Author Marvin Hokstam
IF THERE’S ONE THING ST. Maarteners are proud of, it’s the endearing adage that their Caribbean homeland is “The Friendly Island.” We plaster it all over our number-plates, and it’s true. The 60,000-plus inhabitants come from no less than 103 different countries; all contribute to the emerging identity of this 37-square-mile landmass. Christopher Columbus sighted the island on November 11, 1493, and named it after St. Martin, Bishop of Tours. Initially regarded as unpromising, St. Maarten changed hands among the Dutch, the French, and the Spanish. The French and Dutch split the island in 1648—the French side is called Saint Martin, the Dutch side Sint Maarten. Gone are the days of battle for Queen and country. Now part of the semi-autonomous Dutch Caribbean territory of the Netherlands Antilles, St. Maarten is focused on fast-paced, duty-free tourism with a multinational friendliness that’s attractive to tourists and investors alike. On your three-day holiday, you’ll see why many a first-time visitor becomes a regular.
DAY ONE / You’re staying at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, perched on white, sandy Maho Beach overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Each morning you’ll be awakened by tropical sunshine peeping through your windows. Executive chef Olivier has prepared an extensive breakfast at the resort’s Ocean Terrace Buffet Restaurant, including pancakes, bacon, and waffles. The sausage in Creole sauce is excellent. Sonesta Maho’s motto, “a destination within a destination,” reflects the diversity of attractions that could conspire to keep you from leaving the premises. But you have other plans. Rent an SUV and start exploring the island.
Read Day 2 and 3 at United Hemispheres Magazine … long ago