St. Martin

Trip Report: 2/19 - 2/27, 2005

This was are third trip to St. Martin. The first was in February, 1997 and the second was in February, 1999. Since we hadn't been there for six years, much of this report will contrast the changes, good and bad, we noticed since then. On this two week trip, we also spent 5 nights in St. Lucia at the Windjammer Landing.

General Impressions:

St. Martin is much more crowded now than it was six years ago. The roads were much more busy. Six years ago, during off hours we could drive around the whole island in about 45 minutes. Now during busy times it could take an hour or more just to go half way around the island. Orient beach was more crowded. Much more 'boat people' (cruise ship passengers that were dumped onto the beach and were loud and obnoxious). Orient beach as also more built up. It seemed like most of the Five Stars of Orient Beach beach bars had expanded. In 1999, La Playa was set back into the palm trees and now its built out with multiple levels and a pool.

The weather was much more windy, rainy, and cooler than we can remember from our two earlier February visits. Maybe there is something to this global climate shift.

Just after getting our rental car and heading for our hotel, we were heading North on the road from Cole Bay to Marigot and just after going across the border to the French side, we were pulled over for a random breathalyzer test. This was at about 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 19. Since I hadn't had anything to drink yet, I passed the test and was on my way. Apparently they're cracking down on drunk driving.

There were a lot of off leash dogs. I really don't remember there being that many before.



Because we couldn't get a flight out on Sunday night to St. Lucia, we had to stay 1 night in St. Martin. We stayed at the Travel Inn Hotel in Simpson Bay just because it was close to the airport. It was a real 'no frills' hotel, maybe not worth the price, but it served it's purpose.

When we got back to St. Martin, we stayed at St. Tropez right in the middle of Orient Beach for 8 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, 'hot pot', and a room safe. 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 made by Voltage Valet.

St. Tropez shares a pool with L'Hoste. The one extra that was great about the hotel was free beach chairs, umbrella, and table at La Playa's beach. That saved us about $18 a day. Since we booked through Expedia, we did not get the free continental breakfast at La Madras (also between the two hotels), which you get if you book directly with the hotel. However, it didn't seem like that good a deal. It was supposedly $10, but you could get the equivalent by going to one of the nearby shop and/or restaurants in Orient Village at half the price.

This was the second time we've stayed at St. Tropez. In February, 1999 Orient Village was not there. We thought this was a great addition to the area as the shops and restaurant were very convenient. We had a room on the third floor which was nice since no one was above us. However, when it rained on the metal roof, it was loud. Our biggest complaint was the shower. It wasn't a real shower. It was kind of like a small 'kid size' tub with a flexible shower handle. The shower handle never stayed in place, spraying water everywhere, and the mini tub was very slippery and we almost fell a couple of times each.

Car Rental:

We rented a Suzuki Alto from Thrifty for $195 for 1 week + $32 for the 8th day. Everything worked out fine with the car and the service.

Bars and Restaurants:

In general we found that food prices seem to be high although drink prices were reasonable. I tried to keep track of the price of a beer to give an indication of how much it fluctuated (from $5.50 to $1).

Orient Beach:

Other Restaurants:

Grocery Stores:



Questions? Contact Paul, or Edna,

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