To all who made our trip amazing through your responded to my posts and on this Board generally, Thank You!
Even though we had a visit from Earl and (to a far lesser extent), Fiona, our trip to SXM was incredibly lovely.
We started out by meeting Lesley Brice from Kenny's Car Rentals with our little Corolla (Great guy, great service, had the car right at the airport for us: $125 for 8 days!), stocking up on our way from the airport at a supermarket in Simpson Bay- Gourmet something? I stayed in the car to watch the luggage while my girlfriend ran in.
Checked into the Westin Dawn Beach. Very new and large and polished. Fantastic staff and service. Although the other posts I've seen about the Concierge being worthless are completely accurate. We rented a cell phone through their Services desk at $10/day which seemed fair. The 30-minute calling card was $10.
Room was spotless and lush with a fantastic view of St Barths and the hillside homes to the south.
Headed out to the beach for sunset. Dawn Beach was lovely. Since the rocks barred the beach walk to Mr. Busbys to the north, we decided to order bar food from the lobby bar and eat it by the pool. The calamari was good. The pool and massive jacuzzi, serenaded by the peeping frogs was perfect. The best part of the day by far, though, was swimming in the ocean (don't let security catch you doing this at night, but it was one of my favorite memories), and watching the moon materialize out of the ocean in an orange haze. It was amazing. Day one couldn't have been better.
Woke up and headed directly to Marigot for the Anguilla ferry, since we knew Earl was on its way, and that we may not get another chance for the Anguilla beaches. I'm pretty good at the urban driving thing, but it literally took me all week to figure our Marigot. Lots of traffic, narrow, one way streets, tough. Evenutally we for to the ferry with some frayed nerves, partook of a little of the rum punch we'd prepared in our hotel room, and settled on the top deck of the ferry for a lovely, smooth ride to Anguilla. Shoal Bay East beach was blindingly beautiful. We ate at Maderaiman Beach Bar. Food was inedible. Sad. However, the Caribs were ice cold and very appreciated after the ferry and taxi. Oh-great little shop just up the hill from the beach. Some of the nicest items I found in my 8-day stay.
On our way home, we stocked up with hurricane supplies at US Market outside Grand Case, then ate dinner at Mr. Busbys (Daniels) near the Westin. Great blue cheese pasta, and sea scallops.
Next morning, back to Mr. Busby's for a great breakfast, did some exploring by car, ended up in Phillipsburg and ate an late lunch at the Chesterfield watching the first rain bands coming in over the moundains and bay. Yummy stuffed mushrooms and shrimp scampi. Back ot the hotel, into the warm jacuzzi watching the roiling ocean, and guests braving the crashing surf. Fortunately, no-one wandered out too far in it. Nothing like a warm jacuzzi in the wind and rain. The sunset was amazing.
Monday was the hurricane day. Fortunately, the Westin has a generator, so aside from the 36-hr curfew, we were totally unaffected. They kept the restaurant open, we browsed in the gift shop, read a book. I felt very lucky to have chosen the Westin that day. We even lost a few dollars in the casino that evening and ordered room service!
The curfew wasn't lifted until noon on Tuesday, but the Westin allowed guests to use the beach-and of course we did. Pool wasn't back up and running while we were there. THe ocean, while still high, was lovely to swim in. No undertow--I just bobbed like a cork over its big rolling waves. The moment the curfew was lifted we were on our way to Orient Beach. That area saw a lot of damage. Lots of downed trees, palapa roofs torn off, no electricity or water. Still, the entrepreneurs had their chairs and umbrellas out, and I bought beach towel backpacks for my kids from a wandering vendor. I loved this beach, even with the damage. THe low numbers of beachgoers was also lovely. Since Orient was out of business, we headed up to Grand Case for dinner and ended up at L'Escapade. It was a bit high-concept for us. Froth, and such. But they were open (amazing) and the view of small incoming planes was fun.
On wednesday, we moved to L'esplanade Hotel in Grand Case. It is truly lovely. I was blown away with the beauty of the open air lobby overlooking the bay. At at Brasserie des Iles--good pizza and really yummy Ti Punch.
Thursday we spent shopping in Phillipsburg, which was not my favorite. I'd rather find local wares, but it was filled with high end, boring diamonds and such with security guards everywhere. It took a lot of digging to find interesting items. But we did pick up the infused rums we were looking for to bring home as gifts. (Love the Banana Rum!), Took our things home, then ate a huge grilled lobster at Lee's Roadside Grill. I've heard mixed reviews, but this lobster was amazing! It was our favorite meal.
Friday we went to Pinel, where most of the bars were still cleaning up, but Yellow Beach was open and serving--good pizza again. Even a great creme brulee! Pinel was fantastic-spent all day there. Perfect for us, but also perfect for young families. Flat, flat water, and shallow for 100s of feet.
Each morning on the french side, we ate a breakfast of fresh baguette and croissants from US Market, along with great, great french cheese from Match outside of Marigot. Picked up aome reasonable, yummy french wines from a wine shop in Marigot, and started out each day right with wine, chese, and baguette!
A perfectly lovely week.