Last year I put it out into the universe that I wanted to travel more for my blog. I’ve gone on a trip here and there, but I wanted to really go somewhere that would have a lasting impact on myself and for you guys.
The universe (i.e. God) lol answered my request by giving me an opportunity to go on my first International Press Trip to St. Maarten and Saba Dutch Caribbean. If you guys aren’t already aware, in addition to Happily Eating I also work for the online publication Hospitality21. We cover travel and food as well as industry news. I was invited to join 5 other journalists on a three-day four night trip to the 5-star, all-inclusive and adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort. I want to share some of the highlights of St. Maarten and my reasons why Sonesta Ocean Point should be your choice for where to stay on the island.
After a three and half hour flight from Atlanta, I landed on this gorgeous island with lots of lush greenery and mountains all around. I was scheduled to meet up with the PR Rep where we would be picked up by a driver who would take us to the resort which was only a 5-minute ride away. Our driver greeted us with a cold towel that had a heavenly scent of lavender and an ice cold bottle of water. Talk about 5-star service and you haven’t even made it to the resort! Once we arrived, we were then greeted in the lobby with a welcome cocktail as we checked in. I’d had a drink on the flight already but hey why not keep the party going? Lol.
I really love that Sonesta Ocean Point from your time of arrival and throughout your stay, the red carpet is rolled-out. All of the staff were accommodating and wanted to ensure that you had a pleasant stay. I was wondering around trying to figure out how to get to the restaurant and instead of the staff walking by me in my confused state, the housekeepers instead walked me to the restaurant and chatted with me along the way.
Luxurious suites all with a view of the ocean
What I love about the suites at Sonesta Ocean Point is that they all face the ocean. No need to worry that you won’t have a great view. The suites located on the first floor have their own private swim out pools which I just adored and I could imagine myself having a late night swim. Since the resort is all-inclusive, you can expect to have a mini-bar in your suite with top shelf liquor, water, juice and soda. The rooms are quite spacious making it very comfortable for a longer stay. The bathroom also had plenty of space with a raised sinks, storage space and a large walk-in shower and tub.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! 🍴☀️ @oceanpointresort #oceanpointresort #sonestagreatbay #greatbaybeachresort #mahobeachresort #StMaarten #Sonesta #millatravels #willtravelforfood #lifewelltraveled #wanderlust #travelwriter #soultravel #soulfoodies #travelnoire #cocoatravelersintl #travello #blacktravelhackers #travelisthenewclub #blackgirlswhoblog #weworktotravel
On our first morning on the island, I decided to order room service and enjoy breakfast with a view.
Delicious High Quality Food
Azul Restaurant is Sonesta Ocean Point’s upscale fine dining option on the resort. Azul sits on a cliff where you can literally hear the waves crashing beneath you. It’s open with no walls or doors, which allows the cool Caribbean breeze to flow through out the restaurant. Everything is served a la carte and the menu changes daily so you have an opportunity to enjoy something different everyday.
Read about my trip to Saba here.
As a guest at Ocean Point you have access to the restaurants at Sonesta Maho Beach which is an all-inclusive resort located next door. I have to be honest, I pretty much only ate at Azul because the food was just so great and the presentation was even better. I’ve never experienced an all-inclusive resort so I had no real expectations, but I was happy to have been blown away by the quality of the food.
Sea bass wrapped in cuoci film with baby vegetables, shaved red onion, coconut reduction, Chablis wine and chopped herbs 😋🍴 @oceanpointresort #oceanpointresort #sonestagreatbay #greatbaybeachresort #mahobeachresort #StMaarten #Sonesta #HappilyEating #YouEatWithYourEyesFirst #Foodwriter #FoodieChats #Foodiesofinstagram #blackfoodbloggers #FoodPorn #FoodBlog #Foodblogger #blackfoodbloggers #blackgirlswhoblog #blackbloggersunited #bestfoodworld #beautifulcuisine #buzzfeedfood #delicious #eater #instafood #buzzfeast #huffposttaste #foodgawker #foodstagram #ypinsideratl #instalike
On our last night, we headed back to Azul for dinner after having drinks at the Sunset Rooftop Lounge which gives you incredible views of the restaurant and the St. Maarten sunset. I ordered a really awesome grilled lobster salad with a vinaigrette and balsamic drizzle and I kept the lobster party going with the lobster Alfredo which was just phenomenal.
Fabulous adults-only pools
I literally stalked the Sonesta Ocean Point website looking at pictures of the resort and the incredible beach pool. I was thinking to myself “I hope it looks like the pictures” and I have to tell you that it looks better! There are 2 pools on the property, The Point pool which offers views of Maho Beach and my favorite the Edge Pool.
The Edge Pool is designed to replicate the look and feel of the beach. There’s sand and lounge chairs that line the edge of the pool and with Azul’s bar just a few steps away, there was a server that could pretty much bring you whatever you want. There are no private beaches on the island, so the Edge pool at the resort is a great way to enjoy your adults-only experience.
Because the resort is so close to Princess Juliana Airport, you can see the planes landing from pretty much everywhere on the resort. I never got tired of seeing it!
We were lucky enough to have a day to ourselves to just enjoy the resort so I made sure to stop into Serenity Spa where I received a guavaberry body scrub. It’s been a while since I’ve had a body scrub in a spa and I was reminded why I need to add this back into my self-care routine. I don’t know how I managed to fall asleep during the treatment with a scrub happening, but I was out!
If you are looking for a luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive experience, Sonesta Ocean Point is hands down the way to go. As a single woman, I wouldn’t mind staying at the resort on a girlfriends trip or even alone. I felt secure and the staff was more than accommodating. If you are looking for a place for a honeymoon or anniversary this is DEFINITELY where you need to be. There’s no doubt about that.
Sights to see and things to do in St. Maarten
St. Maarten/St. Martin is one island but is split between two countries, the Dutch and the French. There is an invisible line that separates the two sides and you don’t even realize it until you’ve crossed over from one side to the other. The French side is definitely the more laid back side of the island, while the Dutch side offers more nightlife.
The city of Marigot on the French side is where you will find some cute French restaurants, bakeries, shopping and Fort Louis. The fort was built in 1789 to defend the harbor. If you are brave enough to walk all the way to the top of the fort in 85-degree weather, you can get some beautiful views of Anguilla which is only an hour ferry ride away.
Our second stop on the tour was Orient Bay. Our tour guide took us to one of her hidden spots to get an overhead view of the beach. It was an incredibly clear day, allowing us to see St. Barts to our right and a few other smaller islands to our left. There are a few shops but not many and there are some restaurants. This was by far my favorite beach with fine white sand and aqua blue water. Trust me it looks just like the picture!
Fun Fact: Orient Bay Beach is one of a few nude beaches located on the island.
Back on the Dutch side in the capital of Phillipsburg, is Great Bay Beach. I would say that this is for sure a touristy area where you find numerous souvenir shops, bars and restaurants. Everyone is trying to sell you something lol.
Anytime I travel to a Caribbean island, I like to explore the local liquor and in St. Maarten it is guavaberry rum. I have to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it lol. To me it tastes like cough syrup when you have it by itself, but I did however enjoy it in a frozen drink.
Located right outside Sonesta Ocean Point is Maho Village. Maho Village is where the action is on the Dutch side. You have Casino Royale if you want to gamble and Tantra Nightclub for dancing. There are a few other casual bars that you can hang out in as well. During the day you can also do some duty-free shopping. We ended up at a small bar in Maho Village called 3 Amigos where there was a decent crowd for a Wednesday night. There were locals and tourists and we also met a real life “Below Deck” yacht crew which was pretty cool.
The island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is absolutely beautiful. The water is as blue in person as it is in pictures. The island has something for everyone so if hanging out on the beach is your thing, you have over 30 beaches to choose from. If you want to shop, do water activities or party you have that too. I highly recommend taking day trips over to Anguilla, St. Barts and/or Saba because they are so close.
Thank you so much to the Sonesta St. Maarten team for an unbelievable experience!
Until next time…Happy Traveling!!
*My time at Sonesta St. Maarten was a part of a press trip. However ALL opinions are my own.