St. Maarten trip: Nov. 3 to 10, 2019


I, my mother (Nancy), my father (John), and my brother (Curtis) went to St. Maarten from Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, to Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.

From Nov. 3 to 9, we stayed at a condo at Dawn Beach with my Aunt Sue (My mom’s sister), Uncle Bruce, and cousin Allan. These three live in London, Ont. Sue and Bruce have three daughters who were not on the trip with us.

We spent the final night at the Holland House Beach Hotel in Philipsburg. Sue, Bruce, and Allan flew home at that point.

We visited almost the entire area of St. Maarten, which include, but are not limited to, Dawn Beach where we stayed, the newly built Princess Juliana Airport, Philipsburg, Marigot, and Parotte Ville.

I have numerous pictures from this unforgettable vacation.

Photo credits for most pictures go to me. However, with pictures where somebody else took them, I put “Photo credit: Insert name” in the photo captions.

I will also note that I won’t make daily summaries for Nov. 5 and 7 as these were relaxing days at Dawn Beach with nothing significant, interesting, or new.

Around Dawn Beach

The pool and beach areas near our condo had absolutely stunning views for photographers to take advantage of. Although the beach is still recovering from Hurricane Irma, there was still a lot to do here.

The bar/restaurant served great food. I had a roasted turkey sandwich with fruit on one occasion, and chicken fingers with fries on the other.

The most interesting part of Dawn Beach is that guests could use a grill by the beach.

The hardest part was climbing several large staircases to get from the pool to the condo. It was physically exhausting. Despite an elevator in the parking garage close to our condo, walking actually takes somewhat longer going through that route compared to going up the stairs.

All in all, Dawn Beach is a great place to stay at.

Our condo area

Similar to my Sims 3 house tours, I thought I would show you around where we stayed. Bedroom 1 was my room; bedroom 2 was my mom and dad’s room, while bedroom 3 was Sue and Bruce’s room. Curtis and Allan slept on the living room couches.

Hurricane Irma damage

Here are just several examples of damage from Hurricane Irma I came across on various days of this trip. It’s beyond horrific.

Nov. 3

We arrived at Princess Juliana Airport just after 3 p.m. (After 2 p.m. in Toronto). Bruce and Allan came to pick us up at the airport, while Sue was resting at the condo as we could not fit all seven of us into their rented white car.

I was amazed at how clean and modern the room was. The balcony views were impressive, as well.

Shortly, we all went down to the beach and pool area. I spent some time at both the beach and the pool. I was swimming for the first time in years.

Nov. 4

This Philipsburg trip was the first one of the two on this trip. Philipsburg is roughly a 15-minute drive from Dawn Beach. This area is also where we stayed at during our previous St. Maarten trip in March 2017.

Unfortunately, we did not pick a particularly good day to go to Philipsburg, as there were four cruise trips scheduled to visit the area.

We also went to our favourite restaurant from the previous trip, The Honky Tonk, which is next to the Sea Palace (Where we stayed at back then). I think I had a chicken burger with fries then.

Irma severely damaged the Honky Tonk. However, the proprietor is so incredibly dedicated and optimistic that he and his crew worked hard to get the business in good shape again. The new shack, which this restaurant is under, also isn’t much different from what it was like before.

Unfortunately, there was this one guy at a table near us. Let’s just say that with him, the moon came out surprisingly early, and I’ll leave it at that.

After Honky Tonk, we headed straight to Front Street. The street was busy, but it was not as bad as we all anticipated it to be. We visited several shops before ending our Philipsburg visit by going to the Fairway Mark It for groceries.

Nov. 6

We spent part of the day at Marigot, which is on the French side of St. Maarten. Curtis and Bruce did not come on this trip with us.

Part of me didn’t blame either Curtis or Bruce for not wanting to come. I say this because the commute to Marigot was beyond rocky. There were speed bumps almost everywhere. To add to this tough commute, there were also people on their motorcycles driving on the middle of the road.

Marigot is quite a nice place. The Marketplace had a lot of good options for clothing.

After going to the Marketplace, we went to this restaurant. I, unfortunately, did not get the name of it. My mom, dad, Sue, and Allan just got drinks. I was hungry at the time, so I ordered jerk chicken with rice and salad. The food was superb.

We briefly visited the West Indies Mall afterward. Although some of the stores were closed, likely due to Irma’s damage, West Indies seemed like a nice mall to me.

Our commute back to the condo was somewhat nicer than our commute to Marigot, but not by much. We got lost on the west end of the Dutch side at one point.

Eventually, we went to a grocery store in the Simpson Bay area, which I forgot the name of, to buy more goods.

Bruce wanted my dad to get gas, but since we were all fed up about how long the day seemed, we didn’t do so. Bruce didn’t mind, though.

Later that day, we went to a restaurant named Big Fish for dinner. The Big Fish is only a three-minute drive from the condo.

I’m not typically a big fan of fancy seafood restaurants, but this place was exceptional.

Big Fish is another example of a place that has recovered well after Irma. The service was long but totally worth it at the same time.

I ordered the Pretty In Pink pasta. Allan ordered the pasta, as well. The pasta had tons of seafood in it. It was amazing. Allan thought so, too.

Nov. 8

I was getting bored at one point. I went up to my dad and asked him if we were doing anything today. He said, “Sure, we’ll do something, but remember, tomorrow will be a REALLY busy day going to Philipsburg.”

My parents researched places nearby and felt Parotte Ville would be an interesting place to go to.

Curtis wasn’t all that interested in the concept. Sue and Bruce wanted to relax. Therefore, it was just me, my mom, my dad, and Allan that went on this trip.

We spent a good 30 minutes or so feeding birds.

I am typically not comfortable around many animals, but I bravely dealt with this one unfriendly yellow and green bird who kept biting my left hand. This bird was doing the same thing to my dad as well before he came over to me.

The other birds were super friendly, if not then a little timid, though. In particular, my favourite one was the red, yellow, and green bird, who stayed with me for a solid 10 minutes before we left.

A bang went off at one point. Most of the birds went flying up to their branches.

After feeding the birds, I had a mango smoothie and a popsicle from the establishment’s snack stand.

Nov. 9

Philipsburg trip #2 was our extended trip where we actually stayed at a hotel: The Holland House Beach Hotel.

As we left Dawn Beach, we had to say goodbye to Sue, Bruce, and Allan as they were heading to the airport.

When we arrived at the hotel, we got chair and beer offers at the beach. I had a good time at the beach. My parents and brother felt conditions were extra hot because the chairs did not provide much shade, though. I also felt the Wi-Fi was extremely off outside of Holland House.

We went to the Honky Tonk again. I had a ham and cheese sandwich with fries. We got to reconnect with the proprietor, who seemed to recognize us from March 2017.

A friend of my dad’s, whose husband did business with him at one point, owns a place in St. Maarten six months a year. Later in the day, we wanted to meet up with her for dinner.

We decided to meet at The Greenhouse, where we ate together a few times back in March 2017. I ordered a fettucine Alfredo with two margaritas. I also had six wings and some bread as appetizers. All were great. I was stuffed all evening.

The Greenhouse is an interesting restaurant. It’s so neatly built, that it didn’t seem to get too much damage from Irma at all.

I didn’t get a full picture of my room at the Holland House. I was too tired at the time. The room looked similar to my parents’ room shown in the gallery below, though.

While lying in bed, I couldn’t help but get distracted at the ceiling light because it looked like chocolate lava cake mixed with vanilla ice cream when the lights were partially off. I took a picture of it.

I posted the picture as an Instagram story, because, why not?

Nov. 10

Me, my mom and dad ate breakfast at the hotel. I had pancakes, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Curtis was still asleep in my room.

After we checked out of the Holland House, my dad wanted to give some beers to the owner of Honky Tonk. As we went there, I initially just wanted water, but I instantly changed my mind and decided I wanted a chicken wrap with fries.

Afterward, I wanted to get some gelato Lizzy’s Beach Bar. I did so. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of walking back with my dad and brother while eating the ice cream. I got chocolate gelato all over my Barolo Boys shirt.

My dad and I went back to Holland House and asked an employee if we can get another shirt out of my luggage. Each of our luggage were in the luggage room at that point.

Eventually, we went to the airport and flew home. I forgot to put my belt and iPhone in the bin at security. I was extremely embarrassed. My parents told me it didn’t matter what happened, though.

We got home smoothly, even though my handle on my suitcase was broken.

Overall, this trip to St. Maarten was a great one!

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