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Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 #269377
11/18/2021 03:49 PM
11/18/2021 03:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,207
North NJ, 1720 miles from Para...
Kathleen Offline OP
Traveler
Kathleen  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,207
North NJ, 1720 miles from Para...
Flew JB from JFK to SXM. Check-in at the airport was unexpectedly easy since we had our docs in order (passport, vaccine card & EHAS approval). They checked our docs and initialed them before we could check our bags. We have Global Entry so got TSA Precheck approval. Flight left early and arrived at 11:15 a.m. Love getting in early! We were the only flight (or maybe the first flight) in so no line at Immigration. Staffing was pretty good for SXM standards. Luggage came quickly. Lesley (Kennys Car Rental) was there to greet us with a smile. We got plate #2! Breezed over the causeway on our way to the French Side, round the traffic circle to a HUGE LINE of traffic. We inched along; it took us well over an hour to make it to Esmeralda. A combination of the French Side access closed from the French Quarter due to protests and construction between Marigot & Grand Case. They’re putting the power lines underground and digging up the side of the roads. After checking in at Esmeralda and despite all of the delays we still managed to get a delightful lunch at Coco Beach by 2 pm.

Stayed 11 nights at Esmeralda. What a beautiful spot! The flowers and landscaping are gorgeous. The room was comfortable. Continental breakfast included with room. The staff was outstanding, very gracious and accommodating.

Meals that I can remember:
Coco Beach for lunch twice. Pricey but delicious in a beautiful setting.

Orange Fever for lunch twice. Great pizza as always.

One lunch each at Kontiki, La Playa & Wai. All are “connected” with Esmeralda so you can charge to your room which is always a bonus for us since we don’t have to carry much cash or a CC. All were very good. I always order fish and they did not disappoint with either freshness or presentation.

2 lunches at Perch. Can’t beat the view here! Mahi Mahi was great. Pro tip – go for lunch at 1:15 so you can get your Happy Hour (1:30 – 2:30) drink delivered to your table.

Le Piment (Orient Village) once for dinner. Good but not quite as good as in the past.

Ocean82 (Grand Case) twice for dinner. Exceptional! Wonderful ambiance, oceanside. The Grand Marnier souffle is TO DIE FOR.

L’Astrolabe (on grounds of Esmeralda Resort) twice for Friday night Lobster night. Outstanding. Beautiful setting, wonderful service. Prix Fixe menu of $45 euro gets you app, entrée which can but does not have to be lobster with 2 wonderful sauces and dessert. PLUS entertainment by Shine that is quiet enough to enjoy conversation by AND good to dance to! Also went another rainy night for dinner (lovely again).

L’Atelier (Orient Village) once for dinner. Great food. Friendly service. Had beef tartare prepared tableside. This is the place to go if you want meat, but they also have great fish and vegetarian options.Excellent.

The Friendly Diner (Orient Village) once for dinner. We both had pizza. Would not recommend. They’re pretty new and maybe they’ll find their way soon, but not yet.

Bistrot Caraibes once for dinner. Very good. We both had the Lobster Thermidor (fresh lobster from the tank!). Excellent but VERY rich. Pro tip: get a table in the 3rd row inside or in the corner to minimize the traffic noise.

Wai Plage (on Orient Beach) once with group of 10 for dinner. Thursday evenings they are open for dinner with live music. It’s essential to reserve in advance. I messaged Christelle through their Instagram page about 5 days in advance and got an immediate response. The food was delicious – especially the Cote du bœuf (grilled prime rib) that my husband ordered to share. Service is SLOW, but friendly.

This and that:
The beaches on the French side were gorgeous. Yes, there was seaweed, but it wasn’t that bad and the beaches were raked/maintained.
We spent 2 days at Coco Beach (“home” beach for Esmeralda). You pay a little extra here for chairs & umbrellas but the service is special. Your fee includes padded chairs, umbrella and a bottle of water each. They were very good at refreshing the ice and checking on your needs. The rest of the time was at ClubO. There were plenty of chairs if you got there by 10 a.m. and the quality of the chairs has improved since the last time. It was good to see the November regulars back on the beach. Still sad that nothing seems to be happening with reconstruction. We only saw Cedric once. He seems to be very busy with politics now. Patrick does a great job getting the chairs and umbrellas distributed.

The first few days on the island the French side had protests. We were only affected when trying to get to/from Philipsburg which was on our arrival day (Wednesday) and Friday where we were turned around by the police at the old road into ClubO. We never felt unsafe.

The Island looks gorgeous. Unless you look closely, it looks almost “back to normal”. Everyone is friendly and welcoming.
We were never asked to show our vaccine cards or papers once we left the airport. We did not go inside any grocery store but noticed that people seemed to mask when going in. We did mask at Grape (wine store).
Leaving the Island: we flew back on a Sunday to Newark on JB. Checked in online the night before and did the Attestation Form for JB when we got the email from them. JB was very thorough at informing us what would be needed. That being said…when we got to the check-in line for JB, at least 50% of people in line had NOT looked at their emails and hadn’t filled out the Attestation in advance. They did have someone at the beginning of the line helping everyone fill it out online. It’s NOT necessary to print the form out. There are several checkpoints, but everything was well staffed and the lines moved quickly. The flight boarded and left on time. Global Entry made re-entry easy and quick. This was the first time we returned through EWR vs JFK and the Global Entry ports were much emptier here. Since we cleared so quickly it was a bit of a wait for the luggage to come off the plane.

It was a GREAT trip!

Attached Files esmeralda.jpgthe blues.jpglobster bistrotcaraibes.jpgsoufle ocean82.jpgnight view ocean82.jpgperfect egg ocean82.jpg

That's why I wander and follow La Vie Dansante, that's all I want, La Vie Dansante (JB)
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Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269379
11/18/2021 03:54 PM
11/18/2021 03:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 15,972
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 15,972
Auburn, WA
Nice report on good times.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269380
11/18/2021 04:01 PM
11/18/2021 04:01 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,185
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,185
Central Florida!
Thanks for a lovely report! Sounds like a really nice time. Thanks also for the pictures. What is "a perfect egg"?? Looks very fancy!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Carol_Hill] #269381
11/18/2021 04:05 PM
11/18/2021 04:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,207
North NJ, 1720 miles from Para...
Kathleen Offline OP
Traveler
Kathleen  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,207
North NJ, 1720 miles from Para...
It was a poached egg with gold leaf in a wonderfully rich mushroom sauce. Served at Ocean82.


That's why I wander and follow La Vie Dansante, that's all I want, La Vie Dansante (JB)
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269382
11/18/2021 04:07 PM
11/18/2021 04:07 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 170
Washington State
Todd_Melinda_K Online content
Traveler
Todd_Melinda_K  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 170
Washington State
Thank you for your report! Your trip sounds a lot like ours, it’s good to hear some of our favorites are just as good as before.

39 more sleeps! circle

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269384
11/18/2021 04:33 PM
11/18/2021 04:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,185
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,185
Central Florida!
Thanks. It certainly looks amazing!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269385
11/18/2021 05:11 PM
11/18/2021 05:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,026
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,026
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Excellent report. Not unlike ours and the food sounds amazing. The Diner sounds like a new one. Thanks.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269392
11/18/2021 07:08 PM
11/18/2021 07:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 200
Shelby2 Offline
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Shelby2  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 200
Such a nice report and luv your photos!

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269394
11/18/2021 07:34 PM
11/18/2021 07:34 PM
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 124
LI, NY
R
RM5 LI Offline
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RM5 LI  Offline
Traveler
R
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 124
LI, NY
A wonderful report. Glad you had a marvelous trip.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269396
11/18/2021 08:00 PM
11/18/2021 08:00 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,673
Kennys Online content
Traveler
Kennys  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,673
Thanks for the report and you Folks had a great vacation. Stay safe and till next time.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269407
11/18/2021 10:19 PM
11/18/2021 10:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,990
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,990
Brookfield, CT.
What a very nice trip report in every way. Glad your trip was a good one.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269409
11/18/2021 10:36 PM
11/18/2021 10:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,191
Yonkers, NY
fabila Online content
Traveler
fabila  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,191
Yonkers, NY
Nicely detailed with thanks for sharing.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269412
11/19/2021 06:34 AM
11/19/2021 06:34 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,274
Portland, OR
jazzgal Online content
Traveler
jazzgal  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,274
Portland, OR
Thank you for the very nice report.


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269417
11/19/2021 07:52 AM
11/19/2021 07:52 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,328
M
MotownTim Offline
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MotownTim  Offline
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M
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,328
Great report. Your restaurant descriptions might inspire us to make the trip up to the French side this time. How much does Coco charge for chairs etc.? I’m surprised you didn’t get them for free since you are staying at Esmeralda. Are Sophie and Fred still in charge?

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: MotownTim] #269504
11/20/2021 02:19 PM
11/20/2021 02:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,207
North NJ, 1720 miles from Para...
Kathleen Offline OP
Traveler
Kathleen  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,207
North NJ, 1720 miles from Para...
Coco considers themselves upscale and charges $25 per person. If you're staying at the hotel it's discounted to $15. The other beaches "included" with the hotel don't charge a fee. Not sure who is in charge. Davide waited on us the most and provided great friendly service.


That's why I wander and follow La Vie Dansante, that's all I want, La Vie Dansante (JB)
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: MotownTim] #269514
11/20/2021 07:29 PM
11/20/2021 07:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,274
Portland, OR
jazzgal Online content
Traveler
jazzgal  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,274
Portland, OR
When I was at Coco in June, they provided bottles of water with your chair rental, which I thought was a nice touch.


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269531
11/21/2021 08:23 AM
11/21/2021 08:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,328
M
MotownTim Offline
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MotownTim  Offline
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M
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,328
$25 per person. That seems a little steep. $50 before you even get started on drinks etc.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269532
11/21/2021 08:40 AM
11/21/2021 08:40 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,423
Westchester /NYC
Colour1 Offline
Traveler
Colour1  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,423
Westchester /NYC
Paying for chairs is a deal breaker for me!!! There average price at around $250-300.00 and they can't absorb the chairs??? Maybe high season they can pull that BS, but not off season!! For the first time in YEARS we paid for chairs at Kontiki, I get it, they need to pay the staff. But always chairs were part of the deal no matter where we stayed on Orient. If you are a frequent flyer there, I would think they should forgo the fee!! Glad you had a wonderful restful vacation!!


Sand Gravity, got to love it!
Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Colour1] #269537
11/21/2021 09:19 AM
11/21/2021 09:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 15,972
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 15,972
Auburn, WA
Not me. I expect to pay for chairs but if they are free if eating or drinking its a bonus for me.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269559
11/21/2021 01:40 PM
11/21/2021 01:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 726
New Jersey
NJHarry Offline
Traveler
NJHarry  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 726
New Jersey
So glad you and Paul had a wonderful trip. Thanks for the report, it does make us wanting to get back.

Re: Trip Report 11/3 - 11/14 [Re: Kathleen] #269581
11/21/2021 05:33 PM
11/21/2021 05:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 144
under the Paul B in 39073
wct49 Offline
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wct49  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 144
under the Paul B in 39073
great report. makes me want to be back.


"I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

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