Dawn Beach Club..This is a timeshare located on the grounds of the Westin, at the bottom of a very steep hill on Oyster Bay.
First glance of the Hotel is unremarkable, and "fortress-like". Thankfully, the deeper in to the property you go, the lovelier it gets. The lobby does share space with their bar and a Casino, but the Westin pulls it off tastefully. Just don't expect a tropical feel and you won't be disappointed.
We were quickly checked in (around 2:30) at the "Starwood" concierge counter. Given our key, directions to the parking and location of our 3 brdm unit #5104. It was actually such a quick check in that we walked away sort of scratching our heads. We were never instructed about the wifi, restaurants, where the amenities were located, etc. I noticed that there were only 2 staff members at the reception counter at the time, and they were multi-tasking. We actually felt a little too rushed.
We drove around to the timeshare section located off to the right of the main hotel and to building "C". Our room was still being cleaned, so we returned to the car with bags in tow, to tour the Island a bit. On arrival back to our room 2 hours later, our keys would not work. Back we go down to reception, and given a new set of keys. The young lady at reception thought that perhaps they had become "de-magnetized". Hmmmm..
Back again we went, eager at this point to just unpack and take a swim. No such luck! Our keys did indeed work, but it opened the door to another couple already checked in to our room! So embarrassing!
Yup.....back down to reception. This time the young lady apologized, asked me who had assigned me the room, and proceeded to explain that the original keys were correct, but the wrong room number had been written on our packet (rushed check-in..ahem).
Off we go back to building "C", and up to room #5105 this time. (with all our bags, plus a few groceries) We opened the door, and immediately got hit with an overwhelming musty, mildew, mold smell. Ughhhh.... I called the front desk and explained that there was no way we could spend a week in the room. The original gentleman who checked us in, offered to have a cleaning crew come up. Really??? There was no way a topical clean up was going to rid the odor from the room. Finally, he offered to come up with the keys to an "alternative" room #5103. Ughhh.
The unit was a few doors down, with a lovely view....... of the hotel wall. The interior of the unit was almost exactly like the "odious" room. Very nice, contemporary, well stocked, clean. It was a bit more worn and not decorated as pretty, but a whole lot fresher smelling!
He kindly offered us a $100.00 hotel credit, and the option to move (ughh, again?) if something with a better view or one of the owners units became available.
Well, you guessed it..nothing better ever became available. I did receive a call from one of the reservation managers a couple of days later, checking on how we were settling in. By that time we were well into our vacation and would not have been thrilled to move anyway.
*On a side note, she told me that only the owners get the prime locale ie: beach, and water view. Exchangers are relegated to the lower floors with a lesser view. Truthfully, no matter where you stay in building "C", your view is across the top of the hotel, and/or the parking lot.
Personally, we have our doubts about there not being another available room. "sigh"
Honestly, the units really are spectacular by anyone's standards despite the view. Just stay away from unit #5105 until they resolve the mold issue!!!
Note to self...always ask to see my room before I officially check in.
On a side note..Stay away from the timeshare peddlers parked at the side of the road near the Westin. They literally stop the vehicles going by. We were never really bothered at the hotel.
Anyway...after that rather bumpy start, we really did thoroughly enjoy our stay at the Westin. The pool area is beautiful. The service/staff were accommodating and personable. The beach is small, a tad rocky, but picturesque.We enjoyed swimming there. Always plenty of loungers by the pool and the beach. Bearing in mind this is their low season.
Tip: Cabana rentals are 1/2 price after 12:30. The blue "bubbles/half umbrellas are no charge and are first come first serve. Just inquire at the bar
We did visit a few other beaches:
Maho- very cool, not recommended for a relaxing beach day. Busy area.
Baie Rouge-Not as pink as expected, but very quiet. Calm water.
Mullet Bay-Large, calm water. Family spot. Pretty.
Orient Beach-Large, pretty, but crowded.
Pinel Island-OMG. A must do! Drive to Cul De Sac, take a $7.00 , 5 minute ferry ride to one of the most tranquil tropical spots you will ever find. Great food, cool waiters, and fabulous turquoise calm water.
We ate at some fabulous restaurants all over the Island in my quest for the perfect croissant!
*Le Tastevin/ In Grand Case-Exceptional service, gorgeous atmosphere and incredible food (french). Area is a bit run down, but many tourists walking about so it felt safe even in the evening.
*Taloula Mango/In Phillipsburg-Fun, beachy, awesome ribs, great view. Tropical vibe.
*Chesterfileds/In Philipsburg, Great Bay/ Just okay. Open late, crowded, decent food. Pier view.
*Le Vie en Rose/in Marigot-Sweet little restaurant. Great breakfast, fabulous cafe au lait. Great service. Good central location.
*Sarafina/In Marigot-Touristy, counter service, but fabulous beignets!
*Paradise View/in Orient Bay-Great service, even greater crepes. Fabulous panoramic view.
*BZH Creperie/in Oyster Pond. Wow, amazing atmosphere, best pizza ever!
*Carousel Gelataria and Bar/in Simpson Bay. Fantastic gelato, adorable, surprisingly whimsical. So clean! And a bar too!
*Pineapple Pete's/In Simpson Bay. Only had drinks, fun tropical atmosphere. Busy place.
*Piece of Cake/in Simpson Bay. Delish desserts (tried too many!)
*La Sucriere/In Simpson Bay and Marigot/ More delish desserts, yummy. Had a great sandwich on a baguette. Good cappuccino.
This was the first time we have rented a car on an Island, and I'm so glad we did. We would never have experienced so many fabulous places on St Martin otherwise.
We pre booked on line with Hertz. It was inexpensive and although you have to take a shuttle to pick up the car, they were very fast and efficient. Likewise upon return of the rental. Roads are very steep and not for the faint of heart. Lots of stray dogs to watch out for too.
We did a little shopping in Marigot at a very nice jewelry store across the street from La Vie en Rose. They have to buzz to let you in.
I found them to be a lot less pushy and more pleasant to deal with than the merchants in Phillipsburg. The gentleman that helped us was extremely nice, and very patient.
No matter what your vacation taste is, St Martin has it all. Overall, one of our favorite Island vacations so far. Looking forward to visiting St Martin/Maartin and the Westin Dawn Beach Club again!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.