burger here I come.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: SXMScubaman] #321973
07/09/2024 07:11 AM
07/09/2024 07:11 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,620
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 17,620
Ohio
$5 in March (included on the lunch/bar bill) even with eating there.


J.D.
Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: ruralcarrier] #321974
07/09/2024 08:27 AM
07/09/2024 08:27 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
Originally Posted by ruralcarrier
$5 in March (included on the lunch/bar bill) even with eating there.

Yep. Same here and still a bargain. 👍

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #321978
07/09/2024 10:02 AM
07/09/2024 10:02 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Jim_Laraine Offline OP
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Jim_Laraine  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
I might be wrong on the free chairs at both beach bars, but pretty sure that either Le String or Orange Fever was free. 5$ is a pretty good deal nonetheless. Forgot to mention, we also went to 321 on Friars Bay on this trip, nice place and great staff with free chairs since we had lunch and drinks.

Just to add some additional context, last year we went to a birthday party for a friend on the beach at Kon Tiki with about 25 people. It brought in a lot of $$ for Kon Tiki but they charged everyone 25$ for chairs and umbrella.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #322004
07/09/2024 05:47 PM
07/09/2024 05:47 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Posts: 19,037
Auburn, WA
La string is where the free chairs are. Not padded like Orange Fever.

Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #322059
07/10/2024 09:09 PM
07/10/2024 09:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,323
RI
jomarc Offline
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jomarc  Offline
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Posts: 1,323
RI
Very nice trip report and pretty pictures.

Happy Anniversary to you!

We enjoy many of the same places that you frequent. DK Gems is our favorite jewelery store, and Parotte Ville Bird Park is a fun place to see beautiful birds.

Happy to see that Bee is still at Sublime. Hope to see her in November.


Jo-

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
Re: Part 2 - J&L Anniversary Trip Report [Re: Jim_Laraine] #322083
07/11/2024 12:22 PM
07/11/2024 12:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Jim_Laraine Offline OP
Traveler
Jim_Laraine  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 492
Maryland
Thanks for all of the good comments!


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