Everyone likes a good story. When I visited the recently reopened Palapa Grill & Lounge, I soon realised that even though there’s lots to discover in terms of design, there is much more to the place than what meets the eye. The owner, Barbara, had a story for almost every single piece of furniture and it made discovering her restaurant a true adventure.
As you enter through the lounge, you are met with an explosion of colours, patterns and styles. Some quirky decorative items, gilded mirrors and artwork complete the eclectic look of the Palapa Lounge. The red walls create excitement and set the mood for a few cocktails with friends. Top shelf liquors decorate the bar and the mixologist from Southern Italy will astound you with her creative concoctions. I tried ‘Leap of Faith’ as it so cunningly describes how I ended up in Saint Martin and I love it – the cocktail and Saint Martin that is. Recently awarded the first World Class Cocktail Bar in the Caribbean, they are striving for excellence.
On the way to the restaurant you pass through a lush garden. Tropical plants, a herb garden and the gentle sound of water lapping into the pool, reminded me of the courtyards in Morocco. To the sides of the garden, there are differently styled lounges inviting you to relax. Whether you prefer an Ibiza style look or a tropical feel, you will find your spot. Imagine antique Chinese cupboards, turquoise sofas set against a wood paneled wall in black and palm tree trunks turned into tables. The latter; courtesy of Irma. In fact, it was the aftermath of Irma that created the stories, which were then translated into the design and the menu of the Palapa Grill & Lounge.
‘Those Red Tiles’ is an item on the menu. When Barbara told me the story behind the name (you can read about it in the menu), I not only had a good chuckle, but as an interior designer I could really relate. Let’s say, Irma also got rid of some unwanted items, leaving others, such as a statue of Mother Mary, unscathed…
In line with their personal and corporate philosophy, most of the furniture and decorative items were recycled, repurposed or gifts from friends leaving the island after the hurricane. Chairs from a hairdresser, kitchen cabinets from Barbara’s home and salvaged prints from her art books make this space truly unique.
Instead of fixing the roof of the dining area, they had a safari tent custom made in South Africa creating a cozy ambiance at night. Semi alfresco dining, sheltered from wind and rain, string lights and candles; this area is the antidote to the explosive design of the lounge. Here it is all about the food, which I believe is best served in a soothing environment. This way you can focus your attention on what’s on your plate and the people you are sharing the meal with. Friendly staff serves the beautifully presented dishes. I opted for the Ceviche in a coconut, which tells the story of true friendship and ‘Those Red Tiles’…
I’m pleased that by writing about the Palapa Grill & Lounge I too have become part of their story – a story of faith and perseverance…
P.S. Looking for more restaurant tips on Saint Martin? Then check out the Barranco Grand Case 😉
Nicole J Gallo and Simone Aïda Baur of Global Inspirations Design
Note: This blog post was created in collaboration with Palapa Grill & Lounge (press visit).
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur: I’m a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer, award winning blogger and ex-hotelier. Feel free to learn more about my story and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
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