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Debating #178416
12/19/2018 08:02 PM
12/19/2018 08:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
L
lelson223 Offline OP
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lelson223  Offline OP
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L
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
Hello,
We are debating on where to go this summer at St Maarten is on our list. I was hoping someone could answer a couple of questions for me to help with our decision.
First, we are a couple who likes to enjoy the pool/beach during the day, then our main entertainment in the evening is to go to a casino and spend time there. We are not big into dining at the fanciest restaurants but mainly like to snack, eat light lunches and just small meals here and there. Typically on vacation we don't sit down to big meals.
I have been reading up on things and am a little concerned when I am reading how many things are still under construction and many areas/places are not open. Is this a real issue or are there enough things around to really enjoy everything?
We have been looking at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort but was also looking at Simpson Bay. Does anyone have an opinion on that? Wasn't sure how close Simpson Bay was to Casino Royale.
Also, are there other casinos there? I am not finding a lot of info on them.
Last year we went to Aruba and have been debating between the two for this year. Does anyone have experience at both places and if so, what are your thoughts?
Sorry...that is a lot of questions but we are really trying to weigh out our options. It is difficult to get a true picture of things from websites!
Thank you for any help!

SXM Sponsors
Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178421
12/19/2018 08:48 PM
12/19/2018 08:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,473
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,473
Brookfield, CT.
lelson,

I could be wrong on this but it’s been my experience over many years that while both islands are of Dutch heritage, they are worlds different and we’ve often found those who love one will often be less than wild about the other, and honestly, we fall into this category. We love SXM and Aruba, not so much. It was okay - clean and easy to navigate but for us it just didn’t have the vibes we were looking for. And we are definitely not party animals but found Aruba lacking, none the less. Perhaps it was the time or the fact we hadn’t planned on being there but we were forced to do so last minute due to weather damage issues on SXM. Who knows?

If you want to be close to Casino Royale you can’t get much closer than Sonesta Maho. My understanding was it had gone all inclusive - am I mistaken? It would seem silly to me to pay all that money for AI if you really arent into dining, and particularly on SXM. Simpson Bay does have lots of lodging options and several convenient casinos close at hand as well as tons of restaurants. And referencing the nearness of Casino Royale to Simpson Bay, it’s a tiny island and I’m thinking they’re just a few miles apart. The traffic would likely be more of an issue than actual distances. It’s easy to walk to CR from Sonesta and that’s one of the good points of staying there if the casinos are important to you. Of the two areas, even with the closures, my preference would still be the Maho area, but that’s me. And more is reopening every day in that area.

We were on the island in November and even with the still closed businesses and entertainment options, there are so many places to enjoy, you definitely won’t be at a disadvantage for places to go and things to do on SXM.

Last edited by pat; 12/19/2018 08:56 PM.

Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Debating [Re: pat] #178423
12/19/2018 09:02 PM
12/19/2018 09:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
L
lelson223 Offline OP
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lelson223  Offline OP
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L
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
Thank you so much for your insight. I do believe Sonesta is all inclusive but am finding that the overall cost is less than overall costs for us to go to Aruba again (non all-inclusive). Although we don't typically do sit down big dinners, we do like to have cocktails and drinks throughout the day and it would kind of be nice to not have to worry about additional expenses for food and drink once trip is paid for.
Do you know if the casinos close to Simpson Bay are reasonably sized or are they just small with a few machines? I have tried to research them but am not getting a lot of information about them.
Also, do you know if drinks are given free at Casino Royale? Sorry...we really like casinos and part of our decisions for trips are to enjoy are evenings at different casinos, even though we are not high rollers smile

Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178425
12/19/2018 09:06 PM
12/19/2018 09:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 14,508
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 14,508
Auburn, WA
By summer more and more places will be open. We had plenty to choose from when we were there this last May. Hollywood Casino is right on the property where Simpson bay resort is. SBR has a nice beach area and multiple pools. Very close, walking distance, to many inexpensive and casual eateries along with some finer restaurants too. I would opt for the Simpson Bay area for a place to stay. Atrium is also a nice place and is in the same general area as SBR with the same beach/pool amenity. Either place would be great.

Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178426
12/19/2018 09:16 PM
12/19/2018 09:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,473
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Posts: 13,473
Brookfield, CT.
I get what you’re saying. Most times when we travel somewhere as a first timer, we do AI and often end up using it mostly for breakfasts and drinks. But I definitely see your reasoning, particularly if you aren’t a true foodie and looking for the SXM gourmet experience as a major part of your trip

Yes, all the casinos I’ve visited on SXM offer free drinks for gamblers be they at the tables or playing the slots. I believe most of the casinos are reasonably sized - or at least comparable and then some to those wevisited on Aruba. If i’m thinking of the right place, the Dunes at Alegria Resort has strictly slots. We really like CR for its convenient location to where we stay but we’ve also come to enjoy the Princess Casino at Port dePlaisance, a little further from the hotels you’re considering but worth a visit.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Debating [Re: SXMScubaman] #178427
12/19/2018 09:29 PM
12/19/2018 09:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
L
lelson223 Offline OP
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lelson223  Offline OP
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L
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
Thank you both for your help. Really am leaning toward going here this year. Appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions!

Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178428
12/19/2018 09:33 PM
12/19/2018 09:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,473
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,473
Brookfield, CT.
You’re very welcome. That’s what these forums are all about - helping out and sharing info on a place we love. Merry Christmas and happy choices...


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178430
12/19/2018 09:57 PM
12/19/2018 09:57 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 317
vacanakey Offline
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vacanakey  Offline
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Posts: 317
Hi lelson,

We have been to both Aruba and SXM many times over the years, and love both islands for different reasons. Just my opinion, for what they're worth. We are a mid 50's couple married 38 years, and like you, spend time at the beach, during the days, come back to the pool to wind down, and then get a bite to eat and head to the casinos. We are usually in bed by 11pm. We love Aruba for many reasons. Eagle beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world....period. Nothing on SXM compares to Eagle beach as far as beaches go. The casinos on Aruba are better than SXM. Restaurants on SXM are better. The choice of beaches on SXM is better.....there is a beach for everyone. Aruba is pretty much either Eagle or Palm beach. There is more of a rootsy Caribbean feel on SXM. There are two distinctly different cultures on SXM. There is a much 'edgier' vibe on SXM. We feel safer on Aruba, but enjoy the edge of SXM. We go to Aruba when we want a safe, easy, relaxing vacation. We go to SXM when we want the thrill of going c/o, the endless dining options, the ability to island hop to Anguilla/ St Barths, Pinel. Saba. or a nude all day boat excursion with other like-minded fun people. SXM is exhillarating....Aruba is relaxing.

Again, these are merely my opinions, but I think both islands are worthy vacation destinations.....for very different reasons.

Also, do some more homework on lodging options. Consider a split stay...maybe a few days in Simpson Bay and a few days on the French side. Sonesta in Maho would not be my first choice.

Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178432
12/19/2018 10:19 PM
12/19/2018 10:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 333
Beverly MA (Boston's North Sho...
timnboston Offline
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timnboston  Offline
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Posts: 333
Beverly MA (Boston's North Sho...
Casino Royale has been completely rebuilt since the hurricane. If you want convenient access to Casino Royale, Maho is the obvious choice, but AI is pretty limiting. You might want to consider renting a timeshare at the Royal Islander La Plage. Across the street from the Casino, on the beach, with a great pool. The time shares have full kitchens and there's a pretty good little market across the street and plenty of other eating options within easy walking distance.

Re: Debating [Re: timnboston] #178433
12/19/2018 10:36 PM
12/19/2018 10:36 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 3,951
Vancouver, WA
Todd Offline
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Todd  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 3,951
Vancouver, WA
I will add that there is a great site to rent from at Royal Islander. www.royal-islander.org

If you have not given SXM a try you should, may end up not being all you want compared to Aruba or it may be that you keep coming back. I personally love the variety of what you get on St Maarten from beach options, night life options, and food options that range inexpensive to high end. Maho is a great area to stay and while you don't need a car if you stay in that area I still suggest one to visit more places on island.

We just went to Curacao, and while we enjoyed it (we understand it is very different than Aruba) we found that we preferred SXM by a large margin. We are glad we at least tried it, and will over time try other places as well.

Have a great trip!
T


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178537
12/21/2018 01:09 PM
12/21/2018 01:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,945
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
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islandgem  Offline
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Posts: 12,945
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I would definitely choose the Simpson Bay area for being closest to several casinos and plenty of restaurants serving the type of food you suggest you enjoy. I too enjoy the casinos in the evening and there is lots of nightlife in the Simpson Bay area.......bars, movie theatre , clubs, casinos etc... A lot of these things can be walked to as well which makes it nice. I have stayed in both Maho and Simpson Bay and would still choose the Simpson Bay area for sure. Also the Maho area has not completely recovered yet from Hurricane Irma so it is still a bit desolate there. Whatever you choose, enjoy your trip and definitely choose St. Maarten over Aruba. You will not be disappointed!




Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178540
12/21/2018 01:29 PM
12/21/2018 01:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 221
Michigan
cathym Offline
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cathym  Offline
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Posts: 221
Michigan
Hi,

We went to Aruba before going to St. Maarten and to me there’s no comparison. Aruba was fun but nothing like SXM. We love the Simpson Bay Area with lots of beach options - mostly my fave beach Simpson Bay beach. There are a few hotels and rentals directly on the beach. We rent a car and drive everywhere- never had an unsafe experience. While we appreciate great meals we typically go for casual places and we almost always finish the night off at one of the many casinos. Try St. Maarten out - I was never the same after the first trip - have visited other islands and Europe but my “home away from home” is St. Maarten.

Merry Christmas! Cathy

Re: Debating [Re: cathym] #178542
12/21/2018 02:00 PM
12/21/2018 02:00 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
L
lelson223 Offline OP
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lelson223  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 13
Thank you everyone for all your help. I think we will be going now and looking at Simpson Bay due to everyone's suggestions. Can anyone help with the room choices? When I go to their website, many descriptions look the same but prices are different. We would want an ocean view with balcony. One bedroom . Any suggestions as to which of the options to pick? As I said, booking online has the descriptions all the same but varying prices. Some say Bay View and others say Oceanfront. Not sure of differences.
Thanks again. Everyone has been so very helpful!

Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178551
12/21/2018 03:11 PM
12/21/2018 03:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,659
L
LBI2SXM Offline
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LBI2SXM  Offline
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L
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,659
Try researching the Villas at Simpson Bay (right next door to SBR.) They have one bedroom lock out suites, every room has an ocean view with huge balcony. Sunset view, very large pool with swim up bar and close to everything and walkable. No beach per se, but beaches are a 1 minute walk to either your left or right. Bay area is bulk headed with steps in to the water which is waist deep. Full kitchen and huge bathroom. We have stayed there many times and enjoy the place.

Re: Debating [Re: lelson223] #178557
12/21/2018 04:01 PM
12/21/2018 04:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 761
Harriston
megamania Offline
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megamania  Offline
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Posts: 761
Harriston
I don't think Sonesto Maho is open yet? Is it? Last I read it was 2020,,,but that may have changed. I see Ocean Point is open,,but the outside still looks like part of a construction site. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Randy and Meg Young
Re: Debating [Re: megamania] #178562
12/21/2018 05:56 PM
12/21/2018 05:56 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 138
Hamilton Ont
G
George1234 Online content
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George1234  Online Content
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G
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 138
Hamilton Ont
Sonesta Maho is scheduled to open Feb 1,2019. But will it make it?????
George


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