When you think of the Caribbean, St. Martin may not be the first destination you might think of, but you won’t find a more relaxed, beachfront oasis than the one on this island. And St. Martin is more than just a beach-lover’s getaway. It’s the culinary capital of the Caribbean with more than 300 restaurants, and it’s actually two destinations in one. But that’s not all that’s awesome about St. Martin (or St. Maarten).
The awesomeness of St. Martin
Here’s the rundown of what you need to know about this Caribbean island paradise.
Dual personality—St. Martin is one island but two destinations. One side is French, called “Saint-Martin,” and is the larger of the two areas. The second part is “Sint-Maarten,” which is a country within the Dutch Kingdom, independent but protected by the Dutch government. There are no physical borders between the two islands, so guests can travel freely in between the two parts of the island.
Premium location—St. Martin is in the Lesser Antilles with the Atlantic Ocean on the east side and the Caribbean Sea on the west. It’s also warm with sunny days, situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator.
Close proximity—St. Martin is three-and-a-half hour flight from New York and a two-and-a-half hour flight from Miami.
Duty-free shopping—St. Martin is the only destination in the French West Indies that is completely duty-free since there are no particular custom procedures. Also, this means you just need your passport to get onto the island and enjoy its rich treasures.
The culinary capital of the Caribbean
St. Martin has more than 15 culinary centers for guests to indulge their inner foodie. From Anse Marcel to Oyster Pond, travelers can enjoy a variety of tastes and flavors, ranging from French to Italian to tapas and Creole cuisines.
The fishing village of Grand-Case is quite popular and is known as the “Mecca of Caribbean Cuisine,” where you get a fresh catches and cool drinks. Reservations are recommended during peak seasons; however, from January to April, “Tuesday Nights at Grand Case” shut down the main street for dozens of craft, arts, and food stalls set up for the ultimate sunset festival.
Another foodie heaven is Marigot, with food venues lining narrowed, historic streets, along the waterfront, and in the Concordia section of the city with Vietnamese cuisine, steakhouses, and even Moroccan flavors.
Orient Bay (or Baje Orientale) also offers sun loungers and parasols at many of their restaurants along the east side of the island, offering a mixture of cultures with international cuisine, a creperie, and a wine bar.
Where to stay—Hotel RIU Palace St. Martin
Of course, food can be expensive, and though guests definitely want to hop around the island to savor their favorite helpings, they’ll want to relax and renew their spirits at Hotel RIU Palace St. Martin. A beachfront hotel located on the French side of the island, this property is celebrating its first-year anniversary. The hotel is part of RIU’s all-inclusive, 24-hour collection of hotels with free WiFi; free sun lounges, towels, and parasols by the pool area; a sun terrace; an infinity pool; and four restaurants plus three bars. So no matter when guests return from their travelers, they’ll be greeted with a drink, a snack, and a smile.
Themed buffets, live-cooking stations, a fusion restaurant, French restaurant, a steakhouse, and regularly restocked liquor dispensers in-room help to make this all-inclusive fit well within the culinary capital of the Caribbean, and each room also boasts a minibar and a balcony or terrace to enjoy the tropical scenery.
Nestled in a cove by the beautiful Anse Marcel, the hotel offers direct access to Anse Marcel Marina for an exciting array of watersports, and included in everyone’s stay in one introductory scuba diving lesson. The Renova Spa provides a variety of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments for guests to savor.
With an adults’ program and a comprehensive kids club, this resort welcomes families wanting to relax and enjoy their vacation along the warm sands of the Caribbean.
Check out the beautiful island of St. Martin/St. Maarten and the Hotel RIU Palace St. Martin now!
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