Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Caribbean Meeting Planning Overview
No other Caribbean destination offers so much in such a compact space as Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, the smallest island in the world to support two sovereign governments. Tourism is a major force on this half-French (French West Indies) and half-Dutch (Netherlands Antilles) isle; meeting venues in Saint Martin/Sint Maarten give groups a unique opportunity to savor a taste of their European charm, and visitors feel appreciated for the revenue they bring to the destination. The U.S. dollar is welcomed as readily as the local currency (euros), and credit cards are accepted in most establishments across the island.
Although the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) is on St. Maarten's side of the island, no true border separates the distinctly different territories. Located about 150 miles southeast of Puerto Rico in the Lesser Antilles chain, the island is ringed with 37 long beaches and quaint coves that are ideal for all manner of watersports (including a mini America's Cup Regatta) and daytrips to Pinel Island, Anguilla and St. Barths that can be incorporated as part of a meeting and event planner's well-rounded agenda.
The largest meeting venues on the island are St. Martin's Radisson Blue Resort, Marina & Spa (formerly Le Meridien L'Habitation) on Anse Marcel; and the Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino on the Dutch side of the island. The Radisson features features 7,000 square feet of flexible space in the Caraibe Ballroom, and intimate conference rooms for smaller groups and break-out sessions; the Westin boasts 10,000 square feet of flexible banquet and meeting space; and the Sonesta, located near SXM, provides about 20,000 square feet of indoor and 24,000 square feet of outdoor meeting and event space configured in a variety of sizes.
Event venues in St. Martin include the inimitable boutiques and galleries of Marigot (St. Martin's capital), set in old Creole houses, and trendy restaurants - many of which sit right on the beach. Grand Case, with its backdrop of bobbing sailboats and luxury yachts, is often referred to as the "Culinary Capital of the Caribbean," due to its wide range of epicurean offerings, such as Le Pressoir, Le Tastevin, Spiga, Fish Pot, Bistrot Caraibe and, of course, the "lolos" (seaside shacks that cook up some of the island's freshest seafood and local cuisine). On Sint Maarten, groups will find exciting nightclubs and casino gambling; the island's sole golf course at Mullet Bay (Greg Norman's famous Temenos Golf Course is only a short water taxi ride to Anguilla); and world-famous duty-free shopping in the capital of Philipsburg.