Caribbean Travel Roundup
Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor
ALSO AVAILABLE INFO FILES ON ARUBA AND JAMAICA at www.gobeach.com/ctr
The following information was extracted and edited from St. Martin comments appearing in the Caribbean Travel Roundup editions from 9/96 through 7/97.
Please remember that the comments in the CTR are those of the contributors and could not be independently confirmed by the CTR. In many cases they are of a highly subjective nature and your views may differ. Also remember that some of the material appearing in the CTR is copyrighted by the original author and cannot be used without their permission.
Full text versions of these CTR reviews can be obtained from www.gobeach.com/ctr/
Caribbean Travel Roundup
DIVI LITTLE BAY The check in at Divi was handled very professionally, and we were introduced to Pat Hunt, a resort director and a helluva a great gal, who gave us a layout of the property, events that would be going on during the week for guests both at the resort and around the island. We and our luggage were put on golf carts and we were taken to our unit. Rental cars are not allowed to drive through the resort, they are parked at the entrance, and you walk to your unit or jump on these little carts if they are available .A little bit about Divi. Its a beautifully landscaped and maintained time share resort and hotel. We had a studio apartment which was just perfect for the two of us. A huge living area which had a king size bed, sleeper sofa, dining table and chairs, large dresser, personal safe, T.V., V.C.R. phone , etc. A small completely furnished kitchen, with microwave and refrigerator, a huge bathroom with walk- in shower and also a large Jacuzzi tub. Our living area had two large French doors, that opened out on to a small balcony and overlooked Little Bay, with its azure blue water and green mountain in the backdrop, just a lovely sight at morning and evening. The resort is still in the rebuilding process from the damage created by Hurricane Luis two years ago. The time share area has been completely redone and refurbished. The old hotel area was still closed and is scheduled for demolition in June of 1997. The area will be completely rebuilt with a new restaurant, small casino, small shopping area, hairdressers etc. They are expecting to start construction shortly.The old restaurant was destroyed, but they have redone the pool area and provided an outside bar and restaurant co-located right by the pool, which really was quite nice, as you could look over the pool and Little Bay as you dined. The breezes kept the insects away. They served breakfast, lunch and dinner at very reasonable prices, which were well prepared, presented and served. Breakfasts...$3-$6 each; lunch menu $6-10 each and dinner $8 -$20 each. Much....much less then the rates for meals in Philipsburg, Marigot or Gran Case. The management provided a welcome party on Sunday, and a managers appreciation night on Thursday with free drinks, light snacks and drawings for free meals and other gifts on both occasions. There was a happy hour each night with special drinks of the day and island steel drum entertainment (singles and trios) each evening between 5-7 P.M. There is a nice beach at Divi, beach chairs, umbrellas and towels are provided. I was surprised to find that the snorkeling was good. Again we had read on the net that there are no reefs around St. Maarten and snorkeling would be terrible. The coral around Little Bay is in very bad shape, but there were plenty of fish of all colors, sizes to make the snorkeling interesting, though not as good as on some of the other islands.The Divi Little Bay resort had a system where all your bar & restaurant costs could be charged to your room, so we settled that during our check-out, which was again very professionally handled by Divi staff and we were off to the airport. pb9707 GRANDE CASE BEACH CLUB We stay at Grande Case Beach Club in a studio with kitchen - newly re-done as a consequence of Hurricane Luis. This is a well run and friendly place on the beach at the end of Grande Case. The long beach in front of the main buildings has been washed away to a very narrow strip, but widens out as you go toward the village. The main beach activity is now on Petit Plage on the other side of the hotel. The restaurant at the hotel is the Sunset Cafe (replaces Waves, which burned several years ago) but except for the continental breakfast included, we did not eat there and can make no recommendation about the food in general. In driving to Grande Case, we noticed that a lot more signs have been put up giving directions, which is helpful if you do not know your way around. We also noticed (you can' miss it) that Portofino restaurant at the entrance to Grande Case now sports a monstrous and obtrusive sign that I sincerely hope isn't the harbinger of bad taste coming to this part of the island. Signs for Carib beer are ubiquitous. rb9797 GREEN CAY VILLAS GREEN CAY VILLAGE Is an excellent place to stay, absolutely top notch, private, private pool, new, clean, friendly folks, beautiful view, near beach but not walking distance, full kitchen, stereo with cassette and CD player, VCR, cable TV (didn't use either), BBQ pit, maid service. June rates were $420 per night for 3 bedroom condo ($140 per couple per night). Thanks to Fabienne and her crew for a great time! jj9707 What can I say about GREEN CAY VILLAS other than it was love at first sight! Our villa had a breathtaking view encompassing all of Orient and Coconut Grove beaches. The large deck has a small built in pool that we put to frequent use during our stay. The management even provided 3 blow up rafts. The villa itself has 3 beautiful spacious bedrooms with connected bathrooms and closets. It even has a guest bathroom as well. The kitchen was well furnished with an ice dispensing refrigerator so necessary for filling those frequent requests for pina coladas. The living room has cable TV as well as a CD/cassette/tuner sound system. You also had 2 dining areas: one facing the beach and one facing the garden area. Daily maid service was both efficient and unobtrusive. First day supplies, a welcome bottle of wine and a complementary breakfast were also provided. All in all a first class operation. At under $1000 per couple per week, it is fairly priced. I can give it no higher praise then this: This is where I want to stay whenever I visit the island. bf9705 LA PLANTATION HOTEL REVIEW BY CAROL HILL 9703 This is our report from our stay at La Plantation from 2/1/97 to 2/8/97. This report deals exclusively with the hotel and is intended for those who might be considering La Plantation for a stay. Our trip report is under a separate subject as a trip report. This was the third time we had stayed in SXM for a week, after many times of visiting SXM on cruise ships. As always, we stayed on the French side close to Orient Beach. Previous stays were at Green Cay Village and L'Hoste. La Plantation is a little cheaper than L'Hoste and a LOT cheaper than Green Cay--if you're renting Green Cay by yourself, that is. We booked through Jim Ruos (here on $P$) at Caribbean Islands Travel Service, as always. If you want to book any of the Orient Beach hotels, Jim's your man. Plantation is located on the hills above Orient Beach, roughly in the area of Green Cay Village, if you know where that is. It is not directly on the beach, but you can walk down directly to Coki or Bikini Beach, if you have a mind. It's not a bad walk, maybe 5-10 minutes, depending on which unit you are staying in. If you normally head to the beach at Club Orient and are kind of lazy, like me, you will drive to Club O. We timed the drive--taking our time--at 6 minutes one day. There is a pool and restaurant and small boutique at the reception area. We were never at the pool during the day, so don't know how much traffic there was there. The reception desk could arrange various tours and water sports for you, but we never took advantage of their services. We did note that the car rentals through the hotel were significantly more per week than what we paid through Jim Ruos. The restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ate breakfast there a couple of mornings but no other meals. Included with the cost of your hotel room at LaPlantation is their continental breakfast. The restaurant is pretty and the coffee and croissant are good and it is free, so one can't be too picky, but it wasn't the greatest. Croissant and baguettes were provided, along with apples, usually bananas, (usually SPOILED!) pineapple, corn flakes and coffee and tea. You could get a hot breakfast there, for around $7-$8 PP. We had omelets one morning, which were pretty good. The restaurant was usually pretty busy for breakfast. There are 17 units at Plantation, most of which consist of 2 studios and one suite within each building. We paid $178 per night for the suite (with two people), vs.$210 per night for the top floor rooms for the same time frame for L'Hoste. When we had called for reservations in August, #304 was already gone at L'Hoste and we had been wanting to try Plantation anyway, and were glad that we did. At Plantation, the studio was $149 per night, vs.$178 per night for the suite. We felt that the extra few bucks were well worth it. If Jim Ruos' figures are to be believed, cause I didn't measure it myself, with the suite you get approximately 750 square feet vs. 377 square feet for the studio. We had specified when we booked that we wanted the room with the best available view and were assigned room number 630. We certainly had nothing to complain of with regard to the view, as we were situated in the first row of buildings at Plantation, with no buildings in front of us, basically all the way to the water. We looked straight out at Tintamar and off to our right in front of us was L'Hoste and off to the left in front of us was Esmerelda. Our suite, as well as all the others, was surrounded by beautiful flowering plants. The gardeners were always busy around the hotel, grooming the plants and planting more flowers. Our unit, as did the others, had parking spaces for three cars. We did not specify that we wanted the best available facilities for nudity on our porch and there was a road which had a really good view onto our porch. Because of the railing, though, Eric could be nude and it would have been hard for anyone to see even from the road. There were a couple of units right on the hill above us-- namely, numbers 860 and 870--which it looked as though no one could see in to their porch. However, this was because the flowers and plants had all grown up around the porch and it's possible that you could not see OUT very well either from there. If you want a studio unit with a really good view, request number 832, which was right next to us and had a wrap- around porch which looked out right over L'Hoste and had a beautiful view. OK, let's describe the suite in detail, starting at the patio. Our patio faced Orient Bay, as I said, and was approximately 10-12 feet deep and 30-35 feet long. We had a wicker dining table and four wicker chairs (2 with pads). We could have wished for a chaise lounge or two, but there were none. Facing the ocean, there were two single and two center full glass doors. We kept the two single doors locked all the time. As you faced the ocean, off to the left was the L-shaped kitchen area, which consisted of an apartment-sized refrigerator and stove, with coffee maker and toaster, with a tile-topped counter with 4 bar stools. Standard silverware was provided, including a corkscrew and a can opener (which sort of worked!), paring knife, and 8 plates, 4 cereal bowls, a wine carafe and coffee cups. Glasses were kind of light, with 6 miscellaneous assorted water glasses and 4 juice glasses. There was one small and one large sauce pan, 2 small fry pans, a medium stew pot with lid and a small casserole dish. There was NO ice bucket, so we kept the ice cube tray filled and dumped the ice into the plastic collander, which we kept in the freezer, so that we would have ice for our trips to the beach. There was dishwashing liquid and a dishtowel provided, but no food or supplies of any nature--salt and pepper, etc. If you want to do any cooking here at all, you might bring or buy either paper towels or napkins and some paper plates, as well as powdered cream and sugar and coffee filters for those coffee hounds like us. The coffee machine technically took the cone type filters but our Mr. Coffee-type filters fit fine into the basket. The coffee maker made around 3 good sized cups. The spacious main living area consisted of about 25 feet wide by 20 feet deep. The furniture was rattan but very comfortable. There was a small round dining table with 3 chairs, 2 sofas (one a sleeper sofa), a coffee table and two other side chairs and a TV. The TV featured cable, with HBO, CNN, and a couple of other channels. Two of us kind of almost rattled around in the space and it would have been more than adequate for a couple and two children to share. The bathroom had a double sink with about 5 feet of mirrors. There was a typical French shower stall, no door. There was some storage under the sink, plus a large key-type safe. There were two hanging knobs in the bathroom and a 110 shaver outlet ONLY. All other outlets were 220 and there was NO hairdryer. Toilet paper and bath soap were provided, but NO shampoo or lotion. The bedroom could be closed off from the main part of the unit and held a king-sized bed with 2 night stands, 1 small dresser with 2 drawers over 3, plus a closet with 3 feet of hanging space and 4 shelves beside it. There was much more than adequate storage space for a week at Orient Beach! The entire unit was air-conditioned, and the a/c worked well, although it was supposedly automatically turned off from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. and sometimes you had to manually turn it back on. There was also a ceiling fan, if you preferred, but it was at the top of the cathedral ceiling and provided little air to the actual living space. Kind of an oddity that we noted was that all the doors locked with a key--even when you were inside. You had to use the key to let yourself OUT. The front door also did not automatically lock when you left and it took a little getting used to. There were signs on the doors for the patio which stated that for security reasons, people were always supposed to lock their doors at night, as well as close the shutters. We did always lock the doors, although we never bothered with the shutters. Maid service was OK, as we always had clean towels and the bed was always made and she did the dishes which we left in the sink. If it wasn't actually IN the sink, it didn't get washed though, and the crumbs which I deliberately left on the counter in the kitchen stayed there for the course of the week until I couldn't stand it anymore and cleaned them up myself. Early in the week we picked up a stray cat that spent most of his time sleeping in one of the chairs on our patio. By the end of the week, he was always waiting for me by the door when I walked out and he scarfed up his share of hand-outs over the course of the week. One thing that we did notice was that the place seemed a little quiet. If we go back there again, we would probably bring along either a radio or tape player so that we could have some music to listen to. The stereo unit at Green Cay made our enjoyment of the place so much greater. Beach towels were provided at the front desk and I would assume that you could get fresh ones each day. We didn't bother but just let our towels dry each day and re-used them. We had also brought a couple of towels from home, which I would do again. Would I return to La Plantation again? Absolutely! Was it a good value? Absolutely. As I said at the beginning, during the winter, it is technically a little cheaper for the suite at Plantation than the top floor rooms at L'Hoste. Rates during the summer at L'Hoste were $150 per night for the 3rd floor rooms, times 6 nights. Rates for May to September 1 at Plantation for the suite were $118 per night. L'Hoste is right ON the beach, which has lots of advantages. With Plantation, you can get a larger space, with almost full kitchen facilities, a great view and a separate bedroom for less money. You can't go wrong with either one. End of Carol Hill 9703 La Plantation review Begin gd 9704 LE FLAMBOYANT REVIEW All-inclusive at Le Flamboyant means 3 excellent elaborate meals daily and all the soft and/or hard drinks you can consume. You pay for each drink with coconut money which is provided to you at no charge. They can make almost any standard cocktail or elaborate Caribbean mixed drink you can imagine. Its a very well-equipped bar. The main restaurant is divided into the Grill and the Terrace. The Terrace restaurant houses the regular French dinner menu and the 3 buffets each week; Mexican, Creole, and Italian. Another night is lobster night. The grill next door has a daily menu featuring a large variety of grilled meats and is available for lunch too. After lunch closes at 2:30pm, you can order take away from the Grill chef until 4pm. No one goes hungry on the all-inclusive. Breakfast is an elaborate buffet of fruits including pineapple, and papaya and juices, coffee, caf au lait, tea, milk, sodas, eggs individually crafted by the omelet man, or ready-made scrambled with bacon, sausage, toast, chocolate and regular Danish, French breads, and a hot water machine where you can make, as we did daily, 4 minute eggs. At lunch you could order simple hot dogs or burgers or lamb chops, veal scallopini, pork chops, entrecote, chicken nuggets, or other items. There also was a large salad bar, and wonderful deserts at every meal. At lunch and dinner unlimited red or white wine and domestic or imported beer was offered. The resort it self is located on a lagoon and has a lovely white sand beach. There's a water sports center where you can obtain snorkel gear, use a variety of pedal boats, sunfish sailboats, or wind surfing boats. These are all included at no extra charge. If you want, you can rent catamarans, speed boats , and other more elaborate equipment. There's an outdoor Jacuzzi, 2 large swimming pools, and endless lounge chairs for sunbathing and you can swim in the lagoon too. The hotel provides a shuttle to a nearby beach if you prefer, to a shopping mall, and to the French capital of Marigot two miles away. They also offer to their all-inclusive people, a free 3 hour around- the-island bus tour. There's a nightly free shuttle bus to the Lightening Casino for gamblers. This is on the Dutch side where all 9 casinos on the island are located. The French don't allow it. End LE FLAMBOYANT REVIEW MOUNT VERNON By the time we arrived at the hotel and unpacked, all we could do was to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. The salad portion cost $11/pp, entrée is $13/pp and the complete 3-course dinner, which includes dessert, cost $24. This was their standard price structure for dinner every evening. Dessert alone, salad & dessert or entrée & dessert options were not offered. The first night's dinner was very good. I had grilled lamb chops, scalloped potatoes and green beans. Greg has endive salad, snapper Creole and some pastries. I have to say the French do believe in using real butter... no margarine, no fat-free or reduced imitation of any kind. The hotel also provided a daily complimentary breakfast buffet of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruits, croissants, rolls, pastries, coffee and juices as part of the package. There was no lunch service at the main restaurant but burgers & fries can be purchased at the grill by the pool.The next day we tried out the hotel's beach and the pool. Orient Bay had more waves and breezes than the last time we were there... nothing really intolerable or unpleasant. Because of the northwest wind and water currents' direction, Orient Bay north end was the recipient of sea weed; mounds of it would accumulate on the beach. Although the resort would scoop the sea weed into piles, it would be the next day or two before they would remove it. But the cool breeze was certainly a welcomed delight. This was the first time I ever experienced such a constant cool breeze in the Caribbean. Every day and night the breeze would bring such relief that it felt like there was no humidity. Couple of nights, we had pina coladas at the hotel bar that overlooks the bay. The wonderful drinks, cool breezes and incredibly beautiful views are what Caribbean vacations are made of. Areas away from the coast are still hot and humid.The hotel presented a special cocktail party & dinner by the pool with entertainment. They provided free rum punch; alas, I was hoping it would be pina coladas. The entertainment was a fire show around the pool. It reminded me more of the Polynesian-type fire show. hy9707 PELICAN RESORT AND CASINO The Pelican is a nicely appointed place with many pools and lit tennis courts; unfortunately it is run down. Many appliances were broken and management, while friendly did nothing to help. There were also many in house arguments between management and staff that were embarrassing at the least and hard to ignore. The major problem was the sudden and frequent lack of running water. The Pelican is a good location. I only hope the owners will read this and pursue the issue. ts9609 Pelican Beach, at the sprawling Pelican Resort complex, is slightly wider than before Luis, and remains very popular. The most successful timeshare resort in the world, Pelican lost several roofs to Luis. Its recovery, chronicled by photography sometimes displayed in the lobby, was astonishing; it began accepting guests barely two months after the storm hit. (Beach chairs here are only for Pelican timeshare owners.) The view of ocean sunsets here can be spectacular.(jb9610) ST. TROPEZ HOTEL We spent the balance of the afternoon settling in at the St. Tropez Hotel on Orient Bay. If one wants to stay on Orient Beach, I can't imagine a better location than this one, and in fact this was the same place we stayed during our first visit. Their rooms offer exactly what we wanted: a king-size bed, a sitting area with small couch and chair, a small refrigerator with freezer that comfortably accommodated 2 ice trays, a hot pot for morning coffee (St. Tropez provides packets of instant coffee, tea bags and sugar) and a good- sized balcony with a view of the ocean. The property also has a fresh-water pool, which it shares with the L'Hoste Hotel, along with a small restaurant/bar that, at least during the off-season, is only open for breakfast and occasional cocktail hours. The restaurant had a lot of grills, however, so I assume they do lunch and dinner during busier months. Overall, I think St. Tropez offers a lot of room for the money and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, with the caveat that you'll really want to have a rental car to stay there (or anywhere in Orient Bay, for that matter). js9707 SUMMIT HOTEL Because our friends couldn't get in until Friday. A nice hotel, very clean and everyone is friendly. Went for happy hour that night, we needed it. Friday our friends had rented a condo at the Cupecoy Beach Club. So gypsys that we are we moved in on them on Friday. A real nice complex. sm9704
BAR DE LA MER on the harbor in Marigot. It is a lively outdoor (or inside if you must) cafe, very European in atmosphere. We had grilled shrimp and grilled lobster, both house specialties. The tab was about 75.00 w/tip and a few drinks. If you love to watch people and mingle, this is a fun place. (HM9609) BAR DE LA MER - Another new place facing the market area in Marigot. We had a very forgettable 8 oz cheeseburger and snapper filet and the worse service of the trip. (bf9609) BAVARIA. I had the veinersnitsel (spelled wrong) and Jack had the bratwurst. Both are great and we each had a few drinks with dinner. The cost $38, not bad for a great meal. sm9704 BAVARIA: This is a place that doesn't get mentioned here very often, but is one that has very good food and the prices are quite reasonable. Since the hurricane the place has been refunished. Out are the dark (and uncomfortable) benches and IN are tables with pink table clothes and while chairs. The place is brighter and nicer looking. Both Ed and I had the potato soup, which is absolutely delicious. I had their schnitzel <sp?> which is a huge piece of pork and is cooked to perfection. It comes with potatoes and salad. Ed had the bratwurst which caqme with potatoes and sauerkraut. The bill was $38. AB9612 BIKINI BAR: Late in the afternoon, we took a walk down the beach and ended up having lunch so late it really was an early dinner. We stopped at Bikini Beach to grab just a tapa or two as a snack, but ended up ordering much more than that. You wouldn't expect a beachfront place to have such good food, but Bikini Beach's tapas could rival anything we've had in Spain, particularly the gazpacho soup. And when I say we ordered a lot of food, I mean it: the final bill was around $50. js9707 On Orient Beach. Great appetizer - coconut shrimp. Everything else quite god, but hard to enjoy when cats and dogs are competing for your table scraps! Atmosphere better suited to day light and lunch time menu more reasonable. If you are going to spend $100 for dinner, go to Grand Case. Drop by here for lunch! I'd kill for those coconut shrimp, however! mg9702 BOATHOUSE - Edie and I shared French onion soup, chicken Caesar salad and chicken terrace for $35. I always find the Boathouse to be a "safe" choice. Very good food and reasonably priced. Love to watch the storms come over the mountains into Simpson Bay. Seems to happen everytime we go there. (bf9609) BRASSIERE DE LA GARE In the Royale Marina. It was very disappointing. We both had pasta with lobster or shrimp and a cheese and tomato based sauce. We selected the restaurant because it had many more customers than any of the other restaurants on the Marina, but we really didn't care for it. The bill was $43 w/tip. After dinner, we went to the Casino at the Pelican and made a small contribution to the local economy. ev9704 CAFE TOSCANO at the Maho Beach Hotel was our only option for New Year's Eve. It was awful. We usually do LaRosa but they were closed for N.Y. Eve because they didn't want to disappoint the regular crowd by having to turn some away. If this was a solution, it made no sense to us. Anyway, we had eaten pretty well on all other nights so one bad meal was acceptable under the circumstances. A few of us didn't feel too well the day after, however. hm9702 CAPTAIN OLIVER'S RESTAURANT at Oyster Pond is not to be missed. Dine at water's edge just feet away from luxurious sailboats and yachts, and enjoy the romantic ambiance day or night. You'll find a wide selection of fine French cuisine here. (Reservations are a must, especially for choice seating near the water.)(jb9610) CHERI'S - Discovered they have great chicken salads for those few meals when I tried to be good. AS always, a great place to people watch. I saw a Japanese man wearing the same outlandish outfit as mine. Although neither one of us spoke the other's language, we embraced as though we were old friends, We are all brothers united by a common bond: bad taste in clothes. (bf9609) CHESTERFIELD'S - Another first time restaurant located in Bobby's Marina. Same owners as the Boathouse and very equivalent. Chicken Teriyaki, chicken with pepper sauce and a bottle of wine were all good for $40. We dined with a fellow teacher of Edie's and her husband. Earlier in the year, we had planned to share this evening with another co-teacher and her husband also but she died of cancer, 2 weeks before the trip. The last thing she asked Edie was to have a drink in her memory. We sadly paid our last respects to her. Definitely put our recent house fire into perspective. (bf9609) CHESTERFIELD'S, at Bobby's Marina in the northern part of Philipsburg. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Chesterfield's offers reasonable prices along with a panoramic view of the entire Philipsburg waterfront. You can make reservations next door for a day-sail to nearby St. Barth's. Come at night to enjoy the lively bar and great food, with an abundance of locally caught seafood. The grilled tuna is superb.(jb9610) CLOUD ROOM. Unfortunately, a tour bus had preceded us and they were out of all of their meat dishes. Darn! We did have Bolonaise and a Ceasar Salad which were OK for $22. That evening, on the balcony, with drinks in hand, we desperately tried to come up with a "get rich quick" scheme that would allow us to continue this life of opulence.bf9705 CLOUD ROOM - Dinner here consisted of goulash and wierner schneitzer for $45. Good food and talk about a room with a view. Make sure Peter is cooking. (bf9609) DALIVIO Had the veal chop and veal parm. Man were they both good. Tender and so full of flavor!! Can't wait to go back there and do it again. We tried Bar de la Mer in Marigot. The food was okay, but the service is so disorganized. It was so hectic and as we were sitting near the grill we saw how some orders come up and sit for at least 10 minutes till the waiter fetches them and serves them. In fact I ordered the red snapper, Mindy the lobster and Tracy a pizza. My fish was sitting so long that when the waiter brought it over I sent it back and got a new one. There is a lot of action to see while sitting at the sidewalk tables but we probably won't go back there just yet. We went to Restaurant Taitu in Mount Vernon. We had been there in July 1995 before Luis and enjoyed it so we were happy to know that they were back. We had a nice meal and the service was very good. We tried Tutta Pasta this trip and I'd rate it a 6.5 out of 10. The service is pretty good and the food is good, but not great. ms9704 DALIVIO'S, not too bad, eh. Jack finally got his red snapper with linguine and I had the Veal Piccata. We shared this huge Ceasar salad and a bottle of wine and then had a sambuca for an after dinner drink. Definitely no room for dessert. The whole meal was wonderful and the view out to the harbor was pretty. The cost was $110 and the restaurant will be added to our list of favorites. sm9704 DALIVIO... we stayed away for about 4 years because of the owner's attitude despite the great food we always had there. Now, Mr. Livio has retired and the restaurant is being run by Antoine's son, Daniel. What a difference !! The food is better than ever and Daniel is super gracious. We were there twice and had the fabulous Caesar salad and monster veal chops both times. (perfectly grilled loin chops with NO sauce, just great flavor). I can't say enough except GO ! Call 001-5995-22690. It's too bad that P'burg closes early and one cannot browse the area pre-dinner as we do in Marigot Harbor. It's very safe but there's only casino action and some fun activities at Bobby's Marina (pretty far from DaLivio) if you want night-time action in P'burg. Anyway, it's worth the effort just for DaLivio. Mario's and others will be covered in another report. I'm too tired to think and just wanted to get started with the best first.hm9702 DON CAMILLO, in Marigot was a hectic X-mas eve experience. We were a large party among many other large parties and the kitchen couldn't quite handle it. The food was good, once it arrived, and I would have preferred going on an off night (which is tough during the holidays). hm9702 DON CAMILLO: We went here by default. That night Ren & Stimpy were offering a buffet only. It was $12 pp but did not appeal to either Ed or Frank so we go in the car and went to Marigot. Don Camillo has been a place we enjoy and go there at least once each trip. Ed had his favorite appetizer Carpaccio. He also had angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce and shrimps. I had their special salad and their pasta with eggplant. Frank had their lasagna and Nina had one of the specials (I can't quite remember). The bill was $65 per couple. AB9612 DON CARLOS: Ed and I shared an order of their special nachos. They were yummy. I had a chimichanga dinner and Ed had grilled shrimp in garlic sauce which was served with mixed veggies. Everything was good. $48 AB9612 DON CARLOS.Another must...the best crab cakes outside of St. Michael's Maryland were at Don Carlos. Shennie, the owner, was so happy to see us return (we were there in Dec.) that she made us a super take-out for hurricane dinner a few days after we had dinner there. She is a lovely lady who happens to run an excellent restaurant. (HM9609) FISH POT: Grand Case, waterfront. Good, but over rated. Would eat @ L'Alabama or Heava before going back here! Expensive, pretentious and the place to go, I guess. Reservations a must. I don't think I'd rush back. mg9702 THE FISH POT: Another excellent restaurant. Onion Soup, Crudites, Snapper Fillet, a really wonderful, huge pot of Boulliabaise. A few glasses of wine and no dessert. About $100.(SS9611) FRENCH BAKERIES. There is one in Marigot that has outside seating (no name on it) where you pick out your breads and pastries and eat it there. Also found a bakery located beside a grocery on the road into Marigot where we picked up more goodies to be eaten back at the hotel. Why can't I find a place in Ohio that makes crusty French Bread and croissants - may have to open my own. All in all my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at how warm the islanders were and did not see any evidence of crime. Most of the beaches had (local cops?) on the premises which was reassuring. We have been to many of the Carib Islands and rate SXM as one of our favorites now. We had a great relaxing time. jr9704 GOOD FELLAS again. It was good but a little bit more than Sambuca where we usually go first night. Jack had pasta with sausage and I had fettucini with something in it but I can't remember. We had a couple of drinks and the bill was $55 tip included. sm9704 HIBISCUS: Nouvelle French Cuisine with Caribbean Spices. Very interesting and very different. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Worth trying and when it was good, it was quite original.(SS9611) HOA MAI located in the French Cul De Sac area near where Mark's Place used to be. This French Indonesian restaurant was not only eloquent inside but produced the best meal of the trip. I had Pork in curry sauce and Edie had sauteed chicken with cashews. Both dishes were outstanding for $30. I learned that this restaurant will soon be moving to Marigot and will be renamed "Macadam". It will be situated somewhere near the French Can Can. I highly recommend a trip to this place. You won't regret it! bf9705 HAO MAI: It is almost with regret I tell you about Hao Mai, I would hate it if we couldn't walk in there at will next visit! Hao Mai is in Cul de Sac, just around the corner from the Mount Vernon. It specializes in Viet Namese and Creole food. It is also the only place we found where you could have a completely satisfying meal for under $80! The owner, Hao Mai, is this ageless, charming, Viet Namese woman who lavishes attention on you. Definitely a place to go, even if the location is less than optimal . The hotel it is located at is still closed and there isn't much else in Cul de Sac, But Hao Mai is worth the trip! ETC. mg9702 HEAVA: Grand Case, wrong side of the street. Tiny, antique filled, charming. Food was almost as good as @ L'Alabama. Francophiles, made little effort to speak English (unusual, by the way). Charming, romantic and worth every penny. We walked in, but reservations are probably a good idea for dinner after 8. I'd go back here again. mg9702 HIGHWAY GROCERY For those of you who know how cheap I am, that is no mean trick. Highway Grocery - I would be remiss if I didn't put in a plug for this small grocery next to Lynettes near the airport. This place sells the best Johnny Cakes (baked not deep fried) on the island. Plain or cheese filled. Baked daily by Claire, one of the sweetest, friendliest locals on the island. Tell her what you want and when and she'll have them ready for you hot out of the oven. She'll throw in her life story for no extra charge and perhaps even throw in a complimentary warm baked loaf of bread while she tells you about St. Martin and its people. If SXM is more than just a place where you vacation, stop in and say "Hi" to Claire. It is time well spent. (bf9609) The GRAND CAFE EUROPE (I think that was the name) across from Cheri's but upstairs and they were having their 5th anniversary. The drinks were only $2 and lots of free hors deuvers including mussels. We were treated to the band called Mothers Popcorn from Holland who were on tour(one of the members told us they were thrown off St. Bart's after a fight (he didn't want to talk about it) but they were great and we had quite an enjoyable evening. jr9704 IL NETTUNO: Unusual in that the cuisine was Italian (most of the other places are French Cuisine) An excellent place with a dining room overlooking the ocean. Also the most expensive meal we had on SXM. We had Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Mussels Casino, Bracciole and Penne with Seafood. With a bottle of wine and no desert or drinks it ran us $110 before tip.(SS9611) KONGA CAFE - A very pleasant find. Located in the Cul De Sac area near the former "Mark's Place", we just had to try this restaurant after a number of folks mentioned it on the beach. It literally has 6 tables in a person's living room and porch. It also has great food at great prices! We had a New York Strip steak, fried bananas (God they were good!), veggie pie and a Hawaiian sandwich for $20. The food was so good and the prices were so low, I was embarrassed.(bf9609) KONTIKI - Edie and I split a fruit plate for $14. Super meal! No way, one person could finish it. (bf9609) L'ALABAMA: Grand Case, on the wrong side of the street. Not water front, but who cares! Best meal we had on the island and several other couples agreed. Pascal and Karin are the owners, and chef and hostess respectively. Reservations necessary unless you get there before 7. Am enclosing several business cards - that's how impressed we were!!! If you can get us a discount there next time we are in St. Martin, I would eat there 7 nights! mg9702 L'ALABAMA. Appetizers: Sea Bass Rillette (mousse) w/grean bean salad, Lobster and Crab "Pie" w/raisins and raspberry vinegar. The Sea Bass was excellent, but the Lobster and Crab pie was not a good choice (it was a cake, not a pie and was very dry). Main Courses: Grouper w/Banana and Honey Raspberry sauce, and Shrimp w/ orange and coconut glaze w/colorful rice. Both dishes were light and tropical. We would rate these dishes as very good. Dessert: Puff Pastry w/lemon cream and pineapple in a raspberry sauce. This was a fine choice. We would not rate this restaurant as one of the best; however, the menu is so different from others that it is a nice change of pace, and we would return. df9702 L'ALABAMA: We ate here twice, because it was so good the first time we absolutely had to go back. The first time we had Scallops Madeleine, a soup of red cabbage with bacon and Szechuan peppercorns, Swordfish Brochette, and Grilled Fillet of Pork. We had a very nice bottle of wine, shared a desert of bananas with rum raisin ice cream, coffee and an after dinner drink. Cost was just under $100. L'ASTROLABE at the Esmeralda resort. I had coquille St. Jacques and John had a bouillabaisse that was so hearty, it could have easily fed four. The highlight of dessert was the lavendar sorbet, with actual bits oflavendar flower in it. At $125 (before tip) this was the most expensive meal we had, but if you enjoy really well- prepared French cuisine, it's worth every dollar.js9707 LA AUBERGE GOURMAND. Again, we were somewhat early and were able to get basically the last table in the place without a reservation, as the place filled right up within maybe 15 minutes of when we arrived. Eric had scallops with broccoli in a white sauce and I had the steak in a pepper sauce. The food was sizzling hot and wonderful. We shared a creme brulee and 2 coffees. The bill, including a half bottle of wine, and tip, was $72. It was wonderful. L'AUBERGE GOURMAND: Very good food, very large portions. Chicken Livers with Bacon in Balsamic Vinegar, Fillet of Sole stuffed with vegetables in a Saffron Sauce, Grilled Mahi Mahi. About $70 before the tip.(SS9611) LA BELLE EPOQUE. We each had great pizzas there. We had beer and wine with dinner and the bill was $36 and we even had leftover pizza for lunch. It was even better the second day. sm9704 LA AUBERGE GOURMAND and the one just before it, something Caraibes were open but that's about it. Fish Pot and LeTastevin opened the first of October and Il Nuttuno was re-opening the 9th. I THINK Rainbow might have re-opened on the 1st also but not sure. We had two great meals at Auberge Gourmand. Paul had the Beef with Roquefort sauce both times. I had the Beef with pepper (and I mean pepper) sauce the first time and the most fantastic Snapper with Lemon and Curry. It was wonderful, the fish just melted in your mouth I had snapper (again!) at Da Livio's. Paul had Antipasto LA CROSSANTERIE!!!! Well, maybe I like it there a little bit too <g>. Edie opted for the American breakfast while I dined on chocolate croissants. They were every bit as good as I remembered. I'd also like to put a plug in for their melon sized rolls. They were absolutely outstanding on several occasions that we stopped here. We like to eat them on the beach, with French cheese and a bottle of wine. No doubt about it, life is good! LAGUANA across from the airport is still great. It's quiet and the food is terrific. A nice meal is about $100.00 a couple with a few drinks....maybe a bit higher. Cheries had some good burgers and Pasta primavera...also great Veal parm one night. Prices are still about $7.00 to $18.00. We enjoyed a meal at Ren and Stimpys. Very quiet and slow if you are in a rush. They had great pasta meals. Prices were around $18.00. Think dinner ran about $75.00 a couple with extra salads and a drink or two. We never did make Marios that most people still raved about. A lot of people also said to go to Don Camillios which we never made. bc9705 LA LAGUNA was another excellent meal. I had delicious grouper, shared Caesar salad, and "M" had shrimp fra diavalo over linguini which is his favorite at Laguna. The host is especially friendly and remembers his regulars with after dinner cordials. hm9702 L'LAGUNA: We decided to go to the Paradise Cafe, only to find out it was closed so we ended up at Laguna. It was a great choice. We had a Caesar salad. Ed had angel hair pasta alfredo and I had spaghetti carbonara. The food was excellent. $58. AB9612 LAGUNA - Hard to believe this was our first time at this restaurant. We met Jeff and Sue Kozek for chicken parmisan and lasagna for $50. Great food and outstanding service.Paradise Cafe - Met Hettie and Michael here and we had 2 salads and French onion soup. The food was fine but despite the place being dead, the service was also. Always nice to meet the folks we correspond with though. Had a nice visit with Jeff and Sue but unfortunately never got to play Sue in tennis. (bf9609) LA ROSA TOO We found La Rosa Too and it was splendid. Greg had the red snapper with scalloped potatoes and grilled zucchini. I had the orrechetti pasta with broccoli rabes and shredded Italian sausage. It was so good we made reservation for Friday night. There was a good crowd at Cheri's outdoor dining area with music and dancing.hy0707 LA RIVIERA which is a block or two away from Touch of Gold. We each had a Salad Nicoise (very good) and free drinks with coupons from the tourist booths on Front Street. We really enjoy this restaurant and return every time we visit Front Street. The bill was $18 w/tip. ev9704 LA RIVIERA which is a block or two away from Touch of Gold. We each had a Salad Nicoise (very good) and free drinks with coupons from the tourist booths on Front Street. We really enjoy this restaurant and return every time we visit Front Street. The bill was $18 w/tip. ev9704 LA ROSA, in Maho, near our resort is always a favorite. We were there twice, the first night of vacation and X-mas day. As usual, I enjoyed veal dishes (veal parm & veal chop Regine). "M" enjoyed his spaghetti Capricio on the first night and veal the next trip. The Caesar salad is always good at La Rosa. The average price for 2 w/a couple of drinks and tip was about $70.00. That became a total for just about every meal we had and sometimes a little more if we shared an appetizer or dessert. hm9702 LA ROSA, Too was a big bust. We have always gone there for the Veal Chop Regine but this time is was not anywhere near their ordinary standard. We really don't care for that restaurant that much but we always loved the Veal Chop so we would go there. Mine was mostly fat and there was no taste to the meal at all and it was stone cold. We had a couple of meals at Sambuca and they were pretty good. It was very, very hot in there though. But, thankfully, we sat by one of the doors to the back deck. (AS9611) LE TASTEVIN We went to LE TASTEVIN, located in Grand Case, for dinner. St. Martin/St. Maartin is supposed to have more 5-star restaurants than any other island in the Caribbean. Dinner had all the elements of a 'chic-chic' restaurant... the location (by the water), the food (beautifully presented, excellent preparation and taste) and stuffy waiter & maitre' d. I had lamp chops and Greg had snapper then dessert of fresh fruit & sorbet. The food was very good. The only problem was the mosquitoes. We had a table next to the waters with stone rail/fence separating the dining area and the bushes/trees on the beaches. The bushes was filled was mosquitoes. The mosquitoes and lack of breeze was irritating enough to impact the enjoyment of the dinner and evening.hy0707LA TASTEVIN We both had Caesar Salad and Shrimp & Scallops in lobster sauce which were excellent. It was so good that we dipped the French bread into the sauce and cleaned our plates. We had coffee and Proffiteroles (like cream puffs with ice cream and chocolate sauce, yummy). In addition, I struck up a conversation with the manager, Xavier, about the good reviews that the restaurant gets on the Prodigy BB, so he provided us with complimentary after dinner drinks. It was an excellent dinner, with wonderful service and the bill came to $110 w/tip.ev9704 LA TASTEVIN We both had Caesar Salad and Shrimp & Scallops in lobster sauce which were excellent. It was so good that we dipped the French bread into the sauce and cleaned our plates. We had coffee and Proffiteroles (like cream puffs with ice cream and chocolate sauce, yummy). In addition, I struck up a conversation with the manager, Xavier, about the good reviews that the restaurant gets on the Prodigy BB, so he provided us with complimentary after dinner drinks. It was an excellent dinner, with wonderful service and the bill came to $110 w/tip.ev9704 LE TASTEVIN (we had reservations at Le Pressoir, but a party in the street was so loud that we chose to come back on Wednesday. The manager of Le Pressoir was extremely gracious at our canceling the last minute.) Appetizers: Snails and morels in puff pastry, and mussel soup. The mussel soup was superb, but the snails in puff pastry was exquisite. Main course: Mahi mahi in vanilla cream sauce, and Mahi mahi in orange sauce. Both were perfect. Dessert: Creme brulee. Very good but slightly runny. The fruit and sorbet plate that we noticed our next door neighbors having looked incredible. Le Tastevin was in top form. Even though we had no reservations, they treated us as honored guests. df9702 LA VIE EN ROSE for breakfast. Breakfast was a continental buffet, with meat and cheese, a selection of croissant, juice, coffee and fruit salad for $19 including tip. I needed to do some shopping for my secretaries, so I checked out the stalls in the harbor in Marigot--along with three busses of cruise ship passengers. I found a couple of lovely little prints for them and a larger one for me, and we had done our shopping for the week. ch9703 LE BISTRO GOURMAND. Jeffrey Miller recommended this one, and we were anxious to see just how good they were. Appetizers: Caesar's Salad and Spring Rolls stuffed w/conch. Both were excellent, the spring rolls being a decidedly wonderful surprise. Main course: Red snapper w/sundried tomato sauce (which really ended up being a mushroom sauce), and Rack of Lamb in an herb sauce. Both were good- sized portions and the quality was first rate. The vegetables were especially wonderful here, w/stuffed zucchini, great sweet carrots, spinach mousse, and w/the rack of lamb the best garlic potatoes I've ever tasted. Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Cake w/coffee sauce. This was excellent and turned out to be the best dessert we shared on our trip. We would highly recommend this restaurant to all; even if it's out of your way don't pass it up! df9702 LES COCOTIERS, on the Marigot Marina, next to Brassiere de la Gare, was just OK. A "bad" lobster was one reason not to return. The filet was fair. The attitude of the staff left lots to be desired but the owner tried to compensate with a bottle of Mumm's for the table. There were 12 of us; could have been part of the problem. hm9702 For our first dinner, we headed to Marigot and a Creole restaurant called La Creolienne. John and I both had conch soup that was very good. For his entree, he had a sort of surf-n-turf dish: filet mignon with coconut shrimp. I had chicken columbo, which was accompanied by 7 or 8 tasty little Creole-style side dishes. We topped it all off with our favorite island dessert: an assortment of fruit sorbets. Throw in a couple of rum punches apiece, and you get about $80 for the evening.js9707 LECOTTAGE (closed for good) has moved to Chanteclair in the Marina Royale area. This is a very small restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. Paul had a delicious Conch Stew for an appetizer, it was chock full of conch and very, very good. We both had snapper with garlic mashed potatoes. A great meal and very reasonable, can't remember the price though. Good service also. (AS9611) LE CROISSANTERIE - Don't get me started. Pure and simple, I had the best chocolate croissant of my life here on this trip. We both also had a Quiche Lorraine here for lunch one day which was also very good. Edie got me all excited on the car drive when she said "I feel like a quiche" into my bad ear. Turned the car around and was heading back to the condo at breakneck speed when she corrected me. Darn! (bf9609) LE MAIN A LA PATE was another pleasant surprise. While schlepping around the Marina Royale at Marigot (wondering how we could retire and live aboard one of those great boats), we stopped at this French restaurant for lunch. I ordered something called the "Romance Kabob" which consisted of marinated scallops, shrimp, tomatoes, and oranges - grilled and served with a scrumptious sauce with a mouth-watering seafood risotto. It was all so unexpectedly delicious that I couldn't stop babbling about it! My 11-year old ordered a trusty cheeseburger which he acclaimed to be the "best on the island." With drinks our whole lunch cost $38. I imagine dinner would be just as outstanding. rm9702 LE PRESSOIR. This is an exceptional restaurant, the one we would choose if we could only eat at one restaurant on the island. I raved about this restaurant last year, and it's even better this year. Located in Grand Case in the oldest house on SXM, Le Pressoir combines absolutely superb French cooking with exceptional service and wonderful ambiance. We had three dinners with wine for about $100. Go there. rm9702 Le Pressoir. Appetizers: Lobster Bisque and Foie Gras. The Lobster bisque was excellent, and the Foie Gras superb. Main courses: Shellfish in Puff Pastry w/Columbo spices (creamy, mildly spicy sauce), and Rolled Salmon/Snapper/Shrimp (rolled in phyllo dough and baked, topped w/a red cream sauce. Both dishes were highly unusual and perfectly done. Dessert: Homemade Nougat (ice cream) w/raspberry sauce. This was the 2nd best dessert we had on the island. This restaurant was excellent and deserves all the high regard it has received here. The service was friendly and professional. We can't wait to go back and visit this fine restaurant. df9702 LE RESIDENCE, our first time there. Very nice. This is a fixed price restaurant and you picked one from different groups. I had the country salad and Jack had the escargot, both very good. The main course I had a sweet and sour shrimp (not what I thought it would be but good) and Jack had the lobster (very good). For dessert Jack had the grand mariner souffle and i had the crepe suzette, both delicious. Cost with wine $108. Definitely a return visit. sm9704 LE ST. GERMAIN - Edie and I had good crepes and the best French toast I've ever had here AND (drum roll....) its right next to the Croissanterie so I just had to stop afterwards for one croissant. Oops, honey the nice French man thought I meant 4 croissants. Oh well, we're eat them eventually (as if), Selective hearing was rampant on this trip, it seems. (bf9609) LE TAITU. That night, we headed to what's probably my favorite restaurant in St. Martin, Le Taitu. This is a low-key place in Cul de Sac, not far from the Mt. Vernon Hotel, that delivers a great value. Their cuisine is mostly in the style of Basque, a region far to the south of France, and is heavily influenced with tomatoes and other vegetables. John had a tasty curried conch, one of their Creole- style dishes, and I had delicious, tender, moist chicken brochettes ala Basquaise. All this, plus soup for appetizer, dessert (more sorbet) and drinks for $50! Moreover, the restaurant is architecturally interesting, with the feel of a multi-level terrace in a garden. js9707 MARIO'S MARIO is located near the blue bridge going to Nettle Baie; so it has an outdoor dining patio next to the channel that opens out to the bay. There was a wonderful breeze, excellent service and recorded piano music playing. Greg had snapper with and I had lamp chops with couscou. We both ordered the marbled cheesecake made with white chocolate and marscarpone cheese. The total tab was around $84.00 with tip. Since our table was next to the water, we saw many fishes that were swimming below the patio. They did not care for any pieces of bread, as they were more interested in following the order of the food chain... small fish was being eaten by the medium fish, the medium fish was being eaten by the big fish, etc. Mario is definitely worth trying. hy0707 MARIO'S. No surprise there. We made reservations to go there on WED before we left New York. The meal was great and as we were leaving the restaurant we mad another reservation for the following Thursday. This is why it really pays to stay for 2 weeks (G) Both meals were GREAT. I had their gnocci (sp?) with 3 cheeses for a starter and I must say that this is now one of my favorite all time dishes. We went to L'Auberge Gourmand and Christine is as lovely as ever. The food was fine and we always have a good time there. We decided to try DaLavio due to the good mentions. ms9704 MARIO'S Bistro in Sandy Ground. This was a very difficult reservation to get as Mario's is the most popular restaurant on St. Martin at this point. Everything was wonderful and it was definitely our best meal. We had a table for two right on the water edge of the restaurant. I started with a Caesar salad and Jerry started with mussels in a tomato and cheese sauce (it was a very large portion and would have been a normal meal back home). Jerry then had grilled Mahi Mahi with a seafood risotto. I had Roast Duck in a honey garlic sauce with garlic mashed potatoes which was out of this world. For dessert, we shared a marble cheesecake with raspberry sauce painted on the plate. Everything looked too pretty to eat - it was presented very nicely. We both had coffee with the dessert. With wine, the bill was only $82 w/tip, and it was well worth it. We had a nice conversation with Martine and told her about the BB. She said that she wished people didn't talk up the restaurant. She doesn't want them to be disappointed if they have a bad meal. Oh, the waiters really are as cute as Althea had mentioned.ev9704 MARIO'S BISTRO in Sandy Ground is a favorite of SXM regulars. The food this time was very good, well above average, but not "to die for" as we had experienced in the past (maybe it was just the dish I had - scallops - that was the exception to the rule?). Two waiters, two waitresses, and the ever-present Martine (owner) provided great service. The place was packed. We spoke at length with Martine, and she's really concerned that we Netizens are over- hyping Mario's. She's afraid people's expectations are too high when they arrive, and she can't possibly meet such high expectations. She asked us to tell our Prodigy and AOL friends and others on the Internet that she appreciates our enthusiasm, but asks that we not overdo the hype. "We are just a casual three star restaurant, and people might come here expecting something much more fancy," she said. rm9702 MARIO'S was thoroughly enjoyable. We were a party of 8 and were treated very well, service was attentive but not obtrusive and the food, especially the Filet Mignon "special" was out of this world. Each time we go there we're too full for dessert. I had a bite of some apple thing that was wonderful. We tried to make another reservation for later in the vacation but the only option was a late seating the night before we were leaving. hm9702 MARIO'S BISTRO Appetizers: Scallops w/avocado confit, Caesar Salad, Asparagus w/camembert cheese, and Snails in a terrine. The Asparagus and Snails were excellent; the Caesar salad very good, but the Scallops w/avocado was disappointing because all you could taste was onion. (Second visit) Main course: 2 Ducks w/honey orange sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, Veal piccata and Tuna on Crab rissoto. The Duck was superb, but the garlic mashed potatoes lacked garlic and had way too much butter. The Veal piccata was very good, and the Tuna on Crab Rissoto was excellent. Dessert: Sorbet plate; very good but nothing to write home about. What bothered us most about this restaurant was the service; it was not befitting a first class restaurant. We were rushed to order, and were left on our own for the rest of the evening. We literally had to call the waiter over several times for additional water, etc. We would go back just because the duck was so good, but this certainly does not rate as one of the top restaurants we visited. df9702 MARIO'S BISTRO:We did have reservations, although on this particular night it was not full. I think it was "Coral Shores Night" there since residents of the complex took up 4 tables that night. Martine was our server. I think they kept those adorable French guys away from our table because while I was sitting in the front of the restaurant waiting for Ed to park the car I was doing some drooling and they got tired of mopping up the floor <g>. Our meal was very good. Ed had carpaccio (this time served with ham instead of beef). I had an asparagus appetizer that was OUT OF THIS WORLD. For a main course Ed had the filet topped with blue cheese and I had the rib eye. We both got the garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. We shared the dessert of the day which I can't describe but it was to die for. It had chocolate mousse on it. Our bill was $78 and well worth it. AB9612 MARIO'S BISTRO!! That is the greatest place, not just the food but the ambiance, the hostess, Martine, and the nice personable young men that are the waiters. We went there twice last spring and when we got back this time the waiter remembered what kind of wine I drank! Paul and I went there alone the first week we were on the island. I had the grilled chicken and garlic mashed potatoes. It was out of this world! Paul had a tuna dish that was great. (AS9611) Mario's remains #1. We had 2 exceptional dinners there, one on the first night of our trip and one 8 days later. The fish preparations were the best of any we tried; this was confirmed by friends who joined us on the second trip there. The prices were very fair, the food was of top quality, and the setting made the evenings most enjoyable (HM9609) Mark's Place. Originally in Cul de Sac, he closed after hurricane Luis but has now re-opened in a shopping center on Bush Road on the airport side of Philipsburg. Tha atmosphere is much different - definitely busier. It is attractively done with potted palms to screen out the parking lot, but it is now a "city" restaurant. The menu is much the same, and the food and prices just as good as before. Appetizers entrees, glass of wine, coffee for 2, about $50. We can only speak for the Creole dishes, but the octopus and conch stews are great. If you liked the old Mark's you should try the new one, but be prepared for a different ambiance. Mark himself seems very happy with the new operation. rb9707 MARY'S BOON. We went for the Veal Dijon night. It was served with rice, green beans, quiche and this sherbet served in a orange peel(a refreshing touch to a good meal). The price has gone up some but we had friends with us who had never been there so it was fun. Cost with drinks and a Bottle of wine $111. sm9704 MESSALINA Messalina, on the waterfront in Marigot. This is a very good Italian restaurant (if perhaps a little pricey) that seems to get overlooked when St. Martin's Italian eateries are mentioned. John ordered pasta with a porcini mushroom sauce and I had an eggplant and pasta dish, plus we both had huge gourmet-style salads as appetizers. Don't miss the tiramisu for dessert. We spent $125, and it's worth noting that the check here includes a 15% service charge.js9707 MR. BUSBY'S which was just okay. They don't know how to make I rum punch. In fact I had some in my Heinekin bag and I gave the waitress a glass to show her how it should taste. Lunch was $40 there for some fish, ribs, cheeseburger and 2 drinks and a coke. The beach (other end of Dawn Beach) by Busby's is nice...umbrella and chair rentals available. The sand must be artificial because it was sooo soft. Like baby powder. ms9704 NEW SURF CLUB SOUTH that we would drive over there and see it. The have done a great job!! It is nothing like the old place. I had the roasted chicken and also carppacio and Jack had a tuna steak. Both of them were good but I would have rathered a hamburger which they don't serve at night. I wonder if I can get them to deliver to the beach?<G The bill that night was $50.sm9704 PAPAGAYO at Orient Beach (KonTiki was reservations only on Sunday!). Chicken Breasts w/peppers and mushrooms on bagette and Lobster Salad. Both were wonderful, with an especially large amount of lobster in the salad; in fact, all our lunches here turned out to be a very pleasant experience. The quality of this restaurant is far superior to the past. df9702 PASANGGRAHAN: Ed and I drove into town to exchange a pair of earrings and decided to have lunch while we were there. We had never eaten here before and decided it was time to try it. I always enjoy eating at the places that face the beach and the water. We each had the lobster salad, which was quite good. The bill was $32 AB9612 Paanggrahann - We had a fruit plate (good) and a meat lasagna (excellent) for dinner for $26 in this 1905 guesthouse on Front Street in Philipsburg. The view of the ocean, overlooking the pretty gardens, along with the old fashioned, quaint atmosphere of the guesthouse plus outstanding service made us add this restaurant to our "favorites" list. (bf9609) PICIOLO CAFE (ex Drew's Deli) The presentation and food quality was wonderful. 2 starters, 2 main courses, 2 desserts, 1 bottle of H2O, 1 bottle of wine, 1 coke and 1 coffee was $57 (plus $10 tip). Their phone is 87 32 47. It's very small so a reservation is a must. Highly recommended. ms9704 PIZZA & PASTA TRATTORIA, which is a kick. This smallish, unpretentious restaurant, which fills up early, is operated by Ilda Figarolo, who immediately challenged us as we sat down: "Do you know what a Trattoria is?" Before we could inhale to answer, she charged on, "A Trattoria is like eating in someone's home! It is small, it is noisy, and you get a lot of food!" It wasn't actually all that noisy, except when Ilda got into an animated discussion with an employee in the kitchen, but the portions are huge, and be prepared for a disdainful look from Ilda if you don't finish. (We took home two doggie bags and yes, we got "the look.") We chose both Melanzane Parmigiani, Eggplant Parm (we opted for the vegetarian sauce), and Spaghetti Bolognese, spaghetti with meatballs, which was so delightful it reminded me of "Carrie" Fargnoli, a friend of my parents who, when I was a kid, made her own pasta (long before it was chic) and the most delicious meatballs.... The salads, soups, and of course the thin-crust pizza are all top-notch.(jb9610) PORTOFINO: A wonderful place. A bar-restaurant offering inexpensive pizza, pasta and Italian dishes. Nice atmosphere - you can comfortably bring kids. A big selection of very delicious Pizza. The owner is very friendly and is into Music Videos. He has a whole collection which he pipes through a large projection TV and the stereo. Offered us a choice from a directory he put together. We stayed half the night drinking beer and watching/ listening to Ray Charles, Tina Turner and the Neville Bros. Well worth the visit! (SS9611) RAINBOW : Grand Case, waterfront. Small, romantic and not too bad as far as the food and service go. Reservations necessary. I enjoyed dinner because it was our last night, but the value for the dollar was lacking. mg9702 RANCHO ARGENTINEAN GRILL. At any rate, I had Tenderloin Tip (good), fired plantains (OK) and Edie had grilled Salmon (excellent) for $38. The service was also good. bf9705 RANCHO ARGENTINIAN GRILL in the Palapa Center in Simpson Bay was another outstanding restaurant. The steaks here simply melt in your mouth and the service was attentive. There was a three-piece combo playing calypso music, which added nicely to the ambiance. Three steak dinners with wine and a couple of fine Tiramasu deserts cost just $71. We didn't need reservations. rm9702 RANCHO ARGENTINE STEAKHOUSE (formerly La Palapa): I had a 10 oz rib eye and Ed had the medium filet. Both came with french fries (you had a choice of fries or baked( and vegetables. The steaks were done just as ordered and were really tasty. The bill was $38. This place serves till around 11 PM which is nice since there are times that we just don't quite make it up from our afternoon nap any earlier <g>. AB9612 REN AND STUMPY I like the place except I think the prices are way too high for the quality of wine they serve. But overall, I think the food and service are very good. We went to Bistro Nu in Marigot and Jean Claude is doing a splendid job. The atmosphere is wonderful...just like being in the french countryside. Their food is delicious and not overpriced. One place we went which does not get any press here is Captain Olivers. We usually go there for lunch and had a really nice meal this time (as usual) Salad nicoise for $6.95 and a cheeseburger and fries for $7.99. Use your TI Gourmet for a free rum punch, look at the sea turtles, sharks, crocodiles, tucans, parrots, monkeys etc. and you have a really nice time. ms9704 REN AND STUMPY'S. A great restaurant that not many people know about. Jack usually gets the snapper with Creole sauce but because of the rough water they didn't have any. Addie the owner recommended the mussels with spaghetti and I had the linguine with gorgonzola cheese. They were both great!! We had a bottle of wine with dinner and the bill was $61. Addie is local person and works very hard at keeping the restaurant going. At Thanksgiving time she didn't know if she was going to make it but she has. A good crowd both times we were there. sm9704 REN AND STEMPY'S. Jack had the snapper Creole and I had the tortellini with a bottle of wine the cost $55. This restaurant is a quiet hole in the wall place off the beaten track that serves the best food and has the best service. You can actually see them cooking in the kitchen. Addie the owner is very nice. Jack thinks the best snapper is served here. sm9704 REN & STIMPY'S. Wow! What a great surprise! This is a small, unassuming, place which, according to their advertisement, is "on the first paved road on the left after crossing the bridge on the way to the Airport." They serve Creole and Italian food, and every morsel of it was outstanding. I mean really outstanding and the portions were generous. We had three dinners and drinks for $61 and had to take half the food home with us. We didn't have reservations and the place was empty when we pulled up at about 7:30PM, but in just 15-20 minutes every seat in the place was full. Ren & Stimpy's is an exceptional value. rm9702 REN & STIMPY: We went back and this time made sure that there was no buffet. Addie said they were only going to do the buffet about once a month. Ed and I shared one caesar salad. Ed had a pasta dish with gorgonzola cheese and I had their pasta with eggplant. Both were great. $37. Indiana Beach: We ate here because on this particular night we were going to goto Yvette's. Our car broke down in from of the LaVista and we called Naldo, who came and gave us a jump and left the cables in our car just in case. We decided that we did not want to venture that far so we opted for this place. The food was good. I had a mixed salad, which had pieces of star fruit on it...a nice touch. I also had the ribs as my main course. Ed had gaspacho and a t- bone. The food was good but a bit pricey.AB9612 Ren and Stimpy's - Love this place! Slow service yes, but well worth the wait. The snapper was excellent once I had Aidee (owner) remove the head which was staring at me. She introduced me to Mango Coladas a few trip ago and she has not lost the touch! She gave us and Lee and Teri both 1996 SXM calendars and asked us to tell our friends to please visit the friendly island. We ran into Frank and Nina eating here which is a very good testimonial in itself. (bf9609) RESTAURANT DU SOLEIL: Very nice place for lunch. Crepes, salads, etc, over- looking the ocean. Salad Nicoise and a Salad with Chicken Livers with two sodas and two Heinekens was about $30.(SS9611) RIC'S PLACE on the waterfront in downtown Philipsburg. An American sports by run by Texans Kathy and Ric, Ric's serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all inexpensive, delicious, and filling. Check out the walls and ceiling, where you'll find banners and other mementos from scores of college and professional sports teams, while you sit and watch sports on their big satellite TVs. Or sit by the water at check out the arriving cruise ships. (Come Super Bowl Sunday, this is the busiest place on the island.)(jb9610) ROCK & ROLL BAR: Much quieter but still lively. More French. Nice music (a lot of Rolling Stones the night we were there). Food and Booze outside and inside. Three big old Cadillacs outside converted into booths. A mix of French and American cuisine.(SS9611) ROCKET & ROLL CAFE - A relatively new place in Grand Case that has that Hard Rock Cafe atmosphere. We met Tim and Norrie here and sat in the back seat of a purple Cadillac convertible (in the front of the place!) sipping our drinks. Definitely a good place to bring teens. I noticed many families here. (bf9609) ROSEMARY'S WATERFRONT For lunch, we returned to a spot we had discovered on our first trip, Rosemary's Waterfront Shack, facing the outdoor market in Marigot. Rosemary makes traditional creole dishes, and we each enjoyed conch creole and 2 beverages apiece for well under $20, plus we got to hear Rosemary tell of her work as in extra in the film Speed 2.js9707 RUMBOAT: We had never tried this place before but were glad we decided to try it. We each had a cheeseburger and I had my all time favorite dessert...profiteroles. The food was very good and not expensive, although I don't remember what the bill was as my notebook was already packed. AB9612 SAMBUCCA, as we were still kind of tired and not real hungry. They had apparently just seated a huge group and said that they would not be able to seat us for maybe 45 minutes and we were not in the mood to wait. We went to the Rancho Argentine Steak House for dinner instead. We walked in and were seated immediately. It was good, with good service and a nice band playing background music, although the steak was not in the caliber of El Gaucho in Aruba, for all you Aruba fans. Two steak dinners with a half carafe of wine was $42 plus tip. ch9703 SAMBUCA, started about 18 months ago by American Steve Cross. Reopened immediately after Luis departed, Sambuca served upwards of 600 dinners a day to Dutch marines and to islanders who said the place was "jumpin'" right after the storm. Sambuca, with its traditional red and white checked tablecloths, has quickly become a favorite here, serving many local people from all over the island as well as many tourists. Sambuca offers a great variety of traditional Italian fare at back-home prices.(jb9610) SARATOGA was not quite up to par. I had a boneless stuffed chicken breast dish that looked beautiful but the flavors didn't work well. "M" liked his loin of pork. The atmosphere does compensate for any lack in the food, especially if you sit outside. hm9702 SARATOGA. Appetizers: Carrot and ginger bisque w/citrus sour cream, Gazpacho w/lobster (both were very good, but the gazpacho had but 3 small pieces of lobster, and at $12 it is too pricey for what you get). Main course: Salmon w/3 caviars and shoestring potatoes, Salmon w/onion crust and corn salsa (both were fair; both dishes just ended up tasting greasy; the shoestring potatoes were an especially poor choice to go w/the salmon). Dessert: we shared a Raspberry Sorbet w/fruit, and were surprised at what a small portion it was, just melon ball-sized sorbet. Far different from our last experience at Saratoga. Overall I'd say we were very disappointed compared to our last experience. df9702 SEAFOOD GALLERY: We had dinner with Frank & Nina and this is one of their favorites, so the four of us, plus their cellphone, got into our car and headed there. The meal was great! Ed had steamed clams, Frank had conch fritters. for the entree Frank & I both had the lobster thermedore. It was excellent. Ed had scallops and Nina had the stuffed shrimps. Everything was prepared to perfection. $65. AB9612 SEBASTIANO'S in Grand Case We arrived early, maybe around 6:30. The place was empty except for one other couple who had walked in right in front of us. They asked if we had reservations and we kind of laughed, considering the place was empty. We said no, so they seated us on the upper tier of tables, away from the windows. It wasn't quite as nice as being next to the windows, but it's a nice restaurant with lovely background music and, after an initial slow start, we had wonderful service. Eric had black ravioli stuffed with lobster and I had fettucine with ham and mushrooms. We shared one tiramisu and had 2 coffees, plus a bottle of wine at $25 for the bottle. We asked for water and were charged for that, which I was kind of miffed at, but I will get over it. There was an entertainer of sorts who made the rounds of the tables, doing card and coin tricks, which added to a lovely evening. We had a wonderful evening but thought that the meal was a little overpriced, at $91 total. Thursday night we rounded out the night with an exciting 15 minutes of winning at craps, which did a great deal to defray the losses for the week! ch9703 SPARTACO was as good as ever and I love the romantic setting in the hills overlooking Maho across the bay. We enjoyed sharing grilled eggplant appetizer and rack of lamb for me, grilled lobster w/garlic sauce for "M". hm9702 SURF CLUB SOUTH. We had breakfast at surf club south, which is in a new, larger location near the turnoff for Cul de Sac. I had French Toast (cinnamon flavor) and Jerry had a cheese omelet w/bacon. Everything was terrific. Andy was taking the orders, doing all the cooking, and taking the cash. We really couldn't chat with him as it was busy and he was jack of all trades. With two coffees, the bill came to $13 w/tip. We tried to go on Orient Beach but it was so windy once again that we decided to go over and try the East Coast beaches. We tried Cupecoy. It was less windy but the beach was very crowded. We stayed a little while and then went to Long Bay, which is just behind La Samana. There were fewer people, and we had a quieter, very enjoyable afternoon, baking in the St. Martin sun. ev9704 SURF CLUB SOUTH: We stopped here on Saturday for a late lunch. We were driving around the island and thought this would be a good place. We each had a burger, Ed had fries with his and I had onion rings (the best I've ever eaten). the food was great and the bill was $22. Surf Club had a Halloween party. Our friends went to it and there were hundreds of people there all in costume. They had a contest for the best costume and a woman dressed as a table (her head was the centerpiece on a silver platter) won first prize. (AB9612) SURF CLUB SOUTH . This is quite THE place to be late on Sunday. They have live bands starting in late afternoon and the crowd (which probably got up to about 200 people) seems to lean more toward locals than tourists. And if you're there early enough, they offer free Bloody Marys and Mimosas poolside. (Yes, this is a bar/restaurant with its own swimming pool!) js9707 SURF CLUB SOUTH was only opened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Owner said that business has been very bad but he hoped it would pick up soon and would be opening the other days of the week. One of the daily specials was ribs so I thought I would have it, they were out of them. Paul had Fish & Chips and I got a hamburg with fries. That is another place we wish we had not gone to. As I was eating my fries I pulled out a big long black hair. Needless to say, my appetite went out the window! (AS9611) SURF CLUB SOUTH: This place is Wild. Live music on Sunday nights. I probably would have loved it if I was still in my 20's but it was too loud, very crowded and we had trouble getting served. We gave up and left.(SS9611) SURF CLUB SOUTH - If you miss American food, culture and music, this is the place for you. Currently only open on the weekends for low season. The onion rings were particularly good, I thought. (bf9609) SURF CLUB SOUTH just east of the Grand Case airport on the French side of the island. Formerly located under a mammoth tree on the beach in Grand Case, Surf Club South was forced to move when Luis literally blew the bar away. This is probably the only place on the island where you can buy real American coffee (usually Maxwell House), think waffles with a choice of several thick syrups, stupendous onion rings, old-fashioned juicy hamburgers, and anything you want to drink from their bar, which at its former location was named one of the ten best in the world by Newsweek International. Hot? Jump in their pool, right next to the bar. And don't worry about the two big, bright-yellow outhouses right in the dining room -- they're just for decoration. (jb9610) TROPICANA - Another first time for us. Located in the Marigot Marina, they offer a 3 course fixed price meal for $25. I had red snapper in the cream sauce and Edie went with the snapper/salmon combination. Both were very good. We dined with Tim and Norrie and I attempted to drink Tim under the table with Diet Cokes. The contest degraded into the inevitable trips to the rest rooms, however. (bf9609) TURTLE PIER. We ate lunch at Turtle Pier, located right across from the Airport. This is a fun place to eat, especially for kids, because the restaurant has a miniature zoo there. Monkeys, parrots, turtles (of course), and gila monsters make for quite a show. The restaurant area is built on a deck over the water, so kids seated along the edge can entertain themselves by tossing bread crumbs to the fish lurking nearby. The food is good, service is adequate, and the price was fair (about $35 for our three lunches with drinks). rm9702 TUTTA PASTA. This is an Italian restaurant located at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club complex. Prices for each entree are a couple of bucks higher than last year, but the prices are still reasonable. Unfortunately, we were disappointed in the quality of the food and service this year; they are not as good as I wrote about last year. The tomato sauces were too heavy this time and the service was mediocre. The ambiance in the Tutta Pasta is nice though, and they still attract a good crowd. We spent $66 for three dinners and drinks. We probably wont go back. rm9702 Tutta Pasta - We went to Tutta Pasta to celebrate Warren's (the owner) birthday. I have read some less than great reviews lately but our experience again was good Italian pasta dishes at reasonable prices in a very relaxing, cordial atmosphere. (bf9609) Tutta Pasta - We went to Tutta Pasta to celebrate Warren's (the owner) birthday. I have read some less than great reviews lately but our experience again was good Italian pasta dishes at reasonable prices in a very relaxing, cordial atmosphere. (bf9609) TUTTA PASTA, operated by Angela Fair, her husband/opera soloist Aldo (whose classical Neapolitan songs and arias you'll hear playing softly in the background), and Walter Warren of Sint Maarten. Tutta Pasta offers an incomparably rich collection of old (and occasionally new) family recipes, many of them generations old. One of the oldest is Spaghetti alla Mamma, with delicately thin slices of zucchini fried in olive oil served over spaghetti, locatelli cheese, and garnished with mint leaves. We tried the baked farfalle with salmon, bowtie pasta with pink salmon in a "gentle" cream sauce seasoned with dill. We also tried the Spaghetti alla Sandra, which had fresh, tender mushrooms sautéed in imported olive oil with garlic and parsley in tomato sauce. All of the pasta -- nearly three dozen menu offerings -- is imported from Italy. This smallish, romantic restaurant offers great ambiance, a fine view of Simpson Bay, and fine, authentic Italian food with generous portions. (jb9610) WATERFRONT. Italian. Romantic. Food was very good. Owner is a Washington Red Skins fan, so we had some fun with him before the Pats game. Waiters are awesome and the selections are varied. People we met like to go there for drinks and appetizers before heading off to dinner! mg9702 YVETTES located in Orlean. Pork, ribs, chicken combination for me and Red Snapper for Edie (both excellent), plantans, johnny cakes, and rice and peas for a very reasonable $28. For great authentic St. Martin cuisine, off the beaten track, this place is a must.bf9705 YVETTE'S. Appetizers: 2 Conch Yvette's, 2 Conch Soups. Both choices were wonderful, with an edge going to Conch Yvette's (cold marinated conch in Island spices). Main course: 2 Yvette's Special Seafood plates, 1 Conch Stew, 1 Shrimp w/tropical sauce. The conch stew and shrimp dishes were the best choices. What can you say about this restaurant; it's wonderful and our next trip wouldn't be complete without a visit here. df9702Marine Hotel Simson Beach Yvette's: Again on this evening we were going out with Frank & Nina and their cellphone. We had a terrific meal (as usual). Ed had the conch cocktail and the three of us had the lobster cocktail. We all had the shrimp and lobster creole. That is the most expensive entree on the menu and I mention that because most of the meals are between $9 and $12 but this was $25, but well worth it. The night we were in there the service was exceptionally slow because there were short of staff and all the tables were occupied. I did not mind the slow service, after all, I'm on vacation <g>. When we went to leave our car would not start AGAIN! Glad we had those jumper cables. There was another couple leaving and we asked if they would give us a jump and they did. AB9612 YVETTES - Still the best authentic ST. Martin cuisine on the island. Chicken, ribs, chops combo, snapper, johhny cakes and peas and rice for $25. You can't beat the prices. She had to rebuild her house/restaurant after Luis and am sorry to say, the pretty murals covering the wall are now gone. (bf9609) "ZEE BEST BREAKFAST" near the Marina, run by a couple from Montreal which had the greatest croissants. When sitting at the typical outside table, you would receive a basket of 6 to 8 different croissants and would pay for those that you ate. We always had croissants, coffee and juice. They also served a three egg ham & cheese omelet for $4.pb9707 DINING GENERAL The guys at Club Orient give you an index card with your name and the dates on it that you carry to show you have paid for the chairs for the week. And they take credit cards. Great deal, so you don't have to worry about carrying money every day. It also saves a little bit of money if you're planning on going to Orient almost every day. ch9703 BREAKFAST or CASUAL LUNCH RESTAURANTS In this category I place the Pelican Resorts CROCODILE restaurant; INDIANA BEACH (formerly Felix's) down the hill from the Pelican; SURF CLUB SOUTH on the road between Grand Case and Orient Beach; and SUNRISE CAFE at the Grand Case Beach Hotel. The first three serve American-style breakfast fare for $5 or less; but Sunrise Cafe is by far my favorite place to eat breakfast. Situated on a deck over the water facing Creole Rock, this little open air cafe has magnificent ambiance - precisely the ambiance I imagined when I first decided to come to the Caribbean. The waiters are from France, speak good English, and are very attentive. This is a place where I languish over coffee and croissants to watch the incredibly clear blue-green water set against deep blue skies, to admire sailboats moving lazily in the distance, and early morning swimmers enjoying the nearby beach. It's one of the scenes I daydream about long after the vacation is over. rm9702 --------------------------------- I can't say enough about the restaurants at Grand Case. The town has the reputation of having the best concentration of fine eateries in the Caribbean, and I wouldn't doubt it. While we didn't eat in all the restaurants, we ate in a few and I'll list what we found. ALL the restaurants had fabulous attentive staffs. The decor in some was nicer than others, and some had views of the ocean, but all in all, we didn't eat in even a mediocre place. All were very good to excellent. A few notes - 1) Very few of the restaurants have Air Conditioning. Most have ceiling fans and are open to the tropical breezes, but on hot nights, it was hot. Luckily no dress code of any kind was required. Shorts and t-shirts were acceptable, though we usually wore slacks and shirts. 2) The "better" restaurants had "better" (higher) prices. Surprise. Average price for a fairly lavish meal (2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 coffees, one dessert) was about $50-70. Add wine, drinks and tip and the price went to $90 -120. We drank wine in the $20-30 price range. Prices for wine ran from about $15 to about $60 and higher. 3) The standard 15% service charge found in may French restaurants was generally NOT included in many of the establishments at Grand Case. 4) Most of the bill of fare was fish or seafood. There was always a beef (usually steak), a pork, a chicken and sometimes a lamb dish on the menu, but seafood predominated.(SS9611) DINNING GENERAL COMMENTS Restaurants abound, but always call ahead because some of the restaurants, especially in the Mullet Bay area, no longer exist. The bouillabaisse at The Fishpot in Grand Case was a generous and delicious, if expensive. The nighttime roads from Grand Case to Simpson Bay are hilly, curvy and unlit. We found several good restaurants on the Dutch side: Lynett's where on Tues. and Fri. you can see King Beau, Turtle Pier for Caribbean food, and WONDERFUL Le Perroquet on Airport Road facing Simpson Lagoon. The French chef explained his special orders and brought samples to our table. He assured us he could prepare anything we desired even if it were not on the menu as long as we had the time. We had complimentary champagne when we told him it was our anniversary. We had Greek salad, alligator in white sauce, stuffed veal in wine sauce (hubby had the snapper), white wine with dinner and very good coffee afterwards. The portions were too large to have room for dessert. (ts9609) Dessert? Did you say you're ready? There are dozens of fine bakeries here, but the one that catches us every time is the Casino Royale Bakery next to Cheri's Cafe. Your cardiologist may not like it, but the Coconut Cake is absolutely beyond description. Our advice: skip dinner altogether one night and head here. There's Key Lime Pie, Apple Tart, Chocolate-Chocolate cake, and lots more to savor before you walk a few feet away to watch that warm tropical moon shimmer over the warm Caribbean sea....(jb9610)
THINGS TO DO / CABS /CASINOS / SHOPPING ARAWAK POTTERY On the way back to Philipsburg from the butterfly farm we stopped off at the Arawak Pottery where the owner showed us around his facility where he & his wife faithfully uphold the tradition of making Arawak indian pottery. They have also re-created a small Arawak village. No charge for this except if you want to purchase some pottery or icons. They're really a nice couple and he shared some stories over a beer.pb9707 BUTTERFLY FARM BUTTERFLY FARM - Well worth spending a little time in. Mornings are said to be best -the butterflies are more active then. The $10.00 admission is a little steep, but it includes a pass for further visits during your stay if yoy want more photo ops. The guides are knowledgeable. rb9707 It's run by a British fellow with a terrific sense of humor. Along with his staff, he leads an informative tour that gives some laughs, too. They've created a screened-in garden with hundreds of butterflies flitting all about. There are a few small waterfalls inside and pleasant new-age music plays in the background. You come out of there feeling like you'll never have another care in the world, particularly after the rum punch that's included. js9707 Went to the BUTTERFLY FARM just south of Orient Bay on the Le Galion beach one morning, admission $10. An interesting way to spend an hour or two. Get there at 9 A.M., when they open, and you can watch the butterflies emerging from their chrysalis and taking their first flight. They also have guided tours at regular intervals which are very informative. Once you buy a ticket you can come back for free during the rest of your vacation.pb9707 BUTTERFLY FARM. Not in a million years did I expect a tour of a butterfly farm would be interesting, but it was fascinating. A guide named Laura (an expatriate from Canada) showed us around and made the whole trip very interesting. It even merited my son's approval! A ticket that was good for our whole vacation for our whole family cost $20. rm9702 CREOLE ROCK. The Grand Case Beach Club runs two trips a day to Creole Rock (11AM and 2PM), which is less than a mile from the hotel. A former French Navy diver named Philippe took my son and I in a small Zodiac boat out to the rock. Hurricane Luis destroyed most of the coral, so this is a far cry from its former glory, but again, my son absolutely loved it. The trip cost $20 per person ($25 if you need to rent snorkel gear) for about an hour. Veteran snorkelers or divers wouldn't enjoy Creole Rock in its current condition, but people who are new to the sport would love it. rm9702 DRIVING - Roads are in excellent condition. many seem to have been widened, and even have lane markings. Far different from our first visit, when the road around the island was not completely paved. A road with a white line down the center loses its standing as a Caribbean road by my definition. Traffic can be bad around Marigot, and based on previous experience also on the Dutch side, although we did not go there much in the daytime. We did find a traffic jam on Bush Road one evening, but the trips to and from the airport had less traffic than anticipated. There are the usual risks of being caught behind a truck or a tour bus. The latter can be numerous when cruise ships are in town. I counted six simultaneously in the parking area at the Cloud Room where they stop for the scenic overlook and the T-shirt shop. These were not mini-busses, but full size. rb9707 MARIGOT MARIGOT - The marina area is much the same as it has been. Many restaurants and shops, but a few vacancies. We got the impression that menu prices are higher at the marina than at restaurants near the waterfront. The waterfront has been further "improved"; that is, filed in and developed. You used to be able to sit outside the Vie en Rose and overlook a street and the ocean. Now you overlook a street, a large parking lot, T-shirt vendor stalls and if there is an ocean, you'll have a hard time seeing it. The new museum in Marigot is very well done and worth a visit. It shows the prehistory and history of the island, and incorporates a small gallery of local artists. rb9707In Marigot we climbed to the top of the 18th century Fort Louis where you get a commanding view of the harbor and all the city. In town, filming of , Speed 2, had just ended and we watched as they tore down the elaborate sets. We also visited the Saint Martin Archeological Exhibition and Museum which has some ancient Indian pottery as well as stone and shell tools worked by the first inhabitants of St. Martin. In town also are a large number of elegant boutiques selling top quality silver, crystal, china, cashmeres, etc. at supposedly duty-free and favorable prices. gd9704 MARIGOT MARKET is a little smaller now because the film set for Speed2 took some space, but it's just as colorful, just as crowded, and just as fun as always. My favorite stands are the spice stand and the French painter's concession, but they're all fun. We were pretty successful negotiating at most concessions, but there were a couple that wouldn't budge from their prices. I also happened upon a funny episode in which a cab driver made the mistake of parking in front of a very large woman's stand. She wanted one of the buses from the tour ship to park there, so she was screaming and gesturing at him in a heavily Creole accented English to move his cab, and he was yelling back at her in the same very loud voice. At one point she announced to the whole market that the cabbie was an "ignorant a..hole", to which he hollered, "You can call me ignorant, but don't call me an a..hole!" Seeing that he was fighting a losing battle, the cabbie started looking for help. Unfortunately, I was right there. He turned to me and explained that the REAL reason the woman was yelling at him was not his color (they were both black), but "it's my education, 'mon". "But damn it 'mon," he said, "she and I went to school together so she has no right!" I was trying to figure out the logic of that statement when a beleaguered looking policeman (who seemed to fear the oversized woman himself) finally hustled the maligned cab driver into his cab and away from the parking spot. The woman in the concession had that same smug look of satisfaction at having won the argument that men the world over recognize. rm9702 PARADISE PEAK is a little side trip not to be missed. I don't know which is more exciting - the trip up and down the road or the incredible view from the top. In any case, take an hour out of your day to go up to Paradise Peak - it's worth it, and it's free. rm9702 PHILIPSBURG - The first time we went to St. Martin, Philipsburg was a hot, busy, somewhat dilapidated place with the typical character of a Caribbean town, but you could find a place to park on Front Street. It then became more built up, hotter (as larger buildings stopped the breeze), more crowded (from more cruise ships) and less interesting. There has been a lot of rebuilding in faux-Dutch style which looks nice but gives the impression of a theme park/shopping mall combination. We avoid Philipsburg except for some favorite restaurants at night, but noticed a lot of new businesses replacing the old familiars and a great deal of neon. Most striking is a huge 4-story building at the end of Front Street where the old Sam's Restaurant and more recently Shiv Sagar used to be. The building itself might be tolerable, but the hideous lighted sign for the casino inside is jarring. rb9707 PRICKLY PEAR is an island off the coast of Anguilla and is reportedly the best snorkeling trip left in the SXM area. My son and I signed up with about 35 other people for a snorkeling tour aboard the Lambada, which is a 68 foot catamaran. We had a blast! The Lambada is spacious, comfortable, and smooth sailing. The sail to the island takes about 90 minutes. There is an open bar and snacks on board, and we had a BBQ lunch on the beach at Prickly Pear at a bar/restaurant called "Johnno's" (this place was rated one of the top 10 bars in the entire Caribbean by a national travel magazine, the name of which escapes me). The coral is in good condition and there are plenty of fish. We snorkeled before lunch, relaxed on the beach after lunch, and then snorkeled once more before leaving. The whole trip is a 9AM to 5PM deal which costs $65 per adult (children were less, but I forget how much). I strongly recommend this trip; my 11-year old says it was the highlight of the whole vacation. rm9702 About a week before we left the states, we had telephoned Summer Set to rent a jeep. They met us with the jeep at the airport and we did the paperwork right on the jeep's hood. Summer Set gets rave reviews on the Prodigy travel boards, and we liked them when we used them two years ago, but this year they foisted a real piece of junk on us. They disguised the fact that the removable roof had no anchoring snaps by tucking the ends of the plastic roof material into the rear (tailgate) doorjamb. There were no windows mounted on the sides or back, but we figured they were under the seat (they weren't). There were no seat belts in the back seat, the visors kept dropping down, the radio barely pulled in a channel, etcetera, etcetera. For this the charge was $350 per week (jeeps are quite a bit more expensive than cars). I shouldn't have been in such a hurry to get our vacation underway, so I take the blame for not being more careful in checking over the jeep before driving off. rm9702 CABS Cabs are expensive and random. A cab ride to Grand Case - 10 minutes from the hotel - was $10 plus tip one way! Car rental was not cheap, but a week's rental was equivalent to 10 round trips to Grand Case! Roads are awful and the natives turn into maniacs when in their cars. Speed bumps and pot holes rule. Gas is expensive (~$4/Gal), but the island isn't that big. We burned 1/2 a tank for about $24. mg9702 CASINOS We spent Sunday night, as most nights, at the casino. There were supposedly two new casinos open down on Front Street, but we did not get to P'burg at all this trip. We basically ended up splitting our time between the Pelican and Atlantis. We went into the Casino Royale one night very briefly and decided that we couldn't afford to play there. Blackjack, Caribbean Stud and Craps were all a minimum bet of $10, which we considered excessive. The Pelican had $.50 roulette (my favorite), so we spent quite a bit of time there. Atlantis was very busy most nights, and we probably spent most of our time there. Atlantis was very good about bringing drinks, even bringing me drinks if I was only standing watching Eric while he was playing. They also brought the drinks in glass glasses, not plastic cups, like at Pelican. Atlantis also offers a version of Caribbean Stud called Second Chance. You could play it like regular Caribbean Stud if you wanted. Or you could decide to try to buy another card, for the same amount of your ante. Eric played that game quite a bit. We found some match play coupons for Atlantis in one of the entertainment books, but that was it as far as match play. Over the course of the week, we lost some money, but had quite a bit of entertainment also. ch9703 CRUISES The nude cruise from Club Orient was $80 PP. We had gone on another nude cruise the last time we had gone to SXM which was a lot cheaper, at $50 PP. The food was burgers at that time. Even though the price was much more for this one, it was worth it. The cruise left around 9:45 A.M. and returned around 4:30 P.M. There was an open bar all day and the crew began serving drinks almost as soon as we left Orient. BTW, they have pressure seasickness bands onboard, if one feels the need for them. The trip goes over to Tinatamar, sailing for around 1 hour to get there. Once on the beach, umbrellas, floats, snorkeling equipment and drinks were provided. Lunch was served on the boat around 1 P.M. and consisted of your choice of steak, chicken or mahi mahi plus baked potato or corn on the cob, salad, cheesecake with raspberry sauce, champagne, white and red wine, after dinner liquors and coffee. It was a wonderful meal. After the meal most of us were too lazy to head on back over to the island but lounged around on the boat for an hour or so until we headed back toward Club O. There were about 9 people onboard the cruise we took, which was about the maximum number they could take, along with Guillome and Phillipe and the young lady whose name escapes me at the moment, who comes along on the cruises these days. The nude cruise is a good way to meet people, so it's good idea to take it early in the week, if possible. Unlike the last nude cruise we took when it poured rain while we were on Tintamar, the weather this time was beautiful and we had a lovely time. It was well worth the $80 per person. BTW, on the cruise we took, no one was staying at Club O. ch9703 SHOPPING Touch of Gold. I was anxious to upgrade my diamond bracelet and some of my gold bracelets and necklaces. We knew that this would be an important part of our trip, so we had written to Heeru in advance giving her some idea of what we were interested in. Heeru and all of her staff recognized us immediately and were glad to see us again. They were all very attentive to us and provided us with lots of drinks. We looked over the latest updates to the Touch of Gold inventory while Heeru finished up with her customer. We found lots of new designs that looked interesting. Heeru joined us a short time later and the serious negotiations and discussions began. We made some preliminary selections and Heeru suggested that we keep both of the necklaces that I liked so I could wear them for a few days to decide which one I liked. That was a terrific idea and it spoke very well of the reliability and trust displayed by this establishment and is an indication of why we look forward to doing business with Heeru and Touch of Gold. I also saw a diamond bracelet that I fell in love with immediately, so there was no complicated decision process there. I was upgrading the diamond bracelet that I had purchased from Heeru two years before, and she credited me with the full price that we had paid at that time. That upgrade policy that Heeru uses is one of the reasons that Touch of Gold is so successful. Where else can you buy a diamond bracelet, wear it for two years and then get a full refund on the purchase price when you upgrade to a larger size? Unbelievable! Heeru let me walk out of the shop with the bracelet to wear the rest of the week without paying for any of the jewelry yet. We made arrangements to return over the weekend and left with all our jewelry. ev9704 --------------------------- from hm9702 I am apologizing for this brief report because I didn't do much damage this trip. Touch of Gold was our first stop (naturally) and we didn't get there until the day after Xmas. We had a minor setback because our luggage was "misplaced" and didn't arrive until 23 hours after we did. This caused me to be severely depressed and prevented me from running to see Heeru immediately upon arrival. <<GG>> I made up for my lost time by grabbing pieces from the new collections at Touch of Gold before they were on display. They now carry Susy-Mor, beautiful 18k w/enamel items that were featured in the Oct. issue of Town & Country magazine. I chose a ring from that group. I also traded a diamond 2 tone ring from last year and got a new, updated and larger one. This one has invisibly set, princess cut stones. The VERY latest design. Why bother to keep something that's last year's design when I don't have to ? This is one reason I love Heeru so much. She is current with the latest in European fashion and very liberal in trade ins. If only she had a car dealership near home... I also bought a beautiful 18k white gold chain from her. I needed it for a pendant and was glad I waited to buy from her. The selection of white gold was fabulous there, none to compare at home. That was it from T. of Gold this trip. I did look at many watches at as many stores as we could cover during our brief shopping excursions. I've been lusting after a particular brand and finally located it at Carat in P'burg. My 18 year-old Rolex has been just fine for all those years so I never really looked at any new brands. Several years ago I got a Phillipe Charriol watch in Marigot and still enjoy that, also. The one I wanted this time is not available in the Phila. area and is called Pequignet. That was a tough purchase at Carat because I had no idea what the retail would be at home. I think we got a fair deal, however. I did know what the Paris retail price is. Whatever, it was better to buy the watch in SXM. We're not planning to be in Paris anytime soon! My other meager purchase was a bag at MCM. The prices were OK there but not the 40% off that Gucci used to have when they had stores on the island. I looked at Desmo in Marigot; great stuff, not what I was looking for. That's it for now. end hm9702 Shopping: Following suggestions, I went to J N Jewelers at Maho Plaza. While I was choosing what I want to buy, they offered me something to drink (Beer, Coke or what you want) The selection is good and the service friendly and excellent. Finally I bought a bracelet for me. I looked for the bracelets in Philipsburg too and I think the prices are higher in the city. In any case the service at J N Jewelers is excellent and better than in the city. They have 2 shops at Maho Plaza and a third one at the Juliana airport. jd9612 Still speaking of money, shopping was OK. SXM is a duty free island, but duty free these days is not like duty free was 25 years ago. Maybe because we were coming from NYC where most electronics are dirt cheap (relatively) and many other things (by the sheer competitiveness of the market) are inexpensive, we didn't find shopping that great. Perfume was cheap, Jack Daniels cost the same as it did in NYC, but Absolut Vodka was a real steal at $4.50 for 750 ml. We bought some handicrafts and tee shirts (and two bottles of vodka) and that was about it.(SS9611) To my extreme disappointment, GUCCI has closed both stores on the island and invite their customers to visit their stores in Antigua, Aruba, etc. This leaves Fendi and MCM. The Desmo store in Marigot was low on stock but still has quality products. Their new merchandise will be in soon. I don't buy perfume or cosmetics on the island so I can't quote prices. I think that if the new tax happens on the Dutch Side, many shoppers will run to Marigot for these items. (HM9609)
BAIE ROUGE (our favorite) has lost some 8 to 10 feet (in height) of sand and the part by the water is almost all huge rocks. You can get into the water in 2 or 3 sections where is still sand, but it looks so different. And the maze the land owner installed to try to keep the beach bars/chair guys out is terrible. We only hope that the authorities don't have to get a stretcher in there to get a sick person out off the beach!!! ms9704 BAIE ROUGE is my favorite beach. The surrounding scenery is beautiful (in addition to the tops-optional aspect). The beach itself has one section where the waves have a lot of action (which my son absolutely loved) and the rest is fairly calm. There are two lo-lo's on the beach (Gus's Place and Chez Raymond) with a handful of tables with umbrellas where you can get all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, barbecue, and sandwiches. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas ($5 each), buy T-shirts and wrap-arounds from local "entrepreneurs", and even get a massage right on your lounger (mine was 30 minutes of heaven for $20). Another nice feature is that there is a security guard who watches the cars in the parking lot now. rm9702 BAIE ROUGE. My son and I snorkeled around the cave at the north end of Baie Rouge, but the wave action in that area on that day was enough to kick up too much sand. Visibility was about zero, so we headed back to the beach rm9702rm9702 CUPECOY BEACH CUPECOY BEACH, a clothing optional beach, although most of those there went for full nudity. Beach Chairs & Umbrellas rented for $5 each, cold soft drinks and beer were also available, and the fellas there would make you lunch if you desired. I also found the snorkeling to be pretty good there. pb970 Cupecoy comes and goes almost on a daily basis. One day there is beach in front of Sapphire & Ocean club and the next it moves to the far (clothing optional) end. In front of Frank & Nina's there was only about a 5' strip of sand. We couldn't even lie out at that end of the beach. Frank and Nina have no chair and umbrella rental business at this time. I feel for them. I also wonder if they are getting tired of their business. A couple of times we went over to their place to pick up some sandwiches which we were going to take with us to some beach for lunch. At 11:45AM or 12:15PM they weren't even there yet! I guess 7 days a week is a lot for anybody. More next. ms9704 We spent most of our days at Cupecoy but did venture over to Orient for one day. The wind and the sand was unreal!! This was the first we have been over there since the hurricane and were amazed with the progress. It looks beautiful!! Now if the wind would stop. Cupecoy was pretty good. It was down to the farthest beach but the other ones were starting to come back. John the chair guy now has some competition. They even sell food there. John was happy to see all of his regulars back and was quick to tell you about the competition. It was fun watching them hustle for the business. From: sm9704 CUPECOY is in great shape and is simply a beautiful spot. There were quite a few people there, about 75% of whom were nude or topless. rm9702 CUPECOY is actually a string of beaches at the island's southwest corner. Sandstone cliffs and caves are the backdrop for this unusual beach, one of the world's most gorgeous. Its steep drop- off, which changes shape frequently (as does the string of beaches itself), makes Cupecoy waters hazardous for young children. Cupecoy is largely clothing optional.(jb9610) GRAND CASE BEACH CLUB is one of the best kept secrets on the island, in my opinion. We stayed there two years ago and loved it, and now its better than ever after being refurbished. But even if you don't stay there, you can use many of their facilities. They have a great tops-optional beach at the north end of the hotel, a nice casual restaurant right at the waterfront, waiters who serve drinks to the sunbathers, a small store, clean public rest rooms, and rental equipment (chairs, umbrellas, floats, snorkeling gear). We really love that place. rm9702 LE GALION BEACH, also known as Embouchure or Coconut Grove, on the site of the long-since defunct Le Galion Hotel, is the island's best windsurfing beach and is ideal for children because of its shallow, calm waters near shore. (Topless with some clothing- optional use. Orient Beach is a seven-minute walk away.)(jb9610) LONG BEACH, with the "rich and famous" hotel La Samanna at its southern end, rebuilt itself nicely after Luis and gives you a great spot for relaxing.(jb9610) Maho Beach, at the end of the runway of Princess Juliana airport, is an almost equally attractive strand, as long as you don't mind the a 747 approaching the airport only about 50 feet over your head.(jb9610) MULLET You buy a sandwich for $2.00 and they throw in a chair and beer....beach was clean and there were rest rooms and showers open. Copecoy is great at Copecoy beach club end. It is also fine around the corner from Ocean Club. They were selling beer and renting chairs also...$5.00 plus $2.00 a beer.....mostly nude this year. Orient was very windy and not crowed. It appears pretty much reorganized and most things are open and running. Maho beach was very small and seemed to alter each day. There is a sunset bar down the far end that was pretty. Bar offers 4 free drinks for topless....jello shots at $1.00 Maho has new Harbor Pointe place, The man owned the Harbour Point on Cape Cod in Barnstable I think. Had a nice barbecue and everything was really nice. Seems as if he'll do well as there are different things each night....nice place. bc9705 MULLET BEACH, the very popular strand at the Mullet Bay resort, is as beautiful and as heavily used as always. Its big waves make it a favorite with local surfers.(jb9610) ORIENT BEACH The north end of ORIENT BAY is completely different from the south end of Orient Bay. Because of wind directions, the currents' condition and its clothing optional feature, south Orient Bay is very popular with all nationalities and all types of people. The cool breeze provided a welcomed relief from the usual hot-n-humid under the sun and flat-as-glass water scenario. Orient Bay Naturalist Resort, which is not completely finished with its restoration, is significantly different from the old resort's rustic units. The new studios, mini-suites and chalets have either white or stained-wood exterior. And they have air-conditioning! The resort's new appearance is more inviting than the old units. hy0707 ORIENT BEACH was at its best. The beach itself was in wonderful shape, the wind conditions were the mildest I've ever seen, the concessions were all back in full swing, and the place was packed. rm9702 ORIENT BEACH was very, very crowded but we did not stay there either. There was a few feet of seaweed leading into the water and there is hardly free sand space there what with the jet ski, and all the other concessions. We drove in by Club Orient and where there used to be a fairly large packing lot is all pavillions now. Nothing in them as yet but they do take up the whole lot. There is very, very little parking there. Beach chairs with umbrellas are lined up in a row that reminded me of a cruise ship and deck chairs! I did not see one nude person there, in fact there was NO toplessness at all. I guess they were all over at the Pelican as there was a lot of toplessness there. (AS9611) ORIENT BEACH, the largest and most popular on the island, saw all its watersports facilities, restaurants, and beach bars washed away by Luis -- but they're all back, better than ever. Club Orient, the world-renowned naturist resort, was blown apart by Luis, as if its log chalets were houses of cards hit by cinder blocks. The chalets are being quickly rebuilt, and the popular Papagayo restaurant has been open, and busy, for months. Most of the little shops that were here pre-Luis are back, and new ones are being created as you read this. The beach is bustling even as the hammers bang away. (All of Orient is clothing optional, except for the restaurants and bars outside Club Orient.)(jb9610) PELICAN BEACH. My 11-year old son snorkeled at Pelican Resort's little beach and loved it. It's no great shakes for an adult, but my son had a ball while gaining snorkeling experience in a relatively safe spot. rm9702 PELICAN BEACH, at the sprawling Pelican Resort complex, is slightly wider than before Luis, and remains very popular. The most successful timeshare resort in the world, Pelican lost several roofs to Luis. Its recovery, chronicled by photography sometimes displayed in the lobby, was astonishing; it began accepting guests barely two months after the storm hit. (Beach chairs here are only for Pelican timeshare owners.) The view of ocean sunsets here ARE spectacular.(jb9610) PRUNE BAY is another great tops-optional beach. There aren't any food services here, just a beautiful stretch of sandy beach with mild wave action. This is a wonderful place to go to get away from crowds. rm9702 PRUNE BEACH, also known as Plum Bay, is a gorgeous, intimate, crescent-shaped strand frequented by an eclectic crowd including occasional surfers, despite rocks among the breakers. (jb9610) WATERSPORTS Prices for watersports were pretty high and the vendors would not negotiate. Examples: jet skis at $45 per half hour, para-sailing at $45 for a 15 minute ride, small hobie cats at $50 per hour. But some day sailing was available at around $60 per day, including lunch, beach umbrellas, booze etc. This was generally perceived as a good buy. See Guillaume at the Orient Bay Resort.jj9707
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