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“PDG holiday at GCBC”

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Grand Case Beach Club
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Grand Case
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 25, 2005

My wife and I just got back (21st May) from two weeks at the GCBC. A very nice holiday. We had a two storey single bedroom condo’ overlooking the best of the two small beaches. We thought our room (709) was probably the best in the complex for a one bedroom unit. We also thought it was good value. The bathrooms (there were two) could do with a refurb but everything else, including the brand new kitchen, was just fine. The rooms were perfectly clean when we arrived and kept that way with a daily maid service. The facilities and gardens were all very well maintained and any small difficulties were sorted out quickly and with good grace by the polite and efficient staff.

The beaches were both nice but narrow. The better one of the two, on the north side of the complex, got a little crowded from time to time. There are fabulous beaches around the island and many, including Orient, are just a few minutes away by car. We tended to use the beach at GCBC when we’d been elsewhere for most of the day and just had an hour or two left over. The swimming was good and snorkelling off the rocks to the north end was pretty interesting when the water was clear. The beach equipment, including the most comfortable sunbeds we came across, and the attendants were excellent. There is a pool but we didn’t see anyone use it. There is construction work in progress behind the north beach which began at seven each morning. Not very noisy but a minor inconvenience when you’d rather just listen to the sea.

Grand Case. Firstly, France this is not! This talked-up place has been created to convince people that it is a gourmet town. It is the sellers who have created this reputation, not the buyers. The whole thing is a bit of a sham. Yes there is some good French food if you really seek it out but most of it is second or third rate fare at top rate prices. I would give most of them a miss, especially the Tastevin with its strange smell of sewage, and California which left us reaching for the Imodiums the next morning. Alabama was consistently very good indeed but also very pricey. The most honest food was served up in Sky’s the Limit. Tasty food at very low prices but a limited menu and very basic surroundings so not for every night - it was also great fun. Talk of the Town was similar but we thought inferior to Sky’s the Limit (and we didn’t share our table with cockroaches at the latter).

The Sunset Cafe at GCBC also served food which was really nothing special, particularly by French standards, but at prices that were pretty special.

The Match supermarket in Marigot has lots of good quality french wines on offer at very good prices. We couldn’t understand why the wine selections in the restaurants was so limited and of inferior quality - especially the reds.

For better food and better value go to the old marina area in Marigot. For real french food - go to Paris.

Most Grand Case restaurants offer US$1 to 1 euro. Now, at the time of writing, the euro is worth 30% more than the dollar on the currency markets. That means that, at a stroke, they are willing to knock 23% off their prices. What does that tell you about the margins they’re working on? If you are travelling from Europe bring dollars for the restaurants to take advantage of this (crazy) discount. Cash or travellers cheques are both accepted. In normal shops and supermarkets the real market currency values are adhered to.

We had a hire car for the two weeks and wouldn’t have been without it. Cars are cheap here and we felt we got a good deal from Alamo at the airport and didn't shop around. You can get around the island in half a day if you want to. I suppose we spent about three or four half days of fairly lazy exploration. We were very pleased that we’d chosen to stay on the French side. Our favourite town was Marigot, a ten minute drive from GCBC - traffic permitting.

We took two trips, one to Anguila and one to St Barts. In both cases we used the ferry from Marigot and hired a car when we got to the destination.

Anguila has little to see really. A few five star resorts with infinity pools and lots of 'inmates' looking very miserable. You can probably guess that we don't like these all inclusive places. The island has a few tiny towns with not much going on, its a sleepy little island. BUT - then there’s Shoal Bay. One of the finest beaches we’ve ever seen and worth the trip just to experience it. The people were friendly and helpful. We had a good day, and a day was all we needed.

St Barts we enjoyed less. The weather wasn’t so good which always colours the experience but it still wasn’t really a visitor friendly place to be. The roads are terrible with nowhere to pull over and take a breather or a look at the surroundings, lots and lots of traffic all going a breakneck speed, so you feel like you’ve suddenly entered a road race that you had no intention of joining but you can’t get off. The beaches were nice enough but usually with few or no facilities. The towns were also OK, pretty and prosperous places with nice architecture. But take lots of money. The ferry ride itself is quite expensive and once you’re there most things cost double what they cost in St Martin. One example being to rent two sunbeds and an umbrella was 30 euros, or US$39. Apart from being able to say we’ve been, we wish we hadn’t bothered with St Barts.

The airport at St Maarten gets very crowded and very hot, especially in departures on a Saturday. No aircon makes for a missable experience. They’re building a new terminal building which is sure to address this problem.

We liked St Martin and the GCBC. We may go again, but then there’s lots of other places we’d like to go to. If we did go back it would be to the Grand Case Beach Club, and I wish Sky’s the Limit was in our local town instead of 4,000 miles away!

Bob.

  • Stayed: May 2005
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19  Thank MackerG4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 22, 2005

I reserved a ground floor Oceanview Studio after reading reviews on this site and deciding to try the highly recommended St. Martin cuisine instead of booking an all-inclusive on another island. I am SO HAPPY I decided to do this.

The room: a well-airconditioned (A/C unit was 12,000 BTU with digital remote for 12x16ish room!) room with 72-channel satellite TV, full bath, two full beds with small dining table and a decent-sized dresser and closet. We didn't cook but we did buy snacks and the refrigerator was full-sized. We had sliding glass doors that opened directly onto the promenade area on the mini-cliff (about 10 steps down) over the gorgeous beach. I recommend the ground floor because we had an unobstructed view of the beautiful water and we could just walk out the door to sit in our comfy lounge chairs overlooking the water. The lounge chairs are raised up on this area because the beach on this side of the hotel is very narrow and can't accommodate chairs when the tide comes in. On the other shore of the hotel, the beach is far wider and there is drink service. The side where the rooms are is more quiet and we liked that.

The continental breakfast at the hotel is just french bread, mini-croissants, and coffee/juice, so we supplemented with food from some of the larger supermarkets that we had to drive to. The Dutch side seemed cheaper but we didn't go to any major supermarkets on the French side, only little ones that were expensive. You can pay in dollars anywhere (restaurants and stores) and often the cash exchange rate for Euros (used only on the French side) to dollars would just be one to one. If you charge, which it seemed like you could do almost anywhere, they will charge in Euros so you end up paying more.

We rented a car at the airport and drove to different destinations in the afternoon every day after getting some sun before a late lunch. The car rental rates are very cheap but we elected to get all the insurance which was good because the island roads are poorly paved in a lot of areas and the drivers are a little crazy sometimes. There are lots of random speed bumps and the people seem to stop on a dime to say hello to friends coming the other way or standing on the side of the road. We didn't need any detailed maps - just used the one showing the whole island with the main road highlighted - and we were fine. We covered the whole island (not including the residential developments off the main road, obviously) and only got a little off-track twice, which was easily remedied by turning around. The drive from the airport to Grand Case, which is all the way across the island, was like 40 minutes.

The restaurants on the French side were excellent. The food in St. Martin really brought the vacation to the next level for me. I'm from New York and I didn't find the entree prices any higher than usual - but the appetizers were often more than I would expect, like 12 Euros for soup. In Grand Case we ate at Bistro Caraibes, The Fish Pot, and Le California and all were good. I was excited that almost nobody drowned the salad in dressing and you could get all kinds of fresh fish and meats prepared grilled or in a number of other ways. I also highly recommend Taloula Mango's in Philipsburg on the beachfront towards the east end for a great casual meal. I ordered wings not expecting too much and they were delicious. I think they had been grilled because they were not at all greasy and were a little charred in places. They had a spice rub but were served with Frank's hot sauce. Yum! We also tried Temptation in Cupecoy at the Atlantis casino (I think) and it was quite good but very pricey. It was the only place I felt a little underdressed in casual wear in the dining room.

I haven't read much on this site about the casinos and before this trip, I was not a gambler. However, we ended up playing a lot of blackjack and had a great time. In Philipsburg I recommend the Coliseum on Front Street. We tried the other places on Front Street and they were a little less nice. The Coliseum isn't necessarily upscale but it is relatively comfortable. Other places we liked were Atlantis, Hollywood, and Royale, all in the Simpson Bay/Cupecoy region near the airport. All were quite big and comfortable. We were looking for Sports Books and there were only two we could find - but the one in the Hollywood was the nicest. The other was by the cineplex in Simpson Bay and it was small and smokey.

Speaking of the Cineplex, it is very new-seeming and totally on par with what I'm used to here. We saw the new Star Wars there and the theater had stadium seating and in all other ways felt like a US theater. Except the prices for tickets and food were like half of what I pay here in NY.

The only other beach we tried besides our hotel was Orient Beach, which was very pretty, but we were content with Grand Case since we could be right next to anything we needed in our room or at the hotel restaurant.

All in all, it was an amazing vacation and the comfort and beauty of the hotel really added to the experience.

  • Stayed: May 2005
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22  Thank Erica F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2005

We stayed at GCBC from 4/23 to 30 with our 2 teenage daughters. Our first time in St Martin. We loved it.Totally relaxing. If you want peace and quiet in a beautiful setting this is for you. We stayed in a 2 BR oceanview condo. The room is 3 star but the hotel , the setting, and the location are 4 to 5
The beach is perfect for swimming with constant, gentle waves and wonderful clear water. The 2 beaches are small but the water and the coastline are beautiful
I would note that if the hotel was totally full, the facilities might have gotten crowded,but it was wonderful there in late April.
The food in Grand Case is out of this world!
The Sunset Cafe at the hotel is nice and serves nice breakfasts and lunches. Our daughters passed on the dinner menu so we walked into Town,which is about 4 or 5 blocks. Note: the residents of Grand Case are poor to working class,so the walk into Town takes you through a "sketchy" neighborhood(my daughters' term) either by beach or road,but the people are friendly. Once you reach restaurant row you are in culinary paradise: 20 to 30 gourmet restaurants along the Beach.Expensive, but superb.Also most insist on cash tips so bring a lot of cash. Our favorites were Sebastiano(superb French Italian) and LeSoleil(French).Both served some of the best food I've ever eaten.
Certainly this is the best week of eating I've had anywhere, including Paris, Montreal
We did find the bouillabase at Fish Pot to be middling. Il Nettuno was good Italian and a big place with lots of tables
Also note the help at the front desk ranged from clueless to terrific. If you get the former, try back later
Renting a car is a good idea as it is pretty easy to drive around the island to the other beaches, Marigot,etc although most days we were content to read books , laze at the beach or on the lounge chairs outside our room overlooking the beach,and wait for the time for anotherwonderful meal to roll around!

  • Stayed: April 2005
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12  Thank KeithEvansGlenRockNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2005

Our honeymoon stay at the Grand Case Beach resort was exceptional. The grounds and rooms were beautiful. Some of the best food (both island and French) were within walking distance. The hotel food was fantastic. The staff were helpful and pleasant. The ambiance is laid back and low key as compared to the more party atmosphere of Baie Orientale or Phillipsburg. If you are looking for a place to chill and enjoy fantastic food I highly recommend this. Prices are high but everything is imported so keep in mind the people who are providing your services.

Eric Beck

12  Thank erb46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2005

I'm not trying to rain on anyones parade, but when something is voted the "Best" its not too much to expect something special - and the Grand Case Beach Club does not qualify. When your vacation costs between $500 and $600 per night ( and the coupon rate for our room was over 300 euros ), then things should work - not enough hot water to wash your hair - almost but not quite, the TV acted like it was constantly being goosed - power surge every 15 seconds or so ( not that you come to the Carribean to watch TV - but still ), A bed thats comfortable and the sheets that fit ( now this is important ) and a lock that works without calling maintenance. Altogether Average - so in my mind the cost/value relationship is out of balance. In my opinion anyone who rates the GCBC above average or excellent has set the hospitality bar too low. Nice setting, pleasant staff, cute little restaurant--- but average. And keep in mind that everythings in euros. Bon Chance.

  • Stayed: April 2005
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7  Thank senorwiskers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2005

I stayed 6 nights at Grand Case Beach Club April 14-20, 2005, with a friend and my 9 year old daughter. I am a travel agent and take 4-5 trips a year and have been to many Caribbean islands. This was my first time to St. Martin. I had booked a family to this resort last summer and they really liked it so much that I have booked them back to the Grand Case Beach Club June 2005...so I decided to go! I am so used to staying at the huge "Mega" resorts, so when we arrived at the Grand Case Beach Club, it was a nice surprise. It was nice to be so close to everything...the Sunset Cafe, the beach, the taxi pickup, etc. And I really liked the fact that you can walk to town from the resort and it is a safe walk. I highly recommend renting a car, driving is on the right. There is Prestige Car Rental right on property so you can get a car right at the hotel. I didn't rent a car since I had booked 2 all day Catamaran trips and a day trip to St Barts, so we only had two days at the resort. St Martin/St Maarten is such a beautiful island and there is so much to explore and see....just wished I had more time!

Our room was cool (A/C) and clean. We had a one bedroom townhouse with a downstairs patio and two balconies upstairs. There were two full bathrooms..one upstairs with a shower and one downstairs with a bathtub. There was also a full kitchen as well as a stereo/CD player along with a CD of island music. The maid service was very good...the room was cleaned well each day.

Petite Plage beach at the Grand Case Hotel is very nice and the water is very turquoise and clear...sand is soft. The guys at the watersports desk are very friendly and helpful. There are mats for floating available free of charge. Each set of chairs and umbrella have a flag on a pole to be raised whenever you need a drink, lunch, etc. There are complimentary peddle boats, kayaks and a sailboat for your use. For vacationers who need to do laundry, there is one washer and one dryer on the property and you can purchase a special coin at the hotel office for the machines. I have read a review that says there is not a pool at the Grand Case Beach Club and that statement is false. There is a very small pool located above the Sunset Cafe Restaurant and I had to ask how to find it. There wasn't anyone at the pool when I went.....if you're looking for a quiet place.

There is only one restaurant on site, the Sunset Cafe. It's very good and there are alot of great restaurants in Grand Case which is within walking distance from the hotel. We had dinner at Calmo's and your table is directly on the beach in the sand. We also had dinner at one of the local, open areas, where your food is prepared on the open grills in front of you. We had met a couple who recommended "Talk of the Town" to us and it was excellent. We chose a fresh grilled lobster and it was worth the $$ spent.

We took a day trip on the Scoobidoo Catamaran to Prickly Pear, a deserted island off the coast of Anguilla. Prickly Pear had the most beautiful beach and water that I have seen yet...and I have traveled to Turks & Caicos, Antigua, Barbados, St Thomas, Jamaica and Maui and they don't compare! I highly recommend the Scoobidoo Catamaran trips! The captain and crew were wonderful. The Scoobidoo Catamaran picks you up right at the beach at Grand Case Beach Club. It's an all day trip (9am-5pm) and well worth the $$. There is an open bar the entire day on the Catamaran and the BBQ lunch at Prickly Pear was very good. Once at Prickly Pear, there is a charge to rent 2 chairs and umbrella for $10 USD. You can spend your time on the beach or snorkeling. We swam back to the Catamaran early so my daughter could jump off the boat and go down the slide. There is also a ladder that lowers into the water for easy access. On the sail back to the Grand Case Beach Club, banana bread and coffee are served for dessert and the bar is open. We also took another all day trip on the Scoobidoo to the island of Anguilla, first stopping at the island of Tintamarre for an "island mudbath"!! The water and beach at Anguilla are gorgeous as well. The lunch with the Scoobidoo was a BBQ buffet.....another highly recommended trip! The day trip to St Barts was on the Voyager. It's a high speed ferry that took about an hour and 20 minutes. I had prebooked our ferry as well as the taxi island tour and lunch. St Barts is absolutely beautiful.

This was an awesome vacation and I definitely recommend the Grand Case Beach Club. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email!

  • Stayed: April 2005
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24  Thank Terri_travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2005

My fiance and I stayed here for a week, and we couldn't have asked for more. The Beach Club is relaxing and quet, but with a full slate of activities and a restaurant/bar (Sunset Cafe). All non-motorized water activities are included, and the activity desk has a packed schedule of trips and adventures you can undertake if you choose. We went on an afternoon trip snorkeling, which I highly recommend.

The rooms were nothing special, but don't interpret that is not good. They were more than adequate with nice balconies to enjoy the sunset. The ocean front rooms provide a great panoramic view of Grand Case. The kitchennette was great as we made lunch almost every day, and had a fridge to store snacks and drinks.

There is no pool, which I didn't care about, but the beach is rather isolated, which is nice. Each set of lounge chairs gets a little flag post in the sand, and when you need something (equipment, food, drinks), you raise the flag and someone will come over. Very nice indeed. BTW, they also have a tennis court, which is lit at night, if you are interested.

Grand Case is a great, but small, area of the island with fabulous restaurants. We ate at about 5-6 restaurants and all were fantastic. You cannot go wrong. All are in walking distance as well. We rented a car, which I recommend, so that you can travel the island. We went to Marigot which has great shopping, and took a day trip to Anguilla, a short ferry ride away, for an experience on the serene white sand beaches.

We did go to the Dutch side to the casinos and to do some shopping, but I didn't like it too much except for cheap liquor to purchase. It had none of the quaintness of the French side, and felt more like Cancun to me. If that's your preference, that's the ideal place to stay, but if you want peace, quiet, and relaxation, the French side is tons better.

Overall, I highly recommend the Grand Case Beach Club. Excellent and attentive staff, great accomodations and activities, and an all-around fabulous trip.

  • Stayed: August 2003
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15  Thank dcmove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Case Beach Club

Address: 21 Rue de Petite Place, Grand Case 97150, St Martin / St Maarten
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Saint-Martin > Grand Case
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Grand Case
Price Range: $251 - $424 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand Case Beach Club 3*
Number of rooms: 71
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Intimate and relaxing, small but large enough to have just the right amount of service that brings back our guests year after year. We are constantly improving and have updated and upgraded nearly every aspect of our resort, and will continue to do so. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Case Beach Club Hotel Grand Case
Grand Case Beach Hotel

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