---------------------------- "Connecting You with Paradise!"
It is now 2012, so, blow those horns. We are going to celebrate and as the song says, "Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music" for we should be dancing. It is now 15 years that I am writing these newsletters and you are still reading them. And, that's great!
Our first e-newsletter was written on our website on October 1, 2004. What a blessing! It is written and posted on our website for subscribers and tourists to read. Far less work than the hard copy. Each issue features several island businesses and provides valuable information about this gem of an island to satisfy the needs of subscribers and tourists. Today, issues of the StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletter are read by suscribers and tourists from 174 countries around the world, which is extraordinary that's the magic of the Internet!
Happy New Year to all and Peace on Earth!
Winner of the 2006/2007 St. MaartenHospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism
Featured in this issue:
1. Poem: Very Happy Holidays! by Laura Richardson
2. Featured Hotel: Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin
3. Featured Shop: Blooming Baskets by Lisa
4. Special Feature: Sally's Cottage in Grand Case by the Villa Lady
5. Featured Activity: Passaat Classic Schooner
6. Featured Restaurant: Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse
7. Villa of the Month: Villa La Perla Bianca by Carimo Luxury Villas
8. Wine Cellar: Sweet Dreams by Jean Rich
9. What's Happening in Paradise?
----------------------------------------------- A POEM
----------- “Flamboyant Fireworks” by Sir Roland Richardson, 2010 painted rooftop from life
------------------------ Very Happy Holidays!
"Flamboyant View to the Sea" by Sir Roland Richardson, painted "en Plein Air"
Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin
A blend of Caribbean character with French Flair!
Off the main house is a veranda with breathtaking views of the Caribbean and a French-inspired Great Lawn flanked by formal gardens and royal palms that extend from the entrance down to the 14,200 square foot signature swimming pool with a zero-sand beach entry and a vanishing edge overlooking the waters of Anse Marcel and the Caribbean Sea.
Key Upgrades to the property include replacing the air conditioning and domestic hot water systems with new state-of-the-art systems to ensure an overall improved guest experience. The property’s spacious accommodations that showcase contemporary Euro-Caribbean furnishings were completely re-carpeted and marina suite rooms were converted to tile floorings. The 7,000 square foot ballroom features upgraded air conditioning and lighting and sound systems, and the wooden floors have been redone. The resort gardens were also landscaped and feature enhanced lighting. The breakfast buffet at Le Marché has been upgraded and will now offer additional breakfast items including hot and cold selections which will vary daily. Guests will also now be able to enjoy snacks and beverages poolside at the resort’s new pool bar, which will offer a new cocktail menu and expanded wine list.
-- --- -
Known among the yachting community as one of the safest and picturesque harbors in the Lesser Antilles, the proximity of Radisson Marina at Anse Marcel gives boaters a preview of the new Radisson BLU Resort St Martin. Nestled in a naturally protected cove on the north side of St. Martin, the charmingly chic French territory offers island-hoppers a peaceful getaway. The marina is located at 18º07'N 63º02'W on GPS.
Radisson BLU Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin has partnered with Temenos Golf Course on neighboring island Anguilla to offer its guests an unparalleled Caribbean golf experience. The resort, located on the northwest coast of the French side of St. Martin, can reserve preferred tee times and arrange for private boat transfer to the Greg Norman-designed championship-caliber course. Visit our website for additional information.
-------------------------------------- Radisson BLU Resort Marina & Spa
-----------------------------------St. Martin, Anse Marcel, St. Martin, F.W.I.
--------------------- For reservations or additional information, please telephone (800) 333.3333
------------------------ Please visit us at: www.radissonblu.com/resort-stmartin
Offered in a rainbow of sizes and colors, Blooming Baskets by Lisa are definitely not your mother’s flowered pocketbooks.
About Blooming Baskets!
Key words for Passaat are sailing & relaxing. The only music aboard is the wind in the sails and water against the hull. There is never a crowd on Passaat as Pieter and Mirian like to get to know their guests personally; and, with a 100ft. in length, there is lots of personal space aboard.
Passaat offers 3 different cruises during the week and also on weekends.
Join us for a half day cruise from 11am to 4pm. Sail on the comfortable & spacious classic schooner along the South West coast of St.Maarten. The wind in the sails and the water against the hull is the music accompanying you on this trip. Swim & snorkel in turquoise waters of a calm bay. A gourmet Caribbean lunch is served at our shaded table on the foredeck. Lunch is a choice between a nice Mahi Mahi filet or chicken filet, with Mango Sauce, salad, rice, plantain & bread. Our snacks typically are banana or coconut cake and fresh fruits. The open bar is available to you all day long and the choices are wine, beer, rum punch, various sodas and water of course. Snooze on the aft deck sailing back to “home port.”
Think all shades of yellow, orange and almost red or is it pink and it is not a rum punch! A typical sunset in the Caribbean… How better to enjoy this true moment of splendor on Passaat, sipping on a cocktail, enjoying the peace of the Caribbean Sea whilst hugging the shore of the island of St.Maarten/Saint Martin.
Whilst the sun is setting Passaat takes you on sail. Cruising along the South West island’s shores, enjoying your aperitif she will be your escort for an unforgettable evening. A Caribbean 3- course Dinner will be served aboard upon return in port whilst at anchor. After a nice mixed salad, gourmet Mahi Mahi filet or chicken curry will be served and you get to sample our famous home-made coconut cream pie for dessert. If you have any dietary requirements or allergies please let us know and we will try to accommodate you. After a joyous evening under star scattered skies the tender will take you back ashore. Look for the shooting star and make a wish!
Pieter Bakker, the Captain & Owner of Passaat, has been sailing in the Caribbean for the last 19 years. He started his sailing career more than 32 years ago in the Netherlands, sailing his own ship on the waters around Holland and the IJsselmeer. After he delivered his first boat to the Caribbean he got hooked to sailing in the Tradewinds. With his broad experience and knowledge of the Caribbean waters, every sail is guaranteed to be an enjoyable one.
Mirian Ebbers, his partner, has lived in the Caribbean for the last 15 years. From 1999 to 2007 she was the organizing director of the famous St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. With her hotel degree, background in the service industry, and love for cooking, Mirian feels right at home on Passaat and will do everything in her power to make your stay aboard a great one.
---------- Featured Restaurant
Now Offering Free Wine With Dinner!
Click Here for Coupon.Welcome to Peg Leg Pub, Steakhouse, Seafood Emporium, Tapas Bar, Dessert Bar, and All Around Good-Time Place-To-Be.Being voted St. Maarten’s best steakhouse has its limitations. Besides our extraordinarily tender USDA grain-fed beef, we offer a spectrum of spectacular seafood specialties, daringly decadent desserts, super soups and salads, and a huge appetizer menu that even the most devoted “tapas” fan would trade her tutu for.
Vegetarians get a choice of scrupulously fresh salads here, lots of strictly vegetarian appetizers, plus a delightful “Pasta Primavera” -- fettuccine and vegetables. Great lunch menu, too!Welcome to Peg Leg, the St. Maarten / St. Martin place to go for steaks, seafood, appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, and old-fashioned fun. Open every day for lunch and dinner. Our hours are 11:30am to 11pm Monday through Saturday, and 4pm-11pm Sunday. All major credit cards accepted.We're now located to the right of the main Casino entrance at Princess Port de Plaisance Resort, off the Union Road on the Dutch Side near the French border. Little traffic, lots of parking, and lots of great food. Click "Finding Us" (top, left) if you don't know the area.Visit us soon!After visiting the island many times, in 2002, Jack and Linda Parker decided to make the move to St. Maarten. They loved the ambiance, the nightlife, the blue-green sea, warming sun, and the life-style. But, as happy as they were, they missed those great Arizona steaks. "We enjoyed great steaks in Arizona," Jack says, "and we intended to enjoy them in St. Maarten, even if we had to open our own restaurant to do it. There's nothing like a steak that cuts like butter and tastes like heaven."-------------- Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse
Shortly thereafter, Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse was born and quickly established a following of local folks and tourists who heard about it through "word-of-mouth." People came for the Grade A steaks, the New York styled deli sandwiches, the succulent fresh-caught lobsters and the fun-filled casual environment. Over the months and years, the popularity of the restaurant has grown evidenced by recognition that in January 2006, Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse was once again voted and selected as the "Best Steakhouse on the Island."
"We think we offer the best food on the island, whether you’re looking for steaks, seafood, vegetarian selections, or late-night desserts. Or you can simply enjoy our selection of beers from around the world."
Today, Linda Parker and her son, Don, manage Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse which keeps them busy. For the record, there is lots of parking (something you couldn't find in Simpson Bay) and lots of table space. The popularity of the restaurant has resulted in expanding the terrace room adding 11 new tables with 44 new seats which is perfect for hosting large groups and private parties. Still the same excellent food, the same reasonable prices, friendly waiters and a mouth-watering double-cut bone-in ribeye steak that is bigger and better than ever. Entertainment is on Wednesday with "Cover to Cover" and Friday with the "Island Drifters" from 7-10pm and there is usually a good crowd of tourists and island folks eating well and enjoying themselves. If you're visiting St. Maarten, put the Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse restaurant on your list of things to do.
---------- On the terrace at Princess Casino Port de Plaisance Resort, St. Maarten
-------- For reservations, tel: 1.480.794.1883 or 1.721.544.5859
Villa of the Month
--------------------------- La Perla Bianca
---------------------------- Baie Rouge Beach - Terres-Basses, St. Martin
Paradise found - Creativity at his best! When it seems there could be no more to absorb, the new La Perla Bianca comes into play. A unique, elegant, modern, private one bedroom, big living and generous bathroom villa within all your dreams. Located on Baie Rouge Beach with a private sand beach and all desired equipment. Design concept with Philippe Starck captures the eye. If you can go there, a treasure in the Caribbean with respect of nature.
Property LocationBaie Rouge Beach - Terres-Basses, St. MartinStaff
Number of Bedrooms: One (1)
The bedroom features a king size bed, air conditioning & ceiling fan. It opens to the living area.
Living Room Description
Very Contemporary - Design concept with Philippe Starck
Plasma TV, DVD, Satellite, Stereo Tape/CD
Number of Bathrooms: One (1)
Private very large bathroom with shower
• Air-conditioned bedroom
• Air-conditioned living area
• Bar-B-Q Gaz
• CD player
• Ceiling fans
• DVD player
• Electric Gate
• Hair Dryer
• Internet Access
• Satellite TV
• Voltage 110/220
• Washer / Dryer
• To Marigot: 10 min. drive
• To Nearest Grocery Store: 5 min. drive
• To Beach: A few steps out of the door
Low Season 2011---- Christmas 2011----- High Season 2012 ---- Low Season 2012
$7,000 -------------- $11,000 -------------- $7,500 ------------------------$7,000-------------------------- Weekly - Rental rates are subject to 8% VAT
--------------------- Christmas/New Year - special rates & conditions apply
-------------------------------- Rates subject to change without notice
------------------------- Carimo Real Estate & Villa Rentals
Telephone Toll Free US/CANADA: 877-215-0519, International: 1-646-415-7784 or 1-646-416-6830
To view our complete selection of villa rentals and sales, please visit us at: www.carimo.comThe Wine Cellar
Sweet Dreams!Just as a sparkling diamond gem begins as a lump of coal, wine diamonds are precious sweet wines and may have their beginnings as moldy grapes-but different grapes and different processes depending on Tradition.Traditional sweet wines begin in Bordeaux as moldy grapes. Not just any mold-- "botrytis cinerea," the organism viticulturists lovingly called the "noble rot." It works its magic when the organism pierces the skin of the grape and pulls water and nutrients from the grape, leaving behind higher concentrations of sugars, fruit acids and minerals. Thus the grape's juice is more concentrated. This process is encouraged in Bordeaux to elevate the most famous and most valuable sweet wines, the Sauternes. Less well known, but equally enjoyable, and comparably a bargain, are the sweet wines called Pacherenc from the southwest of France. Similarly, Vouvray and Alsace areas of France develop sweet wines as do other countries: Germany, Italy, Australia and the USA, all thanks to the noble rot. But it's quite fascinating how many different ways wine makers have devised to make wine to be, or go with, dessert.Wine making in partnership with botrytis is a very risky and labor-intensive process. Because Mother Nature is fickle, this will not occur every year. The vineyard must be left with the grapes on the stems long after the normal harvests while the botrytis infection does its work, a process which becomes a verb in California wine-speak ("Botrysized wine"). The difference between garbage and ambrosia is whether nature provides a dry period after the wet one when the grapes are infected. During this time the wine makers and farmers pray that the rains won't come to dilute the juices and that the birds and other animals won't pick the ripening fruit before the harvesters can choose the fruit at exactly the right moment of sugar strength to take it to the wine cellar. Seasoned pickers go through the vines choosing the grapes, one-by-one, in the desired state of maturity and rot which the farmers have learned to recognize over centuries of experience, will yield wine with a deep yellow color and honeyed sweetness with an aroma of honeysuckle. Then, because the Botrytis also makes a substance that kills yeast and impairs fermentation, the wine makers may have to stay up all night nurturing the yeast to be sure that the alcoholic fermentation continues through to the wine product.The Alsace region of France, and nearby in Germany make some sweet wines in a different way. They will leave certain grapes on the vine till the end of the harvest, taking a chance on other help from Mother Nature. These are the "late harvest" (vendange tardive in French) sweet wines in which the grapes have dehydrated, literally shriveled, during their length of time on the vine such that their sugar content is raised without the action of Botrytis. Another method is common in the Niagara region of the USA and Canada in which the ice crystals of early winter frosts perform the same function as the tendrils of the botrytis mold, puncturing the grapes' skins which allows dehydration of the grapes, and resulting in their sugars being concentrated. These are called "ice wines" in English; Eisweins in German. Finally the Italians make their sweet wine (amarone) from fruit dehydrated after the harvest. This is perhaps the way sweet wines were made in Biblical times. The grapes are allowed to dry like raisins on straw palettes, or special trays, and then fermented for many months to make a sweet wine from the dried fruit.In Hungary and Eastern Europe, there is another technique used in production of the Tokai, the sweet wines of this region. The wine makers make a base wine of grapes that are not infected with the noble rot separately; grapes with high sugar content are made into a paste which is added to the base wine in proportions defined long ago by tradition and in measures corresponding to antique jars (puttonyos) to sweeten it.
Another process called "mutage" involves adding alcoholic spirits to the fermenting 'must.' These unctuous, sweet wines such as Banyuls and Rivesaltes are designated "vin doux naturel." This process is that more famous in production of Port in Portugal.Other sweet wines are made in the Mediterranean coastal areas, Provence and the southern central and eastern coastal region of France by putting the red wines in large glass "demi-johns" which are buried in the ground, leaving the neck and top exposed, and they allow them to bake in the summer sun and ferment joyously. The wines from Mas Amiel are delicious with chocolates and chocolate desserts (when looking for these sweets request a Maury Mas Amiel for a real treat).Sweet wines are not usually cloying because the acidity of the wine balances the sweetness. Once tasted, they leave the wine lover with a memory that never fades. A wine-lover's dreams of the night before Christmas will not be filled with bon-bons, rather with an anticipation of having these traditional sweet wines with their Christmas and New Year gourmet fare. Most gastronomic festivals in France will begin and end the year with a sweet wine to accompany one of the elements of their feast, most often the savory foie gras at the beginning, or as a "digestif" at the end with a sweet, or nut dish, or a rich, creamy cheese like a Roquefort that practically sings with a sweet wine. These wines are often called dessert wines, but that is a limited description. Yes, you can drink them for dessert, but they are also appreciated as an aperitif, to "open the palette." So they become the beginning or the ending and certainly will leave you with sweet dreams.When in the West Indies, you can find great values in sweet wines from the lesser-appreciated areas of France like the south west, the Pacherenc wines of Alan Brumont who was named 'winemaker of the decade.' Vini’s Vino Wine & Spirit Boutique carries this wine in a very reasonable price range so it's easy to have sweet dreams on your vacation in paradise.Sources:
BelMar Restaurant, Grill – Seafood – Wine Bar, Billy Folly Road, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten for the finest steaks, lobster and seafood. Tel: 1.721.544.2614 Visit: www.belmarrestaurant-sxm.com
Contributor Author Jean Rich has lived in Sint Maarten for more than 20 years since she retired from cancer research. She explores her passion for wine, dining and people at BelMar Restaurant & Wine Bar on Pelican Key, Simpson Bay; and Vini’s Vino Wine & Spirits Boutique. Its wine bar features wine experiences and offers for sale the benefits of the Sommelier's efforts to bring fine wine values to its clientele.
What's Happening in Paradise?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - by
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Sam Fusco
If you have not been to the Oyster Bay Beach Resort in Oyster Pond in a while we have the perfect excuse for you to go there. We have rejuvenated Beau Beau’s Restaurant menu with some very nice and exiting new dishes in case the view of gorgeous Dawn Beach is not enough for you. In addition, we have the best deal in town pre-happy hour from 3:30 to 4:00 pm .25 cents Coronitas… yes you read right .25 US. Cents. If that is not good enough, try the all day $1 Corona specials. Come on down! Or call us at 543-6040 if you have any questions. Editor's Note: Beau Beau's is now under the supervision of renowned worldwide restaurateur, Mr. Spartaco Sargentoni.
Tropicana Casino will have their $10,000 Blazing Bingo event on Friday, 12/30/11 at 2:am. It will be the largest ever Bingo Cash Guaranteed Prize offered by a Casino in St Maarten, we expect more than 1000 people to be at the Tropicana on the night! Melvin Hodge the renown local singer will be performing at Tropicana live on stage every Saturday during January from 10:00pm-2:00am, I am sure many of your subscribers would love to come and hear him sing his beautiful melodies. Also coming soon Russian Dance Show....and we have a Free International Buffet served on Friday and Saturday evenings during January.
Zhaveri Jewelers - January 2012
Has great deals on Diamond Earrings, Pendants and Rings.
Prices starting at $99. Hurry! Offer valid till 31st Jan 2012.
For more information contact us at:
St. Maarten is poised to set a new cruise passenger record with the logging of some 1.6 million for the Year. Although cruise passenger and crew spending has dipped in recent years due to the global financial crisis, the country has continued to be a preferred destination for visitors and the cruise lines. The cruise arrival figure for the year stood at 1,416,830 cruise passengers at the end of November, a 159,297 or 12.7 percent increase on the projection. Compared to the same period in 2010, there was an increase in cruise passenger arrivals of eight per cent, according to figures from the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies. There were 501 cruise ship calls up to and including November. The cruise arrival figure for November was 183,152 with a total of 68 cruise ship calls, eight more than in the same month last year. For December, the projected arrival figure is 206,340.
Summit Resort Hotel announced last week that it has been awarded the prestigious RCI Gold Crown Resort property designation by RCI, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange. A selected number of RCI affiliated resorts meet RCI's requirements for recognition and have earned the RCI Gold Crown Resort award. These resorts have attained high levels of excellence in resort accommodations, hospitality and member experience as measured by RCI. "The Summit is proud to have earned RCI's prestigious Gold Crown Resort designation and full credit goes to all of our employees who strive to ensure that the needs of each guest are fully met," said Bruce Jakubovitz, owner of the hotel. "As a family-run business in St. Maarten for the past 38 years, we appreciate when guests reward us with positive feedback that leads to an award like this." "RCI's Resort Recognition Programme helps ensure that our RCI affiliated resorts adhere to RCI's standards for accommodations, hospitality and member experience," said RCI president Gordon Gurnik. "We are thrilled to recognise those who have attained this designation and continue to work to offer top vacation destinations to our 3.7 million members worldwide."
Finally, there is activity going on by the old La Belle Creole Resort property. Two restaurants are being constructed on Baie Nettle beach between La Belle Creole and the Ma Ti Beach Restaurant by Orient Bay developer Mr. Norbert Luftman. In addition, a pretty large area of land has been cleared supposedly for villa development. However, it’s reported that a building permit for villas had not yet been granted. Mr. Luftman developed Orient Beach in the early 90s and made it into one of the Caribbean’s most popular beaches with the construction of restaurants Kon Tiki, Kakao, Waikiki, Bikini, and Coco, known as the “Five Stars.” We’ll keep you posted.
Wine Spectator - Best of Award of Excellence
La Samanna Resort & Spa is pleased to announce that Le Réservé Restaurant has been presented with the Wine Spectator’s 2010 “Best of Award of Excellence,” which is given to restaurants that offer 400 or more selections, along with superior presentation, and display either vintage depth, with several vertical offerings of top wines, or excellent breadth across several wine regions.
The magazine’s second-tier award was presented to only 778 winners worldwide, giving special recognition to restaurants that clearly exceed the requirements of the “Award of Excellence.” “We continue to expand our diverse wine collection at Le Réservé, one we believe already constitutes one of the best in the Caribbean,” said Head Sommelier Christian Mirande. The handpicked wine selection at Le Réservé has been honored by Wine Spectator for “The Best Award of Excellence” since 2007. To learn more about the wines that we serve and our head sommelier please visit our wine cellar.
St. Maarten's Dialing code 1-721 went into effect September 30, 2011. The Bureau Telecommunication & Post St. Maarten (BTPSXM) announced on Monday that the use of St. Maarten’s new dialing code 1-721 will commence as of September 30. Calls to St. Maarten using either 00-599 or 1-721 will be processed regularly during a “permissive dialing period” which will run until September 30, 2012. Callers using -599 will be advised that the dialing code has changed and the new code should be used. The mandatory dialing period will commence on September 30, 2012, and remain in effect until March 31, 2013. During this period calls to St. Maarten using 00-599 will not be processed and callers will be advised to dial 1-721 for calls to St. Maarten. The use of country code 00599 will be discontinued for St. Maarten on September 30th, 2012.