Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sun & Sand in St. Maarten

Welcome to paradise! After months of hard work going to grad school, serving as editor of the Weddzilla Blog and making the adjustment to working from home, I couldn’t wait to head out of town last month for a couple weeks of R&R with family, friends, and of course, my husband.

First stop, California, where we spent a restful week in my hometown visiting, sightseeing and stopping in at some of our favorite local haunts. Recaps of that trip are on the way soon, but for now, I just can’t wait any longer to share all the fun details about our trip to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, which I won last year through a giveaway by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, The Relentless Bride. (Check out her new blog, Fry, the Baby!) 

Since Stephen and I were flying out from the West Coast, we left early in the morning, arriving in St. Maarten late that evening after a brief delay in Miami. Because it was dark already, we couldn’t see much during our landing at the infamous seaside Juliana Airport, where misguided tourists often try to jump up and touch the planes as they land or take off right over the beach.

Image Source: curiousphotos.blogspot.com
We were so tired by that point, however, that after we'd passed through customs, we were more than happy to snag a cab and head to our resort for a good night’s sleep. On the drive there, our cab driver explained that the island of St. Maarten is split into two enclaves – St. Maarten under Dutch control and St. Martin under French control. However, due to the open-border agreement between both governments, travelers are able to pass seamlessly from one side to the other without showing passports or being otherwise delayed, which would definitely come in handy throughout our weeklong trip.

Image Source: cbt.cc
We were staying on the Dutch side, also where the airport is located, so after a 40-minute ride through both some shady local areas and past several other grandiose resorts, we arrived at the Westin Dawn Beach, where we had a complimentary reservation for the next seven days. After checking in, we headed upstairs to our ocean-front room, which was incredibly spacious, overlooked the beach, and came complete with a complimentary bottle of champagne and platter of canapés, which we snacked on right away (although we left the shrimp and fish untouched, since we weren’t sure how long they’d been sitting out).






After a late dinner at the resort’s main restaurant, Ocean, we collapsed exhausted, ready to get some rest and wake up to these gorgeous views!



Up Next… Bargain jewelry shopping in Phillipsburg

Travel Tip of the Day: If at all possible, make your travel arrangements so that you arrive at your destination while it's still light outside, which will make it much easier to get your bearings and become familiar with your surroundings, especially if you're new to the area and concerned about safety. 

Have you ever traveled to the Caribbean, and if so, what's your favorite island? 

15 comments:

  1. Wow, everything looks amazing! I've been to the Bahamas (Nassau) once and had a great time! That was my only trip to the Caribbean, but I hope to go back soon :)

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  2. So awesome that you won this trip! The hotel and views look great. I've been to Jamaica and Puerto Rico. I'd love to visit St. Maarten. I have a friend who was there recently and also stayed on the Dutch side.

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  3. Looks amazing!! I have never been to the Caribbean, hopefully soon!

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  4. You lucky thing - it looked like a lot of fun! Great travel tip too - it is so much better to arrive when it's light and you can enjoy your first day!

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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  5. I've always wanted to go to St. Maarten. Looks awesome. Can't wait to read your recaps.

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  6. wow looks beautiful!!! AHH Can't wait to see more!

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  7. How beautiful! I can't believe how close that plane is!!!

    PS: Are you back w/ weddzilla? I keep getting emails from them with your old greeting still on the bottom!

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  8. I'm so excited to see your St. Maarten recaps... brings me back to our honeymoon! Westin is so beautiful and I really loved the view and how secluded it was! Thanks for the shoutout too! I appreciate it :)

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  9. Awesome advice. We're going to St. Thomas in November and we're on a 6am flight out of Florida... I'm excited that we'll basically get a bonus day by arriving so early!

    What a great vacation so far, can't wait to see the rest!

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  10. Looks so amazing! And that is such a good tip too! I always try to have us leave as early in the day as possible for vacations, so you at least have some daylight and time to enjoy where you're going when you get there.

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  11. So beautiful and amazing, I have always wanted to go to St. Maartan. We have been to the Carribean a few times but only on cruises to you don't get to see the whole island in the rough! So glad you had a wonderful and relaxing trip!!!

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  12. omgosh i can't believe you won a trip through a giveaway! that's awesome! i won a trip once to new york (complete with hotel room, flight, and concert tickets) but a trip to st. maarten?! SO COOL! i love all the pictures. i wish i could've gone with you! lol

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  13. sounds like an amazing trip :) and hooray for winning a giveaway!

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  14. It looks stunning! And you WON the trip??? Jeal-ous!!

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  15. Looks gorgeous! I love the Caribbean!

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