My wife and I, along with three other couples spent the last two weeks of February 2010 at the L’Esperance Hotel. A work colleague of one of these couples had been at the hotel at least three times in the past and just loved it. We were told that this was not a fancy hotel, but, that we would be comfortable and close to the beaches, restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacy, shopping, etc. In addition, the reviews that I had read agreed with this statement.
Upon arriving from the airport, the check-in was quick and simple, but I noticed that there was nobody to help us with our luggage. There was only one young lady at the front desk to handle everything, no concierge or bell-boy.
We were given only one door key which was attached to a one-foot long thin piece of metal. We were told to leave the key at the front desk whenever we left the hotel. The front desk area is within a separate building located next to the hotel rooms and is open between 7:30 am and 11:00 pm only. If you return to the hotel after 11:00 pm, you must get your key from a security guard and get access to your room from a separate entrance. To unlock the door to our room, it took about four 360 degree turns to the left and then one-half turn to the right, to remove the key.
I became worried when I realized that there was no knob on the inside of the door to quickly lock or unlock the door. The key had to be left in the lock, from inside the room, to lock or unlock the door. I became even more worried when I couldn’t find any smoke detectors in our room. The fact that the rooms are smoke-free is no excuse for not having smoke detectors installed.
Here is a list of items that should have required attention from the staff: The light outside our door was burnt. The room is equipped with a small kitchen, but, the range hood was defective. There was no fan inside the bathroom. The metal bed frame was broken and was never replaced, even after numerous requests. The freezer section of our small refrigerator needed de-frosting; it took the maid two days to clean it out, so that we could freeze water again in the ice cube trays. The A/C unit was installed on a bedroom wall. The maid turned it off every day after cleaning the room, to save on energy. When we returned to the room late in the afternoon, the room was very warm. In addition, while cleaning the room, the maid left the door wide open and mosquitoes flew in. The room had to be sprayed to kill them. One of our lady friends had a bad reaction to mosquitoes/bug bites and had to be taken to the local hospital. I must admit that the rooms were kept fairly clean. The swimming pool was clean but we realized that the filtering system was activated only for a few hours during daytime. If we wanted to go for a swim during the evenings, dead bugs or small leaves were sometime floating on the surface.
Speaking of the hospital; it is located about two kilometres from the hotel. You can hear ambulance sirens at all hours of the day and night.
However, my worst complaint concerns the backup electric generator. It just happened to be located next to our bedroom window. At 2:00 am the first night, it started running... for two hours, while the power was out. It almost gave me a heart attack when it kicked in.
Other comments have to do with the front desk staff. Most of them are young ladies in their early 20’s or late teens. One of them even had her 6-year old daughter behind the desk, with her. No place for a child. I am used to staff that are somewhat more “mature” than that. Sometimes, they couldn’t answer our questions regarding the island or activities, etc.
The exterior of the hotel is nicely decorated with flowers and climbing plant, etc. Lots of colour. Huge humming birds can be seen flying around all day. A few nice little salamanders (small harmless lizards) can be found around the swimming pool area sometimes. Don’t scare them away, they eat bugs.
The hotel is located in what I would describe as a “poor” section of town. Roosters wake you up at 4:00 am and all the neighbours seem to own a few and chickens, too. There are no sidewalks on most of the streets around the hotel and a 10-minute walk to the nearest restaurant can be dangerous, especially at night.
Enough about the hotel. If it was located on a hillside out of town, it would be fantastic! The only good thing about it, is its low cost. Other than that, I cannot recommend it.. . Sorry.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Guests will experience traditional Creole hospitality in their choice of 22 air-conditioned suites. Hotel L'Esperance is set just below rolling hills. Landscaped gardens, a sundeck and swimming pool invite guests to relax in the Caribbean sun. All suites are equipped with kitchenettes, cable television, and telephones. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- L'Esperance Hotel St Maarten-St Martin/Philipsburg