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“Destination Wedding @ the Westin” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten

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The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   144 Oyster Pond Road, St Maarten-St Martin   |  
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Massapequa, New York
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Destination Wedding @ the Westin”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2009

I checked out, but didn't stay at this hotel last April when planning my destination wedding. All year I read the negative reviews on this site and after hosting my destination wedding (about 35 people) & staying for 5 days at the Westin (before & after our honeymoon in St. Bart's, so we stayed in 2 different rooms), I can give you an honest, unbiased review. In our group we had 3 infants (less than a year old), mostly people in their 30's (all of our friends), 6 senior citizens (our parents in their 60's & 70's). All enjoyed the trip. Here's why this trip was great for all ages. Normally I'd have a hard time finding a place that I'd enjoy & that my parents would also enjoy.

Beach: The beach & views are beautiful. Perfect for wedding pictures, not so perfect for swimming in. There is no lifeguard, so if you've been drinking too much or not a great swimmer, have some common sense to stay in the pool rather than trying to swim out to the raft. I did not see any dogs wandering the beach. And I wouldn't call the beach a public beach. There is no road access/public parking available to the beach. Only Westin guests, and people who own/rent condos along Dawn beach have access. AND I only saw less than 10 condos there. Then there are rocks that you can climb over to get to Mr. Busby's & Oyster Bay Beach Resort (timeshare) but I can't imagine people doing this with all of their beach gear.

Pool: There are teak lounge chairs with thick cushions around the pool. The palm trees offer little/no shade. If you want shade, wear a sun hat. And, it's the Caribbean so wear sunblock & keep hydrated. There are beach/pool waitresses, an outdoor snacking area for lunch, (or waitresses can bring you food), a swim-up bar which is accessible from the patio on the other side, and the hotel's main restaurant's outdoor (but covered overhead) seating overlooks the pool area. Food was good. Not all fried all-inclusive nonsense. For lunch there were veggie wraps, chicken salad & yes, still had burgers. You can get unlimited towels for the pool & they didn't hassle me about returning at the end of the day if I wore towel to the room.

Location: The Dutch side is cheaper than the French side for food & hotels. Also, the Westin is an Americanized property with American standards. You have to drive/cab to everything. St. Maarten has extremely steep hill, & a lot of curves. Although I walked to Oyster Bay & Mrs. Busby's, you probably won't want to. Unless you're staying in Philipsburg or Simpson Bay you'd have to drive/cab too. But the Westin is much nicer than any hotels in those areas, so in weighing the options I preferred the Westin & taking cabs to staying there (we stayed in Phillipsburg in last April). Also, if you stay on the Dutch side you don't need travel adapters for your blowdryers, razors, etc.

Convenience: Restaurants available in the hotel. There is a nice gift shop that carries sunblock, magazines, swimsuits, snack foods, souvenirs so you don't have to go out for basic things. Cabs are waiting in the garage so they are ready to go whenever you want them. Free parking if you rent a car, or have friends come from their timeshares to meet up with you. Free Internet in the business center. Spa & fitness center on premise.

Casino: the casino was clean. Lots of slot machines and a few tables for blackjack, roulette, poker & craps. We had 3 people win significant amounts of money - table games & slots. One person won over $1,000.

Children: there weren't many children here. We had 3 infants in our group though. They were able to get cribs & strollers to use during their stay. We also noticed 4 children participating in the kids club, so if that's something you're interested in, it's available there too.

Rooms: We had an oceanfront room, but I visited our friends' oceanview rooms. All were spacious rooms with balconies. We had a beautiful view of the ocean & even left our doors open at night so we could hear the ocean. There were 2 chairs & a table out there. The rooms have the Westin bed which several guests commented on & I heard them talking about ordering them for home. Bathroom had a jacuzzi tub & shower. Lots of room. I did see a 5 tiny ants in the bathroom of one room, but this didn't really bother me. I figured it was because of the humidity & I had left the doors open.

Downside: The airconditioners need to be put up higher. One guest complained that there was no hot water - yes her room was on the 2nd floor at the end. They should offer umbrellas around the pool.

If you are planning a destination wedding, we were extremely happy with everything. My review is of the property, but the staff went above & beyond to accomodate us. They met with us several times to plan our event & were there the day of to make sure everything went as planned. It rained and they were able to accomodate me by setting up our ceremony outside (as planned) between rainstorms & then brought the reception into the Opal lounge (smaller catering room). They also had the ballroom available but that would've been too big for us. The catering manager let us use the presidential suite to get ready the day off, and it was available (but we didn't use it) to us that night.

The Westin Dawn Beach was the perfect choice for our destination wedding.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (281)
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  • Italian first
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English first
Columbus, Ohio
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2009

I can't figure out the folks who didn't like this place. We stayed for 4 days - July 13 - 17th. It was absolutely beautiful. We moved here after staying at a really crappy place in Phillipsburg. This Westin was beautiful, clean, comfortable and the bathrooms are huge!. Every one of the staff we encountered were exceptionally nice and accommodating. We went for our honeymoon. When we arrived, we received complimentary chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. They also upgraded us to a ocean front room that overlooked the ocean and the pool. We ate at both restaurants, and both times the meal was great. We ate the buffet breakfast every morning and it was excellent. We ate at Aura one night which is one of their most expensive restaurants and it was very good. The hotel does have a casino, but we went during non-peak season so not many people were there as the hotel was not very crowded at all. The pool is great and has areas for children and adults. All of the services were available at the pool while we were there. The workout room is small, but has most of the "necessary" equipment. The beach was beautiful and was indeed very secluded. We didn't see any stray dogs that another reviewer complained about - not sure about that. Very few people rented the cabanas, since most people came out in the early evening and night to swim....it was very hot outside! Overall, this place was OUTSTANDING and I would definitely go again.

The only cons were the "sand flies", at least this is what the locals call them. Take some OFF or something, because they will eat you alive! They are very small like grains of sand so you can't see them, but you can feel them when they bite you. I came back with bug bites all over my legs - we were told this is why the locals always wear pants - even though it is very hot. Their is high speed internet for a fee in the room, but free downstairs in the lobby. Most people went to the lobby to use the free high speed.

Other than these two things - the place was GREAT!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SI NY
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

Just came back after 10 days at the Westin Dawn Beach. This was our second time there. What a difference a year makes. In the first 4 days had to change rooms 3 times. One room had a terrible mold smell. Another room had no hot water. Stay away from rooms 2192 to 2196. Also, the farthest rooms from the elevator, quite a hike. The worst was the dogs roaming the beach. 2 dogs in particular whose owner lets them out all day. He must own one of the houses down the beach. I was sitting on a lounge chair when one dog came next to me and decided to use the sand as his toilet, big pile of [--]. Disgusting. If my wife was around, I am sure we would have been packing immediately. That was the last straw after all the room changing. Apparently management knows about this problem, but because public beach, nothing they can do. Nothing they can do? How about notifying the authorities? This is a health issue. Will not be going back for a third time. A 3 year old resort should not be in this disrepair.
Too bad really, the beach is beautiful.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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chicago
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2009

The Good and the Bad but first the good.

Hotel location is far away from the madness and crowds of St. Martin. To some the location may be remote but we had a car and we thought it was good it was far and tranquil

The room we got was the best room in the hotel. My husband is a road warrior and has platinum status with SPG along with other hotel chains. We got the presendential suite which was huge and had a wrap around terrace. It was like having your own private condo facing the beach and pool. I could hear waves crashing day and night.

The service in the hotel was great. Everyone was super friendly from the restaurant staff to front desk to the door man.

Now the Bad

Hotel lobby and general architecture is very strange. There is casino by the entrance and for the carribean the lobby is literally dark and depressing

Beach and Pool are Average. Dawn beach is a pretty beach but is really small and the water has a lot of sea weed. I was not impressed, however my kids thought it was a lot of fun since the water was rough and they enjoy the surf and rough waters.

Food was mediocre at Ocean and we did not try the other place since with kids we like to keep things casual.

Overall St. Martin itself is not a great island. I was not impressed by it. The French side did not look very impressive either plus we are not into topless or nude anything and did not want to venture much into those beaches with our kids.

We spent two days during this trip in Anguilla and after experiencing that St. Martin looks really run down. We are already planning a trip back to Anguilla, the beaches there and the water cannot be compared to St. Martin.

We did visit Marigot and Phillipsburg and enjoyed a stroll through the market and also enjoyed some crepes in Marigot.

Overall we had a good room and my husbands status helped but I would not return to this hotel.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
San Francisco
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2009

Just got back with my wife from a weekend trip for her birthday. Here's a quick review...

Booked a standard resort view room with SPG Free Nights, but as a SPG Platinum I was upgraded to a great deluxe corner ocean view suite (room 2040). The wrap-around balcony was bigger than most rooms! As for the rooms, nothing special but they are nice enough. We had some great service as they sent up complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for my wife.

One BIG CON: There is NO shade in which to sit by the pool or the beach -- unless you purchase daily bungalows for $57 pool or $20 beach. That's seems pretty crazy. Been to SPG resorts all over Caribbean, Mexico and Asia and have never seen this? I could never take my parents here, as my father has fought skin cancer and I'm not going to rent a $360 pool bungalow for the week in addition to everything else...

PROS:
free wi-fi in lobby
nice small but clean casino
beautiful beach and amazing water (great colors)
decent prices for some things ($1 cans of soda and $2 bottles of water in lobby! that's a steal in the Caribbean)
good service for a Caribbean resort (and by good i mean decent)

CONS:
NO free shade anywhere!!!:mad:
a bit of a drive to Grand Case (rent a car)

EAT AT:
Big Fish

Overall, a great place, though I think I might rank the Westin St John higher in terms of overall resort experience -- and that largely has to do with the natural beauty of that island.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2009

There is nothing wrong specifically with the Westin. Staff was nice and attentive, room was fine (upgraded to oceanfront, but looked like the sitting area furniture had been removed). Casino was small and nice. Best part was the swim up bar - but how unique is that? Strange looking entrance - much nicer on the ocean side. A bit remote, but who wants to be at Maho or Philipsburg? Yuck.

The knock really is more about St. Maarten. Just not very nice. Ease of access from big jets in big cities, together with cruise ships and cheap room rates, cheapens an already downtrodden island. Westin is just a byproduct of that. Welcome to Coney Island South.

Stay on the French side, if you must go to the island. It'll be La Samona next time or nothing.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2009

beach was nice and clean, pool was great, clean hotel, nice little casino, 2 restaurants were both very good, only bad thing was going to Maho was over 40 mins away, other then that great place

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.

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Additional Information about The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten

Address: 144 Oyster Pond Road, St Maarten-St Martin
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St Maarten-St Martin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Casino Hotel in St Maarten-St Martin
#5 Luxury Hotel in St Maarten-St Martin
#8 Spa Hotel in St Maarten-St Martin
#16 On the Beach Hotel in St Maarten-St Martin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches, The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten offers guests a true getaway. Scuba dive, take a ferry to Anguilla for the day, or just relax. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort And Spa, St. Maarten
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten Hotel St. Maarten/St. Martin
Westin St Maarten Martin
St Maarten Martin Westin
Westin St Martin
Westin St. Maarten/St. Martin
St. Maarten/St. Martin Westin
Westin St Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten St Maarten-St Martin, Caribbean

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