estled just below Anguilla, in the warm waters of the Caribbean, you’ll find a bewitching island. Shared between two separate countries, the French, northern portion of the island, Saint Martin, is quiet and natural. It’s here that Le Petit Hotel is perched on the white sands of Grand Case Bay.
GRAND CASE BAY:
Situated on the northern part of the island, Grand Case overlooks Creole Rock with a view of Anguilla. Known as “Gourmet Beach,” Grand Case Bay hosts the best cuisine on the island with a variety of fares for every palate.
LE PETIT HOTEL:
Le Petit is a Mediterranean-inspired boutique hotel that focuses on quality. With just 10 suites, every room is oceanfront with a private balcony overlooking clear, cerulean waters. The hotel opened in 1996 and is the sister property of the larger, L’Esplanade, situated farther up the hill on Grand Case Bay.
Le Petit is perhaps the most charming hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The rooms are well appointed and sophisticatedly simple. The hotel feels a million miles from anything and steps from everything at the same time. Managers Remy and Yamina are your personal concierges, available for whatever needs and questions you have while making you feel at home as soon as you arrive. Wake up to coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, baked goods from the local bakery, yogurt and fruit each morning, and unwind with cocktails on your balcony in the evening. Walk down the street to dinner each night or grab ingredients at the local market to make a meal “at home” in your in-room kitchen. The quaintness of Le Petit makes it feel extra special, and even though every room is almost always occupied, it’s somehow always peaceful.
The ocean is your backyard here, so no need to venture far for salt therapy. Borrow snorkeling gear or a kayak from the concierge, and discover what the waters of Grand Case have to offer. If floating around the pool is more your speed, walk up the hill to L’Esplanade, and take advantage of their amenities, including a pool and swim-up bar, or unwind at the spa or yoga studio.
While we could have stayed at Le Petit and Grand Case for 7 straight days, my husband and I are notorious sightseers. Here are some of our very favorite activities in Saint Martin and the Dutch Sint Maarten.
- Friar’s Bay/Happy Bay: A 30-minute walk southwest of Grand Case takes you to the stunning Friar’s Bay. Have lunch at the beach café, and if you’re feeling brave, follow the locals-only path up a hill and through a pasture to the private Happy Bay, generally only accessible to the public by boat. The hike there is worth it for the unspoiled beaches and best snorkeling on the island.
- Orient Beach: If you know anything about the island, Orient Beach is the beach to visit. Dine with your toes in the sand at one of the many beachfront restaurants, attempt to kite surf, lounge on a chair with a frozen daiquiri, or, if you’re feeling frisky, take a step across the line of rocks to the nude beach. It’s crowded and loud, but it’s a part of the island that you just can’t miss!
- Horseback Riding on the Beach: This one is definitely for those with an adventurous spirit. Enjoy a trail ride to the beach where you’ll have the opportunity to ride bareback in the ocean on your horse.
- Snorkel at Creole Rock: Sign up at Grand Case Beach Club, where the guided trip departs. Snorkel the perimeter of the rock and expect to see native species of fish, stingrays and even sharks!
- Hit the Casinos: Try your luck at one (or more) of the many casinos in Philipsburgh, Sint Maarten. Princess Casino is a personal favorite. This is a great chance to enjoy some of the nightlife on the island, as Philipsurgh is a hub of activity.
- Maho Beach: Looking for something that will get your heart racing? Stand on Maho Beach, just on the other side of the fence from the end of runway 10 at Princess Juliana International Airport for an exhilaratingly close encounter with jet engines. See the excitement here.
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re looking for a unique honeymoon experience, celebrating your anniversary, taking a babymoon, or just hoping for a getaway from the demands of everyday life, Le Petit Hotel is an amazing place to unplug from the real world and revel in romance. It’s no wonder the hotel stays booked year-round and guests return year after year for a dose of island life.
REAL HONEYMOON PHOTOS:
The photos in the slideshow gallery below are via writer Amy Morrison. Peruse images of the beach, grounds, and activities as taken within the year.