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BEERMAN Trip Part 1 #43946
03/05/2015 09:52 PM
03/05/2015 09:52 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
SXM Part 1 (February 21-28, 2015)

Our daughter returned to college after the holidays and my wife and I were empty nesters once again. During a frigid polar vortex our conversations turned to planning a last minute trip somewhere warm, but where? We are “regulars” to the USVI/BVI and love sailing, but heading there without our daughter would be downright disloyal to our family code. Over the years I've lurked a little over here on the St-Maarten-St Martin forum and this island has always intrigued me. After a little research it was decided, Saint Martin here we come! I'll admit it was a little crazy trying to plan an "in-season" trip when we were already into January, but we had to escape this cold weather! We needed to quickly coordinate flights, villa and car rental to fit our tight work schedules...uggh! With just 6 weeks notice most of the resorts we looked at on both the Dutch and the French sides were already booked solid, some car rental agencies were booked, the only real positive at this stage of the game were the $460 flights we were seeing! We have had great luck using VRBO for previous trips so we searched their villa options. We found a few nice looking listings for Nettle Bay Beach Club (NBBC). After googling satellite images and as many online photo’s that I could find, not to mention asking a few questions on TTOL, we decided to focus on one of the NBBC one bedroom units on the beach, just steps from the sea! We traded emails with a couple of owners and found only one unit available so we grabbed it!

Our departure day came quickly! Our alarm woke us at 0345 hours, ouch! Our flight departed Dulles Virginia at 0530 hours, quick layover in Charlotte and wheels down on Saint Martin at 1215 hours, easy peazy! We really enjoyed the landing!!


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]


With only carry-on bags we were quickly through C&I and found our car rental agent Vicki right in front of the airport! Our villa owner recommended NextLevel Car Rental and it turned out great. Vicki drove us about a mile to our rental vehicle in a casino parking lot where she quickly and efficiently took care of administrative matters. She had us in our slightly worn blue Elantra with 97,000 miles on it and we were on the road in less than 15 minutes! We didn’t want to use our cell phone here so Vicki contacted Marie at NBBC for us so that she could meet us at the villa. Vicki asked if we wanted to rent a cell phone, important detail we forgot! and we said absolutely! She didn’t have one with her but she could drop one off at our villa around 1600 hours, nice! With the simple directions Vicki provided we were on our way. We anxiously exited the casino lot and were immediately driving by the Sunset Bar amazed at the amount of people gathered to watched the flights pass over head, cool.

[Linked Image]


Once out of the hustle and bustle of Maho we enjoyed a casual 10-15 minute drive to NBBC’s security gate. NBBC units are privately owned so there isn’t a front lobby, we simply met owner Marie inside the gate. We were over an hour early for check in, but Marie let us in the villa early while it was still being cleaned, very nice of her. Payment here is either by PayPal, which is how we made our deposit, or cash which is how we paid Marie at our villa’s kitchen table. I must say, the method in which we picked up our car and checked into our room is totally different from any other experience we have ever had, however it all worked out fine!

[Linked Image]


Once alone in our clean, comfortable, well appointed villa we had about 1-1/2 hours to kill before Vicki dropped off the cell phone. We walked around the complex to get our bearings straight, actually my goal was to find an ice cold beer! NBBC has 4 sections of villas, each section basically has maybe 9-10 separate pods that have 2-3 lower apartments and 2 upper. These pods are perfectly set on the beach in a horseshoe shape providing everyone a perfect view of the beach lined with towering palm trees and the Caribbean's turquoise waters. Each section also has a nice big swimming pool in the center. The 3 lower units are designed well, staggered for privacy with a large patio right on the beach. Many of the units have lush landscaping that provides wonderful privacy. The upper units are smaller, but they have nice romantic veranda's, some with pergolas and climbing vines/potted plants with wonderful ocean views and they appear to have decent privacy.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Carol had reported that the beach was known to have an abundance of glass in the sand and she is correct. The glass is being swept in by the tide, but it isn't everywhere. The glass isn't large shards and I was never concerned about cutting my bare feet, but there is some that will require a little more tumbling before my wife would categorize it as "sea glass". My wife can spend hours looking for sea glass and has collected pounds of it through the years, her collection is displayed all throughout our Virginia home. She says that "ones persons trash is another's treasure!"

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

The grounds of NBBC are very well maintained daily by a diligent landscaping crew. We would see the small crew each morning pruning and raking around the beaches. One morning we actually watched them remove large coconuts from our neighbors mature palm, they were precariously growing 30 feet directly above their chaise loungers! We walked the beach beyond the last set of units and found Ma Ti, a very nice beach bar/restaurant. We met a super nice bartender there and she would present us with our very first ice cold Presidente on St Martin, merci!

[Linked Image]


After enjoying our Presidente's at Ma Ti in the cool tradewinds with the waves breaking at our feet It was time to meet Vicki to receive our rental cell phone. Vicki would actually miss our designated time and we didn't have a landline to contact her, we waited patiently in our beautiful surroundings drinking great espresso from our little Keurig type machine courtesy of the villa owner!

[Linked Image]


Note to self...have cell phone figured out prior to arrival! It was 1700 hours so we left a note on our villa door for Vicki and drove out to find a few provisions. There's a French Market just 2 hundred yards up the road, but we continued on to see what was around. I had read about Layla's Beach Bar and we found it just a mile from our gate so we stop in. Pretty cool little bar tucked away in the tree line. It looks like a very family friendly establishment with swimming pool and play area, there was actually a child's birthday party happening when we walked in, they were having fun! We grabbed a Presidente and walked around a bit. Found 2 friendly island dogs to play with a little. We would find many adorable island pups on this trip and they all had the same laid back playful demeanor.

[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_5630_zpsunmcn2fc.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_5641_zpseltdd1cz.jpg[/img]


[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_5644_zpszbczj6ru.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_5649_zpsw7h8hupg.jpg[/img]


We made a quick stop at the French Market and grabbed some wine, beer and snacks then decided to get dressed for dinner. There are actually 3 restaurants conveniently located side by side here on the beach, Ma Ti, Dreams and The Sands, all 3 are very nice! We chose Dreams for our first dinner. As we started walking towards Dreams we see Vicki walking through the security gate! She was apologizing for the delay, long story...but she is a wonderful young lady! (Vicki of NextLevel Car Rental gets a big thumbs up from us!) We did a quick hand off of the cell phone on the sidewalk and off we went. With all of the security/safety concerns we kept reading about I was mindful of our surroundings during our short walk. FYI, we never once felt unsafe at NBBC even at night walking both the sidewalk and the beach to and from the restaurants.

[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_6744_zpszo7b1vnh.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_6745_zps1gb4wkci.jpg[/img]


Dreams has a great atmosphere day or night with its clean light beachy colors to the colorful chandeliers at night. We were their first dinner guests of the evening and we were hungry! We had wonderful wine and fantastic calamari to start. We had read good reviews about their gourmet pizzas so that is what we ordered, so good in fact we ordered 2 to have a little left over for a midnight snack. A nice young couple next to us ordered sushi and it looked amazing and they said it was very fresh and tasty. We were surprised in the middle of dinner to see 2 female dancers entering the dining room dressed in carnival costumes complete with large headdresses. They would dance for a while then return in a different outfit, this went on 3-4 times. The Congo Line of 20 diners kinda stole our romantic setting, but what the heck it was entertaining! We finished our evening with coffee and molten chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream....nice!

[img]http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q778/BEERMANRICK/St%20Martin%20Part%201/IMG_5655_zps5id318ge.jpg[/img]


Our slow walk back along the beach was quiet, only the soft sounds of the surf rolling in. This was a wonderful first day on Saint Martin!

To be continued......<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />

SXM Sponsors
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43947
03/05/2015 10:14 PM
03/05/2015 10:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,631
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,631
Central Florida!
Wonderful start to the report!!! Love the pictures!


Carol Hill
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: Carol_Hill] #43948
03/05/2015 10:15 PM
03/05/2015 10:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,229
Middle Tennessee
T
TravelHat Offline
Traveler
TravelHat  Offline
Traveler
T
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,229
Middle Tennessee
Always enjoy your posts on the BVI side. Glad you enjoyed your first day.

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43949
03/05/2015 11:00 PM
03/05/2015 11:00 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,868
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,868
Portland, OR
Really enjoyed your report and also the pictures. What a wonderful first day!


[Linked Image]
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43950
03/05/2015 11:20 PM
03/05/2015 11:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,444
Yonkers, NY
fabila Online content
Traveler
fabila  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,444
Yonkers, NY
That is one awesome photo of Maho. Never seen three deep and with so much sand. I now have my new desktop photo.

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43951
03/05/2015 11:22 PM
03/05/2015 11:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,504
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
Traveler
ruralcarrier  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,504
Ohio
Thanks for the report. Great to meet you.


J.D.
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: fabila] #43952
03/05/2015 11:31 PM
03/05/2015 11:31 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 170
A
axd0424 Offline
Traveler
axd0424  Offline
Traveler
A
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 170
I always look forward to your trip reports no matter where you are going. Can't wait for the next one. Thanks for the pictures

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: jazzgal] #43953
03/05/2015 11:31 PM
03/05/2015 11:31 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 282
Iowa & Minn.
kbd Offline
Traveler
kbd  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 282
Iowa & Minn.
Nice report and great pictures! Enjoyed our time with you at the Gutside! Looking forward to the rest of your reports. Bernadette and Keith

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: ruralcarrier] #43954
03/05/2015 11:47 PM
03/05/2015 11:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,670
L
LBI2SXM Offline
Traveler
LBI2SXM  Offline
Traveler
L
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,670
I have also enjoyed your trip reports of the VI and BVI having been there many times. This report is starting off great, cannot wait for the next part and by the way, love your photos, knew you would come through with the great pics!! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43955
03/05/2015 11:48 PM
03/05/2015 11:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,642
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,642
Brookfield, CT.
Great start to your trip and I, along with most others here I'm sure, can't wait for your next installment. Thanks for taking us along. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: pat] #43956
03/06/2015 08:55 AM
03/06/2015 08:55 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Thanks for the kind words everybody! JD nice to meet you! Bernadette and Keith hello, that was a fun day for us! I'm sending you a pm with a question. All shoveled out of the snow....so back to work <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43957
03/06/2015 09:16 AM
03/06/2015 09:16 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,409
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
Traveler
GaKaye  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,409
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
Very entertaining, and I love the pictures embedded in the report! We love Dreams as well, but have never had an evening meal there. Can't wait for the next installment!

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: GaKaye] #43958
03/06/2015 09:32 AM
03/06/2015 09:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 802
North Carolina
OhDrinkBoy Offline
Traveler
OhDrinkBoy  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 802
North Carolina
Nice TR....looking forward to part 2

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: GaKaye] #43959
03/06/2015 09:36 AM
03/06/2015 09:36 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,374
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
Traveler
RonDon  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,374
Rhode Island
Wonderful report. Love your delivery. And great photos! We've yet to make it to Layla's but we have been to Dreams. Your photos had me making mental notes for our next trip. Heck, I might even give up Grand Case Beach Club and try NBBC if I can get a unit!

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43960
03/06/2015 11:33 AM
03/06/2015 11:33 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,132
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
Traveler
SXMNorm  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,132
St Louis, MO
Thanks for the report and pics. Great landing pics.


Next SXM visit -November 2023. Also January 2024.
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43961
03/06/2015 12:38 PM
03/06/2015 12:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,142
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
Traveler
islandgem  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,142
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for part 1 of your report.Sounds like you had a wonderful time and perhaps will be returning to SXM in the future. It is very easy to fall in love with this island!




Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: islandgem] #43962
03/06/2015 06:26 PM
03/06/2015 06:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 39
Grimsby, Ontario
N
Nannyof3 Offline
Traveler
Nannyof3  Offline
Traveler
N
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 39
Grimsby, Ontario
Enjoying your report. Awesome photos.

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: pat] #43963
03/06/2015 10:55 PM
03/06/2015 10:55 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 105
Capital City NC
RanLee Offline
Traveler
RanLee  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 105
Capital City NC
Can not wait to be there in a couple of weeks!

Lisa B.

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: RanLee] #43964
03/06/2015 11:05 PM
03/06/2015 11:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 282
Iowa & Minn.
kbd Offline
Traveler
kbd  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 282
Iowa & Minn.
Tried to send you a pm but a message saying you have exceeded your pm quota won't let me...

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: kbd] #43965
03/06/2015 11:14 PM
03/06/2015 11:14 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
stand by.........try again in 5 minutes <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif" alt="" />

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: pat] #43966
03/07/2015 08:17 AM
03/07/2015 08:17 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Here are a couple extra photo's from our first day, look closely at the first one....do you see him?

[Linked Image]


Now do you?..............

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43967
03/07/2015 09:20 AM
03/07/2015 09:20 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,642
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,642
Brookfield, CT.
Very, very nice. TY again for sharing....... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43968
03/07/2015 09:53 AM
03/07/2015 09:53 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,631
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,631
Central Florida!
Wow, I looked too long at the first one. Thought it was supposed to be like a dog from the back or something! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Laugh.gif" alt="" />

Thanks for the photos! Looking forward to the rest of the story!


Carol Hill
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43969
03/07/2015 10:13 AM
03/07/2015 10:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,937
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
Traveler
The_Lurker  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,937
Connecticut
Enjoyed your report and pictures!
This was the first place we stayed in the 80's. Not much of it was built back then.
Waiting for more.... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43970
03/07/2015 10:22 AM
03/07/2015 10:22 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,278
Maryland/DC Metro
BeachKitten Offline
Traveler
BeachKitten  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,278
Maryland/DC Metro
Have been curious about NBBC cuz it looks nice.
We were in a taxi from the airport to the ferry port in Marigot (was passing thru to Anguilla), and shared it with two couples that the taxi dropped off there. They only spoke French.....which is my trepidation....do you need to speak French to get by at NBBC?


"It is good to do nothing all day, and then to rest" wink
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BeachKitten] #43971
03/07/2015 10:52 AM
03/07/2015 10:52 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
Traveler
BEERMAN  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Im on my cell so I'll be brief. Owner Marie spoke english pretty well. Theres another NBBC contact who only spoke french and the car rental people helped me with her! NBBC website I think is managed by Marie. Anyone with NBBC questions please feel free to pm me <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />

Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: BEERMAN] #43972
03/07/2015 11:28 AM
03/07/2015 11:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 176
Nebraska
joyonthebeach Offline
Traveler
joyonthebeach  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 176
Nebraska
This is a great trip report! I'm glad to hear St Martin was welcoming to you guys. I hope you enjoyed it enough to want to go back. Those island dogs are enough to make me want a dog again (our old boy has been gone for five years).


Don't Postpone JOY
Re: BEERMAN Trip Part 1 [Re: pat] #43973
03/09/2015 08:25 AM
03/09/2015 08:25 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 29
North Carolina
Iloveflipflops2 Offline
Traveler
Iloveflipflops2  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 29
North Carolina
Thanks for a terrific trip report! Can't wait to go in April.


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