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“Visiting for 10 years”

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Divi Little Bay Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Visiting for 10 years”
Reviewed December 31, 2013

As the title suggests my wife and I have been staying at Divi Little Bay on and off for 10 years and have just returned home after a four week stay. Sometimes we bring the family. The resort now feels like our second home, especially since we have subsequently bought a timeshare there. There is very little movement in staff, so we are always welcomed back among friends we know. I guess you could say that we like it there. I can, however, relate to may of the comments made in the recent reviews, but we are easy going, have traveled widely and look for the best in situations. So its hard to be negative. This time we found the check in staff charming as always and more than helpful when there appeared to be a glitch in the booking with one week incorrectly cancelled. We have again been impressed by the quality of the accommodation allocated to us. Our unit was spotless as always and housekeeping top notch. No snags apart from a slightly loose toilet seat, but we reminded ourselves again, since we do some self catering, about the need to bring a small salt and pepper pack with us and a copious supply of tea bags (being english we find the tea on offer in the local stores lacking). Oh! And there is never a kettle, so we use a saucepan to make tea. We find all the staff friendly and welcoming, but the bar staff are the best of the bunch and rotate around the two bars on the property. Apart from the need to re-hydrate, the bar is a place to socialize and so whilst we found the live entertainment enjoyable at times it was sometimes too loud to have a conversation with the person next door. My family laugh and say its because I am old and a bit deaf. The island is often rightly said to be the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean, but this is not apparent at Little Bay. The bar grill is best for quality and price for what it is, but the main restaurant is noisy, rather clinical and overpriced in my view. Because the meals for the most part are buffet type, guests are always leaving their seats and the chairs make a continuous scraping sound on the stone floor which echos in the large room with poor acoustics. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the food on offer, but it is a bit canteen like. There are many resort facilities which we don't use (gym, spa, pools etc.), preferring the beach and sea, so this review is incomplete in those respects.

Room Tip: Rooms on the north of the hill can be windy and are shady.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Brasilia
Level Contributor
136 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

It is a really beautiful beach, but the service is very poor, staff on a bad mood, no friendly. The rooms are old and many things do not work. It's a shame because the location is beautiful and the beach perfect for children. We ignore all this and had much fun. But would never return!!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Luiz C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
39 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

This is probably one of the toughest reviews I have written of any place I've been to. Let's start at the beginning...

We arrived early for check in. Since I read TripAdvisor reviews prior to going, I knew not to expect to get checked in until at least 4. We were greeted and given a pager, with the desk telling us we'd be notified when our room was ready. No problem. We went to Gizmo's Bar, ate a cheeseburger (so-so) and had a beer while we waited. Soaked up the ocean view and enjoyed the atmosphere.

As another reviewer mentioned, there really is no "waiting area" near the front desk, so we sat on a concrete rail and waited. And waited. And waited. We were approached by the timeshare ladies about a presentation and declined. They left us alone immediately, which was nice. At around 4:30, after seeing group after group get their check-in completed and bags loaded onto a cart for transfer to their room, I stood in line to see if we may have missed a page. The gentleman checked; apologized, and said our room was still not ready. We sat and waited some more.

At around 5:15 or so I was getting aggravated and went up to the desk again. This time, when the man checked, our room was ready.

We got a nice room up the hill (Many people complain about this section, but we loved it for the privacy and the little bit of extra exercise each day. Still...it IS a hike, so when loading up supplies or taking baggage, you may want to have them driven up--which IS an option.) 4th floor, with a cool, jetted hot tub (complete with LED lights!) and ample space. Kitchenette as well.

Yes, you may get some ants if you don't take care to make sure you've cleaned up after yourself. It's the islands. No biggie there. We had some after leaving a rind from Gouda cheese on the counter, but after that, minimal issues. At least for us.

If I went back here, I would not spend any time in the restaurants there. I came expecting an "Island mentality", but seriously, it was quite poor. Everyone was very nice at the restaurants, but did the absolute minimum, nearly without exception. Sometimes we'd wait forever for the food (which was just ok), sometimes for the check. Nobody checks to see how things are and if you need another drink, you'd better flag down your waiter/waitress, cause they aren't coming around to check on you. If you must eat there, do Toucan Cafe or get a pizza at Gizmo's. And expect to really wait. A LOT.

I hear what everyone says about the "Island mentality" but the service at the restaurants on Divi was by far the worst of anywhere we ate. There wasn't anywhere else that even came close. The only thing that saved it from being a disaster was the fact that the servers were quite nice...when they actually came by.

On the positive side, the bartender for happy hour at the Seabreeze Cafe was on the ball. And Wendy at the Bayview Cafe is a total and complete joy! She was one of the highlights of our stay at this Divi property. She had a smile on all the time, was super friendly--proactive and went above and beyond for us on more than one occasion! Someone should promote her to a management position. She's the kind of person Divi needs! (The staff at Bayview Cafe was by far the best there.)

I think it was the second day we were there, we got a note slipped under our door from Sandy (one of the managers) with a voucher for two free breakfasts and an apology for the lateness of our check-in. This was appreciated. It was nice that they took the time to do that.

Skip the meals on site and go for a burger at the Sunset Bar and Grill in Maho Bay to watch the planes, and do dinners at Grand Case up north. Oceans 12 (highly recommended) was our favorite spot up there. Spend the money for the view--it's so worth it.

We took a pass on Front Street as the parking situation there is awful (Some guy actually came out and told us we couldn't park in front of the store unless we were going to shop there...seriously?) and the stores just didn't appeal that much to us.

The one timeshare lady on site (she would sit at the beachside information booth and at the booth in front of the Bayview Cafe) was persistent and quite irritating. She kept at us for almost the whole time we were there. Nobody likes to feel badgered like that. They should really tame her a bit.

As for the resort itself, it was really amazingly beautiful. The photos on the Divi site don't even do it justice. It was prettier than I expected, and I really thought it was a special property. Great piece of land. Nice beach. Fantastic pools.

One of the pools has cabanas you can use (3) and they were really nice. There are hot tubs scattered throughout the property, which was also a nice touch. For looks alone this resort really is a winner. I would be willing to bet that it's in the top 5 on the island.

Our checkout?

We opted for the express checkout--which supposedly means you can just go up to the desk in the morning and drop your keys off using the express checkout line--except there wasn't one. I had to stand in line with everyone else just to drop my keys.

I'd definitely stay here again as it is just such a pretty, pretty place to be. I'd just cook food myself or eat elsewhere.

And do yourself a favor--get a car rental. It's an easy way to get around the island and you'll want to get up to Grand Case if you love a nice dining experience.

Again, I do want to emphasize that the people at Divi were really nice...just the restaurant service was SLOW and the check-in/check-out experience could be improved.

Room Tip: To me it didn't look like there was a bad room on the property.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Catherine T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2013

Two month in advance booking for a room with a King and a pullout. Reservation shows King bed. No King bed on arrival & the pullout mattress is so thin and worn over the steel frame on the pullout that even our 24 yr old son can't sleep on it. He can sleep on a carpet floor with just a sheet but not on a set of steel rails.
The managements only response to a queen?? Sorry we screwed up you reservation but we have no King today and if that doesnt work you must now rent TWO rooms NO DISCOUNT NO CONSIDERATION AT ALL - You are free to go to another resort but we are still going to charge you. And yes we know our pullouts are unsleepable but we book people for them anyway.

Dont count on them keeping your reservation or doing anything about it if hey dont and do not plan on sleeping on a pullout.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Location
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Helpful?
4 Thank Slikrock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
240 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 445 helpful votes
Reviewed December 23, 2013

We decided to exchange to the Divi Little Bay Resort after reading reviews on Trip Advisor and RCI. For the exchange we used 1.5 weeks of our Golden Crown RCI, 4 diamond AAA resort for 1 week in 1BR/1BA unit at the Divi. Unfortunately it was a very unequal exchange: the Divi didn’t live up to our expectations; our home resort is much-much better in many ways.
We stayed the first week of December at the Divi resort.

Check-in time was 4 pm. We knew about that and therefore 2 hours after arrival to St. Martin spent driving around in our rental car, doing grocery shopping in the Grand Marche (supermarket) on Bush road. We came to the resort at 3:45 pm, hoping at 4 pm to be on a way to our room. Got keys for the assigned room at 4 pm, but were asked to wait a few minutes near the reception area until they would finish preparing the room. It took more than an hour! With all our luggage and groceries, and no shady place to sit near the reception…
Also, during the check-in we have asked for a room in one of the newer, updated buildings, preferably, on a higher floor. We have done so, because many reviewers mentioned that every room on the n-e-w-e-r part of the resort has a beautiful view of the ocean, either the Great or the Little Bay. This was a big part of why we have selected Divi as our destination… Who cares, I guess: the request was denied without much explanation. It was low season, the resort was half empty - why we didn’t get a room in a newer building remains a mystery to us.
Instead, we got a 1BR casita in a one-level building in the o-l-d-e-r part of the resort. We didn’t have much of a view, mostly a piece of a pool… Location was convenient though: close to a beach, bar, and pool, quiet. But we would rather have an ocean view, even if in that case going to the beach would require a longer walk...
During our over an hour wait for a room, 3 concierges approached – one after another - and tried to sign us up for a timeshare presentation. We declined. What was disappointing is the fact that neither of them mentioned an orientation session the following day (Sunday). I was looking for information about it, but could not find any. (Again, who cares?) We came across the orientation session accidentally and when it was almost over. During the orientation they actually provided lots of useful information, had a raffle and complimentary mimosas. Also, we have signed up for a 3-hr tour of the Island, which took place the next day (Monday).

Our 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom casita consisted of a living room, which included an open kitchen and a small dining area, a little hallway, and – oh, well - a bedroom and a bathroom. The bathroom had a single sink (it had a problem with drainage) and a nice combination (massaging) shower with many different heads. The casita included a safe in a bedroom closet - a necessity on the island (google for situation with safety on the island – theft and robbery-, if you had not done so already). The unit also included 2 small terraces: one was attached to the living room, and the other - to the bedroom. Every day we had our breakfasts outside on the main terrace. It was very nice… A great view would have completed the experience, but we didn’t have one…
Housekeeping of the unit was good. They removed trash and exchanged towels daily and on Wednesday they provided a full cleaning.

Other than the poor view, we actually liked our casita … until the 2nd night, when a whole bunch of ants started to fall from the ceiling to our bed, on our faces, and crawled all over us. Upon inspection, we found 2 colonies of ants in our bedroom. One colony was just a foot from the bed near an entrance to a closet, where ants occupied our suitcase, shoes, etc. The 2nd colony of ants was on the ceiling right above my head. Not much sleep that night. The following morning we went to the reception and told about ants. A receptionist assured us that somebody would come soon that day and exterminate the ants from our bedroom. I told the receptionist that I am actually highly allergic to many things and would like to know what would be used for the extermination, especially because one of the ant colonies in our bedroom was right above my face. She just answered that I would be fine - no any explanation. I have allergies to many regular things – such as, lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. - that most people are fine with. To practically ignore my concern was totally reckless and unprofessional. That day we had plans to go to the Pinel Island. Instead, we had to wait for people who would be doing the extermination. They came around noon; told that the solution that they use is totally organic, no chemicals, almost no smell. After the treatment the colony of ants from the ceiling was gone, but the 2nd colony (near the closet) had survived and on the next day stated to thrive again. We had to move our stuff from the closet… and just continued to live with the ants. In addition, there were lots of mosquitoes in the room.

We liked the Little Bay beach: beautiful turquoise water with nice sandy bottom, no rocks, and no weeds – perfect. It was very nice: never crowded, plenty of umbrellas and chairs. The only thing, every time we needed to get an umbrella we had to look for a beach attendant, who unfortunately was not always readily available when needed.
Snorkeling in the vicinity of the resort was ok. There were only small living corals and not that many. Most of fish in the area – a rather scarce population – tended to be in the surf zone near the rocky beach toward the peninsula side of the resort. Probably, the most exciting thing was seeing spotted eels on the hunt. Quite close to the resort is also a snorkeling/diving area with a sunken sail boat, small helicopter and a tiny submarine. Lots of tour boats bring people to that area. It sounds exciting, but in fact - not that much to see: the sunken stuff is lifeless, almost no fish; just people walking on the bottom under the diving bells look curious.
The resort has a well-equipped gym: a few treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, free weights, different kinds of strength exercise machines, benches, yoga mats, etc. A few pieces of the equipment are a little worn and could have benefited from some maintenance, but most of the things functions well enough. The gym is opened 24 hours. Go for it!

The Island Tour, which I have mentioned previously, cost 25$ p/p and started at 9 am from the reception area. The tour made a loop around the island with a 30 min stop near a Marigot market and a 15 min stop at the Orient Bay Beach. The tour was informative and in general quite good. I would recommend it for those who are visiting the island for the first time.
On Monday and Thursday there was a manager’s party on the resort: some free drinks, live music (quite good, actually), vendors and a raffle.
A pleasant surprise on the resort: there was WIFI in the room and on the beach. Spotty at times, but still there and free.

There are 4 places to eat on the resort: the Gizmo’s bar and grill, Toucan's Café, Seabreeze Restaurant and the Bayview Café. We had a lunch at the Gismo's once - regular bar food; it was ok, but nothing special. When one is coming to the gastronomical capital of the Caribbean, it definitely doesn’t live up to that expectation. The reviews about the resorts’ food establishments were not enticing, and the resort itself does not make any effort to get people to eat at their places. And we did not. Instead, we went to the Grand Case and ate at the top (according to Trip Advisor) 3 restaurants: the Bistrot Caraibes, La Villa, and L'Auberge Gourmande. All of them serve French cuisine. The food, presentation, as well as service in all 3 were very-very good. A worthy experience!

One day we drove and then took a ferry to the Pinel Island ($10 p/p round trip) where we spent half a day and ate at the Le Karibuni restaurant. We liked both the island and the food. For the day we rented 2 chairs and an umbrella from the Le Karibuni (20 Euro). Snorkeling was much better than near the Divi Little Bay; just swim a little from the Le Karibuni beach towards the nearest exit from the bay and you’ll get to a beautiful place: large colony of relatively big corals with plenty of colorful fish.

To summarize: We had a good vacation on St. Martin. Would we stay at the Divi Little Bay resort again? It’s a difficult question. We liked the resort’s location (just spectacular, either from a plane or from the road) and the beach a lot (and we visited quite a few beaches on the Island). On the other hand, we didn’t like our unit, because it had a lot of ants and mosquitoes and had no ocean view. Also, we didn’t really like food on the resort (just a few samples though), we didn’t like the service – the resort staff were not attentive, and we were not thrilled with the resort’s activities. As a place to stay it was ok (minus ants, of course; and a room with a good view would have helped tremendously); if we didn’t rent a car, we probably would not enjoyed our vacation as much as we did.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank RItraveler512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
57 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed December 23, 2013

I just left Divi Little Bay Resort and we will not be returning. They don't have working Wi-Fi, they say that they do but they don't. The staff was rude and they really rush you to get out of your room on checkout.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank TEberly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, Michigan
Level Contributor
300 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2013

Now, we are owner's at Divi LB, and have been regulars at Divi Little Bay every year for 2-4 weeks, and a few years at Aruba. Divi is on a large peninsula, surrounded by water. When I vacation on the water, I want to be on the water / beach, not close to the beach, not facing the street, etc. There is not a bad view in any of the rooms in Divi Little Bay. We move about and have never been unhappy. This resort was damaged during the 1990's many hurricanes, and now stands gorgeous the best it has ever been. The service is good the people very friendly, we know almost all of the employees and they welcome us back year over years. We have stayed other places on the Island, but prefer Divi as it is large enough, with a gorgeous beach, nice SPA, great food, good drinks....everything we want or need. We do travel around the island to different beaches, and enjoy the French Side. There is far too much to do on St Martin than time allows. Never understand those that complain; the water is wonderful, the people great, certain times of the year Divi is booked solid (Christmas weeks) however, it is almost all owners and those that exchange in probably won't get their prime choice of condo. We do love it here, and keep returning each time for longer and longer periods of time. Highly recommend.

Room Tip: In high season, buy a time share so you choose your own room. Divi has a huge array of condo's...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank myworldexperiences
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

Property: Divi Little Bay Beach Resort
Address: Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St. Maarten-St. Martin
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Maarten-St. Martin > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
#2 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 Romantic Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Divi Little Bay Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 220
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Divi Little Bay Beach Hotel Philipsburg
St Maarten Divi Little Bay
Divi Little Bay Resort
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort St. Maarten-St. Martin/Philipsburg
Hotel Divi Little Bay Beach

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