Just returned from this property last night. My wife and I went and left the kids home. We had stayed here before hurricane louise (1995) when it was La Habitacion. The place is new, clean, well thought out from a design perspective and I am happy to see the other positive reviews. While we generally enjoyed our stay here, we are not likely to stay here again. Check-in was easy and relatively efficient (though not so warm). They did bring us a cocktail at check-in, which was very nice. But the ambiance of the place was a bit sterile. Can't say that one thing or another was wrong with the lobby (though the bar seems awkwardly positioned off to one side and had very few patrons), just didn't have a very welcoming feel to it.
The room was spacious and well laid out. Internet connectivity worked well, bathroom was large, sleep number bed was great. No compalints about the room, other than the toilet continuously running and losing the electricity on one half of the room until tey came and fixed it.
But the walk to the room and then to the pool is pretty far and the hallways the rooms are off of are also sparse and not very warm or inviting (didn't mind the walk to the pool at all).
Breakfast is included. Great! Even better if you like eating the same thing every morning. And they haven't yet figured out that if you put the bacon and sausage out in a stainless tray with a sterno under it when you first open, those that come in after, say, 8:00 a.m. for breakfast are going to have some pretty burned and dried out food. And some mornings were better than others in terms of the staff being attentive when you want that first cup of coffee. Please don't make me flag you down for it at $500 a night.
Much has been written about the pool. It is big, allegedly the second biggest in the Carribean, second only to Atlantis. And it is attractive. But when the hotel is pretty empty, as it was the week we were there, the pool seems oddly desolate. And it seems that they could do things to make it feel a bit more lively. Could they at least have some music playing? If you want to go to the pool to nap, you won't be disturbed. The beach is very nice and very calm for children. It does depend on what you are looking for, though. It is very quiet on the beach. Convenient if you don't feel like going anywhere and the restaurant is right there for drinks and lunch. But it can be fun to go where there is some action. We took our car and went to other beaches every day. In all fairness, we were only there 4 nights. If we were there 7 nights, like many others, we would likely have spent at least one day at the hotel's pool and beach.
On the topic of cars, you have to have one if you stay here and plan to go anywhere else. That's fine and I prefer the freedom of having one anyway. You just need to be aware that the benefit of being in a lovely, secluded setting has the opportunity cost of the road on the way in. No issue on my end, but it is steep, narrow and windy. Not for the faint of heart. Watch how much you drink at dinner knowing you have to negotiate that road on the way back. Again, if you are a less-confident driver, it will be a white knuckle trip for you.
They gym was a typical hotel gym - 3 treadmills (2 worked), a couple of bikes and eliptical trainers, a weight bench and a set of weights. If you are used to spending 2 hours in a fully equiped gym, you might want to adjust your expectations.
We used three of their concierges. Two were very nice and extremely helpful. The third was marginal. If you go, no matter where you stay, don't miss going to Pinel Island for a day.
Overall, a very nice place physically, but somehow through the renovation, it lost much of it's personality. Maybe hotels acquire a personality over time and we were just early, but we went when we went. The feel is like an upscale, beautiful conference center and there were several small conferences going on while we were there.
- 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 Martin / St Maarten/Anse Marcel