We were looking for a quick getaway from the bad weather up North and Captain Oliver’s was part of a Getaway air and hotel package on the Jet Blue site. I don’t think that we got a particularly good deal price-wise, but it was an easy way to make a last minute decision. Next time I would try to check with the hotel first to see if I could work out a better deal.
After the fact I can say that I would go back to Captain Oliver’s hotel, as there were many things about this small hotel that I appreciated. But in the beginning we had some disappointments where things were not what we had been lead to expect. That can sour you at first. Let me explain.
The hotel is not on a beach, which we knew. The hotel is on a marina and a bay facing out to the ocean. If you pay a bit more for a room with an ocean view--as was recommended by others on Trip Advisor, and advice that we followed--you will find yourself with a beautiful view, watching boats coming in and out, and I must say a large lovely comfortable room.
The disappointment was that the hotel was advertised as providing complementary transportation to a nearby beach (and this is still in the brochure and web), but upon arrival we were told this service was discontinued.
Taxis on the island are not cheap, and we did not want the bother of a car rental, which was recommended by the hotel. We did splurge one day and took a cab to Grand Case, where we had a nice swim in the Caribbean and lounged on beach chairs having lunch and drinks. Lovely, but the taxi cost $25 each way!
The other disappointment was that Jet Blue usually has vouchers from the airport to the hotel on these packages, but said they could not arrange for such unless they had 5 days notice and we had booked just a couple days before. We were given the name of the two taxi companies and told they usually would work with you when you got there, but we found they were totally unreliable and we had to pay.
From what I read in the local paper, some of these issues with the cabs arise from the taxi owners wanting to make some money and not liking the voucher system or the hotel arrangements for beach shuttles. I do not begrudge them the right to try to make a better living, but it is hard on the pocket books of budget travelers: it is an example of the world moving in the direction of serving the super-rich and the middle class not having too many options anymore.
Now you might wonder why I say that I might come back here. If you can do without a beach right there and don’t want the hassle of a rental car, here are the good and convenient points:
The room was quite sizable, clean and comfortable, with the lovely view. There was a small kitchen with an electric water kettle. You can shop at a very nice little market about a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
The pool was quite nice with a transparent glass side that made it like a “people aquarium.” Most of the time we had it all to ourselves. There were two small bars down by the marina that were quite fun late afternoon/early evening. People were friendly and drinks very reasonably priced. The restaurant at the hotel was okay, but we preferred to eat dinner at a small French place nearby, Quai Ouest, which I shall review separately.
Breakfast was pleasant and relaxed overlooking the marina. Although advertised as a full breakfast, it was continental style. But the coffee was good and the croissants excellent, both plain and delicious chocolate ones. So can’t complain too much.
I might also say that the staff at the hotel do their best to make your stay relaxing and as stress-free as they can, though it may be done in Caribbean time and manner, which means leave your impatience and wanting perfection back home. The Wifi only works in the lobby, so it was amusing to be sitting there at times with others also buried in their cell phones cum computers.
I personally prefer small hotels like the Captain Oliver to the large noisy resorts that cater to the all-included package deals. If you want a scene with lots of music and noise and food, this would not be your place. But if you want a quiet spot where you can stay put and they try to make you feel like part of the family, then this is it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Three star hotel located at the border between the French and Dutch side of the island, our rooms are spacious and offer beautiful views of the ocean and the St.Barths island or the Oyster pond marina. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Captain Oliver`s Hotel St. Maarten/St. Martin
- Captain Olivers Resort
- Captain Olivers Hotel