St. Martin

Trip Report: 2/20 - 3/6, 1999

* Updated: From my parents ( ) trip: 3/4 - 3/11, 2000 - Their updates marked with "* 3/2000 Update"

* All pictures here were posted to the SXM Photo Page ( on 8/3/2001 *

Every thing was great! The weather was perfect. We had only very, very brief showers on a couple of occasions. The mixture of wind and clouds kept it from getting too warm. There were only a couple of nights that were only slightly cool. We thought that it was much more crowed than two years ago, however, we talked with someone that said it was much less crowded than last year. We had a direct Northwest flight from Minneapolis booked through MLT Vacations ( Both ways were 'worry free'. We will definitely go to St. Martin again!


Two years ago we stayed at Maho for 4 nights, this time we stayed at St. Tropez ( on Orient Beach ( for 14 nights. The room was kind of 'utilitarian', meaning that there were no frills, but it served us well. We didn't spend much time in the room. It was about 50 yards from our door, past the pool, to where we could put our feet in the sand. The hotel is located in the middle of the two-mile beach, so getting to any one of the establishments was easy. The extras that the room had were as follows: small refrigerator, hair dryer, and a 'hot pot' like appliance that we supposed could be used to heat up water for coffee or tea. The refrigerator was essential! We used it extensively. There was a $1 soda machine on the premises that included Heineken cans. This was a great deal compared with anywhere near by. There was also an ice machine that cost a quarter, but we didn't use it much since we had a refrigerator at our disposal. The electricity is 220v and has the two round holes so you'll need both a converter and adapter. We bought a kit that had 50-watt/1600-watt converter with all kinds of adapters from the Urban Traveler. Voltage Valet ( made it. The rooms also had a safe that could be rented for $2 per night. The room was very quiet compared to the one we had at Maho that overlooked Cheri's. Our only complaint was there were a lot of ants in the room.

Car Rental:

We rented a car for 10 of the 14 days; a Hyundai Atos. We had originally called St. Louis Car Rental ( after getting an e-mail quote of $210 per week ($35 per day with the 7th day free). However, we didn't decide to get the car until three days into our stay. In searching for a car, Island Trans Rent-a-Car found a one-month-old car with A/T & A/C for $42 per day with the 10th day free. Everything worked fine, they dropped the car off and picked it up at the hotel, no problems. We had tried AAA (800-592-6110) after getting such high recommendations online, but they didn't have any available. We also talked with Best Deal Car Rental (800-621-2865 or, which was also recommended. We think next time, we will make arrangements a head of time to get a lower rate guaranteed. There was a web site that we found that had about 50 car rentals, but all the numbers were local. It would be nice to see that with toll free numbers or better yet e-mail addresses.


First some overall comments. Many of the restaurants did not take credit cards. This was troubling since we were expecting to pay by credit card for most of the meals. I'll try and explain the credit card policy if we know it when reviewing them. Also, some that did take them, did not allow you to add the tip onto the credit card, so you had to tip in cash. Others made you determine the tip prior to the charge slip being brought to you for signing. Despite all the warnings we had heard, we think there was only one that had a 15% service charge. You still should be watchful. * 3/2000 Update: On menus where the prices quoted are quoted in $USD and FF, it might be a better deal to pay in FF.

Orient Beach Restaurants:

Since we didn't have a car for the first few days, we explored the various Orient Bay beach restaurants. This was nice as we could simply walk out from our hotel onto the beach and then walk, without shoes, to the restaurants. However, we thought that for the most part, these beach restaurants were very overpriced. The food was good, but not a good value. Many had bands playing on different nights.

Other Restaurants:

Grocery Stores:

Note: to get drug store type items, you must go to a pharmacy. They don't have much besides food in the grocery stores. The most difficult item to find was cough drops that we finally found at the Simpson Bay Pharmacy.


The dress was casual in all restaurants that we went to. We were able to wear shorts, casual shirts, and sandals everywhere.


Cash Machines:

We never found any on the French side that worked and would dispense US Dollars. We found plenty on the Dutch side. Specifically we found one at Maho (next to the casino of course), in Phillipsburg on the tender peer, and in Simpson Bay. Generally on the Dutch side it was easier to find American conveniences.

Jewelry Shopping:

AMA in Phillipsburg and in the airport. This was highly recommended to us by someone we met that was on their 8th trip to St. Martin. Seemed to us like the best deals. Bought a lovely gold San Marco bracelet at a reasonable price.


Our favorite local beer was Carib ( with a lime in it. Very refreshing on a hot day.

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