What would one need to have a great holiday?
Wonderful accommodation: double check!
After years of visiting (among others) Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire we decided to give Sint Maarten a chance. Boy, did we hit the jackpot!
As we are a family with a boy of 2,5 (and one in the oven, so to speak), hotels don't always fit our bill. We like to set our own pace, have privacy and even do some cooking during our vacations. Hotels can provide this sometimes, but a place of our own always seems to be better in place for us. So the search began... Flights were booked easily, also because there is only one real option from The Netherlands. So KLM would take us in 9 hours directly to SXM. Always good and very convenient, little expensive but we knew that.
Onward to the accommodation. Touroperaters have little to offer, apart from the (small) selection of hotels, so that wouldn't help us very much. After some searching we came across the website of beachsidevillas.com. And it looked very promising! We knew that we would be visiting the island during off season, even during hurricane season for that matter. So I mailed the (American) owners with my questions (and request for a price quote), which was answered very promptly and -more important- very friendly. No feeling of being a number whatsoever! Got a good price (we got basically the second bedroom for free) and made the reservation. As this is a smaller, privately owned property we had to transfer the amount due to the USA instead of paying by credit card or on site. This caused a little anxiety as we were paying somebody a rather fair amount of dollars, without knowing them. But the way of communicating by Yolanda made us feel assured.
So what did we get?
A small resort (14 villas) directly on the beach! The season made that the beach was small, that's nature. But still, enough to enjoy and built a lot of castles.
At arrival, the wonderful manager welcomed us in a very pleasant way and made sure we could acclimate fast. Even some cold beverages were already in our fridge!
I believed I made a reservation for a car rental, but the company didn't show up at the airport so we had to arrange something different. Marv (the manager) arranged that within 30 minutes a rental was in front of our villa at a great rate. Top notch service.
The villa itself was great. We got number 14, which is at the end of the row and directly at the pool. As we were the only guests during the greater part of our stay, we had virtually a private pool (and beach). The interior of the villa is caribean style and very well equipped. The bedrooms have a good AC, the beds are among the best I have had outside my own (and I travel a lot), the kitchen has everything you could possible need (and more), there is a barbecue and best of all: a veranda directly on the beach. The furniture, kitchen equipment (toaster, coffee maker, oven, cocktail blender, BIG fridge, lots of china, etc.) are all in great condition, it proves that the owners and management really want to have people a good stay, otherwise you don't bother that much. Did I mention that all villas have WiFi (free!)? A stay at a lot of 4/5 star hotels and they don't even have it (or charge big bucks). TV has the large US networks and even a video/DVD player is available).
We didn't bring beach toys and that was the right choice as the have a complete arsenal of toys, air beds, etc. to enjoy. That saves up some space in your suitcases!
At the reception they have a great selection books, so you don't need to bring them yourself.
During our stay our main activity was doing nothing. With a kid that sleeps in the afternoon and a pregnant wife activities a limited. But we enyojed it. Little swimming, sunbathing and reading with a cold beverage overlooking the water. Sounds good and it was.
We visited Phillipsburg two times, went to Marigot market (got some great fish at an even better price for the bbq), did the Zoo and went to Orient Beach. But why travel to another beach when you have one at three feet from your home?
For us, a dutch people, it was odd that almost nobody speaks dutch on Sint Maarten. After all it is dutch. At least officially. I believe our English is good enough, so no problems there, but still it's odd. The restaurant scene is also very much orientated on the american taste/likes but in general good. Shopping is heaven as the dutch side is completely tax-free.
All together, it was a great stay and think that everybody would enjoy Beachside Villas.
So no remarks? Well, there are -beside the pool and beach- no activities for children. And as we were the only guests at the time we visited, I don't know how it would be around the pool if all villas are occupied. Still I believe it would be good..
One thing: yes it is directly beside the airport. And yes, you do hear the airplanes landing and taking off (plane spotting heaven). But in the evening only the smaller planes land and at night there is no activity. If you close the windows, you can hardly even hear it. The surf gives more noise :-)
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- Also Known As:
- Beachside Villas Hotel Simpson Bay
- Beachside Villas St Maarten-St Martin/Simpson Bay