We just finished our 8th stay at the Westin Dawn Beach in the last 6 years. It remains one of our favorite vacation spots in the world. The staff -- from the bellmen when you pull up to the front desk to housekeeping to the casino dealers -- are wonderful, welcoming and warm. There has clearly been on-going maintenance and upkeep around the property - new carpets in the hallways, new shower fixtures, and some cosmetic work around the pool.
You need to rent a car -- the hotel is located about 2 km off of the "main road" of SXM, and it's a steep (nearly 400 foot vertical rise) hill if you want to walk over to Mr Busby's or the Marina area. There are always taxis available, and it's about a $20 ride to just about anywhere if you prefer not to drive the unmarked streets in the dark.
That said, this isn't the highest end of the Starwood properties -- it's above the midpoint in terms of price and exclusivity, but I don't understand the complaints about cost. It's a fair price for high season considering the hotel facilities. Similarly, I don't understand complaints about service - what I have found is that if you treat the staff with gentility and respect, and don't bring a large dose of NY attitude, things are great. I witnessed more than a little bad guest behavior during our visits, from vulgar abuse of casino dealers to people who can't be bothered to clear towels off of (limited) pool lounges when they leave to people making demands of the concierge when they can't get dinner reservations during the Christmas-New Year's week (we book ours 2-3 weeks in advance). We have personally never experienced anything other than top-notch service here, and after our 3rd or 4th visit, the staff began to greet us by name. I don't get that at other Starwood properties where I visit 5-6 times (a year) for work. Even though the hotel has had a few different managers in the last 6 years (this is standard Starwood practice; they move people around and it's NOT a reflection on the property or the managers) the quality and consistency -- and the staff "family feel" -- hasn't changed been affected in the least.
The casino is small but reasonable; the rules are not exactly Vegas or Atlantic City player-friendly but if you want that action, go to Vegas or AC. The restaurants are fine but with some world-class French cuisine all of 15 km away in Grand Case, you have to venture out and explore.
If I have one (and only one) issue -- there is almost no shade by the pool. If you want to be outside and avoid the sun, you need to rent a cabana poolside or on the beach -- we typically drive over to Orient Bay and rent umbrellas for the day for that reason, then come back and relax poolside once the sun is less brutal.
Other little details - there's a small Westin Workout room that was just updated (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bike, weight machines, free weights). The spa gets high marks from my family members who went for massages. The wireless works (again) and it even supports iPhone authentication, so if you want to use your iPhone without an international data plan, you can -- nice for Skype, WhatsApp, and iMessage.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches, The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten offers guests a true getaway. Scuba dive, take a ferry to Anguilla for the day, or just relax. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten Hotel St. Maarten/St. Martin
- The Westin Dawn Beach Resort And Spa, St. Maarten
- Westin St Maarten Martin
- St Maarten Martin Westin
- Westin St Martin
- Westin St. Maarten/St. Martin
- St. Maarten/St. Martin Westin
- Westin St Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa