Associate editor Amy Spiezio visited the Grand Case Beach
Resort. Her report follows.
GRAND CASE, St. Martin -- As was the case for many other
properties in the Caribbean, the Grand Case Beach Resort battened
down the hatches and hoped to avoid the worst from Hurricane
storm did little damage to the hotel: three rooms suffered minor
water damage that was repaired within a week. The storm actually
provided some additional sand to the beach, property
The resort has a knack for coming out of storms with
improvements. Last year, a storm wiped out the seawall that
supported the restaurant and gift shop. "We felt, if we lose this
wall we lose this building," general manager Steve Wright said.
Instead of experiencing a loss, a new seawall was constructed
clearing the way for expanded views of Creole Rock and Anguilla
from the hotel's two beaches. The new wall also created a patio
area that is used as a tour desk during the day to make
reservations for rides on the 75-foot catamaran Scoobidoo or to
reserve nonmotorized water sports equipment. The space also is
utilized for social events in the evening hours.
During my visit, the patio served as an alfresco gallery for an
exhibit of sculpture by a local artist, something that Wright said
could become a new tradition for the property. Guests visiting this
winter may be able to partake of an afternoon tea, another
tradition in the making that Wright and his staff are working on
for the winter season.
This year, Wright said he also plans to install plaques to
identify the property's colorful plants, which were selected from
among the abundant local plant life. "I like to take things from
the area because it will work here," Wright said.
These touches join massage therapy, available at a cost of $30
for 30 minutes or $60 for an hour, and the Sunset Cafe, enriching
the day-to-day operations at the resort.
There also is a small pool that is rarely visited by guests. The
pool is built into a jetty above the hotel's gift shop and
restaurant building and has a nice view, but the surf below at the
Petit Beach and the Grand Case Beach seems to satisfy the
The resort is within walking distance of the village of Grand
Case, which is dotted with more than 50 restaurants. The town also
is home to a full spectrum of shopping stops including T-shirt
stores, craft vendors and even a chic art gallery. At least part of
the day during my visit was spent sampling the resort's sand and
A favorite activity was taking a long swim, paddling from Grand
Case beach around the jetty where the property's restaurant is set
and onto the Petit beach and relaxing in the sun for a while before
swimming back. Thanks to the rock jetty, the water in front of my
room was calm and still, with hardly a wave to interrupt swimming
or conversations with other bathers.
Most guests I spoke to were repeat customers, either to the
island or to the hotel. They were drawn back by the French style
and American comforts such as simply decorated but spacious rooms
with fully equipped kitchenettes.
"It's the style of it that makes it comfortable for Americans to
stay here," Wright said. According to Wright, 95% of the guests at
Grand Case are from the U.S., with the remainder made up of a mix
of Canadians and Europeans.
The property's five buildings feature studios and junior suites
as well as one- and two-bedroom suites with ocean or garden views.
This winter, Wright said he plans to place market baskets in each
room with coffee, tea, milk and other staples as an honor bar of
He also was forming a shopping list of items for guests to order
to stock their rooms. Wright predicted, however, that most guests
would set out to town on their own to pick up cooking supplies at
European-style markets. "Shopping down here is fun; the French take
their food so seriously it's unbelievable," he said.
The in-room kitchens, he noted, provide guests with a welcome
alternative from the multicourse French feasts the area is famous
for. "After a few nights of those large meals, they want to prepare
their own light meals," Wright said. Room rates at Grand Case Beach
Resort through Dec. 18 for gardenview accommodations are $135,
single or double, for a studio; $180 for a one-bedroom apartment,
and $310 for a two-bedroom apartment, triple or quad.
Oceanfront rooms' nightly rates are $180 for a studio, $195 for
a studio with loft, $215 for a one-bedroom and $335 for a
Grand Case Beach Resort
Phone: (800) 447-7462