Reality is both sides offer a different experience and cater to a specific kind of traveller. Its almost like do you prefer lazy sunny sandy vacations in the tropics?or do you prefer adrenaline fueled sking vacations in the Alps or Aspen which comes down solely to individual preference.
For example I love the chilled French Creole Caribbean vibe enjoying a freshly baked croissant in the morning and a glass of wine in the evening. That is well my thing which is not doing a thing lounging on one of beaches like Orient Beach or Baie Rouge some of my favs.
Marigot meets my shopping needs without the crowds and Grand Case satisfies my hunger for French cuisine and creole cuisine from establishments like Ti Coin Creole and Ocean 82
Luckily St Maarten or St Martin is a small enough island that any dispute on what to do is quickly resolved as you can have both experiences in a day. We love the chilled out non chalant vibe of Marigot and all the surrounding areas like Grand Case and Orient Beach as well as to be serenaded by Calypso on front street in Philipsburg and bar crawling in popular locations like Mullet Bay and Pelican Bay.