AA from Miami arrived about 15 minutes early and was out quickly to car rental awaiting. Went straight to Carrefours at Cupecoy and picked up some much needed wine to get the party rolling and onto Villa in Terres Basses that we had only previously left some 16 days before and that was after spending three weeks there and that's because my wife wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday on the 28th and I told her if Villa available, we could get a reasonable deal, that's where I would like to go, life is short and we made it happen. Dinner was at Tropicana and they really laid on a show of food, just a shame that I didn't this time take pictures of every single meal I had, but in a separate post, will endeavor to show a fair bit. For those that are worried about going to this area, you are missing out. Couple of new restaurants opened up in the Marina plus quite a few new fashion stores and if you just walk in brightly lit areas at night you will be fine, plus lunches are really excellent and to get a place outside even out of season, you have to book as by 12pm they are already have seats filled. What a birthday start to the added vacation but don't remember too much the next day
The idea was to shop, eat and rest(not necessarily in that order) but spend more time at the villa which we did. It was relaxing, great weather, albeit a little windy at times which my wife doesn't like but I do, as without some breeze one would simply fry but she appears to take heat like some martian alien. Always has and good for her as she needed the rest and relaxation after the health problems she has had. Anyway, wanted to also check out new restaurants in the Simpson Bay Area plus others nearby and give Philly another chance as we rarely travel out of the french side having our favs and so set in our ways as if if keeps on working for us, why go elsewhere!
Skipjacks...................Service from this great Dutch Lady. Worth mentioning..Crab and corn soup, a meal in itself. Lunch only. 8/10
Nowhere Special.....BBC's from Devon. Interesting food, well priced specials, although think I had a bad lobster meal and should of complained. Went several times. Lunch and Dinner. 8/10
Roxxi on the beach. Opp Skipjacks. A bit pricey for drinks and too Miami Beach for us but might give this another go sometime. 6/10
Yacht Club. 4 lots of Breakfast...Smoke salmon, poached eggs dripping in dill sauce on English muffin, Called a Norwegian I think. free coffee!! Great Service. Excellent. 9/10
Lals Indian. Owner last year sold then brought it back......which was awful when he sold, but back to reasonable standards. For Indian fix, its decent. 7/10
Frenchy Ludos. Must now be my third visit from the last time. Good service and unusual presentation of food. 8/10
Marks Place. Finally made it plus saw where the main Carreffour is. May have picked a bad day for lunch. A bit off they were. Food though was OK and reasonable but wouldn't eat there again. 6/10. To each their own though as I know most here have said very favorable things, but I just think what was on the menu was simply not to my taste.
Mary's Boon Restaurant.....Liked it and the position. Service was a bit slow as appeared to be serving everyone on the beach first and we were the only ones in there but what a great view. in the end food, albeit basic was good, reasonable and the guy who looked after us very nice indeed. But giving this a 9/10 because I asked if they could make my wife a cauliflower soup which was not on the menu and they did. Anyone who goes out of there way to do this, gets full marks in my book and that's probably why it took so long, but couldn't care less as loved the position we had and people watching. Will definitely go again and walk the beach as well, provided the shelving isn't too high.
El Zafiro. Went for Breakfast. A little slow with service but good, apart from being charged $7.00(again) for water after being told they don't serve tap water!! Enjoyed the experience though. 7/10. Barman there made some good drinks and will return again but don't need water anyway for breakfast, will bring our own or order some drinks again, which we did. Not the price but the principal as what do they wash the dishes with then? On second thoughts, might not return for breakfast but would try lunch, as the Yacht club takes some beating. So that's it I think in that part of the world on the Dutch side apart from our worst meal, I already mentioned in a past post was Altro's. Set Menu was poor. Enough said. Also The Greenhouse in Philly for some I thought, overpriced drinks and very slow service but did park outside which was great and was able to meander about the town, more on that later.
Restaurants. French Side. I have mentioned these several times before and possibly because I am personally into French classical cooking without too many twists and frills, and got to know the owners well over the years and they cater for my wife who basically can only eat light as in soups plus certain veggies and will make exactly what she wants. Very rare and most appreciated. They all receive a 9 plus out of 10.
Tropicana......perhaps went 8 times..for Lunch and dinner. Highlights. Souffle, Dover Sole and daily specials. Very French. Desserts are outstanding. Ask for their hot and cold. Pastry Chef previously worked at 3 Mich star Restaurant in Menton France.
L'Aubergex5..highlights. Rack of lamb. Ask what you really like and they will try to assist. Carol, give it another go and let me know beforehand and will ensure you get the very best. Also purchase their homemade rum drink that they and all the restaurants give out for free after your meal. Its very subtle and good for coffees and adding on cakes etc. I just swing the thing back like a good Russian, usually first thing in the morning.
Le Cottagex1. Great Service, classic cooking and consistently good.
Arahwak. Great for BBC's(made only by one particular person) and omlette breakfast.
Not as many bikers this time but still see accidents just waiting to happen everyday. For whatever reason they seem to think its just the coolest thing to ride with one wheel up in the air. Why???
French side still way behind the Dutch side construction wise since Irma and could take another 2 years plus..........some areas really bad and just nothing has been done in nearly two years now.
Never really liked Downtown Philly and even worse since Irma. However was suitable impressed this time. Money been spent, shops re-opening. New appearing.
Traffic from Airport to way past Simpson Bay and god knows where to. Finally got stuck in traffic(heard for years how bad it can be) and took one hour to get to Nowhere Special which is probably less than one mile away. Was told it started at lunchtime that day and some have to start at 6 in the morning just to get to work but NEVER make plans to go to that area from around 4-30 to 6.30 in general. They blame it on the fact that banks openly shower money to all and sundry(assets, no assets) for owning a car, be it beat up or new. Some families run three cars and the Island just cant cope. ask for a mortgage though on a property, forget about it.
Finally Carol, we made it to Orient Bay. Yes, its really only 8-10 minutes away from GC. Had drinks at Bikini. Lots of seaweed (sargassum) on the beach and very windy I thought. Possibly a little too touristy for my taste, however, very impressed with all the restaurants, parking facilities, the general ambience and layout and certainly will give a few eateries a try next time, but not an area we would personally stay at.
That's it folks...Apart from stuffing and some good shopping in Marigot plus a great store we found in Philly, it was swimming in the pool, a few short beach trips, relaxing, getting up early and going to bed reasonably early. Got some great overall tans and as always SXM is the only place we want to travel to from now on. Apart from a trip to the UK in Sept/Oct(cancelled the French part of the trip as just too much) back again in Dec if all goes well.
Now, the hard part...later, going to try and post pics in a separate post..so hope they all come out.
Best to you all and thx as always for all the valuable info you give, most is what I have found through your recs in the first place.
p.s. Breeze through Customs at airport as got wheelchair assistance and the same in Miami.