Owners' Tips on the Island



We have been visiting Sint Maarten since 1988 and enjoying Hope Cottage since we finished it in 1997.

We have an extensive guide to the island which we give to our guests but here is a short guide to what is available in the Oyster Pond area.

Pictured at right is the view of Oyster Pond from the pool and terrace
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Getting About: Pick up maps and guides at the airport when they are available.

As you can see from the photo, Hope Cottage is located near the top of a hill overlooking Oyster Pond, so a car is necessary. We have been dealing with the same agent since we first came to the island so we get very competitive rates.

Beaches:

Dawn Beach is conveniently located just below Hope Cottage as you can see in the photo. In fact, it was a factor in our decision to build here and it now has a decent beach bar and lunchtime restaurant. Of course, we are now spoiled and seldom go to the beach preferring to take advantage of our private pool, sunbeds and pergola.

Restaurants:

The restaurant scene has vastly improved in the Oyster Pond area over the last few years. Here is a list of our current favorites:

On the Dutch Side:

BIG FISH: Some may be put off by the modern décor.  Don’t be.  We have never had a bad meal there but it is now under new owners, Canadians.

CANOA:  A new restaurant. We have eaten there with friends and we all had good meals.

MR. BUSBY’S: A great place for a beach lunch.  Comfortable, close to your beach chair and priced accordingly.  In the evening, it becomes DANIELS.  We don’t go there and we have had bad reviews from some of our guests.

INFINITY: Who would have thought that we would recommend a timeshare resort for an evening out?  Well, think again. We often go there often as the food and service are good; the seating and air-conditioning, comfortable; the staff friendly and the prices, reasonable.  Give it a try.  It was redecorated in August ’15…a big improvement.

On the French Side:

MA MA’S PIZZA: If you fancy pizza, this is a great choice as the pizzas are very good.  It is French owned and has a great view of the harbor.  However, we go elsewhere for pizza.

DINGHY DOCK: A bar/restaurant with a lively atmosphere and good food, especially the fish and chips.  It is popular with sailors and homeowners living in the Villas of Oyster Pond…a bit loud but that helps provide the atmosphere.

QUAI OUEST: We had a great meal there with friends who are regulars but have read reviews on line in which people complain about the service and its Frenchness.  Hey, get over it.  You are in France.  We recommend it but be forewarned.

L’OASIS: We have known Martine, the owner, for years and often drop in for a morning coffee. We buy our croissants and baguettes there. The food is good and by French standards, reasonably priced.  Great pizzas!

BZH CREPERIE: We recommend it, as do many people on Trip Advisor.  Good Specials with very reasonably prices.  They do very good pizzas, crepes and galets, a buckwheat crepe from Brittany and we had great hamburgers there recently.  Great atmosphere and probably our favorite local spot.

LE PAVILLON BY THE SEA: This is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and with Grand Case prices, it is not cheap but the quality makes it, in our opinion, good value.  We thoroughly recommend it.

OUR FAVORITES AWAY FROM OYSTER POND: Sorry, we save these for our guests at Hope Cottage. However, our favorite restaurant is BISTROT CARAIBES in Grand Case.

Provisions:

There are now several local shops where you can go for provisions. One is opposite our agent’s office where we go for the local paper, the Herald, and there are several on the French side near l’Oasis. They are expensive but it beats schlepping around the island to buy some drink and a few groceries.

If you are looking for supermarkets, you must go further afield. We regularly shop at GRAND MARCHE on the road between Phillipsburg and the airport. It features goods from Holland and the US and a lot of Indian goods as it caters to the island Indian community. Don’t let the prices scare you as everything is priced in Nafl. However, it is still expensive. The booze is cheap! Do try my favorite beer - GROLSCH! While available in the U.S., it is difficult to find.

Island Night Life:

You will have to get away from Oyster Pond but stick to the Dutch side. Bars are not our scene so you are on your own although our younger friends recommend the GREENHOUSE in Philipsburg, the BOATHOUSE by the bridge coming from the airport, CHERI’S in Maho, and SUNSET at the end of the airport runway. They are all lively and all serve reasonably priced American style food.

You can’t drag me to a Casino but my wife and daughter liked SONESTA GREAT BAY BEACH RESORT AND CASINO at the far end of Philipsburg across the harbor from the cruise ship port. If you win BIG, get an escort to your car!

Fishing and Horseback Riding:

After we built Hope Cottage, we became friendly with our French neighbors, Marco and Annie Foucault. They have since moved but we have kept in touch.

Marco has a fishing boat docked just below us in Oyster Pond. Fishing in the Atlantic is not our scene and while we find it expensive, Marco’s prices are competitive. They also do personal trips to the neighboring islands of Anguilla and St. Barts.

If you are into horseback riding, Annie will fix you up as she and a friend have several horses. Our daughter and grand daughter ride with her and a couple staying at Hope Cottage last year went out for a three hour ride and had a terrific time.