How About We Meet in St. Martin?
If you’ve been hanging around with us at My Girlfriendships®, you know we usually choose somewhere warm for our girls weekends—think sun, beach, ocean. One of our top choices is the Caribbean, and this week we take you to our favorite spot, Saint-Martin (if you’re on the French side, which makes up about 60% of the island) or Sint Maarten (if you’re on the Dutch part, the other 40%).
Wait. Are you thinking, “There’s a French side and Dutch side? On one 34 square mile island?” Yep. Here’s the history (because you know we love history):
- The division of the island between France and the Netherlands dates back to 1648, under the Treaty of Concordia.
- Folklore has it that the division began with a walking contest between a Frenchman and a Dutchman.
- Before they started, the Frenchman drank wine, while the Dutchman drank the stronger Jenever (Dutch gin)
- This choice of beverage allowed the Frenchman to cover more territory and claim more land.
- The Dutch say he cheated.
Seems they’ve come a long way since then to be worthy of calling themselves “The Friendly Island”, right?
My Girlfriendships crew is so ready to hop down to the island and explore both the French city of Marigot and the Dutch’s Philipsburg.
The town is named for the many swamps, or marigots (a side-stream or tributary rivulet), that used to exist here. Marigot has fewer residents than the Dutch side, and there are also no large resorts—which means fewer tourists. Nevertheless, Marigot has a charm all of its own.
The market on the waterfront beneath Fort Saint Louis (the most important building in Marigot) is incredible. It’s a place of high melting pot smells, colors, and exciting hustle and bustle. It’s loaded with stalls of open Creole huts with locals selling vegetables, fruit, spices, fresh fish, and meats. One of our favorite parts of the market is its center where we found a beautiful stone statue erected to commemorate the women market sellers. Sounds like it’s ideal for a girlfriendships crew, doesn’t it?
Here are two other things to do in Marigot.
What to Do
- Jet Ski Tour | Explore the waters around St. Martin onboard your own jet ski during this half-day tour. Follow your adventure guide around the island, cruising at your own speed and stopping at various points of interest. Enjoy VIP access to the 5-star Belmond La Samanna resort, one of the island's most exclusive beaches. All equipment is provided and no experience is necessary.
- Blue Odyssey Diving | There is nothing like diving in the Caribbean Ocean, and Blue Odyssey Diving in Nettlé Bay is the place to go on Marigot. Is your group beginners? Experts? Everything in between? Blue Odyssey is perfect. You can choose to explore more than seven wrecks from 30 fabulous dive sites.
Where to Stay
- Center’Hotel | Tropical chic located in Marigot city centre, the Centr’Hotel is perfectly situated so that you can fully enjoy all the activities that St. Martin has to offer, and have an exceptional stay. With 38 rooms (including suites and duplexes), and just steps away from activities, it’s ideal lodging for your girls weekend trip.
- Oceanfront Studio | Short term rental more your tribe’s vibe? Take a look at this beautiful 2nd floor condominium, located 500 yards from the center of Marigot. If your group is a small one (up to 4 people), this is ideal. Here’s what we suggest as your agenda: swim, shop, or golf during the day, dine at any one of the excellent French restaurants, then enjoy the sunset from the balcony.
Repeat every day you are in this lovely location.
On the south side of the island is the Dutch, Sint Maarten. Founded in 1763, this slice of the Caribbean bustles with tourists from every corner of the earth. (Corner? Is that a saying from when some thought the earth was flat? Hmmmm.)
Here are two fun activities you and your crew can do when you’re there:
What to Do
- Rainforest Adventures | From 360° vistas of neighboring islands, to a traditional zip line, to sliding down a mountainside, Rainforest Adventures at Rockland Estate has an adventure for your group. It’s home to the award-winning and the steepest zipline in the world, Flying Dutchman. Each adventure begins in a restored plantation house originally built in the 1700’s. You and your girlfriends will see depictions of what life was like on a plantation and learn about the customs, traditions, lifestyle, and stories that earned Sint Maarten the nickname, “The Friendly Island”.
- Front Street Shopping | A My Girlfriendships trip is never complete without a day of shopping. Remember when we claimed, “diamonds are My Girlfriendships best friend”? Well, among the many wonderful shopping spots in Philipsburg on Front Street is Bedazzled Jewelers. Check out their Insta page!
Where to Stay
There is no lack of places to stay in Philipsburg, but here are a couple of our favorites.
- The Belair Beach Hotel | This Philipsburg resort’s motto is “The Only Thing We Overlook is the Ocean.” That’s because every single one of their suites, well, literally overlooks the ocean. The Belair Beach Hotel is located on Little Bay Beach and is the only all-suite oceanfront resort on St. Maarten. The suites are large, and the hotel has a unique combination of hotel, timeshare, and condominium facilities. Sit on your own private terrace overlooking the beach and Caribbean Sea and watch the world go by. Cruise ships entering and departing Philipsburg pass by in all their glory. With easy access to the onsite restaurant, Gingerbread Cafe, their Mini Mart, the activities center Sunny Land Activities, and Starlite Car Rental for all transportation needs, The Belair Beach Hotel is a wonderful place to plan your St. Maarten experience while enjoying the home away from home feeling. Speak to Paulina (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule that getaway with the girls.
- The Pasanggrahan Boutique Hotel | Established in 1904, the Pasanggrahan (which means guesthouse in Indonesian), has a rich and colorful history. It has been a rooster farm, a governor's residence, and a residence for the Dutch Royal family. It stands proudly as the oldest hotel on Sint Maarten and still retains its West-Indies colonial style. Along with Fort Amsterdam and the Courthouse, the Pasanggrahan is one of St. Maarten's landmarks and last bastions of European and Caribbean culture.
There will be no going wrong when taking your next girlfriendships trip to St. Martin!