A Practical Guide to Shopping in Philipsburg St. Maarten
Negotiating the Streets (and the Treats!) of Philipsburg…
An Article (originally published in Destination Magazine St. Maarten)
With three parallel streets on the sandbar that forms Philipsburg, it’s probably the easiest layout of shopping streets you could find in a town – you don’t really need a map; but here is a quick practical guide of important things you need to know when shopping in Philipsburg.
First of all, if you are visiting in high season, you need to check out which cruise ships are in town. It can be a real crush if five or more of the largest world class cruise ships are in town and you may not have so much of a relaxing stroll or get the full attention you deserve at your favorite store. You can check the local newspapers for a listing or ask at your hotel.
Plan your trip so you make the most of what is on offer in Philipsburg:
Free parking is plentiful and available a few hundred yards from the center behind the green and white government building on Pond Island by the Great Salt Pond. There is a paid parking lot closer to town behind the court-house but you may find it full with local workers vehicles. Additionally – parking in the center of town is almost non-existent so save yourself the time and organize before you go.
If you are early enough, grab breakfast at Chesterfields, the Greenhouse or one of the small cafes downtown before you work your way up Front Street and explore the bounteous offerings of boutiques and gift shops.
Take a stop at St Rose Shopping Mall for a mid-morning refresher by the sea and then side-step down Old Street and browse the quaint and unusual shops. (Zig-zagging back and forth between Back street and Front Street should work up an appetite for a light and refreshing lunch (or a long sumptuous lunch if you’re staying the whole day) – there are plenty of eateries of all kinds – from boardwalk cafes (Holland House) to seaside dining (Antoine’s) to elegant French cuisine (L’Escargot) or even authentic Chinese, Indian and Creole eateries tucked away in the various alleys connecting Front and Back Street.
Opening hours are just as you would expect in any Western country – 9–5pm (or maybe a little later if you’re making that last-minute deal) Mon–Sat. with Sundays included in high season. But, basically, all doors are closed by 6pm and then the restaurants come to life if you still have the energy!
There are many tips and tricks to negotiating a great deal in Philipsburg – we’ll give you an insiders look at how to get a great deal that can save you $100’s if not $1,000’s of dollars on duty free items – especially jewelry! (I personally TRAINED people how to sell diamonds so, believe me, I know what I’m talking about!)Check out our e-book.