Featured

Hotels & Villas
Belmond La Samanna Villas

One of the most distinguished addresses in the Caribbean, Belmond La Samanna Villas offer the ultimate in luxurious Caribbean accommodations and services. Residential in feel, but private and exclusive [ ... ]

Hotels & Villas
Oyster Bay Beach Resort

Perched on a palm-dotted promontory and surrounded by Dawn Beach and Oyster Pond is St. Maarten's most private and distinctive hideaway - Oyster Bay Beach Resort. Like St. Maarten - a beautiful island that [ ... ]

Hotels & Villas
Porto Cupecoy

Perfectly situated on the Dutch/French border of internationally acclaimed Sint Maarten, Porto Cupecoy is redefining resort living with an inspiring style, an unassuming elegance, and a wealth of amenities [ ... ]

Restaurants
Lee's Roadside Grill

Lee’s Roadside Grill opened for the first time in 1997 and it has now grown into a thriving must visit open air restaurant. Located in Simpson Bay on the lagoon, Lee’s Roadside Grill offers a totally [ ... ]

Restaurants
L'Oursin Restaurant at Belmond La Samanna Resort

The elegance of Belmond La Samanna's rooms and suites is complemented by the tempting variety of its cuisine, an irresistible combination of French and Caribbean specialties enhanced by one of the most [ ... ]

Restaurants
The Infinity Restaurant

The finest, most delectable international cuisine is just steps away from your room at Infinity Restaurant, located across from our open courtyard. Ocean views, outdoor dining on our elegant terrace, [ ... ]

Shopping
Caribbean Gems

CARIBBEAN GEMS, established in 1983 has been consistently voted as St. Maarten’s #1 jewelry store in an independent poll conducted by The Daily Herald. High quality merchandise, competitive pricing and [ ... ]

Beaches
Dawn Beach

Dutch Side - Atlantic Ocean
This is a lovely white sandy crescent shaped beach with plenty of coral rocks and big ‘surfing’ waves. Remember, you’re now on the Atlantic Ocean with bigger and rougher [ ... ]

Beaches
Orient Beach

French Side - Atlantic Ocean
Do you enjoy Monte Carlo, St. Tropez or Nice? If your answer is yes, you will love Orient Beach, THE most popular beach on the island. On the hillside, several hotels provide [ ... ]

November 2016 Newsletter



The
StMaarten/
StMartin
Connection

"…the SXM newsletter for savvy travelers!  
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"


Dear Friends of StMaarten/StMartin, 

When I woke up this morning, I opened the curtains in my bedroom and saw a dreary, cloudy sky which had just finished delivering a deluge of rain on my little town; the outside temperature 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Now two hours later, much to my surprise, the clouds have gone away and the sun is shining, but the temperature has not changed. As I look out my window, the 50 foot tall Oak trees with their golden brown and reddish leaves swaying in a mild wind remind me of the musical instruments of an Orchestra each independently playing its part. It seems to me that Mother Nature is the world's greatest Conductor. 

My cousin, George, who lives on St. John which is next to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands just called me. George is a high school English teacher in St. Thomas, a job that he loves. However, he is also a computer guru and keeps my computers working and virus free. After a few minutes of conversation, he told me that I sounded depressed. I replied that I wasn't happy with the approaching cold months ahead. Then, he chided me for lamenting the advent of winter and offered a solution to my dark mood and it was:

 

"Move to St. Thomas where the weather is always beautiful". I told him, so is StMaarten/StMartin. He then told me that St. Thomas only gets 43 inches of rain a year. I replied that StMaarten/StMartin only gets 45.

Next, he told me that St. Thomas has several great restaurants. I told him that StMaarten/StMartin has 300 restaurants and is known as the "Gourmet Capital" of the Caribbean.

Then he said, St. Thomas has great beaches and I replied that StMaarten/StMartin has 37 supurb beaches.

At this point, he was running out of breath as he told me that St. Thomas has a beautiful marina. I graciously told him, George, StMaarten/StMartin has more than 10 beautiful marinas, it hosts the Annual Heineken Regatta. In addition, the island has 12 casinos and world-class entertainment.

Next, he mentioned it was raining in St. Thomas and he sounded depressed, so I told him I would call him next week. At this point, I hung up the phone and at this moment was feeling really, really good. So, I picked up the phone again and called Delta Airlines... 

I hope you enjoy our newsletter.


Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher | www.StMaarten.org 
Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism - Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association

Featured in this issue: 
1. Featured Villa: Villa Giselle | St. Martin Sotheby's Realty
2. Special Feature: Random Wind Charters
3. Featured Restaurant: Ocean Lounge Restaurant
4
. Sam's Selection | StMaarten/StMartin Images
5. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
6. 
Featured Hotel: Alegria Resort & Spa
7. Featured Shop: Caribbean Gems
8. Featured Activity: Scuba Fun Dive Center
9. The Wine Cellar: Le Digestif/ by Jean Carol Hager-Rich
10. 
What's Happening in Paradise?
***********************************************
 

 

Featured Villa

Villa Giselle
 
Giselle’s newly upgraded, heated pool and spa on the spacious terrace overlooks Plum Bay Beach and the sumptuous setting sun. This superb, newly constructed private home has a 180º view of the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean and is but a short walk to the beach.  

Giselle Outside Living 540x360All four air-conditioned, king-size bedrooms are equal sized and open directly onto the terrace and are graced with ocean views. The en-suite deluxe bathrooms also have walk-in closets. The spacious indoor and outdoor living areas offer ideal opportunities for relaxing and entertaining, complete with the gourmet kitchen and covered outdoor dining area with gas BBQ. This wonderful vacation retreat also offers a 5th self contained bedroom, perfect for a nanny or staff ‘travelling with’ or teenagers looking for a shade of independence. The magic is sealed as the sun romantically sinks beyond the horizon after another perfect day, illuminated by the colorful fibre-optic highlights in the pool and spa.

Giselle Kitchen 540x360
Completely remodeled in 2014, Giselle is back on the rental market as a beautiful 5 bedroom, 5 ½ bath residence, located in Terres Basses and overlooking nearby Plum Bay beach and the sumptuous setting sun. This superb home offers a 180° view of the Caribbean Sea from the expansive terrace and a fabulous heated pool and hot tub perfect for a dip in the cooler evenings.

Giselle Terrace Night 540x360
The spacious indoor and outdoor living areas offer ideal opportunities for relaxing and entertaining, complete with a gourmet kitchen and covered, outdoor dining area equipped with gas BBQ and plancha grill. Positioned around the pool are four air-conditioned, equal-sized bedrooms, with king size beds, walk-in closets and deluxe en-suite baths.

Giselle Bedroom 540x360Th
is wonderful vacation retreat also offers a 5th self-contained bedroom perfect for teenagers or a nanny or staff ‘travelling with’. The villa is within easy walking distance of the beautiful and secluded beach of Plum Bay and only a 10 minute drive to restaurants and the island’s vibrant nightlife.

Giselle Pool Sunset 540x360D
aily Rates 

Bedroom
Options
Low Season
Apr 15-Dec 16,
2016
Holidays
Dec 17-Jan 7,
2017
High Season
Jan 8-Apr 14,
2017
Low Season
Apr 15-Dec 16,
2017
3 Bedroom           $822          $2858          $1286            $822
4 Bedroom         $1000          $2858          $1286          $1000
5 Bedroom         $1143          $2858          $1429          $1143

*Prices are subject to an 8% tax and service charge

  
NameTitle 1


Contact information is as follows:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.stmartinsothebysrealty.com
Telephone: +590.590.51.02.85
Telephone USA: 213.805.0840

***********************************************

Featured Activity

 

Random Wind Charters

 

RWsailing 540x405

--------------- Sail, Snorkel, Play, Eat & Drink 
------------- On a Day Cruise on a Classic Yacht

Random Wind is a classic sailing yacht and has become one of the most popular day charter boats of St. Maarten/St. Martin. If you'd like to experience a real sail boat under comfortable conditions, a trip on Random Wind is for you! 

When you want to spend a relaxing, memorable time sailing with your loved ones, you need the space, luxury, and freedom to feel the wind on your face and really enjoy the ride.  

tripadvisor 2016----tripadvisor 2015-- tripadvisor 2014

So at Random Wind, we make sure that you have the room -- and everything else you need to have the best day possible while riding the crystal clear waters of St. Maarten - St. Martin.

Our 5-star trip is not just a sailing or snorkeling trip. It's a unique boating adventure that you are sure to love and remember for years to come. This St. Maarten activity is perfect for all ages - kids and adults alike will have a blast.

What Will You Experience

During your unique sailing experience, you will sail, swim, snorkel, eat, drink, fish, and swing into the blue waters of the Caribbean while enjoying: 

- St. Maarten's only Tarzan Swing
- Open Bar / drinks
- Lunch and snacks
- Spa Quality Mud bath
- Stand-up paddle board
- All snorkeling equipment
- Awesome stereo for music - yours or ours
- Photos of your day - free online
- No Crowds - max is 22 people

 Random Wind is a traditional sailboat; 54 ft. length, cutter-rigged ketch and well maintained. Started in Taiwan and finished in South Africa, her strength and craftsmanship are just some of her positive attributes.

She circumnavigated the world twice with her previous owners Marten and Saskia and then hoped to find retirement in St. Maarten……. Wrong!

People loved her so much that Marten and Saskia started to get lots of them asking to take her out for the day. And so it started bit by bit that after some years they were doing 4 - 5 days per week and sharing great stories with the people who often turned into friends.

TwoOnASwing R
After running the business for 11 years, Marten and Saskia, with their two children, Skye and Sil, decided it was time for a change. On Aprio 1st, 2007 they sold the business. It is now run by Diane Morano Smith of the USA. She is the Managing director and frequently hostess/first mate.
diane 400
She says her most enjoyable moments, aside from back-flipping off the Tarzan swing, are the sounds of laughter and splashing heard through the hatches as she is prepping the afternoon snacks. “I realize how great this is when I hear that.”

Random Wind offers a lot of space, both in shade and sun. All seating surfaces are newly cushioned – they are really comfortable. After the 2011-2012 refit Random Wind now has three chill lounges. Every guest has a cushioned seat with a backrest!

Our new stereo has speakers forward and aft and can play most anything you bring. The life-lines run the length of the boat port and starboard and are serious stainless steel for real safety. Below are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Across the ‘living room’ wall lies a beautiful relief wood carving of Table Mountain near Capetown, South Africa where the boat was fitted and finished in 1983.

Our Mission Statement

It is the mission of Random Wind Charters, NV to bring joy to those who board our boat as well as to those we encounter on land. To attain this mission we:

  • Encourage fun and laughter in a stress-free environment
  • Treat all people equally and with respectgreen
  • Enjoy alcohol responsibly so as to enhance the good time we are having
  • Take pleasure in the waters of Sint Maarten - Saint Martin as a company; appreciating the beauty and leaving no footprint


Enjoy $10 off per person now through
August 2017. Please use code: SXMORG16
on www.RandomWind.com's website booking form.


Randow Wind Charters
Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten
For reservations, Telephone: 721.587.5742 or
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit us at: www.randomwind.com
 
***********************************************


 Featured Restaurant

 
OceanLoungeBeach


Welcome to the Ocean Lounge for Fine Dining

Voted the #1 Restaurant in Philipsburg by Trip Advisor Visitors!


The newly-renovated restaurant and bar at the Holland House is the Ocean Lounge Restaurant and Bar, which features a beautiful hardwood deck overlooking the ocean and the boardwalk where many locals go to relax at night, when the cool Caribbean breeze soothes away a day at work or a perfect day on the beach. Dedon outdoor furniture with plush cushions, combined with the service-minded staff, gives you that special VIP feeling.

TheHotelRRobert van Herpen and Chef Raymond Kaper, both from Holland, guarantee an enjoyable breakfast, tasty lunch or delightful dinner experience. Raymond began his culinary career as a trainee at the prestigious and leading Michelin star crowned Intercontinental “Amstel Hotel” in Amsterdam at restaurant La Rive.

After 2 years of training with Master-Chef Edwin Kats, Raymond wanted to broaden his culinary skills and went to work for the Dylan Hotel as a Junior Sous Chef. There he learned to be more creative and developed a deeper knowledge of combining flavors. After The Dylan, Raymond worked as a Sous Chef at the renowned Country Hotel “Duin and Kruidberg” and after a year he decided it was time to see more of the world and make good use of his knowledge and skills. He travelled to the Caribbean to expand his cooking style which developed into an interesting and eclectic European – Caribbean Style (EUROBEAN).

Chef Raymond works with local products from the Islands as well as fresh seafood and produce flown in twice weekly from Europe and the USA to create innovative and imaginative dishes. He leads a local team of young cooks and has set new standards and heights in casual dining on the Island. His counterparts on the waiters' side are the ever-smiling Lucia, who supervises breakfast and lunch, and the famous Jesse who oversees the dinner service and has already acquired a very loyal clientele.

Editor's Note: Once again, Barbara and I had a spectacular meal at Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar. After ordering two Black Labels on the rocks, we sat sipping our favorite scotch discussing forthcoming events while enjoying the beautiful view of the yachts in Great Bay.

OceanLoungeTableSettingAfter a while, our waiter brought us the Chef’s offering which was a creamy spicy tomato mousse served in a tall slender glass accompanied with a straw. One or two sips and the mousse caressed your palette with a lovely delightful taste on its way to your stomach. We really wanted more!

For appetizers, we enjoyed Gravlax, marinated and lightly smoked salmon with sour cream and toast, and Beef Carpaccio in lemon juice which were both delicious and easily either could be shared by two people. For our main course, we had Chilean Sea Bass served in an antiboise sauce with mini potatoes and fresh spinach, and Brill which is a white fish imported from Holland accompanied by a selection of vegetables.

For Dessert, we had the chef’s innovative rendition of French toast with Vanilla ice cream in the middle. It was truly unique. And, of course, the meal was accompanied by a lovely bottle of white Sancerre. By the way, Guido & Georgina, our servers, were attentive and friendly and along with Robert van Herpen, Manager of Food & Beverage, helped to make the evening memorable. For reservations, call Robert at 721.542.2572 or 800.223.9815 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Parking for dinner is available from 7 PM till 12 midnight. It's across the street from the Hotel behind Joe's Jewelry. You enter the lot via Back Street and will see a parking assistant and a Holland House banner. Parking is free of charge and exclusive for diners at our Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar.

In addition, our friendly and attentive professional staff will assist you with your needs and answer any questions about the Hotel, arrange car rentals, excursions to other islands, and point you to intimate and romantic Caribbean restaurants. They will also be happy to assist you with important island information, reconfirming your flight and arranging a taxi service. Come visit us! We look forward to making your special day an outstanding one!


Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar
at Holland House Beach Hotel
FrontStreet #43, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
For reservations, visit www.hhbh.com.
Telephone 1.721.542.2572, Fax: 1.721.542.4673 or
Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


***********************************************

Sam's Selection | St. Maarten/St. Martin Images


ABeautyDec2010 540x405A Beauty!

LaSamBeach 540x361

La Samanna Beach at Bay Long 


PBurgBeachDec2011 540x405Philipsburg Beach at Great Bay

PeopleWaitingPlaneLandingDec2010 540x405People At Sunset Beach/Bar Awaiting Plane Landings At Airport

RUIResortsPool 540x405View of St. Maarten/St. Martin


SimpsonBayLagoon 540x405

A View Of Simpson Bay Lagoon

*********************************************** 

Sign Up to Win our January 2017

Dream Vacation for Two

   Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May Win
a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on  Random Wind Charters

****************************************

Featured Hotel 

 
--------Alegria Resort & Spa

-----Alegria is waiting for you to discover a world of happiness!
TopView540x227
Stay, dine, and unwind all in one place. Whether you're looking for a quiet day at the pool, a romantic dinner for two, or an exciting night out on the town, our boutique hotel is Sint Maarten's premier destination. Only a short cab ride away from the Princess Juliana International Airport and located in between the French and Dutch sides of the island, staying at the Alegria while visiting Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, could not be more convenient.

Enjoy a festive cocktail with live music at the Sunset Beach Bar where you can almost touch the planes landing at Princess Juliana. Our 78-room boutique hotel, which overlooks the Caribbean waters, includes two pools, a swim-up bar, spa services on request, fitness center, 5 restaurants & Wi-Fi. Make your vacation the most memorable one yet. Make it Alegria.

AlegriaBalcony R

Overlooking the ocean at Sunset Beach and adjacent to Maho Beach, Alegria is an oasis where guests can immerse themselves in world-famous white sand beaches or join the visitors from around the world who flock to Maho Beach to experience the close-up excitement of jets soaring overhead as they approach Princess Juliana International Airport. In contrast, the night skies remain clear, as the airport restricts flights after 9 p.m.

The hotel is a short taxi ride from Philipsburg, capital of the islands Dutch side and the 37 wonderful beaches that the island has to offer. Nearby attractions include the Loterie Farm Nature Reserve nestled in the hillside of Pic Paradis on the French side of St. Martin which offers dining, hiking and zip-lining over the treetop canopy. Guests can also make Day-trips to neighboring islands, visit Fort Amsterdam, a historic site that was built by Dutch settlers in 1631 and renowned for its architectural ruins and spectacular views, and enjoy the wide variety of culinary offerings on an island dubbed the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.

AlegriaBedroom24 R

Alegria Resort offers several spacious room types that are fully equipped with upscale amenities and balcony views of the gardens and turquoise Caribbean waters. The two-bedroom penthouse features more than 2,000 square feet of space, king beds, two and a half baths, a lounge area with sofa bed, designer kitchen, and a washer and dryer. The hotel also has two pools with a swim-up bar and duty-free shopping is just a short walk away. Excellent dining options, casinos, nightclubs and an 18-hole championship golf course are also nearby.

 

AlegriaKitchen27 R
The Choice Hotels International Caribbean portfolio currently includes hotels in the Caribbean destinations of Aruba, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten.

Last but not least some info on Sunset Beach Bar and the future Refuge:

SUNSET BEACH BAR

Just steps away from the ALEGRIA, the SUNSET BEACH BAR is an absolute must to visit during your stay in St Maarten. Watch in awe as the arriving and departing planes soar right overhead.  
SunsetBeachBar540x227

Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. SUNSET features a vast selection of made to order sandwiches, Caribbean inspired salads, local fresh fish and THE BEST BURGER ON THE ISLAND... live entertainment features a rotation of DJs and local bands performing all your favorites.

BREAKFAST: the perfect way to start your day in paradise... breakfast overlooking the serenity of the Caribbean Sea offering a selection of homemade baked goods, fresh fruit and made to order eggs and omelettes... served daily 7:30-11am.

LUNCH-SNACKS-DINNER are served from 11am-9pm daily and THE WORLD’S GREATEST HAPPY HOUR is served from 4-7pm daily (except Sunday) – 2 for 1 Heineken, Corona, drinks and sangria.


*********************************************** 

OPENING SOON...

THE REFUGE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE

St Maarten's restaurant/lounge directly adjoins the iconic SUNSET BEACH BAR.

LUNCH
Eat lunch on sunset beach and experience the excitement of watching the planes land and take off… or reserve a lounge chair and enjoy the serenity of THE REFUGE pool where our full lunch menu is served... ocean front dining is available as well as a fully air conditioned dining room for those looking to escape the sun and heat... daily specials along with a vast selection of made to order sandwiches, Caribbean inspired salads, and local fresh fish. Lunch is served daily from 11-5 pm.

DINNER

A little bit Latin, a little bit Italian and a whole lot of fun... THE REFUGE combines 2 of the world’s most popular cuisines with some local Caribbean favorites all in one exciting restaurant. A modern twist on international cuisine, THE REFUGE truly has something for everyone... fresh local fish, prime steaks, chicken, pasta and veal specialties all done the way grandma used to make it... and of course THE BEST PIZZA ON THE ISLAND straight out of our custom made 900 degree wood burning brick oven... dinner served daily 5-11 pm... late night menu served until closing.


NIGHT LIFE

After dinner THE REFUGE transforms into a breathtaking lounge that caters to the upscale crowd... expect that Manhattan, Miami, Las Vegas vibe... a live DJ spins on our state-of-the-art sound system setting the perfect mood for cocktails or bottle service with friends… private lounge tables are always available and a late night menu is served into the wee hours of the night. Must be 21 or over after 10 pm... Fashionable island dress code required. Have a great vacation!


Alegria Resort & Spa

Beacon Hill #2, Sint Maarten

For reservations, email Minerva Hughes at 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Call Toll-Free 1.877.231.8777 or call the resort 1.721.545.4000

Please visit our website at: www.alegriasxm.com


*********************************************** 

Featured Shop 

    

CG640x429


CARIBBEAN GEMS,
established in 1983, has been consistently voted as St. Maarten’s #1 jewelry store in an independent poll conducted by The Daily Herald. High quality merchandise, competitive pricing and excellent customer service certainly makes them the one jewelry store that must be visited if you’re in St. Maarten.

They specialize in GIA certified loose diamonds in all shapes and sizes, from half a carat to twenty carats. With a wide variety of settings in Platinum as well as 14kt & 18kt gold, you can select your ideal diamond and watch it being set in their in-house work shop. They also do trade-ins and diamond upgrades. Get full value on your trade-in and upgrade your diamond ring, tennis bracelet, diamond studs or other jewelry to something newer and better and just pay the difference.

If you are in the market for fine quality precious gemstones, including emeralds, rubies, sapphires and tanzanites or even semi-precious gems, then Caribbean Gems is the place to visit. Fine Swiss watches, pearls, gold chains, bracelets, charms, custom made jewelry and so much more round up their selection. Certified appraisals, life-time trade-in guarantee, toll-free service line, US service centers, mail orders are all part of their repertoire to be the best on the island.  

If shopping from back home, make sure to visit their website at www.caribbeangems.com to view the widest selection of fine jewelry, watches and pearls. Email them if you have any special requests. With priority international delivery, you can have jewelry delivered home in as little as 24 hours.


CARIBBEAN GEMS

2 LOCATIONS
22 & 40 Front Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Tel: 1-721-542-2176   Fax: 1-721-542-5862
Toll Free: 1-800-848-7925 or 1-877-904-4367

Web: www.caribbeangems.com - - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
US telephone line: 1-646-472-7996 or 1-212-537-6094

PROUD MEMBER OF

Jewelers of America ● Diamond Council of America

Jewelers Information Council ● New York Diamond Dealers Club

Jewelers Vigilance Committee

St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce

*********************************************** 

Featured Activity

 

519_scubafun-logo-maarten


Welcome to Scuba Fun PADI Dive Center 

Scuba Fun Dive Center is a well-established, professional, PADI 5* Dive Resort located in Great Bay Marina, Philipsburg, St. Maarten - just a 5-10 minute walk from the cruise ship terminal and a 10 minute boat ride from St. Maarten's nature reserve - The Man of War Shoal Marinee Park. We can easily reach about 15 of the most SFDiveBoatCoralPalmfamous diving spots on St. Maarten: Proselyte Reef, the Maze, Carib Cargo, Cable Reef… 

Whether trying scuba diving for the first time, planning fun scuba dives during a brief or longer stay on our beautiful island or aiming for the next level of PADI scuba diver certification, our experienced dive guides will be delighted to show you some of the many scuba diving sites off the shores of St. Maarten/St. Martin - just a short boat ride away from our Philipsburg PADI Dive Center, enjoy shade and complimentary soft drinks on board all of our three custom scuba dive boats. 

Our time schedule fits the cruise ship program. Departure time for two tank dives is at 9.00 AM. According to ship arrival's time, we often have a second boat departing at 10.00 AM or 11.00 AM. Our boats go out again at 2.00 PM for a shallow dive, Resort courses and Snorkeling trips. In winter time, some ships (Carnival Cruise and several others) stay on US eastern time instead of Caribbean time (1 hour difference). No matter what time your ship arrives and departs, we will always try toSFDiveBoat accommodate you; private trips are also available for a fair price. 

If you visit St. Maarten on a cruise ship and stop over for just one day, it's just a few minutes walk from the cruise ship pier to our dive shop. Save the fee for a cab or a taxi boat, you will find us just after the pier, at Great Bay Marina.   ----

Our dive shop is open from 8AM till 6PM and offers both sale and rental of diving and snorkeling equipment. You will also find StMaarten/StMartin souvenirs, beachwear and Internet access. So, let us help you organize your vacation by making the most of the activities that we can offer you. Whether you're a first-timer or an experienced diver, our team of multilingual diving instructors will help you discover the beautiful coral reefs and the many wrecks of the Caribbean Sea, all of which will really make it a trip to remember.  

ScubaTwoDivingBoatIf you don't want to rent a car, our free shuttle service will come to pick you up and drive you to our dive center, and naturally, will drive you back after the dive, please ask for the shuttle when you reserve. No matter if you stay in Oyster Pond, Dawn Beach (Westin Resort, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Captain Oliver's…) or Philipsburg (Divi Little Bay Resort, Great Bay Resort, Belair Beach..), no problem, we will be there!!! (For other parts of the island, please ask.) 

Scuba Fun has three fully equipped dive boats to make your journey to our many dive spots as comfortable as possible: "Scuba Two" is a 28 feet inflatable with cabin and hard top, registered for 15 divers with a 250 hp outboard engine. SFDiveShopPhilipsburg"Scuba Fun" is a 36 feet mono-hull with cabin and hard top registered for 20 divers with a 300 hp inboard diesel motor. "Coral Palm" is a 42 feet mono-hull with two levels and a hard top: registered for 30 divers with two 225 hp inboard diesel motors. 

Scuba Fun Dive Center is St Martin/St Maarten's longest established PADI 5* Resort #798686
Let us show you the scuba diving sites around our island.  You know you're in good hands! 


 

Reviews - Scuba Fun PADI Dive Center
Read independent reviews on Scuba Fun Dive Center



Scuba Fun Dive Center

Great Bay Marina, Dockmaarten, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Visit: www.scubafundivecenter.com

Tel: 1.721.542.3966 or 1.721.586.2822 cell  

*********************************************** 

The Wine Cellar


Le Digestif 

by
Jean Carol Hager-Rich



Imagine you indulge in a gourmet dinner. Beginning with an aperitif to open your palette, dinner accompanied by fine wines chosen to enhance your savory dishes, then finish with a delightful dessert. The grand finale cradling the bowl of crystal stemware, tulip shaped to collect the vapors, which rise when the golden liquid is slightly warmed by the hand. Holding your glass to the light, admire the tawny liquid glint emitting summer's last rays of sunshine. Trails of alcoholic legs stream up the sides, hinting at the sugar content - old wags call it the "Dancing Woman." Your nose dips into the opening of the glass to sniff the exotic aromas. When sipped, the liquid warms you all the way down. If it doesn't aid digestion it surely provides immeasurable pleasure.

RoseWineBottles
Amongst the oldest of all spirits are those distilled from wines and include Armagnac and Cognac. These traditional spirits were birthed when Arabic horsemen galloped into Europe, bringing skills in distillation with them centuries ago, to make wine less likely to turn spontaneously into vinegar. Houses that make these spirits boast generations of sons and daughters, all making spirits, searching to create a unique gustatory signature. These artisans take grape juice, made into rustic wines, and distill them. The distillation temperature and double distillation make these spirits distinct from whiskeys created of fermented grains. The spirits emerge from alembic stills as clear liquids and then go into oak barrels to mature, acquire smoothness, color and special characteristics of taste. This development of the alcoholic spirit will go on for years in oak barrels, then more, aging in-bottle, before their commercial release.

In olden days such spirits were blended with multiple-years' production, mixed according to the tradition of the house - part of the artistry being to create it consistent, signature taste through blending. Then a few decades ago, artisan geniuses began to create 'snob appeal' and flavor characteristics by isolating their products from a single-vineyard or single-year's blended product. These are highly sought after by knowledgeable collectors. One such line of products available throughout the last century by individual year are Armagnacs. Armagnac is the spirit of Gascony, land of the Musketeers, more rustic and artisinal with an aggressive frontal attack, compared to its sister, Cognac, in North-western France.

In France, regional origin defines the name of the product. AOC is an area of specified (controlled) origin by tradition in which it is produced and by the law of France, which defines from what grapes it can be made and in what blends and quantities.

The new world too has its spirited traditions. One cannot imagine the Caribbean without. It's rum cocktails, be they muddled or mixed, sugared or infused with fruit or spices. But appreciated in gastronomy are "vieux (old) rhuns." Born as cane juices, distilled, spending their time to mature in oak barrels so they acquire characteristic flavor palettes, colors and aromas, turning a party drink into a fitting ending in fine dining... far distant relatives from the pirates' liquid fire.

While acquiring their vanilla tones and structure from oak wombs, these spirits are concentrated by evaporation, as are fellow spirits in France. The part that evaporates into the air is called "the angels' share." Whether you be angel or pirate, enjoy the gastronomic finds in St. Maarten/St. Martin's shops provisioning these fine spirits from the old and new worlds.

Contributor Jean Carol Hager-Rich, restaurateur, wine-expert, and well-known wedding planner has lived in St. Maarten for more than 20 years since she retired from cancer research. She explores her passion for wine, dining and people on both sides of the island. Questions? Contact Jean at 1.721.581.5152 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

***********************************************

What's Happening in Paradise?

by
Sam Fusco 



The following is a brief list of island businesses who were on vacation sometime duing August or September, did renovations, and/or open continuously all year long. 

La Vista Beach Resort, located in Pelican Key, has just finished adding a new roof to their buildings in addition to new doors and windows. They have also renovated the restaurant and have hired new staff. That said and done, they are now open for business.  

L'Aqualigne,
located at Simpson Bay Resort at Pelican Key, was the first and is the oldest Health & Beauty Spa on the island of Sint Maarten / Saint Martin. Since 1985 we only closed one time due to forced circumstances "HURRICANE LUIS in 1995." If you are in need of any more information don't hesitate to contact me. We are open all year. Have a wonderful and happy day.


Club Orient,
located on Orient Beach, was closed for renovations, but is now open. (www.cluborient.com)


Tijon Parfumerie,
located in Grand Case, did not close for vacation. (www.tijon.com)


Pizza Galley & The Dock Waterfront Bar,
located on Welfare Road across from the Royal Palm Resort, are open all year round. (www.pizzagalley.com)


Bistrot Caraibes,
located in Grand Case, is open all year round. It was closed every Saturday from July to mid-October. (www.bistrot-caraibes.com)


L’Auberge Gourmande,
located in Grand Case, was closed until October 15th  but is now open. (www.aubergegourmande.com)


Oyster Bay Beach Resort,
located in Oyster Pond, is open all year long. They do not close for staff vacations or renovation during the year. (www.oysterbaybeachresort.com)


L’Escargot Restaurant
, located in Philipsburg, was closed for vacation but re-open the first week of October. They have a new Menu and an exciting new Cabaret Show every Friday. Reservations required. (www.lescargotrestaurant.com)


Belmond La Samanna,
located in Terres Basses St. Martin, was closed for vacations and maintenance but reopened its doors on October 24th, 2016. (www.lasamanna.com)

Masterski Pilou, located in St. Martin, was open during September but most of their boats were out of the water due to the hurricane season. They are now fully operational. (www.masterski-pilou.com)


Esmeralda Resort,
located in Orient Bay, was closed for annual vacations but re-opened on October 3rd. (www.esmeralda-resort.com)


Leisure Car Rental
, located near the airport, was open during the summer!  September is their annual Customer Appreciation Month which would have gotten you a 10% Discount (keep it in mind for next September. They are open all year. (www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com)


Happy Hour Tours,
located just outside the cruise port at Dock Maarten, is open all year. If people are looking for charters etc. we can help. The very popular Rhum Tours are running every day at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm.
We are open all year. (
www.happyhoursxm.com)

La Vista and La Vista Beach Resort, located on Pelican Key, was closed for renovations but reopened October 1st. The Hideaway Restaurant and Bar was also closed during the same time. (www.lavistaresort.com)

Passaat Classic Schooner, located in St. Maarten, was closed for the month of September as they do every year but is now open for the rest of the year. (www.sailholiday.com)

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino – St Maarten continues to improve their resort. They have recently renovated and remodeled the last three top floors, the pool area, new gym for the high end Ocean Point Property (the original and just renovated/upgraded to 5* Maho building) and the new Kids Aqua Park this year along with a new Chinese Restaurant and more to come! So, as you can see, we must keep busy!

(www.sonesta.com/sx/maho-bay/sonesta-maho-beach-resort-casino-st-maarten)

Temptation Restaurant & Bar, located in Starz Plaza, was closed for vacation but has now re-opened for the rest of the year. Temptation is the creation of Dino Jagtiani, St. Maarten's most award winning Chef. (www.temptation-sxm.com)

Sunshine Properties, located on Welfare Road in Cole Bay, is open all year. (www.sunshine-properties.com


Horny Toad Guest House,
located in Simpson Bay, is open all year round. (www.thtgh.com)


Lee’s Roadside Grill,
located in Simpson Bay, was closed for vacation but re-opened on October 4th. Lee’s offers a great roadside restaurant, live bands, Happy Hour Specials and the opportunity to go Deep Sea Fishing. (www.leesfish.com)


Riu Palace St. Martin,
located in Anse Marcel, does not close any time. It is open all year. (www.riu.com / www.riuplaza.com)

 


Tenth Fete de la Cuisine Cooks Off, November 6
The tenth annual Fête de la Cuisine cooks off this year from November 6 to 13, at various locations. A highlight of the festival will be “Taste of St. Maarten” food fair with dishes prepared by local chefs on St. Martin/St. Maarten Day, November 11.  Chefs Sander Spruijt, Raymond Reeb, Wilco Berends and Alain Alders of the Netherlands will demonstrate their cooking skills at a wine and fine food event and a five-course grand cocktail and dinner evening.   The invited chefs will also engage in a social activity with students of the local culinary institute and detainees at Ms. Eulalie Meyers Centre. Part of the proceeds of the culinary week will be donated to that institution. A four-course welcome dinner will be prepared by award winning chefs Pieter Holstein and Ronald Stephane assisted by the Oyster Bay Beach Resort culinary team. This is a fundraising dinner for the island’s culinary team to aid in its participation in the 2017 Taste of the Caribbean competition in Miami. A wine and fine foods event at Divi Little Bay Resort will be on November 8.

SCDF Again Plans 30-Plus Days of Carnival Activities
The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will again host more than a month’s worth of activities for Carnival 2017, which is being dictated by the rapid and enormous growth of the festival, according to SCDF.   As it prepares to release its tentative schedule, SCDF announced that Carnival activities would kick off as early as mid-March and end May 4. “The days of Carnival being crammed into two weeks, with a handful of pre-Carnival events, are long gone. This is our new reality,” SCDF President Alston Lourens said last week.   He explained that the number of Carnival initiatives and events to which visitors and residents look forward is growing every year. The result is much earlier economic activity throughout the island with visitors travelling to the country much earlier to catch the pre-Carnival events as well, he pointed out. 

Shark Project Places First Satellite Tag On Tiger Shark
The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) “Save Our Sharks Project” started its Shark Research Initiative on St. Maarten two weeks ago, with renowned shark scientists and underwater videographers joining teams from Nature Foundation and Saba Conservation Foundation in researching and tagging various species of sharks in local waters and on the Saba Bank. As part of this research the first tiger shark has been tagged with a satellite transmitter in the Eastern Caribbean.  “We are therefore also very excited to have tagged the first female tiger shark with a satellite tag in the Eastern Caribbean here on St. Maarten,” commented Project Leader and DCNA Acting Chair Tadzio Bervoets.   On October 12, the team deployed a satellite tag on a 2.4-metre tiger shark, the first tiger shark to be tagged with this equipment in the Eastern Caribbean. With the Satellite Tag researchers are able to follow the animals’ movement patterns.   “This particular animal, named Sea Fairy, has already transmitted data points and the team is very excited to see where she will go.  

Royal Caribbean Uses Fuel Cells To Power Cleaner Cruise Ships
It’s not just ground-based transportation that could stand to benefit from clean-running fuel cells. Cruise ship operator Royal Caribbean has revealed that it’s developing a new class of ship, the Icon that will run on liquefied natural gas fuel cells.  The move would dramatically reduce the harmful emissions from the vessels (the company hints they’d output nothing more than water) without compromising on reliability or safety.  Boats wouldn’t be stuck if they have to dock somewhere which can’t offer natural gas, either, as they could rely on distillate gas in a pinch. Tests start with an existing cruise ship in 2017, although you’ll have to wait considerably longer for Icon-class ships to take to the seas.  Shipbuilder Meyer Turku won’t deliver the first example until the second quarter of 2022, and you’ll have to wait until 2024 for the second. Still, it’s an important step.  Pollution is a serious problem in the cruise ship industry and it may only get worse as the ships get larger.  Fuel cells could turn that around very quickly – you could go on vacation without worrying quite so much.


New Hospital Will Have Helipad, 110 Beds, Therapy Units, 40 Dialysis Chairs
The new general hospital for St. Maarten will be much larger than the current facility and will be equipped with the amenities of a modern medical institution including 110 beds, of which six will be Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds; six therapy units in its day care facility; and 40 dialysis chairs, amongst others.  It will also be equipped with a helipad that “meets all the legal and all the safety requirements,”  The new medical institution will contain “sophisticated” equipment such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and medical machines for cardiac and vascular interventions. It will also be equipped with operation rooms for various types of surgeries, including orthopaedic surgeries.  The hospital will be there to serve the needs for care of the population and yes, we try to deliver as much care as possible locally, also in collaboration with the hospitals on the French side and those in the Dutch Kingdom. 

Port 'Welcomes' Pearl Of China Hub Function
The planned Pearl of China project’s hub function will benefi t Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities and Princess Juliana International Airport, a spinoff the management of Port St. Maarten welcomes, according to a press statement.  Port Chief Executive Offi cer (CEO) Mark Mingo said he “fully endorse and congratulate all those who have been involved in making this project come to fruition.”  The project, slated for Belair beachfront, entitles 326-room hotel with showroom and 450 apartments and aims to bring Las Vegas style business conventions and tradeshows to the country by linking Chinese businesses with regional ones.  We haven’t seen much economic development over the years and expansion of our economy is part of the port’s business … The Pearl of China project and its HUB function that is envisioned for St. Maarten will lead to growing our economy for the next decade and beyond once the project comes fully online within two years,” he said.  Tremendous growth in Asia has led to loss of port calls in the Caribbean to that area, said Mingo.  The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in its 2016 Asia Cruise Trends reported that the cruise industry in Asia is growing at a record pace and shows no signs of slowing down. 
 
Migratory Bird Festival Enjoys Record Attendance From Public
People of all ages came out on Saturday October 15th, to celebrate migratory birds and learn about the amazing journeys that bring them to St. Martin. It was a record crowd for the Migratory Birds Festival, organised by Les Fruits de Mer. Attendees were treated to a variety of presentations and activities related to migratory birds and the habitats that sustain them.  “The story of bird migration is fascinating, but we also see it as a gateway to learning about the entire ecosystem that surrounds them,” explained Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “Activities like the Portable Pond Discovery Station and Crabitat highlight the less noticeable critters that sustain many of our birds and the Club Gaïac seedling giveaway gets people personally involved in restoring native trees.”  This year’s event also showed the different ways we interact with migratory birds. Ilja Botha, founder of Seagrape Tours, shared her experience offering birding tourism on St. Martin in her presentation. 

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters.
***********************************************

The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 1.973.835.0600 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Publisher: Sam Fusco, Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco, Contributor: Jean Carol Hager-Rich.

February 2016 Newsletter

The StMaarten/StMartin Connection

"…the SXM newsletter for savvy travelers!  
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"


Dear Friends of St. Maarten, 

This is the first Newsletter that I am writing since November 2014. It is dedicated to my wife, Barbara A. Nitti Fusco, who passed away on January 26, 2015, after a 28 month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was a wonderful person; a great wife; and, my best friend.

Over the years, Barbara may have helped you in booking a car rental, a hotel/villa reservation or just by answering your questions about an upcoming trip. But unfortunately most of you probably never met her. Legend tells us that the face of Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships. Barbara's beautiful blue eyes and radiant smile could surely have launched a regatta of yachts in the Caribbean.

Barbaras Newsletter Photo 012916
The above picture of Barbara was taken in 1987 at a great little restaurant in Plan Les Ouates, a wonderful little town, a stone's throw from the city of Geneva, Switzerland.

Due to Barbara's illness, I had not been to StMaarten/StMartin in more than three years. I have corrected that by spending November and part of December 2015 on island so that I could speak more informedly in my newsletters. There have been lots of changes since the Spring of 2012 and these are summarized in my "What's Happening in Paradise?" column.

Feel free to email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) any comments or questions. I would be pleased to hear from you and will try to reply within 24 hours.

Note: Barbara and I have been coming to StMaarten/StMartin for 38 years. Some years back we guestimated that we have been to the island more than 70 times. Now that I have finished writing this newsletter and particularly the "What's Happening In Paradise?" column, I realize that we have created wonderful memories in just about every location of this beautiful island. We were blessed!

Hope you enjoy our Newsletter.

Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher | www.StMaarten.org 
Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism - Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association

Featured in this issue: 
1. Featured Villa: Petite Plage 5 | Sotheby's Int'l Realty
2. Special Feature: A Traveler's Testimonial by Allegra & Bob
3. Featured Activity: Happy Hours Tours by Adrianna & Dave
4. The Wine Cellar: Sweet Dreams by Jean Carol Hager-Rich
5. Featured Restaurant:  SkipJacks Restaurant
6. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images 
7. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two  
8. Special Feature: Weddings In St. Maarten
9. Featured Hotel: Holland House Beach Hotel
10. Featured Car Rental: Leisure Car Rental
11. 
What's Happening in Paradise? 


Featured Villa


Villa Petite Plage 5

With an enviable location on the beautiful and tranquil beach of Petite Plage on French St. Martin’s northern coastline, this beautifully appointed home offers 5 +1 bedrooms and is within walking distance of the French side’s gourmet capital of Grand Case.

Petite Plage 5 Night R

This beautiful home’s principal feature is the oversized wrap- around pool and a central columned gazebo, perfect for al-fresco dining and lounging. The uninterrupted flow between the interior and exterior comes from large glass doors that slide seamlessly into the walls providing a vast living area and adjoining terrace with a stunning backdrop of sea and sky.


Petite Plage 5 Living R 3
Interior spaces include the indoor living/dining room, a separate air-conditioned media room with a large plasma TV and a superbly equipped gourmet kitchen with views out to the gazebo and pool area.

Petite Plage 5 Bedroom3 R 3

There are 5 air-conditioned master suites featuring king-size beds, large plasma TVs, walk-in closets and private bathrooms with showers (3 bedrooms also have bath tubs). There is also an air-conditioned bedroom studio with twin beds and adjoining bathroom; perfect for staff accommodation or young adults.

Petite Plage 5 aerial R

Further amenities at Petite Plage 5 include a beach front Jacuzzi and a large outdoor roof-top terrace.

The lovely white sandy beach of Petite Plage is just a few steps from the villa and the stunning ocean and sunset views are incomparable. The charming fishing village of Grand Case is within easy walking distance and offers some of St. Martin’s finest culinary delights.

The rates are the following for Petite Plage 5: 5 = Bedrooms.

High Season (December 15 - April 14) $29,700 / week
Low Season (April 15 - December 14) $19,800 / week
Christmas - Please enquire.

 

 
NameTitle 1


Contact information is as follows:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.stmartinsothebysrealty.com
Telephone: +590.590.51.02.85
Telephone USA: 213.805.0840


Special Feature 


A Traveler's Testimonial
by
Allegra & Bob 

We have been coming to Saint Martin (SXM) for a long time. We always come back because of the diversity; food, beaches, weather, people, and so much more! We have found that our favorite area to stay is Cupecoy, mainly for the location and amenities. It is close to our favorite beach (Mullett Bay) and it is easy to get to the "French" side for dinners (Bistro Nu), bakeries (Serafina), French products found at many gourmet shops and two great grocery stores: Super U and Carrefour (formerly Grand Marche). It is also easy to get to Simpson Bay for more shops, beaches, and restaurants BuildingsViewright on the picturesque Lagoon (Lee's Roadside Grill for whole snapper, Lal's for Indian, Al Pasha for Lebanese, to name a few).

Our recent condo rentals have been in a newer complex called Porto Cupecoy. This complex offers shops, restaurants (Mario Bistro, Rendezvous, to name a few), an art gallery and much more in the "Plaza". You can enjoy watching the beautiful boats (and yachts!) in the marina from your condo balcony or from the outdoor dining tables at the restaurants - views everywhere! There is also a Gourmet Marche, a smaller version of the Grand Marche...groceries only a footpath away from any condo! It also has a wonderful swimming pool where you can do laps or just walk in and wade as there are steps on one end and the other is at ground level, flat graded, entry.

We have met many friends "pool side"; renters and
owners and all fun to talk to and share "SXM" tidbits (and secrets!). There are tennis courts, a gym, and every Monday evening is a free "outdoor in the plaza" movie (and they are current). The complex has 24 hour security and electronic gates to get you to covered parking, the condo buildings and grounds, and the boat docks. Bill and Kathy are the Managers of this complex. They are very pleasant and proud to be the "caretakers" of Porto Cupecoy. In fact, everyone you encounter here are always pleasant and upbeat, why not...look at your surroundings, beauty at every corner!! We hope you look into this for your stay, you will not regret it!

Sincerely,
Allegra & Bob


Publisher's Note:
We would like to make "A Traveler's Testimonial" a regular feature written by travelers vacationing  on the island. Your article can be about a hotel, a restaurant, water sports, even a short story with a happy ending is okay. We only accept positive reviews. The length of your article should be 400-600 words and you can include two photos if you wish. There is no compensation; but, you will receive a By-line credit. So i
f you have some writing skills and would like to participate, please email Sam Fusco at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (1) 973.835.0600.


Featured Activity


Happy Hour Tours!
by
Adrianna & Dave 


A little bit about Adrianna, Dave and Tequila too!

Adrianna and Dave moved to the island about 7 years ago but have been visiting since 2001. Coming from the corporate world we traded in our business suits and dress shoes for bathing suits and flip flops! Many people on the island rescue animals and just over 3 years ago Tequila became part of our family. St. Maarten has become our home; we enjoy our time on the island and want all our island visitors to have a great experience whether you are here for a day or staying for a month. We suggest that people not only discover both sides of the island but also experience the island by land and by sea; they offer a unique perspective of the island.

AdriannaDaveThe island is 37 square miles with a shared border; and you don’t even need a passport but the culture and experience is completely different. That is why we encourage people to discover the whole island. We have 37 beaches and all of them are unique in their own way but there is one thing in common, the beautiful Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. As well, you are a hop and skip and a jump to neighboring islands such as Saba, St. Barth’s, Anguilla, and St. Eustatius.  

We were once tourists and that is how we run our business, treat people the way you would wanted to be treated on vacation and they will keep coming back or stay forever, just like we did.

The island has a diverse culture and an amazing array of restaurants and culinary delights. This is why we have started our Culinary Tours (and we have some more that we are working on).  We have also started a Distillery Tour of Topper’s Rhum (we have several different options to suit day visitors or for those staying on the island); and, we also have Adventure Tours. 

Happy Hour Tours offers a number of tours directly as well as offering Concierge Services to help you plan your whole vacation from accommodation to car rentals and all your island activities and excursions. We have even helped a wedding party rent a guitar for their beachside party. We began this company because when we first experienced St. Maarten/St. Martin we could not find a one stop information company that met our needs and we had to arrange different activities ourselves. We are a one stop shop that understands what the tourists want and will go over and beyond to make sure they have a wonderful experience.   If we recommend a tour or excursion it is because we have done it ourselves; and have done our due diligence.

Our booth is conveniently located just outside the cruise port at Dock Maarten. Our local phone numbers are 1-721-520-4903/4932.
Ask us “How to Discover the Island.” Visit us at www.happyhoursxm.com.


The Wine Cellar


Sweet Dreams!
by
Jean Carol Hager-Rich
 

Just as a sparkling diamond gem begins as a lump of coal, wine diamonds are precious sweet wines and may have their beginnings as moldy grapes-but different grapes and different processes depending on Tradition.

Traditional sweet wines begin in Bordeaux as moldy grapes. Not just any mold -- "botrytis cinerea," the organism viticulturists lovingly called the "noble rot." It works its magic when the organism pierces the skin of the grape and pulls water and nutrients from the grape, leaving behind higher concentrations of sugars, fruit acids and minerals. Thus the grape's juice is more concentrated. This process is encouraged in Bordeaux to elevate the most famous and most valuable sweet wines, the Sauternes. Less well known, but equally enjoyable, and comparably a bargain, are the sweet wines called Pacherenc from the southwest of France. Similarly, Vouvray and Alsace areas of France develop sweet wines as do other countries: Germany, Italy, Australia and the TheWineShopUSA, all thanks to the noble rot. But it's quite fascinating how many different ways wine makers have devised to make wine to be, or go with, dessert.

Wine making in partnership with botrytis is a very risky and labor-intensive process. Because Mother Nature is fickle, this will not occur every year. The vineyard must be left with the grapes on the stems long after the normal harvests while the botrytis infection does its work, a process which becomes a verb in California wine-speak ("Botrysized wine"). The difference between garbage and ambrosia is whether nature provides a dry period after the wet one when the grapes are infected. During this time the wine makers and farmers pray that the rains won't come to dilute the juices and that the birds and other animals won't pick the ripening fruit before the harvesters can choose the fruit at exactly the right moment of sugar strength to take it to the wine cellar. Seasoned pickers go through the vines choosing the grapes, one-by-one, in the desired state of maturity and rot which the farmers have learned to recognize over centuries of experience, will yield wine with a deep yellow color and honeyed sweetness with an aroma of honeysuckle. Then, because the Botrytis also makes a substance that kills yeast and impairs fermentation, the wine makers may have to stay up all night nurturing the yeast to be sure that the alcoholic fermentation continues through to the wine product.

The Alsace region of France, and nearby in Germany make some sweet wines in a different way. They will leave certain grapes on the vine till the end of the harvest, taking a chance on other help from Mother Nature. These are the "late harvest" (vendange tardive in French) sweet wines in which the grapes have dehydrated, literally shriveled, during their length of time on the vine such that their sugar content is raised without the action of Botrytis. Another method is common in the Niagara region of the USA and Canada in which the ice crystals of early winter frosts perform the same function as the tendrils of the botrytis mold, puncturing the grapes' skins which allows dehydration of the grapes, and resulting in their sugars being concentrated. These are called "ice wines" in English; Eisweins in German. Finally the Italians make their sweet wine (amarone) from fruit dehydrated after the harvest. This is perhaps the way sweet wines were made in Biblical times. The grapes are allowed to dry like raisins on straw palettes, or special trays, and then fermented for many months to make a sweet wine from the dried fruit.

In Hungary and Eastern Europe, there is another technique used in production of the Tokai, the sweet wines of this region. The wine makers make a base wine of grapes that are not infected with the noble rot separately; grapes with high sugar content are made into a paste which is added to the base wine in proportions defined long ago by tradition and in measures corresponding to antique jars (puttonyos) to sweeten it.

Another process called "mutage" involves adding alcoholic spirits to the fermenting 'must.' These unctuous, sweet wines such as Banyuls and Rivesaltes are designated "vin doux naturel." This process is that more famous in production of Port in Portugal.

Other sweet wines are made in the Mediterranean coastal areas, Provence and the southern central and eastern coastal region of France by putting the red wines in large glass "demi-johns" which are buried in the ground, leaving the neck and top exposed, and they allow them to bake in the summer sun and ferment joyously. The wines from Mas Amiel are delicious with chocolates and chocolate desserts (when looking for these sweets request a Maury Mas Amiel for a real treat).

Sweet wines are not usually cloying because the acidity of the wine balances the sweetness. Once tasted, they leave the wine lover with a memory that never fades. A wine-lover's dreams of the night before Christmas will not be filled with bon-bons, rather with an anticipation of having these traditional sweet wines with their Christmas and New Year gourmet fare. Most gastronomic festivals in France will begin and end the year with a sweet wine to accompany one of the elements of their feast, most often the savory foie gras at the beginning, or as a "digestif" at the end with a sweet, or nut dish, or a rich, creamy cheese like a Roquefort that practically sings with a sweet wine. These wines are often called dessert wines, but that is a limited description. Yes, you can drink them for dessert, but they are also appreciated as an aperitif, to "open the palette." So they become the beginning or the ending and certainly will leave you with sweet dreams.

When in the West Indies, you can find great values in sweet wines from the lesser-appreciated areas of France like the south west, the Pacherenc wines of Alan Brumont who was named 'winemaker of the decade.' 

Contributor Jean Carol Hager-Rich, restaurateur, wine-expert, and well-known wedding planner has lived in St. Maarten for more than 20 years since she retired from cancer research. She explores her passion for wine, dining and people on both sides of the island. Questions? Contact Jean at 1.721.581.5152 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 


Featured Restaurant


SkipJacksLogo

SkipJack’s Seafood Grill, Bar & Fish Market was recently voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” and “Top Three Best for Lunch” by the readers of St. Maarten’s leading newspaper, The Daily Herald. 

Located on the Lagoon in Simpson Bay, almost across the street from the Royal Palm Resort, SkipJack’s offers a unique waterfront dining ambience with spectacular views of the world’s largest mega-yachts. We feature live” Maine and Caribbean lobsters and are known for our seafood, which is so fresh we have our own “Fish Market.” 

AerialView 535x360
Open for lunch and dinner, SkipJack’s daily specials complement a complete wine list, incredible appetizers, and homemade desserts. For the “landlubbers,” we have great steaks, ribs, chicken, and pasta dishes. 

althea tn servingOur meticulously finished woodwork and nautical themed décor is befitting to a seafood restaurant and market where every seat in the house has a waterfront view. But, what we are really all about is serving the freshest and best seafood on the Island. So, whether you come on foot or by car or tie your boat to our 100’ dock, we think you will be glad you gave us a visit. 

SkipJack’s Seafood Grill, Bar & Fish market was named after, and in honor of, a single mast. Two sail sloop that emerged on Maryland’s Eastern shore in the late 1800’s. This sloop, better known as a small “two sail bateau” with a V-hull, was named after the speedy, agile and powerful Skipjack Tuna. Over time it evolved into a larger, heartier vessel with a center board and shallow draft. Powerful in light winds, it had a reputation of speed and maneuverability.

Due to its moderate size, shallow draft, and agility, the Skipjack soon became thediners1 tn premier fishing vessel working the Chesapeake Bay.  It was able to make repeated "licks" or passes over oyster beds, lay out seines for schooling Menhaden and gill nets for Shad and Striped Bass.  In winter, fleets of Skipjacks would dredge Oysters from the Bay floor.  "Drudgin", as watermen called this process, was hard, cold, dirty, and sometimes dangerous work.

Today, Skipjacks are the last working fishing boats under sail in the United States.  And, even though there are only a handful of these left, many of the old hulls have been refurbished and rebuilt for recreational use.  In summer, it is not unusual to see these old classics under sail, proudly plying the same Chesapeake Bay waters as they once did so many years ago.  

In honor and remembrance of these fishing classics and the watermen who once worked them, SkipJack's Seafood Grill, Bar & Fish Market proudly bears their name.


SkipJack's Seafood Grill, Bar & Fish Market
Across from Royal Palm Hotel
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
For reservations, telephone: 1.721.544.2313
Visit us at: www.skipjacks-sxm.com.


Sam's Selection

  St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

BusyStartline330x220  
Heineken Regatta Starting Line -

CasinoRoyale330x220-
Casino Royale Sonesta Maho Resort 
-ScubaFunDiveTraining300x220
--- 
Scuba Fun Dive Training 
--BeachPlazaLobby330x220 
    Beach Plaza Hotel, Marigot


Sign Up to Win our July 2016

Dream Vacation for Two

   Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May Win
a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on  Random Wind Charters


Featured Hotel 

 

  

OceanLoungeBeach   


Welcome to the Holland House Beach Hotel!

The Hotel is located on Great Bay beach and offers 54 guest rooms and suites. Beachside rooms offer magnificent views of the blue Caribbean, surrounding islands, and azure skies. All rooms have just been refurbished and redesigned by renowned architect Johannes Zingerlee and French Indies Design from St. Barths, bringing a European chic and Caribbean flair.

The Hotel is also in the middle of the duty-free shopping area of Philipsburg with shops such as Cartier and Little Switzerland, Colombian Emeralds and many electronic, clothing and local artifact shops. All 54 restyled guest rooms and suites will be a pleasant surprise for those looking for a perfect hotel with many work and play options. All rooms offer flat screen televisions and movie programming, the newest trend in hospitality TV, and luxurious bathroom amenities complement the wellness package.

The European Contemporary and modern Caribbean feel of the rooms provide guests with style and comfort. The Holland House Experience™ bedding has been uniquely designed, a comfort concept created by design and sleep specialists using individual coil spring mattresses and Think Plush pillow-top padding finished with crisp, white Egyptian cotton sheets, duvets and blankets for the ultimate in pampering, even at night.

The 4 Junior Suites are beautifully appointed. They're studio style provides a sleeping and living area. Located on the first floor, overlooking Great Bay, their extended terrace offers a fantastic view of the beach. With all the amenities of the Beach Front Deluxe, the Junior Suite offers superior comfort during your hotel stay.

Welcome to the Ocean Lounge for Fine Dining

The newly-renovated restaurant and bar at the Holland House is the Ocean Lounge Restaurant and Bar, which features a beautiful hardwood deck overlooking the ocean and the boardwalk where many locals go to relax at night, when the cool Caribbean breeze soothes away a day at work or a perfect day on the beach. Dedon outdoor furniture with plush cushions, combined with the service-minded staff, gives you that special VIP feeling.

Robert van Herpen and Chef Raymond Kaper, both from Holland, guarantee an enjoyable breakfast, tasty lunch or delightful dinner experience. Chef Raymond is young, energetic and ambitious; and, has worked in some of the finest top 100 restaurants in Holland, like Seinpost, and with famous chefs such as Rob Blauwboer and Chef Hans Snijders of Chateau Neercanne.

HHAtNight 528x397Chef Raymond works with local products from the Islands as well as fresh seafood and produce flown in twice weekly from Europe and the USA to create innovative and imaginative dishes. He leads a local team of young cooks and has set new standards and heights in casual dining on the Island. His counterparts on the waiters' side are the ever-smiling Jesse, who supervises breakfast and lunch, and the famous Paul Meiskens who oversees the dinner service and has already acquired a very loyal clientele. 

Note: In recent years, Barbara and I have had several spectacular meals at the Ocean Lounge Restaurant. One in particular went like this: After ordering two Black Labels on the rocks, we sat sipping our favorite scotch discussing forthcoming events while enjoying the beautiful view of the yachts in Great Bay.

After a while, our waiter brought us the Chef’s offering which was a creamy spicy tomato mousse served in a tall slender glass accompanied with a straw. One or two sips and the mousse caressed your palette with a lovely delightful taste on its way to your stomach. We really wanted more!

For appetizers, we enjoyed Gravlax, marinated and lightly smoked salmon with sour cream and toast, and Beef Carpaccio in lemon juice which were both delicious and easily either could be shared by two people. For our main course, we had Chilean Sea Bass served in an antiboise sauce with mini potatoes and fresh spinach, and Brill which is a white fish imported from Holland accompanied by a selection of vegetables.

For Dessert, we had the chef’s innovative rendition of French toast with Vanilla ice cream in the middle. It was truly unique. And, of course, the meal was accompanied by a lovely bottle of white Sancerre. By the way, Guido & Georgina, our servers, were attentive and friendly and along with Robert van Herpen, Manager of Food & Beverage, helped to make the evening memorable. For recommended reservations, call Robert at 1.721.542.2572 or 800.223.9815 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Parking for dinner is available from 7 PM till 12 midnight. It's across the street from the Hotel behind Joe's Jewelry. You enter the lot via Back Street and will see a parking assistant and a Holland House banner. Parking is free of charge and exclusive for diners at our Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar.

In addition, the friendly and attentive professional staff will assist you with your needs and answer any questions about the Hotel, arrange car rentals, excursions to other islands, and point you to intimate and romantic Caribbean restaurants. They will also be happy to assist you with important island information, reconfirming your flight and arranging a taxi service. Come visit us! We look forward to making your special day an outstanding one!


Holland House Beach Hotel,
Front Street #43, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Please visit our website at: www.hhbh.com
Tel: 1.721.542.2572, Fax: 1.721.542.4673
For hotel reservations, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


Special Feature 

wedding-banner
Did you dream about your wedding since you were very little? Most kids do, from the time mummy read, "and Prince Charming slipped the glass slipper onto Cinderella's foot and they lived happily ever after..." We practice getting married by walking down the aisle as a flower girl or ring-bearer and see the joy of the radiant couple as they say "I Do" and tingle with the excitement of their family and friends sharing the moment.

Joy on your wedding day comes from the blessing of the love and commitment you share and looking forward to this beginning of your own family. Joy on the wedding day also comes from having a hassle-free wedding that brings your vision of your dream wedding to reality. You must realize your dream wedding and enjoy it too.


Hire a professional wedding planner. For the bride and groom, their wedding is a first-time event and hopefully a lifetime highlight. A professional wedding planner may arrange hundreds of weddings a year. So with her help you won't have to experiment on your big day. The wedding planner is your troubleshooter. She also will be sure the people she hires to serve you have proven quality and reliability, so you won't be looking out the back door waiting for a cake, or shedding tears because your bouquet doesn't match your dress.


A wedding should be your fantasy come true and a gala celebration. A bride's dream is nurtured as she integrates images from magazines, movies, weddings, and her imagination to come to a vision of her wedding day. All who love her and her wedding planner want the bride to realize her dream on this special day. So it was imagined, so it will be done.

WeddingsCouple
A budget is very important. Be realistic when you set one so that you can live happily ever after and not start your new life with a financial burden. Discuss the budget with your wedding planner so she knows the limits. A professional wedding planner is your advocate. Speaking from experience, the wedding planner should be able through her experience and professionalism to optimize your budget and stretch it to cover the most important parts of your plan.


Set priorities as to what is the most important part of your vision. I recommend as a tool, the couple get a notebook to create a "dream book" to log in the elements they want for their wedding. You will use it to plan everything with your planner for how your taste and style will be incorporated. A professional planner will take care of processing the legal paperwork so your marriage will be correct and recognized worldwide. I guide my brides to the right location and time of day - our island provides dream seascapes for locations and everyone becomes radiant in the golden light of sunset.


List the elements for the fun and remembrance; beauty and fashion, flowers, toasting, food, music, reception, cake, and photography and/or videography. Pick a color, a theme for the decorations or a special bloom for your flowers. A wedding planner's expertise will allow you to realize your dream while keeping to your budget.


You will be planning your wedding for sometime and you can use that time to put into your dream book: everything from a picture you have from another wedding to magazine clippings and notes, a poem or song, so you don't forget. Use your imagination. The dream book will help your planner share your vision and bring it to reality.


While wedding planning software can assist you, a local wedding planner will insure what you can do with the local possibilities, can customize your wedding, and will make sure you don't forget doing things on time, but most importantly your planner will help you optimize your wedding in St. Maarten/St. Martin.

Set your priorities with the most important first, and the least, last, so your planner can help you cut if you must keep to your budget, without diminishing the glow of your wedding. You don't want to trim off a rose if your mom's name was Rose and you carry it for her. Take your first dance to your favorite song played by one of our great local entertainers in the arms of your loved one.

I recommend that you put a high priority on photography. After the bouquet is tossed and you've left your wedding party in a shower of petals, the photographs are what survive forever. You'll show them over and over again and use these to remember why you got married, re-savor your love and joy as time goes by. If you are blessed with children, photographs give them a chance to see you when your love was in early bloom and you made your commitment to each other. Somehow we can be re-inspired on an anniversary and experience our young love again when we look at those pictures. Now photo technology has brought us DVDs so we can also hear our emotion-filled voices as they pledge vows to each other. Yes the wedding day is the big day, but you can best relive your memories over and over through pictures, then shed those tears of joy again.

tog2Share also with your planner any unique ideas. One of my brides planned a starfish and shell theme for her cake superbly executed and she said, by the way, "My groom's favorite treats are champagne and chocolates." So I arranged for her to give her groom a wonderful champagne and a silver shell of chocolates that were hand and custom-made for her in shell shapes filled with aphrodisiac flavors to indulge in after the last dance. "If you can dream it, I can make it happen," is my motto as your wedding planner. I am very proud that my clients have nicknamed me their "Fairy Godmother," as they said I "must have waved a magic wand to make their dream wedding a reality."

If ever there were a picture-perfect place to get married, the island of St. Maarten is it. Blessed with some of the most breathtaking beaches anywhere in the world, St. Maarten also offers all the first-class amenities you could ever ask for:

1. World-class restaurants, ensuring that every meal can become a long-lasting, pleasant memory 
2. Fifth Avenue-class shopping in Marigot, and exquisite jewelry shopping on Front Street in Philipsburg 
3. Perfectly clear turquoise waters for some of the world's best snorkeling 
4. Modern airport with wide-body jet connections from many US gateways

Tying the knot in St. Maarten means enjoying all the benefits of a beautiful tropical wedding with none of the planning hassles. How so? Because Jean Rich, a Rhode Island native who has been living in St. Maarten for more than 20 years, handles all the details for you. As the Manager of the renowned BelMar Grill - Seafood - Wine Bar at Simpson Bay, Jean brings unsurpassed culinary experience to your wedding reception. As the planner/coordinator of literally dozens of tropical weddings over the last 15 years, she has fielded and successfully responded to all kinds of requests. No matter what flavor of tropical wedding you want, Jean Rich has the experience and creativity to make it happen.

For example, you could select from any of the following: Beach wedding. We do all the planning for a beautiful wedding right on the beach, under the palms, on a gorgeous Caribbean day. Get married at whatever time of day you like -- even right before a breathtaking Caribbean sunset. Gazebo wedding. How about a ceremony inside a beautiful gazebo, overlooking the beach? Our gazebo even has a pool nearby, so you and your guests can switch to bathing suits and cool off after your reception. Ocean wedding. Some of our clients prefer to be married at sea. We charter a sailboat or a yacht of virtually any size, and you get the wedding of your dreams right in the Caribbean Sea. Church, hall, or restaurant wedding. No matter what location you prefer, we'll plan it from start to finish. No problem!

It's easier than you think and less expensive. Why shouldn't you enjoy a wedding in paradise? Still have questions, then email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'll relieve you of all the stress and worry; and, we'll make it happen for you!


Weddings In St. Maarten, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten 
Jean Carol Hager-Rich is a well known wedding planner 
who has lived on St. Maarten for more than 20 years.
For a discussion, please call Jean at 1.721.581.5152
Visit us: www.weddings-in-stmaarten.com or
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

Featured Car Rental

  OMG-645x249



Leisure Car Rental
Get Ready for a Blissful Journey!


Whether you are planning a vacation, or Business Trip to St. Maarten, you will most likely require car rental services. Look no further, Leisure Car Rental is the only choice when considering Excellent Service at a Fair Price! We offer a GrayHyundaivariety of vehicles from Economy Cars to Luxury SUVs

Forget about the 45 minute Shuttle ride through unending traffic to get your rental car. Book with us, and we will deliver your rental car to the Airport at no extra charge! That’s right. No Shuttle, no waiting, no hassles! Arriving on a late Flight? or have an early Departure time? Fear not, we are available 24hrs to serve you better!

For those of you who have never visited our Friendly Island, St. Maarten is a very small Island located in the Caribbean. The Island is only 37 square miles and consists of two unique countries: Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin. There are lots of things to do in St. Maarten depending on your personal preference. Among others, we are well known for Duty Free Shopping, watersports, sightseeing, nightlife, fine dining, and the list goes on and on!

Leisure Car Rental has been providing outstanding Customer Service for the RedToyotapast seven years. We are proud to boast a Customer Satisfaction rate of 99.9%. Over the years we have built a very solid client base, with a long list of repeat clients who depend on us year after year to provide their Car Rental Needs.

We constantly conduct surveys to determine ways of improving the level of Service we provide our valued clients. To date, we are the only Car Rental Agency on St. Maarten offering Zero Deductible Insurance Coverage. This is a truly worry free, peace of mind, walk away Insurance Coverage! Many customers choose to purchase this coverage when renting from us. One customer said ‘It feels good to know that there will be no additional expenses if anything happens to the rental car.’ Our ZD Coverage covers all loss and damage to the rental car, and to the third party. This coverage starts at $30-per day, and can be purchased when reserving your car on our website here: www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com/reserve-now.html.

Leisure car rentals ensure that the cars that we provide to our customers are well maintained and are kept in top condition. All of our cars are fairly new, with low miles. This is just one factor which keeps us ahead of the competition. We made it our policy not to keep a car in our fleet for more than three years. Remember to Like Us On Facebook, and see our most recent updates in your newsfeed. Be the first to see exclusive offers and Specials: www.facebook.com/lcarsxm.

JackieAward 416x313Leisure Car Rental was established in 2007, with one objective: To always go above and beyond the Call Of Duty to ensure Maximum Customer Satisfaction. We offer a wide range of Automobiles to meet all needs and budgets. So whether you're the extravagant type, or the more cautious thrifty shopper, we have an auto for you. We can undoubtedly guarantee the Best Value in the Industry!

After seven years of hard work, and dedication, we were truly humbled, and amazed that a member of our Staff, Jacqueline Joseph Fitzpatrick, was chosen as the 2013 Auto Rental News Professional of the Year! This prestigious award was presented by American Express. This makes us the only Award Winning Car Rental Agency in St. Maarten.




Leisure Car Rental St. Maarten

So, on your next visit to our beautiful Island, be sure to choose Leisure Car Rental, and experience our Amazing, Award Winning Service! For reservations, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit: www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com call: 1.721.581.8577 or Toll Free: 1.721.545.2359 Our reservation system is fairly fast and simple. Thank you! 

--------------------------------------------------------


What's Happening in Paradise?

by
Sam Fusco 



During my November/December trip, I circled StMaarten/StMartin during several days seeking changes on the island. Much to my surprise, there were many changes, some for the good and some for the bad. First of all, Mullet Bay Beach is still packing in the crowds including local folks and tourists from all over the world. Over the years, this beach has grown in popularity. In general, the entire island looks absolutely wonderful.

One of the surprises was that Turtle Pier Restaurant is out of business. I was sorry to see this because I had shared many wonderful moments at this little restaurant especially when my friend, Al Wathey, managed it. Now, there are rental cars parked in the lot.

On the pleasant side, the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine is building several five story rental apartment buildings for their students. This will be a strong benefit for the students and probably a money-maker for the school. I guess you could call it a win-win.

Mario's Bistro has moved from his Sandy Ground/St. Martin location to the "high-rent district" on the Plaza at Porto Cupecoy. Being in the middle of an upscale-clientele should provide financial benefits. In addition, the Blue Mall is within walking distance. Mario, best wishes!

Speaking of the Blue Mall, the building is gorgeous, the interior shops are spectacular, and the views from the upper floors are incredible. I was there shortly after 12 noon on a weekday the beginning of November and
since the season is still weeks away, I was able to appreciate all the beauty serenely. The Blue Mall is indeed beautiful, so stop by and spend a few bucks.

La Belle Epoque in Marina Royale in Marigot is gone. So is The Village also on the Marina. Sadly La California Restaurant in Grand Case is also gone. It was a great little restaurant with delicious food and spectacular views of Anguilla, Creole Rock and the Bay of Grand Case.   

Caravanserai Beach Resort has a new name and new owners. It is now Alegria and it is beautiful. It has 73 rooms, two  swimming pools, a fitness club, WiFi, spectacular views from its hotel rooms and beach, and it's in the middle of everything, casinos, restaurants, nightclub, etc. In addition, Sunset Beach Bar is within walking distance.  

And, speaking of Sunset Beach Bar, I have never seen a beach bar more successful than this one. It is approximately 20 years old; has had 4 or 5 different owners; has expanded its size several times, and the crowds get bigger all the time. On a recent Sunday afternoon in November, there were about 500 people gathered around the bar/restaurant and  beach. Of course, most of the people were spread out on the beach/road waiting for the big planes to land 40 feet above their heads and feel the blast of the jet engines when they take off. This is the main attraction of Sunset Beach Bar.   

Now for some good news. On the Marina Royale in Marigot: Le Chanterclair is still there; so is Café de Paris; so is Desmo, the leather goods store; so is La France Restaurant; so is La Main a la Pâte; so is Brasserie de la Gare; Tropicana Restaurant is doing great; La Croissanteria is still knocking out the croissants; La Vie en Rose looked like it was doing well; Le Galion is okay; and, I had a excellent lunch with friends at Arhawak Restaurant on the waterfront.

In Marigot, I did not see any vacant retail shops, the restaurants had customers and businesses were preparing for the High Season. In Grand Case, the Lolos - namely Talk of the Town was jam packed with customers at lunch time. In Philipsburg, once again, I didn't see any vacant shops and the cruise ship travelers were out in force patronizing the shops on both sides of the street. Likewise, the Boardwalk was loaded with travelers doing what they do best - namely, spending money. The beaches and businesses on both sides of the island were ready for the High Season and I hope it has been good for all of them. 

By the way, a couple years ago when one of the government officials proposed building a bridge across the Lagoon to cut the travel time going from the Dutch side to the French side, I was totally against it and pretty concerned about the environment. In addition, I thought it would be an eye sore. Well, I was totally wrong. First of all, the bridge extends from the end of the airport runway and connects to the other side on the left side of Port de Plaisance Resort & Casino. It probably eliminates a 20 minute drive around that section of the island. The negative is that the bridge is one lane in each direction which is fine during most of the day; but, during the rush hour, 5 to 6pm, it is stop & go traffic for 15 minutes. That said, the bridge is an architectural masterpiece!!  

On a Personal Note: I was pretty busy during the Fall months of September and October 2015 to book my November/December visit to the island. So I was very happy  to be staying at some of my favorite places even though booking last minute, namely: 

Oyster Bay Beach Resort was able to put me up for 10 nights. Five of them were in a lovely room with a balcony overlooking the marina which was a pleasure watching sailboats and yachts coming in and out. For the second five nights, I had an equally beautiful room with a balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is mesmerizing falling asleep with waves caressing the shore beneath your windows. But, the most amazing thing to me was that everyday when I met a staff member of the resort - and there were many - they greeted me with "Hello" or "How are you today?" or another greeting with a smile. A happy attitude permeates the resort.

In between the 10 nights at OBBR, La Vista Resort was able to put me up for two nights in a large studio with a large balcony on an upper floor which had a great view. I know Andrea and Debbie who manage the resort for close to 20 years; and, it was a pleasure to see them once again.

Next, I stayed at Flamingo Resort for two weeks. Over the years, Barbara and I had spent many months in this resort mainly because we enjoyed the Pelican Key area so much. Once again, I had a large studio on an upper floor with great views of the beach, the Caribbean Sea, Saba and incredible sunsets. The resort recently remodeled their lobby and it looks great.

For my last week on the island, I stayed at Belmond La Samanna Resort. Barbara and I had our very first lunch at La Samanna 
with our best friends who introduced us to St. Maarten / St. Martin many decades ago and it was love at first sight.

During my stay at La Samanna, I was very pleased to see the smiling faces of the many friends that I made during these years. This was evidenced by the many hugs and kisses I received and by the hugs and kisses I gave.  

A couple years ago, the resort remodeled the restaurants, bar, lobby area, rest rooms and breakfast area. And, although I had pictures of the changes, I was not prepared for the phyiscal change. In a word, spectacular! On top of all that, Belmond La Samanna has a new Executive Chef. His name is Serge Gouloumès and he has two Michelin Stars. I had the pleasure of having dinner twice at Trellis which is La Samanna's signature restaurant. I happen to love rack of lamb which was on the menu. So I ordered it. All I can say is that it was the best that I have ever had anywhere in the world. Superb! Serge, thank you.

As always, my stay at Belmond La Samanna Resort was wonderful.


The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 1.973.835.0600 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Publisher: Sam Fusco, Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco, Contributor: Jean Carol Hager-Rich.


September 2014 Newsletter

The
StMaarten/StMartin
Connection

"…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
 
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"


Dear Friends of St. Maarten, 

Who stole six days of summer? 

Everyone knows that summer unofficially ends on the first Monday in September celebrated as Labor Day, a national holiday in the USA, which happened to be September 1st this year. Yet, everyone knows that the official end of summer and beginning of autumn is on September 22nd

So, why do the beaches and businesses in towns along the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut shores close after Labor Day? Why do public swimming pools in New York City close after Labor Day? This occurs even though we still have a few weeks of warm, sunny, beautiful weather ahead of us. 

In my town, school reopened last Wednesday, September 3rd and you could hear the moaning and groaning on every street corner as school buses approached waiting students returning to school. Summer has ended and family vacations are over. 

Why, you ask? Because, everything centers on Labor Day. 

Did you know that in 2009, Labor Day, the first Monday in September was on September 7th and in 2010, it was on September 6th. Each year, we lose a day or two (Leap Year) of summer culminating in the year when Labor Day is September 1st. I’m happy to say that in 2015, Labor Day will once again fall on September 7th

So why not make September 7th permanently Labor Day and extend the unofficial end of summer by one more week? If we did this, beaches and businesses in shore towns and swimming pools in cities would make more money, families could take longer vacations, children would be happier, and no one would be accused of stealing our days of summer. 


By the way, did I mention that summer in St. Maarten/St. Martin is 365 days long?

Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher

Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism -
Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association

Featured in this issue:

1. Featured Villa: St. Martin Villa Rentals by Preferred Escapes
2. Featured Shop: Blooming Baskets by Lisa

3. Featured Restaurant: Beau Beau's Restaurant
4. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images 
5. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two  
6
. Featured Hotel: Oyster Bay Beach Resort 
7. Featured Activity: Lee's Deep Sea Fishing 
8. Special Feature: Select Yachts
9. What's Happening in Paradise? 


Featured Villas

---------------------__------------------

AdvertisingBannerOnOurSite

The Best Villa Vacation You Will Ever Have!
 

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Luxury Villas

If you are planning a villa vacation to St. Martin/St. Maarten this season, you will want to speak with our friends and luxury villa wholesaler Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas. This villa company represents over 200 luxury villas on both sides of the island and always has some special offers available. 

VillaForty-Seven---------------St. Martin Villa Forty-Seven located on Bay Rouge Beach 
------------------3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | As low as $1,214 USD p/night

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas cater to guests just like you and can ensure that you receive the very best rates in addition to their world class service and 24 hour concierge. As an added benefit to you this company is also a registered licensed villa company which gives you peace of mind and reservation payment protection.

Check out Preferred Escapes Villa Service Guarantee and Recent Guest Reviews!  

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas Service Guarantee    

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villa Guest Reviews


VillaFifteen-------------------St. Martin Villa Fifteen located on Bay Rouge Beach
--------------------1 Bedroom | 1 Bathroom | As low as $1,000 USD p/night
 
This team of villa professionals have the inside scoop on the villas, local attractions and activities here that you need to know. With over 17 years of villa vacation experience this company knows how important it is for you to select the right villa for your vacation while saving you both time and money. Best of all, since they have been chosen to represent the owners of these villas you do not have to pay for their services at all and benefit by receiving the lowest rates from their business volume. 
 
VillaFifty-Nine------------------ St. Martin Villa Fifty-Nine located in Terres Basses
--------------------- 4 Bedroom | 4 Bathrooms | As low as $814 p/night

You can request a villa of your choice or they are more than happy to make a recommendation for you based on your desired location and budget standard. Once your villa reservation is finalized they will then assist you with all of the finer details of your stay including villa provisioning, car rentals, reservations, local activities and travel coverage. Best of all, they remain available to you throughout your stay.

We recommend that you check out Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas today. You will not be disappointed.
 

 

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas 

For reservations/information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   
Or Telephone: 1.800.559.2850 | 1.519.266.6711
Visit our website: www.preferredescapes.com/caribbean/st-martin/luxury-villas


Featured Shop

---------- --- ---


BBLogo2012

 

Not Your Mother's "Pocketbook!"

Offered in a rainbow of sizes and colors, Blooming Baskets by Lisa are definitely not your mother’s flowered pocketbooks. All “Blooming Baskets by Lisa” floral handbags are individually designed and hand-made here on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. No two are ever perfectly identical – so you’ll not enter a room and encounter that dreadful situation. They’re also infinitely fashionable. Equally at home when you’re wearing jeans to a picnic or elegant couture to a wedding… or, at the Academy Awards, should you be nominated or spend time with Hollywood friends.

Welcome to the world of Blooming Baskets by Lisa. Here, you’ll learn how we make them… the many places where you can use them… you’ll see our collection… and you’ll be able to order your very own handmade purse as well.  


LisaMichele

About Blooming Baskets!

In 1993, Lisa and Michele, two sisters from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, moved to St. Martin in the Caribbean. In 2000, they opened a handbag boutique which sold designer American handbags. Inspired by the kaleidoscope of flowers that populate the St. Martin countryside, in 2002, they took ordinary straw and raffia bags and put them on steroids. The result: colorful, whimsical new bags adorned with gorgeous silk flowers. 

Blooming Baskets by Lisa, an entirely new class of “handbag” that defies traditional description, had been born. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Lisa and Michele’s signature flowered Baskets already are being sold throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. You’ll see Blooming Baskets by Lisa carried by the “rich and famous” on islands like the exclusive St. Barts and Anguilla. Go anywhere with a Blooming Basket, and watch heads turn for a closer look. 

Lisa designs the Baskets at home on her terrace with the Caribbean Sea, sun, breezes, and flowers as her constant inspirations. Michele runs day-to-day operations. Learn how we make our Baskets. Then… start some excitement with your own colorful whimsical Blooming Basket by Lisa!

 

----------BBFullBloom--------------- BBSunflowerMadness

 

How We Make Them!

Blooming Baskets by Lisa come in four sizes – mini, small, medium, and large; and, because of their strength and durability, our large Baskets are often packed to the hilt and taken to the beach. “Smaller” baskets, which are not really small, go everywhere. Underneath, Blooming Baskets are hand-constructed of high-quality, long-wearing raffia, a natural product obtained from the fronds of the raffia palm. Our raffia is wrapped or covered in long-wearing straw custom-woven for us and sewn for high durability. Our baskets are made individually. Dyes are hand-mixed, with no pre-set recipe; consequently, “purple” on one basket invariably looks a bit different from “purple” on another. Of course, all our dyes are formulated to resist fading.

Since Mother Nature has created an infinite variety of real flowers, we follow suit with all our silk flowers. From Exotic lilies to stunning roses to huge, colorful daisies and many other varieties in countless colors, Mother Nature is faithfully recreated in silk for Blooming Baskets by Lisa.

----------BBPurplePassion---------------BBFloralFantasy

Our Collection!

A couple of heads-up

First, we never create exactly the same Blooming Basket by Lisa twice. So when you order one of our beautiful floral handbags, know that your bag will be unique. The flowers (in color, design, and placement) and the precise bag color will differ, if ever so slightly, from our photos. You’re a unique person. So, your Blooming Basket will be unique, too.

Second, our floral handbags themselves change. Some colors disappear, others are introduced, and the combinations of flowers and dyes change. So, if you see something that catches your eye today, grab it. It may be gone forever next time you look.

“Blooming Baskets by Lisa” offers baskets in four sizes and many flowers and flower colors. And of course, there are many Basket colors.

The Results speak for themselves. No, they sing more than speak. And, you will absolutely love the melody!


----------------Blooming Baskets by Lisa 
-----------------------
Marina Village of Porto Cupecoy, Sint Maarten
-----------For additional information, Tel: 1.721.586.7055 or 1.721.522.6668

--- Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Visit: www.bloomingbasketsbylisa.com 


 

Featured Restaurant    

--------

 

 

 

 

BeauBeaus logo-2

 

Oyster Bay’s popular beachside bar and grill, Beau Beau’s Restaurant, gets a refreshing new look and taste! The restaurant has been renovated to include a new deck for island-breeze dining and dancing and beautiful new decor for the corridor between Beau Beau’s and the resort. And, get ready for your taste buds to start tingling! 

Beau Beau’s is spicing things up with an exciting, new menu. After collaborating with Infinity Restaurant’s talented chefs, Beau Beau’s is unveiling tantalizing new tastes like its Southern Caribbean Fried Chicken – comfort food Caribbean-style; a light and delicious blackened Ahi Tuna steak served with a ginger lemon soy sauce; refreshing spring rolls topped with sweet and sour salsa and fresh mint; or taste a little bit of home with Beau Beau’s homemade classic meat lasagna. Whatever your taste, and whatever your mood, you’ll find something to pique your palate and delight your taste buds at Beau Beau’s. Stop by for a fun evening of live entertainment and fabulous food. 
As always, Beau Beau’s offers live entertainment and a riot of a good time. Join us soon and savor the sights, sounds and flavors of Oyster Bay Beach Resort’s recently-renovated beachside restaurant. 
Oyster-Bay-South-Beach
Editors Note: What a wonderful evening we had at Beau Beau's Restaurant, which is located at the beautiful Oyster Bay Beach Resort at Oyster Pond. The service was excellent: Cami (Manager), Laura (Supervisor), Alain (our server) and Joseph (server), we could not have asked for a better more attentive staff. 

The food was delightful, nice preparation and presentation. We started with Conch Fritters with coleslaw and a green salad, which were very tasty. For entrees, we enjoyed grilled Mahi-Mahi in a white wine sauce which were perfectly cooked, delicious, and accompanied by a baked potato, green salad and mixed vegetables. Dessert? Who can say “No”
to Crème Brule? It was scrumptious!!! And, Alain melted the sugar topping at our table with a fired torch. 

The drinks (our brand of scotch) were great and the entertainers, Addy/the singer – Louis Armstrong impersonator, the costumed dancers, and the participating audience were a treat to see, listen to and laugh with. In addition, we had a spectacular view of the evening stars populating the darkened sky, the cascading waves of the
Atlantic Ocean lapping at the sandy shore and the lights of villas on the hillsides. 

On your next trip to St. Maarten, put the “new” Beau Beau’s restaurant on your list of places to eat and be entertained. Recently expanded with new decking and canvas ceilings, Beau Beau’s is one of the nicest open-walled beach bars on the island. Call 1.721.543.6040 for reservations, which are a must. There wasn’t an open seat/table available the night we were there. And, to top it off, Beau Beau’s management raffled off a one week stay to the people in the audience. It was a great night! 

NewOBBRSign051012-R2Always looking for new ways to offer first-class amenities, Oyster Bay Beach Resort has partnered with a nearby beach concessionaire to open up an additional 5,000 square feet of beach access to our guests and owners. This long-term partnership affords guests more space and a better environment. Plus, for those who make the short walk (100 yards down beach from Dawn Beach), they will find higher ground, a smoother water entrance, and the same resort amenities, including towels, chairs and our food and beverage service courtesy of Beau Beau’s. This additional space, known locally as Mrs. B’s and at the resort as Oyster Bay South Beach, is marked with resort banners. Let us know what you think! We always appreciate your feedback. 

The management, staff and several guests of Oyster Bay Beach Resort, along with the home owners of the Oyster Pond Estates, unveiled the newly designed Border Monument / Sign at the corner of Oyster Pond Road, today. The sign was designed by architect Joseph Sistler of Joseph Allan & Company, who has overseen the design of much of the expansion and renovation occurring at the Resort over the last several years. The sign was commissioned to help guide the Resort’s guests at a critical intersection as well as to discourage unsightly home made sign proliferation at that critical intersection. The investment in a permanent monument sign for that location helps confirm Oyster Bay Beach Resort’s continued commitment to the Island and the Community. 

During the unveiling Ricardo Perez, General Manager, thanked the land owner, Leslie Martina, owner of The Big Fish restaurant on Oyster Pond, for making the area available.  He also thanked the Oyster Pond Estates Foundation for their support in allowing Oyster Bay Beach Resort to beautify the area with a prominent and distinctive marker for the Oyster Pond community. Perez noted that the sign will make a very helpful directional reference for instructions that are given to visitors that are unfamiliar with the area and ensure they reach the community at Oyster Pond rather than make an unscheduled visit to the French side.

 Beau Beau's Restaurantat Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Emerald Merit Road #10, Oyster Pond, St. Maarten

For Reservations telephone 1.721.543.6040 or 1.721.543.6040
Please visit our website at: www.obbr.com
For reservations, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sam's Selection

 


------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

 PBMarketDay--- PBurgBeach-333x250
- Philipsburg Market Day --------------------   Philipsburg Beach 

PeopleWaitingPlaneLandingDec2010-R--SonestaBeach-333x250--
People Waiting for Plane Landings   --------Sonesta Maho Resort Beach


WhiteEgretPond-331x225--LDVCafeTables-330x220
--------- A White Egret by a Pond ---------------La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano 



Sign Up to Win our December 2014

 

Dream Vacation for Two

 
 Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May
Win a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on a Random Wind Charter


 

 

 

 

 

Featured Hotel 



LighthouseView-700x383
Oyster Bay Beach Resort

 

Perched on a palm-dotted promontory and surrounded by Dawn Beach and Oyster Pond is St. Maarten's most private and distinctive hideaway - Oyster Bay Beach Resort. Like St. Maarten - a beautiful island that embraces its dual Dutch and OBBRPoolViewRFrench ancestry - Oyster Bay truly offers the best of both worlds. A step back in time to unspoiled Caribbean beauty, with a nod to modern amenities that pamper your desires. 

Nestled among the coves and curves of the pristine, mile-long Dawn Beach, the Resort is located on one of the island's most stunning landscapes. From the moment you arrive through Oyster Bay's private secured entry and gatehouse, you will feel your cares slip away as you immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience. 

Most of the 178 units - comprised of two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio units, all with private balconies - sit directly above the ocean or beach, with the rest overlooking the peaceful marina and tropical gardens. Just steps away from your room is our magnificent oceanfront infinity pool, whose gently curving edges drop dramatically above the sea. OBBRLivingRmKitchRRelaxing in our whirlpool, you have an unobstructed view of St. Barths Island, visible across a 10-mile expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. From the aroma of sumptuous oceanfront meals at our gourmet restaurants and delectable hors d'oeuvres at our classy deckside VIP cocktail parties to the spectacle of sight and sound offered by our very own King Beau Beau, the island's most cherished and talented performer, everything here is designed to delight your senses. 

At Oyster Bay, you can embrace adventure through fun on-site activities - or just find your own special place to sink into serenity. And there are no limits to what you can see and do elsewhere on the island. We are just minutes away from the hottest nightlife and shopping found in Philipsburg; the famous Orient Beach; and Grand Case, the gourmet capital of the Caribbean. With the help of our friendly activity desk staff, you can plan any number of extraordinary excursions. Take a closer look at Oyster Bay and discover why this is where you want to be. 

To Be or Not to Be... A Timeshare Owner? 

You have probably heard about timeshare ownership for years. You may have heard that such reputable large hotel chains as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Disney are deeply involved in the timeshare industry. You probably know someone – perhaps a relative, friend or neighbor – who is a timeshare owner. 

Maybe now it’s time that you found out for yourself what timeshare ownership is all about. Whether younger or older, with orCoupleToastingR without children, single or married, most people benefit from the enjoyment of timeshare ownership. What are the advantages? 

HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING 

When you own a timeshare at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, it’s like the song from the old television show, "Cheers" – where everyone knows your name. From the front desk receptionist and staff members to the sales specialists and Resort Manager, everyone at Oyster Bay Beach Resort understands that you are spending your hard-earned money in exchange for the guarantee of vacations like no other. As an owner, you will enjoy the respect, service and appreciation you deserve. Becoming an owner at Oyster Bay Beach Resort means more than just picking a vacation spot; it’s choosing a way of life that’s all about relaxation, freedom and peace of mind. For more information about how to become an owner, please call our sales office at 1-866-978-0213 Ext. 3882 and ask for Susan Coquin or Henny Ruckert.  


-------------------- Certificate of Excellence ---------- Certificate of Excellence

-------------------------- 2012 Winner -----  ---------------- 2013 Winner
 
----------------------  -----------------

  --------------------- Oyster Bay Beach Resort ---------- Oyster Bay Beach Resort

 

Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Emerald Merit Road #10, Oyster Pond, St. Maarten
For Hotel Reservations only (Toll Free) 1.866.978.0212 — front desk
For Membership Reservations (Toll Free) 1.888.784.6688  
Please visit our website at: www.obbr.com
For reservations, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

--------


Featured Activity  

 

LeesGrillLogo-700x193 

-------When was the last time that you challenged yourself?


W
hen was the last time you had a real good fight? I'm talking a knock down drag out affair that could last for hours! One where you've tested not only your arm muscles, but your fortitude, perseverance, skill, intelligence and probably some attributes you may not even know you possess. Gotcha thinking? I'm not talking about a fist fight at the local bar! I'm talking about deep sea fishing! When you challenge the big ones of the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, just because you get your hook in his mouth doesn't mean that you've caught him. The fight has only just begun! 
Lees3Boats-498x248
E
very day is Fishing Day; but, every day is not catching day! For better odds of catching a big one, when you fish aboard one of Captain Lee Halley's four Bertram fishing boats, your chances are great for hooking up with a Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi or Tuna not to mention Barracuda and other pelagic and reef fish. Lee is native born and has been fishing the waters around St. Maarten/St. Martin since 1982, which doesn't include his youth with his father and uncles. Lee's trained Captains and crews will show you the best day possible on the water. Charters include all tackle, drinks and bait. So, just bring some Sunscreen and Dramamine for those of you that get a little queasy and be prepared to have a good time.

A few years ago, on a Saturday in November, "Challenge," the boat captained by Lee won The Sint Maarten Deep Sea Fishing Challenge.
Lee and his crew not only won the $1,000 First Prize for the Heaviest Qualifying Fish (56 lbs Yellow Fin Tuna), they also won the $500 Second Prize for the Most Weight Overall (607 lbs). A week later, Lee Halley and his crew went fishing 60 miles out to an area of the Caribbean Sea they describe as "A fisherman's dream!" By the end of the day, they had caught 39 Wahoo, 6 Mahi-Mahi, 3 Blue Stripe Runners and two Barracuda for a total of more than 1,500 lbs. This is no "Fish Story." Barbara and I were sitting in the restaurant when they came in to unload at the dock. 
 
LeesGuysWithFishRAlso, several years ago, an American tourist on one of Lee's charters caught a 486lb Marlin. Needless to say, this one is listed in the history books. So, if you're looking for adventure, willing to challenge the sea, hoping to find the big fella in the picture and have the perseverance of Hemingway's "Old Man and The Sea!" contact Lee's Deep Sea Fishing for a half-day or full-day charter adventure. We wish you good fishing and tight lines!


Prices include: Fishing on a 31Ft Bertram - Captain & Mate - Rods & Bait, Beer, soda, water & full day trips also get a light lunch. Bring hats, towels, sun glasses, sun screen, & camera. Shared trips arranged upon request. We fish for Blue/White Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Tuna. We troll around St. Maarten, off the bank of Saba, St. Eustatius, Anguilla and St. Barths. Depending on the weather we go 10-12 miles for 1/2 half day and 3/4 day trips and 24-30 miles for full day trips.
Maximum 6 people on the boat. Check in time: AM trips 6:30am – PM trips 12:30pm

Cruise Ship Arrivals:
Take a taxi as soon as possible, to Lee's Road Side Grill & Deep Sea Fishing in Simpson Bay, and we'll start your trip when you arrive to our dock. (Approximately 20 minute drive depending on traffic).

THE BOAT KEEPS THE CATCH
Free lunch/dinner with YOUR CATCH for the people that go fishing.
We only cook Wahoo, Mahi and Tuna.

For a lifetime of enjoyment in the World of Deep Sea Fishing, Lee's has offered the best fishing available on St. Maarten. They cater to the Pro's and amateurs alike. So, as long as you enjoy fishing, they'll do their best to show you a Great Time. And, when you get back to the dock, your catch can be cooked on the Roadside Grill. By the way, plan on stopping by Lee's Roadside Grill, which is well known for great grilled food and live band music. It's one of the most popular restaurants on the island. So, if you have the urge to fish or if you just want to be able to tell one of your own fish stories someday, charter one of Lee's boats and treat yourself to an exciting adventure. Go ahead, challenge yourself!
 
 
Lee's Deep Sea Fishing
84 Welfare Road, Simpson Bay Lagoon
across from Royal Palm Resort
For reservations, tel: 1.721.544.4233 Fax: 1.721.544.4234
Please visit our web site at:
www.leesfish.com or Email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 


 

 

 

 

 Special Feature

 

Charter Yacht experts Select Yachts, in conjunction with Crew Solutions, open SE 17th Street Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 
Amazing-381x276
FT LAUDERDALE, FL. (Aug. 12, 2014) – Select Yachts, a well-known Sint Maarten Charter Sales and Marketing Company, has moved it’s main office and Corporate Headquarters to the world’s yachting capital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Crew Solutions, a well-established, highly successful placement service, headed up by Ms. Beverly Grant, will share space and services with Select Yachts. 

Select Yachts Corporate Director Ann E McHorney, who has resided in both Sint Maarten and Fort Lauderdale for decades, says the move is a logical progression. She states that the Sint Maarten office remains as a support entity, however, now more of the online activity, banking, and marketing functions take place in Fort Lauderdale. “When it comes to vacations, people love the Caribbean, but for getting things done we can’t beat the ease of the US! As time moves on we find we have become more and more “cyber”. The reality is that we can be almost anywhere with good internet access, but for cost and accessibility we just love South Florida!” 

HemithIV-221x331Mr. Stephan James, a regular on the SXM yachting scene as Dock Master and attendant for various marinas, as well as crew on motor yachts, will manage the existing Sint Maarten Select Yachts office this winter. A Dutch and Sint Maarten citizen, Mr. James is in touch with how to make things work and get things done locally. He can be reached directly at 1 (721) 544-4100 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Along with their charter sales to clients worldwide, Select Yachts has actively managed a rapidly expanding fleet of both sail and power yachts for over ten years. Fleet Manager Marilyn Eckel remains in the Caribbean and heads up Charter Marketing for the Sailing Fleet. More recent on the scene is charter veteran Bonnie Mims, now in charge of the Motor Yacht Division. 

Ms. Dayle Reimer, who has an extensive corporate publicity background, manages Advertising and Promotions for Select Yachts Charter Sales and Charter Fleet departments. Dayle is no stranger to the Yacht Charter Industry, having prior history as a Charter Broker with Adventures Afloat. Dayle acts as a Charter Broker for Select Yachts as well, and can often be found making arrangements for a client’s next vacation! 

Ms. Lynn Norris, a CPA and Penn State graduate, joins Select Yachts and Crew Solutions for bookkeeping and office management and is a bright new face to the industry. Syrene-382x254

Beverly Grant at Crew Solutions remains as her own separate identity, with the two offices able to work together to better assist owners for all of their charter and yacht services needs. 

About Select Yachts

Founded in 2004, Select Yachts’ mission is to provide each of their clients with the greatest vacation experience of their life, while ensuring optimum marketing publicity and management of the Select Yachts charter fleet. Select Yachts is a privately held company headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. For more information, please telephone Ann E. McHorney at 954.246.3815 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website: www.selectyachts.com 
--------------------------------------------------------


What's Happening in Paradise?

by Sam Fusco



Here are two very tempting specials during the month of September from my favorite Italian restaurant: La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano located in the casino at Princess Port de Plaisance Casino & Spa is offering a ComplimentaryBottle of Red Wine with your dinner. Likewise, it's sister restaurant, Esco Pazzo Pizzeria located on the promenade at Princess Casino is offering a Free Beer with every pizza you order. 

<><><>

Vacation Closings & Reopenings 

Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa will close for annual vacations and maintenance September 1st to October 31st or November 1st

Lee's Roadside Grill located in Simpson’s Bay will close on September 7th for vacation and maintenance and will reopen on September 30th

Leisure Car Rental St. Maarten, the Award Winning car rental agency, will not be closed for vacations and will be open all year. 

Pizza Galley has just received their 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Pizza Galley closed for vacations and maintenance and will re-open October 15th

Random Wind Charters, located in Simpson Bay Lagoon, will close for two weeks September 8th to haul the main sailboat out of the water to put in a brand new engine. This will make the Random Wind better than ever.  

The Mailbox Business Center, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) located at the Palapa Center & Marina in Simpson Bay will be open all year. 

Scuba Fun Dive Center located in Dock Maarten, Philipsburg, will not be closing for summer vacations. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here

Holland House Beach Hotel located in Philipsburg is fully operational and actually quite busy and will be open all year. 

 

L'Hoste Hotel and its restaurant, La Playa, which is located on Orient Beach will be open all year. La Playa Bar Restaurant with its private beach in front of the hotel offers an idyllic setting for breakfast or lunch in the shade of the palm trees caressed by the sea breeze. Enjoy the unique Beach Bar ambiance and savor cocktails on the beach until sunset. 

Club Orient Resort located on Orient Beach will be closed for maintenance and vacations from August 17th reopening on October 6th

Captain Alan’s Boat Charters, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., located in Oyster Pond will be open all year. 
 

Hideaway Bar & Restaurant located at (www.LaVistaResort.com) will be closed for maintenance and vacations for the month of September. 

Le Petit Hotel located on the beach in Grand Case will be open all year. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here

Prestige Value Car Rental, (www.valuecarrental.com) with five locations on the island will be open all year. 

<><><> 

North America, Strong April Result In 7.5 Percent Increase in 2014 Arrivals
Air arrivals at SXM Airport are up 7.5 percent for the first five months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013. The figures were provided by the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau. June’s figures are not yet complete to give a half-year assessment of arrivals. The Figures lends credence to opinions of hoteliers that occupancy figures for 2014 are slightly better than 2013. Arrival figures increased every month ad in every source market that the destination targets. The 7.5 percent increase in arrivals was buoyed by an 11 percent increase in arrivals from the North American market, St. Maarten’s primary source market for visitors. For the first five months of the year, arrivals from North America totaled 165,178 compared to 147,055 in 2013. A very strong month of April also contributed to the 7.5 percent increase. April 2014 saw a 12 Percent increase in arrivals compared to April 2013. Arrivals in this month increased from 48,743 in 2013 to 55,337 in 2014. Much of this can be attributed to Carnival was at 91 percent in 2014, after coming in at 89 percent in 2013. 

Increase Projected For Tourism Figures
The quarter year 2014 Macro-Monitor report Released by the Department of Economic Affairs, Transportation and telecommunication EVT shows projected 2014 increases in GDP growth (1.8 percent), cruise arrivals (2.0 percent) and stay-over tourism arrivals (3.2 percent). It also shows a projected unemployment rate of 11 percent and a decrease in the inflation rate of 2.2 percent. Both import and export values also are projected to increase, at 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. The global economy, including that of St. Maarten, in improving continuously, a trend expected to continue at a moderate pace. 

More Direct Flights Offered From Canada
There have been positive developments in the Canadian tourism market to St. Maarten, including a number of extra direct available flights through Air Canada, Sunwing and Air Transat. The news follows that of 2013 being the best year to date in terms of arrivals from Canada, and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau securing a booth at the International Travel and Tourism Show SITV in downtown Montreal. Air Canada has added a second weekly flight from Toronto for 13 weeks in the high season; it now flies on Tuesdays in addition to Saturdays. Sunwing has added a new flight from Ottawa that will fly on Mondays during the high season. This is in addition to its four weekly flights on Thursday and Sundays from both Toronto and Montreal from late fall to spring. Air Transat has also added a new flight from Toronto on Sundays for the high season in addition to its weekly high-season flight from Montreal. Years ago, the airling flew from Toronto to St. Maarten year round, but it cut the flight schedule dlown to one weekly high season flight from Montreal shortly after Sunwing initiated flights to the island. WestJet also offers direct flights, three weekly from Toronto and one weekly from Montreal. “We are very excited about the growing support from our airline and tour operator partners in Canada; 2013 was a record-breaking year for arrivals from Canada to St. Maarten, and this additional air lift positions us well to continue this trend,” said Toronto based St. Maarten Tourist Office Representative Catherine Pentiricci. 

Port St. Maarten Set for Major Milestones
St. Maarten Harbour Group of companies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo in a press release on August 10th announced two Milestone for the port; it is expected to surpass St. Thomas for the first time ever in terms of number of cruise passengers, and it is expected to hit the two million mark. He also held a meeting on moving forward with Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and Member Of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger. The figures represent significant developments in St. Maarten’s cruise history. In 2013, St. Maarten received 1,785,670 cruise passengers on 631 vessel calls, compared to St. Thomas’ 1,886,647. This signified a 32,455 person increase for St. Maarten from 2012. From January to July 2014, St. Maarten received a record 1.2 million cruise passengers via 442 ship calls. In July, it received 119,121 passengers, compared to 95,684 in July 2013. In the three months leading into the off season (May, June and July) the Port received 337,023 cruise passengers, compared to 260,173 in the same period in 2013. 

Nature Foundation Focal Point For Regional Nature Protection
Nature Foundation has been appointed as the Specially Protected Area of Wildlife (SPAW)  Focal point for St. Maarten. The foundation will act as the focal point for assistance to government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in increasing the number, and improving the management, of protected and/or managed areas locally and in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR).   The foundation will support the conservation of threatened and endangered species and sustainable use of natural resources to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered, develop strong regional capability for information exchange, training and assistance, in support of national biodiversity conservation efforts among other activities with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Other biodiversity-related Treaties and initiatives, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.   Nature Foundation Is the mandated conserva-tion organisation tasked with the management of the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of St. Maarten. The foundation manages the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area – the Only national park – for St. Maarten. 

<><><>

4th TripAdvisor Excellence Award For Summit Resort
The Summit Resort Hotel announced June 27 that it had received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence world-wide, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor.    “Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at The Summit Resort Hotel and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor.   There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence in our business and our continued commitment to excellence. We would also like to thank each and every one of our employees for their hard work and dedication to guest satisfaction which is what made winning this award possible,” said Owner Bruce Jakubovitz. 

Princess Heights Designated For 4th Trip Advisor Award
For the fourth year in a row, Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Hotel has been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award, a recognition only given to properties that are able to achieve high and consistent quality and service standards, based on reviews and feedback from travellers from all around the world.   TripAdvisor, by far the largest online traveller review site, applies a patented algorithm in order to select properties that, among other factors, maintain an overall TripAdvisor “bubble rating” of at least four of five. Princess Heights has maintained a 4.5 bubble rating over four consecutive years.   Owner and General Manager Emil Lee stated that receiving the exclusive award for the fourth year is “a testimony of our consistency in terms of quality and guest service and our commitment to always keep improving. This prestigious recognition is a wonderful validation of the countless hours that staff and management have invested to ensure that our guests enjoy lavish accommodations with world class personalized service.”  
 
 

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters


The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., 5201 Warrens Way, Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 1.973.835.0600 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Publisher: Sam Fusco, Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco, Sales and Marketing: Barbara Fusco. Contributing
Correspondent: Jean Hager Rich.

May 2016 Newsletter

The StMaarten/StMartin Connection

"…the SXM newsletter for savvy travelers!  
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"


Dear Friends of StMaarten/StMartin, 

Here I am writing again with May and spring upon us. How I look forward to those wonderful spring days with rising   temperatures and periodic rain showers to help the flowers grow; followed 90 days later by the warm balmy sunny days of summer. Oh, how I love those 80, 90 and sometimes 100 degree days while basking in the sunshine of my yard counting the blades of grass.

Read more ...

November 2014 Newsletter

The
StMaarten/StMartin
Connection

"…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
 
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"


Dear Friends of St. Maarten, 

 

I am starting our November Newsletter with a Special Report on some of the damage that Hurricane Gonzalo recently left in its wake on StMaarten/StMartin. Keep in mind that many areas of the island had no damage at all. Our Newsletter follows.  

Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher

Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism -
Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association

Featured in this issue:
 

1. Special Report on Hurricane Gonzalo
2. Special Feature: Crystal Pineapple Awards Online Voting
3. Featured Shop: The Belgian Chocolate Box
4. Featured Villa: St. Martin Villa Rentals by Preferred Escapes
5. Featured Restaurant: Interlude Restaurant
6. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images 
7. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two  
8. Featured Hotel: Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa
9. Featured Activity: Aqua Mania Adventures
10. 
What's Happening in Paradise? 


Special Report from Oyster Bay Beach Resort on Hurricane Gonzalo.  


Hurricane Gonzalo /OBBR update #2. Conditions as of Thursday Oct. 16:

On Monday, October 15th, Hurricane Gonzalo, a Category 2 storm, passed over St. Maarten and did considerable damage to the Island and to the Resort. Since the last report we have done a thorough damage assessment and it shows that while we suffered wide spread effects of the storm, we feel confident that we can quickly clean up and restore the resort to the same beautiful and well-kept condition it was in before the storm.

The management is most grateful for the bravery, help, dedication and patience of all those staying at the resort during the storm. Many new friendships and bonds between staff and guests were formed during and after the storm.

The resort is open and continues to spring to life along with the rest of the Oyster Pond area and the Island as well. The resort is able to accommodate reserved guests in comfortable units. The rooms might show some wear and water damage. We will be repairing the damage starting immediately.  Water and electricity has been fully restored to the Resort, the Oyster Pond area and most of the Island. Even though we are receiving water from the government water company we are still, out of an abundance of caution, asking guests to use the water for bathing only and not for drinking.  We’re supplying free bottled water to all guests.  We hope to be able to recommend drinking the government-supplied water sometime in the next several days. There is still a small possibility of water interruptions as the water company makes repairs to its damaged water lines. The Resort does have a reservoir that can supply water in that event, but its capacity is limited.  We don’t expect guests to be inconvenienced but depending on repairs to the government distribution system, water interruptions are possible.

The air conditioning system has suffered some damage that we are working to repair. During the next several weeks however, we can only cover about 60%-70% of our units with working air conditioning. All units have working ceiling fans that provide cooling. Depending on the occupancy and type of suite demand, we can accommodate most, if not all guests, in an air-conditioned unit, however; we cannot guarantee that all units will have functioning air conditioning for the entire stay or for every room. We have skilled personnel on staff doing the work to repair the air conditioning system. Full air conditioning should be brought on line progressively in the coming weeks so the situation will be alleviated.

The pool did not suffer structural damage.  It did accumulate debris. We have emptied the pool and are scrubbing it and refilling it.  We hope to have it available no later than Monday, October 20. For safety reasons the pool deck has been closed off during the cleaning and refilling activities.

Dawn beach is open and clear.  Our beach extension (“Joan’s Beach”), just past Busby’s is looking great.  We have had a seasonal problem with the difficult accumulation of Sargasso seaweed but for the time being the storm has cleared it away. We expect the seasonal change in the North Atlantic to cause a decline in the Sargasso weed as it has in the past.  Other beaches are reported clear and our Thursday beach bash at Orient Beach was a smashing success.

All other resort amenities are available including; Indulgence Spa, Shipwreck Shop, the Gym, The Oyster Bay Marina and the water sports activities provided by Capt. Alan. The sea is calm and Capt. Alan is back on his regular schedule.

Infinity restaurant is open on its regular schedule and menu as is the Infinity Bar. Beau Beau’s is expected to reopen this Saturday. The restaurants in the area have all reopened including, Busby’s, Big Fish, Canoa, Daniel’s By The Sea and Mama’s Pizza.

The Island suffered damage to roads, infrastructure and housing. The residents are steadfastly repairing their homes and restoring their Island.  The roads are clear but the scenery shows that the people of St. Maarten were greatly impacted by Gonzalo. We will all help each other to restore the Island to its full beauty and comfort. While the storm was serious, except for the one tragic death, it seems that the Island came through a powerful storm rather well. Much of its unseen, buried infrastructure investment and higher building standards paid-off and we are able to write that we are open for business.

As indicated in our last update, OBBR will be happy to rebook any guest for a time in the future when full services are restored or refund any deposit that it received from guest who wants to cancel.  The refund offer is good only until Sunday at midnight, October 19. After that date our usual cancellation policy will be in effect. We will be happy to facilitate the placement of owners and reserved Interval International guests at other Interval International resorts or rebook their reservation for a time in the future when it is assured that all services will be at 100%.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Best Wishes,

The Management and Staff of Oyster Bay Beach Resort


 

 

 
Special Feature 


Crystal Pineapple Awards Voting Online Now! 

The voting period for the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association officially opened October 20th, 2014. This puts YOU in the perfect position to vote for those individuals and organizations you think should really be recognized for their outstanding performance in the Tourism and Trade Industry. May it be an excellent employee, an outstanding manager, or your favorite chef or bartender, for example.  

Voting can be done on www.shta.com. Simply click on the ‘Crystal Pineapple Awards’ under the ‘Events’ tab on the left hand side of the page and follow the instructions. A link to the voting poll has also been placed on the Crystal Pineapple Awards Facebook page. The polls will be open until Wednesday November 12th, 2014 at 5pm. Remember that your vote can make someone feel like a star that evening.  

The Crystal Pineapple Award Gala is the ONLY event on the island that recognizes Hospitality & Trade personnel, organizations and associations for their contribution towards the tourism industry. Individuals who are employed in the Hospitality and Trade industry can receive awards in the categories of Accommodations, Restaurants, and Trade as well as the category Outstanding Community Service Achievement.  

Tickets for the event are NOW on sale at the SHTA office and can be reserved any time during office hours. Please make sure to reserve your Gala tickets right away, as there is limited seating. 

The award ceremony will be held on Friday, November 21st, 2014 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino. The gala evening includes a sumptuous dinner, live entertainment, a silent auction, a raffle and much more.  

The SHTA, the largest business representative on the island, is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 1.721.542.0108, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.shta.com.


 

Featured Shop 

 

LogoNChocolate

 

For 9 years now, we make Belgian Chocolates and are considered the oldest original Belgian Chocolate Factory in the Caribbean. We have no subsidiaries or branches on other islands.  

Our 75 different chocolate flavors are made with love daily fresh by factory Beatrixowner Beatrix in our Philipsburg Atelier in Old Street. From here we sell direct or distribute them to our sales outlet in Simpson Bay next to Village Portofino (opposite Windward Island Bank and Druggist) or to first Class Hotels, Casinos, Villas and Yachts on this island.  

Chocolate
There are few foods that people feel as passionate about - a passion that goes beyond a love for the "sweetness" of most candies or desserts: after all, few people crave caramel, whipped cream, or bubble gum. Chocolate is, well, different. For the true chocoholic, just thinking about chocolate can evoke a pleasurable response. You may want to grab a bar or make a nice cup of hot cocoa before you begin exploring here.  

Candy bars, milk shakes, cookies, flavored coffee - even cereal and medicine! Chocolate is a key ingredient in many foods. In fact, it ranks as the favorite flavor of most Americans. And yet, few of us know the unique origins of this popular treat.  

The story of chocolate spans more than 2,000 years and now circles the globe. The tale began in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America where cacao (kah KOW) first grew. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. But the journey from seed to sweet is a long one, spanning many centuries and requiring many processes.  

Cacao open fruit2History of Chocolate
The tasty secret of the cacao (kah KOW) tree was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate. The story of how chocolate grew from a local Mesoamerican beverage into a global sweet encompasses many cultures and continents.  

The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America. These people, including the Maya and Aztec, mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink.  

Later, the Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, where new recipes were created. Eventually, the drink's popularity spread throughout Europe. Since then, new technologies and innovations have changed the texture and taste of chocolate, but it still remains one of the World's favorite flavors.  

How Chocolate is Made - Harvesting Cacao is Hard Work
We tend to think of chocolate making as an assembly-line process. Most people picture automated presses plopping out candies onto conveyor belts at speeds unmatched by humans. But, before cacao StoreFrontMapreaches the machinery of a chocolate factory, it must first pass through the hands of a farmer.  

Making Chocolate Takes Years of Manual Labor
Like most agricultural crops, cacao must be closely monitored by farmers. They regularly walk their fields and check for pests, molds, and diseases that can potentially wipe out a whole harvest. In addition, a farmer must spend three to five years caring for young cacao trees before they'll produce their first yield.  

Cacao Harvesting is Done by Hand
Unlike many contemporary crops, cacao can't be harvested by machines. Each thick pod growing off the trunk and branches of the cacao tree must be plucked by hand.  

To meet your taste we offer customized flavors, travel packaging and delivery service. Our boxes are insulated. If you are visiting St. Maarten on one of the cruise ships you can use our free ship delivery service. You must place your order either directly in our shop by 3 pm or you can use our pre-order facilities via internet, phone or fax directly from home or cruise ship.  

Once you taste our chocolate, you will appreciate our quality. Finest Belgian Chocolate (Callebaut), Pure Cream and Butter, natural Vanilla from Tahiti and other high end ingredients make our Chocolates unique. We will surprise you with traditional flavors and new combinations. Some of our chocolates take 5-6 different steps for finishing…  


The Belgian Chocolate Box by Beatrix
109 Old Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
For information, telephone: 1.721.542.8863
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or visit us at: www.thebelgianchocolatebox.com 


 

 

 Featured Villas

---------------------__------------------

AdvertisingBannerOnOurSite

The Best Villa Vacation You Will Ever Have!

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Luxury Villas 
 

If you are planning a villa vacation to St. Martin/St. Maarten this season, you will want to speak with our friends and luxury villa wholesaler Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas. This villa company represents over 200 luxury villas on both sides of the island and always has some special offers available. 

VillaForty-Seven---------------St. Martin Villa Forty-Seven located on Bay Rouge Beach 
------------------3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | As low as $1,214 USD p/night

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas cater to guests just like you and can ensure that you receive the very best rates in addition to their world class service and 24 hour concierge. As an added benefit to you this company is also a registered licensed villa company which gives you peace of mind and reservation payment protection.

Check out Preferred Escapes Villa Service Guarantee and Recent Guest Reviews!  

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas Service Guarantee    

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villa Guest Reviews


VillaFifteen-------------------St. Martin Villa Fifteen located on Bay Rouge Beach
--------------------1 Bedroom | 1 Bathroom | As low as $1,000 USD p/night
 
This team of villa professionals have the inside scoop on the villas, local attractions and activities here that you need to know. With over 17 years of villa vacation experience this company knows how important it is for you to select the right villa for your vacation while saving you both time and money. Best of all, since they have been chosen to represent the owners of these villas you do not have to pay for their services at all and benefit by receiving the lowest rates from their business volume. 
 
VillaFifty-Nine------------------ St. Martin Villa Fifty-Nine located in Terres Basses
--------------------- 4 Bedroom | 4 Bathrooms | As low as $814 p/night

You can request a villa of your choice or they are more than happy to make a recommendation for you based on your desired location and budget standard. Once your villa reservation is finalized they will then assist you with all of the finer details of your stay including villa provisioning, car rentals, reservations, local activities and travel coverage. Best of all, they remain available to you throughout your stay.

We recommend that you check out Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas today.
You will not be disappointed.
  

Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas 

For reservations/information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   
Or Telephone: 1.800.559.2850 | 1.519.266.6711
Visit our website: 
www.preferredescapes.com/st-martin-villa-rentals


Featured Restaurant    

--------
lasamannalogoR

  

Restaurants & Bars

 

"One of the Top Three Restaurants in the Caribbean!"
Travel and Leisure Magazine

 

Interlude Restaurant's opulent dining room offers dramatic, open-air dining with panoramic beach and ocean views that add to the enjoyment of the delicious meals, whether a heady dish of authentic osso bucco or a grilled ahi tuna with plant salad and Creole sandy ground sauce. World-class cuisine combines fresh, lively island flavors with classical French techniques. The wine cellar boasts one of the most extensive collections in the Caribbean. 

GrillDiningAreaRTrellis Restaurant: Located adjacent to the main pool, this casual and beautifully decorated dining spot is open for lunch daily, and for dinner three times weekly. Trellis has a canopy and misters to keep you cool while you enjoy the gorgeous ocean views, as well as fabulous Gazpacho, sandwiches, and salads such as the locally caught Mahi-Mahi, grilled on Romaine lettuce with herbed French bread crostini or a classical Caesar topped with Cajun tiger shrimp.  

The Beach Bar: Located on the beach, and only minutes away from the guest rooms and suites, this al-fresco lunch bar and restaurant allows guests to keep their feet in the sand while enjoying snacks, salads and BeachBarDeckRcocktails as well as providing beach/beverage service to the beach chaises. The Beach Bar also features Lobster Barbecues for lunch on Wednesday and Sunday, with a special Lobster Barbecue on Monday nights. Perfectly complimented by our infinity edge pool, enjoy drinks whilst contemplating La Samanna's breathtaking sunsets.  

WiFi is also now available at the Beach Bar and throughout most of the resort for easy access to the internet or to check your email.  

La Samanna's Baie Longue Bar provides a cozy spot for cocktails before or after dinner. This rich, red velvet eclectic bar mixes Moroccan furniture, unique modern art and African decorative artifacts. It is set off by a multi-hued Indian wedding tent that provides exotic ceiling art. Long time bartender Orlando Philgene mixes up his signature drink, the Baie Longue Blue, and provides rum and champagne tasting for the aficionado of Caribbean spirits. Open daily from 10:00 am to midnight or until the last guest turns-in.  

La Cave Restaurant: Enjoy a delightful private dinner in our most exclusive venue. Perfect for aTheWineCellarR private celebration or business dinner, the Wine Cellar offers our guests a completely different dining experience. Sit among some of the finest wines in the world and feast on cuisine from one of the Caribbean's best chefs, complimented by elegant and attentive service. La Samanna's 'La Cave' wine cellar is without doubt one of the finest and most attractive cellars in the Caribbean, with a superb selection of fine wines from across the globe, all impeccably controlled and selected by passionate experts.  

Welcome to La Cave Restaurant! Travel with us to our medieval wine cellar fantasy, for this ultimate dining experience. Our sommelier will take you through a journey of discovery and our honoured Chef will join you in this intimate setting for an open discussion on the menu and a last cheer.  

Enjoy a private wine tasting in our award winning wine cellar (2 people minimum) or savor a private wine cellar dinner with our Chef's innovative five course or nine course tasting menu and wine pairings.

Rum Tasting - The Caribbean is famed for its rum and at La Samanna we take this reputation very seriously. Enjoy a journey through some of the region’s finest rums, accompanied by selected speciality dishes.
 


----------------12,000 bottles of wine - 1,250 labels - 11 countries

 

-------------------------------- AWARDS
---------------------- Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2010
-------------- Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2008
------------
Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2007
-------------------- Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2006
--------------- Best Wine List of the Caribbean Gault & Millau 2007  

"Your eyes, your nose, your "papilles" (taste buds): your taste becomes attentive, sensitive, and while smelling and tasting such wine or such alcohol, you discover a new treasure and a new pleasure..."

Special Dining Events

Throughout the year, Belmond La Samanna offers special dining events to its guests, profiling some of the world's best chefs and their cuisine at our luxury resort. Beach Dining Private Candlelight Dinner and Monday night lobster beach BBQ are two of our events. Please check back for additional upcoming Special Dining Events. 

 

Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa
Bay Long, St. Martin, French West Indies

For reservations, tel: 1.800.854.2252 or 011.590.590.87.64.00 or fax: 011.590.590.87.87.86 
Visit us at: www.lasamanna.com or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Sam's Selection


------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

BusyStartline330x220  BorderMonument328x225
Heineken Regatta Starting Line -----StMaarten/StMartin Border  

CasinoRoyale330x220-PassaatSunset314x220
Casino Royale Sonesta Maho Resort  --------Classic Yacht Passaat at Sunset


RareRestTomatoMos330x220-ScubaFunDiveTraining300x220
--- Rare Restaurant, Cupecoy---------- Scuba Fun Dive Training 

Marquis320x220--BeachPlazaLobby330x220
Hotel Marquis View, Anse Marcel              Beach Plaza Hotel, Marigot



Sign Up to Win our December 2014

Dream Vacation for Two

 
 Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May
Win a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on a Random Wind Charter


 

Featured Hotel 



 

Belmond La Samanna

 

 --------------- LAS-Deck-448x298Belmond La Samanna... your archway to St. Martin!  


Belmond La Samanna is an authentic hideaway of French Caribbean luxury along Saint-Martin's most exclusive beach--Baie Longue. The boutique resort offers 55 acres and a total of 83 oceanfront rooms, suites and villas. Located just minutes from Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), La Samanna is within easy reach of major US cities. LAS-Bedroom-355x236

Located atop a rocky bluff and tucked within a gentle cove, La Samanna's Mediterranean-inspired architecture is bold white with clay-colored terracotta shingles--a throwback to personalized service and complete indulgence. Where umbrella drinks arrive upon request and celebrities stay tucked beneath sprawling palms. Dense mangroves and bright pink bougainvilleas offer added privacy. The Caribbean Sea's stunning blues shimmer throughout the day, as Saba Island rises in the distance. Wrapped in a dreamlike contradiction of intimate seclusion and adventurous activities, guests laze in simple solitude one day. Then engage in yoga, sailing, snorkeling and professional tennis the next. La Samanna's beachside Water Activities Cabana has an experienced staff to coordinate all activities, both on-and off-property.  

LAS-LivingSpace-355x238In each of the 83-oceanfront guest rooms, whites and blues envelope guests in clean interior design. Rooms are graceful and light with decorative pillows, white travertine flooring and marble countertops in bathrooms. Accommodations include traditional guestrooms, one-and two-bedroom suites and three-bedroom cottages. All suites offer living rooms, dining rooms and private terraces.  

Washed in the resort's classic Caribbean grandeur, La Samanna Villas offer more than 4,600 square feet of exclusive space. Each three and four-bedroom Villa is complete with wraparound private infinity pools, generous indoor/outdoor living quarters, sweeping ocean views, oversized private terraces and more.  

On an island known for its gastronomical exploits, the Executive Chef at La Samanna does not disappoint. The day begins with buffet breakfast to rival the finest on the mainland. Fresh fruits, homemade French pastries and gourmet coffee delight guests. During the day, The Beach Bar and Interlude Restaurant serve up lunch as each overlooks one of the resort's beautiful pools. While at night, Interlude Restaurant celebrates French-Caribbean fare and La Cave--the region's most talked about wine cellar--entertains with more than 12,000 bottles.  

"One of the Top Three Restaurants in the Caribbean"
Travel and Leisure Magazine

Award-winning French Cuisine
La Samanna's renowned dining room, Trellis Restaurant, has been claimed as one of the finest in the world not to mention one of the most romantic settings overlooking the Caribbean Sea. La Samanna's blend of LaSamTrellis-2Caribbean and French influence is especially expressed in its fine cuisine. Acclaimed by Travel & Leisure Magazine as "one of the top three restaurants in the Caribbean," the restaurant maintains a world-class reputation through its constant commitment to fresh, first-class food, found locally as well as flown in daily from France. The menu is full of new passion, both in presentation and palate. Classical yet unique, the menu strives to explore new tastes beyond those known to the luxury restaurants in New York and in Paris, a fusion of French, Creole and Caribbean soul. More details...

Renovation of La Samanna's world-renowned Wine Cellar into La Cave Restaurant offers a remarkable opportunity to wine enthusiasts, with its cavern's inventory rivaling the top eight best resorts in the world for wine as written by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. A unique and private dining experience, created for individual tastes and mood, can now be had by candlelight in the Cellar itself, where new, sought and rare vintages will compliment a fine dinner menu.

On the more casual side, a very special treat is to plan a lobster barbecue on the beach for lunch, or in the evening with flamed torches, and island music. The selection each morning at our breakfast buffet pleases guests from around the world while enjoying their coffee with a peaceful overlook of Baie Longue. More details... 

 

"One of the world's best places to stay..."
CONDE NAST TRAVELLER

 

Caribbean Weddings at La Samanna
La Samanna Resort & Spa in St Martin can provide the perfect setting for your Caribbean destination wedding. Our exclusive Caribbean beach Weddings400x167resort and professional staff are highly prepared to host your wedding celebrations and make your most special day look like an effortless vacation. 
 

Our Guest Services Manager will assist you in choosing the perfect location for your wedding ceremony, based on your group size. The hotel offers unique wedding locations ranging from the beautiful beach terrace to the pool terrace or our stately Rendezvous Pavilion, where your wedding reception and celebrations can be held.  

We look forward to welcoming you and your wedding party to our romantic Caribbean beach paradise. For more information on planning your Caribbean Wedding at La Samanna Resort, Click here.

Leisure & Activities
For those who crave action, the choices at La Samanna are endless. Activities Jetskier400x168such as complimentary kayaking, yoga, pilates, tennis, snorkeling and more are all on hand, while scuba programs, water-skiing, wake boarding, kid's 'banana' boat, wave runners, snorkel trips, day charter boats, island tours and off-property excursions are easily arranged by our concierge. Read more... 
 

La Samanna Spa
Indulge in spa treatments or get yourself in prime physical and mental condition at our superb fitness center.
Guests don't have to go far for world-class relaxation. La Samanna Spa offers seven treatment rooms, including five indoor/outdoor treatment suites--each with a private Zen garden and outdoor shower. From a detoxifying body wrap to a classic deep tissue massage, the Spa has a full range of services focusing on extravagance, rejuvenation and wellness using natural elements. 
 

All technicians are European-trained professionals, thus we can offerSpa400x168 more than 40 different stress-relievers such as hot stone massage techniques, natural seaweed body treatments, cryotherapy, Shiatsu, reflexology, and balneotherapy. Also available at La Samanna's Spa are manicures, pedicures, waxing, face/eye care and hair styling. Phytomer, a sea-ingredient based line of natural French products are used exclusively with all treatments.  

Our Spa manager will work with you ahead of time to create the perfect rejuvenation package for each guest, scheduling around activities. This will allow one less detail to handle when you arrive. We can customize any of our treatments to fit your special needs. And, at your request, we will gladly and discreetly extend sound advice for integrating a healthier lifestyle for you to take back home. More details...  

Two Cultures. One island. On the French side, a relaxed mélange of English, French Creole and other Caribbean dialects punctuate each conversation. The aroma of classic French fare swirls throughout St. Martin's capital city--Marigot. Originally a fishing village, today the city's open-air market teems colorful locals, earthy spices and native lolos. The Dutch side is home to duty-free shopping and a pulsating nightlife filled with the promise of mischief. Head to Maho after sunset for glittering discos, casinos, bars and steel drum bands. Or, shop in Phillipsburg for jewelry, European fashion and electronics.  


Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa,
Bay Long, St. Martin, F.W.I.
For reservations, Tel: 800.854.2252 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Please visit our website at: www.lasamanna.com 
 


 

Featured Activity

 


AquaManiaHeader-R

 

"Imagine a one stop vacation shop. A place that could offer departures
to all destinations for daytrips, all the toys for water sports and combine
a professional and well established dive center to round off the package." 
 


AQUA MANIA Adventures is such a company, with over 20 years experience in the customer service industry and friendly and reliable staff. These are the people to help you plan an unforgettable vacation. St. Maarten is uniquely surrounded by four beautiful islands - The French Jewel "St. Barts," the Unspoiled Dutch Queen, "Saba," and the two British sisters, "Anguilla and Prickly Pear Cay." Each day a new country and culture, and exciting opportunities to explore and enjoy.AquaManiaStartpage

 Aqua Mania Adventures has a great new addition to its list of toys, activities and fun. "PLAYSTATION 4 KIDS" It is the brainchild of owner Mike Yates, and lends some much needed entertainment on island for kids. "Playstation" is a converted catamaran that hosts swings, slides, monkey bars, paddles boats and a floating trampoline. I've personally seen it and it looks like a lot of fun. It presents quite a sight out there in Simpson Bay. Playstation operates daily from 9.30am to 5pm. The cost is $15 pp for 3 hours of play and kids 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Playstation is also available for Birthday parties and various Kid's functions including our new "Survivor Trip," "Gilligan's Island," "Kid's Lagoon Cruise" or a semi submarine.  

Strategically located at Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay, AQUA MANIA Adventures offers "Edge I & II" - High Speed ferries to St. Barts, the only constant service to Saba. State of the art sail cats, "Lambada and Tango," offer the best means to travel to pristine white beaches and the aquamarine waters surrounding Anguilla and Prickly Pear. Great snorkeling at these destinations and local restaurants provide a tasty BBQ lunch. Lambada's crew is legendary for a guaranteed good time.  

If you prefer a half day sightseeing and snorkeling combo, Sand Dollar is a popular outing with departures twice daily. Captain Alex is a dedicated and amusing companion for the three hour trip, and snorkeling at Creole Rock caters to the experienced and novice alike. This is a trip to christen that new gear or knock the cobwebs out of the trusted antiques.  

St. Barts
St Barts is aptly called "The Jewel of the Caribbean". Just 45 minutes from Pelican Marina with the "Edge" ferries. Depart at 9 am to arrive in Gustavia Harbour, the hub of activity. Check in 8 am!  

Sidewalk cafes offer crepes and croissants for breakfast, car rentals meet the boat, the taxi stand is a few feet away, and boutiques are open for business. This exceptional island has white sandy beaches, good snorkeling, great restaurants and a unique shell museum. A day guaranteed to entertain with sights and delights. Lunch can be had at a local burger shack, or fine dining at one of the exclusive hotels, your choice, beachside. Many of the shops in Gustavia may close over the lunch time period, so we recommend shopping in the morning.  

Taxi tours can be arranged upon arrival at Gustavia. Prices vary depending how many people in a group. Afterwards a stop at St Jean Beach for shopping, beaching and lunch, and then return to Gustavia with a short time to spare for shopping before the ferry departs. Check in for the boat is at 3.45pm, for departure at 4pm. Arrival at Pelican at approximately 4.45pm.  

St Barts also has some great scuba diving. Little pinnacles, reefs and wrecks are abundant with marine life and local dive shops are attentive. Dive trips can be arranged with St Barts Plongee or Plongee Caraibes.  

St. Maarten is also a great dive destination. The outlying wreck and reef sites offer fantastic dives and excellent photo opportunities. For the average diver whose partner or family do not dive, here is where St. Maarten excels. Plenty of beaches, snorkeling, activities, shopping and day trips to keep everyone entertained while the divers go about the pleasure of diving. Waters are warm and inviting, and the marine life is aboundant. Moray eels, turtle and southern stingray are common sightings - and frog fish and jaw fish are a treat to find. Dive Adventures chooses dive sites the morning of the dive, to ensure the best decision is made for that day's weather and sea conditions.

 

-------------------------Aqua Mania Adventures

------------------------- Pelican Resort Marina, St. Maarten, N.A.
------------- For reservations, call 1.721.544.2640, Fax: 1.721.544.2476.
--- On the French side, 011.590.690.22.32.32 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
----Visit: www.stmaarten-activities.com or Visit: www.diveadventures-sxm.com 

--------------------------------------------------------


What's Happening in Paradise?

by Sam Fusco 


The Horny Toad Guesthouse had minor damage to the grounds from Hurricane Gonzalo and lost one palm tree.

<><><>

Vacation Reopenings 

Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa will reopen Saturday, November 1st

Lee's Roadside Grill located in Simpson’s Bay reopened on September 30th

Pizza Galley which recently received its 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor reopened October 15th

Scuba Fun Dive Center located in Dock Maarten, Philipsburg, will not be closing for summer vacations. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here

L'Hoste Hotel and its restaurant, La Playa, which is located on Orient Beach will be open all year. La Playa Bar Restaurant with its private beach in front of the hotel offers an idyllic setting for breakfast or lunch in the shade of the palm trees caressed by the sea breeze. Enjoy the unique Beach Bar ambiance and savor cocktails on the beach until sunset. 

Jimbo's Cafe is reopening on Saturday, November 1st. Come and enjoy!

Club Orient Resort located on Orient Beach reopened October 6th

Hideaway Bar & Restaurant located at (www.LaVistaResort.comOctober 1st. 

Le Petit Hotel located on the beach in Grand Case will be open all year. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here

<><><> 

Four Canadian Tourism Deals Gained This Season
A number of Canada-based tourism suppliers have added newly-launched St. Maarten deals, including package trips, in addition to recently established additional direct flights.   The news comes in the midst of a second particularly successful year for St. Maarten and the Canadian market in terms of additional tourism arrivals.  Sunwing’s upcoming fall/winter programme now includes the new Sonesta Ocean Point Resort: a five-star, all-inclusive and adults-only resort opening November 27.  Sunwing has added a new weekly flight from Ottawa. The new flight is in addition to the airline’s two existing weekly flights departing from Montreal and Toronto on Thursdays and Sundays.  Westjet Vacations is the first tour operator in Canada to offer Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. Westjet also has added The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa and Sonesta Ocean Point Resort to its St. Maarten programme. The airline has three Weekly flights from Toronto and one from Montreal.   Air Canada Vacations has added a second weekly flight from Toronto. The Rouge flights depart on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Air Canada also has added Oyster Bay Beach Resort and the new Sonesta Ocean Point Resort to its fall/winter program.
 
Thirty Expected For 10th Sol Optimist Championship
At least thirty young Caribbean sailors are expected to compete in the 10th annual Sol St. Maarten Optimist Championship November 8 to 9 in Simpson Bay.   This is an international Sailing event sponsored by Sol St. Maarten, featuring both male and female sailors ages 7 to 15 competing in the one-design Optimist class sailing dinghies.   The championship is expected to draw sailors from five Caribbean islands including six entries from Tortola. One entry is from The BVI’s last year’s overall winner, 12 year old Rayne Duff, who is coming back to defend his title.  At least four youths will also be traveling from Curacao and seven are expected from both St. Maarten and St. Barths. Six more are registered from Anguilla. This regatta will be divided into two classes, by age or ability, to be determined by the Race officer at the time of registration. 

Post Office Inaugurates New Branch At Harbour
Key representative of Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS) N.V. and the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies (SHGC) came together on Friday, October 17, for the Inauguration ceremony of PSS’ third location, within Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities.   The small structure, which will be manned by one person, is located strategically to be passed by thousands of tourists who will be “looking for little souvenirs and memories of their visit,” said PSS Interim Director Antonia Wilson.   A key feature will be the sale of personalized stamps. Visitors will be able to have their pictures taken and incorporated into official stamps. Postcards, regular stamps, DHL service and Post office services, including mailing of parcels and letters, also will be on offer, services not available on the cruise ships. The personalized souvenirs are expected to be a hit.   
 
Carbonneau Chosen For Elite Model World Finals
Sixteen-year-old Learning Unlimited (LU) preparatory school student Danielle Carbonneau will be the first girl to represent St. Maarten in the Elite Model World Finals in Shenzhen, China this December.   Elite Model officials announced Carbonneau as Elite Model Look winner for St. Maarten and the representative for the country at a press conference at Bamboo Bernie’s last week. She was one of two finalists in the running for the opportunity.   The LU eleventh grader, who was born in St. Maarten, will join finalists from other countries for the World Final with hopes of following in the footsteps of Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour and Gisele Bundchen who began their modelling careers thanks to the Elite Model Look contest. The teenager is an aspiring businesswoman who wants to one day own her own spa. She plans to pursue her tertiary studies in Montreal, Canada following her education at LU. She loves physical therapy and healing through natural products.   

Dock Maarten Launches Long-Awaited Expansion
A long-awaited extension of Dock Maarten is underway, currently in the initial phase of expanding a breakwater, originally built in 1984. The project will entail creating a deeper basin for the facility that services ultra-or gigayachts, which require deeper waters than that of the Simpson Bay Lagoon, and cannot always fit through the bridge width-wise.   The project will result in additional protection of boat slips belonging to the company as well as Bobby’s Marina, said Dock Maarten Managing Director Brian Deher, who is heading the project with his father, Dock Maarten owner Michel Deher. The boats will be in a calmer environment, especially important during swells and other rough weather conditions.   Although it depends somewhat on the surrounding developments, the intention is to connect to the Boardwalk Boulevard on the waterside, leading more passengers to walk along the water’s edge, rather than on the street.
 
Sunwing Vacation Flights From Ottawa In December
Sunwing Vacations will be bringing the island of St. Maarten closer to Ottawa residents this Winter with a new, direct, non-stop flight service. Operated by Sunwing Airlines, on route passengers can sit back and relax with award winning champagne service including a welcome glass of champagne, complimentary Hot & Fresh Bistro Meals served with wine along with first-run and inflight entertainment,  also offered at no charge. All flights also include a generous 20kg free baggage allowance.  Commencing December 15, 2014, the weekly flight from Ottawa to St. Maarten will enable vacationers to discover the island’s varied attractions. New for this winter, the five-star Sonesta Ocean Point Resort will offer an elegant addition to the island’s collection of adult-oriented accommodation.   A Sunwing Relax Resort, Sunwing guests at this adults-only property will be spoiled with exclusive perks. An established favourite amongst Sunwing clientele, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is a perennially popular choice for families and couples alike.   A week stay at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is available from US $1,035 per person plus US $370 in taxes, based on two people departing Ottawa on December 15, 2014, and sharing a deluxe room on an all-inclusive basis. 
 

World Poker Tour Returns To Casino Royale In November
Poker players looking for a luxurious vacation that features an exciting poker tournament should be sure to check out the upcoming World Poker Tour Event at St. Maarten’s Casino Royale.   The US $3,500 tournament will be held November 3 to 7, 2014 at one of the Caribbean’s largest casinos. Accommodations for the event are available at the island’s Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel and Casino and the island’s newly-renovated, all-inclusive Sonesta Ocean Point Resort.  “The amenities, staff, and setting, including the all-inclusive, five-star accommodations available at the newly-renovated Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, make this a must-play event for not only international poker players, but also for the local players who came out in droves  to join in the festivities last year,” said World Poker Tour  President Adam Pliska.   Whether it’s high-stakes gaming, adrenaline-pumping adventure or relaxing Caribbean diversions, Maho Village, where the casino and Sonesta Ocean Point Resort are located, is a “destination within a destination” that has truly redefined entertainment, dining, shopping and gaming in a vibrant resort atmosphere.  
 

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters


The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., 5201 Warrens Way, Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 1.973.835.0600 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Publisher: Sam Fusco, Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco, Sales and Marketing: Barbara Fusco.


 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2014 Newsletter

The
StMaarten/StMartin
Connection

"…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
 
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"


Dear Friends of St. Maarten, 

Here I am in New Jersey writing our bi-monthly newsletter and thinking about the things I enjoy on StMaarten/StMartin. Gosh, there are so many thoughts racing through my mind that I’m not sure where to begin. None the less, here are several reasons why Barbara and I have visited the island more than 70 times since 1978: 

Lying on the beach with a drink in one hand, a good book in the other relaxing while the calm waves of the Caribbean Sea caress your toes; 

Having a tasty dinner with your loved one at an outdoor café while you challenge each other to count the stars in the darkened sky; 

Drinking your morning coffee sitting on the balcony of your hotel watching the Pelicans cruise through the air in search of breakfast in the waters below; 

Offering a just read novel to a fellow traveler on the beach and accepting one of his in return leading to a discussion on authors; 

Enjoying an Investment Class in a casino as your money grows and grows while a waitress provides you with your favorite beverages; 

Watching the sun rise in the morning and setting in the evening and realizing that each day these magnificent images of the sky and sea will never be identical; 

Watching fishingmen in their boats going out in the morning heading for their favorite spots in the sea to throw out their lines or nets; 

The 37 wonderful beaches of StMaarten/StMartin each offering its own uniqueness and pleasures from privacy to crowds of like-minded tourists; 

The multi-colored flowers throughout the island – bougainvillea, hibiscus and, of course, the palm trees with their abundance of tasty coconuts ripe for the picking; 

Enjoying satisfying meals from roadside barbeque stands to innovative gourmet dinners at the finest restaurants in the Caribbean that provide numerous ethnic specialties which leave you wanting more; 

Shopping for sporty clothes, shopping for one-of-a-kind jewelry, shopping for the finest leather goods, shopping for a unique watch – just shopping; 

Even the most hardened workaholic will learn to relax after spending some time on the island and the idea of opening a bar or restaurant or ‘How many years do I have until retirement?’ will start creeping into your daily thoughts. 

I guess it’s time for me to surf United Airlines or American for a good airfare. Maybe we’ll meet you on island some time.

 

Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher

Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism -
Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association

Featured in this issue:

1. Featured Villa: Villa Azur by PierresCaraibes
2. Featured Shop: Shipwreck Shops
3.
The Best Hotels for the Cheapest Prices!
4. Featured Restaurant: Topper's Restaurant & Bar
5. Featured Hotel: Le Petit Hotel
6. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images

7. Featured Activity: Random Wind Charters
8. Featured Article: What is a Sommelier 
9. Featured Article Part 2: An Interview with a Sommelier
10. What's Happening in Paradise?
 

 


Featured Villa

 

 

---------------------__Villa Azur ------------------

This newly remodeled villa offers a wonderful contemporary décor while keeping the spirit of the Caribbean. The sunset brightly colors the skies above while you relax on the terrace or sit by the pool.

AzurPool-328x219--- TennisCourrt-328x219

The many amenities of the villa include a fully equipped kitchen, TV with satellite in all of the bedrooms, a Jacuzzi, a pool, a floodlit tennis court (Artificial Grass Sit In Sport Tennis 15 HD 110 (sand filled), a ping pong table, a Jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom and an organic anti-mosquito misting system.

Kitchen-328x219--- Bedroom-328x219

The master bedroom is to the side of the living room in an independent bungalow. The large en-suite bathroom has a shower and a walk-in closet. The Jacuzzi tub is behind the king sized bed. The second and third bedrooms are located downstairs and open to the tropical gardens. Both have king sized beds and en-suite bathrooms. The fourth bedroom is a closed mezzanine with steps down to the living area and  bathroom.

OutdoorDiningArea-328x219--- OutdoorLivingRoom-328x219
 

This beautifully decorated villa is within walking distance of La Samanna Hotel. It is a perfect getaway for families with older children and friends travelling together for a Caribbean escape.

Pierres Caraibes Villa Rentals & Real Estate  

For reservations or information, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
or Telephone: 011.590.590.51.02.85 | From the US 1.213.805.0840
To view our complete selection of villa rentals visit us at: www.pierrescaraibes.com
For villa sales visit us at: www.exclusivecaribbeanproperty.com 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Shop

 

---------- logo shipwreck 160--- LHlogoBig--- logo boardwalk 160


St. Maarten/St. Martin is the Caribbean's finest shopping destination, with its chic French influence and duty free status and "Shipwreck Shops" are the island's premium shopping destination. Our stores have been providing locals and visitors to the island with high quality Caribbean-made gifts, souvenirs, books and resort wear for over 40 years in 16 key locations in both French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten.

The Shipwreck Shop idea was born in the late sixties, with the shipwreck WestIndiesMallof a small yacht in a heavy storm on the coast of the caribbean Island of Antiqua. Stranded on this quiet Caribbean island the couple had to find a way to finance their escape, so they started a 'shipwreck' shop and decorated the store with wreckage from the yacht. The concept proved so successful, that the couple expanded the stores throughout the islands and Shipwreck Shops came to the island of St. Maarten.

As the island of St. Maarten grew from a fledgling tourist destination with only a few hotels, to a major player in the Caribbean tourism trade, complete with fantastic duty free shopping, in numerous world class hotels and casino's; so Reinier and Lydia Heere grew the company into the major retailer on the island, that it remains today. Over the years the stores have became a landmark on the island, and are well known as "the" store for high quality island clothing, souvenir items, gifts and handicrafts.

Today, there is hardly a resort or major hotel on either the French or Dutch side of this two country island that does not have a Shipwreck Shop serving the guests. Cruise ship passengers seldom miss the unique stores in Philipsburg and Marigot, identified by the life size Gorilla greeting them at the door.
GalWithPurse
Lord & Hunter was created as the upscale "premier" store in the operation and was chosen as the name of the recently established U.S. base for the continued expansion of the Shipwreck Enterprise. The name is derived from the English translation of the Dutch Family names of Heere (Lord) and De Jager (Hunter).

We invite you to explore our website, www.ShipwreckShops.com; where we can now bring you the delights of Caribbean cooking into your kitchen with our Antilles Spice Clipper line of treats, delicacies and sauces. Order online and bring the exotic tastes of paradise into your home year round.

We hope that we can entice you to come and visit our tropical island paradise during your next vacation. Whether your visit is a day stop aboard a cruise ship or a week in an island villa, St. Maarten offers something for everyone. Come to our island paradise and visit one of our famous Shipwreck, Cabana, Boardwalk or Lord & Hunter stores conveniently located in shopping plazas and resorts.


Shipwreck Shops,
Main Office, Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
For questions or information, please telephone: 1.721.542.5358.
Email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at: www.shipwreckshops.com


 

Special Feature   

  

 

The Best Hotels for the Cheapest Prices! 

 


Going
to the island and l
ooking to save money?

We can offer you a 50% discount off the regular rate at select island hotels. These rates are confidential and the hotel names cannot be published here. Interested?

 

Email Sam Fusco at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include your Name, Travel Dates and "Discounted Hotel Rates" as your Subject. Sam will answer you within 24 hours with the hotel name(s) and the 50% discounted rate | Or telephone us at (001) 973.835.0600. These rates are exclusive to StMaarten.org.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Restaurant    

ToppersLogo-250x195

--------Twice the Excitement & Fun!

 

 

Topper's Restaurant & Bar

A Great International Restaurant in a Fun Caribbean Cottage
Topper's, located in bustling Simpson Bay on the beautiful island of St. Maarten, a place that celebrates the all-American comfort cuisine with a menu filled with familiar culinary traditions from the Heartland alongside international culinary delights. Daily specials focus on fresh seafood and the best quality meats cooked to perfection. 

DiningAreaRLunch is served from 11:am until 5:pm that includes daily specials such as coconut shrimp, Malibu Chicken, Creole Red Snapper, Beef Stew, Fish and Chips, homemade soups and Kabobs. 

Dinner is served from 5:pm until 10:pm. Don't miss the incredible 14oz Filet Mignon, Red Snapper in pink peppercorn sauce, Fresh Sea Scallops, Prime Rib, Fresh Local Lobster, Osso buco and more! 

After dinner enjoy the homemade pies and desserts as well as a complimentary sample of Topper's handmade gourmet flavored Rhum liqueurs. 

The cozy bar is a local hangout and well known for Thursday night Island style Karaoke and nightly live music with a variety of artists playing standards, oldies, Reggae and classic rock, you will want to stay and dance the night away. 

The key word at Topper's is comfort, from the fun and cozy Caribbean décor, feel-good atmosphere to the unprecedented service, and food. We aspire to become your home, away from home! 

Topper's by the Sea 

A Unique Continental Restaurant with a Caribbean Flair
Celebrating the surrounding environment and you, Topper's by the Sea's diverse menu offers a variety of international culinary delights and American comfort food with daily ByTheSeaTablesRspecials that focus on fresh seafood offerings with a distinctive Caribbean flair and the best quality meats cooked to perfection. You can enjoy sensational tropical concoctions, innovative libations and fabulous food in our open-air atmosphere while watching the turquoise sea lap gently on the shore. 

Breakfast begins daily at 8:30am until 11:00am with traditional breakfast offering as well as specialty items like our French toast kabobs. Don't miss our Sunday & Wednesday morning Bloody Mary Bar! 

Lunch is served from 11:am until 5:pm. Please check our chalkboards for daily specials such as coconut shrimp, Malibu chicken, Creole Red Snapper, homemade soups and beef kabobs. 

Dinner is served from 5:pm until 10:pm. Please ask your server about our entertainment or nightly specials such as our incredible 14oz Filet Mignon, Red Snapper in pink peppercorn sauce, Prime Rib, Osso buco and more! We also offer Private Sea Side Dining by reservation only for your special celebrations. 

Please enjoy a complimentary sample of our handmade flavored Rhum liqueurs after any meal and take a memory of the island home with you in a bottle! 

RumBottlesRComplimentary entertainment and daily specials will keep you coming back for more. Monday nights come alive with a Caribbean Show and buffet - an evening not to be missed, filled with memorable moments, smiles, laughter and true Caribbean fun! Tuesday nights offer stuffed pork tenderloin and our fresh catch of the day. Featuring Duke & James performing standards, oldies and classic rock, you will want to stay and dance the night away. Wednesday nights is the Lobster Party, fresh Anguillian Lobster succulent and sweet! The live show on Thursday nights is spectacular with wonderful performances of Cabaret, Chicago, Cats and more. Prime Rib and fresh Mahi Mahi specials top off the evening. Friday night we have a 16oz Filet Mignon and fresh Sea Scallops followed by Karaoke fun! 

We view our restaurant as your home away from home and with that we aspire to deliver you a comfortable and personalized experience. Please share with us any special requests. Our goal is to anticipate your needs and to fulfill your expectations. Enjoy!  

 

Awards

Best BBQ 2012
Best Breakfast 2011
Best Lunch 2010
Best Happy Hour 2009
Best New Restaurant 2008
Best Bartender 2008
Lonely Planet - Selected for Best Bars of the World  

 

 

Topper's Restaurant & Bar
113 Welfare Road, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten

For reservations, tel: 1.721.544.3500 or 520.6760

Topper's by the Sea
At Flamingo Beach Resort
6 Billy Folly Road, Pelican Key, St. Maarten
For reservations, tel: 1.721.544.6002 or 520.7667
Visit us at: www.sxmtoppers.com


Featured Hotel 

 

LPLogoLarger

On the Beach in Grand Case, St. Martin, F.W.I. 



VeryWideSeaview-635x222

Capture the mysterious quality of enchantment and romance, found only on the unspoiled shores of Grand Case Bay, Saint Martin. Welcome to Le Petit Hotel, a Mediterranean style jewel set right on the beach and just footsteps away from Saint Martin's renowned French side restaurants. Here, casual, elegant dining is an epicurean delight. InteriorPhoto-332x220

Perfectly situated in the picturesque, seaside fishing village of Grand Case, Le Petit Hotel offers nine deluxe studios and a one bedroom suite, all with a king size bed, fully equipped kitchen and dining area, cable television, direct-dial telephone, private safe and ceiling fans. Marvel at the splendor of the setting sun from your own private ocean front terrace, as it melts into the turquoise sea. Fall asleep in air-conditioned comfort to the sounds of gentle surf lapping the powdered shore.

OBedroomBalcony-332x221ur beach offers wonderful swimming and snorkeling, and of course we supply comfortable beach chairs and beach towels for our guests. Or, if you prefer, you can start your morning with a stroll to our lovely sister hotel L'Esplanade, where a beautifully tiled swimming pool awaits, beckoning you to enjoy a refreshing dip. The pool overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is surrounded by tropical flowers and plants. There is also a swim up bar in the high season.

Day to day reality will slip away, as you indulge yourself with an afternoon of duty free shopping in BalconySeaview-307x230the stylish boutiques and art galleries. Take advantage of easy access to boating, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, golf, tennis and horseback riding. You can also visit the surrounding islands by boat or plane, which makes a nice day trip. Le Petit Hotel has an activities desk where we would be happy to plan any excursion for you. By night, discover a variety of colorful local bars and "Lolos" with their Antillean hospitality, or try your luck in one of the numerous casinos. And, for a quieter evening, we have a wide selection of books available for your reading pleasure.

Welcome to Le Petit Hotel, where the ultimate pairing of pristine destination, unparalleled personal service and exquisite accommodations is no longer a fantasy. Capture the spirit of your intimate island home, where you arrive a stranger and leave as a treasured friend... Discover LE PETIT HOTEL! 


-------------------------- "Le Petit Hotel, for the lucky few..."


Le Petit Hotel,
On the Beach in Grand Case, St. Martin, F.W.I.
For reservations/Tel: 011.590.590.29.09.65 or fax: 011.590.590.87.09.19.
Please visit our web site at
www.lepetithotel.com or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 



Sam's Selection


------------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

LaSamBeach-332x222--A LaSam Villa-320x213----
------------ La Samanna's Beach --------------------   La Samanna Villa 

---
MarigotMall-329x219--MarigotMarina-333x222-- --
------- Marigot Mall & Fort Louis  ------------------- Marigot & Marina


RadissonsPool-336x224---WestinsPoolBeachView-333x223---
---------Radisson Pool ---------------------------- Westin's Pool & Ocean View 

---


Featured Activity  

Bowsprit-R2


--------------------
A Traditional Sailboat on the island St. Maarten

We invite you to join us as we sail, swim, snorkel, eat, drink, fish and swing into the Caribbean Blue for a most wonderful day in paradise. Random Wind is a 54' traditional sailboat that's been around the world twice. We start off in the shade of the stern; where the cushions are seriously thick. There is no rush, we are already on the water in the steady breeze of the trade winds. Then we set sail. We follow no set itinerary, we watch the sea conditions every day; we sail and swim where it is safe and calm.

Find out why Random Wind is the number one sailboat excursion in St. Maarten. StandingBoard-318x239Relax, sail into the Caribbean Blue while listening to music, chatting, having a cold drink. Troll a fishing line. Snorkel in some of the island's best sites. Eat a homemade lunch. Have some sweets.

What sets Random Wind apart from the other excursions is that there are just enough people. You have your own space and can really relax if you want. The crew love to get to know you and are interested in sharing stories and having a laugh.

The boat has an underwater camera that anyone can use. Trip photos are posted on the website: www.randomwind.com and are free to copy!

The Tarzan Swing is great fun. You can swing out and let go or try a flip. The crew are getting really good with flips and dives. It is great fun to watch as well as have a go.

The bowsprit seat is the best. For one, two or three it offers quiet time to contemplate, dolphin watch, etc. it is so great when the dolphins ride alongside in the bow wave - it's like a gift from heaven.

Although the bar is more extensive than most, open and available the entire trip (Diane will even serve you drinks in the water if you are chillin' on a noodle), it is not a booze cruise. Alcohol is not pushed on you - it is there to enhance the good time everyone is already having. It is a chilled out trip that is fun, entertaining and really quite special.

TarzanSwing-318x239Snorkeling
We usually stop twice; at the first stop while you are snorkeling, chillin' or walking the beach, your hostess is cooking you a full lunch in the yacht's galley. Diane always has good sweets for after lunch before sailing out again. The best seat on board is the bowsprit; sitting out over the water, it is a place for contemplation, inspiration and if there is a bit of a swell - exhilaration.

Tarzan Swing
At the second stop we drop the spinnaker pole & swing into the ocean from St. Maarten's only Tarzan swing. We like to call it good clean fun in paradise. Thus far, those between 3 and 87 have had fun with the Tarzan swing; if you are 2 or 88 you can break the record! Your crew can show you how to flip forwards & backwards if you are feeling adventurous. If you just want to watch, they can be quite entertaining!

Reasonable Prices
Our trip is $109 per adult and $75 for kids 5-12. Kids 4 and under are free. Can you imagine staying on land - going out to lunch, having as many drinks as you want (including bottled water, juices and sodas), having quality snacks, going snorkeling, fishing and swinging from a Tarzan swing for only $109 for the whole day. You can't stay on land for that cheap! Also, book your reservation directly with Diane at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at www.randomwind.com and get $10 off per adult. Contact Diane for Group FourPeople-318x239Discounts.

Music
We have a great stereo system with 6 speakers. We can play radio, CDs and ipods. We have a hook-up for your ipod if you want to bring it, or you can listen to our music - we have a huge selection! We love Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and lots of other stuff. Diane is especially stuck in the 80s! On sunset cruises (private only) we play soft music like Enya, Mozart, etc.

Our mission:
It is the mission of Random Wind Charters, NV to bring joy to those who board our boat as well as to those we encounter on land.

To attain this mission we:
Encourage fun & laughter in a stress free environment.
Treat all people equally & with respect.
Enjoy alcohol responsibly so as to enhance the good time we are having.
Take pleasure in the waters of St. Maarten/St. Martin as a green company; appreciating the beauty & leaving no footprint.

Our favorite places are Baie Rouge and Baie Longue. Baie Rouge has a lovelyLaSamannaPeople-320x320 emerging reef where we see all kinds of fish as well as turtles, sting ray, eel, star fish and who knows what may decide to show up. On very calm days it is lovely to swim through the cave. We anchor close enough for you to swim to any one of three beaches. We love it there. When we arrive at Baie Longue we are greeted by a school of jack fish; it is as if they know us and we enjoy feeding them and taking pictures with our underwater camera. There is a nice wall to snorkel on, above which sits St. Maarten's only 5 star resort, La Samanna Resort & Spa. This is where we swing from the Tarzan swing.

What is the Tarzan Swing?
On some boats there is the possibility of flying a giant, beautiful sail called a spinnaker sail. It is large and bulbous. It is used to catch a lot of wind, going downwind. We have a spinnaker sail on Random Wind but the ropes run across the boat such that it is not safe to use with more than a few people on board. There is a big pole that is used to hold the spinnaker sail out to maximize its' effectiveness. One day Captain Trevor came up with the idea of using the spinnaker pole to hold out a trapeze from which we can swing. I thought perhaps it was a crazy idea but was interested so next thing I know he has a ski rope and he is pulling the pole down. After about two months of testing, playing and perfecting, we went public with St. Maarten's only Tarzan Swing off a boat! So now everyday we drop the spinnaker pole about 40 degrees, secure it with two lines, attach an awesome, strong trapeze that Trevor designed and made and we get up on the rail and swing into the Caribbean blue. We have non-skid tape on the rails for safety. Now, as a result of Trevor's instruction, we can throw back flips, back dives and front dives. We play every day bringing great joy to our guests, young and old. The youngest person to do the Tarzan swing is 3 and the oldest person is 87.

A Couple Reviews:

"I would recommend this excursion to anyone. Diane and Trevor SettingSun-320x320were excellent hosts. It's a great way to see the island from the water. The boat is beautiful and comfortable, and you are taken care of all day. The size of the group they took out was perfect. You get to know everyone, but have plenty of room to relax. We had a great time and made two stops to snorkel and see the beautiful fish. You can swing into the water on the Tarzan swing - or just relax and float in the wonderful blue water. It was definitely our best day on the island. Absolutely fabulous and recommend to anyone going to St Maarten." Eileen and Ron, London, England

"Just returned from a trip to St. Martin. We booked this trip for a Tuesday and traveled with 13 other people. I have two teenagers and they loved the entire day. The food was over the top. The snorkeling was outstanding. We saw lots of fish and beautiful corral. Diane and Trevor couldn't have been more helpful. We couldn't of had a better experience. My children loved the Tarzan swing, the Jack fish and lunch!!! If you want a relaxing day with pampering don't miss the Random Wind excursion." Dottie, Raleigh, NC - More Reviews...

Random Wind is an OFFICIAL SPECTATOR YACHT for the HEINEKEN REGATTA!
SAME GREAT TRIP WHILE SEEING THE CARIBBEAN'S PREMIERE YACHT RACING
Check out www.heinekenregatta.com for info on the race. 
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


---------------------------- RANDOM WIND CHARTERS
----------------------------------- Cole Bay, St. Maarten
----------------------------- For reservations, tel: 1.721.587.5742
----------------- Visit: www.randomwind.com or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Featured Article


What is a “Sommelier?”

By Dr. Jean Hager Rich – Wine Connoisseur

How does he or she work? How can you use one? 

Sommelier is a French word that has become used in English as well. It’s pronounced “sum-al-yea,” and means a wine expert who works in a restaurant or wine shop and has extensive knowledge about wine. A particular specialty of a Sommelier is in matching (“Pairing”) of wine with food. A Sommelier’s advice is especially valuable in pairing a wine with a dish including his evaluation and judgment to match the preparation of the dish and any sauces or accompaniments.

If you are a host or person who wants to make a dinner an event, you’ll want to know a Sommelier and have his/her advice when choosing a wine to enjoy with your meal whether it’s in a restaurant or for dining enjoyably at home. A Sommelier advises not only which wine to drink, but also when to drink the wine so it will be drunk at the optimum time. A Sommelier may suggest whether a wine should be cellared longer to be fully appreciated, or conversely, that it’s the right time to drink it now. Perhaps, the Sommelier may suggest another wine because a certain one is past its prime.

T
he Sommelier is usually responsible for choosing the wines to be stocked by a restaurant or wine shop and for maintaining the cellar at a standard to optimize the enjoyment of the wines by the clientele by keeping the cellar conditions correct.

A Sommelier is knowledgeable in the rituals of wine service to enhance the enjoyment of the client. For example, the Sommelier should sniff the cork and decide if the wine is in good condition. If it’s not, he will not present it to the client.


A responsible Sommelier will recommend a wine to please both a client’s taste and budget. In serving the wine correctly for maximum enjoyment, the Sommelier will advise on the temperature of the wine and decide whether a wine should be decanted to best enjoy it. Decanting serves to aerate the wine to better express its character. It is also done to separate the wine from any sediment that has developed as it ages that would spoil the drinking experience if the client got it in their mouth. That’s why decanting is traditionally done over a candle to show the slide of the sediment and capture the sediment at the shoulder of the bottle and not let it go into the decanter.

It’s possible to become a wine expert by learning and tasting on your own, but most Sommeliers go to a school with specific wine courses and follow the formal training with experience, being mentored by the more experienced. Sommeliers take exams given by experts and are tested in competitions with colleagues. Internationally, a course is offered called “Master of Wine.” This is the highest level of wine certification and less than 200 professionals worldwide have qualified for it.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with a Sommelier!

 

Q: What is a Sommelier? 
A: It’s a person that serves the wines usually in a restaurant.

Q: What is his/her function? 
A: To help the customer choose the wines, according to the menu and the customer’s taste.

Q
: Why do you smell the cork? 
A: I don’t always smell the cork, because it can smell corked, but not the wine. 

Q: Why do you smell the wine before tasting it? 
A: To make sure the wine is correct. Also, just by smelling, some wines offer some nice aromas that foretell their special character and flavor. 

Q: What must you look for when choosing a wine? 
A: A wine is a living thing that has aroma, color, body and flavor which depends on the variety of grape used, how it was grown, harvested, fermented, blended and aged, bottled and how it is to be stored and aged in the bottle. In France, the appellation tells what variety is in the bottle. It’s important to consider the year and the producer. In the USA, the variety of grape is important as there aren’t regulations as there are in France as to which varieties can be grown in which region. 

Q: Why is white wine drunk a year or so after being bottled and red wines several years later? 
A: Some great white wines like Corton Charlemagne shouldn’t be drunk before 10 years, but for white or red it depends on how the wine is made and also the vintage. 

Q: Should white wine always be drunken cold and red wine at house temperature? 
A: The white wines in general could be served cold, but not too cold (iced) otherwise you can lose all the flavors. Reds are usually good at 16 to 18°C which is the temperature inside of a castle in France. 

Q: What does someone do if they are intimidated by a restaurant’s wine list? 
A: Let the Sommelier guide the customer. A Sommelier is a person who wants to please the customer and not try to sell the most expensive wine on the list. 

Q: How does someone match a particular wine with a meal? 
A: You must know the dish, its ingredients and preparation, and the wine. 

Q: How does someone become a Sommelier? 
A: School, but also the experience is important. I worked for 10 years in restaurants and I have had the opportunity to taste great wines every day.
--------------------------------------------------------


What's Happening in Paradise?

by Sam Fusco




Buccaneer Beach Bar

 

Presents a 4th of July Party

On Friday, July 4th | Come Join The Fun!

Free Face Painting for The Kids at 5-7PM
See Marcel, The Acrobat at 6-7PM
Watch the Quarter Finals of the World Cup at 12PM
Watch 4th of July Kids Movies on a screen on the Beach
Enjoy Hotdogs, Hamburgers & Cheese Burgers Pizza Specials
Watch the Fireball at Sunset
Happy Hour Every Day at 5-7PM 

 

Buccaneer Beach Bar
Billy Folly Road | Next to the Atrium Hotel Simpsonbay
Tel: 1.721.526.7953 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vacation Closings & Reopenings 

Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa will close for annual vacations and maintenance September 1st to October 31st or November 1st

Lee's Roadside Grill located in Simpson’s Bay will close on September 7th for vacation and maintenance and will reopen on September 30th

Leisure Car Rental St. Maarten, the Award Winning car rental agency, will not be closed for vacations and will be open all year. 

Pizza Galley has just received their 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Pizza Galley will close August 9th for vacations and maintenance and will re-open October 15th

Random Wind Charters, located in Simpson Bay Lagoon, will probably be closed for two weeks in late August or around September 8th to haul the main sailboat out of the water to put in a brand new engine. This will make the Random Wind better than ever. 

Pierres Caraibes Villa Rentals located in Marigot specializes in renting villas on both side of the island. In fact, they do not close for the summer and are open all year. 

The Mailbox Business Center, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) located at the Palapa Center & Marina in Simpson Bay will be open all year. 

Scuba Fun Dive Center located in Dock Maarten, Philipsburg, will not be closing for summer vacations. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here

Holland House Beach Hotel located in Philipsburg is fully operational and actually quite busy and will be open all year. 

Esco Pazzo Pizzeria, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at Port de Plaisance Resort and Casino is offering a Special for the month of July. From 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm buy one pizza and get a similar one for FREE. 

L'Hoste Hotel and its restaurant, La Playa, which is located on Orient Beach will be open all year. La Playa Bar Restaurant with its private beach in front of the hotel offers an idyllic setting for breakfast or lunch in the shade of the palm trees caressed by the sea breeze. Enjoy the unique Beach Bar ambiance and savor cocktails on the beach until sunset. 

Club Orient Resort located on Orient Beach will be closed for maintenance and vacations from August 17th reopening on October 6th

Captain Alan’s Boat Charters, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., located in Oyster Pond will be open all year. 
 

Hideaway Bar & Restaurant located at (www.LaVistaResort.com) will be closed for maintenance and vacations for the month of September. 

Le Petit Hotel located on the beach in Grand Case will be open all year. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here

Prestige Value Car Rental, (www.valuecarrental.com) with five locations on the island will be open all year.

Mario's Bistro located in Marigot will be closed for vacations and maintenance during August and September. Tel: 590.87.06.36.

This year, Princess Juliana International Airport is celebrating its 70th Anniversary. In addition, Regina LaBega, the former Tourism Director, is celebrating her one year anniversary as Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport operating company (PJIAE). Congratulations to Ms LaBega and her staff for a job well done.

<><><>

4th TripAdvisor Excellence Award For Summit Resort
The Summit Resort Hotel announced June 27 that it had received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence world-wide, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor.    “Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at The Summit Resort Hotel and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor.   There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence in our business and our continued commitment to excellence. We would also like to thank each and every one of our employees for their hard work and dedication to guest satisfaction which is what made winning this award possible,” said Owner Bruce Jakubovitz. 

Cable TV Launches The Travel Channel
St. Maarten Cable TV Managing Director Beulah Jonis has announced the launch of the Travel Channel, leading international travel broadcaster, on channel 173. It is part of the basic line-up, with all programming aired in English. “We are elated to announce the launch of the Travel Channel, where viewers have the opportunity to experience great story telling, shared human journeys and engaging encounters across the world,”  said Jonis.  “The Travel Channel not only shows its viewers the destination, but also the adventure it takes to get there. It features documentaries, reality shows and how-to television shows related to travel and leisure around the world.  The Travel Channel airs a variety of shows, including the popular “Hotel Impossible” and “Trip Flip” Programming ranges from authentic and inquisitive to surprising and fun. The Travel Channel focuses on the entire travel experience to include dining and various foods local to the particular country,” SXM Cable announced through a press release.  

St. Maarten One-Millionth Cruise Passenger Mark Mid- May
St. Maarten surpassed the one millionth cruise passenger mark in mid-May, it was announced last week.   The one millionth cruise passenger mark is usually reached around mid-June each year.   Port of St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo said he is very pleased with this news, noting that it further signifies that the country continues to grow in the cruise area. “This is a significant sign that our cruise sector is strong and continues to grow. This goes back to the relationships and strategic partnerships that have been developed over the years with the cruise lines,” Mingo said in a press release.   The countries cruise sector has grown “in leaps and bounds” Over the past 50 years, the press release stated. Port St Maarten will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 since the cruise pier opened.  

Princess Heights Designated For 4th Trip Advisor Award
For the fourth year in a row, Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Hotel has been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award, a recognition only given to properties that are able to achieve high and consistent quality and service standards, based on reviews and feedback from travellers from all around the world.   TripAdvisor, by far the largest online traveller review site, applies a patented algorithm in order to select properties that, among other factors, maintain an overall TripAdvisor “bubble rating” of at least four of five. Princess Heights has maintained a 4.5 bubble rating over four consecutive years.   Owner and General Manager Emil Lee stated that receiving the exclusive award for the fourth year is “a testimony of our consistency in terms of quality and guest service and our commitment to always keep improving. This prestigious recognition is a wonderful validation of the countless hours that staff and management have invested to ensure that our guests enjoy lavish accommodations with world class personalized service.”  
 
 

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters


The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., 5201 Warrens Way, Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 1.973.835.0600 or email: info@stmaarten.org.  Publisher: Sam Fusco, Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco, Sales and Marketing: Barbara Fusco. Contributing
Correspondents: Laura Richardson, Sir Roland Richardson and Jean Hager Rich.