As I shoot around the world a lot, I thought I'd start a regular feature listing the 15 things I like about the places I visit.
Let’s start with St Maarten, which is where I spent Easter weekend.
1. Room 100, the Baie Rouge Suite at La Samanna. For a start, it has a wrap around balcony with outdoor shower, shaded area and seating/party space for probably 20. It also overlooks the Baie Longue and sits right on top of the pool. From there all you can see is the
2. I discovered La Samanna 10 years ago. It is one of the world’s hidden treasures and has now expanded to around 80 rooms. Recently, its barefoot bar has been replaced by a very modern Mondrian-like structure 100 yards down the beach. The perfect getaway.
3. The brand new airport terminal at Juliana. There is a great Philippe Starck-like mural saying, "Sand, Sea and Sun" which certainly sets the theme. Also, something that’s becoming increasingly rare, your bags are delivered within minutes and everything works.
4. It’s one direct flight away from wintery
5. St Maarten is an island that is half French and half Dutch. So you get the Dutch value around
6. Music. The island is full of Calypso and Reggae. Check out Radio Calypso on 102.1 FM when you arrive. Non-stop flava.
7. Carib Beer. Brewed in
8. Johnnie Cakes. Deep-fried treats served from open air stalls, on beaches or from roadside vans. Made of nothing but sweetness, flour, salt, baking powder, butter and water, they are bit like the beignets of
9. Cricket. It’s a
10. Dominoes. Who hasn’t played dominoes? The game originated in
11. Tuesday nights in Grand Case. Every Tuesday, Grand Case turns into a great big cultural street show with singers, dancers, painters, sculptures, poets, storytellers and steel bands all out on the street. Carnival time every week. Bring it on.
12. Marigot Market nights are every Wednesday and Saturday morning on the seashore. In St Tropez, where I have a summer home, we have a great weekend market which travels all around
13. Shopping. St Maarten is totally duty free. Jewelry, designer brands, fashion, are all available at prices way below Europe and much of it even below
14. Great French restaurants. All of the restaurants are French family owned. They bring in high class French wines directly from the mother country and great local fish and produce prepared with the magic that French chefs infuse. Try Le Cottage, Bistrot Caraibes, L’Hibiscus, Le Pressoir and Le Tastevin. If you want to eat right on the beach, go to La Cigale.