St. Maarten/St. Martin Journals

Aviation Vacation

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A travel journal to St. Maarten/St. Martin by Ben the Grate

Maho Beach Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean More Photos
Quote: The Caribbean doesn't get any more crowded or commercial than St. Maarten. But for aviation buffs, there is one reason not to avoid this island: widebody jets landing so close to a picture-perfect beach that you can almost grab their landing gear! Grab your camera and go!

Aviation Vacation

Overview

Maho Beach Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
Float on your back in the warm Caribbean water while a 747 jumbo jet from Paris thunders less than 50 feet over your head. Experience a 150-mile-per-hour jet blast across your body as a plane takes off less than 50 feet in front of you! Sip cocktails at a beachside bar while watching people think that standing on a sandy beach during a 150-mile-per-hour jet blast is a good idea!!!Quick Tips: Avoid winter at all costs! This is high season and prices will be double. St. Maarten is not a cheap destination, and though you can go on a budget, you'll have to stay a long way from Maho Beach, where the planes land. Best to save up and get a room at luxurious La Terrasse, right on the runway and ...Read More

George's Guest House

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Hotel

Quote:
St. Maarten is NOT a cheap place, by any stretch of the imagination. Go in winter, and you're even MORE up a creek if you're trying to pinch pennies. If you can't afford to stay at Maho Beach, where the planes land, your closest budget bet is in Philipsburg, the Dutch capitol, at George's Guest House. Your cabbie will know where it is, located a block from the police station. The place is very spartan, but does have a/c, a blessing in this muggy climate. There are private bathrooms in every unit, with cold running water. TVs are in each room as well. But don't expect a comfortable bed! Thin "taco" mattresses are really the only thorn in this guesthouse's sid...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Royal Islander Club la Terrasse

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Hotel | "La Terrasse (Royal Islander Club)"

Royal Islander Club la Terrasse Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
For the aviation buff, La Terrasse is the ultimate in accomodations for St. Maarten. It was just completed in December 2003. This gorgeous resort sits parallel to the Princess Juliana Airport runway, and every room has a balcony from which to view the big planes landing. But they're soundproofed so your afternoon nap won't be disturbed. (Planes don't land here at night.) Just steps from Maho Beach, the resort offers studio rooms, and suites from 1 to 3 bedrooms. The beds are very comfortable, and the bathrooms are palatial with amazing water pressure and plenty of fresh towels every day. All rooms come with kitchens which are complete and well accessorized except for no oven (t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Royal Islander Club la Terrasse
Rhine Road 1
St. Maarten, St. Maarten/St. Martin
+599 545 2388

Maho Bay Resort Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
Maho Bay Resort was the old standby for the aviation buffs. It is aging (one of the oldest hotels on the island), not on the beach, and priced DOUBLE that of La Terrasse, it's brand-spanking new neighbor.

Nevertheless, if you want to stay in a musty resort for twice the price, feel free. There is a casino here. And the pool area is nice, as is the gazebo which sticks out over the ocean cliffs. The entry areas are gracious, and the whole thing feels like the luxury era of the Caribbean in the 1960s.

Expect to pay $250 for the cheapest rooms in summer, up than $100 in the winter.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Royal Islander Club la Terrasse

Hotel | "La Plage (Royal Islander Club)"

Royal Islander Club la Terrasse Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
The sister property to the (in my opinion) BETTER La Terrasse across the street, La Plage was just opened in early 2004. It sits between the ageing Maho Beach Resort and Maho Beach, and has its own private little sandy spit which is separated from Maho Beach proper by a rocky area.

La Plage is bigger and more bustling than La Terrasse. The prices are a bit higher, too, simply because it's "beach front."

My advice? Skip the crowds and the higher prices. Go for the quieter, smaller are with a better pool across the street at La Terrasse. And walk 2 minutes more to get to the beach.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Royal Islander Club la Terrasse
Rhine Road 1
St. Maarten, St. Maarten/St. Martin
+599 545 2388

Marigot Market

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Restaurant | "Dining in Marigot, the French capital"

Marigot Market Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
Marigot's Marina Royale is French St. Martin's ground zero for gastronomy. Though more yachts pull into Simpson Bay Marina on the Dutch side, the French and the snobbish always dock in Marigot. And for good reason. Along the boardwalk which fringes the marina are two dozen of the finest restaurants in all the Caribbean serving up all varieties of global cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on seafood. Stroll the boardwalk and take a peek at the menus, which are all prominently displayed. Hosts will undoubtedly tempt you with crates of live lobster, or offers of a free cocktail. Prices at Marina restaurants range from moderate to third-mortgage. At the far ends, you can get pizza or crep...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 7, 2004

Marigot Market

St. Maarten, St. Maarten/St. Martin

Sunset Bar & Grill

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Attraction | "Sunset Beach Bar"

Sunset Bar & Grill Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
The Sunset Beach Bar is about as famous as Caribbean bars get. It's located on the fringe of tiny Maho Beach, and is the gathering place for aviation buffs from around the world. Expect to see airline pilots and flight attendants on layover, drinking (rather alarmingly, I might add!), teenagers from Europe with massive cameras trying to get the best shots to post on Airliner.net, old balding fat guys with even more massive cameras, trying to get a cover shot for an aviation magazine, local kids selling henna tattoos and pot, folks from the nearby resorts come to watch people get hit by the jet blasts...it's really a great crowd. There is a lovely deck built out over the sand and water with umb...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Sunset Bar & Grill
2 Beacon Hill Road
St. Maarten

Watcing the Planes

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Story/Tip

Maho Beach Photo, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Caribbean
Quote:
A few people are duped by flashy advertising into staying in the Maho Beach area, only to discover that all afternoon, widebody jets from the US, Canada, and Europe thunder over their hotels and beaches to land on the runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport. The runway begins literally 10 feet from the sands of Maho Beach, and as the planes approach for landing, it looks as if beachgoers could literally jump up and grab the landing gear. This offends many folks, and they leave after fighting for a refund with hotel management. After all, most people go to the Caribbean for a nice quiet vacation. HOWEVER, there are a few of us out there who think the idea of a white sand beach, cr...Read More