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St Maarten 2015

St Maarten 2015

January marks the end of a very busy season here at CJEX and our (as of late) annual trip to St Maarten. For 2015 we were psyched and it was a fab trip…thought we’d share some of the highlights and a couple of pictures.

We arrived on Monday January 12 after 4 very long flights…to discover we were sans every piece of luggage we brought with us.  We were not happy campers…and it felt a little like camping.  We were wearing “Canada” winter clothes and were in very tropical weather.  Yuckers. 

Our villa was located on the Dutch side of St Maarten, way up high on a cliff, overlooking Dawn Beach.  The view was unbelievable…so we provide you with proof:


Mark took his new toy (of course) and gave it a fly around the villa.  Being that we were up so high and it was pretty windy most days this was one of the few times he was actually able to fly it. 


We had an honorary “pet” on this trip.  She showed up the first day and came and went throughout the days…coincidentally around snack time.  I called her Lady…and she was.  Very polite, not a licker, a jumper and not obnoxious (like boy dogs…and boys come to think of it).  


St Maarten makes a lifestyle of BBQ.  Mark loves it…there’s smoke everywhere.  (insert BBQ photos here).

The ribs are smoked to perfection with tons of BBQ sauce, the rice and peas are light and fluffy.  They are served with the islands very own “Johnny Cakes” (the round patties) which are basically deep fried bread….oh sooooo good.  And the beers are $1.50…yeah….$1.50.  Liquor is incredibly cheap on the island.  Many of you know that we are Tanqueray 10 lovers and here at home a 750ml bottle is over $45.  In St Maarten, they are $20 for the 1 litre bottle!  We had premium and gorgeous Tanq 10 G&T’s whilst lounging by our pool. 


Not to make it all about the booze but I have to share with you an AMAZING gem that you must visit if you are traveling through St Maarten.  Gulmohar’s is a family owned and run liquor store in Philipsburg (which is right were the cruise ships dock for the day).  Inside you will find Gulu, Vinita and their son, Chats.  They specialize in single malt scotch.  This is part of the wall of choices…I literally couldn’t get a good picture of the whole selection:

IMG_2147  IMG_2141  IMG_2145

The amazing thing about this family business is the tremendous wealth of knowledge they have about scotch.  Vinita can tell you details about every distillery, every bottle.  She knows the notes on literally every one of the hundreds of bottles they carry.  She can tell you which is the most smoky or most peaty.  She can tell you which bottles you won’t find anywhere else and why.  She can tell you, based on your current favorites, which you should try.  And here are the two things that make this place so special:

Number one: neither she nor her husband drink.  They know more details about this product that we’ve ever seen, they are bang on the money every time and it’s all from their love of scotch…even though they don’t drink it! Vinita says you can get the notes by rubbing a small amount on your fingers and inhaling (we didn’t try that as we prefer to taste it!) but everything she recommended based on our preferences was amazing. 

Number two: the second thing that makes this shop blow your mind is…you can taste test.  You’ll notice in the photo many of the bottles are partially empty.  Gulu came up with the concept years ago and made the bold assumption that if his customers could try a bit of the product and love it, they would buy it.  It worked!  If you are a scotch lover, you can spend time with Gulu, Vinita & Chats and they will help you find just what you are looking for and best of all, you can have a little taste before you buy.  

For the most part, we spent our days either lounging by our pool at the villa, or on Sunset Beach, which is the beach right in front of the Princess Juliana Airport.  You can spend all day watching planes land (and take off of course) which sipping rum punch…yummy.  The big planes are super scary to watch coming in as it looks like they are going to crash right into the beach….and me…


Next year…St Maarten? Or another fabulous Caribbean island?  It is to be seen 🙂




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