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


---------------------- Connection

---------------------------- "Connecting You with Paradise!"

Dear Friends,

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!
Indeed, the first StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletter was created May 1, 1997. It was a hard-copy written on an old Compaq computer, printed on an old Xerox machine and delivered to your door via snail-mail by the US Post Office. It was an eight page monthly and all the subscribers were based in the USA. At the time, it was virtually the only dedicated St. Maarten/St. Martin newsletter singing the praises of our little island. Since that first issue, we have come a long way.

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!
So, let's blow those horns and be thankful for the things we value most, namely families, friends and good health. If in addition, we have a job that keeps us happy and a planned vacation this year then let's rejoice. Remember, St. Maarten/St. Martin will always be there for you. Meanwhile, we'll continue to keep you informed and "Connected to Paradise."

Happy New Year to all and Peace on Earth!
Sam Fusco
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!

Red and Green, though opposites,
unite in one fine goal,
uplifting many joyful hearts,
while joining many souls.

We treasure Noel's yuletides,
green trees with big red bows,
and share with love true nature's best,
Flamboyants all aglow!

Best wishes always,
Roland, Laura and Radiance Richardson
St. Martin, French West Indies

"Flamboyant View to the Sea" by Sir Roland Richardson, painted "en Plein Air"


Featured Hotel


Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin


A blend of Caribbean character with French Flair!


Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company, recently announced that Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin, reopened its doors on Dec. 15th, 2011. The property was closed in May to undergo a renovation in excess of USD 10 million, strengthening the hotel’s position as the leading upper-upscale resort on the French side of the island.
The Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin is a premier 18-acre resort property in French St. Martin, offering guests 1,600 feet of beachfront in Anse Marcel, and an exclusive water taxi service between the airport and resort marina. The property features 63 suites and 189 guestrooms; a 7,000 square foot ballroom; a full-service spa (Le Spa) and fitness center. There are three on-site dining venues, including complimentary full breakfast buffet at Le Marché, a wide selection of the region’s finest rums and tapas at Le Lobby Bar, and world-class cuisine and panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea at C Le Restaurant.

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.

- LobbyR ---- GreatHouseDuskR

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.


In addition to property improvements, guests will benefit from a higher level of customer service including faster check-in and check-out. During the seven month renovation period, over 170 employees remained on payroll and received close to 500 hours of training to provide an elevated level of hospitality service, in keeping with the Radisson brand’s Yes I Can! service philosophy and 100% Guest Satisfaction Guarantee.
“We value the support of our guests and employees during this past year and look forward to sharing the many new property enhancements with them. The enhanced meeting facilities and overall guest experience at the property will strongly reinforce the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin as the premier destination for your next stay in the Caribbean,” said Jean-marc Jalbert, general manager, Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin.
Special seasonal promotional rates start at USD 185 for Guest Rooms and USD 355 for Marina Suites. Please visit our website at: www.radissonblu.com/resort-stmartin for additional information.

-- InfinityPoolR --- -YachtsInLineR

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

Featured Shop

Not Your Mother’s "Pocketbook."

Offered in a rainbow of sizes and colors, Blooming Baskets by Lisa are definitely not your mother’s flowered pocketbooks.
All “Blooming Baskets by Lisa” floral handbags are individually designed and hand-made here on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. No two are ever perfectly identical – so you’ll not enter a room and encounter that dreadful situation.
They’re also infinitely fashionable. Equally at home when you’re wearing jeans to a picnic or elegant couture to a wedding… or, at the Academy Awards, should you be nominated or spend time with Hollywood friends.
Welcome to the world of Blooming Baskets by Lisa. Here, you’ll learn how we make them… the many places where you can use them… you’ll see our collection… and you’ll be able to order your very own handmade purse as well.


About Blooming Baskets!
In 1993, Lisa and Michele, two sisters from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, moved to St. Martin in the Caribbean. In 2000, they opened a handbag boutique which sold designer American handbags. Inspired by the kaleidoscope of flowers that populate the St. Martin countryside, in 2002, they took ordinary straw and raffia bags and put them on steroids. The result: colorful, whimsical new bags adorned with gorgeous silk flowers.
Blooming Baskets by Lisa, an entirely new class of “handbag” that defies traditional description, had been born. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Lisa and Michele’s signature flowered Baskets already are being sold throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. You’ll see Blooming Baskets by Lisa carried by the “rich and famous” on islands like the exclusive St. Barts and Anguilla. Go anywhere with a Blooming Basket, and watch heads turn for a closer look.
Lisa designs the Baskets at home on her terrace with the Caribbean Sea, sun, breezes, and flowers as her constant inspirations. Michele runs day-to-day operations. Learn how we make our Baskets. Then… start some excitement with your own colorful whimsical Blooming Basket by Lisa!

----------BBFullBloom--------------- BBSunflowerMadness
How We Make Them!
Blooming Baskets by Lisa come in four sizes – mini, small, medium, and large; and, because of their strength and durability, our large Baskets are often packed to the hilt and taken to the beach. “Smaller” baskets, which are not really small, go everywhere. Underneath, Blooming Baskets are hand-constructed of high-quality, long-wearing raffia, a natural product obtained from the fronds of the raffia palm. Our raffia is wrapped or covered in long-wearing straw custom-woven for us and sewn for high durability. Our baskets are made individually. Dyes are hand-mixed, with no pre-set recipe; consequently, “purple” on one basket invariably looks a bit different from “purple” on another. Of course, all our dyes are formulated to resist fading.
Since Mother Nature has created an infinite variety of real flowers, we follow suit with all our silk flowers. From Exotic lilies to stunning roses to huge, colorful daisies and many other varieties in countless colors, Mother Nature is faithfully recreated in silk for Blooming Baskets by Lisa.

Our Collection!
A couple of heads-up
First, we never create exactly the same Blooming Basket by Lisa twice. So when you order one of our beautiful floral handbags, know that your bag will be unique. The flowers (in color, design, and placement) and the precise bag color will differ, if ever so slightly, from our photos. You’re a unique person. So, your Blooming Basket will be unique, too.
Second, our floral handbags themselves change. Some colors disappear, others are introduced, and the combinations of flowers and dyes change.
So, if you see something that catches your eye today, grab it. It may be gone forever next time you look.
“Blooming Baskets by Lisa” offers baskets in four sizes and many flowers and flower colors. And of course, there are many Basket colors.
The Results speak for themselves.
No, they sing more than speak. And, you will absolutely love the melody!
For additional information, please contact us at:
Blooming Baskets by Lisa
Marina Village of Porto Cupecoy, Sint Maarten Tel: 1-721-586-7055 or 1-721-522-6668
Email us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit us at: www.bloomingbasketsbylisa.com

Special Feature
Sally’s Cottage in Grand Case
Hi Sam. We have a new project that we are working on for this coming season. We now represent a lovely cottage on the beach in Grand Case and are in the process of remodeling and furnishing it. It is a 2 bedroom 2 bath house in the village of Grand Case with parking. It has a living room, kitchen, back porch and front porch. The owner is renovating it as we speak and we expect to take it over and furnish it this month. We do not have any interior photos yet but I can show you the wonderful beach in back of the house which is wide and lovely and the front porch.
The house is located on Grand Case Boulevard in the heart of the restaurant district and is next to La California Restaurant. The view of the bay, Creole Rock and the island of Anguilla in the distance are spectacular. Here is the front of the house. Nothing has been done to the house in these photos but lots of good things are being put in and it will be a wonderful choice for 2 couples or just one. The bedrooms will be air conditioned and have queen beds. That is my husband in front of the house.
The rate is $325 a night plus tax for 4 people. (10% tax) The weekly rate will be $2,100 plus tax. The rate for 2 people is $225 a night and $1,500 a week plus tax. We are excited about furnishing this little charmer and we think our clients will be very happy with it. Maid service twice a week included. It will be ready for rentals starting January 15th and we already have several weeks filled for the season.
For reservations or questions about Villalady properties, please telephone Roberta Valins at 1.800.338.4552 EST. Remember to contact Roberta for all your Vacation Rentals in St. Maarten or visit www.villalady.com or www.stmaartenvillavacations.com

Featured Activity


Passaat Classic Schooner


St.Maarten’s Classic Sailing Experience


Passaat, Dutch for “Tradewinds” is a gaff rigged schooner built in 1911 in Holland. She has an interesting history thatPassaatPeople-R continues to build sailing in the turquoise blue Caribbean waters of St.Maarten & Saint Martin. Pieter Bakker, the captain owner, and his partner Mirian Ebbers would love to invite you for a day sail, sunset or dinner cruise along the beautiful coast of St.Maarten & Saint Martin. Once aboard you will learn more about Passaat’s history taking you back to a time when schooners grazed the waters of the world.

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.
Lunch & Swim Cruise
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.PassaatSunset-R 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.”

Sunset Cruise
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.
Dinner Cruise
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!
PassaatSteering-RPieter 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.
Recently, Peiter and Mirian also acquired a nice 26ft. rebuilt navy launch. Passaat Too is nice for a Simpson Bay Lagoon day sail, a private sunset cruise or exploring the secluded beaches of the island for an hour or a day.

Passaat Classic Schooner is located in Simpson Bay, just outside the bridge in the bay. When you book a cruise on Passaat we will pick you up by tender at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club in Simpson Bay, which is located next to the Simpson Bay Bridge opposite the Royal Palm Resort. For information and/or reservations for day sails or other cruises, please email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at: (011) 599.580.3301. You can also visit our website at: www.sailholiday.com

---------- 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 USDATheNewPubR 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!
ShawnWithCustomersRAfter 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."

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."

NewYorkStripRToday, 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.
-------------- Peg Leg Pub & Steakhouse

---------- On the terrace at Princess Casino Port de Plaisance Resort, St. Maarten
-------- For reservations, tel: 1.480.794.1883 or 1.721.544.5859
------------- Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit: www.peglegpub.com

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.


Villa Details

Property Location
Baie Rouge Beach - Terres-Basses, St. Martin
Swimming Pool

Number of Bedrooms: One (1)

Bedroom Description
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
• Beachfront
• CD player
• Ceiling fans
• DVD player
• Electric Gate
• Fridge
• Hair Dryer
• Internet Access
• Microwave
• Safe
• Satellite TV
• Stereo
• Stove
• TV
• Voltage 110/220
• Washer / Dryer

Other Amenities
• 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
--------- For reservations or information, email Carole Matthew at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.com

The Wine Cellar
Jean Rich

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 BottleOfRedbetween 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.
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

Vini’s Vino Wine & Spirit Boutique, #105 Puerto Del Sol Plaza, Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten across from Topper’s Restaurant. Its wine bar features a professional sommelier that will assist you in appreciating wines and offers free wine tastings on Thursday evenings. Bring your friends for an interesting evening! Tel: 1.721.544.4526 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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?

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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.

Jewels by Love has just created a new website and it is spectacular. I spent an hour viewing dozens of incredible watches from Patek Philippe, Brequet. Vacheron Constantin and Ulysse Nardin to name a few of these prestigious brands. They give you the time, but above all, the watches presented on the website are works of art. With complex mechanisms and functions, they are made with great care by the world's greatest watchmakeres using the most noble of materials. All their watches are heirlooms to be worn and admired and to be treasured for generations. Don't take my word for it! Visit www.jewelsbylove.com and see for yourself. Jewels by Love stores are the 6th generation in an illustrious line of traditional jewelers and diamond mavens dating back to the 1800s. Locations at: 7 Rue du General de Gaulle, Marigot and 3 Frontstreet, Philipsburg, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Tel: (1) 917.546.0902.

Tessa Mc Kay from the Reservation Department at Bleu Emeraude Residences emailed to inform us that as of December 22nd, 2012 a daily breakfast will now be offered with no additional charge to room rates. Bleu Emeraude is the new luxury resort located on beautiful Grand Case beach within easy walking distance to some of the finest restaurants on St. Martin. For reservations or additional information, please visit the website at www.bleuemeraude.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

Esmeralda Resort, Orient Bay, St. Martin has just completed a $2.5 million dollar renovation. Every one of their villas has been freshly painted with soothing, pastel shades and where necessary, roofs have been replaced. Additionally, the pool furniture has been replaced at all 17 villas. All kitchenettes in superior and deluxe rooms have been completely redesigned. Each has new countertops and the old appliances have been replaced with a new coffee pot, microwave oven and mini-fridge. The interiors of all 65 rooms in the villas have been painted, new air conditioners, closet doors, electric hurricane shutters, telephones and brighter lamps have been installed. For more information contact Esmeralda Resort’s USA Sales Office: 800.622.7836 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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:
Tel: 1-877-ZHAVERI or 1-917-438-9291. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., 5201 Warrens Way, Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 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: Jean Rich, Laura Richardson, & Antoine Mignot.