My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in March, and we are beach lovers. We wanted to visit a place we had never been. We were fascinated by St. Maartin because half of the island is owned by the Dutch and half is owned by the French. On a previous trip, we had traveled to Amsterdam and had fallen in love with the Netherlands, so we knew that the beach plus the Netherlands would be the perfect location for us to visit.
Where to sleep?
Knowing little about the island, we searched Trip Advisor to choose a hotel on the Dutch. Based on reviews, we chose Sonesta Great Bay, an All-inclusive hotel in Philipsburg. Typically, we are not fans of All-inclusive hotels because we both love to venture out and try new places to eat. Being a school teacher, I tend to get turned off by buffets because they remind me too much of school cafeterias. However, right before the trip, my husband upgraded to the Butler Suite, so we avoided the buffet for the most part and had breakfast delivered to our room every morning. The suite had two rooms both with sliding glass doors and balconies overlooking the bay, and each day we would sit outside, drinking our coffee and watching the cruise ships come in. Overall, the food at the hotel was good. We did venture out and try other restaurants as well.
What to do?
We are adventurers and wanted to see as much as possible, so we rented a car while on the island. The first day we spent on the beach, recovering from our long day of travel. The second day we walked into Philipsburg and shopped. Along the boardwalk, we bought souvenir t-shirts at the Blue Bitch Bar for the kids. One of our favorite adventures was seeing the planes land and takeoff from the bar at Maho Beach. We left early on the morning of the third day to make sure we secured a great spot to take pictures of planes landing. Our favorite part of the trip was the ferry ride to Anguilla and the day we spent there. We have travelled to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but none compared to the beaches we saw in Anguilla. We stayed at Shoal Bay for the day and rented two beach chairs for $10. The beach we were on was two miles in length. There were no crowds, and it was unbelievably peaceful. Several movie stars have homes on the islands, but the locals are so protective of them and won't share where their homes are located. I have to say, I got teary-eyed when I had to leave Anguilla. For the final days of our trip, we relaxed on the beach.
My husband and I went to St. Maarten on our honeymoon 30 years ago. Had Thanksgiving meal at Rose’s on the French side right by where you catch the ferry. We took the ferry to Anguilla not knowing anything about the island, got in a “taxi” and when the driver asked where we wanted to go we had no idea what to tell him so he said to trust him – he drove us to the other side of the island to a beach with a little restaurant hut and had the most amazing grilled seafood sitting on the sand. The water was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Would love to go back and stay on Anguilla this time. Thanks for posting as we were beginning to think it was just a dream (most people don’t know about it).
Wow! Thank you for sharing. The island certainly feels like a dream. You most definitely need to go back! I cannot wait to return, and I’m with you about the waters being the most beautiful!