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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The "The Rooster Crows" Story

A 1951 beach view of the Pasanggrahan Royal Guest House.
It was an ordinary day.  Sun was high in the sky with barely a wisp of air stirring in the beachfront town of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.  Getting tired of walking Front Street looking for just the right gift for my wife for our upcoming 50th wedding anniversary.  Carol is naturally with me as we walk from one jewelry store to the next along the one-mile stretch of shopper's duty-free paradise.
Land side photograph taken recently.
"Time to eat," I tell her.  "Let's head down the street to the Pasang- grahan for lunch."  Close to the far east end of Front Street stands the Pasang- grahan Royal Boutique Hotel which is Sint Maarten's oldest and most charming inn.  The name of the inn, The Pasanggrahan, means guesthouse in Indonesian.  At one time it was the home to the Governor as well as the summer home of Dutch Queen Juliana.  
1960s photograph of Pasanggrahan beachside lounge area.
But, before that it was a rooster farm, hence the reason for all the roosters that grace the walls and even the advertising brochures of the charming vintage inn that sits perhaps a hundred yards from the crystal blue waters of Great Bay.  The West Indian-style inn, or guesthouse as it is advertised, is an historical national landmark and one of the last bastions of Dutch culture.  
Photo showing the main inn in white with the beach bar
to the left front.  The new addition is to the right while
the older rooms are to the left.
Located at the rear of the inn, along Philipsburg boardwalk, is their beach bar which compli- ments the interior Sidney Greenstreet Bar located next to the dining room.  Carol and I were ushered to our seats along the seaside railing and our drink order was taken.  Only one cruise ship is in the nearby port so the boardwalk isn't as busy as it is some days.  
Carol is heading toward our lunch seats near the boardwalk.
Drinks arrived and we placed our lunch order and I grabbed my camera to take a few photos.  The charming ambience of this place is amazing.  Furniture dating to 1904, when the inn was built, fill the vestibule as well as the front porch.  My favorites were the peacock bamboo chairs and Indian spool tables that sat under the gilt-framed oil that featured the portraiture of the "Dutch Queen."  
The new part of the inn.  The staircase
is beautiful with a central flower garden.
I found the check-in desk and asked the woman at the desk if I may take a few photos.  Shortly I found my way into the latest addition that was made to the inn a couple of years ago.  The stunning luxury renovation sports a staircase that was amazing with beautiful flowers in the central area.  All renovations were done to maintain the official National Landmark that the inn carries.  Finally decided my lunch was more important and headed back to our table.  The cooling breeze that came through the inn felt great on the hot and humid day.  Our table overlooked the boardwalk and white sand beach that touched the turquoise blue ocean. We often talked about staying at the Pasanggrahan, but never did.  
A room on the first floor is marked with the traditional rooster.
After lunch we approached the desk clerk and asked her about prices for the rooms.  Being this is the off-season, we could have a room with a view for $100.  Got us thinking about our trip to the island next year.  Now all we have to do is hope our health will allow us one more chance to visit our favorite vacation spot and perhaps afford us a chance to stay at the Pasanggrahan.  The rooster is calling!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

A watercolor of the entrance to the guest house.
Pen and ink showing the beachside of the guest house.
A beautiful chest on display in the lobby.  This piece of furniture comes from the early 1900s when the guest house first opened.
This was taken from the oceanside showing the new recent addition.
A beautiful bowl and basin on a small table.
A pair of bamboo peacock chairs can be seen in the lobby area.
The front porch is laden with period antique furniture.
This china cabinet carries the traditional rooster on the top.
The portraiture of "Dutch Queen," Queen Juliana is found in the lobby amongst many other portraiture of royalty.
This is the older side of the guest house.  This has views of the ocean and ship dock.
I found this set of seven bottles which at one time held Tripel Karmeliet which is a golden Belgian beer with high alcohol by volumn.  It was brewed by Brouwerji Bosteels in Buggenhout, Belgium.  First brewed in 1996 and uses three cereals: wheat, oats and barley.  Love the bottles, but not quite sure what the word reads that is painted across the top of the bottles in white. 


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