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Not too safe around the Atlantis Casino

H_X
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73 posts
6 reviews
11 helpful votes
Not too safe around the Atlantis Casino
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Hi, I read the review about "Not Feeling Too Safe in Grand Case." To the authors, I'm sorry about your experience.

I'd like to add the area around the Atlantis World Casino on the Dutch side. While in St. Maarten, I stayed at the Delfina Hotel. On Thursday, August 17, I went to Marigot and I also watched planes at the Sunset Beach Bar. That evening I took a bus from Philipsburg and got off at the Atlantis Casino, about a 10-minute walk from the Delfina. It was about 7 PM and dark. I was walking on the side street - the bus only goes on the main road - adjacent to the casino parking lot when I felt my shoulder bag being grabbed from behind. I turned around to see two men, one of whom appeared to have a knife. I decided it was best to give them the bag. The two men went into a car and drove off, turning right onto the main road in front of the casino, as if they were heading toward the French side. Fortunately I was not physically injured, nor did I lose my passport nor any money. Among other things I lost all of my vacation pictures. I was too stunned by what was happening to get the license plate number. I asked the casino staff to call the police, and I was interviewed by a detective, but I haven't heard back yet and I am not optimistic about recovering my bag and its contents. Needless to say, I was quite shaken up by the incident and couldn't sleep that night. The hotel staff and one of the regular guests (who rents/sells property around the university there) were genuinely surprised that this happened to me. But it did. Anyway, the next day I left two hours earlier than I had planned to, since I had lost my desire to explore any more of St. Maarten.

As a result of this incident, I now believe that St. Maarten is *not* safe for visitors. (I never had problems in supposedly "unsafe" places like Philadelphia, Detroit, and New Orleans.) Perhaps I should have just paid the exorbitant (to me, at least) taxi fares.

USA
Level Contributor
4 posts
90 reviews
80 helpful votes
1. Re: Not too safe around the Atlantis Casino
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This is a reply to the expressed safety concern, an overview of our week (8/19 to 8/26) in SXM, & rating of the Ocean Club Villas, where we stayed, using an RCI "exchange week."

Re: safety: Before going to SXM, I read about safety concerns on Trip Advisor and in other forums (specifically: cars frequently are burgled if anything is left in sight in the car, incidents on Pic Paradis, and more recently a casino robbery). This was enough to almost make me cancel ... but I read enough good things and tips re: minimizing risks that my wife and I went to SXM. We took precautions: We rented a car and always locked it with nothing in view or in it (period). We luckily parked in a secured "gated" facility at night and parked at beaches where the car was near us or other peopl . It worked for us. We never went to Pic Paradis & if we had, we would have only gone with a group. We never walked anywhere at night for any distance. We were staying near the Atlantis Casino and we went there twice for the Le Montmartre restaurant. I dropped off my wife at the curb of the restaurant, parked in the casino lot that was patrolled and walked close to the casino under lights to the restaurant. My wife never wore real jewelry or carried a purse. We were cautioned by the Villas Restaurant & Activities manager to take similar precautions. We experienced no incidents.

Re: The Ocean Club Villas: Their website needs updating to explain that the resident managers have changed & that exchange week tenants will be charged an energy surcharge and a security deposit. The surcharge was explained in the RCI confirmation. Otherwise, the Villas are largely as represented. The beach is Cupecoy (sp?) which apparently waxes & wanes with the daily tides and is a mere slip of what it once was and has suffered, in the opinion of folks who knew it from years ago, from construction that is nearby. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it! It is small and has a real surf and is clothing optional. There is apparently a gay-friendly end but we never saw it and would not have been offended by it if we had seen it. On our part of the beach there were frequently nude couples of mixed and same gender, as well as suited folks. Everyone co-existed and there was always ample distance between parties. Back to the Villa, we had a one bedroom condo that was on the second floor (there are only 2 floors except in the tower) that overlooked the pool. It was well equipped. We had a full or mini kitchen (small fridge with separate freezer compartment, microwave, dishwasher, two electric burners, sink, plentiful cabinets, china, utensils, pots & pans for 8). We had a king-size bed, separate living/dining area from the bedroom. We had a nice porch with 2 recliners, 2 chairs & small end table. There was a TV with 5 or 6 cable channels, DVD player available for a fee. The bathroom was all marble tile (as were the floors throughout the unit) with a soaking tub and separate shower. The shower was only big enough for one, although the tub was certainly large enough for 2 (or more!). There were 2 sinks & a long vanity, plus toilet and bidet. There was the oddity that the skylight over the tub had been painted over on the exterior. We assumed that this was because otherwise the AC would have not been adequate to cool it. The AC is not central and while the radiator-like unit adequately cooled the bedroom it only cooled the bath and living area adequately when it was not too hot outside & even then the circulation was not great as an overhead fan was the only thing that moved the air. The pool is nice as is the landscaping around it. We are not pool people, however, preferring beaches unless the pool is really special. There is an open air bar/grill that opens at lunch. It is managed by Bert & Jill who are great. Bert provided everyone with a complimentary light brunch & island orientation that is well worth attending if you stay at the Villas.

The ISLAND overall: We really loved it. Contrary to other reports that I have read, we never saw what I would describe as real or desperate poverty. Folks can live with less on the island and do. We spent a morning in Phillipsburg and some time in Marigot on the French side. We also spent a day in Grand Case at Los Calmos, a nice grill where for the price of drink you can linger all day. I would recommend that, on the French-side, you select or negotiate in off season an exchange rate of one Euro to the Dollar. On Orient beach, most chair, umbrella and grill vendors were offering this deal plus chair, umbrella and one drink of choice for $6. During high season, I understand the rate is doubled if not tripled. We also visited the Butterfly Farm, Le Gallion Beach, Friar's Bay, and Mullet Beach. Our favorite was Friar's but we agree that the experiences of Orient and Grande Case were also very special & unique. We did some duty free shopping in Phillipsburg and I can confirm that liquor and wine are real bargains on the island. We took a Random Wind day cruise, enjoyed the snorkeling, company and the crew of 2.

I have previously stayed on Eleuthera in the Bahamas and our time share is with Palace resorts in Mexico, where our resort of first choice is Aventura Spa Palace. I mention this because it is apples & oranges to compare an all inclusive resort with a condo like the Ocean Club and the experience on SXM where a lot of the charm is venturing out in a car to see all the beaches that are different. The water is wonderful and the sand is the finest that I have ever experienced. (I have also been to the Hawaian Islands and Micronesia.)

The food in SXM is great, from fine French restaurants to "lolas" that are no more than food being grilled by locals on the beaches. We liked Le Montmartre, where 3 courses and very nice wine cost what it would in the States ($140 to $170). We also had a great burger with Argentine beef, salad & really good fries for $8 on Orient beach. We several times went to La Sucriere, a pastry shop in Simpson Bay with nice seating on the bay at the rear of the shop.

I would return to SXM & have recommended it. But, yes, take precautions if you visit there! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Detroit
Level Contributor
176 posts
2. Re: Not too safe around the Atlantis Casino
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Sadly, much of the island is experiencing a rise in crime.

Santee, California
Level Contributor
191 posts
75 reviews
48 helpful votes
3. Re: Not too safe around the Atlantis Casino
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I feel compelled to respond to your post even though it is 2 years old and you've recovered no doubt from your St. Marteen experience. I am somewhat surprised at what happened to you considering the number of travel map pins you have. Anyone experienced in travelling the carribbean knows it is unsafe to walk around at night unless in a highly populated well lit area. You were indeed brave to walk a lonely road to the casino. Actually you were a prime target for criminals. I feel your experience should show everyone what not to do at night on any carribbean island. I used to live in USVI and know well it is not safe, especially for a woman, to walk around at night. Even, had you been escorted, walking a lonely road is not a good idea.

Hope you have learned from this experience. Dont blame St. Maarten. Blame yourself for not learning more about the do's and donts of island travel.

4. Re: Not too safe around the Atlantis Casino

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