By Brigitte Hasbron
Dreaming of a honeymoon with European sophistication and a lush, tropical locale? This is what the Caribbean island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is all about. Here you’ll be spoiled with the best that both France and the Netherlands have to offer.
Considered the most cosmopolitan island on earth, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, with only 70 kilometres of coastline, is a petite yet magical spot governed by both France (Saint Martin) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Sint Maarten). However, this island makes up for its diminutive size by offering a rich, cultural mosaic comprised of over 80 nationalities.
Fun in the Sun
Sun-seekers will love the plethora of sandy locales (37 beaches in total), some remote and unspoiled, others crowded and lively. For a one-of-a-kind, shared experience, you’ll want to check out Maho Beach. It’s world-famous for its location at the end of the Princess Juliana Airport’s runway. Lounge on your beach towel or sip a cocktail at a popular bar as you experience the thrill of huge planes gliding directly over your heads.
The island’s crystal clear waters are another seductive attraction. Together, you can enjoy a bevy of water activities from sailing, deep-sea diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and kite surfing to jet-skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, and kayaking. Share the exhilaration of water adventures; later in the day, as the sun sets, you can go for a romantic stroll on a beach. For couples who prefer to relax while soaking up the rays and enjoying postcard-worthy scenery, several of the beaches offer prime beachfront cocktail service.
Want to discover more islands during your stay? The amazing sail catamaran charters by Aqua Mania Adventures provide tailored services to Anguilla, St. Bart’s, Tintamarre, and Pinel Island. To spice things up, you can also try the Bubbly Sunset Cruise, Tango Dinner Cruise, the Lambada Sunset Sail or one of the daytime escapades.
Discovering the island
Shopping: Dutch side: Philipsburg, deemed “the temple of shopping” and “duty-free capital” French side: Marigot, for Paris-inspired haute couture
Dine like a local: A visit to the island is not complete without tasting the island’s exquisite cuisine. Want to dine like a local? Then head to Grand Case, Marigot, on the French side.
Visit a Casino: Conveniently located in Philipsburg are 12 casinos where you can try your luck at the slot machines, crap, blackjack, roulette and more.
The Island’s palate
The best part of this dual-governed island is its epicurean tapestry of local Dutch, Creole and French cuisine. Both sides of the island have an array of restaurants to make any foodie salivate
with excitement. However, the real food-worthy gem is the Flavors Food Tour. This exciting fourhour culinary road trip provides you with the opportunity to taste local dishes on both the French
and Dutch sides of the island. Local hosts provide guests with interesting historical information and tasty fun facts, making this the perfect opportunity to share and savour the incredible and versatile food scene in this idyllic island paradise.
Where to Stay
Bringing style, luxury, and outstanding service to Sint Maarten, the five-star Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, located only five minutes from the Princess Juliana International Airport, embraces a contemporary Caribbean style, offering an adults-only, all-inclusive vacation experience.
Adjacent to the all-ages Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, the Ocean Point is a stunning “resort within a resort,” providing everything you could possibly ask for. Whichever style of resort you choose for your honeymoon, you can be sure you’ll be spoiled. The Ocean Point includes 130 suites, encompassing swim-out suites, butler suites and lavish penthouses. All offer access to the Serenity Spa, three pools—including the signature edge pool with its zero entry cliffside beach, four bars, and three restaurants. It also offers full access to all services and facilities at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa.
An added bonus to staying at this luxurious resort is it’s located steps away from several popular beaches, shopping, and nightlife at the heart of Maho Village, including the Casino Royale, the largest gaming emporium on the island.
Ocean Point’s Suite Love Honeymoon Package includes such perks as a welcome amenity and champagne upon arrival, a couples massage at Serenity Spa, a private romantic dinner and a stocked wine fridge from the house wine menu.
If you go
Flights: Direct flights from Montreal are available. The island has an international airport on the Dutch side and a regional airport on the French side. Over 20 airlines serve the island. Aqua Mania Adventures: stmaarten-activities.com
Flavors Food Tour: flavorsfoodtours.com Sonesta Ocean Point Resort: sonesta.com/sx/maho-bay/sonesta-ocean-point-resort-st-maarten.com
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa: sonesta.com/sx/maho-bay/sonesta-maho-beach-resort-casino-spa-st-maarten.com
Brigitte Hasbron is owner of The Food Tease (www.thefoodtease.com), a combined culinary and travel blog that highlights the best that food, wine and travel have to offer.