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!
View Of Alegria
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.
Main Entrance to Alegria
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.
One Bedroom Balcony Poolside/Ocean View
One Bedroom Suite Kitchen
One Bedroom King Room
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.
Sunset Bar & Grill Alongside Maho Beach
View of Incoming Aircraft- Sunset Bar & Grill
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.
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!
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…