Friday, June 24, 2011

February Getaway to St. Maarten

I've finally gotten around to posting some photos from our February, 2011 trip to the French/Dutch island of St. Martin/St. Maarten. I won't bore you with lots of historical facts and everything we did on a day-to-day basis but simply annotate each photo, to let you know what & where everything is. If you really want to know more about St. Maarten, you can easily check it out on the internet. However, if anyone has any questions (or wants tips) on visiting the island, I'd be glad to answer/provide them.
As always, comments are welcome and click on any image to enlarge it.
Click on it a second time to further enlarge it.

View of (mostly) the Dutch (southern) side of the island from my window on the plane.

Close-up of Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side.

The port on Great Bay, Philipsburg, where the cruise ships dock.

Our villa (first building on left, second floor,
overlooking Great Bay)
at the Divi Little Bay Resort.

View looking over our villa (building in center of photo).

View from the balcony of our villa.

View from our balcony.

Looking toward the cruise ship docks on the other side of Great Bay,
from our balcony, with a ship approaching (on the right).

Telephoto shot from our balcony.

Small infinity pool at east end of Divi property,
overlooking Little Bay in background.

View from old Fort Amsterdam, at the tip of the Divi property,
overlooking Little Bay.

Looking toward the east end of the property from Gizmo's Beachside Café.

Gizmo (the mascot of the beachside café).

Looking west along the Divi beach on Little Bay.

Looking east along the Divi beach.

A poolside café toward the east end of the property.

Happy Hour at Gizmo's café with Ken & Ro.

Villas at the east end of the property, photographed
while standing chest-high in the water, late in the day.

Sunset, viewed from Gizmo's Café.

Same sunset, a little later.

Three people watch another sunset, while sitting on the edge of a pool.

Front Street, the old main street in Philipsburg.

Brightly-colored restaurant, typical of the
Caribbean island style, in Philipsburg.

Old courthouse in Philipsburg.

Visitors take a Segway tour of "boardwalk"
along side the beach in Philipsburg.

Historic old church in Philipsburg.

Public beach area on the northeast (French) side of the island,
with fog and rain clouds threatening.

Le Gallion Beach, on the north (French) coast of the island.

Looking back at the beach seen in the previous shot
from the other side of the lagoon.

Looking across the lagoon at Le Gallion Beach
as rain clouds threaten.

Heavily pock-marked volcanic rock
on the extreme north coast of the island,
just past Le Gallion Beach.

Breakfast at Zee Best on the way to the airport
before heading home. (GREAT pastries!)


  1. Great piece Ken. My wife and I went to St. Maartin for our honeymoon in 1971 and then a second honeymoon in 1981. The hotel was called The Little Bay Beach Hotel in those days. It used to be a popular vacation place for the Scandinavian countries. They would put out a flag for each country with guests at the hotel. When we arrived they put out the Stars and Stripes. It was also popular with Canadians. But it had a strong european flavor. You were expected to dress in jacket and tie for dinner. Dinner had seven or eight courses and took about 3 hours! The wine steward with his key and cup served your choice of wine every night. You were assigned beach chairs and an umbrella and the beach boys put out towels each morning and whenever you went into the water. They also came around and took your drink order right from your chair. Being a working class person from 126th street in Richmond Hill this was far beyond anything I had experienced in my 26 years. The hotel was only one story and except for a couple of guest cottages was the only building on the bay. To the right and left was all open beach. The hotel had a small casino and an entertainment bar. And they supplied a two page newspaper with world headlines. But there were no room phones, TVs or radios. There was the fort and all over the hills were wild goats. In town the shops sold mainly fine glassware and Delft china from europe. It was so relaxing I didn't want to go home. On one trip to town we spoke with a store owner who went there on vacation and never left. When we went back in 1981, there was a new hotel, the cottages were gone, and there was a resort condo further down the beach. Most of the guests were from the US especially Miami. The european dining and flavor was gone. Even the shops in town had changed there wares for the american tourists. We enjoyed our stay but it didn't have the same charm. Thanks for sharing your pics and experience.

    1. Thanks for your feedback & cool story, Billy. Another friend of ours said the road in front of the resort was only paved within the last decade. They also remember the casino on premises but it was no longer open when we visited.

  2. Hi Ken. Great Pics! My wife and I are considering a stay at Divi Little Bay Resort. Any rooms we should NOT look at? We don't spend this kind of money very often. I want to get it right the first time!
    Darrell Cothran
    Spartanburg, SC

    1. Hi, Darrell. Thanks for your interest in my blog. It's been two years since we were at Divi Little Bay but I doubt it has changed much in that time so, based upon our time there, I would offer the following suggestions: There are single-story motel-room like accommodations just off the beach, on Little Bay side's western end, that may be a little older but have good location (if you want to be close to the beach). There are other rooms behind these beach front rooms that appeared to me to have no (or very little) views and were close to some barking dogs (possible a kennel ?), even though they were close to a pool at that end of the resort; I would NOT recommend those. The newer accommodations all seem to be at the eastern end of the resort; the ones facing Little Bay were very nice although the first floor rooms had a walkway close to them and some trees might have partially blocked the view of the Little Bay. The rooms on the upper floors were nice (we looked at them) but the view of the water was partially obstructed by a relatively high enclosure on the balconies (view was great while standing but partially obstructed while sitting in a recliner/chair). The rooms in the buildings facing Great Bay seemed to have lower (or less-obstructing) enclosures on the balconies (that's where we stayed) and a nice view of Great Bay, the cruise ships in port on the other side of the bay, and some lights on the opposite side offering somewhat of a view at night. This seemed to be the windy side while we were there although I don't know if it's always that windy and always from that direction. There are some other accommodations, higher up a hill and at the far eastern end which looked like they would have amazing views but they are further from the beach and parking lots. There are several relatively small pools in the middle and eastern end (one by a café/bar) and one very nice (but small) really hidden next to a building. There aren't too many other resorts right on a beach and I liked Divi enough to stay there again if we returned. I would probably ask for one of the second or third floor rooms on the Great Bay side again as long as it had a balcony.

    2. Darrel: Looking back at my photos, I see that some of the rooms facing Little Bay had concrete enclosures on the balconies (that obstruct the views) while others had wrought-iron railings that would NOT cause obstructions of the views. Good luck & enjoy!