Saint Martin is an island in the north east Caribbean approximately 87 square kilometres in size, it is divided into two parts one being French the other Dutch. The main airport is in the Dutch part and each of the two sections has their own capital. In general the Dutch part attracts more tourists and has more built up resorts with casinos, it also gets many cruise ships docking. The French part has in general more upmarket resorts and also some top class dining. Anguilla and St Bart’s are the closest two islands and are easily visited from St Martin.
We opted to stay at Oyster Pond on the French side and chose Les Balcons d’Oyster Pond www.lesbalcons.com, this a collection of bungalows managed by the lovely Carine & David Poret. The bungalows vary in size and are on different levels, we chose one close to the pool area and also a relatively easy walk down to the bars & restaurants at the marina.
The accommodation is excellent, each bungalow has a lovely terrace and it’s own barbecue, and the prices are incredible value, French pastries can be ordered the night before and you can then enjoy them as part of breakfast on your terrace. There are supermarkets nearby, one of which offers a service to deliver you and your shopping back to Les Balcons so long as you spend above 15 Euros. Carine will also recommend places to eat, Les Balcons was a real gem.
Dinghy Dock Bar, Captain Oliver’s Marina, Oyster Pond, is a fantastic bar just what you need on your doorstep. The drinks are good, the Happy Hour with pour your own spirits between 5pm and 7pm is legendary and there is also a great beer selection. What we really enjoyed was the good food with frequent specials including Taco nights. Friendly staff, owner and a wide range of customers made this a home from home.
Quai Ouest, Captain Oliver’s Marina, between Les Balcon’s and Dinghy Dock is a lovely place for a reasonably priced meal with a menu ranging from fresh fish to pizzas, a decent wine list and a friendly French owner and helpful staff. The setting helps to make this a very pleasant place for dinner.
Tropicana, Marina Port La Royale, Marigot was recommended by regular visitors and lived up to the excellent reviews. A very friendly owner gave us the best possible table on a Saturday lunchtime given that all the front tables on the veranda seem to be booked every week by keen regulars. The fish dishes were excellent but try and leave room for the amazing desserts.
Aux Vins, Marina Port La Royale, Marigot is a lovely Fench run wine bar doing platters of meats and cheeses and salads, the wines are very reasonably priced and the staff very friendly.
Sarafina’s, Boulevard de France, Marigot must be the best place for breakfast on the island, the bakery has a vast selection of pastries, savouries, fruit and drinks. You will probably have to queue for a short while but it is so worth the wait.
Piazza Pascal, Boulevard de Gran Case, Gran Case was another recommendation from frequent visitors and although we only stopped for dessert with friends we were impressed enough by the quality of the food we had and the service to say that this is a must to visitors to the gourmet capital of the island that is Gran Case.
Lolos, is the name for the grill restaurants with outdoor seating found on the beach side of Gran Case. The prices are rediculously cheap and given that there are a number check them out before deciding on the one you like.
Although we stayed on the island without a car, it is probably best to hire one to be able to visit as many of the lovely beaches as possible. There are bus services but these only run from larger settlements, taxis are reasonably priced. Gran Casse as the eating capital of the island is a must to visit, also try and get to the lovely Oyster Pond area.