The property was just as the pictures had showed and Simon was waiting for us upon our arrival. The villa was clean, bright, airy and provided everything that we could have needed for the week. The portable cooler was a blessing for packing picnic beach lunches and keeping food and drinks cold.
We visited several places on both the Dutch and French side. It is very true that the exchange rate on the Dutch side is much more favorable to those coming with dollars, as the Euro is very strong in comparison. If you want great shopping, cheap food and drinks, the Dutch side on the island is the place to go. Front Street in Phillipsburg was amazing. We got great deals on jewelry, alcohol and electronics. There was a place down a small alleyway off of Front Street headed towards the water that advertised 2 beers and 1 Cuban cigar for $3. We had to find out what the catch was! The catch was that there was NO catch. 2 full sized beers and a decent cigar for $3. A nice break in the day if you need one while shopping.
We visited several beaches while on the Island, on both the Dutch and French side. Happy Bay is worth the walk through the woods. Small, secluded with very few people. If water sports and activities are what you are looking for, Orient Beach has everything you could want, but in terms of relaxation and peacefulness, there are far too many people for that. Baie Rouge was very nice and the snorkeling was great with a swim through cave. We highly recommend the conch kebab served at Chez Albert on this beach (watch out though, it is expensive and in Euros). Guana Bay was great for boogie boarding and you can't beat the view of St. Barth's.
We ate a very nice meal at L'Esparade in Grand Case. Right on the water, great food, funny host, excellent service, reasonable prices for a traditional French restaurant. But really, every restaurant on the road is outstanding. Try fried plantains somewhere (lots of places have it), there are great when done well.
If you are looking to get off of the beach for a little bit, we went to Loterie Farm for part of a morning and did their Zip Line and Ropes Course ($45US for the basic course that took us about an hour and $70US for the extreme). Loads and fun and appropriate for lots of ages. There was a 7 year old behind us having the time of her life on a kids course.