It really pains me to have to write this review, because the staff and management of the resort were so sympathetic and accommodating, but I feel like I need to share my experience so that it may benefit others.
We have been traveling to St. Martin / St Maarten annually since 2002. We normally stay in the Cupecoy Beach area but booked a room at Esmeralda based on a recommendation. It wasn't inexpensive - given that it was simply a decent size room with small kitchenette area (mini-fridge, microwave, sparsely-appointed cabinets and sink), bathroom with shower only, 3 uncomfortable chairs and a small table. The "bungalow" was an end unit in a private area of the dimly-lit, quiet, well-kept grounds. There was a front door and a back sliding glass door that led to a small porch with a plastic outdoor table and chairs. Upon move in we were briefed on how to operate the TV, air conditioner and the guide pointed out the back door locks - one on the handle and a pin that fit through a hole that should further prevent someone from opening the door. He also "casually" mentioned the aluminum roll up door (like a hurricane shutter) that could be lowered in the evening "when we went to dinner or if we wanted to sleep late and keep the sun out."
I unloaded all my fancy-schmanzy Mac equipment and found a place to store and charge the computer on the bottom shelf of the nightstand on the side of the bed away from the front door. On the second night of our stay we went to dinner and left the recently purchased MacBook Pro (fully upgraded, value $3950), iPhone 5 and iPad all on the nightstand shelf, charging.
LESSON #1: Never take an expensive computer (that your earn your living with) on a leisure vacation.
LESSON #2: Never take anything expensive that won't fit in the in-room safe.
LESSON #3: Never leave things out where the resort/housekeeping staff can see it.
We returned 2 hours later and that whole pile of electronic equipment, valued at about $6,000, was gone and the sliding class door pin was ajar. I am sure it was firmly in place when we left, but WE FAILED TO CLOSE THE ROLL UP DOOR. Clearly the pin could be worked loose (the police tried and succeeded) and the shutter door was absolutely necessary to secure the room. Nothing else was touched - thank goodness they didn't pick up the bag in the chair nearby that contained a nice Cannon camera, iPod, Jawbone speaker AND OUR PASSPORTS. We believe that the thief was aware that the equipment was there and came specifically to get it.
We spent the rest of the evening changing online passwords and securing bank accounts in the event that the thief was someone other than a local kid who wanted a new phone and a computer. All devices have the Find My iPhone app on them and have a GPS tracking device. Should they ever connect to the internet again, we will be notified of the address and the hard drives will be erased. Naturally the next morning we moved - to a high rise in Cupecoy with security guards, security cameras in every corner of every hallway, and a back sliding glass door that was 50ft off the ground. The price per night was HALF of what we were paying at Esmeralda.
LESSON #4: Rethink staying on the ground floor ever again and ask about security.
The night manager was most helpful - called the (French-speaking police) and stayed with us throughout the ordeal and helped with translation. The resort manager refunded our 2 nights' stay with her sincerest apologies for our loss. The rating does not reflect on them personally (otherwise I would have rated it 1 star!) This experience was damaging to our businesses, time consuming and expensive -- so I do hope others might learn from our "stupid" mistakes. USE EVERY SECURITY MEASURE YOU ARE PROVIDED WITH AND TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO GUARD YOUR PROPERTY.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ESMERALDA RESORT, situated on the magnificent white sands of Orient Bay in French St. Martin offers just 65 rooms and suites spread among elegant tropical gardens in 17 villas. Esmeralda is the only four star hotel in St Martin on Orient Beach.Esmeralda's Coco Beach Bar offers beachfront lunch & cocktails. L'Astrolabe, the resort's fine dining restaurant offers French Creole and Continental cuisine. Guests receive dining privileges at 12 + restaurants in Orient Bay. Only minutes to more fine dining,shopping and entertainment. Rooms include a kitchenette, king bed, sitting area and patio. What makes this property so special is it's unique plantation style layout with only four rooms or suites per villa. For privacy, each villa has its own swimming pool and each accommodation has its own private entrance and terrace... Guests may reserve anything from a single superior or deluxe room or a generous sized suite or an entire 3 - 5 bedroom villa. Due to the way this resort in St Martin is situated on the property that is perpendicular to the beach there is limited availability in the two ocean front villas that include the Presidential Suites and deluxe oceanfront rooms. All superior and deluxe rooms include kitchenettes. Suites offer full kitchens and large living rooms. Guests enjoy the peaceful surroundings and a cordial, pampering yet unobtrusive on-site multi-lingual staff prepared to assist with any special needs. Esmeralda offers free use of beach chairs & umbrellas. Each accommodation has a fully equipped kitchenette (suites have fully equipped kitchens including dishwasher), large tile bath with hair dryer plus a 110 outlet for shavers only, color satellite TV, room safe, air conditioning with ceiling fan, daily maid service. All bedrooms have Color TV by satellite (8 channels and video system), telephone, private safe, A/C, ceiling fan, private, furnished terrace, kitchenette with micro wave, electric coffee pot, refrigerator and dishes. SUPERIOR, DELUXE AND OCEANFRONT ROOMS: King or two double beds, kitchenette. Maximum occupancy: 2 people. Superior rooms have garden view and are generally located further from the beach. Deluxe rooms are a bit larger located nearer the pool. Oceanfront rooms are located nearest the beach. SUPERIOR SUITES: Spacious living room and bedroom area with king size four poster bed and full size pull-out sofa bed plus a fully equipped kitchen. Maximum occupancy: 2 adults & 2 children. PRESIDENTIAL SUITES: Large dining and living room area with full size sofa bed, separate master bedroom with king size colonial bed, TV in living room and master bedroom, 1 1/2 baths, radio/cassette/CD player and fully equipped kitchen. Suite is oceanfront. Maximum occupancy: 4 people. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Esmeralda Hotel Orient Bay
- Esmeralda Hotel Marigot
- Esmeralda Resort Marigot
- Esmeralda St Martin
- Esmeralda Resort St Martin
- Renaisance Esmeralda Resort