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The
-----------------------------StMaarten/StMartin
 
---------------------------------- Connection

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



Dear Friends of St. Maarten,

When my nephew, Matthew, was six years old, he had a favorite saying; "Can you believe it?" With any new experience, he would utter that phrase. Of course, at his age, it was happening every day; but, one particular incident frequently comes to mind.

We were in St. Martin having lunch at La Samanna Resort. Besides Matthew, his mother, father and 4 year old brother were with Barbara and me. The weather was just beautiful; sunny sky with a soft breeze and temperatures in the mid 80s. As usual, the view of the Caribbean Sea from the hillside balcony of La Samanna's Trellis Restaurant was just spectacular. As our lunch selections arrived, Matt looked at his hamburger and French fries while yelling, "There's no Ketchup!" Our waitress, upon hearing this hustled into the kitchen and quickly returned with a large plastic bottle of the red-stuff. And Matthew,  upon flipping the bottle over and squeezing it, sent ketchup flying everywhere - on his hamburger, fries, dish and part of the table, which brought a very large smile to his face as he uttered, "Can you believe it?"

As I reminisce about that day, I look out my window at the piles of snow 3 to 5 feet high around the perimeter of our condo parking lot. Three weeks ago, we had snow storms on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the same week dumping more than two feet of snow on our region that was in addition to previous snow storms in December and January. This winter, the New York Metro area has had more snow, ice storms and freezing polar winds down from Northern Canada and the North Pole than I can ever remember. Can anyone logically say that this isn't caused by global warming?

I just checked the weather in St. Maarten. The temp is 82 going to 84 and will be similar for the next week with sunny skies. This morning the temperature outside my window was 11 degrees Fahrenheit and going to... Excuse me for not finishing the paragraph, but I have to google United.com for a good fare to St. Maarten!

Wishing you an early spring.   

Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher

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. A Poem: Marigot Courtyard Garden by Laura Richardson
2. Featured Shop: Tijon Parfumerie
3. Featured Restaurant: Trellis Restaurant at La Samanna
4. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
5. Featured Hotel: Princess Heights Boutique Hotel
6. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images

7. Featured Activity: Scuba Fun Dive Center
8. Featured Villa: Villa Blue Palm by Pierres Caraibes
9. Featured Article: A Little Story by Sam Fusco
10. Complimentary Gift Certificates
11. What's Happening in Paradise?
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

A Poem

 

 
 
 

Marigot Courtyard Garden

 

Her knight in shining armor

rode centuries ago.

Now golden chalice fill their cups

with morning’s early glow

 

Hooves echo in her garden,

rings line the stone-laid walls,

built by an ancient garrison,

secured their tropic stalls.

 

The King’s last fort, his island gem,

links Louis with his past,

while lineage was woven through

their multi-layer caste.

 

Madame cleans fresh fish for lunch,

sauce simmers on the fire.
Her gentlemen will gather
for her gift, then soon retire.

 

These stories told remind us

Of souls who passed before,

While many quiet twilights

shadows dance beneath closed doors…

 

 ---------------------------                           Marigot Courtyard Garden            

       ------------------------------------              Golden Chalice

 

 

Marigot Courtyard Garden” #6 rue de la Republique, Marigot, St. Martin

Now celebrating 16 years as Roland Richardson Gallery Museum, this courtyard dates back to the late 1700’s when Roland’s ancestor, knighted Sieur de Durat, was commissioned by King Louis XVI to build Fort Louis on his French West Indian territory, St. Martin. All the stone masonry for this ancient garrison still stands in the gallery courtyard. The ill-fated king was beheaded soon after, at the start of the French revolution, and Roland’s ancestors were destined never to return to their homeland in France. Roland’s father, Louis Richardson, enjoyed lunch in this garden, daily for over fifty years, prepared by his lovely wife, Cynthie. Visitors are thrilled to discover this hidden jewel, filled with beauty and nature.                                                         

 <><><>

Painting by Roland Rechardson; Poem and Photos by Laura Richardson
Laura and Sir Roland Richardson would be delighted to hear from you!
Visit their beautiful gallery at:
Roland Richardson Gallery Museum
#6 rue de la Republique Marigot, St. Martin
Where Fine Art, History and Nature Abound!
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Magic Jack, Tel: 1.443.982.0683 - Website: www.rolandrichardson.com


© Copyright Laura and Roland Richardson 2014


 

 

 

 

 

Featured Shop  
 
TijonLogo705x115

MainBanner705x300

 

What is Tijon?

A boutique parfumerie with the unique opportunity to make your own perfume or cologne.  Headquartered in St. Martin FWI with a new location in La Jolla, CA we also specialize in our own line of handcrafted fragrances.  Stop by one of our locations to tour our Perfume Lab or find a gift in our boutique.  Perfect for date night, bachelorette parties or finding your custom scent.  

Tijon Believes

Life is short and precious.  It's about feeling good, eating and drinking well while enjoying the pleasures in life.  It's about small moments of happiness when you find the time to stop and smell the roses or that gorgeous stranger who happens to walk past you.  

Tijon believes in creating and providing products that are fresh and clean, with nature’s best ingredients.  We do not test on animals; instead we test on our willing friends and family who enjoy Tijon's success.  

Tijon takes every detail into account including packaging.  Our products are packaged by hand to preserve their small batch quality utilizing the finest ingredients found in the Caribbean and across the globe.

Tijon not only creates lingering fragrances, but desires to teach the world about the history, complexity, and beauty of perfume.  

Tijon's History

Tijon, Parfumerie & Boutique is headquartered in St. Martin, FWI.  It opened in 2007, but it's conception started years prior with a business man's dream to leave the corporate chaos and live in a tropical paradise.  Further details on John Berglund's journey of inception can be discovered through his book, A Beach Less Traveled.  

In November 2012, after years of requests to open a U.S. location, Tijon opened its second boutique in the luxurious seaside community of La Jolla, CA.  This unique perfumery brings French traditionalism and scents of the Caribbean to the west coast.  It also  extends the popular “perfume creation experiences (i.e. Make-Your-Own Perfume)” to The States.    

This family run business, highly rated on Tripadvisor, is dedicated to making your experience enjoyable and welcomes guests as part of the family. Tijon's Family:

tijon familyJohn Berglund | Le Nez "The Nose"

Owner and founder John has been making his dream come true with his fine sense of smell and composition skills.  His artwork and knowledge on a variety of fragrance ingredients has lead to the success of his business and recent book.  He enjoys teaching all levels the basic understanding of fragrance composition and uplifting moods through his Tijon products.

Rachelle Crumrine | L'apprenti "The Apprentice"

Daughter of owner and founder, Rachelle, has left her career in endurance sports where she spent hours at marathon finish lines around sweaty participants to become her father's apprentice.  She desires to make the world and fitness fanatics smell better, while educating guests to find a fragrance that fits their individual taste.   Rachelle continues the tradition of Tijon by providing the perfume creation experience in The States.

Cyndi Berglund | Le tout "The Everything"

Owner and wife of founder, Cyndi has been part of the adventure since inception.  Her support and hospitality have been the true success of Tijon's business.  She insists fashion and fragrance are intertwined and desires everyone to leave looking and feeling their best.


---------------------- Tijon Handcrafted Custom Fragrances 
----------------------------1 L'Esperance Road, Grand Case, St. Martin
--------------- For information and reservations, telephone 011.590.690.22.74.70 or
------------------------Visit us at: 
www.Tijon.com ~ Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Restaurant 

 


lasamannalogoR

Restaurants & Bars

"One of the Top Three Restaurants in the Caribbean!"
Travel and Leisure Magazine


The elegance of 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 extensive wine collections in the Caribbean. From inspired cuisine to refreshing cocktails, La Samanna offers exceptional dining experiences in St. Martin.

LaSamEntrance-2
Enjoy gourmet dishes in the resort's elegant Trellis Restaurant, lunch at Interlude Restaurant or dine in total privacy on your own terrace, courtesy of 24-hour Room Service. Also, don't forget to visit our beautiful bars. And, remember, there is nightly entertainment in the Baie Longue Bar. In-room dining is also available 24 hours a day. And, for your convenience, a children's menu is available from 12 noon to 9 pm daily. 

Trellis Restaurant's opulent dining room offers dramatic, open-air dining with panoramic beach and ocean views. Trellis offers the ultimate in island fine dining. Enjoy beautifully crafted, traditional French cuisine in an elegant bistro setting. You'll also discover a tempting display of local catch and fresh lobster. Our World-class cuisine combines fresh, lively island flavors with classical French techniques. Be sure to indulge in a bottle of Grand Cru from the acclaimed cellar, which boasts one of the most extensive wine collections in the Caribbean. Dinner is served daily 6:30 – 9:45pm. Please note: Trellis cannot accommodate highchairs. Alternative dining options will be offered.

Click here to see more of Trellis with our panoramic virtual tour > 

LaSamTrellis-2Interlude Restaurant: This casual and beautifully decorated air-conditioned dining spot is open for breakfast and drinks throughout the day, Interlude is an idyllic retreat for casual al fresco dining. Interlude is closed on Wednesdays. A casual dress code is suggested. Buffet and à la carte breakfast from 7:30 - 10:30am. 

Interlude will keep you cool while you enjoy the gorgeous ocean views, as well as fabulous Gazpacho, sandwiches, and salads such as the locally caught Mahi-Mahi, grilled on Romaine lettuce with herbed French bread crostini or a classical Caesar topped with Cajun tiger shrimp.

La Samanna's Baie Longue Bar provides a cozy spot for cocktails before or after dinner. This rich, eclectic bar mixes designer furniture, and unique modern art. Long time bartender Orlando Philgene mixes up his signature drink, the Baie Longue Blue, and provides incredible rum and delightful champagne tasting for the aficionado of Caribbean spirits. Open daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight or until the last guest turns-in.

Click here to see more of the Baie Longue Bar with our panoramic virtual tour >

The Beach Bar: Located on the beach, and only minutes away from the guest rooms and suites, LaSamBaieLongueBar-2this al-fresco lunch bar and restaurant allows guests to keep their feet in the sand while enjoying snacks, salads and cocktails as well as providing beach/beverage service to the beach chaises. The Beach Bar also features Lobster Barbecues for lunch on Wednesday and Sunday, with a special Lobster Barbecue on Monday nights. Perfectly complimented by our infinity edge pool, enjoy drinks whilst contemplating La Samanna's breathtaking sunsets.

WiFi is also now available at the Beach Bar and throughout most of the resort for easy access to the internet or to check your email. 

La Cave Restaurant: Enjoy a delightful private dinner in this most exclusive venue. Perfect for a private celebration or business dinner, the Wine Cellar offers our guests a completely different dining experience. Sit among some of the finest wines in the world and feast on cuisine from one of the Caribbean's best chefs, complimented by elegant and attentive service. La Samanna's 'La Cave' wine cellar is without doubt one of the finest and most attractive cellars in the Caribbean, with a superb selection of fine wines from across the globe, all impeccably controlled and selected by passionate experts.

Welcome to La Cave Restaurant! Travel with us to our medieval wine cellar fantasy for this ultimate dining experience. Our sommelier will take you through a journey of discovery and our honoured Chef will join you in this intimate setting for an open discussion on the menu and a last cheer.

LaSamLaCave

Enjoy a private wine tasting in our award winning wine cellar (2 people minimum) or savor a private wine cellar dinner with our Chef's innovative five course or nine course tasting menu and wine pairings. Rum Tasting - The Caribbean is famed for its rum and at La Samanna we take this reputation very seriously. Enjoy a journey through some of the region’s finest rums, accompanied by selected speciality dishes. 

12,000 bottles of wine - 1,250 labels - 11 countries

AWARDS

 Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2010
Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2008

Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2007
Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2006
Best Wine List of the Caribbean Gault & Millau 2007

Your eyes, your nose, your "papilles" (taste buds): your taste becomes attentive, sensitive, and while smelling and tasting such wine or such alcohol, you discover a new treasure and a new pleasure...

Special Dining Events
Throughout the year, La Samanna offers special dining events to its guests, profiling some of the world's best chefs and their cuisine at our luxury resort. Beach Dining Private Candlelight Dinner and Monday night lobster beach BBQ are two of our events. Please check our website for additional upcoming Special Dining Events.


TripAdvisor 

569 reviews of La Samanna by Orient-Express in Terres Basses

La Samanna by Orient-Express  
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
4.0 of 5 stars
Based on 569 traveller reviews  
Most Recent Traveller Reviews:
  • 26 Jan 2014: “Dream Vacation”
  • 26 Jan 2014: “Third time back and disappointed!”
  • 22 Jan 2014: “Wonderful trip in November 2013”
  • 21 Jan 2014: “Best luxury experience in St. Martin, here's...”
  • 19 Jan 2014: “Paradise found”  
© 2014 TripAdvisor LLC


La Samanna Resort & Spa
Bay Long, St. Martin, F.W.I.

For reservations, tel:1.800.854.2252 or 011.590.590.87.64.00 or fax: 011.590.590.87.87.86
Visit us at:www.lasamanna.com or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign Up to Win our June 2014 Dream Vacation for Two

Subscribe to our Newsletter - you may
Win a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at La Samanna Resort & Spa, St. Martin
or Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
plus, A Day of Sailing on a Random Wind Charter


 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Hotel 

 


Masthead-697x220

------------------- Welcome to Princess Heights St Maarten Hotel

 

The island of St. Maarten and/or St. Martin is cosmopolitan and diverse, as well as sophisticated and simple. The diversity of culture and activities make the Island a truly unique destination. Discover the elegance of the French, the diversity of the Dutch and the passion of the Caribbean. Live your dream in St. Maarten (Sint Maarten on the Dutch side) and on St. Martin (Saint Martin on the French side).

Princess Heights is a family operated Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel. LivingRm-397x298The hotel offers spacious studios, one and two bedroom suites that feature balconies with ocean views, fully equipped gourmet kitchens and whirlpool tubs. The units are finished with marble and granite throughout. Princess Heights Hotel is famous for the luxury of the suites and its personalized service.

The hotel is located in the hillsides of Dawn Beach St. Maarten; within a short walk to the beach, casino, spa and restaurants.

 

At a Glance

Attracted by the dual nationality of the island, half French and half Dutch, the Lee Family began coming to St. Maarten since the 1980’s first on vacation and later as timeshare owners. Finally, in the early 1990’s, the Lee’s decided it was time to plant more permanent roots in St Maarten and began construction of phase one of Princess Heights Condominiums in the prestigious residential Oyster Pond area. Perched on the hillside overlooking Dawn Beach, the suites offer commanding views of both the Atlantic Ocean and St. Barths.

Since the completion of construction in 1995, Princess Heights has been operating as a luxury boutique hotel. Built to exacting standards and with a commitment to quality and personalized service, Princess Heights quickly gained a reputation as a charming home away from home and as a luxury romantic getaway.

Pool-397x298All of the custom decorated units feature marble floors throughout, Italian terracotta tiles on the balconies, whirlpool tubs, central air conditioning, gourmet kitchens, marble and granite counter tops. In addition, all the conveniences such as luxury linens, hair dryers, in-room safes and irons are all standard amenities.

In 2008, Princess Heights completed construction of phase two of its development plan by adding another 36 units to the hotel, bringing the total number of units to 51. The hotel’s boutique size allows guests to choose from studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units while still maintaining an atmosphere of privacy and intimacy complimented by a high level of personalized service.

Although Princess Heights is located in a quiet and exclusive neighborhood, there are a multitude of activities such as marinas, yachting, water sports, spas, casinos and restaurants only a few minutes away. Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, and Orient beach, which is famous for its fine dining, windsurfing, kite surfing and people watching, are a short 15-minute drive from Princess Heights.

Princess Heights Hotel is a world apart but minutes from everything. The hotel’s multilingual staff are ready and waiting to make your vacation in St. Maarten exceptional. 

Princess Heights Boutique Condo Hotel
Oyster Pond Road #156,Dawn Beach, St. Maarten, N.A.
Tel: 011.721.543.6906, Toll Free USA: 800.441.7227, Fax: 011.721.543.6007
Visit us at:
www.princessheights.com or Email us at: info@princessheights.com 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam's Selection




------------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

HardRockCafe----StMartinOfToursChurch
---
-----------Hard Rock Café, Philipsburg ------------St. Martin of Tours Church, Philipsburg 

PhilipsburgBeach----PhilipsburgBoardwalk----
---------- Philipsburg Beach ---------------------------------- Philipsburg Boardwalk

SonestaMahoBeach----WestinResort
--
-----Sonesta Maho Resort Beach ----------------------- Westin Resort & Spa, Dawn Beach

LunchAtZenIt---- LonelyRedBoat-GrandCase

--------Lunch At Zenit, Grand Case Beach-------------------- A Lonely Boat, Grand Case Bay


 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Activity

 

519_scubafun-logo-maarten

 


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 famous 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 to 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.   

--ScubaTwoDivingBoat--- SFDiveBoat

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.  

-SFDiveShopPhilipsburg --- SFDiveBoatCoralPalm

If 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. "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.  


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  

-------------------------- 10% Discount on Dives and Courses
Certification dives or exploration, our multilingual team of professional dive instructors will do all they can to offer you a luxury dive at an affordable price. Scuba Fun is the only PADI Gold Palm Resort in Sint Maarten, meeting the highest standards of safety in the diving industry. Present this coupon when you book/Valid only when booking directly at the dive center/Not with other offers.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 Featured Villa

 

 
------------------------------ Villa Blue Palm

 

Blue palm is a beautiful  5 bedroom, ultra-modern villa just steps away from the fabulous white sand beach of Plum Bay. --- AerialView-300x298

The villa has a large infinity pool and expansive terrace with beautiful sunset ocean view over Plum Bay. Opening off the terrace is the main living space, all open-plan, located on the ground floor with a fully equipped air-conditioned modern kitchen with Miele. The living area also has a separate air-conditioned TV room and dining room. The ground floor also houses two air-conditioned bedrooms – including the master bedroom, both with en-suite bathrooms, all overlooking the terrace, pool and sea view.  
LivingRm-320x213---Bedroom-320x214

Two more air-conditioned bedrooms with their own bathrooms are located on a lower level and the 5th bedroom in a separate independent building with its own living area, bathroom, and private terrace. 
Pool-320x214---PoolNightview-328x219
The villa also has its own well-equipped air-conditioned gym, sauna and shower, tennis court and a panoramic terrace on the upper level offers a breathtaking view of the sea. Surrounded by beautiful, tropical, landscaped grounds the villa is just a one minute walk from the beach and an easy 5 minute drive to shops and restaurants.

 

Pierres Caraibes Real Estate

For reservations or information, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
or Telephone: 011.590.590.51.02.85- From the US 1.213.805.0840
To view our complete selection of villa rentals visit us at: www.pierrescaraibes.com
For villa sales visit us at: www.exclusivecaribbeanproperty.com 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Article

 

 

A Little Story

-------------------------------- Here's a little story about our last night on island.

After five weeks on island, Barbara and I returned home from StMaarten/StMartin. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. We had several dinners and parties with island friends including a special homemade dinner with Antoine, whose business is scuba diving but whose passion is cooking. We also had several lunch and dinner invitations at client hotels and restaurants. And, a very nice dinner one night with our friends, Joe & Josephine, and their Aunt & Uncle, who were staying in a villa at La Samanna. Along the way, we had lots of laughs and loads of fun. We even won a bit of money at the casinos which was a pleasant surprise. During most of our trip, the weather was spectacular with very little rain. But, for our last few days, it rained for several hourly periods and during the night before our last day, lightning danced across the sky like a psychedelic keyboard in total silence.

The morning of our last day, the sea was raging with larger than normal waves pounding the shore as white-caps skipped across their peaks. During the day, dark clouds filled the sky and periodically dropped water on the earth. At 6:30pm, we left our hotel to meet friends at Princess Port de Plaisance Casino. Since areas of Mullett Bay usually flood (6 to 12 inches deep) during rainy days, we decided to take the Low Lands Road to Marigot then out to the main road to the casino, which we did. A 25 minute trip without problems or traffic.

Well, after a few hours of fun, games, laughs and a pizza dinner, we got back in the car to do the reverse trip. As we were leaving, several people commented that it had been raining hard for the last couple hours. As we drove down the main island road, not only was it raining hard but there was water everywhere. The storm had created little rivers streaming down from the hillsides across the road heading toward the lagoon and the lowest lying ground areas. The main road itself had 2 or 3 inches of water covering it. As we approached Marigot and drove into the business district, the flooding grew from a couple inches to 6 or 8 inches planing through the air as we drove into greater depths. Two blocks further into the business district right near Vinissimo's Wine Shop, we hit a wall of water 24 to 30 inches deep and our car died in the middle of the road.

The windows were up, the doors were locked and at any moment, I expected water to start rising inside the car. I put the car in Park and tried several times to start it without any luck. So there we sat in a raging thunderstorm in a section of town that (we are told) is usually occupied by young men who stand around smoking pot and doing drugs. But we weren't concerned because not even ducks would be out in this weather. At that moment, a lot of praying was going on between Barbara and me. "Please start! Please start! Please, God..." but, the car refused to our pleas.

As we sat thinking about what to do next, four young men - who we hadn't noticed huddled under a store awning on the sidewalk, - ran out into the waste high water and surrounded our car. The "ringleader" knocked on my window and with five fingers spread out like a fan said in limited English, "We push you! Five dollars!!" After repeating his statement several times, I agreed to his offer and for the next several minutes, they rocked the car trying to push it forward struggling to no avail. The ringleader came back and yelled, "Neutral, neutral!" I yelled back, "It's stuck in Park!" Meanwhile, several SUVs drove past us forcing waves of water onto our group of helpers.

Having failed to push the car, two of the helpers returned to their awning; but, the ringleader and another fellow with persistance walked forward to the front of the car, motioned to the hood and said, "Open, Open!" I pulled on the latch; they opened the hood and began pounding on the engine with their bare hands. The ringleader yelled. "Start! Start!" I turned the key, but nothing happened. They pounded harder. I turned the key again. The car made a small noise. They pounded even harder and yelled some words in French. I turned the key and the engine turned over but didn't start. I tried it again and it still didn't start. I tried it again and again and the engine started with a roar. I raced it a few times and with 30 inches of water surrounding the car, the engine purred like a kitten! This was beautiful music to our ears.

Within a minute, the ringleader was by my window with five fingers spread out yelling, "Five dollars!" I gladly lowered the window and gave him a $5 bill. Then, he pointed to his friend and said, "Five dollars?" And, we also gave him $5. They lowered the hood and our car became a submarine racing through deep water. Within a block or two, the deep water subsided and we drove the next few miles to our hotel in heavy rain without the car even blinking a headlight. The next morning the car started at the first turn of the key. At breakfast, we thought about how lucky we were last night. But, was it luck?

We came to the conclusion that it was the wonderful people of St. Maarten/St. Martin. We could have been robbed or beaten. Instead, we were helped by these young men. Later, friends told us, only those local fellows know how to beat the water out of a car engine.  Oh, one more thing: we can't overlook how our prayers were answered!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Feature   

 

Complimentary Gift Certificates from Island Businesses


Going
to the island?
Looking to save money?

Click www.stmaarten.org/free-gift-certificates to view our list of Certificates!

Choose the ones you wish to use on island; then, email us your choices! Make sure to include your first & last name, email address, travel dates and the name of the hotel, condo or villa where you will be staying on island. We will email the Certificates to you within 48 hours.


 

 

 

 

 

 

What's Happening in Paradise?

 

 by Sam Fusco

 

Jewels by Love is proud to announce the opening of their sleek new watch and jewelry salon at No. 69B Front Street - a new Landmark in Philipsburg! As a branch of the fabled Fifth Generation family owned Jewels by Love store in Marigot,this new store is managed by Rish Love Mahtani, following in the footsteps of his trailblazing father Love Mahtani. The Sixth Generation will now perpetuate the legacy of excellence and carry the torch that his great, great, great grandfather lit! 

7 RUE DU GENERAL DE GAULLE - MARIGOT - ST. MARTIN F.W.I. 

 

TEL: (590) 590 87 25 50 - USA TEL: 1 917 546 0902 - EMAIL: JBL1@JEWELSBYLOVE.COM

 

69B FRONTSTREET - PHILIPSBURG - ST. MAARTEN 

 

TEL: 1 721 542 6808 - USA TEL: 1 917 463 4319 - EMAIL: JBL2@JEWELSBYLOVE.COM

 

Our Website: WWW.JEWELSBYLOVE.COM

 

In tribute to their flawless reputation, three of the world’s four greatest watchmakers are already on display at this new location viz., Breguet, Vacheron Constantin and A. Lange & Sohne (for the very first time ever in Dutch St. Maarten!) – more surprises to come shortly!

 

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Below are the 2 events which Tri-Sport has going on in March… 

Pic Paradis Time Trial
Run OR Mountain Bike, March 9th, 2014 -- 7:00AM
A 7km race from Marigot to the top of Pic Paradis.  Two events – running and mountain biking, choose which you want to compete in.  The course is both on the road and the trail – a great challenge for everyone. Registration: $10 fee.  

Ladies Bike Ride, March 15th, 2015 –6:30AM
Starting Location: Tri-Sport Marigot 181 Rue de Hollande 
Newcomers and experienced cyclists are invited to join in on this fun ride – get some fresh air, fun and fitness while getting more comfortable riding on the streets of St. Martin.  This month’s route will bring us through to Galisbay, through Marigot and to Baie Nettle and back.  The Ladies Ride is free – just bring your bike, helmet and some water.  If you don’t have your own bike Tri-Sport is offering $10 rentals (half off) for participants of the event – but make sure to reserve in advance.  Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Telephone: 1.721.545.4384 or visit us at: www.trisportsxm.com


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The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the largest business representative on the island, recently revamped its auction website in addition to the re-launch of their industry website www.shta.com. Since its inception, the auction site has offered great value for money to its members and the general public. The site offers a wide range of items such as hotel stays, dinners, activities, shopping certificates, airline tickets, jewelry and other attractive items, all at discounted prices. Persons visiting the site can bid on the items which will be awarded to the highest bidder upon completion of the bidding period. StMaartenAuction.com has been very well received and is being accessed both by future visitors to the island and residents alike, all looking for a great deal. 

SHTA initially developed the auction site to drive tourism to the destination by featuring one discounted hotel stay per month in St. Maarten. Throughout the years the website has expanded to accommodate more and more items simultaneously. In addition to the opportunity of bidding on very attractive items, it offers SHTA members a great opportunity to advertise their products and services, receiving ample exposure on the site and direct traffic to their own website. 

Check out the auction site at www.stmaartenauction.com.  The site can also be seen on the St. Maarten Auction Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stmaartenauction. Winners can pay and collect their items at the SHTA office on the Pondfill road, open Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm. For additional information on the auction site, items and the SHTA visit www.shta.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone +1.721.542.0108.  

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Global Snapshot: How Leisure Car Rental Thrives in Competitive Rental Market 
An Interview Conducted by Auto Rental News (www.autorentalnews.com)

Jimmy Fitzpatrick, GM (www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com) talks about how his company has grown the past seven years and how it competes against the franchises and other independent rental companies in the highly competitive rental market on the island of St. Maarten.

Starting with fewer than five used vehicles, Leisure Car Rental opened its doors in St. Maarten on March 1, 2007. Today, the independent rental company has grown to 50 vehicles at its main office located near Princess Juliana International Airport. Serving tourists in St. Maarten, Leisure Car Rental hopes to expand its fleet to 75 cars by 2015.

What’s your total fleet size?
At this time, we have 50 vehicles.

How many locations do you have and in what types of areas? 
Our location is near the Princess Juliana International Airport, the larger of the two airports in St. Maarten. For now, we deliver cars island-wide (on both Dutch and French sides on the island). We deliver to the airports, cruise ports, hotels, resorts, villas, marinas, and even private residences.

How did the business start? 
Leisure Car Rental started operating on March 1, 2007. The business was a one-man operation with fewer than five used cars. I only served the local market at that time, since most tourists preferred newer cars. There was very little chance of Leisure competing in the tourist market when most car rental agencies had a newer fleet.

By 2009, our fleet doubled to 10 cars. We had about three employees and made a bold move to begin competing in the tourist market. I still remember our first tourist client. His name is Mr. Steve Marcello. He still rents from us to this day. He single-handedly convinced most of his friends to rent from us, too, and they return to us year-after-year for their car-rental needs. To read the rest of the article, please click the link:  www.autorentalnews.com/news/story/2014/02/global-snapshot-how-leisure-car-rental-thrives-in-competitive-rental-market/page/1.aspx

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Double  Whammy Again in the Daily Herald Best Of St. Maarten 2013. #1 Best Pizza & #1 Best Desserts. (If you want to read the article go to pizzagalley.com) We are still the only Restaurant offering Gluten Free Pizzas and the guests that have Celiac or want to be Gluten Free are thanking us every night. That's our news from Paradise... J.P. - www.PizzaGalley.com

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Get ready for the greatest water sports event of the year! The 34th Heineken Regatta is coming up this week. So, mark your calendar for March 6th through March 9th, 2014. This is the biggest regatta in the world. You don’t want to miss it. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Office is ready to assist you in your regatta preparations. Karen Smith and Desiree Bos will happily answer your questions. For additional information, call 721.544.2079 or visit www.HeinekenRegatta.com.

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St. Maarten Carnival is scheduled for April 21st through May 5th, 2014. The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has released the dates for the Carnival 2014 festivities, an impressive lineup of 24 days of Carnival activities to mark the 45th anniversary of Carnival on St. Maarten that invites resident and visitor to “Come, Celebrate Life.”

The 2014 Carnival schedule will be as followed:

Senior Road March Competition, Saturday March 29, Survivors Children Balloon Parade, Sunday March 30, Fete to Fitness Jump up Friday, April 4, Calypso Eliminations, Saturday April 5, Teen & Senior Speech & Cultural Competition, Sunday April 6, Rio Productions Lighted Parade, Saturday April 12, Jr. Pageant & Jr. Calypso Show, Sunday April 13.

Opening of Carnival 2014 Monday April 21, Miss Mature Pageant Tuesday April 22, Teen & Senior Pageant, Wednesday April 23, International Concert (Zouk), Thursday April 24, Night of the Hit Makers Concert, Friday April 25, Jouvert Morning Jump Up, Saturday April 26 (4am), Riddimbox Presents Concert, Saturday April 26, Daybreak Breakfast Fete, Sunday April 27 (3am), PJD2 Caribbean Queen Show, Sunday April 27th, Senior Calypso Finals & Carnival Honors, Monday April 28th, Sabor Latino II Concert, Tuesday April 29, Junior & Grand Carnival Parade, Wednesday April 30, Second Day Parade, Thursday May 1, International Show Reggae, Friday May 2, Youth Extravaganza, Saturday May 3, Family Fun Day, Sunday May 4 and Burning of King Momo/Closing, Monday May 5.

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RECENT CARIBBEAN SURVEY REVEALS SPENDING HABITS
OF TIMESHARE VACATIONERS
Visitors to St. Maarten Contribute Year-round to Island’s Economy

Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), today announced that vacation owners and their guests who travel to St. Maarten stay an average of 10.9 nights and spend more off site than on property for a variety of expenditures. In addition, their average annual household income is reported to be more than $147,000, reinforcing the affluent nature of timeshare owners who visit the island.

These are some of the findings from the St. Maarten Timeshare Owner, Exchanger, and Guest Survey, which was co-sponsored by Interval International and the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA). The report was compiled by the Shared Ownership Services division of HVS, a leading hotel consulting and valuation firm.

“Interval has a long-standing commitment to the Caribbean, one of the most highly demanded international travel destinations for its U.S.-resident members,” said Neil Kolton, Interval’s director of resort sales and service for the Caribbean and Florida. “We’re very pleased to provide this valuable research that shows vacation owners and exchangers spend generously while in St. Maarten. It’s also interesting to note that average expenditures and length of stay remain consistent between high and low seasons, reflecting a steady economic impact.”

“As the survey indicates, timeshare owners are contributing appreciably to the island economy in many areas as it relates to on property and off property purchases,” said Ricardo Perez, general manager of Oyster Bay Beach Resort and SMTA board member. “While their spending supports local businesses, we’re also very encouraged by the large number of respondents — 90 percent — who expressed their desire to return to St. Maarten for future vacations.” 

 Other notable findings from the survey include:

 The majority of respondents were from the U.S. and Canada (88 and 6 percent, respectively)

  • About 30 percent had household incomes greater than $150,000
  • Average age was 60.6 years
  • Average travel party size was 3.3 persons
  • Those aged 41 to 55 spent the most on entertainment and nightlife (average of $359 combined for both on and off premises)
  • Average spend for off-premise dining was $631 (82 percent more than on site)
  • Spending for groceries was $261 (50% more than on premises)
  • The off premises shopping average per respondent was $794 (130% more than on-site)

    Interval International conducted the online survey of its members who own timeshare on St. Maarten and/or visited within the last three years. In addition, the SMTA forwarded the survey to other timeshare owners and their guests who previously visited the destination. The fielding period was July 10 - September 5, 2013 and there were more than 5,000 survey respondents.

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Oyster Bay Beach Resort
EARNS 2013 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE
Honored as a Top Performing Resort
as Reviewed by Travelers on the
World’s Largest Travel Site

Oyster Bay Beach Resort for the second year in a row has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. This world recognized accolade, which honors excellence in hospitality, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Ricardo Perez, General Manager of the Resort, expressed great pride saying that  only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award. 

TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel site enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors, and over 100 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide, including China. 

Oyster Bay Beach Resort, located between the Atlantic Ocean and Oyster Pond on St. Maarten, is an exciting, multi-use resort that includes; timeshare, condominiums, deluxe hotel accommodations, restaurants and now a Marina.  More information is available on its web site: www.oystebaybeachresort.com. 

The Resort recently announced the approval by the Government of their new project, the Oyster Bay Marina, to be constructed on Oyster Pond, across from the Resort’s lobby.  Mr. Perez was pleased to report that the project is going better than expected. Out of 35 boat slips offered for sale as long-term leasehold ownership almost all of them have been sold. 

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Tuesday enjoy 50% off your bill - max $50 at La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano courtesy of Princess Port de Plaisance Casino & Spa - Come and taste the finest Italian cuisine in a romantic setting. You can also receive the 50% off your bill if you go to Esco Pazzo Pizzeria on the promenade at Princess Port de Plaisance Casino & Spa on a Tuesday and enjoy one of their authentic stone oven pizzas in their casual dining setting. 

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Blue Mall Opens With Hopes Of Creating ‘New Life’ For Country
Three years after its first targeted opening, the multimillion-dollar nine-level Blue Mall officially opened its doors in grand style to a cross-section of the community on December 14th. The scores of guests who witnessed the blessing and ribbon cutting on the lower level were taken on a tour of the facility’s five shopping floors and then led into a section of the upper floor that had been transformed into a disco-like atmosphere with lights and an array of delicacies and beverages. A number of performers entertained guests live on stage.   There was a strong security presence throughout the mall as well as living statues on all floors, adding a special touch of class to the ceremony. 

“We are finally open,” Fondo de Valores Immobiliarios (FVI) President Luis Emilio Velutini told The Press during the ceremony. FVI operates Blue Mall. Velutini said there had been some unfortunate challenges during the construction phase and some difficulties attracting top brands here due to the worldwide economic crisis, but noted that the mall was here to serve the people of St. Maarten for the long run.   “They [the brands – Ed.] believe now in the island and we hope that the mall brings new life to the island,” he said. “The people believe in us and I am very glad and happy. We bring to the island our experience, we bring brands that have never been on the island and we are not just thinking about tourists, we are also thinking of the local people.  And after this opening, all the local people will have a place to come and a place to purchase a lot of things that they had to go off-island to buy.”   Many of the stores are open and more than 60 per cent of the luxury condos have been sold. Some stores have been open and serving the community for some months already.   Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams Told guests in brief remarks that the opening of the mall proved the resilience of the developers and, in particular, of Velutini and of St. Maarten. She also said the opening was happening at a time when St. Maarten was looking at 2014 and beyond with “a lot of confidence and hope.”

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Simpson Bay Lagoon Causeway Opened
The rain held up just long enough on December 23rd afternoon to allow Minister of Infrastructure Maurice Lake to officially open the Simpson Bay Lagoon causeway. In just under two years, contractor Volker Stevin delivered a project envisioned by Member of Parliament and United People’s (UP) party leader Theo Heyliger as a key road link to alleviate traffic in the area. Heyliger was present along with representatives of the St. Maarten Police Force Traffic Department, representatives of the contractor and subcontractors, and members of Lake’s cabinet. After a final inspection by all involved, Minister Lake moved a road barrier and motorists started using the causeway immediately. No pomp or speeches signaled what is being called a soft opening of the causeway. 

The causeway, now St. Maarten’s newest landmark, spans 760 metres and supports two traffic lanes, with walkways on both sides with protective barriers. There is a swing Bridge at its centre and it can accommodate heavy equipment and vehicles. Motorists connect to the Causeway via two roundabouts, one on Union Road, Cole Bay, and the other just off Airport Boulevard. Minister Lake said there had been a noticeable increase in traffic activity over the past two weeks due to the tourist high season and holiday shoppers. “The causeway was built as part of the vision for the country’s road network to alleviate traffic congestion and to also have an alternative route in the event the Simpson Bay Bridge developed mechanical problem,” he said.  
  

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters


The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., 5201 Warrens Way, 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, Sales and Marketing: Barbara Fusco. Contributing Correspondents: Laura Richardson and Sir Roland Richardson.