@AJL928: St. Martin is my favorite island to travel to!! I actually got engaged there this July, so it’s very special to me, although I always stay on the French side. In my opinion it’s much better.
I recommend flying to St. Barts for the day, or if you can sail. This isn’t a must do, but it is a nice experience. The restaurants in St. Martin are actually better in my opinion, but the shopping in St. Barts is better.
You must go to Pinel Island for the day, it’s a ferry ride (about 5 mins so more manageable than the few hours to sail to St. Barts) and its a tiny little island with no electricity. Utter relaxation. Also, the food at Karibuni is some of my favorite, esp the mojitos and you can pick your own lobster out of the water. Orient beach is fun for a day, it’s very busy and there’s tons of restaurants lining it, Waikiki is my favorite. It’s sushi/ asian fusion and there’s table dancers, loud music.. it’s quite a scene for lunch.
On the Dutch side, I recommend lunching at Holland House, right on the beach and it’s beautiful on their patio. Temptation is also good for dinner on the Dutch side. Another thing you have to do on the Dutch side (very touristy, but still a good time) is go to Sunset Beach Bar and watch the planes come in/ drink/ eat a burger. We usually stop in after we check in at the airport before heading home.
Serrafina in Marigot is also nice to grab fresh baguettes/ sweets, although find out when cruise ships are docking because it’s insufferable when they do. Marigot in general is nice for shopping, there’s a pizza place on the marina/ water that’s quite good but I don’t recall its name.
French side, foodwise I recommend Le Cottage, Bacchus, Le Ti Provencal, L’Estaminet, and also the lolos- Talk of the Town is my favorite- in Grand Case are a must. Grand Case in general is awesome, especially at night, it’s tiny and lively and very safe to walk around. Tons of restaurants and some nice shops. We stay down the road at Le Petit Hotel (have also stayed at Bleu Emeraude) in the past and walked to and from dinner late, without issue, both on the street and along the beach.
Grand Case bay is a nice beach area, particularly in front of Bleu Emeraude, they have beach service and you can lay around with champagne or rose all day.
I can’t fully vouch for the Dutch side, but St. Martin is amazing and you’ll likely fall in love. It’s also small enough that if you rent a car, you can drive from one end to another very quickly. You’ll be able to do alot, you can see that my favorite things to do there are eat, drink, and beach.