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Thread: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

  1. #1
    RVBama is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jun 2005 Posts: 74

    Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    We are close to finalizing plans, and most likely will need to go through SXM, then Winair on the way, SBCommuter on the way home.
    There is outside chance of SJU / Tradewinds on the way down only. Needless to say huge price difference.
    Does SXM have any snack / restaurant/ bar area open. Is the actual terminal building open and manageable, or is everything still very temporary?
    Thank you for the help!!

  2. #2
    dadto6 is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,652

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    In my humble opinion, arriving in SXM is not so difficult, I would not hesitate at all. Departing SXM on the weekend can challenge your patience, but slowly getting better. Yes there is some food establishments inside the airport. Even though more expensive, SJU/Tradewind is very nice.

  3. #3
    pascaleschmidt is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2008 NYC, Nice Posts: 1,487

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Saint Martin is not that bad at all... they are a bit slow and disorganized but what else is new.... there is a departure hall with a simple bar and simple food vendors....

  4. #4
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,978

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    “Bad/difficult” is such a subjective matter. So, having just passed through there a week ago (SBH to SXM to US), I’d give it a 3 on a 10 scale . . . 10 being best. And my impression is based on an experience when the airport was not terribly — only “fairly” — crowded.

    The airline counter people at Delta were disinterested in “service” . . . only interested — as far as I could tell — in kibitzing with colleagues, interspersed with indifferent attention to customers.

    The immigration experience was worse . . . as I waited, first in line, for an agent to become available, two apparently local people pushed past me in the line when an agent’s window opened — they ignored me when I protested, & when I followed them to the window, the agent smilingly said, “You weren’t fast enough!”

    Food & drink . . . only “+” moments in the time there:
    1. The pizza place had no food . . . nothing! (Line at the hamburger place was miles long.). The very nice young female clerk said that there’d be some food in 15 minutes. I naively thought that someone was fixing food somewhere nearby. NO! In about 30 minutes, a pizza delivery person came with several of those large red soft-insulated carriers filled with assorted lukewarm pizzas, clearly from an offsite location. The young clerk waved to me to come over from my seat at a nearby table, & she explained to people in line that I had been waiting longer than any of them. A big tip to her!
    2. At the bar — though with the same name, a shadow of the former “Blue Bitch Bar” — the female (& only) bartender looked at me & said in a slow drawl, “Same thing?” Mind you, I haven’t been there since before Irma! I’m not sure what it says, but she remembered my drink of choice! A big tip to her!

    Transit through SXM can save money vs. Tradewind through SJU. Not always, however . . . I generally find very cheap tickets through SJU, which offset the Tradewind ticket price.

    So . . . in my opinion, “bad &/or difficult” is relative to your tolerance for temporary, crowded, bordering-on-dirty facilities with indifferent-to-surly airport personnel & very crowded bathrooms.

  5. #5
    Hawke is offline
    SBH Member Joined: May 2011 Posts: 381

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Dennis you are 100% right about the woman at the bar. She is a wonderful person and an excellent bartender. We always hope to get a seat at the small bar, which turns the SXM experience into feeling like you are with friends or family. Agree with the big tip. Hope to be back at CEC soon.

  6. #6
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Sounds like Maya’s to me.


    Andy

  7. #7
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,978

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    . . . and what a compliment, Andy! See you at Maya’s in . . . February?

  8. #8
    GeorgeD is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2002 pittsburgh Posts: 259

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    [Andy, you are brutal!

    QUOTE=andynap;1010243]Sounds like Maya’s to me. [/QUOTE]

  9. #9
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,978

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeD View Post
    [Andy, you are brutal!

    QUOTE=andynap;1010243]Sounds like Maya’s to me.
    [/QUOTE]

    ”Brutal,” no . . . only maintaining a humorous (& exaggerated) exchange among friends (& others) about Maya’s (which survives, I believe, as the oldest restaurant on the island (in this regard, I’m not considering Le Select as a full service restaurant)).

    As controversial as Maya’s may be, in a world of change, Maya & Randy continue to very successfully marry ambiance, service, & high quality dining in a much appreciated world of enduring understated simplicity & pleasure. Hardly a worthy comparison to passing through SXM.

  10. #10
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 24,920

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Dennis I agree with your appreciation of the unique dining experience at Maya’s...it does not disappoint.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  11. #11
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    ”Brutal,” no . . . only maintaining a humorous (& exaggerated) exchange among friends (& others) about Maya’s (which survives, I believe, as the oldest restaurant on the island (in this regard, I’m not considering Le Select as a full service restaurant)).

    As controversial as Maya’s may be, in a world of change, Maya & Randy continue to very successfully marry ambiance, service, & high quality dining in a much appreciated world of enduring understated simplicity & pleasure. Hardly a worthy comparison to passing through SXM.[/QUOTE]

    I was referring to the 3 out of 10 rating.


    Andy

  12. #12
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by cec1 View Post
    . . . and what a compliment, Andy! See you at Maya’s in . . . February?
    I’ll be there 2/7.


    Andy

  13. #13
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeD View Post
    [Andy, you are brutal!

    QUOTE=andynap;1010243]Sounds like Maya’s to me.
    [/QUOTE]


    Hey George lighten up. I know you are from Pittsburgh so that may explain it Fast Eddie sends his regards.


    Andy

  14. #14
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 4,635

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    sxm is not bad, its not sbh, but few places are. put a smile on your face and you'll do fine. Life is short, less worry, more having fun, thats my motto, now leaving for my early 2 hour nature walk.

  15. #15
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,639

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Haven’t been through SXM in several years after consistently bad experiences. Don’t know why employees there generally don’t seem to enjoy their jobs and often are unhappy and borderline rude. Restrooms though were always clean. Is the SXM ‘attitude’ a general reflection of the island at all?

  16. #16

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    This trip was a pleasure due to no tents.

  17. #17
    krand1 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2011 NY, NY Posts: 136

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    For the first time in years, this March, we are planning to fly to and from SXM (originating from JFK). Arriving on a Saturday and leaving on a Monday. Years ago flying thru SXM to SBH was not a problem, it was always the homeward bound where we had difficulties like lost baggage, missed flights home due to inept immigration lines, etc...This year however, we have decided to be more mindful of costs so are eschewing Tradewind (love Tradewind) and trying SXM once more. I am hoping that the fact we are flying home on a Monday will mitigate the weekend crowd problem we normally would have encountered. And I plan on refusing to board the Winair flight until I see with my own eyes my bag (carry on size) loaded onto the plane! So I have my fingers crossed that this "experiment" will go smoothly.

  18. #18
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Don't worry. I'll smooth things out in February when I go thru. SBC for me tho not Winair.


    Andy

  19. #19
    krand1 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2011 NY, NY Posts: 136

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    I would appreciate that Andy! I wish we could take SBC also but schedule doesn't fit so far. Maybe they will add flights between now and when I need to book, though I doubt it.

  20. #20
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,978

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    I’ll be there 2/7.
    Time to plan a dinner together!

  21. #21
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by cec1 View Post
    Time to plan a dinner together!
    No question.


    Andy

  22. #22
    GeorgeD is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2002 pittsburgh Posts: 259

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Hi Andy,
    Just a humorous response to yours. I assumed from your remark that you compared the food at Mayas to SXM.
    We will be there in late Feb (24th) will you still be there? After all this Pittsburgh slander, I at least am owed a meeting.
    George

  23. #23
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,526

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeD View Post
    Hi Andy,
    Just a humorous response to yours. I assumed from your remark that you compared the food at Mayas to SXM.
    We will be there in late Feb (24th) will you still be there? After all this Pittsburgh slander, I at least am owed a meeting.
    George
    Unfortunately I will be gone by then.


    Andy

  24. #24
    fins85258 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2005 Scottsdale, AZ Posts: 3,474

    Re: Be honest, just how bad/difficult is SXM

    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    Haven’t been through SXM in several years after consistently bad experiences. Don’t know why employees there generally don’t seem to enjoy their jobs and often are unhappy and borderline rude. Restrooms though were always clean. Is the SXM ‘attitude’ a general reflection of the island at all?

    Maybe a year’ssabbatical in Venezuela for retraining might improve their demeanor


    "Go to Heaven for the Climate or Hell for the Company"

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