St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - February 28 - March 3, 2013
Source: Dawn Langfield
I was blessed another year to be asked to cover the
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
It's simply not a difficult
decision to make given the magic
that overcomes the island of St. Maarten, infused with the soft
breezes of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, the excitement of those
participating in one of the biggest regattas of the Caribbean
plus the hot choices of live music entertainers that invade the
beaches on the island. The big headliner this year were
the Motown icons, The Commodores.
is an island full of natural beauty, cultural diversity and
modern conveniences. The experience on this island of two
cultures, French and Dutch, attracts people from all over the
world because of it's multicultural charm and multilingual
people, not to mention it's stunning beauty and tax-free,
My accommodation this year was Horizon
View which is located right on the boardwalk in
Philipsburg, which is situated on the waters of Great Bay, akin
to the Atlantic Ocean. It offers suites with a full kitchen,
bedrooms and ocean view (below) at very affordable rates.
It is my 'go to' spot for affordable accommodation on the beach
in Philipsburg, where there are shops, restaurants and entertainment
within steps from the entrance into Horizon View!
Of course, there's always time to see friends on the island!
My first night included going to a
local hangout called Flanders.
Locals congregate outdoors for affordable drinks and BBQ and
dance to the music provided by in-house DJs
Happen So Massive.
It is usually the first stop for a long night of music, drinking, jokes
Same night, we headed to Touch of Taste
in Philipsburg for some grilled seafood, drinks, as well as a visit
with owner Michel Peterson.
A game of dominos can break out at any time with folks stopping
by all night, having a reputation for great food. Good
service, a cozy ambience and tunes kicking - all of which will have you enjoying this hot spot under the stars and moonlight of the
superb weather of St. Maarten. What more could you ask
Monday night I was taken to The Red Piano, a live music
spot in Pelican Resort. The band "Church" was really great - I
mean, really great. Their drummer, Nikita, was amazing to
watch - a real talent! Good times with good friends!
I daily went to visit at Holland House
some of the most gracious service on the
island with Carmella (below)
who tends the popular hotel bar.
transforms on regatta Friday and is one of my favourite regatta
parties as it lands on the doorstep of the Holland House in
Philipsburg. Don't forget that
the boardwalk is parallel to the sea and serves as a breezy
backdrop to the busy and festive night. It is one night
that practically the entire island comes out to enjoy all the
Boardwalk has to offer.
Stages are built all along the boardwalk with easy access to
eateries, vendors and of course, great live music!
In my personal time, I was invited by my friend, Dawn, to
visit Pinel Island, an
island off the French tip of the island and accessible by ferry.
This small island elegantly features a few restaurants, gorgeous
beach and a fantastic gift shop. We ate lunch at Karibuni
- amazing! Then we visited the gift shop on our way to
catch the last ferry of the day.
Due to my haste in making a purchase and getting to the ferry, I
left my blackberry at the gift shop. In true
St. Maarten hospitality, the
owner's daughter found my blackberry, discovered a picture of my
business card in my photos, noted the email and emailed me that
she would hold it for me at the gift shop for me to pick up!
Are you kidding me?? I was obviously distraught at not
having my blackberry but wasn't sure where I left it, and in
returning to my hotel, there was the email. Pictured below
is myself and Tom of
Paradisio Gift Shop.
He would not even accept a reward for the effort of ensuring I
received my blackberry in short order! I love this
My friend Dawn continued to give me an excellent tour of parts of the
island that I had never previously seen. Next stop was
Palm Beach Lounge on the
northern end of the famous Orient Beach. (http://www.palmbeachsxm.net/)
You can spend the day sipping drinks underneath an umbrella and
comfy chair, just steps away from the water. Full service
restaurant and bar with a wide variety of drinks and food to
choose from! That day featured events sponsored by Patron,
including bungee jumping and a trampoline for the kids. The
decor of Palm Beach Lounge was unique and memorable.
As usual, the crowd at Kim Sha Beach on Sunday evening was
electric with excitement as the skilled DJ filled the outdoors
with great mixes as annual host, Gee Money,
worked the crowd with his magic.
(pictured below) hosted the Closing Party
on Kim Sha Beach which begins with awarding the winners
of the regatta. The racing is over and the sailors are
ready to party and celebrate, not to mention all those visiting
the island and the locals. The energy of the evening is
electric! The stage was fully of dancers, beautiful island women
dressed in carnival garb and an entourage of
Heineken girls (dressed in
green) and Captain Morgan
himself and his girls (dressed in red and black) who regularly
tossed out Heineken regatta memorabilia to the massive crowd.
The Heineken Regatta's grand finale was headlined by the
unsurpassed Motown group
The seasoned musicians and vocalists who are famous for hit
Shift" and "Slippery When Wet" brought down the house.
They performed the classics like
House", "Easy", "Three Times A Lady" and "Sail
On". Their sound might have not been as fine-tuned as
with the days with Lionel Richie and at first, their Vegas style
outfits seemed a little out of place on the beaches of Sha Beach
in Simpson Bay, but they brought the old school vibe with high
energy and won over the diverse and all ages audience.
Every year I think it is my favourite trip to
St. Maarten - whether
it was the spirit of the people, unbelievable weather, the swift
boats in the regatta, the fun-filled parties, the incredible
food or all the live music on the beaches around the island,
but the magic of this island has definitely cast its spell on
If you're smart, you will put it at the top of your travel
destination list to visit during the
2014 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta!