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“Great Resort For A Relaxing Vacation”
Review of Esmeralda Resort

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Esmeralda Resort
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Orient Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 11, 2012

My husband and I stayed at The Esmeralda Resort a few weeks ago and really liked the property. We began our trip by staying on the very busy Dutch side for a few days and then went off on a cruise. By the time we arrived at Esmeralda we were craving a quiet, relaxing resort - which is exactly what we found.

Our room was nice and big with an efficiency kitchen (that no one seems to use - we didn't either) and new furnishings. This is not a new property, but it has been nicely updated. There are a few tell-tale signs of the older property (a cracked tile here or there) but our room was bright, clean and comfortable. We especially liked having a private pool right outside our door. The resort is comprised of one story villas (that house 3 guest rooms) and share a private pool. It's great not having to take an elevator to your room and activities, and no thumping of other guests over your head - just slide open the patio door and step out to the terrace and pool. Just a short walk down the hillside path is Orient Beach with all the beach-party atmosphere you could hope for.

One of the advantages of staying at Esmeralda is it's affiliation with the Coco Beach Club on Orient Beach. You get the use of 2 lounge chairs, an umbrella and beach towels, free of charge. (Yes, a tip for the beach boy is expected.) We enjoyed eating at the Coco Beach Cafe, perched right on the beach, toes in the sand, and great people watching. Pizza and beer was a great inexpensive choice. You can also use your room card to charge food and beverages at several beach clubs along the bay. We took along a backpack, bought a bucket of beer (san the bucket) 6 bottles for $10 at a cafe down the beach and took them back to the room (equipped with refrigerator) and enjoyed them by our own quiet pool. Breakfast was ok - loved the croissants. We had a nice dinner at L'Astrolabe -again quiet and relaxed. There was nice easy-jazz entertainment Saturday evening.

After reading some of the last reviews, I have to put my two cents in about the service expectations at French destinations. Whether visiting France or a French island, I never expect a warm and gregarious encounter. I find the French to be private and reserved, but nice enough if you start out with a smiling Bonjour or Bonsoir. We didn't encounter any issues with the staff while staying at Esmeralda, but then again, we didn't ask for much assistance.

For more info, here is a link to my full trip report for the Esmeralda Resort, complete with pictures: http://www.wickedgoodtraveltips.com/2012/04/esmeralda-resort-st-martin-a-tranquil-beachside-retreat/

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank Boston-Travel-Diva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 11, 2012

Visited Esmeralda in Orient Bay, Saint Martin for a 4 night romantic getaway with my girlfriend. Here's the good, the bad, and (unfortunately) the ugly:

The good: Orient Bay is stunning, with beautiful fine sand and clear, warm turquoise water set against a backdrop of green mountains and two small islands offshore. The hotel is located on the less crowded end of the strip, which is a plus. The nearby village of Grand Case is 10 minutes away by car/taxi and has phenomenal French restaurants -- I especially recommend Le Pressoir. We went to Grand Case for dinner for 2 out of our 4 nights.

The bad: Nightlife in Orient Bay is practically non-existent, which I found weird since the entire beach is dotted with beachfront bars and restaurants. They all close by 8:30.

The ugly:
1) Hotel room: The room was dilapidated -- tiles were missing from the floor in the bathroom, shutters were missing from the shutter, the shower ran out of hot water very quickly, electricity was hit or miss. Our "King Size" bed consisted of two double beds that were pushed together. There were some stains on the comforter. All in all, it felt more like a youth-hostel than a $300+ p/night resort accommodation. I was just happy that the roof didn't blow off during a heavy rain and windstorm on our first night.
2) Hotel staff: You don't get the feeling that they are there to ensure you have the time of your life. One desk clerk/concierge couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone to make a dinner reservation for us; another gave me a hard time when I asked for extra towels for the room. These are just basic services that you shouldn't have to worry about.
3) Beach staff: As the prior reviewer mentioned, we were also told in those exact same words that if we wanted a good location for our chairs, that we needed to "take care of the beach boy." It was impolite, tacky, and just not what you expect to hear when you're on vacation. Of course we are going to tip well for good service - no need to set an intimidating precedent.
4) Restaurants: Coco Beach was fine, but pricey. We made a reservation for Friday night's L'Astrolabe "Lobster Party" and when we arrived were told that we had only the worst seats in the house available to choose from, even though there were plenty of poolside tables still available. The restaurant owner eventually let us move per my visible agitation, only to blow my mind like it's never been blown before when it started drizzling and he moved the umbrella that was protecting my girlfriend's head and plate away from her and closer to the adjacent table of "regulars." (He realized his mistake and moved our table under it again after she gasped and asked aloud "Is He Serious???!!!") The food was okay, but nothing compared to what we experienced in Grand Case, and the behavior of the staff and the proprietor was simply obnoxious.

My girlfriend and I had a great vacation enjoying each other's company in a beautiful part of the world; it was just a shame that we had to encounter such impolite and unwelcoming behavior from the hotel, restaurant, and beach staff. It's just not what you expect or are looking for when going on a short -- and luxe-priced -- beach getaway in the Caribbean.

I don't recommend staying at Esmeralda, and if I ever go back to the island, will most likely check out the Dutch side. The French-side is just a bit "tude" heavy. You have been warned!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank bronx236
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2012

First time on St Martin

Room was very dirty. Ants in the bathroom. Curtains stained & dirty Dust balls under the sink floors dirty, white slatted doors looked like they hadn't been cleaned in a year, had to slam the doors to get them to close. Small kitchen area with coffee pot, no coffee, microwave and sink.

When I told the desk manager about the dirty room he said " well we ve been very busy, maybe the maids haven't had time to clean properly! I'll make sure they do a good job tomorrow!"

I asked him how do you explain the ants? I just killed at least 12 of them He said "well thats a little hard to believe. We just had renovations and don't have ant problems!" As if I was making it up!
He couldn't relocate us because the resort was sold out. I found a few ants every day of our stay. And by the way, my legs are covered in bug bites.

The reception area is just basic, nothing special. Staff not very friendly.

We went to the beach and we were told flat out from the beach boy that if we wanted a good location on the beach, we needed to make sure we 'took care' of the beach boy every day.

When we came back at 5 30 to shower. We had no water Called the desk and they said 1 hr. 6:30 still no water At 7pm I called and they said a few more minutes A few more minutes, still no water. So we went to dinner,no shower no brushing our teeth The desk said by the time we re done withdinner the water wil be back We came back 10 30- no water! My husband went to the desk to complain and they tell him we can buy water for $3 a bottle because the water here is not good to drink with anyway ! This is a very common occurance in that area. Are you kidding?? Shouldn't someone have told us that when we got there??

I called the desk and say this is unacceptable at this point 4 hours with no water should be compensated in some way. Maybe they could give the guests who complain 1 bottle of water . NO we cannot do that! I ask why won't you take care of your guests and customers? I was told
"It's not their fault and there is nothing we can do for you."

When I said that we paid good money to come here and this customer service is really unacceptable, I was told, " I know what you paid for your room and you got a good deal ! " Unbelievable! Then he said "Listen to me sweetie ! I said excuse me but please don't call me sweetie...EVER! I'm an angry paying customer & you re calling me sweetie? We will never be back here again to which he replied " listen ma'am,miss whatever you want to be called, there is nothing I can do At that point I ended the phone call with this rude arrogant person. The water came back around 3 AM

I have never dealt with such arrogant,rude, unaccomadating employees anywhere ever! Seriously just wanted to fly home the first night. Would never stay there again.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Mstjs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2012

Just returned from 6 days on the island Stayed at Esmeralda. We stayed in room 393 near the entrance. The room was nice; located close to our pool. Not sure it was worth more than $400. per night. The other 3 units were occupied, but we hardly saw them. We were the only ones to use the pool the entire time. The beach IS a very short walk away as advertised. They have security at the main road entrance in the evenings, but they did not even stop us. I was worried about crime reports but we were carefull and felt safe at all times walking the grounds. We drove to Grand Case for dinner and returnedaround10pm each night with no troubles. We also drove one road north to Boo Boo Jams for dinner and dancing on Sunday. It was a mixed crowd of native St. Maartens and tourists. Everyone was very friendly. The Internet service in the lobby is slow, but works. Our only negative came on Sunday when the water went out for about 8 hours. They said it was everywwhere, but Boo Boo Jam had water. Not a big deal.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mark O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2012

I must have stayed at a different Esmeralda. My conclusion is that the place is okay, but not worth the a lot of money and not worth a lot of effort to get there. The rooms are indeed large (but sparely furnished), the pools are excellent (but no depth indicators), the employees try to help (but in French), the grounds are clean (but not more than that), and the beach is nice (but tight packed). The rooms have coffee makers (but no coffee). If you ask at the desk, the answer is there should be some for sale in the “pantry.” If there isn’t, and there wasn’t for a week, you can walk down to the Orient/American Village where you can buy it for twice the local market price.

Then there is the breakfast, which would be below par at a LaQuinta let alone a Drury’s. Every day the same apples and grapes in juice, canned OJ, and coffee, plus a basket of bread with individual jams that may or may not have been used. After three days, you are ready to buy the yoghurt.

The beach is operated by what I assume is an affiliate, since the loud spoken woman who runs the restaurant moves to the beach shop after breakfast. The beach is tight packed indeed. Beach chairs and umbrellas with a couple of feet clearance from one end of Orient Beach to the other. The rate is 15€ but is “included” in the room rate. Its fun to walk up and down the beach to compare the various offers. The beach boys have enough attitude to sink a battleship. The hotel restaurant is closed for lunch so you will probably end up eating on the beach. There are some small meals. A salad is 15€ (but halfs are available), mini pizzas are 8€, the specials usually range from 20€ to 40€. Generally speaking we found Orient Beach prices to be almost double the prices in Philipsburg, Marigot, or Grand Case.

Although the room card says the lobby is staffed 24/7, it really isn’t, its just the security guy in the evenings and early mornings.

Best to get a car before you go stir crazy. A cab to Marigot is $21 and to Pinel $20. Get a car and you can get away and enjoy Philipsburg, Marigot, Pinel, and Grand Case. Watch in the paper how many ships are in port. When it get to 6 or 7 the island goes into gridlock.

If you are on the East Coast and get away for two weeks a year, this place may be ok for one of them. But for my money I would either go upscale to a true luxury resort, or downscale to a spot on a deserted beach. I just thought that after spending a fair amount of money (Parisian prices was one phrase I heard) it was ho-hum.

Room Tip: The closer to the beach the better. Some very large accommodations available.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sausca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

My husband and I (61 yrs) took my parents (87yrs) to the Esmeralda Resort for a week in January 2012. The resort was not a fancy, luxury resort but was an attractive, well laid out resort that suited us well. The restaurant is the Astrolabe and that's where the breakfast was served. Continental breakfast is part of the deal. You could order eggs, pancakes etc at an additional cost. At night you NEED to have reservations - any night. The dinners are pricey but elegantly presented and very good. The drinks are expensive at all the regular restaurants but sometimes cheaper at beach bar/restaurants. There are 65 units put in groups of four - all on ground floor. Each quad had it's on pool - which was wonderful. Nobody else was ever there when our family used it - which we did often! Orient Beach is an easy 10minute walk through the resort - my parents had no difficulty with it. The beach restaurant for Esmeralda is Cocoa and we really enjoyed its amenities. As a guest they provided you with nice lounges and umbrellas, places to sit in the shade, someone to take drink orders and a fun boutique where I probably spent too much money! All along the beach are good restaurants, bars and boutiques. The end of the beach is a nudist area and totally nude people do stay in that area but there are a lot of topless women all over the beach - and other beaches on the island. The grounds were well kept and attractive and always had somebody working on them. The rooms themselves were like hotel rooms. We had king size beds, one soft chair, a table and two straight chairs. The "kitchenette" was the lowest point. There was a sink, cupboards with a meager amount of dishes, a hotel refrigerator and NOTHING to cook on. No microwave, burner etc. There was a decent coffee pot. They do not provide coffee but the bathroom has everything you need. Including a hairdryer. Each unit had a private outside patio with a small table and two chairs which faced the pool and we used a lot. We also had lovely mountain views. I would easily recommend this resort to anyone , families, couples young and old.

Room Tip: Our units were in the 540s and were well placed for everything. They were also adjoining my parents...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank kathyincornwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2012

Esmeralda was a great experience. The location is perfect...right on the beach. The room was beautiful, bright and very clean. The staff was extremely helpful. The beach is very quiet and away from all the "cruise" crowds.
We had had a bad experience at a nearby hotel and the staff at Esmeralda could not have been more accommodating.
This will be our hotel of choice from now on!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Debbie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Esmeralda Resort

Address: Baie Orientale | Bp 5141, Orient Bay 97071, St Martin / St Maarten
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Saint-Martin > Orient Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Orient Bay
Price Range: $206 - $429 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Esmeralda Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
ESMERALDA RESORT, situated on the magnificent white sands of Orient Bay in French St. Martin offers just 65 rooms and suites spread among elegant tropical gardens in 17 villas. Esmeralda is the only four star hotel in St Martin on Orient Beach.Esmeralda's Coco Beach Bar offers beachfront lunch & cocktails. L'Astrolabe, the resort's fine dining restaurant offers French Creole and Continental cuisine. Guests receive dining privileges at 12 + restaurants in Orient Bay. Only minutes to more fine dining,shopping and entertainment. Rooms include a kitchenette, king bed, sitting area and patio. What makes this property so special is it's unique plantation style layout with only four rooms or suites per villa. For privacy, each villa has its own swimming pool and each accommodation has its own private entrance and terrace... Guests may reserve anything from a single superior or deluxe room or a generous sized suite or an entire 3 - 5 bedroom villa. Due to the way this resort in St Martin is situated on the property that is perpendicular to the beach there is limited availability in the two ocean front villas that include the Presidential Suites and deluxe oceanfront rooms. All superior and deluxe rooms include kitchenettes. Suites offer full kitchens and large living rooms. Guests enjoy the peaceful surroundings and a cordial, pampering yet unobtrusive on-site multi-lingual staff prepared to assist with any special needs. Esmeralda offers free use of beach chairs & umbrellas. Each accommodation has a fully equipped kitchenette (suites have fully equipped kitchens including dishwasher), large tile bath with hair dryer plus a 110 outlet for shavers only, color satellite TV, room safe, air conditioning with ceiling fan, daily maid service. All bedrooms have Color TV by satellite (8 channels and video system), telephone, private safe, A/C, ceiling fan, private, furnished terrace, kitchenette with micro wave, electric coffee pot, refrigerator and dishes. SUPERIOR, DELUXE AND OCEANFRONT ROOMS: King or two double beds, kitchenette. Maximum occupancy: 2 people. Superior rooms have garden view and are generally located further from the beach. Deluxe rooms are a bit larger located nearer the pool. Oceanfront rooms are located nearest the beach. SUPERIOR SUITES: Spacious living room and bedroom area with king size four poster bed and full size pull-out sofa bed plus a fully equipped kitchen. Maximum occupancy: 2 adults & 2 children. PRESIDENTIAL SUITES: Large dining and living room area with full size sofa bed, separate master bedroom with king size colonial bed, TV in living room and master bedroom, 1 1/2 baths, radio/cassette/CD player and fully equipped kitchen. Suite is oceanfront. Maximum occupancy: 4 people. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Esmeralda Hotel Orient Bay
Esmeralda Hotel Marigot
Esmeralda Resort Marigot
Esmeralda St Martin
Esmeralda Resort St Martin
Renaisance Esmeralda Resort

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