Only a few years back, the urbanity of Cole Bay would not have been given space in any publication geared towards island visitors. The area had an overwhelmingly industrial flavor, with ware houses and machine shops lining ungroomed alleys and with blocks of untidy housing for transient workers. The few presentable neighborhoods were only of interest to local residents and didn't provide short-term, vacation-rental type accommodations at the time.

But much is changing for the better on St. Maarten and the improvements in formerly problematic neighborhoods need to be noted and reported. A new causeway is connecting Simpson Bay directly with the north-western part of Cole Bay, which dramatically cuts down on commuting time and massively relieves traffic. The name Cole Bay originates from the Dutch Koolbaai, 'kool' being the Dutch word for cabbage.


Technically, Cole Bay starts right east of the Simpson Bay Bridge and includes much of the 'Golden Mile' of commercial activity, which is usually (and wrongly) attributed to the village of Simpson Bay (including here on ST-MAARTEN.COM). Cole Bay follows the lagoon shores and much of the island's yachting industry has settled along this area, including the huge marine chandlers Island Waterworld and Budget Marine. Noteworthy is Lagoonies at the Lagoonies Marina, a famous restaurant and watering hole of world cruising sailors.


One major entertainment destination stands out in Cole Bay: close to the French side border is the large resort complex of Port de Plaisance. This is the location of the Princess Casino, without doubt St. Maarten's most glamorous gaming establishment. Integrated into the casino is a number of restaurants. Esco Pazo for wood oven pizza, Dolce Vita for elegant Italian dining and Sushiitto for Sushi and Teppanyaki.


Port de Plaisance is also home to 'The Country Club', an elegant fitness and wellness oasis, with several tennis courts, spa, large swimming pool and the island's most attractive gym. Short term members are welcome! The resort part of Port de Plaisance is presently under construction because of renovations.


By using the new causeway to cross over the Lagoon, Port de Pleasance can be reached within minutes from Maho or Simpson Bay.