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“Idyllic property...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace St Martin

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Hotel Riu Palace St Martin
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   BP 581, Anse Marcel 97056, St Maarten-St Martin (Formerly Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St. Martin)   |  
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Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Anse Marcel
New York
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Idyllic property...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

The Radisson Blu is overall a really delightful property. As someone who has been to St Martin several times and knows the island relatively well, I was perfectly happy to spend a few days in this self-contained place, though it may not be ideal for newcomers to the island who really want to explore every day, because it is cut off from everywhere else by the mountainous access.

However once your car descends the hill and you enter the setting of Anse Marcel, a beautiful cove surrounded by low mountains, you are really in a Caribbean Shangri-La. Next door is another hotel, the Domaine de Lonvilliers, but you would never even know it unless you walk the length of the beach; other than that, it is an utterly secluded and wonderfully tranquil place, with almost no development Although far from the airport end of the island and from the ticky-tacky of Phillipsburg and its endless T-shirt shops, it is a very short drive or cab ride to two of the best places in SXM - the village of Grand Case, for fine dining and the famous beachfront lolo barbecue joints; and Ilet Pinel, an amazing place to spend a day lolling on a gorgeous beach and having lobster and champagne for lunch while your feet dangle in the warm sea.

Radisson took over the property from Le Meridien and made a great choice to fill in the old, smaller pool, and build a new one beachside. The old pool is now the vast central lawn; and the new one is probably the absolute highlight of the property - a huge, gorgeous, meandering lagoon pool, with multiple access points, a zero-entry area, an enormous jacuzzi adjacent, and the beach just beyond. The Radisson has also adopted the clever idea of gating the pool and putting showers and foot baths at each entrance, so that people can easily rinse off the beach before walking sand into the pool area. If you are a connoisseur of beautiful pools, you will love this one. It was fun just to decide where to place myself each day because every seating area presents a different vista!

Though I could easily have lingered by the pool the entire day each day of my stay, the calm sheltered waters of Anse Marcel bay are equally irresistible. Floating in the sea, looking at the lines of coconut palms and sea grapes onshore, Anguilla across the channel, the sailboats and catamarans moored offshore, and the lush green peaks (as they are at the end of the rainy season) surrounding the clear waters, you are truly in a fantasy vision of a Caribbean paradise. Note only that the surrounding mountains mean that the direct sun is gone from Anse Marcel about 45 minutes before true sunset, if you want to maximize your time in the sun.

Regrettably the property inherited the less-than-brilliant design of the Meridien with respect to the rooms and layout as well. No rooms have the much-coveted ocean view of other resorts - some face the landscaped grounds (and each other), others just face service roads and the backs of the dining and meeting facilities. Even the much-vaunted Marina Suites don't especially have a great view - it's really just a view of a channel from the bay to a boat basin backed by the mountains that ring it. And these uniquely positioned suites still lack any wow factor when you walk in - no great view and the living area furnishings are a little frumpy, though the bedroom is much more stylish, and the huge bed is extremely comfortable, with firmness control and high-quality linens. However, the landscaped grounds are absolutely beautiful, laid out in a formal Continental garden style, with walkways shaded by striking double rows of royal palms, and scattered with fountains, and flowering plants, with wonderful vistas to the water and the Roman-villa like main building. And free wi-fi is a nice touch since so many upscale properties just view that as another revenue generator (though the ubiquitous and irritating resort fee features on your bill here as at so many other properties.)

The food is by and large delicious, and there is a great - and complimentary - American-style breakfast buffet in the open-air Le Marche restaurant. This is particularly noteworthy as it is not a traditionally European thing to do - the nearby Grand Case Beach Club serves a true French breakfast - croissant, baguette and coffee, period - and I have heard American tourists there complain about having to pay for eggs or bacon in addition. At the Radisson the diehard American breakfast buffet fan will be more than satisfied, (though the Eggs Benedict are an extra charge and need some work - suggestion: improve them and include them as part of the buffet. ;-) ) In fact, breakfast is generous enough that you may not need or want lunch...!

As I was there in off-season only one of the two restaurant options was open for dinner each evening, but there are a couple of places directly outside the front doors of the resort, easily walked to, as well as a small market where you can buy staples if you want to keep some in your room. A fridge rental is 20 Euros for the duration of your stay, and not a bad investment - be warned that if you even so much as look at the ultra-sensitive minibar, it will register a charge that you will have to undo at the desk. LOL As far as food and drink prices, to those who complain, remember that it is a) the Caribbean; b) a resort; c) priced in Euros, as is everything on the French side; d) and no worse than big city prices here in the U.S. In NYC I have never had, let alone seen, a $5 cocktail, so I thought an 8 Euro pina colada was perfectly reasonable. I have stayed at the Westin as well, and it is equally isolated, with few onsite dining options, but the Dawn Beach area is being highly developed and is much less lovely than Anse Marcel. Furthermore Dawn Beach is exposed on the Atlantic side of the island, and the seas are much calmer at Anse Marcel, which I prefer.

I didn't avail myself of concierge services as I wasn't looking for tourist info, but a few minor hiccups were handled with charm and aplomb by the staff, including the delightful Guest Services Manager, Liliana Arrigoni, and the chef himself, both of whom went out of their way to quickly and graciously remedy minor inconveniences. Tip of the hat to lovely Wordline at the front desk who checked me in with a huge and warm Caribbean smile; to charming Julian at the bell desk who made himself unobtrusively available and helpful; and to jovial Nigel at the pool hut, who was friendly, easy-going, helpful and hard-working.

If you need to be in the middle of everything, this isn't the place for you - there is no banging music poolside, no over-programmed activities schedule taking over public spaces, no casinos on the French side at all, no nightclubbing. But if you appreciate a refined but unpretentious and utterly soothing atmosphere in a beautiful tropical setting, then I wholeheartedly recommend the Radisson Blu.

Room Tip: If view matters to you, ask to see your room before settling, as some may leave you with a view of s...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 18, 2012
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! We are thrilled that you had such a great time with us and took the time to give so many details! We have shared your compliments with the team and we hope to see you back to the Resort very soon.
Cordialement,
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
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1,027 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (184)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

The Radisson Blu in St. Martin was a treat having come from Divi Little Bay on the Dutch side of the isalnd. From check-in to check-out and everything in-between, we could not have been happier. Service was professional and friendly. The resort is gorgeous but not pretentious. Charming gardens, nice pool, great beach. We had a standard room which was so spacious, free wi-fi, an amazing complimentary breakfast daily with the best french-press coffee, nice restaurants. The hotel is a little remote which made it more special and truly gave it a "vacation" feel. Rent a car so getting around is easy. Take advantage of nearby restaurants in Grand Case.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
Thank you for the great review! We are very happy that you had a wonderful experience at the Radisson Blu St Martin.
We hope to see you back to the Resort soon!
Cordialement,
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Napa, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

Nice hotel, nice rooms but so expensive

Whys so much for a cocktail In Napa we pay $5 in Radisson blu nearly $15?

There are nicer hotels on St. Martin and we moved to the Westin for our last 3 days, much better place and much cheapre

the hill on the way is impossible it makes feel like you trapped in anes marcel

Room Tip: Stay at the Westin!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
Thank you for writing a review on Trip Advisor. We are sorry that our Resort did not meet your expectations.
We hope that for your next visit to St Martin, you will give us the opportunity to recoup your confidence.
Best regards,
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dc
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

Don't know either it was because I was from America, they don't think I don,t value my money, the fact that I'm under 40 over 30 and my girlfriend is attractive .......

I couldn't quite figure it out!

I received over 100usd in 'Resort Fees' when I asked what they were there for they explained that it was to clean the pool. When I asked them to remove it they said confronted me and I felt physically threatened. Now I'm talking to the FTC and my lawyers about getting my money and at least a partial refund of my trip.

Second part ....

Would you pay 50usd for buffet of roasted chicken and who ever heard of sweet potato with augratin? Sweet potato with cheese, REALLY!!!

I don't really understand resort travel. Since I travel the global what I appreciate is value. For what I paid for here I certainly expected better everything than I received. But what baffles me is that I'm the only complaining. Do the Europeans get better service and is it less expensive for them? Are they rich and don't care what they spend their money on? Do they have to pay resort fees to?

I'm really disappointed and left early.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for your review. We are trully sorry that you did not like your stay with us. The Resort fees are mentioned on our website and be sure our employees provide the same level of service to everyone no matter the country of origin. Again, we apologize for all inconveniences.
Best regards
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prague, Czech Republic
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

Stayed here for 5 nights in October. All I can say is wow! From the moment we arrived to to the moment we left everything was amazing. Staff very pleasant, offered to park car on arrival and was given a welcome drink which was appreciated after the drive from the airport! Hotel was only running at about 10% capacity so we got a free upgrade to a larger room not to mention very personal service from all staff. The rooms were very well presented, clean and fresh not to mention very large. They even supplied beach towels in the rooms which were very nicely scented. The infinity pool area was simply amazing and loved the seclusion of it as for the majority of the stay we had it to ourselves. Restaurant was very good for breakfast and as they had low occupancy it was al a carte for breakfast although if you wanted something not on the menu it was no problem for them to make it. Only had one dinner at the restaurant during the whole stay as it was overpriced and the menu was not really exciting. The only real let down for some (but in my opinion) was the distance from everything, the hotel is very secluded and about a 45 min drive from the airport and 20 minutes from Marigot village but to be honest I really enjoyed the seclusion. Overall a great experience.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you so much for the review. We are glad that you appreciated the Resort and that you had a great experience!
We hope to see you soon!
Cordialement;
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Fantastic place with a formal garden of extraordinary beauty. It is wonderful just to walk around this resort. Rooms are very spacious, clean and comfortable. Sleep Number mattresses on beds are quite a plus, along with very high thread count sheets. You will sleep well! Wells are very thick and the place is quiet. Nice bathrooms (but don't forget that outlets are 220 V, so bring adaptors). Also, it is not to hard to make a mess on the floor when taking a shower, this is kind of a 'French thing'. Toiletries provided for guests are of unusually high quality. Breakfast is included and is good, nothing really special but good. Don't bother to take any of your other meals at this hotel, the food on the French side of St. Martin is fantastic. The hotel is on the remote northern part of the island. The road to reach it is a bit windy. If you stay here I think you really ought to rent a car. Driving in St. Martin is not bad at all, so don't hesitate. Roads are narrow but traffic is not bad and people are not insane in cars. Staff are very helpful and solve all problems. They do have some sort of weird high tech thing in the room minibar that goes haywire and ends up charging everybody for the entire contents of the minibar whether you take anything or not. The staff will fix this at once. The concierge was really effective.

All in all this is a really great resort---from what I could see after quite a bit of exploring the best on St. Martin. Far better than anything on the Dutch side. The Dutch side has bars, nightlife, strip clubs, casinos and brothels. The French side has restaurants and more relaxed bars. Both sides have incredible beaches. You can get from the tip of one side to the other tip by car in 40 minutes or less. You will sleep better on the French side, and this is definitely the nicest resort there. I recommend this place with no hesitation at all based on my five nights there.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are thrilled that you liked your stay with us. We hope to see you again soon!
Cordialement,
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Odenton
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

To celebrate my 50th with my wonderful friends, Karen, Doran and Jill we decided to go to St. Martin and we could not have picked a more wonderful vacation for our "Girls Get Away" trip! We booked it through Apply Vacations! Breakfast buffet every morning, lunch and drinks on our own private beach and dinner in Grand Case (minutes away) plus the spa! The staff lived up to the "The Friendly Island" reputation. We did an excursion in Philipsburg on a catamaran called "Maribella" with Neal and Don as the crew and it was worth every penny and more! Would definitely go back. If you are looking for a vacation place, look no further and book it!
Tina (The Birthday Girl)

Room Tip: Every room is perfect!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jean-marc J, General Manager at Hotel Riu Palace St Martin, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Dear Tina,
Thank you for this great review! We are more than happy that you had a wonderful birthday with your friends at the Radisson Blu St Martin!
We hope you will be back soon!!
Cordialement,
Jean-marc Jalbert - General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace St Martin

Address: BP 581, Anse Marcel 97056, St Maarten-St Martin (Formerly Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St. Martin)
Location: Caribbean > St Maarten-St Martin > Saint-Martin > Anse Marcel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Anse Marcel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace St Martin 4*
Number of rooms: 252
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
New opening. The Hotel Riu Palace St. Martin, situated at the beachfront on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, is the perfect place for a dream vacation and it's ready for you to enjoy all the amenities and services RIU offers to its guests. Located in the beautiful cove of Anse Marcel brings the opportunity to enjoy a natural reserve with its unique flora and fauna and also sandy white beaches with dream-like turquoise waters, ideal for relaxing and practicing water sports. Rooms , restaurants , bars, pools and spa are at your complete disposal as part of the exclusive hotel facilities. The hotel restaurants will delight you with a wide variety of flavors from the rich and colorful Caribbean cuisine to the international dishes prepared daily by chefs. A perfect destination for travelers who want a few days of relax, beach and sun, offering tranquility and fun alike. You'll find the most diverse activities and sports that enliven your stay, and at night you can enjoy the best entertainment. Undoubtedly the small island of St Martin, in its 88 Km2, offers the perfect holiday destination: beautiful beaches, warm weather, and local friendliness. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St. Martin Hotel Anse Marcel
Radisson Blu Resort, Marina And Spa St. Martin
Radisson Anse Marcel
Anse Marcel Radisson
Hotel Riu Palace St Martin St Maarten-St Martin/Anse Marcel

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