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January 13, 2010updated Feb 08, 2013

St. Maarten Promotes Food and Family Fun

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – While St. Maarten has long been know for its culinary appeal with more than 300 restaurants across the island, food lovers will be excited to learn that the tropical getaway now has even more to offer with the opening of 18 new restaurants and eateries running the gamut from fusion cuisine to the island’s first Baskin Robins.

In further developments, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau ( has announced the opening of another night club – Club 1-Eleven in Cole Bay – as well as several newly offered family-focused activities including paintball, bumper cars and go-karting, according to a press release received by Elite Traveler.

“Culinary variety is one of the most popular reasons cited by repeat visitors for returning to St. Maarten,” said Commissioner Frans Richardson, Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Tourism, Sports, Government Information Services and Aviation Affairs for St. Maarten.

“With that in mind, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau continues to aggressively pursue prospective restaurateurs in order to further expand our selection,” noted Commissioner Richardson.

New restaurant openings in Simpson Bay include Bonita’s Cantina Smokehouse BBQ (Tex Mex & Kansas-style BBQ), Crazy Thyme (delectable fusion cuisine), ESPN Café (sports bar with international cuisine) and Mooi Restaurant (fusion cuisine at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club), as well as Bel Mar Grill (international cuisine) and Ciao Restaurant (international cuisine) at the Pelican Marina, and Izi Italian Pasta Lounge (Italian fare) and Pistache & Co (French pastry) at the Paradise Mall. The island’s first Baskin Robbins is also located in Simpson Bay next to McDonalds.

Other new restaurant openings in St. Maarten include Del Destino Restaurant Café (French gourmet), La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano (Italian cuisine), Le Lagon Creole-Crêperie (French-Caribbean cooking) and Sushitto: Japanese With A Twist (sushi restaurant) in Cole Bay, as well as Haven (Mediterranean fare) and The Different Twist Pretzel Co (pretzel shop) on the Boardwalk in Philipsburg, and Sweet Heaven (international cuisine) in Maho.

Complementing these new restaurant openings, St. Maarten is also offering several new entertainment attractions, most notably Club 1-Eleven, one of the Caribbean’s hottest new night clubs, which pushes the envelope with provocative DJs and a sexy atmosphere.

Additional activities now available for families vacationing in St. Maarten include Paintball facilities at La Savannah and Coconut Three’s Go-Karting, both in Grand Case, as well as Bumper Cars next to the Tijuana Club in Simpson Bay.

St. Maarten is also expanding its guest facilities with 21 recently completed timeshare rooms comprising the Westin Dawn Beach Condos, as well as 40 newly renovated rooms in the timeshare section at Caravanserai Beach Resort. Renovations at the hotel section of Caravanserai are expected to be complete in June 2010.

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Philipsburg’s historic Pasanggrahan Royal Guest House – formerly a Governor’s home, VIP guest house, and Dutch royal residence – is also undergoing renovations, however, the old world charm and historic appeal of the island’s oldest and most authentic colonial-style hotel will remain intact (18 of the hotel’s rooms are currently open while renovations continue throughout the rest of the property).

“We are very excited about our new restaurants, activities and hotel developments,” said Regina LaBega, Director of Tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.

“While we always welcome new visitors, we are blessed with one of the highest repeat visitor rates in the Caribbean and are proud to greet returning guests with new attractions each year,” she added.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion that keeps “food lovers” returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has something for everyone.

Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden. The historically-pivotal Fort Amsterdam, the St Maarten Museum and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where a treaty and harmonious peace was forged between the island’s two cultures more then 350 years ago, provide other unique attractions.

The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping and a bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment at the island’s 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs. For water enthusiasts scuba diving and snorkeling facilities are located throughout the island, which boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites such as the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten’s waters in 1801.

Accommodations are varied with many designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveler and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten from a number of U.S. and Canadian cities as well as Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

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