My wife and I made reservations to spend a week (July 8-July 15) at GCBC. In retrospect, we can’t envision a nicer way to have celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Here are some observations/comments which may prove informative.
A few days prior to our arrival, we received an email from GCBC confirming the dates of our stay, and asking if there was anything we particularly wished upon arrival. A nice touch.
We arrived on a Thursday afternoon (2:30) and rented a taxi to take us to the resort (45 minute trip @$30.00). I would recommend the taxi route as opposed to renting a car, especially if you’ve never been to GCBC before, and ESPECIALLY if you arrive after dark. If you’re not familiar with the area, the beach club is NOT the easiest place to find on your own. (See the section on renting a car below).
Upon arrival, check-in was efficient and painless, with all our questions answered – and a complimentary bottle of wine thrown into the process. While I have no idea as to the accommodations you might have reserved, we stayed in a 1 bedroom ocean view unit which was magnificent. It had 2 bathrooms (granite countertops, tiled showers, LCD t.v., plenty of storage, etc.) and 2 sliding glass doors which made the entire unit very light and airy. More to the point, the view right outside our apartment was absolutely spectacular.
The resort has 2 separate beaches, each with its own distinct flavor. The smaller of the two is an ideal place to take small children and never have to worry for their safety. The larger (by the Sunset restaurant) has more “activities” available. While both have nice sandy bottoms, the smaller is nicer to swim in because there is not as steep a drop off as is found on the larger, and has less coral underfoot. Both however share the same spectacular warm Caribbean water of every shade of green imaginable, and both are connected by a rocky formation which lends itself worthwhile snorkeling. (The equipment is free). More adventuresome snorkelers can take a 2 hour trip to Creole rock - ab’t ½ mile offshore.
The grounds themselves are immaculately maintained throughout, with flowers and flowering shrubs everywhere. Do make it a point to follow the boardwalk system around the resort since it gives dramatic views of the ocean and the resort facilities themselves. You’ll find chaise lounges and umbrellas liberally scattered throughout the property – including the beach areas – which make for a nice retreat.
And yes, Grand Chase does live up to its reputation for having restaurants to cater to every taste and budget. The lolos restaurants are cheap and fun; some of the French restaurants (e.g. Auberge Gourmande, [HIGHLY recommended] Bistrot Caraibes, L’Escapade, etc. can be pricey – but what the hey! you’re on vacation. One place in particular we enjoyed was Piazza Pascale – especially upstairs dining with cool ocean breezes). If you can, pay the tab in cash, where $1 = 1 Euro (a 20% savings).
The residents of Grand Chase have learned 2 things from the French: (a) They’ve learned how to cook from the French (exquisite) and (b) they’ve learned how to drive from the French (appalling). Having so said, and if you plan on staying 3-4+ days, DO rent a car to see more of the island. GCBC has a Prestige car rental agency on the property ($25/day + $8/day liability insurance). Get a small car (automatic transmission with air conditioning) and visits to Marigot, Phillipsburg, Dawn Beach are highly recommended and worthwhile. Great scenery/great shopping. Parking? Find a pay lot ($5/day) and avoid the hassle of driving around for hours looking for a ‘free’ parking space. Above all else, watch your rear view mirrors – motorcyclists WILL roar around you on blind curves, and on hills with no regard to oncoming traffic. (I suspect their life expectancies are measured in hours if not in minutes, but it’s obviously part of the local scene which isn’t about to change).
In summation, if you’re looking for a quiet retreat with the opportunity to venture out and explore on your own, we can’t recommend GCBC highly enough. Are there ‘fancier’ places to stay on St Martin? A few. Do they offer the value, the relaxation, the friendly staff, and the proximity to numerous wonderful restaurants as does a stay at GCBC? I seriously doubt it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Intimate and relaxing, small but large enough to have just the right amount of service that brings back our guests year after year. We are constantly improving and have updated and upgraded nearly every aspect of our resort, and will continue to do so. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Case Beach Club Hotel Grand Case
- Grand Case Beach Hotel