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“Older, but clean. Location is awesome!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Belair Beach Hotel

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Belair Beach Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Little Bay Beach | P.O. Box 940, Philipsburg, St Maarten-St Martin   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 13 hotels in Philipsburg
Houston, Texas
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Older, but clean. Location is awesome!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

This was an RCI exchange. The exchange rate was cheaper so I'm not complaining much. The place is older, but clean. This isn't a 5 star resort; however, it was nice and comfortable. You are on a beautiful island with awesome beaches. You aren't spending a lot of time in the room to begin with. Speaking of beaches, this place has one of the nicest. You are able to reserve your beach chair location for the week. Each room has a large sliding glass door facing the beach. It was nice to wake-up and eat breakfast to the surf hitting the beach. The hotel is located close to Philipsburg and Simpson Bay. Many of great places to eat and shop. The staff we came into contact with were friendly. I'd stay here again.

Room Tip: The higher you go, the better the view.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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281 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (102)
Date | Rating
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English first
Tacoma, Washington
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We had a family of 10 stay in 2 condos at Belair. Staff was pretty good but you could tell they had seen their share of tourists. We were cautious about expenses and therefore picky about our meal choice. Telling you, the Monday night barbeque rivals anything you have had in the US - ribs and chicken to die for. Cost was incredibly reasonable given the prices in this part of the world for food. Those of us used to condo exchanges were a little taken aback by the rooms - ours smelled of cigarette smoke, the other had misquitoes, but once we got in the Caribbean spirit and learned to cook with 2 burners and a microwave, we rocked it. Neither was worth reporting to the front desk because we knew we were lucky to find an rci exchange in this part of the world. The beach at the hotel was better than any other we saw because it had actual waves. The units were really clean, had amazing views no matter what floor, but do have 1970's bedspreads. Telling you, it just didn't matter. Great central location as I think it was one of the original resorts. Be prepared to pay for every little thing - washing machines, soap, internet, wireless, government taxes on top of room charges, phone charges (really-cell phones are only good for pictures), and any unreturned keys or remotes. Still well worth

Room Tip: The master was quiet but sparse, the second room is pretty darned small and the pull out was -- well...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

Visited one of our favorite islands for the seventh time in June this year. Belair is located one bay away from Philipsburg and easy drive to Simpson Bay area or up to Oyster Bay area. Rooms are older but comfortable and clean. Staff very nice and friendly (just like the island). Easy walk to Divi next door and 5 minutes to restaurants or shopping in Philipsburg. We'll come back soon.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daphne, AL
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

My teenage boys, 9 yr old daughter and wife spent July 13-20, 2013 at the Belair Beach Hotel. I would disregard the negative reviews received for this property (at least from our perspective). This is what we found:
1. All rooms have awesome views. The higher you go the more privacy you have. Not much privacy on the first floor but you can walk right out onto the beach.
2. Gingerbread Café was very good. Actually, we tried the restaurant on the beach at Divi and found it was actually just OK. Don't know if this is cyclic or what but the boys had a burger there and it was just a flat, frozen patty where the ones at the Gingerbread were definitely hand made.
3. The room was clean, the beds were comfortable (we prefer firmer mattresses so these were great).
4. Sandra over at the Discovery Dive Shop was Awesome! My 9 yr old daughter even went scuba diving! Very thorough and patient. Highly recommended.
5. Bob Cass' (Soualiga Destinations) 10a to 4p boat trip was Excellent! You won't go wrong with this guy. He keeps a close eye on EVERYONE!! Bob makes sure everyone is comfortable and having a great time!!
6. Chesterfield's Restaurant was awesome in Phillipsburg, Lee's Roadside Grill was very good also as well as Zee Best.
7. Roy's Deep Sea Fishing was very good. 3 tuna were caught and we ate 1/2 of one for dinner. The chef at GB cooked it for us :-). (Some Captains keep all of the fish and charge you to cook it.)
8. Loved the Guavaberry-collatas!! Can be purchased all over the island and can buy a bottle from the Guavaberry Emproium on Front Street.
9. If you take the tour on Mondays, I would make sure before you leave that it stays on schedule (2p to 4p) and that you will be back at 4p. 3.5 hours in a cramped van is just too long. Otherwise, the first part of the tour was nice.

All in all a very fun trip but after already visiting other Caribbean Islands of Barbados, St. Lucia, Grand Cayman (East side-Morritt's Grand, not the over-crowded 7 Mile Beach area), and Key West I was wondering why this island would have spent 10s of millions of dollars on a new airport terminal building and a new bridge over the harbor when the island has greater needs- removal of abandoned boats, derelict ships in the harbors, cars, trucks, shipping containers, washers, dryers, etc. there doesn't seem to be anywhere to dispose of things like this). While these are not overly prominent on the "main" roads between the cruise ship terminal and Simpson Bay, it is very prominent off of those roads. The island can be "more" and I would like to see it be more than it is presently for continued tourism to thrive. I overheard these same observations from other couples that have been visiting the island for multiple years as well. There are also many closed businesses, restaurants and bars that give a bad impression.
If I were in a place to give the governing entities on the island a word of advice, it would be to clean up the island else risk its entire economy as we would not likely return to the island in its current condition. The beauty of the island can only mask so much.

Room Tip: the higher you go, the more privacy you have...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

My wife and I spent the week of June 15th -June 22 at the Belair Beach Club. We are timeshare owners and read a great deal before we arrived so we feel our expectations were in line with the service and quality that we received from the Belair.

From day one with our pick up at the airport by Starlite Car rental through to our last day lounging on the beach awaiting our catamaran charter we received friendly service with a smile and laugh or two ..

We emailed "Jody's Store" ahead of our trip and arranged to have our room stocked with some staples for the week . Milk, cereal, cheese, eggs, fruit, beer, bottled water, diet pepsi ...more beer :) etc. (Note: the prices are high. We spent about $300 bucks. An apple cost $3 USD and a case of Carib was $24 USD). But we didn't do this to save money, we did it for convenience and it was done beautifully , Thanks Jodi's staff! It was great to walk in the room. drop our bags and twist off the top of that first cold beer on the balcony. The staples lasted the whole week and we really enjoyed not having to go figure out where the nearest grocery store was located.

We rented our car from Starlite which is headquartered at the Belair . We were picked up at the airport and driven to the Belair. At the end of our stay at the Belair they gave us a ride to the Marina where we caught our sail charter. I got the little Isuzu I10 which is basically a roller-skate with an engine and found it was all we needed. Remember.... what Americans call a driveway the Caribbean calls a highway. You want something small and nimble and speed is not an issue . If ever reach 45 mph (73kph) on a small Caribbean island, you are probably getting ready to see your life flash before your eyes. One day we had a tire that was low on air and they repaired it with no problems. Another day we left a light on in the car and drained the battery. Our fault totally. "No Problem Man",,,, they gave us another car to use while they charged it up . Thanks Kevin! :)

We stayed in room #317 . The room was clean and roomy and the view from the room was great. All appliances and plumbing worked as expected, although the hot water was not as hot as my wife likes!

The first thing to do when you get to the beach is to find the "Fish Hat Guy". He will reserve your chairs and umbrella for your stay and he is also the guy that issues daily beach towels.

The Gingerbread Bread is the bar/restaurant/sporting news outlet located on the resort. Rufus was our bartender and happy hour maestro. Brenda and Myrtle also work there and ensure good service and a very friendly experience. Best meal at the Gingerbread was the pan fried grouper on seafood night and the ribs on BBQ night. Happy hour starts at 4pm daily, 2 for 1 specials till 6. They ring a bell at 4 and everyone comes running!

We planned to skip all orientations and timeshare activites simply because we have been traveling with our timeshare for years and we have been through many pitches. I will say this, no one ever asked to make a presentation. We were waiting, we were prepared to be polite and say "thanks, but no thanks"... but no one ever mentioned timeshares. This sold me on RCI and the Belair more than anything else . They just "let us be" and enjoy ourselves....many thanks !!

Activities : We are active......we snorkel, hike and tour. But on this trip we used the Belair as a base to explore the island. We would ramble about to a different beach or beach bar every morning. Our number one activity at the Belair was reading on the beach and propping our feet up during happy hour. There are Jet ski rentals in between the Belair and the Divi . We watched many folks blasting off on their new favorite toy :). While talking to fellow guests we learned that the diving in front of the Divi is awesome. There is a sunken submarine and a sunken helicopter and an aquatics center there where you can rent snorkeling gear.

Best place to eat near the Belair: Pineapple Pete's. The Lobster thermador is awesome.
We also enjoyed "Cheri's" in Maho which has a floor show that is a hoot, good food and cold beer.

Favorite beaches : Mullet Bay (and Sandy's Snack shack ( it think )) , Dawn Beach ( in front of the Westin ) and Maho ( near the airport ) Orient Beach for the adventurous adult and La Galleon for family oriented beach life (very shallow).

The Belair is not the St.Regis or La Sammana. If you go there with the intention of being "served" constantly then you will have a negative experience. Howver If you go to the Belair with a smile you will get one in return. It is clean and "homey", the views are awesome, and "Caribbean time"" is the regimen. And we would definitely return.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

I was nervous about staying at the Belair after reading some of the reviews. However, I was happy with my stay. It is an older resort but very clean and the staff is very pleasant. If you are looking for a 5star resort, this is not the place for you. We had a two bedroom unit and the second bedroom is big enough. Many reviews stated it was extremely small, we found it to be fine. Every unit has an ocean view and with a great balcony. We did not encounter any mosquitos but there were ants. They do have bug spray in the room but we didn't use it. The ants weren't bad enough.

We didn't eat at the gingerbread cafe, just went for happy hour everyday from 4 - 6. You get assigned beach chairs and umbrella at the beginning of your stay. The AC in the unit is very good and the water pressure in the shower is excellent. The kitchen has enough items and they provide dish soap with a sponge. The beds are not comfortable and sheets are wore down.

Room Tip: Choose a higher level room
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
gregoryevan, Manager at Belair Beach Hotel, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
We are exactly as you wrote - an older resort but we take care of ourselves. Our staff cares, the majority having been here over 10 years and this makes a difference. We are steps to the beach and every suite has a balcony overlooking the beach. Besides the beach, our staff makes our hotel. They welcome everyone with a smile. We look forward to seeing you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

My family enjoyed our stay in St Maarten and the Belair Beach Hotel was one of the reasons. Our room, as with all the rooms at the hotel, faced the ocean which provided almost a constant warm and refreshing breeze. Room 314 was at the level where we can see over the coconut trees with an unobstructed view of the ocean and daily (early morning and afternoon/evening) passage of cruise ships - what a sight! The beach itself was uncrowded and loungers and umbrellas were reserved for us for our entire stay. We chose this hotel because it was reviewed as peaceful and quiet, away from the main strip in Philipsburg. The ocean waves were relatively calm and the water was clear. The Belair Beach Hotel shared the beach with the Divi Little Bay Resort right next door, where we also went for dinner one night and took scuba lessons at the Aqua Mania dive shop right on the beach.

Check-in was quick and efficient and I was pleasantly surprised that time-share sales and promotions were minimal in the form of a single reminder and suggestion to attend an 'orientation' on Monday. That was it! I enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of the place and the friendly staff who were willing to help when you need it but who also knew or sensed when you simply wanted to relax. Great job!

I suggest renting a car to really appreciate the island and its many restaurants and beaches. We rented a car for a week from Starlite Car Rental who were based at the hotel. We initially communicated with Shanyra via email to get many details about the car, rates, etc and booked the car online and we were picked up at the airport and driven back to the hotel. A shoutout to Kevin for being very friendly and informative. When I actually picked up the car, I was upgraded to a bigger car because the size I had booked was unavailable - what a bonus! It's great to drive around to the busier areas in the island but it's always nice to come back to a peaceful 'home base'.

We ate at many restaurants in St Maarten but our favourites were Zee Best (for breakfast - heavenly crepes and croissants), Pineapple Pete's (lunch and dinner), Taloula Mango, Greenhouse in Phillipsburg, Carousel (gelato!!! and we were here almost daily).

When we return to St Maarten, we will definitely stay here again!

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean and we stayed in room 314 - higher floors (3 and 4) give unobstructed view...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gregoryevan, Manager at Belair Beach Hotel, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
Nice to hear you had a wonderful vacation. We look forward to seeing you in the near future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belair Beach Hotel

Address: Little Bay Beach | P.O. Box 940, Philipsburg, St Maarten-St Martin
Location: Caribbean > St Maarten-St Martin > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Belair Beach Hotel 3*
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Also Known As:
Belair Beach Philipsburg
Hotel Belair Beach
Belair Beach Hotel St Maarten-St Martin/Philipsburg

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