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“The Good, The Bad & The Tasteless (Food)” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

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Divi Little Bay Beach Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St Maarten-St Martin   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 13 Hotels in Philipsburg
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“The Good, The Bad & The Tasteless (Food)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

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.

The Bad:
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.

Room Tip: Ask for ocean view although it seems that all are there already.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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1,103 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (337)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

My husband & I had booked a 10 day honeymoon in St. Martin and were staying at Divi for the first three nights to be close to Phillipsburg, shoppng and some nightlife. Despite the fact that we booked a "KIng" room, we were given a double run-down with 2 full-sized beds. When I asked to moved and explained that we were on our honeymoon, the initial repsonse was unprofessional. Managment laughed and said they had no rooms but to check back the next day. We were moved to a much better room with a King bed the next day. I would have moved hotels otherwise. The beach at Divi is lovely. Fort Amsterdam is a short hike. The sunsets are nice, especially looking at from the infinity pool. However, the resort leaves a lot to be desired. It caters to timeshare guests. If you are there as a hotel guest, they want you to buy a timeshare. There was certaibly no lack of persuasion, which became cumbersome.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
DiviResorts, General Manager at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2012
Thank you for your posting on the internet. I believe we met at our Manager’s cocktail party where you indicated that you were on your honeymoon and that your room didn’t have a king-size bed. We indeed requested you to visit our front desk the following morning seeing that we were fully booked so we could see if another room would open up. I am happy to read that you were pleased with the room we assigned you that same morning. We are happy that you loved our beach, the fort and our infinity pool with the beautiful sunsets. We are sorry that we didn’t exceed your expectations and we hope that you will still visit our beautiful island.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Celine Van Meer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Princeton, Massachusetts, United States
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

My husband and I have owned a week at Divi Little Bay for about 10 years now. This year we traveled there for two weeks.
The property grounds are just plain lovely. The groundskeepers should be commended for the way the outside is kept. Beautifully maintained and lovely.
Our first week's room was at the top of the hill on the property. Anyone who has stayed at the Divi Little Bay knows that hill. It's a tough hike! But my husband and I can always use the exercise so it was okay. Our first night was marred by some loud music coming from Toucan's restaurant but it didn't go too late so it was okay.
Our second week, we stayed in our usual room facing Little bay. I always loved our usual room because it is lovely and quiet. The first three nights in our room were marred by the loud music coming from the bar area. I called to complain and the music was turned down for a short time. However, the volume was turned back up just before we were retiring for the night. This happened the next night as well. For the record, I add that I have a hearing deficit in one ear from a Metallica concert 10 years ago! And I could still hear the music despite being all the way across Little Bay from the restaurant.
I finally requested to be moved to another room. Sandra, the front desk manager is a class act. She was very upset to hear that we were being bothered by the music on our vacation. She moved us to a room as far from Gizmo's bar as possible...and the room could not have been more perfect. The last nights of our vacation were absolutely perfect. We could sit outside on our balcony and enjoy the sound of the waves in Great Bay which is what we always liked about Divi Little Bay.
There are a few things which should probably be addressed about the resort however. The service in all of the restaurants is just plain bad. It is my belief that automatically adding the 15% to the bill for the tip is what is driving this poor service. I know that many of the restaurants on the Dutch side of the island do this and it is unfortunate.
On the French side, tips are not even expected unless you receive extraordinary service. and we have ALWAYS received extraordinary service on the French side.
There were a couple times that we ordered pizza at Gizmo's (whilst shouting over the overly loud music I might add) when we felt like we were actually bothering the bartender.
It appears to us that Divi is trying to get people to stay at the resort and that is why they are hosting live music. If you want people to stay and eat at the restaurants, the food quality and the service need to be improved markedly. My husband and I talked to several long time members who agreed with us on the food quality and service.
Another issue we had was on checkout day. Checkout is always a bit of a process so we tried to get out of the room around 10am to make it down to the front desk. We called at 10am for a bellman and waited 45 minutes. Still no bellman. We called again and waited 15 more minutes. Still no bellman. So, we decided to carry our bags down ourselves.
It seems that there ought to be a better way to handle this. There were plenty of groundskeepers out there with golf carts and we wondered why those weren't pressed into service on checkout day.
All in all, Divi Little Bay has made some huge improvements in the past 10 years. Hiring Sandra Rogers as the front desk manager was probably the biggest improvement they have ever made.
However, the food and service at the restaurants is really lacking. And it would be nice if they had control over the people who were playing the music so that if they were asked to turn it down they would leave it down.

Room Tip: Getting a room on Great Bay side was the key to peace and quiet for us.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Kansas City, Missouri
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

This was a fantastic place to stay for our honeymoon. My husband and I went here after exchanging time share through RCI. We were there over thanksgiving and got to celebrate the holiday there. The beach at little bay is beautiful, with free chairs/umbrella (not so anywhere else on the island). It was busy, but we had a lot of fun. The on-site restaurants were fantastic and great price. We sat through the sales pitch for a Divi time share but, even though we didn't buy, Haresh was nice and a good salesman. Russell assisted us with our baggage and was nice and accommodating. Juliana was our concierge and she was always helpful and friendly. The room was a studio one-bedroom and had a convection oven and fridge. The view from the balcony was probably the worst in the resort (our building was behind others) but it was still gorgeous. Fort Amsterdam was also inside the resort and we hiked up to watch the sunset there-- totally worth it! The view of the cruise ships in and out of harbor was great. Unlike Laurie S., we really enjoyed the live music and the Seabreeze Cafe. They had delicious Mahi-Mahi and the bands were good. The location was perfect between Simpson Bay and Phillipsburg but turning that sharp corner into the resort could be dicey at times. Overall, the best vacation I've ever had!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We had previously exchanged for a week at the Divi Phoenix in Aruba and loved it. When we had the opportunity to exchange at Divi Little Bay over Thanksgiving week, we jumped at the chance. Overall, this was a great resort. Everyone was helpful and pleasant. Loved the view of the cruise ship action from our balcony and the beach was a short stroll away.

We had a one bedroom unit with a sofa bed. The king bed was comfy and the main bath huge. My teenage son (6ft 1) said the sofa bed was pretty good. The kitchen worked well for breakfast and lunch prep. The patio was a good size and was great for morning coffee and cruise ship watching. More than enough storage throughout the condo.

We rented a car from the onsite agency and enjoyed having the freedom to come and go as we pleased. We felt very secure throughout the resort.

The condo is in need of some sprucing up - ceilings, tile grout, slider bar on patio door - but it is cosmetic only. Everything was fully functional.

I would happily return to Divi Little Bay.

Room Tip: Prior to arrival, I requested a ground floor room due to some knee issues. There are no elevators a...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philipsburg, null, Netherlands Antilles
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

Last Saturday we had a Cocktail, Dinner and Entertainment Party at The Seabreeze Restaurant at Divi Little Bay Resort and it exceeded our expectations by far! Staff and F&B Director in particular were very driven to make all our dreams come true. Fantastic location at the water front around the pool, which lights up the party even more. Best location on SXM for your private parties!!!

Thanks Arjan!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
New Canaan, Connecticut
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

A great value for the money! We had a ground floor junior suite with a patio that was less than 30' from the sea. What a view!!! In addition, the bathroom had a jacuzzi tub & a great shower with tiled seating. The grounds of the entire resort were very well tended. Housekeeping staff left something to be desired though -- very casual approach to room maintenance but just good enough to keep us from complaining. Front desk staff are reasonably friendly. (Pick up a copy of the International edition of the Miami Herald at the frront desk every morning, if you're interested in what's new in the world.) Excellent TV channel selection in the rooms. // Several fresh water swimming pools on the property. The property, by the way, is enormous. You won't feel hemmed in by your neighbors. Some free activities for children & adults were available -- not many though. But the beach at the resort should be enough to keep anyone of any age happy throughout the week. // As for the restaurants: 1. Try Toucan for breakfast & dinner. Very good. The dining room is rather luxe. Nice patio for outdoor dining on the seafront. 2. Gizmo's is a beach bar, serving a limited lunch/dinner menu. Live music in the evening. Nice ambience. Sea Breeze is a pool bar & lunch place. We never ate there. Rather crowded during the day. // When you've tired of the sea, the pools, & the food, try a hike up the hill to Fort Amsterdam at the southern end of the property. The ruins are very interesting & well marked. The views were over the top incredible & well worth the uphill hike.

Room Tip: Choose ground floor beachfront rooms. You can watch the sunset from your patio. (Some buildings are...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

Address: Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St Maarten-St Martin
Location: Caribbean > St Maarten-St Martin > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Divi Little Bay Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 220
Reservation Options:
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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

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