Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Best Villas of the Island

There is hardly any island with such a great choice of villas for rent as St. Martin/St. Maarten. Prime locations are Orient Beach and Dawn Beach. There are also hidden gems, for example in the Terres Basses area. This deed restricted privately managed area of 200 property owners has many great places. There are million $$$ mansions, and also more moderate homes for budget oriented travelers. Another great area, which has gained reputation during the recent years, is the area above Happy Bay. A favorite villa for moderate budgets is Villa Canoua.

When it comes to location, luxury, and style, we strongly recommend Villa Belle Mer
. This exquisite villa (understatement!) is a great place for a large family or a group of friends with a budget around $ 1,000 a night.

Villa Belle Mer

An informative website entirely dedicated to
villas is here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Volatility of Island Business

Business Life Cycles can be short on the island. Restaurants, car rentals, excursion services, rental villa owners, basically all tourist service providers can quickly change ownership, or go out of service, or change focus. Therefore, when being a repeat guest on the island, always keep your eyes open, many things may have changed since last time. Apply your own judgement, and check whether additional verification is needed. Don't count on 'official' tourist boards, they don't follow these developments. At least half of the businesses, especially the smaller ones, are not even registered. Better Business Bureaus and similar organisations are unknown here. Here, you see the remaining assets of a jet ski business, 'parked' under a tree in French Quarter. Other more significant mysteries are the Radisson Hotel at Anse Marcel, which should have reopened in 2006, but still doesn't show a sign of life, or 'Da Livio' restaurant in Philipsburg, once a popular upscale place, now a defunct building. The positive side is that new businesses and services pop up every day, and some add interesting attractions to the island, see here. When you do your St. Maarten/Martin travel planning on the Internet, watch out, many directories are less than up-to-date, and may misguide you. Email for verification!