This is a good question as most people go to the Caribbean during the High Season when it is cold and horrible in the Northeast and Midwest. They are going to get away from something.
Personally, we feel that the Caribbean is a most underrated summer holiday destination. There are fewer tourists, the roads are less crowded and you can get into the more ‘popular’ restaurants. The tourist bureau says that it is about 3 degrees warmer in the summer. This is true but they neglect to mention that the summer winds are not as strong and this makes a big difference on many of the sheltered parts of the island that can be uncomfortable during the day.
So far, we have been there every month except October when we had business commitments and have not found a period that we didn’t like. Hope Cottage is on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and was designed to take advantage of the trade winds, which make it very comfortable. We almost always sleep with a sheet and light blanket. In the summer, if the wind shifts to the southeast, we may turn on the air conditioning for an hour when we go to bed.
Recent additions include:
Solar water heater
High efficiency ceiling fans in living room and bedroom
LED bulbs in outside lights
Energy Star appliances
Gutters and additional cisterns to collect rain water.
Traditionally, the hurricane season is mid-June to mid-November but probably most likely mid-July to mid-October. However, they are rare and until 2014, it had been ten years since the island experienced a hurricane and when they are not centered over the island, they are hardly noticeable.
Fitted with hurricane shutters, the house is very secure and in the three hurricanes it has experienced, it has only lost a few roof tiles.
While we have taken and will continue to take six-week vacations in the months of July, August and November, we can understand that the average holidaymaker would rather not risk having to sit out a hurricane.
For this reason, we offer a price break at Hope Cottage during this period as well as a free two-week stay if a hurricane should hit Sint Maarten during your stay.
While not really suitable for two couples, we can cater for couples with children as Hope Cottage was designed so that our grandchildren could visit. In the living room there are two couches that one can turn 90 degrees and then fold out into full-size single beds. Off the living room is a full bathroom with shower, toilet, vanity and a chest of drawers for clothing.
When our daughter or friends visit, they stay there as well so it is suitable for adults, however there is no AC. The living room is separated from the master bedroom by the kitchen so there is complete privacy. One can get up in the morning, make coffee and go out on the deck and enjoy the sunrise without disturbing the others.
The table in the kitchen is small but readily accommodates family members while the table on the patio comfortably seats six persons. The kitchen is up to the job as well as Susan cooks Thanksgiving dinner for 12 persons.
We do not rent to two couples as we feel that the accommodations for the second couple are not comparable with those in the master bedroom. It is hardly an equal arrangement.
The charge per bed per week is $330 regardless of the time of year and there are no discounts for multi-week bookings.
Our grandchildren come for three weeks most every year and have done so since the youngest was a toddler. This was just after Hope Cottage was built and as there was still work in process, we had to put up barriers so she didn’t fall off the balcony. There are now retaining walls but as they are only about two feet in height, a watchful eye is necessary.
The kids love coming to Sint Maarten and the pool and beaches are superb incentives. At 14, they started scuba diving, which grew into visits to Saba for advanced diving adventures. A friend offers horseback riding, which is marvelous as our granddaughter rides regularly in France.
There is also the Adventure Park at Loterie Farm on Pic Paradis where they can soar 35+ feet off the ground between majestic 200-year-old mango and mahogany trees via a series of ropes, cables, and suspended bridges while mom and dad can enjoy a wonderful lunch.
As Hope Cottage is located more that 100 m. above sea level, our architect included a surfeit of doors and windows to capture the lovely Atlantic breezes with which we are blessed. However, we soon discovered that despite being located high above the mosquito rich lowlands, we needed screens and added them to all windows.
Our gardener also sprays the garden around the house. We now enjoy sitting out on our deck throughout the day enjoying the view, the sun and the Atlantic breezes. Mid-afternoon, we shut our doors and if necessary, move indoors and still enjoy the cooling effect of the Atlantic breezes through our screened windows without the need of A/C even in the summer when we spend many weeks in our Caribbean vacation home.
At night, if we elect to visit one of the many excellent restaurants on the island, we dose ourselves with OFF.
Today, as we read stories of the many mosquito borne illnesses: Nile, Chikungunya and now Zika viruses, take these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…stay in places with air conditioning or that use window screens. Like Hope Cottage. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.
And again from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites and use insect repellents.
Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide long lasting protection. If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent. Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.”
It is simply common sense!
We supply a can of insect repellent and mosquito spray in our welcome basket.
St. Maarten (St. Martin) is proud to be a dual nation with the flavors and customs of both the French and Dutch cultures.
St. Maarten is just 45 minutes from Puerto Rico, only two hours 45 minutes from Miami and a short three hours from New York. St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport is the second busiest hub in the Caribbean.
Although the official language is Dutch, English is the most widely spoken language. The currencies are the Guilder and the French Franc, but the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere.
The average annual temperature is 27ºC or 84ºF.
St. Maarten has a truly duty free status with no import and export taxes and a large array of shops offering a wide selection of the finest luxury duty free goods the world has to offer.
Known as the Gastronomical capital of the Caribbean, St. Maarten’s 37 square miles are home to over 400 restaurants catering to every whim and palate. See our Owner’s Tips here.