Want to vacation like a celebrity? The Caribbean island of St. Maarten has played host to some of the biggest stars in the world. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey and dozens more have all spent time on the half French/half Dutch isle. As tourism season kicks off again, be in the know about where to stay, eat and party on the tropical oasis.
STAY - Westin Dawn Beach – Located on the Dutch side, the Starwood-owned resort is a mega-complex, featuring pools with swim up bars, hot tubs, private cabanas on the beach, three-bedroom condos, two restaurants, a casino and more. You can even take scuba-diving lessons right on the complex. Victoria’s Secret supermodels Selita Ebanks and Doutzen Kroes have stayed here, as well as Joey Fatone and Kristen Cavalleri.
EAT – Bamboo Bernies and Soprano’s Italian restaurant – Bamboo Bernies is an Asian fusion restaurant, with the freshest fish on the menu courtesy of daily catches from local fisherman. Try the sushi or opt for the delicious prime rib. Soprano’s Italian restaurant has some of the best pizza and pasta on the island. Last weekend, Robert Iler – AKA A.J. Soprano – was spotted dropping in to check out the grub.
PARTY – Tantra Nightclub and Soprano’s Piano Bar – If you’re used to clubbing, Tantra will more than satisfy you. The bi-level club, with catwalks and numerous VIP areas, is always stocked with beautiful women, magnum bottles of booze and the best DJs in the world – who fly in weekly. For a more laidback night, try the Soprano’s Piano Bar, right across the street. Live pianists belt out any song you can throw their way, and lucky patrons can even grab a mic and sing along.
BOATING – If money is no object, charter a private boat to take you around the island. “Good To Be Us” is a mega speedboat you can rent, which can cruise you out to private beaches like Pinel Island in under ten minutes. At Pinel, you can catch your own lobster in the ocean for lunch, or soak up the rays on the beaches. This luxury doesn’t come cheap though; the boat starts at $5,000 for the day.
GAMBLE – St. Maarten has a cadre of casinos where you can either win big or donate a month’s salary. Maho Casino is one of the nicest on the island, with private poker areas, a host of gaming tables and enough slot machines to keep grandma busy for hours. NBA star Elton Brand has been spotted playing whopping hands of blackjack late into the night here.