Traveltalkonline.com Forums


SXM Cruise Schedule TTOL Sponsors SXM Travel Calendar
Forum Statistics
Forums39
Topics30,528
Posts229,309
Members25,443
Most Online2,218
Jan 21st, 2020
Top Posters(30 Days)
Zanshin 80
Fred 77
Kennys 76
TomB 76
EllenS 76
Member Spotlight
kim
kim
Newtown, CT
Posts: 4,051
Joined: September 2000
Show All Member Profiles 
Today's Birthdays
MassExodus, mayhem
Who's Online Now
6 registered members (sail445, 706jim, HibiscusFan, EdB, Clod, 1 invisible), 147 guests, and 393 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS #80789
01/06/2016 04:42 PM
01/06/2016 04:42 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
TRIP REPORT 12/20/15 – 1/2/16 Christmas/New Years

Hi everyone. We just enjoyed another fabulous 2-week vacation in our favorite 2nd home. We have been going to St. Maarten since 1984, with our first stay at Mullet Bay. How the island has changed since then!! The weather was very rainy and cloudy during our stay, other than our first 2 days. However, there are NO BAD DAYS in St Maarten!!!

FLIGHTS
American Airlines direct flight from JFK, New York. Half hour delay going down. Over NINE HOUR delay coming home. When we called, AA told us the delay was due to no flight crew. But at the airport, we were told it was mechanical issues. So which one was it??? The 2:06 pm flight did not leave until 11:30 pm, and all they gave us was a $12 pp airport dinner voucher (after we had already eaten dinner outside). I JUST finished writing a letter to American Airlines for better compensation. Was a very stressful, confusing day, but I got to enjoy an extra day in the sun and an extra fabulous dinner.


CAR RENTAL
Unity Car Rental (Michael) – We have always had consistent great service from Michael. Our cars never break down, and are never vandalized


ROYAL ISLANDER LA PLAGE / MAHO area
The resort was beautiful and well-maintained as always, We had a nice wide beach throughout both weeks of our stay. We actually sat on the beach almost every day the first week, instead of by the pool. And the ocean was calm enough every day in which to swim or go on a raft, but stillI a bit too rough to snorkel by the rocks.

The internet worked pretty consistently in our room, and quite often by the pool and even on the beach. But I think that still depends on your location within the resort, as other friends were still having issues getting online. They are still charging $50 per week or $60 per month to use their wireless network.

We still have access to the Sonesta Maho Hotel gym on the 3rd floor. However, other than a couple of new treadmills, it is basically the same old tired equipment. I thought with the refurbishment of the Maho Hotel (Sonesta Ocean Point), they would have put some money into the gym. The tennis courts were also full of cracks and holes, etc. I don’t understand how they can market Ocean Point as such an upscale hotel with such dilapidated amenities

Many stores in the Maho area are out of business with just shutters down in place. For years, it seemed that the stores in front of La Terrasse couldn’t make it, but now it is happening up the main street too. It is very sad, as the Maho area used to be such a hopping and busy part of the island. Perhaps the rents are just too high? One of the restaurants upstairs across from the Casino Royale is now an all-inclusive restaurant for the hotel (outsiders can’t eat there at all), and rumor has it that the front ones nearer to the hotel are heading in the same direction. Bamboo and Bajatsu will stay as is according to the rumor.

Overall, we love our little home away from home, and wouldn’t dream of staying anywhere other than the Royal Islander La Plage. The landscaping is breathtaking, and there are always workers raking, cleaning, pruning, and generally maintaining the property. The location can’t be beat, with the Casino Royale across the street, and many GREAT restaurants, bars, and clubs within walking distance.


RESTAURANTS and BARS
We mostly have breakfast and lunch in our room, but look forward to our dinners out. Here is a recap of all of the restaurants and bars we visited:


Mark's Place (outside Phillipsburg by Grand Marche) – Great all you can eat ribs for about $23.00; friends say the mussels are the best they’ve ever had as well (I haven’t tried them yet)

Pizza Pasta (Maho) – Great pizza, pasta bolognese, veal parm, and chicken parm; very tiny restaurant, so need a reservation; looks like a pizza place, but deceivingly good food

Bajatsu (Maho) – escargot was the best on the island this trip (I order it whenever it is on the menu!); had the short ribs twice—were delicious; sweet potato fries are great here; unfortunately, they eliminated the side of plantains

Bamboo (Maho) – EXCELLENT food and ambience; Technically a “Japanese” Restaurant, but we don’t really eat Sushi and we love it here; We shared a lot of different appetizers/small plates, like coconut shrimp, gyoza (pork dumplings), fried calamari, duck nachos, etc., and one was better than the next; appetizers come out fast, and then there is generally a long wait for the main course

Izi (Simpson Bay) -- Italian Food, can pick pasta and sauce separately; decent food, but coming from NY as we do, we feel Spiga in Grand Case, Pizza Pasta in Maho, and Cugini in Simpson Bay all have superior homemade Italian food

Cugini (Simpson Bay)– This restaurant opened last year in Simpson Bay. It was formerly located in Marigot on the Port La Royale Marina next to the store, Desmo, upstairs; Great Italian food, with friendly fast service; We had a pizza as an appetizer, which is one of the best I’ve had on the island; I had seafood with pasta which was excellent, and the other 3 all had a duo of lasagna, one beef and one spinach, and they couldn't stop raving. Funky décor with all different styles of tables and chairs; my daughter said it was her favorite meal of the trip.

Le Moulin Foo (Maho) –fantastic French food, attentive service, and a lovely atmosphere. I would recommend eating indoors, unless you go on a Tuesday when Cheres is closed. The restaurant overlooks Cheris, so even though their veranda looks lovely during the day, if you sit out there at night, you will be subject to listening to the tacky music at Cheri’s; went twice—first time was just the 3 of us and was fabulous; second time we were a group of 9 and service was not quite up to par; but we thoroughly enjoyed the escargot and the onion soup

Skipjacks (Simpson Bay) – First time here; friends have always raved about the lobster, so we decided to try it; excellent grilled lobster; service was one of our best on the island-- all waiters seem very well trained and pleasant

L’ Efffet Mer (Grand Case) – when I was in the ladies room at Skipjack, a woman started to talk to me and asked me what restaurants I like on the island. I told her, and then she handed me a business card. She writes for Fodors, and said the best meal of her trip had been at L'Effet Mer. So we tried it; lovely setting on the water next to lolos and ice cream place; interesting eclectic menu; they had a 3 course prix fix for 32 Euros that was very good-- I had snails in puff pastry, lamb chops, and creme brûlée (maybe best creme brûlée I ever had!); note here though-- the lamb chops came in a curry sauce and I don't like curry; the menu is a little gourmet with a lot of duos listed-- be sure to ask questions for anything that is not clear; but food and ambience were excellent, and I would go back

Le Croissanterie (Marigot) – went for breakfast four times; excellent crepes and the freshest croissants I’ve ever had; friendly efficient service; great location right on the Port La Royale Marina; a beautiful spot, and one of my overall favorite settings on the island

Carousel (Simpson Bay) – went here four times this trip for gelato ice cream; there is an actual carousel ride in the back built over the water on Simpson Bay. In the front is another round building which sells many flavors of gelato—you can taste all you like; there is also a small store that sells carousel themed items; great gelato ice cream—try the homemade ice cream sandwiches

Red Piano (Simpson Bay) -- Went to see Ronny Santana’s band,—they play there every Monday night—good crowd; be aware that this bar, though hopping and fun, is very smoky, and the band is very loud

Buccaneer Beach Bar (Simpson Bay) – best hamburger on the island in my opinion; also, fabulous rib pizza—WOW – still thinking about that pizza!! Fast, friendly service; went on a Saturday night when Ronny Santana was playing guitar

Sunset Bar and Grill (Maho) – Good food, and a fun atmosphere watching the planes; Went for a late lunch on day we arrived-- I had the mahi sandwich, which was delicious; go after 3:00 when the cruise ship crowd has departed

Taloula Mango’s (Phillipsburg on the boardwalk) – lunch on the beach; had grilled chicken on a baguette, which was very good, but ribs here are great as well; if you sit on the beach chairs in front of the restaurant, your “beach boy” will bring you a menu and deliver your food; NOTE: this is also called The Blue Bitch Bar; there is good wireless internet service there if you sit in the restaurant or on their decks

Friar’s Bay Beach Café (Friars Bay) –nice restaurant, with good food and a comfortable atmosphere right on the beach; if you eat there, you will get a discount on the umbrellas and chairs

Bikini Beach Bar – Excellent service at the chairs from Bryce and Eric; I had a good grilled chicken sandwich, and my daughter enjoyed the shrimp (not sure if it was fried or coconut shrimp)



BEACHES
Orient Beach – Bikini Beach – was a slightly windy/rainy day, but we still enjoyed; Beach is narrow from Pedros to Kon Tiki, but we were still able to walk to Pedros with no problem; beyond there, you cannot access the nude section due to huge rocks in the water/sand.

Great Bay Beach (Phillipsburg)-- Those who want to shop, shop, and the rest of us hang out on beach chairs in front of Taloula Mangos. We order lunch and beers from there and spend a very relaxing day on the beach. Beware of the dropoff when walking into the water here.

Friar’s Bay -- Beautiful cove w/ calm water; no problem parking; great lunch at the Friar’s Beach Café; good snorkeling near rocks on right side of cove unless it’s a windy day when visibility is more limited; a few rocks here when entering water-- you might want to wear water shoes if you have sensitive feet

Mullet Bay – Spent a great day here with some friends; ate good ribs and drank pina coladas from Rosie’s Shack; water was calm and clear

Maho Beach – this is our home beach; widest beach we have had in front of our resort in a long time, sea not as rough as it usually is here during both of our weeks; was able to swim or take out raft every day; the entire Maho Beach was very crowded, particularly down by Sunset Bar, due to cruise ship excursions

Dreams (Nettle Bay) -- went for first time; was very impressed with overall setup of restaurant, cabanas, chairs, etc.; but was too windy to stay—was told that it is often windy there; will def try again next year



NEW YEARS EVE
Dinner at Pizza Pasta in Maho with group of 17; then watched fireworks from neighbors’ penthouse balcony at the Royal Islander (as we do every year)—nice display! There also seemed to be a display coming from the Mullet Bay area, so it was interesting being in the center of both firework displays.


ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES
Loterie Farm Fly Zone -- daughter does this every year; obstacle course and zip lines in the sky; I have done it many times in the past, and find it to be the best of all the island ziplines we have tried

Flyboard (Orient) -- daughter tried this for 2nd time; hydraulic boots attached to a wave runner; you actually get lifted into the air by water shooting up under your boots -- very hard; $70 for 15 minutes or $120 for 1/2 hour I believe

Movies -- Saw 2 movies in Simpson Bay – Heart of the Sea and Concussion—both were very good




MISC.
Mosquitos were not bad at all
Maho area is not as vibrant as in the past, with many empty stores
Simpson Bay was hopping every night with more traffic jams than in past – more restaurants every year
New bridge continues to be a blessing (about 8 mins from Maho to Marigot – used to take 30 mins)
Our favorite restaurant, La Belle Epoque, at the Marigot Marina, has sadly closed
Marios has moved to Porto Cupecoy – heard it was good but we didn’t get there this year.



Overall, we had another fantastic trip. The beauty of a timeshare is that you are hanging with the same people that week year after year. It’s like a camp reunion every year. People at home say to us, “you like going to the same place every year?” We wouldn’t dream of spending Christmas and New Years anywhere else! So many wonderful friends that we look forward to seeing each year. That’s about all I can remember. Post any questions here, or feel free to e-mail me privately. Already counting down to next year!!!!

Last edited by Bobbie; 01/06/2016 09:19 PM.
SXM Sponsors
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80790
01/06/2016 04:47 PM
01/06/2016 04:47 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,660
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
Traveler
ruralcarrier  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,660
Ohio
Thanks for a very nice report.


J.D.
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80791
01/06/2016 05:01 PM
01/06/2016 05:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,925
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,925
Yonkers, NY
Thanks for the report. We like a lot of the same places.

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: ruralcarrier] #80792
01/06/2016 05:02 PM
01/06/2016 05:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 788
Toronto Canada
moxie Offline
Traveler
moxie  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 788
Toronto Canada
very informative report-thanks for taking the time

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80793
01/06/2016 05:03 PM
01/06/2016 05:03 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 12,458
Staten Island
Bobcat Offline
Traveler
Bobcat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 12,458
Staten Island
Great report - good to see some of our favorite places to dine on your favorite list too!

Marks Place
Pizza Pasta
La Croissanterie (great lunch place too)
BBB
Friar's
Taloula


[Linked Image]
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80794
01/06/2016 05:15 PM
01/06/2016 05:15 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,883
Boynton Beach, FL
EdB Online happy
Traveler
EdB  Online Happy
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,883
Boynton Beach, FL
GREAT report. Hoping the Maho beach in front of LaPlage will be in the great shape you described for our annual (over 20) trip in March. We too, look forward to going EVERY year to LaPlage...but we don't consider it a camp reunion...but more of a "FAMILY reunion between non related people". Over the years, we have grown very close to a lot of different folks there, and have gone through typical ''family'' stuff....from births to deaths, and seeing some of the old young kids that used to visit years ago coming back with their own babies!!!! When people don't show up...everyone is concerned of the reason why. A true family place. As for the grounds of LaPlage, I don't think I have even ever seen one branch or one blade of grass out of place. The staff truly does a remarkable job...from the gardeners to the maintenance people to the front desk. I own three different units, and i guess i am lucky...because internet wise I have never had a problem with the signal....but have found that the signal is stronger in the living/kitchen area vs the front bedroom. fifty a week may be a bit high...but since we do three weeks, i find it ''worth" the sixty bucks, even though it probably should be included in the fees by now. I guess one way or the other we would pay for it either way. smile


As for the restaurants.....totally agree with Pizza Pasta, Le Moulen Foo and Bajatsu. All of those places are our must do places. As soon as Fig opens across the street (it may be already), I am sure that will be added to our must do list also. We also love Mark's place, and tried Cugini last year, but can't say we were overly impressed with the food there. Sorry to hear about some more store closures in Maho. The storefronts across the street at LaTerrace just never made it...even from its inception...but sad to hear the others are now closing too. It is still one of the best areas of the island. I have heard over the years that the rent is sky high there, but it seems like the owners should reconsider there rent prices to finally get them filled up.

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80795
01/06/2016 07:04 PM
01/06/2016 07:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,631
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,631
Central Florida!
Thanks so much for the report! Sounds like a lovely trip!


Carol Hill
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: EdB] #80796
01/06/2016 07:09 PM
01/06/2016 07:09 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Thanks, Ed. Fig is open. We loved it last year. Got mixed reviews from our friends who went this year in Maho. Also, 17 of us went for drinks at Fig New Years Eve prior to dinner at Pizza Pasta, since they now have a large bar area overlooking the street. They were nice enough, but the bartender seemed a bit overwhelmed, even though they didn't seem very crowded otherwise.

Re friends in SXM being like family, I couldn't agree more. The girls who used to babysit for my daughter are now all coming down with their own kids. We have made some extremely close friendships over the years with our La Plage family, and get together with some of them during the year when they visit the NY area.


Bobbie smile
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80797
01/06/2016 07:58 PM
01/06/2016 07:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,870
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,870
Brookfield, CT.
It sounds like a perfect trip in every way.

If you enjoyed the food at Cuginis you have to try Luna Rosa next trip. The pasta is all homemade and beautifully and deliciously served. So sad to read your FIG experience wasn't the best - we were always so happy with it when it was the 'little place at the crest of the hill at Cupecoy, so I'm gonna' hope your 'under-whelmed' opinion of the new place was due to their very recent opening and the fact it was NYE - so often that can be a crazy night for dining out, which is something we've sworn off doing for holidays here at home.

In any event, thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions. Now all I have to do is bide my time until April, but having read your mentions of so many of our favorite places, that's gonna' be hard to do. <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: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80798
01/06/2016 08:54 PM
01/06/2016 08:54 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
Traveler
SXMNorm  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
Enjoyed your report. A lot of info. Couple questions,... Isn't Mark's Place by the Grand Marche store not in Cul de Sac which is where, I think, it used to be many years ago?
Secondly, there are two restaurants on Friar's Beach, I think. If so, which did you go to?


Next SXM visit - January/February 2021
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: SXMNorm] #80799
01/06/2016 09:07 PM
01/06/2016 09:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
SXMNorm, Yes, u r right-- my error-- Mark's Place is just outside of Phillipsburg by the Grand Marche. I will edit my orig post. Thank you.

As of last year, there is only one restaurant now on Friars Bay Beach. The Friars Bay Beach Cafe.


Bobbie smile
Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: SXMNorm] #80800
01/06/2016 09:09 PM
01/06/2016 09:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,870
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,870
Brookfield, CT.
Norm,

I'm guessing she was at Friars Bay Beach Cafe, the one closest to the path over the hill to Happy Bay Beach........ They either offer free or greatly discounted chairs and umbrellas with lunch purchase. It's one of our favorites every trip as the food, while not what most would call inexpensive, is awesome. <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: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: pat] #80801
01/06/2016 11:29 PM
01/06/2016 11:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 326
Long island
VGerfo Offline
Traveler
VGerfo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 326
Long island
Hi Pat could you please tell me where is Luna Rosa .

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: VGerfo] #80802
01/06/2016 11:51 PM
01/06/2016 11:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,870
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,870
Brookfield, CT.
Coming from the airport its on the left hand side of the road a little down and across the road from the Royal Palm Resort. It's one of three or four businesses occupying the ground floor of a smaller multi-storied property and is an indoor dining venue whose plate glass windows read Luna Rosa Ristorante Italiano. It's almost directly across the street from another very popular bar/restaurant, Toppers I'm thinking. We were introduced to it by Sharon Harris who knows her restaurants. Of the present day Italian restaurants we have tried in the general area including Izi, Cuginis and even Basilico at Starz, we think this one is the pick of the litter. <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: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: pat] #80803
01/07/2016 09:17 AM
01/07/2016 09:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 464
Tellico Village, TN
jrr1148 Offline
Traveler
jrr1148  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 464
Tellico Village, TN
<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/circle.gif" alt="" />Can hardly wait for Feb 20 when we leave for two weeks in our timeshare vin SBRM.

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80804
01/07/2016 09:53 AM
01/07/2016 09:53 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 61
NJSusan Offline
Traveler
NJSusan  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 61
Thanks for a great trip report. Sounds like you had another great vacation.

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: Bobbie] #80805
01/09/2016 05:11 PM
01/09/2016 05:11 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 78
D
debs Offline
Traveler
debs  Offline
Traveler
D
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 78
Great trip info for all
Can you tell where Cugini is located on Simpson Bay, would love to try it?

Re: TRIP REPORT XMAS / NEW YEARS [Re: debs] #80806
01/09/2016 11:05 PM
01/09/2016 11:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline OP
Traveler
Bobbie  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Cugini is on the main road in Simpson Bay. Comng from Maho, it will be on your left side, just before Carousel (right next door)


Bobbie smile

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1