French St. Martin is one of the Caribbean’s priciest destinations—and in this economy, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Clients who want to spend less money but are unwilling to give up the fine dining, serene beaches and European atmosphere of the country should look to resorts like Grand Case Beach Club, set just outside the island’s restaurant Mecca. Grand Case Beach Club’s suites may not be designed in the latest European styles, and its breezy restaurant serves dishes that are more Caribbean classic than French avant garde, but with family-sized suites that put guests close to some of St. Martin’s top attractions, we doubt your clients will mind. Low-key and comfortable, Grand Case Beach Club’s greatest strength is its location.
a relaxed escape Grand Case Beach Club makes good on its motto of “unpretentious, easy going, serene” and it’s reflected in its accommodations, available in studios and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. Studios with either garden or ocean views come equipped with one king or two double beds; studio lofts include one king-size bed upstairs and a pull-out couch below for kids. Clients who want a more spacious escape can upgrade to the 1-bedroom apartment or 1-bedroom loft, both of which add a sitting area with pull-out sofa. Larger families or groups can book a 2-bedroom apartment, with one king-size bed, two double beds and pull-out couches that easily accommodate six people.
No matter what configuration you and your clients choose, you can count on Caribbean-classic decor, flat-screen TVs and full kitchens in every one, letting clients save money by making their own breakfasts, lunches and snacks during the day. (With Grand Case’s restaurant lineup just down the road, guests would do well to spend every night on the town.)
The aptly named Sunset Cafe extends Grand Case Beach Club’s breezy philosophy even further. Jutting out towards the sea on a rocky cliff, Sunset Cafe embodies the essence of the classic Caribbean dining experience: open-air tables, the sound of the ocean lapping at the shore, a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Guests stopping by in the morning can start their day with fresh French pastries and coffee; stop by for a sunset dinner, and you may have the chance to witness the famous “green flash” as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. Either way, clients can enjoy cuisine in the traditional French style, or with more Caribbean-style seafood flavors.
While the rooms and restaurant here appeal to a laid-back clientele, the service at the resort is as personalized as any you’ll find on the island, thanks to Grand Case Beach Club’s boutique size. It’s common for guests to address their housekeepers and front desk attendants by name by the end of their stay, and every week, general manager Stephen Wright and his wife mingle with guests at a free sunset cocktail hour, catching up with repeat guests and making friends with first-timers. It’s all with the purpose of creating a different kind of resort, one where the people matter more than the minor details. After all, in a place with so much to see, do and experience, clients aren’t going to come home raving about the bathroom amenities; they’re going to be showing off photos of their ziplining adventures and beachside explorations.
local delicacies The most obvious attraction near Grand Case Beach Club is the town of Grand Case itself, a former fishing village turned upscale cuisine Mecca for travelers and locals alike. It’s here that guests will find dining venues like Le Pressoir, a brightly colored space serving fancy French cuisine with quirky, provincial style. Here, clients dine in a restored Creole cottage dating from 1871, alongside locals who know where to get some of the best food in town. Traditional French dishes like beef tenderloin in Camembert cheese sauce are served on some of the most original plating around, from bread dishes sporting a Bacchus theme, to brightly colored entree plates curled at one edge. Order a cappuccino, and it’ll arrive in a ceramic mug designed to look like a crumpled plastic cup. Classic food, imaginative displays and attentive service: the recipe for a perfect night out in Grand Case.
Budget-conscious diners don’t have to miss out on the culinary treats in Grand Case, either. In fact, foodies of all sorts are encouraged to sample local “lo-lo” cuisine. Featuring barbequed and smoked chicken and pork served with rice and beans, lo-lo fare gives clients an authentic taste of the islands that makes a great ultra-casual lunch or dinner. Served up in portable containers, guests can eat their meals on picnic benches looking out to sea, or take their food on the go—perhaps to a beach picnic of their own.