St. Maarten has it's good and bad and Divi is no exception as I will explain from our December 2-9 visit.
The Good: The rooms are nice sized. We had a 1 bedroom and it was spacious. The hotel was laid out well too. Beach was very nice (not white sand but soft in most places) and waves were mild for the most part. We were located above the pool area and Sea Breeze Restaurant. My wife was fearful that it would be noisy but the place never seemed busy or noisy (a good thing for those seeking peace) and there was nothing more than the waves that could be heard at night with our doors closed. We also had a nice ocean view from both decks. Very scenic and the terrain is beautiful. The personnel were very nice. We rejected the time share people and they accepted that without malice. They were not annoying but tried as they should to reel guests in. The AC was strong although turning off the unit was a challenge. The trick is to set the fan on the economy mode. Who knew? All people we dealt with seemed very nice although not overly friendly. Sort of whatever you need, they could do it but nothing over the top.
The resort seemed very safe. So did the city for the most part. I did not feel threatened or harassed when traveling around. Security seems to keep most of the street vendors out although a few showed up. Everyone was easy to shoo off when we needed unlike Jamaica or Mexico can be. The beach was never crowded and it was easy to get an umbrella and chairs. Nobody worked the beach so you needed to get up for food or drink. Not a huge deal. Umbrella and water sports people were nice and did not push you for anything. Some days I tipped more and some less.
Nothing horrible other than the bad food. I know some of you readers will not complain about it and everyone is different. I hated the food because I am used to Jamaica, Mexico etc where you can get food with flavor. In fact I met guests who said it was "pretty good" or "not bad". So you won't get poisoned or sick but after being at the resort for 7 days and not having much energy (wife was not well and the 5 year old wanted to stay at the resort) we were forced to eat at one of the 3 restaurants. Toucan's, which is the nicer one in terms of it being indoors, was just basic. There was a $40 per person lobster and steak dinner that we bought that was so so. The 1/2 lobster you get was grilled and little dry. The steak was not too dry and tasted ok. Again nothing horrible but this was the best. Side dishes we very bland which I don't expect from an island country. The people in St. Maarten seemed to brag about the fact that they grow nothing in the country and everything is imported. But nothing at the resort had flavor. Toucan's also served a $16 buffet breakfast that was very mediocre. No flavor omelets, no taste potatoes and onions (I did not think it was possible) and again nothing terrible but nothing with a kick or zing or taste. The fresh fruit was not bad but for $16 each plus the built in 15% service fee (tip) for the buffet and I did feel a bit violated if you know what I mean. By the way, many places have that 15% service fee so Divi is not unique. In the defense of the staff, the service was decent but it was a buffet. But service was good for the most part even at the resorts with wait staff. So this is not a bashing.
On to the other 2 restaurants Sea Breeze and Bay View aka Gizmo's. Now what kind of island resort forgets about rice? These 2 do. Every damn thing you order comes with fries. You can't even order rice. I mean every islander eats rice and peas (beans) but you can't purchase it. The fries are not bad but come on! After a week pleeeease! I need some variety. These 2 laces seem to have the same bad food. Dry chicken, horrible buffalo chicken wings, so so Mahi Mahi, Shrimp was okay but very small serving. But even the employees were complaining and knew it was simply wrong to not have rice. There is an old parrot that hangs out at the Gizmo's Bar named Gizmo that is cute and sometimes annoying. He dies not fly but will climb onto the table and eat your food. At the buffet it's not a big deal and with the quality of the food I actually felt bad for the parrot.
Pricing was high at all the places for what you get although the whole island seemed pricy. So renting a car will at least get you to places that offer flavor, variety and more options.
The customer base was older. Seemed like the majority of guests were over 60. We met some nice families and were lucky we found a great 5 year old kid that bonded with our 5 year old. But the kids were slim to none. The kids club was closed most of the time and when open it was totally empty. They did had free tie die and T-Shirt painting. The health club looked good but I did not try due to my wife being ill. But it never seemed busy as did anything at the resort.
The rooms (ours at least - #309) were run down. Broken mirror hanging on 1 screw, one shower head that sprayed in all directions (the other shower was functional), a porch lite that was out, a closet door that was off the track, beds that were too soft, pillows that were too hard, sheets that seemed like sand paper, no blanket for the hide away, a threshold that had so much space that we found a salamander in our room one day (my daughter actually enjoyed it), mosquitoes that you could not see but stung the S out of me, housekeepers that cleaned but never seemed to find the actual dirt and smudges that were all over - plus they left the doors wide open when they cleaned so the invisible mosquitoes could sneak in, sounds of moving furniture from above although the tenants were quiet for the most part, poor water pressure, lousy kitchen utensils. The safe was large enough to place my macbook pro and another DVD player and notebook PC. Very spacious and worked flawlessly. No elevators which was fine but warning to anyone who has to walk to the 3rd floor room.
So again I am not slamming the place. Other owners said the place was upscale for St. Maarten which may be true. No action at the resort for anyone single or teens. There were a few teen girls that I kept seeing walking about and seemed to be looking for males but only found mosquitoes.
My advice would be that you don't expect Mexico quality. Rent a car (we used Thrifty on the property and paid $150 for 5 days) and eat out. There are good places outside the resort that we stumbled upon. For $10 - $20 or more per meal, the cost for such bland food is not worth it. For the 9 hour travel day (connecting through Miami), I just won't be rushing back to this grow nothing island. I much prefer Mexico or Jamaica. Although you do feel safe here.
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- Also Known As:
- Divi Little Bay Beach Hotel Philipsburg
- St Maarten Divi Little Bay
- Divi Little Bay Resort
- Divi Little Bay Beach Resort St. Maarten-St. Martin/Philipsburg
- Hotel Divi Little Bay Beach