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He wants to culture-hop through Europe. You want a week of cocktails, couples massages, and canoodling on the sand. The perfect compromise? St. Maarten/St. Martin, a lush 36-square-mile Caribbean paradise that's split into two countries with serious continental flavor. Seeking sophistication and tranquility? Chill in French St. Martin. Rather hit the casinos and party all night? Go Dutch in St. Maarten. (By the way: You will need a passport to day-trip across the border, so pack yours in your beach tote!)
WHERE TO STAY
For a sweet sleep on a budget: Clean and chic Sol'Hôtel in Oyster Bay, on the French side, starts at just $115 per night. The six harbor-view rooms each have a kitchenette, and Collette, the owner, treats every guest like royalty. Explore the island by day, barbecue by the sparkling pool by night.
For beach lovers: Want to stay on two of the island's prettiest strands? Check in to St. Martin's 72-room Grand Case Beach Club, located between the silky white sands of Petite Plage and Grand Case beach. Bonus: When you're not sunning on a towel or kayaking in the azure sea, head to the nearby village of Grand Case for a meal — the town is known for its killer cuisine.
For serious indulgence: Spoil yourselves silly at St. Martin's superluxe Belmond La Samanna, where every one of the 83 rooms has views of the wide white sands of Baie Longue. Don't leave without trying the four-hand massage at the spa (two therapists at once!), or signing up for a sunset champagne cruise on the 43-foot-long Sammy Girl — très romantique!
For a date with history: St. Maarten's Pasanggrahan Royal Guest House, built in 1904, was once the residence of Dutch royalty. That Europe-in-the-West-Indies vibe remains, with four-poster beds and hand-stitched quilts in the rooms and carved Indonesian wood furniture in the lobby. Into fishing? Sign up for a guided deep-sea excursion; the chef will grill anything you catch. Bonus: Low season rates start at $99 a night.
WHERE TO GO
Sip cocktails at sunset: Calmos Cafe is set smack on the French beach of Grand Case, which means you can toast the sunset with your toes in the sand — or even in the waves.
Bare it all: You can strip down to your birthday suits anywhere on St. Martin's Orient Beach, but if you really want to blend into the crowd, head to the stretch of sand in front of the nudist resort Club Orient. The best part? No tan lines.
Snag some souvenirs: The best shopping on the island is in the French capital of Marigot, where luxury boutiques sidle up to local market stands. And it's all duty-free!
Celebrate your 'moon: Head to Marigot for Kali's Beach Bar's monthly Full Moon Party, which features reggae, barbecue, and a bonfire lighting at midnight. Don't leave without trying the owner's homemade bush rum.
Reach new heights: What's better than parasailing over azure waters? Parasailing over azure waters as a married couple. Head to Philipsburg on the Dutch side to sign up for a couple's session with No. 1 SXM Water Sports Center.
Snap a sunrise selfie: Head to Dawn Beach on the Dutch side, so named because it is the place to watch the sun peak above the Atlantic. Aim right and you can sneak the neighboring isle of St. Barts into your shot.
Fuel up for your flight home: On your way to the airport, stop at Zee Best for to-die-for crepes, croissants, and quiche. Don't miss Le Roger, a savory crepe stuffed with ham, cheese, mushrooms and a runny fried egg. Bon voyage!