We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

New To this Island

New Jersey
Level Contributor
48 posts
Save Topic
New To this Island

Hello,

This will be the firsts time that my husband and I will be travelling to this island. We are a fairly young couple and will be going for our 2 yr anniversary. We have a couple of questions:

1. what is the difference between the dutch side and the french side? which one is better

2. Is this island safe, similar to Aruba where there is no problem walking around and dining at the restaurants.

3. Is it better to get an all inclusive package or not

4. What is the closest hotel to the main st where you can locate all restaurants, bars, etc. We are looking for a reasonable priced hotel, where service is great, its clean and there is a beach on it.

5. What are some ideas for activities. Although we enjoy the beach,, we cannot sit there for a week.

Would really appreciate any input you may have.

Thank you

Lili

St. Maarten-St...
Level Contributor
1,223 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: New To this Island

Hopefully this will help...and this is just my opinion...others may vary in their choices and answers.

1. what is the difference between the dutch side and the french side? which one is better

Each one has it's own qualities.

The Dutch side speaks English more readily although the French side store owners and restaurant owners usually speak English to an extent to get by.

The Dutch side is more built up although it does have it's open areas as well. The French side is less built up and more countrified but has many stores and restaurants in specific areas like Marigot, Grand Case, and Orient Beach.

Both have beautiful beaches.

The Dutch side has the nightlife. The French side has limited nightlife but most places will close by 11:00 PM.

If you want late night nightlife, the places to stay are Simpson, Maho, or Cupecoy.

2. Is this island safe, similar to Aruba where there is no problem walking around and dining at the restaurants.

No, St. Maarten is not like Aruba where you can walk from hotel to hotel along a stretch of road or beach. St. Maarten is spread out and that is why it is recommended that visitors rent a car so that they can travel easily and safely to each point at night. There are specific areas that are safe at night to walk like Maho and Simpson/Cole Bay and parts of Cupecoy near the Atlantis Casino. You must keep your eyes open, don't do foolish things, and NEVER EVER leave anything in your rental car!!! This is the foremost #1 rule. Not even in the trunk. In a matter of seconds, you could lose everything, especially your luggage. Be smart and you'll be fine.

3. Is it better to get an all inclusive package or not

Most will say no to AI. St. Maarten is known for it's expansive list of quality restaurants but if your rate is phenomenal for AI, then go with it and then with the money you would save, go to a few out of network restaurants during your stay.

4. What is the closest hotel to the main st where you can locate all restaurants, bars, etc. We are looking for a reasonable priced hotel, where service is great, its clean and there is a beach on it.

There is no real main street on the island. There is a main road but nothing like Aruba. The hotels are not lined up one after the other. There are a few that come close but only one that has everything you would ask for and that is the Sonesta Maho because of the nightlife it offers in very easy and safe walking distance. Mullet Beach is a 5 minute walk and it is a beautiful beach. There is also the beach in front of the hotel but it is small. It's useable most days but if the currents are bad, the beach can be virtually unusable.

5. What are some ideas for activities. Although we enjoy the beach,, we cannot sit there for a week.

There are tons of activities and the activities desk at your hotel will give you lots to choose from. There are many boat excursions, a small zoo, there's possible trips to St. Barts and Anguilla or Saba. There are the zip lines, butterfly farm, The Old House tour, jet skies, parasailing, and many more.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
48 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: New To this Island

Im looking at hotels of where to stay in St Maarten. Im still not sure what is best French side or Dutch (any thoughts would be great). I'm looking for a beach and being able to be close to the restaurants and the main streets. Walking distance would be great but we have o problem renting a car.

I've been searching and I saw 2 hotels that seem to be ok

Pelican Resort Club and Oyster Bay Beach Resort.

Any advice on these 2 and other possibilities as well?

Thank you,

Lili

Staten Island, New...
Level Contributor
13,877 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: New To this Island

Hotels on Sint Maarten / St. Martin are not set up in a long row as they are on Aruba. It's just too hilly and theire is really no one "main" street. A car is necessary if you wish to duty free shop, visit casinos and beaches and dine arouind as most visitors here like to do.

Oyster Bay Beach Resort while it is an excellent property it is not on a main street and you would need a car to get around anywhere outside the Oyster Pond area away from the water.

Pelican is in a more busy area and it is possible to walk to many restaurants as long as you don't mind walking up and down the hills.

4. Re: New To this Island

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 15 September 2010, 05:15