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“Nice place, but lost it's ambiance in the renovation.”

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Hotel Riu Palace St Martin
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Anse Marcel
Reviewed April 6, 2009

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.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank NauticalNut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 31, 2009

I think the person who wrote the previous review was very accurate in the review... But I do want to add a few things which might be of help to future travelers...

We arrived here by taxi (hotel airport pick up would have been more expensive as would have been the boat..) - cost was $45 and the drive took about 25 minutes...

If you like latte's, ask for a cappuccino - the breakfast staff at "le marché" did not know what a latte was and told us that they only served coffee... but, they do have cappuccinos... here, a little more friendless would be appreciate... after all, after a nice and relaxing night, they are the first people you see in the morning...

On the other hand, the staff at "c-cub" could not be any better... they took excellent care of our two kids (6 and 9) - not animated at all, just plain nice...

The biggest disappointment, however, was the fact that the hotel is not quite finished, yet... the workers are putting on the final touches which will greatly enhance the experience when it is all finished... the hammering can be bothersome when you tend to hang out at the pool all day... yet, there is little that can be heard when you are at the beach...

The pool, however, is where you want to be - it is huuuuuuuge... our children spent most of their time shuffling between the beach and the pool -they had a blast...

FREE wireless internet - need i say more...?! you can, if you want or have to, access the internet via iphone and other devices anywhere on the hotel grounds... brilliant... but, there are also computer to use for free in the lobby - this came in very handy when we had to print our boarding passes -for free...

Overall, a good, clean hotel with a lot of potential... watch out for the prices, however - the resort currency is pegged in euros... ouch...

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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Thank poonhill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2009

The Radisson recently completed a 2 year reno on this property and I must say it is beautiful. The plantation style hotel and lobby were stunning. Upon arrival we were greeted and served rum punch. The staff was very friendly and outgoing. The hotel was immaculate. Outdoor sitting areas were beautifully furnished and lit by candles in the evening. The hotel has the largest free form pool on the island. Amazing beach, turquoise water. Buffet breakfast was included and very enjoyable. Make sure you head to the town of Grand Case, great restaurants. My favorite was a little French restaurant called Auberge du Gormande. We rented a car for our 2 week holiday so we travelled the island. Make sure you take a little day trip to the Island of Anguilla BWI . There is a ferry that leaves from Marigot (20 minutes from the hotel) every 45 minutes. You'll need your passport. Beautiful beaches with powder fine sand, loved it!! We rented a car for the day. (left hand drive) Make sure to stop at the Pyrat Rum Factory. Also we had afternoon tea at Koal Keel a 200 year old plantation house. The french bakery is open during the day, a must try, their strawberry tarts, delicious !!! They also have a restaurant, rum shop and wine cellar that are open in the evening.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank Lavenderlilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2009

Finally found a moment to complete my review so here it is (and I will not repeat the details provided by the previous reviewer). We are a family of 4, with 2 boys ages 11 and 13, and we stayed at the Radisson from Mar 7 to 14. We chose the Radisson because of its location (off the beaten track) and the fact that it was newly renovated (which meant lots of mature trees). For the most part we were not disappointed. As previous reviewers have said, the location is fabulous - the Radisson shares the small cove beach with only one other hotel. Being on the French side it also adheres to the building code requirement of only being 3 stories tall so it has that wonderful Caribbean feel. Most of the trees on the property are older having been there from the previous Meridien hotel.

Where to start. The reception area is a lovely open space and the staff are very attentive. Our check in was effortless and we were escorted to our Marina Suite (they gave us an upgrade to a Deluxe Suite which was on the 2nd floor and made me feel a bit more secure given the kids were sleeping in a separate room) within 1/2 hour of our arriving at the resort. My patience was rewarded after several calls to the front desk for our requested rollaway bed (there is a pullout couch, which I was kindly reminded of several times by the staff, but my 13 year old is a spread eagle sleeper and its impossible to share a bed with him) so we could settle the boys in the living room. Our bedroom had the much advertised sleepcomfort (??) bed. We played with it several times, don't know if I slept better because of it. The A/C worked great, but we did have an issue with the placement of the units, at least in the Marina Suites which cause them to blow on the bed so you have to pull the blankets up to your chin to avoid a draft (which my husband got the worst of being on that side of the bed). I gave my list of "fixes" to the front desk (a plexiglass diverter would solve the draft issue). I'm no diva but I know they will be annoyed at having to use the plug in the living room to dry their hair or use a curling iron since there was no plug in the bathroom (on my fix list too :)). Other than not having a place to hang wet bathing suite (fix list again), that is the extent of my grips about the room. We settled in nicely and enjoyed our 2 balconies (one out front, one out the back along the canal to the marina). There are mosquitoes and wee little flies which will find their way into your room should you leave the doors open which we did often since there was such a lovely breeze and next to no humidity. Nightly turn down service brought chocolates on the pillows (much to my oldest's delight).

Work is still being done around the property, including on some of the rooms. With 252 rooms, I don't think the hotel was more than 1/2 full when we were there. The spa is only just getting worked on so don't expect anything luxurious for at least 3 months( spa services are available in the "temporary" spa, located in about 6 rooms in wing 2 of the hotel). We did listen to jack hammers while at the pool but learned to tune it out. Likewise, the fitness centre is currently located in 2 rooms in wing 2.

The pool - what can I say here but IT'S MASSIVE! Lots, and lots of loungers and tables and chairs are available. I don't expect you will have to play the towel game here even when the hotel is full (though there might be a shortage of umbrellas with a full hotel). Lots of loungers at the beach as well, with umbrellas too. The cabanas are available to rent (didn't ask how much) and there is also a minimum food/beverage order you are required to spend when using the cabanas. There is also a hot tub which is HOT located near the pool. This is the first pool I have encountered in the Caribbean or Mexico with a fence and gates around it - liability issues being an American hotel maybe??

Since we weren't traveling with friends this year my boys had to entertain themselves which they usually do anyway. There is a foosball table which I hope finds a home NOT inside in a games room and it would be nice if there was also a pingpong table. There are 2 bocce (sp?) courts and a volleyball court on the grassy area, and a sad set of croquette mallets available for your use. We didn't use any of the water sports equipment (which you have to pay to use), and although I saw jet skiis, I don't recall seeing canoes, kayaks or sailboats down by the water. The ocean is lovely here, I went in once but since the wind was blowing like stink when we arrived (they cancelled the last race of the regatta due to high winds) there was a fair bit of seaweed in the water. It did clear up when the wind settled down and the beach was raked daily.

There is a kids club on the property but it is geared to 4 to 10 year olds so we didn't bother checking it out since our boys were older. Is this a new trend or am I just spoiled by all inclusives, but there wasa fee to use the kids club. When I spend a pretty penny to go on a vacation and a hotel has advertised it has certain ammenties I assume they are INCLUDED in my room rate. I've noticed the Radisson website is advertising "Free" kids club for the mornings during the summer months. Anyway, we brought a cheap mini football to use in the pool and some shovels to use at the beach and the boys were happy.

The food was good at both restaurants and we did eat at the Italian one across the road but found the service very slow (slower because we were freezing from the wind) which might have been because we didn't order wine? The food was good but we didn't return due to the service.

We went into Marigot to visit the vendors market - take lots of cash, and the vendors seem to prefer US $ over Euros. Don't forget to stash your taxi money for the return trip (we forgot to account for that so didn't have as much to spend in the market). Lots of souvenirs to be had. We had lunch at Rosemary's LoLo and then moved on to Sarafina's for a decedent dessert.

As other reviewers have said, the staff are wonderful (particularly Sunshine the service manager at the pool hut). He arranged for our taxi to and from Marigot .I had brought a suitcase full of our boys old clothes and toys which he also arranged to have picked up by the lady who looks after no less than 22 children who aren't able to be with their parents for various reasons. The staff even pitched in and arranged a bag of things for her to take for the kids.

We had a wonderful time and I wish we could have stayed longer - 1 week was not enough. I would definitely return to the Radisson.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank CG_Guelph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2009

ROOMS: My husband and I went to the Radisson for 5 nights with another couple for our anniversaries. Our friends booked a marina suite which was nice but had some electrical problems so they wound up switching rooms and we had a superior room booking (which is lower floor, garden view, and not a guarantee of a king bed) and we were upgraded to a deluxe room (King bed, 3rd floor, off the main building). It had a marina view which was great because the hotel is set back from the ocean and you really couldn't get close to the ocean for a view, so a marina view is the best water view at the hotel. We had a nice terrace off the room too.

The A/C was quiet and worked well. The beds were great and we had we had 5 pillows on the bed. I liked the decor of the rooms and they were clean. There are blow dryers in the rooms but they don't work in the bathroom outlets for safety reasons, so you can use it just outside the bathroom by the coffee maker (there is a mirror). They also supply a magnified light up mirror that will work in the bathroom. Electrical adapters are available at the front desk (with a credit card deposit) if you should need them.

There were 2 separate closets in the room which was convenient since my husband and I didn't have to share and inside was a room safe, an iron and ironing board, and a large umbrella which, sadly, we needed to use.

The rooms have free internet and there are 2 computers for guests use in the lobby.

BATHROOMS: I had read about the bathrooms at the hotel in other reviews. Here is my stab at describing them. The bathroom has a wide opening and there are 2 sliding closet style doors, which slide to meet in the middle when closed. They are attached outside the opening to the bathroom and they are not flush (no pun intended) with the wall so you could easily see in from the sides when the doors are closed. Pocket doors would have been effective but these aren't as private.

There is a separate toilet area within the larger part of the bathroom and that has no door, so even if you have the large closet style doors closed, you could still see in and see someone even in the toilet area. I think there should be something for privacy for the toilet area to allow some privacy for each area.

The tub had a shower in it and it had a half glass door which swung in either direction (so don't lean on it because it will open) and some water could get on the floor beyond the half door but you could control the shower head to avoid that. They do provide cotton bath mats and a bathroom rug. There are 2 bathrobes provided as well.

HOUSEKEEPING & STAFF: I found the staff was extrememely helpful when I asked for things like extra hangers, towels, toilet paper (there was only one roll in the room). The room had a large bottle of complimentary Evian water and we had bought a case of water. The ice bucket in the room was too small to hold 2 bottles of water so they even brought us a larger one from one of the restaurants when we asked! We had wake up calls daily too and they have automatic turn-down service nightly with Valrhona chocolates. Mmm!

In particular, Alvin drove us in the golf cart several times and showed us to our rooms and helped us out in any way we needed. He was very kind, friendly, and informative. His cheerful disposition was contagious.

We wound up leaving a car key at the hotel which was found by hotel staff. They are sending it to me and even called me at home to verify the address.

BREAKFAST: We all loved the breakfast buffet because they had so many choices and offered something different daily on the hot buffet. There was an omelet station too. They had bagels, English muffins, croissants, and other baked goods. I liked the nova (smoked salmon) which wasn't too salty. The only thing I didn't see was yogurt but they may have it, I just didn't ask. The Miami Herald is available, free of charge, at breakfast daily. There were all kinds of fruit, including fresh coconut too. You can even get a coffee to go in a paper cup which I did several mornings before breakfast while waiting for my husband or friends.

SPA: The spa is under construction near the breakfast buffet and you do hear some noise while you're eating but we didn't hear it in our room or on the beach. The hotel is currently using several hotel rooms which they have converted into spa rooms and it all looked very nice. I didn't see the gym so I can't comment on it.

C-LE RESTAURANT: We had a wonderful dinner at the C-Le restaurant at the hotel grounds near the beach and the staff couldn't have been more attentive. For example, it was an anniversary trip and they had champagne for each of us, my friend asked where the ladies' room was and the waitress escorted her. It was hard to see on the path down from our room to the restaurant since it wasn't lit up. They are working on installing the lighting fixtures now and we commented about how hard it was to see. Because of that, they called for the golf cart to come and drive us back up to the lobby. I would recommend you take a small flash light if you're going shortly just in case the lighting isn't completed. There is also a funky Italian restaurant called La Locanda right across from the hotel's lobby which had a great spaghetti and clam sauce!

CONCIERGE: We thought the concierge staff was very helpful. Here are some of the places we ate that were great. We ate at Le Cottage and Temptation which were great and were expensive. We also ate at the Talk of the Town Lolo for BBQ lunch in Grand Case. The Atlantis and Princess Casino were adequate (not great) and the casinos don't have smoke free areas. Orient Beach was a lot of fun. There are a lot of beach restaurants. We rented chaise lounge chairs and umbrellas, from Kak Kao or something like that, and brought the hotel towels with us. There are bathrooms available and parking wasn't a problem. (We had rented an SUV at the airport from Hertz and used it daily). We also went shopping in Marigot and Phillipsburg.

HOTEL & GROUNDS: It is a very pretty property. I loved the hotel lobby and garden area out to the pool and ocean. There are a lot of seating areas and nice wooden Adirondack style chaise lounge chairs on the grass. There are rocking chairs off the lobby and there is a piano in the lobby near the bar.

We saw humming birds and other pretty birds too on the grounds. I had read about mosquitoes and they love me so I brought bug spray but we didn't see any bugs or mosquitoes. I would bring it just in case but we didn't see any even after the rain.

There are stately palm trees and flowering plants in the garden area. Some of the plantings are not mature yet so over time, the property will become more lush. We saw humming birds and other pretty birds too on the grounds. With the improvements in outdoor lighting and finished construction for the spa, it will be more comfortable. I didn't see the pool lit up at night which would have been nice. I am not sure if the pool has lights or not. It's a very pretty pool with cabanas around it for rent. It rained 2 days, on and off, and the cabanas were free of charge due to the rain and we enjoyed staying in one and playing cards, sipping wine, and snacking on cheese and crackers. The ocean is beautiful and the sand is powdery soft too. They rake any seaweed which varies with the tides but it was nice and clear in the ocean. Also, we were offered fruit and waiters asked us if we wanted to order drinks on the beach. (NOTE: We checked out the Westin on the Dutch side and the beach there was a little rougher and had some shells and rocks and you had to climb down over the rocks into the water and it dropped off like a shelf. The beach is more public and there were loose dogs on the beach. I saw a sign by their beach alerting guest to a dangerous sea urchin. The Westin's lobby is modern and while it is nice, it has no island charm. Given all that, I thought the Radisson's beach was much nicer and more private as was the property and lobby.)

There was an occasional burning smell in Anse Marcel which depended on which way the wind was blowing. I realize the hotel cannot control this. I am only mentioning this because we noticed it and no one has mentioned it yet and it surprised us.

COMMUNICATION: I used the computers for emails but our cell phone rate was 2.00/min. on the island and the hotel room rate was astronomical. Our cell phones didn't have service at the hotel. The concierge was glad to book all our reservations but the BEST THING we brought down were a set of walkie-talkies. We used adapters for the power in the room and we were all able to use them on the hotel grounds and in town instead of using our cell phones (where they did work). It was great. We bought calling cards but never did find the right phones to use them.

Overall, this is a very pretty hotel where the staff tries to please you. I can only see it getting better and better. We had a great time. Wish I was still there!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Just-the-skinny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2009

We just got back so it is fresh in my mind. The location is spectacular and very private. THE GOOD: Spectacular location, breathtaking views. We felt very safe there and very peaceful especially after experiencing the hubbub of the island traffic and other hotels jammed in next to each other. The staff were very helpful and friendly. The food was surprisingly good especially at Le C Restaurant.... so despite all the hoopla about the restaurants in Grand Case (which we did try, Le Pressoir, and it was also excellent) you really don't need to leave the Radission property. La Jaconda across from the hotel in Ansel Marcel was also wonderful and nice to have a little variety but again Le C was excellent. The lobby bar waiters were great as were the water sports people.... we booked a snorkel trip with them and left right from the Radisson harbor, convenient and well worth it. Rooms were clean and nicely decorated, nice turn-down service. Beach staff also helpful and everyday the restaurant staff came by the beach offering fruit... so alot of surprising touches that we did not expect from a Radisson. THE NOT-SO-GOOD:
1. The front desk staff needs to work better with Radisson reservations... we booked a deluxe King at a specific rate, and on arrival were told that it was not available at that rate so we had to pay more in addition to a long wait to resolve the problem (and at 9pm).. that was very, very frustrating and not a good way to start. At checkout, they had no record of our Radisson points (my husband is a VERY good customer of Radisson in the US due to extensive business travel) and wanted to charge us substantially more than we contracted for... after a long time, they found the information and realized they were wrong- so their communication with Radisson reservations really needs some attention. 2. This may sound trite but the towels for the beach/pool are poor quality, scratchy and thin- not what you would expect from a luxury resort.. just a short walk down the beach to the next hotel you see beach chairs with lovely covered cushions and then the towel situation is even more glaring. 3. There is still construction going on, which is a noisy distraction and the lighting especially to Le C restaurant is non-existent.. they are working on that but there are lots of open ditches... but once those are done it will be nice.. All in all, a very pleasant stay - we would recommend it.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank Susieq09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2009

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank hhj26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace St Martin

Address: BP 581, Anse Marcel 97056, St Martin / St Maarten
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Saint-Martin > Anse Marcel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Anse Marcel
Price Range: $369 - $530 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace St Martin 4*
Number of rooms: 252
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

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