Meet Me at Alegria When It’s Sunset

Whether you are looking for some action or are longing to unwind,  do I have a great destination in mind for you. The Dutch island of St. Maarten, which is one half of a dynamic duo (St. Martin on the French half is the other,) is located in the far north-east pocket of the Caribbean. This magnificent locale is the perfect option to have some fun, or to rest your weary bones. During my most recent visit to the island, I experienced a little bit of everything. I lounged at the hotel, as well as canvased the area to take in all the action. This visit, I stayed at the lovely Alegria hotel, which is in walking and driving distance to a number of places. When I wasn’t relaxing at the property, I was out exploring the nearby restaurants, eateries and hot spots. Fortunately, there was plenty to see and do without having to leave the resort’s cul-de-sac during those tiresome hours. What was even more thrilling, was that the renowned Sunset Bar & Grill, which has the best views on the island, sits just at the end of the strip where Alegria is located. I suggest buckling up!

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View Of Alegria

Overview

Part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, Alegria is a contemporary mini resort, located on the Dutch side of St. Maarten (-the other side is French St. Martin) island. This contemporary style dwelling is a 75 guest room & suites hotel, complete with two swimming pools, a swim up bar, spa services by request, free wifi, a fitness room and free parking. The hotel is surrounded by restaurants, a casino and of course, the acclaimed Sunset Bar & Grill. Additionally, Alegria is part of the area where an incredible new entertainment complex – Refuge, is set to open this fall 2016. The project will feature a diverse portfolio of restaurants and event space around the current Sunset Bar & Grill location and gift shop.

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Main Entrance to Alegria 

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Swimming Pools

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Poolside Bar

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Fitness Room

Alegria Hotel Rooms & Suites

Alegria hotel features modern décor and breathtaking views. As noted above, there are a mix of standard hotel rooms and suites, which offer separate living and dining room areas, 1 to 2 bedrooms, and upscale kitchens. Guests can choose from standard, garden or pool side and ocean view rooms, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy some memorable sights each morning and night. They can also choose a standard king, a standard double-double or studio king room. There are two suite options; a one-bedroom or a two- bedroom penthouse available for lodging. All rooms come equipped with 32” flat screen televisions, balconies, refrigerators, coffee makers, sofa beds, microwaves and in-room safes. Additionally, suites have a full, separate kitchen and dining area, with stainless steel appliances and granite counter-tops.

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Lobby

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One Bedroom Balcony Poolside/Ocean View  

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One Bedroom Suite Kitchen

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One Bedroom King Room

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Penthouse Suite Balcony View

Sunset Bar & Grill – Soon to take “Refuge”

Just at the end of the Alegria strip is Sunset Bar & Grill. Best known for its spectacular views of the low flying airplanes coming in over Maho Beach, this happening spot is an island favorite. Eager beach goers and hungry tourists line the area daily, in hopes of catching unbelievably up close captures of the various sized aircraft- that’s preparing to land. There’s music, tons of people and lots of picture taking throughout the day. It’s like a nonstop international gathering with the most amazing backdrop- airplanes and the sea! The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, to famished patrons who are ready to nosh out- as they take in the “low flying” views. This lively eatery also has a new menu with an array of items to arouse the palate, from the Delta- Airlines Pizza, to the Sofrito Chicken Torta. Many guests also opt to chomp down on more familiar dishes like french fries and Sunset’s world famous burgers, as they wet their whistles with everything from frozen drinks, to iced coffee. When diners aren’t filling their bellies with all sort of goodness, they are dancing, singing and/or watching hermit crab races…when they’re not rolling around on the neighboring beach sand that is. From the live music, to the scent of jet fuel in the air, this locale has it all! Stay tuned for the upcoming Refuge Entertainment complex that will include this ever popular eatery and gift shop, as well as event space, other restaurants and of course, the beautiful seaside blues and airplane views.

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Sunset Bar & Grill Alongside Maho Beach

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View of Incoming Aircraft- Sunset Bar & Grill

Area To-Dos

Island visitors can do everything from splashing in the sea, to singing karaoke to their favorite tunes. There is much to do in the surrounding Maho area of Philipsburg, which is the capital of St. Maarten. Situated along the southern coast of the island, Alegria is well positioned. Not only is it just minutes from Princess Juliana international Airport, but it also sits on the resort compound with French owned C-Lounge, which is a delicious little chic restaurant, with delectable menu offerings, Taco Macho for the Latin food fix (which only takes cash by the way,) the Casino and Momo’s, who serves fantastic Mediterranean cuisine. There is also an 18-hole championship golf course nearby- at Mullet Bay, and on the other side of Maho Beach, sits plenty of duty-free shops and a flourishing night life.

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Taco Macho

Other Island Recommendations

Also, if you are able to venture out, I would highly recommend spending time on Front Street in downtown Philipsburg, as well as in the Simpson Bay area. I would also suggest crossing over into French St. Martin for a whole new world. One of my favorite places to eat on the island is on that side, at Cynthia’s in Grand Case. Visitors can also take day trips to neighboring islands out of French, Marigot Bay, as well as shop, eat and have some fun.

*It is important to note that many stores and restaurants throughout the island require a $20 USD minimum purchase to use debit/credit cards, so be sure to have cash on hand for smaller purchases! This is clearly one of my all-time favorite places in the world, so if you want to find me a few times a year- Meet me at Alegria when it’s sunset!

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Palapa Huts Oceanside- Alegria

*While visiting the island, I was a guest at Alegria. My invitation in no way shapes my views of the resort, neighboring restaurants or other island sites and businesses where I was a patron. This piece describes my true experience from beginning to end of this trip. It is meant to inform and provide travelers information. St.Maarten is one of my favorite destinations, so I enjoy going back and creating new experiences. Also, media photos were used for this post. Stay tuned, as my 2016 Global Expedition continues…

Travel ABCs

Bon Bini, Bon Bini fellow global citizens and friends! Our 2016 Global Expedition continues. Today we’re going to discuss the ABCs of travel…. by reviewing the ABC Dutch islands in the Caribbean, which are comprised of- Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. I spent time in two of the three islands in February and had a spectacular time.

My first stop was to Aruba, where I experienced everything from deluxe spa services, to fine dining. I also intermingled with other guests from across the globe and lounged by the sea. I danced my way through the butterfly farm, which helps protect the vast number of species they have housed, and said a prayer atop the hill at the oldest church, Alto Vista Chapel, on the island. I was also blown away by the splendor of the natural bridge remnants and the pristine white beaches. I slept peacefully in plush amenities at Divi Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Phoenix each night, and relished in a variety of gourmet dishes each day at Windows and pureocean between outdoor activities. From the management down, staff and service was superb and amenities were plentiful! In Aruba, you can relax on the gorgeous white sand beaches, explore the magnificence of the marine life within the depths of the sea, dine on tantalizing cuisine from fresh seafood to gourmet pasta dishes, and make new friends along the way. It was one unforgettable time on the beautiful island of Aruba!

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Natural Bridge Remnants- Aruba

My next stop was to Bonaire, by way of Curacao. My flight from Aruba was routed through the fantastic final leg of the trio of islands (Curacao,) which we’ll address after Bonaire. When I think of Bonaire I automatically think of tranquility. Everything about this land speaks peace and incomparable beauty. It’s like a hidden diamond in the rough, peaking out from beneath a cover. It’s a conservation haven and brilliant underwater idyll. It’s so remarkably wonderful and calming, but has the option for big adventure- like diving throughout the island or windsurfing over at Jibe City! One of the primary reasons tourists visit Bonaire is for the diving! The clear sea waters provide direct access to the colorful sea life, which are synonymous to a box of crayons, making for a photographer’s dream. After long, full days, I rested peacefully, seaside each night at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, and chomped down at Chibi Chibi and pureocean. The entire staff, including the resort manager, was just wonderful. Get your underwater and above sea cameras ready for one unforgettable time. Bonaire undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression on everyone.

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Jibe City- Bonaire

The last and final leg of the trio is Curacao. I first visited this island some years back and was completely smitten with its offerings. I enjoyed everything from the acclaimed, Queen Emma swinging bridge, to the chilling exhibits found at the Kura Hulunda museum, which takes you on a journey back in time, to the Dutch slave trade. I was captivated by the range of activities available to guests of the island. I was so visually excited by all the colors of the buildings to the lovely flamingos at the aquarium, which can be found on all three islands. Their rich color is reminiscent of that which typically only meets you in your dreams. While there, I stayed at the fantastic Hilton hotel and filled my belly with all sort of delectables at Aqua Restaurant and at Captain Bligh’s bar each day. The entire staff was great and I was super excited to earn all those international Hilton points. Can’t wait to go back to Curacao!

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Queen Emma Bridge- Curacao

Now that you’ve learned your ABC’s won’t you sing along with me….”The Dutch Caribbean is ahhhh-mazing.” Make plans to spend your next holiday at one or all three of these magnificent islands- for one enormous adventure packed time! Until next time, safe and happy travels to you!