St. Maarten & St. Martin Reader's Travel Tips – Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews

Fabila – Restaurant Suggestions
The Caravanserai is adjacent to the Dolphin Casino. There is a small grocery/Asian store steps away from the hotel. Additionally there is Bliss, Bamboo Bernie’s and the famous Sunset Beach Bar where everyone goes to watch the planes take off and land. All 3 serve food and beverages. Bliss has a pool, martini bar, in addition to the restaurant and lively night club which is outdoors. They get a young crowd. Bamboo Bernie’s serves sushi and other Caribbean food.

We have visited St. Maarten twice this year and really like the island. There are many different priced restaurants, lolos and lots of "happy hours," on the beaches and restaurants. You really don’t have to spend a lot on dinner and drinks. Very friendly people. We like staying on the Dutch side and the location near the airport gives you quick access to the French side.

We enjoy Dawn, Mullet, Baie Rouge, Friar’s Bay, and Orient Beach. I don’t know what the attraction is to Pinel Island, we were not impressed. Very shallow waters and the beach chairs are piled one on top of the other.

One of our favorite eating establishments is Ms. B’s on Dawn Beach, $7.50 for a plate of the best ribs on the island along with a bag of chips. You also get 2 chairs, an umbrella and 2 rum punches for only $10.00. On most of our other Caribbean travels we did not have the luxury of renting comfortable lounges, tables and umbrella’s but it’s standard on St. Martin, lots of beach vendors offer this service and are very polite. If you bring a towel and don’t want their service they are ok with it.

We discovered another small hotel next to Dawn Beach called Captain Oliver’s. Had dinner there once and lunch twice. What a lovely romantic spot right on the marina. A great pool with a Plexiglas infinity wall. They call it a "people aquarium."

The first trip we took a catamaran over to Anguilla’s Shoal Bay East. Beautiful beaches. Had ribs at Uncle Ernie’s. Very good but not as good as Ms. B’s.

On our first stay back in March we were at the Divi and it was to remote for us. Very close to Philipsburg but we found no allure there. Not big shoppers so location did not have any appeal. We like to have a few cocktails and driving up and down the mountain every evening was a little scary.

We can also recommend dining at Rainbow in Grand Case, Bar de le mar in Marigot, Hot Tomatoes, Uncle Harry’s, and the Boathouse all on Airport Road on the Dutch side. We also love The Market in Cupecoy.

Bruce – Restaurant Review
We stumbled upon Temptation on a recent trip to St. Maarten. This brand new restaurant is in the Atlantis Casino complex at Cupecoy. The entrance, with ingenious use of running water sheeting the windows was cool and inviting. When we got inside, we found ourselves in a place unlike any other on the island. The interior is light and cool, as much Manhattan as it is tropical.

Of course, we were there for the food and we found the Nouvelle Caribbean cuisine to be unparalleled. We started out with a Cesar salad, the best we have had in a long time. A "surf and turf" of grilled shrimp and tenderloin in a delicious light sauce accompanied by a variety of vegetables delighted with its blend of flavors. Filet Mignon served on a bed of lightly seasoned potatoes was perfectly prepared. A surprising dessert of champagne and fig sorbet completed the meal on a cool light note. We also tried the misnamed cheesecake – made from ricotta and reminiscent of the delicious insides of cannoli, it was cheese surely, but there the resemblance to the standard custard served up around the world ended. Temptation’s cheesecake was light and delicate and wonderfully flavored.

While we like a good red wine, we are not afficionados. The California merlot suggested by the staff made an excellent accompaniment to the meal.

This is a sophisticated place, leave the beachwear and the kids at the hotel. They just opened, but they obviously know what they were doing, everything was perfect.

We visited many world class restaurants on St. Martin, the place is one of the gourmet capitals of the world. But by far our favorite was Temptation.

This was our 6th visit to St. Martin and the first two week vacation there. Two weeks was the best! Nothing compares to getting off that plane in St. Martin and feeling that warm air and just feeling like we are HOME! Especially after the winter we have had here in Maine. 14 more inches last night! It won’t melt until July by the looks of things outside. Anyway, Alan Arnell (who we rent from every year) met us outside and we were off in our rental car within minutes. We had asked him for a bigger car since we had friends coming with us this time for both weeks and he came through for us with a Mitsubishi space wagon which was big enough for all of us (5 the first week and 6 people the second week) plus all our luggage. It was great! We stayed at our timeshare at Oyster Bay and had a great unit overlooking the pool and ocean. The pool is finished and is wonderful! We were very happy with the service and accommodations at Oyster Bay. We had some wonderful meals on the island both weeks.

Our favorite place still is Le Piccollo both for quality of the food and price. Plus I am partial to the cute waiters there (especially the dark haired guy with the great smile!) so we ended up there twice and loved both meals. We did have dinner at Le Cottage in Grand Case for the first time rather than going to L’Alabama like we always do and absolutely loved Le Cottage. The people there are very friendly and warm and the food was really great. Another restaurant that is worth mentioning is Poulet d’Orleans on the road from Orleans to Orient Beach across from the beautiful stone church on the hill. We had read about it in one of the books and decided to try it and were very happy we did. We sat out on their porch and talked with the family that owns it. She is from Minnesota (maybe Iowa), her husband/chef is from St. Martin and their daughter who served us is the current winner of the island beauty pageants. They were so nice and the food was good and reasonable. We also went to the lolos (the crab backs are great!), Don Camillo’s, Captain Oliver’s, Le Planteur, Tropicana (disappointed with this one this year, last year had a good meal there), Il Nettuno (the little girls of our friends like pasta) and some of the beach bars. It amazed us on how good some of the beach bars are, especially the one right near the boat landing on Pinel and Friar’s Beach Bar. Both excellent for being on a beach! We did some touring of the island and noticed some good changes. Never had any problems with crime whatsoever but then we are careful and never leave anything in the car.

We did notice more police presence and that was more comforting than alarming. We actually had to go through a roadblock on our way home one night and had to get out of the car while the police searched our car. That was a first for us but they had them set up on both sides of the island at the borders that night from what we hear looking for drugs, guns and apparently some Haitans that had escaped from a warehouse. They were very nice and we had no problems but it made us a little nervous. They even had a helicopter overhead with a spotlight. There was an article about it the next day in the local paper.

We went to the Marina in Marigot on both Thursday nights for their outside events and dinner and that is always fun to do. Went to Pinel twice and it is always nice out there. Chuck said the snorkeling was good if you went out around the corner of the island away from the beach areas. He also found the snorkeling good off Friar’s Beach. Saw lots of sea urchins over there. Didn’t get over to Orient Beach as much as usual but when we were there it was crazy as always. The best beach to walk! We had some rain over the two weeks but it didn’t stay long and it made everything green so we didn’t complain. Anything was better than snow! We sat at the Sunset Beach Bar one afternoon and had lunch to watch the planes come in and got a great picture of the Air France coming in over the beach. We were amazed at how many internet places there are on the island now and had no problems finding one to write home. Used the one on the airport road at the FedEx office most of the time because we were there alot it seemed dropping off friends and picking up friends at the airport. Bought more Tanzanite and a watch at Goldfinger in Philipsburg from the guy we always buy from every year. Had lunch at the Greenhouse and watched all the cruise ship people going back to their ships. The one thing we did notice is how much traffic there is these days on St. Martin. Marigot is a nightmare at certain times of the day to get through. But we still love the island and the people and the food and beaches, etc. etc. and cannot wait to go back to our second home next year! It can’t come soon enough!

We have been to St Maarten 7 times and will be returning for the eighth time in April. Although we have traveled to other islands SXM is our favorite. It is the most beautiful place on this earth! We have stayed in hotels, condos, timeshares and even villas. If money were no object a villa would be the way to go for us. We would like to recommend the Summit Resort for those interested in hotel accomodations. The units are very nice but reasonable too. The units have a real Caribbean feel to them. It is quaint, quiet and romantic there and the staff go out of their way for their guests. Cupecoy Beach Club has very nice condos with a beautiful view. We like that side of the island also. Even though there ae 34+ beaches our favorite beaches – Baie Rouge, Cupecoy and Plum Bay are close by and you are not far from Marigot and Grand Case for dining out. Our favorite restaurants are Cheris, the Greenhouse, Talk of the Town, Pizza Pasta, Messalina, and Bar de La Mer. If anyone has any questions they can email me. –


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Last updated April 6, 2001

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