Spacious Suites with Modern Comforts and Ocean Views
It can be easy to mistake Royal Palm Beach Resort for a small town that happens to be wrapped around a crescent-shaped beach. The St. Martin resort boasts an onsite eatery and a retail arcade filled with shops, a grocery, and a beauty salon. Its suites feel more like mini apartments than standard hotel rooms, with two-stool breakfast bars and four-burner stoves. The resort offers plenty to do, from swimming in the two pools to the occasional bingo night. At night, the action doesn't slow down at the bar and lounge areas, which offer live entertainment.
Royal Palm's blue-and-white stucco building reflects the Caribbean’s colors, and each of the 140 suites includes a private ocean-view balcony or terrace. The two-bedroom suites can easily accommodate families of six, as they are each furnished with two king beds, two bathrooms, and living rooms with sofa beds. Though each suite also comes with a full kitchen, visitors don’t have to cook their own breakfast; Royal Palm's restaurant serves it each morning.
Saint Martin: Island Paradise with Split Cultural Heritage
Located in the northern Caribbean, the 37-square-mile island of Saint Martin has been peacefully shared by the French and the Dutch for more than 350 years, giving the island two very distinct yet harmonious personalities. On the Dutch side, to the south, crowds gravitate toward the neon-lit clubs and the live-music bars at Simpson Bay; when those establishments close, revelers make their way to the 24-hour casinos. Meanwhile, the French portion to the north is more secluded and less developed. It has some gorgeous beaches, and the emphasis here is on relaxation.
You can get an understanding of Saint Martin's blend of cultural influences when you consider its restaurant scene; there are more than 400 eateries on the island. Many travelers praise the authentic French cuisine and fine wines at Grand Case Beach Club on the French side, known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. Casual barbecue restaurants, known as lolos, are located along the beach and serve up spicy shrimp, ribs, chicken, and heaping helpings of side dishes complemented by guava-berry rum. The quieter Back Street, on the Dutch side, is lined with some authentic Chinese eateries that are typically inexpensive.
Both parts of the island share crystal-clear bays filled with palatial coral structures and tropical fish. Take a guided snorkeling trip to Pinel Island, or to Creole Rock to see reef-ringed boulders. Deep-sea fishing charters send anglers out in search of marlin, blackfin tuna, and wahoo.