There is no question that this resort is as beautiful in person as the pictures published on their website. The pool is huge, and overlooks the beach. The grounds are somewhere between a manor (my son's word) and a palace. But as beautiful as it photographs, there are still things missing--lots of things, that made our stay a mixed bag. I think it begins with the staff. Most of the reception staff were not friendly or welcoming, including the female manager on duty when we checked in and out. From the reception we received at other lodging in St. Martin/Sint Maarten, it was sorely lacking. The employees you come across throughout the property, generally look away, and do not acknowledge you. No one seems very happy to be working there. The last smile you get, seems to be the guy raising the gate. Parking is a pain, as you have to go through a second gate just to park that requires your room card. The rooms themselves are nice, but tight with two queen beds. Big bathroom/huge tub, with a separate toilet room, that inexplicably did not have a door on it. The room had a nice little flat screen television and great adjustable beds. But the rooms in the two main buildings, have long, dormitory-like hallways leading to them; and for some reason, the hallways and the elevator are not air-conditioned. None of the rooms face the ocean; all face the marina or the grounds. I knew that we would not be able to see the ocean, before I booked the property. But the property is so big, we could not even hear the ocean from our balcony. So sitting out on the balcony was no different than home, and we live on a canal far from the ocean. The property itself is situated In a valley, where the forested mountains did a good job of stifling any breeze. There seemed to be an unusual number of security people walking around, for a place that is so remote (the beach could not be reached by land other than through the resort), and takes a good six minutes of driving up and down hills (great views of Pinel Island area first, and then the resort). At the Blu, you have a mini-fridge in your room, but you cannot use it to store anything, because it is electronically rigged to bill you whenever any of its contents are moved. And then you are left to argue about the extras on your bill (there was a couple arguing with the front desk about this very thing when we arrived). The free breakfast buffet looked to be a highlight from the menu, but much of it was luke warm or cold, and tables were often hard to find. For that reason, we did not attempt to eat dinner at the hotel, where prices exceeded the gourmet restaurants we found in Grand Case. And when we tried to do an early checkout the night before our very early flight back, it took us 45 minutes at the front desk, with no other guests being served.
I can see how other guests would have loved this resort. If one has never been to the Caribbean or a similar resort, or if one is already there with a positive experience---like a wedding, the little things are going to unnoticed. But in previous visits to the Caribbean, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Golf Resort in Curacao (now called the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort after a feud with Hyatt), and Marriott's Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Spa. Both were very similar to the Radisson Blu--large beautiful, hotel chain resorts, located in a remote oceanfront area on a Caribbean island. But neither of the other two resorts, had the negatives I have listed. And the staff at the other resorts seemed to enjoy working there, and that helped our enjoyment of our vacation. For $300.00 a night (offseason), I think that should be expected. And for that reason, I can't give this place an excellent or even a very good. It's the little things that made this place average, no matter how beautiful it looks in the photos.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the Hotel The Hotel Riu Palace St. Martin, situated at the beachfront on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, is the perfect place for a dream vacation and it's ready for you to enjoy all the amenities and services RIU offers to its guests. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St. Martin Hotel Anse Marcel
- Radisson Blu Resort, Marina And Spa St. Martin
- Radisson Anse Marcel
- Anse Marcel Radisson
- Hotel Riu Palace St Martin St. Maarten-St. Martin/Anse Marcel