The StMaarten/StMartin Connection
"…the SXM newsletter for savvy travelers!
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"
Dear Friends of StMaarten/StMartin,
Here I am writing again with May and spring upon us. How I look forward to those wonderful spring days with rising temperatures and periodic rain showers to help the flowers grow; followed 90 days later by the warm balmy sunny days of summer. Oh, how I love those 80, 90 and sometimes 100 degree days while basking in the sunshine of my yard counting the blades of grass.
As I have gotten older, I have grown to dislike winter more and more; and I have experienced many of them. I no longer enjoy bundling up in my ski jacket, wearing a winter hat, heavy gloves and lacing up my ski boots. At 40 years of age, I loved skiing and dreamed of doing it in the Swiss Alps (never did); by 50, I enjoyed a drink in my hand sitting by the fireplace in the lodge much more; and, at 55, I thought that I had hung up my skis and poles for good only to be enticed at 65 by my brother-in-law and his family to venture out on the slopes of Colorado. Since then, my skis, boots and poles have been gathering dust; and as I approach 74, I truly do love the warmth of my home and a good scotch much more than falling on my ass on a snowy mountain.
But how I can complain, you ask; when the New York Metropolitan area (New Jersey and Connecticut included) just finished its warmest winter since they (whoever they are) began keeping records. But, I remember those winters past including last year’s when we had a snowstorm virtually every week for eight weeks in a row.
Here are a few warm thoughts. St. Maarten/St. Martin has never had snow. Island homes/villas do not have heating systems. The average daily temperatures on island are between 72 degrees at night and 85 degrees during the day. By the way, this is for 365 days per year. Every day the sun shines brightly. Every day, warm Caribbean breezes caress the island. Every day, you can watch the Seagulls and Pelicans fish for their daily meals. St. Maarten/St. Martin DOES NOT have any cold weather. In the evening, when the temperature drops to 72 or 73 degrees, some of our island friends wear sweaters. On average, the island gets 45 inches of rain per year - that's equal to less than four inches per month. This is my kind of weather!
Yes, the Caribbean has hurricanes! And the hurricane season runs from the end of June through November 30th. But September is the worse month for hurricanes. Thankfully, the island hasn't had a terrible hurricane in years.
If you live in an area of the world and are currently getting away from winter doldrums and are looking to get away from it all, St. Maarten/St. Martin is the place for you. Besides the great weather, the way of life is relaxing and less stressful. And, if you're a person who likes to fish, as my friend Lee Halley of www.LeesFish.com always says, "Every day is fishing day!"
See you there!
President/Publisher | www.StMaarten.org
Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism - Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association
Featured in this issue:
1. Featured Villa: Villa Amaryllis | Sotheby's Int'l Realty
2. Featured Activity: Belmond La Samanna Spa
3. Featured Restaurant: Temptation by Dino Jagtiani
4. Sam's Selection | StMaarten/StMartin Images
5. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
6. Featured Hotel: La Vista Resort
7. The Wine Cellar: Seeing the World by Jean Carol Hager-Rich
8. What's Happening in Paradise?
In a stunning waterfront location on the Simpson Bay lagoon, Amaryllis is a luxurious full air-conditioned, 5 bedroom residence, with its own boat dock and and private pool overlooking the lagoon and the French Lowlands in the distance.
Built on 3 levels offering dazzling white interiors, the villa's main level features an expansive living area with glass sliding doors opening out to a plush, outside living and dining area, private pool, and sun deck. A gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances is located just off the living area. Perfect for entertaining, the kitchen has a wide pass through window with a breakfast bar underneath that opens to both the living area and the outdoor terrace.
One of the villa's 5 bedrooms is located on the main floor with King sized bed, walk-in closet and private en-suite bathroom. The upper level houses the 2nd bedroom with king sized bed, an adjoining bathroom, a walk-in closet and a private terrace overlooking the pool and lagoon.
The remaining 3 bedrooms are situated on the lower level: two have their own terraces and en-suite bathrooms and the 5th bedroom has its own independent access. The residence also offers cable TV with both American and French channels in the living room and each of the 5 bedrooms.
The villa is located in a gated residence just minutes from Maho, the island's popular spot for nightlife and casinos, and close to the beautiful white sand beaches of Mullet Bay and Cupecoy.
The rates are the following for Villa Amaryllis for 3 to 5 bedrooms:
8 Jan – 14 Apr. 2016
15 Apr – 16 Dec 2016
17 Dec – Jan 7, 2017
Contact information is as follows:
Telephone USA: 213.805.0840
------------------- La Samanna Spa
Enjoy head-to-toe pampering and slip into a world of pure relaxation. Our spa menu features a wide range of world-class massages and treatments using products from luxurious French brands Sisley and Pure Altitude.
Visit our St. Martin spa and we will gladly customize any of our treatments to your needs. We can also provide discreet advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle back home.
Book A Treatment Browse through our spa menu, book your treatment in advance, and look forward to being pampered. Treat yourself to unparalleled relaxation with our special spa package. La Samanna Spa is proud to offer a wide range of world-class treatments providing you a blissful experience in St. Martin. Open daily 10am - 7pm.
50 minutes -------------------- Body Polish
50 minutes -------------------- Body Wrap
50 minutes -------------------- Sunburn Rescue
45 minutes -------------------- Bust Treatment
60 minutes -------------------- Facial by Fermes de Marie
60 minutes -------------------Facial by Sisley
90 minutes -------------------- Anti-Age Facial by Sisley
30 minutes -------------------- Eye Care Contour
25 minutes --------------------Swedish Massage
50 minutes --------------------Swedish Massage
25 minutes ------------------- Deep Tissue Massage
50 minutes ----------------- --Deep Tissue Massage
50 minutes --------------------Four Hands Massage
50 minutes ------------------- Hot Stone Massage
45 minutes ------------------- Anti-Cellulite Massage
90 minutes ------------------- Energetic Chinese Moxa Massage
50 minutes ------------------- Shiatsu Massage
90 minutes ------------------- Shiatsu Massage
90 minutes --------------------Just Arrived
240 minutes ----------------- Elegance for Women
210 minutes ------------------ Style for Men
150 minutes ------------------ Sun Preparation
150 minutes ------------------ Stress Reduction
Click this link www.lasamanna.com/web/omar/spa_st_martin.jsp to visit our website and to Book a Treatment, now!
Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa,
Bay Long, St. Martin
For reservations, Tel: 800.854.2252 or 011.590.590.87.64.00
EAT * LIVE * LOVE WITH FLAVOR
In 1994, Dino Jagtiani became the first St Maarten born son to ever graduate from the world renowned culinary institute of America. He accepted a position at the then Sheraton Port de Plaisance, as a line cook (many people remember Dino flipping omelettes at Sunday brunch) and worked his way up to Chef de Partie learning, as he went the many lessons of managing a kitchen in the Caribbean. In 1995, after hurricane Luis hit the island and closed the hotel, Dino went back to the CIA and completed his Bachelor’s degree. A rare opportunity to do a stage at the famed L’Espinasse at the St Regis Hotel with Chef Grey Kunz ended after 10 minutes after Dino showed up to work with a dirty apron.
In 2002, Dino returned to St Maarten to pursue his life-long dream of opening his own restaurant and Temptation was born. In its first few years, Temptation sky-rocketed to the top of the island’s dynamic dining scene, winning “restaurant of the year” by the Gault Millau Guide 3 yrs. in a row 2006, 2007, and 2008, and also scoring 16 points by the same Gault Millau Guide. (Side note: there is no restaurant in Europe that has 16 points from Gault Millau and doesn’t also have at least 1 Michelin star. Aka 16 pts from Gault Millau is the equivalent of 1 Michelin star). In Feb 2005 Bon Appetit Magazine called Temptation “one of the top 10 new restaurants in the Caribbean.” Dino has also been featured in National Geographic Traveller, Caribbean Travel and Life, Islands, American Way, and Hemispheres magazines, as well as The Miami Herald, and Washington Times newspapers. Other awards include 2 time gold medal winner at the Taste of Caribbean competition in Miami FL 2005-2006.
A Sample of Temptation’s Menu
- Four-Hour Braised Certified Angus Beef short rib with red wine-caramelized shallot glaze, mash potato, and market vegetables…
- “Keshi Yena” (Stuffed Cheese) Creole style stewed chicken legs stuffed inside aged Gouda cheese and baked in the oven. Served with black beans n rice, and bacon wrapped plantain…
- Rack of New Zealand spring lamb with truffle mash potato, sautéed spinach, and peppercorn Demi-glace…
- Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon with mushroom-farro risotto, pesto cream, and eggplant caponata...
- Eggplant Parmigiano (veg) Baked layers of eggplant cutlets, San Marzano tomato sauce 2 different Mozzarellas, Parmigiano and fresh basil…
- Seared Sashimi #1 Grade Tuna With wasabi mash potatoes, Asian vegetable slaw, and sesame-citrus-soy drizzle…
- Crab stuffed shrimp With homemade black pasta, grilled zucchini, pomodoro sauce, fresh basil, and grated Parmigiano …
- Lobster paella Lobster, scallops, clams, calamari, mussels, shrimps, locally made sausage and saffron rice…
- “Nice Rack” of Ribs St. Louis style fall off the bone BBQ glazed ribs with spinach mac n cheese…
- Asian BBQ Chicken with seafood “Pad Thai”: shrimp, clams, mussels, with lemongrass Thai curry, Asian vegetables, rice noodles, basil, mint, cilantro…
We do not include a charge for service as we believe our guest should have the opportunity to reward great service at their own discretion. Open: Tuesday - Sunday, 6:30pm - 11pm.
Lowlands, Starz Casino, Cupecoy Bay,
St Maarten – St Martin
For Reservations, tel: 1.721.545.2254 or
Sam's Selection | St. Maarten/St. Martin Images
It doesn't get much better than this. -
View of Marigot and the Marina.
Market Day In Phillipsburg.
View of St. Maarten/St. Martin
from the plane - courtesy of Rick Devine.
A good book, a nice drink and relaxing with a view
of Anguilla from the Marquis Hotel in Anse Marcel.
Sign Up to Win our July 2016
Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May Win
a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on Random Wind Charters
Dear St. Maarten Traveler,
Your pleasure and comfort at La Vista Resort is our personal concern. We designed La Vista from our dream to create a small deluxe resort in a spectacular setting. But most importantly, we built La Vista for our guests to enjoy an intimate and friendly atmosphere with unmatched personalized service. When you stay at La Vista, you'll find that you're not just a tourist. You're a guest and a friend of our family! Your friendly hosts, Andrea and Debbie, welcome you home!
No Gifts! No Gimmicks! "Timesharing Done Right!"
Get your own piece of La Vista or La Vista Beach!
Many options are available.
• 9 different layouts to cater to your vacation needs
• Floating or fixed weeks
• Alternate year use (even or odd years)
• Good financing available
What to do?
Activities in abundance!
Have fun with many activities, from sailing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving to island discovery, nature hikes, horseback riding, and a lot more! Check our front desk for numerous activities!
Directly at La Vista:
• Swimming pool
Within walking distance:
• More restaurants
• Water sports
• SPA & gym
• Diving & watersports
• Piano bar
Elsewhere on Island:
• Duty free shopping
• Horse riding
• Boat trips to surrounding Islands
• Many more...
Activities are too numerous to be listed here. Check with our Activities Coordinator at the front desk!
Right on the Beach
Added in 2001 by popular demand, La Vista Beach is a Caribbean fantasy come true. Situated right on the beach, you can relax in the balmy sea breeze, enjoy breath-taking sunsets from your balcony, tan on the beach and cool off in one of our pools.
2-bedroom suites and studios - 18 in total - all equipped with elegant comfort and luxury. Sip an ice cold Mango Colada while watching the waves and discover why guests return year after year. Come and enjoy your home in paradise!
The Hideaway Bar and Restaurant is a cozy intimate spot perched beside an infinity pool that runs over onto a spectacular view. We endeavored to create a cozy nook for cheerful breakfasts, long lazy lunches and romantic, candlelit dinners.
Designed from a dream to create a resort in a spectacular setting with fabulous panoramic views of the crystal blue Caribbean Sea, La Vista Resort features two properties touching each other.
La Vista Resort
Billy Folly Road #53
Pelican Key, Sint Maarten
For reservations, telephone: 1.721.544.3005
The Wine Cellar
Seeing the World through
Rose - Colored Glasses!
Jean Carol Hager-Rich
"Summer time and the living is easy," goes the old song.
Whether you're in St. Maarten and having summertime for your winter or summer vacation, or you're experiencing the real summer of the northern hemisphere, and it's wonderful hot, sunny day, what wine do you feel like drinking?
If you're a wine-lover, drink a summer-wine. You could choose a cold, crisp white. But, here's an idea -- think pink! Not only is pink the color of summer fashion; but it can also take you to some easy-drinking, satisfying wine for hot weather and summer food.
Pink wines are called Rosé or "Blush" wines. Blush was a marketing name given to pink wines in California in the 1980s to encourage people to try them when they found wines called "Rosé" weren't selling and they had tons of red zinfandel grapes and no market.
There are two really distinctive styles of pink wine and you can have basic expectations from the country of origin. The classic rosé wine of Europe is a dry, fruity wine; a delight to drink when served chilled with a nice lunch and the right food combinations. The blush, or white zinfandel, from California is sweet, many wine-lovers disparagingly refer to it as alcoholic strawberry soda.
In the States, a lot of wine stores sell primarily the sweet versions of rosé and white zinfandel because it's so popular now. But in Europe, and in St. Martin and its neighboring Islands, it's easy to find the fine, easy-drinking dry variety of rosé produced in the south of France which are excellent values.
This is another example of how frequently wines develop in style and taste as a consequence of their region, the life-style and food of its people as well as the terroir. The rosés of France come from the warmer southern areas. The most well known are from Provence, around the French Riviera with its famous beaches and resorts like St. Tropez, Cannes, and Nice. But the southern Rhone Valley also produces lovely rosés as does Spain, Portugal and even Germany.
Many people who became wine lovers in the 60s and 70s first tasted inexpensive Portuguese Rosé -- names that bring back fond memories of my youth -- Lancers and Mateus. Dry rosé are great wines for summer, a treat for lunch at the beach or on a picnic in your local park or wilderness.
The pink color of rosé wines comes from contact with the grape skin during the early stages on wine production. This "skin-contact" also gives European-styled rosé wines their structure, complex flavors and dryness from the tannins in the grape skin.
There are lots of occasions for rosé wines. They are interesting to order when several diners want to share a bottle but are having dishes that would otherwise suggest a white wine for one and a red for the other. For example if you're having fish and your dinner companion is having meat. Rosé goes with both! Another occasion for rosé is when red wine seems too heavy: hot days and evenings when red wine might raise your body temperature and you'd feel uncomfortable. Rosé wines fit casual events and ethnically diverse food including: burgers, hot dogs, pork, ham, Asian dishes, and are perfect for Sunday Brunch.
There's no better way to celebrate being in St. Martin, at the beach, or back home to herald the summer. Rosés go with Valentine's Day, however, you might want to enjoy a rosé Champagne for its added romance.
If you're in St. Martin, St. Barth's or Anguilla and want to feel very French-at-the-beach, stop by Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Cellar to try one of the many reasonably-priced, dry rosé wines from the South of France. It's a taste of summer in a bottle. drink them at home in the winter doldrums and it will bring you right back to the beach. You may become a blush-wine-lover even if you never want to let a white zinfandel touch your lips. You can also have a real treat with the rosé Champagne of Billecart Salmon, pure bottled delight!
What's Happening in Paradise?
Carnival Village Officially Opens With Big Jump Up
Carnival Village ofﬁcially opened on April 15th 2016, signalling the start of the jump-up. No Limit, 4M HD, DJ Pauly, Wicked Boys and Band Clash winners XP Band were the bands involved in the large jump-up. Thousands jumped alongside each other with minimal incidents. Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Irania Arrindell handed over the symbolic key to the village to St Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) President and Director Michael Granger to signify the opening of the Village and Carnival season. Main sponsors TelEm and International Liquors and Tobacco Trading (ILTT) were also present during the opening. The Village will be occupied every night for the next two weeks with a different event for the public.
Island a Top 10 Best Tropical Destination For Bird Watches
Reader’s Digest Magazines Canada has named St. Maarten/ St. Martin in its “Ten Best Tropical Destinations for Bird Watchers.” An article written by Susan Campbell describes St. Maarten/St. Martin as a, “…hot spot for migrating sea birds, the dual-nation island of St. Maarten and St. Martin has a burgeoning bird watching scene. “Visitors to the annual Migratory Seabird Festival can enjoy guided tours to the island’s 164 species in a variety of locations via SeaGrape Tours and learn more about the birds through local environmental organisations like Les Fruit de Mer and the Nature Foundation. The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau said it is “very pleased” with the publicity that the destination has received from Reader’s Digest travel section “Travel the World.” “The free publicity that the destination is receiving is priceless and contributes to displaying the niches of the tourism sector and what else the island has to offer visitors besides sea, sand and sun,” the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau said.
St. Maarten's National Bird Ranks In Top 10 Photo Contest
A photo of a Brown Pelican diving into water snapped by resident photo journalist Milton Pieters was ranked in the top ten in volume seven in the monthly ViewBug photographic competition. “I am very proud of this accomplishment, more importantly I am happy that I was part of a visual battle to capture the moment among so many photographers from all over the globe. I just knew the image had visual impact and I nailed it,” Pieters said in a press release. Ironically, the top 10 images were singled out from some 46,463 other images and Pieters’ stood out. “The image was submitted in the month of February accompanied the caption: Brown Pelican is frozen in time as it dived for small ﬁshes during a feeding frenzy. This image was taken in Dutch St. Maarten where the Brown Pelican happens to be the National Bird,” the ViewBug site stated.
St. Martin Book Fair Shooting For The Stars
Leading space scientist Camille Wardrop Alleyne will deliver the keynote address of the fourteenth St. Martin Book Fair, which will be held June 2 to 4, under the theme: “The Science of It.” Alleyne has served as assistant programme scientist for the International Space Station (ISS). Alleyne developed and managed the communication strategy for ISS Research and Technology, which conveyed the beneﬁts of ISS scientiﬁc research to stakeholders, including the United States Congress, the general public, and potential users. Prior to leading the integration of all international space education programs across ISS Partners Alleyne served as the Orion Crew Module Systems, Integration and Test Technical Manager at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The Trinidad-born scientist has worked as the Systems Engineering and Integration Lead for the Constellation Systems Requirements development at NASA Headquarters and as a Flight Systems Test Engineer at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Alleyne’s previous position as an aerospace-systems engineer at the Missile Defence Agency and the US Department of Defence, where she led analysis and integration of several ballistic missile defence system projects, “place her at the centre of highly-advanced space- and earth-based sciences,” said Book Fair Coordinator Shujah Reiph of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).
Island Water World (IWW) Wins At St. Barths
Team Island Water World from St. Maarten won the Melges 24 one design class at the La Voile de St. Barths Sailboat Regatta over the weekend. Team GFA from Martinique ﬁnished second and Team Gill from St. Maarten was third. “In difﬁcult conditions of light wind and strong currents it was a question of good tactics and weather knowledge to edge out the competition,” said Bus. Several other St. Maarten boats competed in the regatta that attracts many top sailors from around the world. Bobby Velasquez with his Beneteau 45 L’Esperance placed second in his class while Ian Hope Ross skippering his Kick them Jenny ﬁnished third. “For Team Island Water World it was a sweet win after we twice broke the mast while in a leading position, remarked Bus. Members of the IWW team include Bernard Fourie, Frits Bus, Joep Groenendijk, Benoit Meesemaecker and Olivier Bernaz. “With a win in Heineken (St. Maarten Heineken regatta in March) we have two ﬁrsts in the major Caribbean Regattas this season.
Rio Productions Lights Up Streets With Parade
PHILIPSBURG--Carnival lovers jammed and jumped in the ﬁfth annual Rio “Lightin’ Up de Road” parade on Saturday evening. The streets were lighted with pink and green shirts behind Fantastic 4 (former Burning Flames) band and Small Axe Band. Fantastic 4 are pioneers of soca music and famous in the entire Caribbean and North America for their top-quality music and outstanding performances. The theme for the 2016 Lightin Up De Road parade was “The Clash of the Titans,” chosen was because two famous Caribbean bands performed on the road for one night. Several costumes were also part of the parade while hundreds of spectators enjoyed the private jump-up. New this year was the Rio Village where the participants and spectators could meet to enjoy great music and enjoy local dishes.
Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters.