Hotels & Villas
Oyster Bay Beach Resort

Perched on a palm-dotted promontory and surrounded by Dawn Beach and Oyster Pond is St. Maarten's most private and distinctive hideaway - Oyster Bay Beach Resort. Like St. Maarten - a beautiful island that [ ... ]

Hotels & Villas
Belmond La Samanna Villas

One of the most distinguished addresses in the Caribbean, Belmond La Samanna Villas offer the ultimate in luxurious Caribbean accommodations and services. Residential in feel, but private and exclusive [ ... ]

Hotels & Villas
Porto Cupecoy

Perfectly situated on the Dutch/French border of internationally acclaimed Sint Maarten, Porto Cupecoy is redefining resort living with an inspiring style, an unassuming elegance, and a wealth of amenities [ ... ]

Lee's Roadside Grill

Lee’s Roadside Grill opened for the first time in 1997 and it has now grown into a thriving must visit open air restaurant. Located in Simpson Bay on the lagoon, Lee’s Roadside Grill offers a totally [ ... ]

L'Oursin Restaurant at Belmond La Samanna Resort

The elegance of Belmond La Samanna's rooms and suites is complemented by the tempting variety of its cuisine, an irresistible combination of French and Caribbean specialties enhanced by one of the most [ ... ]

The Infinity Restaurant

The finest, most delectable international cuisine is just steps away from your room at Infinity Restaurant, located across from our open courtyard. Ocean views, outdoor dining on our elegant terrace, [ ... ]

Caribbean Gems

CARIBBEAN GEMS, established in 1983 has been consistently voted as St. Maarten’s #1 jewelry store in an independent poll conducted by The Daily Herald. High quality merchandise, competitive pricing and [ ... ]

Dawn Beach

Dutch Side - Atlantic Ocean
This is a lovely white sandy crescent shaped beach with plenty of coral rocks and big ‘surfing’ waves. Remember, you’re now on the Atlantic Ocean with bigger and rougher [ ... ]

Orient Beach

French Side - Atlantic Ocean
Do you enjoy Monte Carlo, St. Tropez or Nice? If your answer is yes, you will love Orient Beach, THE most popular beach on the island. On the hillside, several hotels provide [ ... ]


"…the SXM newsletter for savvy travelers!  
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"

Dear Friends of StMaarten/StMartin, 

When I woke up this morning, I opened the curtains in my bedroom and saw a dreary, cloudy sky which had just finished delivering a deluge of rain on my little town; the outside temperature 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Now two hours later, much to my surprise, the clouds have gone away and the sun is shining, but the temperature has not changed. As I look out my window, the 50 foot tall Oak trees with their golden brown and reddish leaves swaying in a mild wind remind me of the musical instruments of an Orchestra each independently playing its part. It seems to me that Mother Nature is the world's greatest Conductor. 

My cousin, George, who lives on St. John which is next to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands just called me. George is a high school English teacher in St. Thomas, a job that he loves. However, he is also a computer guru and keeps my computers working and virus free. After a few minutes of conversation, he told me that I sounded depressed. I replied that I wasn't happy with the approaching cold months ahead. Then, he chided me for lamenting the advent of winter and offered a solution to my dark mood and it was:


"Move to St. Thomas where the weather is always beautiful". I told him, so is StMaarten/StMartin. He then told me that St. Thomas only gets 43 inches of rain a year. I replied that StMaarten/StMartin only gets 45.

Next, he told me that St. Thomas has several great restaurants. I told him that StMaarten/StMartin has 300 restaurants and is known as the "Gourmet Capital" of the Caribbean.

Then he said, St. Thomas has great beaches and I replied that StMaarten/StMartin has 37 supurb beaches.

At this point, he was running out of breath as he told me that St. Thomas has a beautiful marina. I graciously told him, George, StMaarten/StMartin has more than 10 beautiful marinas, it hosts the Annual Heineken Regatta. In addition, the island has 12 casinos and world-class entertainment.

Next, he mentioned it was raining in St. Thomas and he sounded depressed, so I told him I would call him next week. At this point, I hung up the phone and at this moment was feeling really, really good. So, I picked up the phone again and called Delta Airlines... 

I hope you enjoy our newsletter.

Sam Fusco
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 Giselle | St. Martin Sotheby's Realty
2. Special Feature: Random Wind Charters
3. Featured Restaurant: Ocean Lounge Restaurant
. Sam's Selection | StMaarten/StMartin Images
5. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
Featured Hotel: Alegria Resort & Spa
7. Featured Shop: Caribbean Gems
8. Featured Activity: Scuba Fun Dive Center
9. The Wine Cellar: Le Digestif/ by Jean Carol Hager-Rich
What's Happening in Paradise?


Featured Villa

Villa Giselle
Giselle’s newly upgraded, heated pool and spa on the spacious terrace overlooks Plum Bay Beach and the sumptuous setting sun. This superb, newly constructed private home has a 180º view of the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean and is but a short walk to the beach.  

Giselle Outside Living 540x360All four air-conditioned, king-size bedrooms are equal sized and open directly onto the terrace and are graced with ocean views. The en-suite deluxe bathrooms also have walk-in closets. The spacious indoor and outdoor living areas offer ideal opportunities for relaxing and entertaining, complete with the gourmet kitchen and covered outdoor dining area with gas BBQ. This wonderful vacation retreat also offers a 5th self contained bedroom, perfect for a nanny or staff ‘travelling with’ or teenagers looking for a shade of independence. The magic is sealed as the sun romantically sinks beyond the horizon after another perfect day, illuminated by the colorful fibre-optic highlights in the pool and spa.

Giselle Kitchen 540x360
Completely remodeled in 2014, Giselle is back on the rental market as a beautiful 5 bedroom, 5 ½ bath residence, located in Terres Basses and overlooking nearby Plum Bay beach and the sumptuous setting sun. This superb home offers a 180° view of the Caribbean Sea from the expansive terrace and a fabulous heated pool and hot tub perfect for a dip in the cooler evenings.

Giselle Terrace Night 540x360
The spacious indoor and outdoor living areas offer ideal opportunities for relaxing and entertaining, complete with a gourmet kitchen and covered, outdoor dining area equipped with gas BBQ and plancha grill. Positioned around the pool are four air-conditioned, equal-sized bedrooms, with king size beds, walk-in closets and deluxe en-suite baths.

Giselle Bedroom 540x360Th
is wonderful vacation retreat also offers a 5th self-contained bedroom perfect for teenagers or a nanny or staff ‘travelling with’. The villa is within easy walking distance of the beautiful and secluded beach of Plum Bay and only a 10 minute drive to restaurants and the island’s vibrant nightlife.

Giselle Pool Sunset 540x360D
aily Rates 

Low Season
Apr 15-Dec 16,
Dec 17-Jan 7,
High Season
Jan 8-Apr 14,
Low Season
Apr 15-Dec 16,
3 Bedroom           $822          $2858          $1286            $822
4 Bedroom         $1000          $2858          $1286          $1000
5 Bedroom         $1143          $2858          $1429          $1143

*Prices are subject to an 8% tax and service charge

NameTitle 1

Contact information is as follows:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.stmartinsothebysrealty.com
Telephone: +590.590.51.02.85
Telephone USA: 213.805.0840


Featured Activity


Random Wind Charters


RWsailing 540x405

--------------- Sail, Snorkel, Play, Eat & Drink 
------------- On a Day Cruise on a Classic Yacht

Random Wind is a classic sailing yacht and has become one of the most popular day charter boats of St. Maarten/St. Martin. If you'd like to experience a real sail boat under comfortable conditions, a trip on Random Wind is for you! 

When you want to spend a relaxing, memorable time sailing with your loved ones, you need the space, luxury, and freedom to feel the wind on your face and really enjoy the ride.  

tripadvisor 2016----tripadvisor 2015-- tripadvisor 2014

So at Random Wind, we make sure that you have the room -- and everything else you need to have the best day possible while riding the crystal clear waters of St. Maarten - St. Martin.

Our 5-star trip is not just a sailing or snorkeling trip. It's a unique boating adventure that you are sure to love and remember for years to come. This St. Maarten activity is perfect for all ages - kids and adults alike will have a blast.

What Will You Experience

During your unique sailing experience, you will sail, swim, snorkel, eat, drink, fish, and swing into the blue waters of the Caribbean while enjoying: 

- St. Maarten's only Tarzan Swing
- Open Bar / drinks
- Lunch and snacks
- Spa Quality Mud bath
- Stand-up paddle board
- All snorkeling equipment
- Awesome stereo for music - yours or ours
- Photos of your day - free online
- No Crowds - max is 22 people

 Random Wind is a traditional sailboat; 54 ft. length, cutter-rigged ketch and well maintained. Started in Taiwan and finished in South Africa, her strength and craftsmanship are just some of her positive attributes.

She circumnavigated the world twice with her previous owners Marten and Saskia and then hoped to find retirement in St. Maarten……. Wrong!

People loved her so much that Marten and Saskia started to get lots of them asking to take her out for the day. And so it started bit by bit that after some years they were doing 4 - 5 days per week and sharing great stories with the people who often turned into friends.

TwoOnASwing R
After running the business for 11 years, Marten and Saskia, with their two children, Skye and Sil, decided it was time for a change. On Aprio 1st, 2007 they sold the business. It is now run by Diane Morano Smith of the USA. She is the Managing director and frequently hostess/first mate.
diane 400
She says her most enjoyable moments, aside from back-flipping off the Tarzan swing, are the sounds of laughter and splashing heard through the hatches as she is prepping the afternoon snacks. “I realize how great this is when I hear that.”

Random Wind offers a lot of space, both in shade and sun. All seating surfaces are newly cushioned – they are really comfortable. After the 2011-2012 refit Random Wind now has three chill lounges. Every guest has a cushioned seat with a backrest!

Our new stereo has speakers forward and aft and can play most anything you bring. The life-lines run the length of the boat port and starboard and are serious stainless steel for real safety. Below are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Across the ‘living room’ wall lies a beautiful relief wood carving of Table Mountain near Capetown, South Africa where the boat was fitted and finished in 1983.

Our Mission Statement

It is the mission of Random Wind Charters, NV to bring joy to those who board our boat as well as to those we encounter on land. To attain this mission we:

  • Encourage fun and laughter in a stress-free environment
  • Treat all people equally and with respectgreen
  • Enjoy alcohol responsibly so as to enhance the good time we are having
  • Take pleasure in the waters of Sint Maarten - Saint Martin as a company; appreciating the beauty and leaving no footprint

Enjoy $10 off per person now through
August 2017. Please use code: SXMORG16
on www.RandomWind.com's website booking form.

Randow Wind Charters
Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten
For reservations, Telephone: 721.587.5742 or
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit us at: www.randomwind.com

 Featured Restaurant


Welcome to the Ocean Lounge for Fine Dining

Voted the #1 Restaurant in Philipsburg by Trip Advisor Visitors!

The newly-renovated restaurant and bar at the Holland House is the Ocean Lounge Restaurant and Bar, which features a beautiful hardwood deck overlooking the ocean and the boardwalk where many locals go to relax at night, when the cool Caribbean breeze soothes away a day at work or a perfect day on the beach. Dedon outdoor furniture with plush cushions, combined with the service-minded staff, gives you that special VIP feeling.

TheHotelRRobert van Herpen and Chef Raymond Kaper, both from Holland, guarantee an enjoyable breakfast, tasty lunch or delightful dinner experience. Raymond began his culinary career as a trainee at the prestigious and leading Michelin star crowned Intercontinental “Amstel Hotel” in Amsterdam at restaurant La Rive.

After 2 years of training with Master-Chef Edwin Kats, Raymond wanted to broaden his culinary skills and went to work for the Dylan Hotel as a Junior Sous Chef. There he learned to be more creative and developed a deeper knowledge of combining flavors. After The Dylan, Raymond worked as a Sous Chef at the renowned Country Hotel “Duin and Kruidberg” and after a year he decided it was time to see more of the world and make good use of his knowledge and skills. He travelled to the Caribbean to expand his cooking style which developed into an interesting and eclectic European – Caribbean Style (EUROBEAN).

Chef Raymond works with local products from the Islands as well as fresh seafood and produce flown in twice weekly from Europe and the USA to create innovative and imaginative dishes. He leads a local team of young cooks and has set new standards and heights in casual dining on the Island. His counterparts on the waiters' side are the ever-smiling Lucia, who supervises breakfast and lunch, and the famous Jesse who oversees the dinner service and has already acquired a very loyal clientele.

Editor's Note: Once again, Barbara and I had a spectacular meal at Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar. After ordering two Black Labels on the rocks, we sat sipping our favorite scotch discussing forthcoming events while enjoying the beautiful view of the yachts in Great Bay.

OceanLoungeTableSettingAfter a while, our waiter brought us the Chef’s offering which was a creamy spicy tomato mousse served in a tall slender glass accompanied with a straw. One or two sips and the mousse caressed your palette with a lovely delightful taste on its way to your stomach. We really wanted more!

For appetizers, we enjoyed Gravlax, marinated and lightly smoked salmon with sour cream and toast, and Beef Carpaccio in lemon juice which were both delicious and easily either could be shared by two people. For our main course, we had Chilean Sea Bass served in an antiboise sauce with mini potatoes and fresh spinach, and Brill which is a white fish imported from Holland accompanied by a selection of vegetables.

For Dessert, we had the chef’s innovative rendition of French toast with Vanilla ice cream in the middle. It was truly unique. And, of course, the meal was accompanied by a lovely bottle of white Sancerre. By the way, Guido & Georgina, our servers, were attentive and friendly and along with Robert van Herpen, Manager of Food & Beverage, helped to make the evening memorable. For reservations, call Robert at 721.542.2572 or 800.223.9815 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Parking for dinner is available from 7 PM till 12 midnight. It's across the street from the Hotel behind Joe's Jewelry. You enter the lot via Back Street and will see a parking assistant and a Holland House banner. Parking is free of charge and exclusive for diners at our Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar.

In addition, our friendly and attentive professional staff will assist you with your needs and answer any questions about the Hotel, arrange car rentals, excursions to other islands, and point you to intimate and romantic Caribbean restaurants. They will also be happy to assist you with important island information, reconfirming your flight and arranging a taxi service. Come visit us! We look forward to making your special day an outstanding one!

Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar
at Holland House Beach Hotel
FrontStreet #43, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
For reservations, visit www.hhbh.com.
Telephone 1.721.542.2572, Fax: 1.721.542.4673 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sam's Selection | St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

ABeautyDec2010 540x405A Beauty!

LaSamBeach 540x361

La Samanna Beach at Bay Long 

PBurgBeachDec2011 540x405Philipsburg Beach at Great Bay

PeopleWaitingPlaneLandingDec2010 540x405People At Sunset Beach/Bar Awaiting Plane Landings At Airport

RUIResortsPool 540x405View of St. Maarten/St. Martin

SimpsonBayLagoon 540x405

A View Of Simpson Bay Lagoon


Sign Up to Win our January 2017

Dream Vacation for Two

   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


Featured Hotel 

--------Alegria Resort & Spa

-----Alegria is waiting for you to discover a world of happiness!
Stay, dine, and unwind all in one place. Whether you're looking for a quiet day at the pool, a romantic dinner for two, or an exciting night out on the town, our boutique hotel is Sint Maarten's premier destination. Only a short cab ride away from the Princess Juliana International Airport and located in between the French and Dutch sides of the island, staying at the Alegria while visiting Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, could not be more convenient.

Enjoy a festive cocktail with live music at the Sunset Beach Bar where you can almost touch the planes landing at Princess Juliana. Our 78-room boutique hotel, which overlooks the Caribbean waters, includes two pools, a swim-up bar, spa services on request, fitness center, 5 restaurants & Wi-Fi. Make your vacation the most memorable one yet. Make it Alegria.

AlegriaBalcony R

Overlooking the ocean at Sunset Beach and adjacent to Maho Beach, Alegria is an oasis where guests can immerse themselves in world-famous white sand beaches or join the visitors from around the world who flock to Maho Beach to experience the close-up excitement of jets soaring overhead as they approach Princess Juliana International Airport. In contrast, the night skies remain clear, as the airport restricts flights after 9 p.m.

The hotel is a short taxi ride from Philipsburg, capital of the islands Dutch side and the 37 wonderful beaches that the island has to offer. Nearby attractions include the Loterie Farm Nature Reserve nestled in the hillside of Pic Paradis on the French side of St. Martin which offers dining, hiking and zip-lining over the treetop canopy. Guests can also make Day-trips to neighboring islands, visit Fort Amsterdam, a historic site that was built by Dutch settlers in 1631 and renowned for its architectural ruins and spectacular views, and enjoy the wide variety of culinary offerings on an island dubbed the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.

AlegriaBedroom24 R

Alegria Resort offers several spacious room types that are fully equipped with upscale amenities and balcony views of the gardens and turquoise Caribbean waters. The two-bedroom penthouse features more than 2,000 square feet of space, king beds, two and a half baths, a lounge area with sofa bed, designer kitchen, and a washer and dryer. The hotel also has two pools with a swim-up bar and duty-free shopping is just a short walk away. Excellent dining options, casinos, nightclubs and an 18-hole championship golf course are also nearby.


AlegriaKitchen27 R
The Choice Hotels International Caribbean portfolio currently includes hotels in the Caribbean destinations of Aruba, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten.

Last but not least some info on Sunset Beach Bar and the future Refuge:


Just steps away from the ALEGRIA, the SUNSET BEACH BAR is an absolute must to visit during your stay in St Maarten. Watch in awe as the arriving and departing planes soar right overhead.  

Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. SUNSET features a vast selection of made to order sandwiches, Caribbean inspired salads, local fresh fish and THE BEST BURGER ON THE ISLAND... live entertainment features a rotation of DJs and local bands performing all your favorites.

BREAKFAST: the perfect way to start your day in paradise... breakfast overlooking the serenity of the Caribbean Sea offering a selection of homemade baked goods, fresh fruit and made to order eggs and omelettes... served daily 7:30-11am.

LUNCH-SNACKS-DINNER are served from 11am-9pm daily and THE WORLD’S GREATEST HAPPY HOUR is served from 4-7pm daily (except Sunday) – 2 for 1 Heineken, Corona, drinks and sangria.




St Maarten's restaurant/lounge directly adjoins the iconic SUNSET BEACH BAR.

Eat lunch on sunset beach and experience the excitement of watching the planes land and take off… or reserve a lounge chair and enjoy the serenity of THE REFUGE pool where our full lunch menu is served... ocean front dining is available as well as a fully air conditioned dining room for those looking to escape the sun and heat... daily specials along with a vast selection of made to order sandwiches, Caribbean inspired salads, and local fresh fish. Lunch is served daily from 11-5 pm.


A little bit Latin, a little bit Italian and a whole lot of fun... THE REFUGE combines 2 of the world’s most popular cuisines with some local Caribbean favorites all in one exciting restaurant. A modern twist on international cuisine, THE REFUGE truly has something for everyone... fresh local fish, prime steaks, chicken, pasta and veal specialties all done the way grandma used to make it... and of course THE BEST PIZZA ON THE ISLAND straight out of our custom made 900 degree wood burning brick oven... dinner served daily 5-11 pm... late night menu served until closing.


After dinner THE REFUGE transforms into a breathtaking lounge that caters to the upscale crowd... expect that Manhattan, Miami, Las Vegas vibe... a live DJ spins on our state-of-the-art sound system setting the perfect mood for cocktails or bottle service with friends… private lounge tables are always available and a late night menu is served into the wee hours of the night. Must be 21 or over after 10 pm... Fashionable island dress code required. Have a great vacation!

Alegria Resort & Spa

Beacon Hill #2, Sint Maarten

For reservations, email Minerva Hughes at 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Call Toll-Free 1.877.231.8777 or call the resort 1.721.545.4000

Please visit our website at: www.alegriasxm.com


Featured Shop 



established in 1983, has been consistently voted as St. Maarten’s #1 jewelry store in an independent poll conducted by The Daily Herald. High quality merchandise, competitive pricing and excellent customer service certainly makes them the one jewelry store that must be visited if you’re in St. Maarten.

They specialize in GIA certified loose diamonds in all shapes and sizes, from half a carat to twenty carats. With a wide variety of settings in Platinum as well as 14kt & 18kt gold, you can select your ideal diamond and watch it being set in their in-house work shop. They also do trade-ins and diamond upgrades. Get full value on your trade-in and upgrade your diamond ring, tennis bracelet, diamond studs or other jewelry to something newer and better and just pay the difference.

If you are in the market for fine quality precious gemstones, including emeralds, rubies, sapphires and tanzanites or even semi-precious gems, then Caribbean Gems is the place to visit. Fine Swiss watches, pearls, gold chains, bracelets, charms, custom made jewelry and so much more round up their selection. Certified appraisals, life-time trade-in guarantee, toll-free service line, US service centers, mail orders are all part of their repertoire to be the best on the island.  

If shopping from back home, make sure to visit their website at www.caribbeangems.com to view the widest selection of fine jewelry, watches and pearls. Email them if you have any special requests. With priority international delivery, you can have jewelry delivered home in as little as 24 hours.


22 & 40 Front Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Tel: 1-721-542-2176   Fax: 1-721-542-5862
Toll Free: 1-800-848-7925 or 1-877-904-4367

Web: www.caribbeangems.com - - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
US telephone line: 1-646-472-7996 or 1-212-537-6094


Jewelers of America ● Diamond Council of America

Jewelers Information Council ● New York Diamond Dealers Club

Jewelers Vigilance Committee

St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce


Featured Activity



Welcome to Scuba Fun PADI Dive Center 

Scuba Fun Dive Center is a well-established, professional, PADI 5* Dive Resort located in Great Bay Marina, Philipsburg, St. Maarten - just a 5-10 minute walk from the cruise ship terminal and a 10 minute boat ride from St. Maarten's nature reserve - The Man of War Shoal Marinee Park. We can easily reach about 15 of the most SFDiveBoatCoralPalmfamous diving spots on St. Maarten: Proselyte Reef, the Maze, Carib Cargo, Cable Reef… 

Whether trying scuba diving for the first time, planning fun scuba dives during a brief or longer stay on our beautiful island or aiming for the next level of PADI scuba diver certification, our experienced dive guides will be delighted to show you some of the many scuba diving sites off the shores of St. Maarten/St. Martin - just a short boat ride away from our Philipsburg PADI Dive Center, enjoy shade and complimentary soft drinks on board all of our three custom scuba dive boats. 

Our time schedule fits the cruise ship program. Departure time for two tank dives is at 9.00 AM. According to ship arrival's time, we often have a second boat departing at 10.00 AM or 11.00 AM. Our boats go out again at 2.00 PM for a shallow dive, Resort courses and Snorkeling trips. In winter time, some ships (Carnival Cruise and several others) stay on US eastern time instead of Caribbean time (1 hour difference). No matter what time your ship arrives and departs, we will always try toSFDiveBoat accommodate you; private trips are also available for a fair price. 

If you visit St. Maarten on a cruise ship and stop over for just one day, it's just a few minutes walk from the cruise ship pier to our dive shop. Save the fee for a cab or a taxi boat, you will find us just after the pier, at Great Bay Marina.   ----

Our dive shop is open from 8AM till 6PM and offers both sale and rental of diving and snorkeling equipment. You will also find StMaarten/StMartin souvenirs, beachwear and Internet access. So, let us help you organize your vacation by making the most of the activities that we can offer you. Whether you're a first-timer or an experienced diver, our team of multilingual diving instructors will help you discover the beautiful coral reefs and the many wrecks of the Caribbean Sea, all of which will really make it a trip to remember.  

ScubaTwoDivingBoatIf you don't want to rent a car, our free shuttle service will come to pick you up and drive you to our dive center, and naturally, will drive you back after the dive, please ask for the shuttle when you reserve. No matter if you stay in Oyster Pond, Dawn Beach (Westin Resort, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Captain Oliver's…) or Philipsburg (Divi Little Bay Resort, Great Bay Resort, Belair Beach..), no problem, we will be there!!! (For other parts of the island, please ask.) 

Scuba Fun has three fully equipped dive boats to make your journey to our many dive spots as comfortable as possible: "Scuba Two" is a 28 feet inflatable with cabin and hard top, registered for 15 divers with a 250 hp outboard engine. SFDiveShopPhilipsburg"Scuba Fun" is a 36 feet mono-hull with cabin and hard top registered for 20 divers with a 300 hp inboard diesel motor. "Coral Palm" is a 42 feet mono-hull with two levels and a hard top: registered for 30 divers with two 225 hp inboard diesel motors. 

Scuba Fun Dive Center is St Martin/St Maarten's longest established PADI 5* Resort #798686
Let us show you the scuba diving sites around our island.  You know you're in good hands! 


Reviews - Scuba Fun PADI Dive Center
Read independent reviews on Scuba Fun Dive Center

Scuba Fun Dive Center

Great Bay Marina, Dockmaarten, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Visit: www.scubafundivecenter.com

Tel: 1.721.542.3966 or 1.721.586.2822 cell  


The Wine Cellar

Le Digestif 

Jean Carol Hager-Rich

Imagine you indulge in a gourmet dinner. Beginning with an aperitif to open your palette, dinner accompanied by fine wines chosen to enhance your savory dishes, then finish with a delightful dessert. The grand finale cradling the bowl of crystal stemware, tulip shaped to collect the vapors, which rise when the golden liquid is slightly warmed by the hand. Holding your glass to the light, admire the tawny liquid glint emitting summer's last rays of sunshine. Trails of alcoholic legs stream up the sides, hinting at the sugar content - old wags call it the "Dancing Woman." Your nose dips into the opening of the glass to sniff the exotic aromas. When sipped, the liquid warms you all the way down. If it doesn't aid digestion it surely provides immeasurable pleasure.

Amongst the oldest of all spirits are those distilled from wines and include Armagnac and Cognac. These traditional spirits were birthed when Arabic horsemen galloped into Europe, bringing skills in distillation with them centuries ago, to make wine less likely to turn spontaneously into vinegar. Houses that make these spirits boast generations of sons and daughters, all making spirits, searching to create a unique gustatory signature. These artisans take grape juice, made into rustic wines, and distill them. The distillation temperature and double distillation make these spirits distinct from whiskeys created of fermented grains. The spirits emerge from alembic stills as clear liquids and then go into oak barrels to mature, acquire smoothness, color and special characteristics of taste. This development of the alcoholic spirit will go on for years in oak barrels, then more, aging in-bottle, before their commercial release.

In olden days such spirits were blended with multiple-years' production, mixed according to the tradition of the house - part of the artistry being to create it consistent, signature taste through blending. Then a few decades ago, artisan geniuses began to create 'snob appeal' and flavor characteristics by isolating their products from a single-vineyard or single-year's blended product. These are highly sought after by knowledgeable collectors. One such line of products available throughout the last century by individual year are Armagnacs. Armagnac is the spirit of Gascony, land of the Musketeers, more rustic and artisinal with an aggressive frontal attack, compared to its sister, Cognac, in North-western France.

In France, regional origin defines the name of the product. AOC is an area of specified (controlled) origin by tradition in which it is produced and by the law of France, which defines from what grapes it can be made and in what blends and quantities.

The new world too has its spirited traditions. One cannot imagine the Caribbean without. It's rum cocktails, be they muddled or mixed, sugared or infused with fruit or spices. But appreciated in gastronomy are "vieux (old) rhuns." Born as cane juices, distilled, spending their time to mature in oak barrels so they acquire characteristic flavor palettes, colors and aromas, turning a party drink into a fitting ending in fine dining... far distant relatives from the pirates' liquid fire.

While acquiring their vanilla tones and structure from oak wombs, these spirits are concentrated by evaporation, as are fellow spirits in France. The part that evaporates into the air is called "the angels' share." Whether you be angel or pirate, enjoy the gastronomic finds in St. Maarten/St. Martin's shops provisioning these fine spirits from the old and new worlds.

Contributor Jean Carol Hager-Rich, restaurateur, wine-expert, and well-known wedding planner has lived in St. Maarten for more than 20 years since she retired from cancer research. She explores her passion for wine, dining and people on both sides of the island. Questions? Contact Jean at 1.721.581.5152 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


What's Happening in Paradise?

Sam Fusco 

The following is a brief list of island businesses who were on vacation sometime duing August or September, did renovations, and/or open continuously all year long. 

La Vista Beach Resort, located in Pelican Key, has just finished adding a new roof to their buildings in addition to new doors and windows. They have also renovated the restaurant and have hired new staff. That said and done, they are now open for business.  

located at Simpson Bay Resort at Pelican Key, was the first and is the oldest Health & Beauty Spa on the island of Sint Maarten / Saint Martin. Since 1985 we only closed one time due to forced circumstances "HURRICANE LUIS in 1995." If you are in need of any more information don't hesitate to contact me. We are open all year. Have a wonderful and happy day.

Club Orient,
located on Orient Beach, was closed for renovations, but is now open. (www.cluborient.com)

Tijon Parfumerie,
located in Grand Case, did not close for vacation. (www.tijon.com)

Pizza Galley & The Dock Waterfront Bar,
located on Welfare Road across from the Royal Palm Resort, are open all year round. (www.pizzagalley.com)

Bistrot Caraibes,
located in Grand Case, is open all year round. It was closed every Saturday from July to mid-October. (www.bistrot-caraibes.com)

L’Auberge Gourmande,
located in Grand Case, was closed until October 15th  but is now open. (www.aubergegourmande.com)

Oyster Bay Beach Resort,
located in Oyster Pond, is open all year long. They do not close for staff vacations or renovation during the year. (www.oysterbaybeachresort.com)

L’Escargot Restaurant
, located in Philipsburg, was closed for vacation but re-open the first week of October. They have a new Menu and an exciting new Cabaret Show every Friday. Reservations required. (www.lescargotrestaurant.com)

Belmond La Samanna,
located in Terres Basses St. Martin, was closed for vacations and maintenance but reopened its doors on October 24th, 2016. (www.lasamanna.com)

Masterski Pilou, located in St. Martin, was open during September but most of their boats were out of the water due to the hurricane season. They are now fully operational. (www.masterski-pilou.com)

Esmeralda Resort,
located in Orient Bay, was closed for annual vacations but re-opened on October 3rd. (www.esmeralda-resort.com)

Leisure Car Rental
, located near the airport, was open during the summer!  September is their annual Customer Appreciation Month which would have gotten you a 10% Discount (keep it in mind for next September. They are open all year. (www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com)

Happy Hour Tours,
located just outside the cruise port at Dock Maarten, is open all year. If people are looking for charters etc. we can help. The very popular Rhum Tours are running every day at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm.
We are open all year. (

La Vista and La Vista Beach Resort, located on Pelican Key, was closed for renovations but reopened October 1st. The Hideaway Restaurant and Bar was also closed during the same time. (www.lavistaresort.com)

Passaat Classic Schooner, located in St. Maarten, was closed for the month of September as they do every year but is now open for the rest of the year. (www.sailholiday.com)

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino – St Maarten continues to improve their resort. They have recently renovated and remodeled the last three top floors, the pool area, new gym for the high end Ocean Point Property (the original and just renovated/upgraded to 5* Maho building) and the new Kids Aqua Park this year along with a new Chinese Restaurant and more to come! So, as you can see, we must keep busy!


Temptation Restaurant & Bar, located in Starz Plaza, was closed for vacation but has now re-opened for the rest of the year. Temptation is the creation of Dino Jagtiani, St. Maarten's most award winning Chef. (www.temptation-sxm.com)

Sunshine Properties, located on Welfare Road in Cole Bay, is open all year. (www.sunshine-properties.com

Horny Toad Guest House,
located in Simpson Bay, is open all year round. (www.thtgh.com)

Lee’s Roadside Grill,
located in Simpson Bay, was closed for vacation but re-opened on October 4th. Lee’s offers a great roadside restaurant, live bands, Happy Hour Specials and the opportunity to go Deep Sea Fishing. (www.leesfish.com)

Riu Palace St. Martin,
located in Anse Marcel, does not close any time. It is open all year. (www.riu.com / www.riuplaza.com)


Tenth Fete de la Cuisine Cooks Off, November 6
The tenth annual Fête de la Cuisine cooks off this year from November 6 to 13, at various locations. A highlight of the festival will be “Taste of St. Maarten” food fair with dishes prepared by local chefs on St. Martin/St. Maarten Day, November 11.  Chefs Sander Spruijt, Raymond Reeb, Wilco Berends and Alain Alders of the Netherlands will demonstrate their cooking skills at a wine and fine food event and a five-course grand cocktail and dinner evening.   The invited chefs will also engage in a social activity with students of the local culinary institute and detainees at Ms. Eulalie Meyers Centre. Part of the proceeds of the culinary week will be donated to that institution. A four-course welcome dinner will be prepared by award winning chefs Pieter Holstein and Ronald Stephane assisted by the Oyster Bay Beach Resort culinary team. This is a fundraising dinner for the island’s culinary team to aid in its participation in the 2017 Taste of the Caribbean competition in Miami. A wine and fine foods event at Divi Little Bay Resort will be on November 8.

SCDF Again Plans 30-Plus Days of Carnival Activities
The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will again host more than a month’s worth of activities for Carnival 2017, which is being dictated by the rapid and enormous growth of the festival, according to SCDF.   As it prepares to release its tentative schedule, SCDF announced that Carnival activities would kick off as early as mid-March and end May 4. “The days of Carnival being crammed into two weeks, with a handful of pre-Carnival events, are long gone. This is our new reality,” SCDF President Alston Lourens said last week.   He explained that the number of Carnival initiatives and events to which visitors and residents look forward is growing every year. The result is much earlier economic activity throughout the island with visitors travelling to the country much earlier to catch the pre-Carnival events as well, he pointed out. 

Shark Project Places First Satellite Tag On Tiger Shark
The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) “Save Our Sharks Project” started its Shark Research Initiative on St. Maarten two weeks ago, with renowned shark scientists and underwater videographers joining teams from Nature Foundation and Saba Conservation Foundation in researching and tagging various species of sharks in local waters and on the Saba Bank. As part of this research the first tiger shark has been tagged with a satellite transmitter in the Eastern Caribbean.  “We are therefore also very excited to have tagged the first female tiger shark with a satellite tag in the Eastern Caribbean here on St. Maarten,” commented Project Leader and DCNA Acting Chair Tadzio Bervoets.   On October 12, the team deployed a satellite tag on a 2.4-metre tiger shark, the first tiger shark to be tagged with this equipment in the Eastern Caribbean. With the Satellite Tag researchers are able to follow the animals’ movement patterns.   “This particular animal, named Sea Fairy, has already transmitted data points and the team is very excited to see where she will go.  

Royal Caribbean Uses Fuel Cells To Power Cleaner Cruise Ships
It’s not just ground-based transportation that could stand to benefit from clean-running fuel cells. Cruise ship operator Royal Caribbean has revealed that it’s developing a new class of ship, the Icon that will run on liquefied natural gas fuel cells.  The move would dramatically reduce the harmful emissions from the vessels (the company hints they’d output nothing more than water) without compromising on reliability or safety.  Boats wouldn’t be stuck if they have to dock somewhere which can’t offer natural gas, either, as they could rely on distillate gas in a pinch. Tests start with an existing cruise ship in 2017, although you’ll have to wait considerably longer for Icon-class ships to take to the seas.  Shipbuilder Meyer Turku won’t deliver the first example until the second quarter of 2022, and you’ll have to wait until 2024 for the second. Still, it’s an important step.  Pollution is a serious problem in the cruise ship industry and it may only get worse as the ships get larger.  Fuel cells could turn that around very quickly – you could go on vacation without worrying quite so much.

New Hospital Will Have Helipad, 110 Beds, Therapy Units, 40 Dialysis Chairs
The new general hospital for St. Maarten will be much larger than the current facility and will be equipped with the amenities of a modern medical institution including 110 beds, of which six will be Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds; six therapy units in its day care facility; and 40 dialysis chairs, amongst others.  It will also be equipped with a helipad that “meets all the legal and all the safety requirements,”  The new medical institution will contain “sophisticated” equipment such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and medical machines for cardiac and vascular interventions. It will also be equipped with operation rooms for various types of surgeries, including orthopaedic surgeries.  The hospital will be there to serve the needs for care of the population and yes, we try to deliver as much care as possible locally, also in collaboration with the hospitals on the French side and those in the Dutch Kingdom. 

Port 'Welcomes' Pearl Of China Hub Function
The planned Pearl of China project’s hub function will benefi t Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities and Princess Juliana International Airport, a spinoff the management of Port St. Maarten welcomes, according to a press statement.  Port Chief Executive Offi cer (CEO) Mark Mingo said he “fully endorse and congratulate all those who have been involved in making this project come to fruition.”  The project, slated for Belair beachfront, entitles 326-room hotel with showroom and 450 apartments and aims to bring Las Vegas style business conventions and tradeshows to the country by linking Chinese businesses with regional ones.  We haven’t seen much economic development over the years and expansion of our economy is part of the port’s business … The Pearl of China project and its HUB function that is envisioned for St. Maarten will lead to growing our economy for the next decade and beyond once the project comes fully online within two years,” he said.  Tremendous growth in Asia has led to loss of port calls in the Caribbean to that area, said Mingo.  The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in its 2016 Asia Cruise Trends reported that the cruise industry in Asia is growing at a record pace and shows no signs of slowing down. 
Migratory Bird Festival Enjoys Record Attendance From Public
People of all ages came out on Saturday October 15th, to celebrate migratory birds and learn about the amazing journeys that bring them to St. Martin. It was a record crowd for the Migratory Birds Festival, organised by Les Fruits de Mer. Attendees were treated to a variety of presentations and activities related to migratory birds and the habitats that sustain them.  “The story of bird migration is fascinating, but we also see it as a gateway to learning about the entire ecosystem that surrounds them,” explained Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “Activities like the Portable Pond Discovery Station and Crabitat highlight the less noticeable critters that sustain many of our birds and the Club Gaïac seedling giveaway gets people personally involved in restoring native trees.”  This year’s event also showed the different ways we interact with migratory birds. Ilja Botha, founder of Seagrape Tours, shared her experience offering birding tourism on St. Martin in her presentation. 

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters.

The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 1.973.835.0600 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Publisher: Sam Fusco, Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco, Contributor: Jean Carol Hager-Rich.