June 2, 2010
is a residential and resort area in southern St. Maarten on the hillside above Little Bay and Philipsburg, the Dutch side capitol. A quick drive to Learning Unlimited, and about ten minutes from both St. Dominic and St. Maarten Montessori, Belair is also convenient to the hospital and all the shops of Cay Hill. Belair has its own fitness club, complete with tennis courts and a swimming pool, as well as an active community center that is active with many island schools and hosts an annual science fair.
Just down the hill is Philipsburg – famous for the seaside Boardwalk, Front Street shopping, historic buildings like the Courthouse, as well as plentiful restaurants. Try Escargot on Front Street for fine dining or one of the many boardwalk restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops. For a real indulgence, go to Old Street to the Belgian Chocolate Bar. Or, if you prefer a shinier indulgence, the infamous, sprawling stretch of duty-free jewelers on Front Street could wow even a princess.
Philipsburg is also home to Great Bay, great in size, beauty, and things to see and do. A wide and newly refurbished arch of white powdery sand slips into calm turquoise waters. Behind, lies the bustling and quaint Boardwalk, while the ocean view of the horizon is cradled on one side by an also newly refurbished cruise ship pier, where you’ll spot the largest cruise ships in the world, and, on the other side, the Divi Little Bay Resort, nestled under a rocky point and the old Dutch fortress, Fort Amsterdam. Activity is constant, from water sports to boat charters, including the famous 12-meter sailboats of the America’s Cup.
On the coast underneath Belair, the small but lovely Little Bay is serviced by the Divi Little Bay Resort and the Belair Beach Hotel, but is also open to the public. Sheltered by Fort Amsterdam and an outcropping of rocks, Little Bay is usually very calm and a great location for children, with sandcastle contests and crab races regularly. For dive enthusiasts, Little Bay also offers the rare beach dive experience. There is even a beach restaurant and bar that offers an exciting selection of water sports, including jet skiing.
For the naturalist experience, head down the other side of Belair to Cay Bay and the Seaside Nature Park. Nature trails run along the coast all the way to Cole Bay, about an hour or more walk. Lucky Stables offers guided horseback riding excursions, winding through the natural trails and even into the sea itself.
View St-Maarten-and-St-Martin-real-estate in a larger map