I'd like to point out the positives first, as there were some very good things about Flamingo Beach Resort.
1. The location is great for exploring the island but also being close to many shops, restaurants and some good beaches (although the island is not that big, so getting to beaches on the French side was not that far of a drive).
2. The condo was clean and quiet. We stayed in a one bedroom on the third floor in Building Four, facing the street. The bonus was having the BBQ and rooftop hot tub. Downside - hot tub was actually not that hot....
3. Toppers is a great little bar with friendly service and good food. A nice place to spend happy hour with snacks, or drinks after dinner.
4. The property is fairly well maintained and attractive, with a nice pool area and chairs. Parking is ample and the majority of the staff were very pleasant and accommodating.
1. I did not realize, nor was it explained to me when I exchanged through Diamond Resorts, that the one bedroomed suites advertised on their website (and what I thought I was booking), are reserved for owners at Flamingo. These are the "B" units. We were assigned an "A" unit, the backside of the building, which, although still a one bedroom, is considerably smaller and a different layout. Had I known this, I may have gone somewhere else. There were four of us in this unit (two adults; my college age son and teenage daughter, who slept on the pull out bed and a rollaway bed). It was a little tight and we had circus maneuvers in the morning negotiating getting breakfast ready and moving furniture around. Also, there was not a window in the bedroom and that made for claustrophobic sleeping conditions (especially as the AC was severely lacking). To access the bathroom, you had to go through the bedroom - a little annoying when you are trying to sleep (in the "B" units, there is dual access to the bathroom). Although clean, the maintenance on this particular unit could have been better. The ceiling was brown from water stains from the roof (maybe from the AC unit?), several drawers in the dresser needed fixing and the bathroom had mismatched drawers and dripping taps. No major deal, but still needs attention.
2. Although my confirmation from Diamond Resorts stated that checkout during week days was noon, checkout was 10:00 a.m. I managed to extend that to 11:00 a.m., and again, it was not such a big deal, but why the misinformation? Diamond Resorts - you really need to get your information in order.
All in all, a nice place and we had a good time. Next time I exchange through Diamond Resorts, I will have to double check the unit information.
As for the island itself, St. Maarten/St. Martin is a lovely island, with many beautiful beaches and great restaurants. We visited: Bon Appetit, Greenhouse, IZI, Ocean Lounge, Piazza Pascal, the LoLo's, and Karacter. The one let down was Ocean Lounge (I will review in the restaurant section). The rest were superb and I would recommend them all. Bon Appetit and Greenhouse are within walking distance, IZI and Karacter are close by in Simpson Bay, the LoLo's and Piazza Pascal are in Grand Case.
Our favorite beaches were Plum Bay and Dawn Beach. Plum Bay has no amenities, but is spectacular and well worth a trip. Take chairs and an umbrella and spend the day. Dawn Beach is great, has chairs for rent and two restaurants on the beach for lunch. Orient Beach was good - a little crowded on one of the days we went and seemed a little dangerous with all the para-sailers and jet ski's flying around. Unlike the US, there is no lifeguard at any of the beaches and you swim at your own risk. Some beaches have signs that say as much. On our first day at Orient Beach, a woman was badly injured in the water and was taken away by ambulance. It was pretty traumatic (especially as my husband and son were the one's who pulled her out of the water). Be vigilant, watch your children carefully, and be alert. The second time we went, it was much quieter and we had a nice day at CoCo Beach Club. Some of the beach clubs do one to one (Euro to Dollar), others will charge the exchange rate (1.3 Euro - $), so it can be a little expensive.
If you are renting a car, be prepared for the following: driver's can stop abruptly to talk to friends in the street, so don't follow too closely; bikes will often overtake on blind corners and "slot" drive; some of the roads are not lit that well, so be careful and be prepared for cars/bikes to pull out of unlit alley and driveways without notice. Pedestrians will often step into the street or cross the street right in front of your car - it's a little disconcerting; be prepared to slow down or stop. Never leave anything in your car, especially valuables. If you go to the more remote beaches, take everything with you. We heard too many stories of lost passports, snorkeling gear, suitcases, money, and so on. Leave your passports in the safe. If you don't have a safe in your room, leave them with the hotel safe.
The best way to navigate around the island is to get a map that shows the roundabouts. That's the way we figured out where we were and how to get to where we wanted to be. There's really only one road that goes around the island, with offshoots to Oyster Bay, French Cul de Sac, and beaches on the west side. Some of the parking for the beaches belongs to the restaurants, so be careful where you park, especially in Oyster Bay. Although all the beaches are public, some of the restaurants will have you towed if you park on their property. When in doubt, park on the roadside and not in the lot. Orient Beach has loads of parking and then you can chose whether to sit on your towels on the beach or rent chairs from one of the cafes. Mullet Beach has parking off of the golf course; Baie Rouge has a very small parking lot, so get there early for a spot.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Beautiful white sand, sparkling blue waters, sunny skies - where else can you find all of this but in Saint Martin/Saint Maarten in the Caribbean? When you stay at Flamingo Beach Resort, you will have all of this, and more. Here you can have the most relaxing vacation of your life, or enjoy some of the many outdoor adventures in the area. If you love water sports, you can go windsurfing, swimming and snorkeling. See the scenery on horseback, or go for a hike along the many trails. You will never be bored while you are staying here, unless of course you simply want to sit back and do nothing, which you are more than welcome to do. Just imagine spending a week or longer just lying around on the beautiful beaches. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Flamingo Beach Hotel Philipsburg
- Flamingo Beach Resort St. Maarten-St. Martin/Philipsburg
- Hotel Flamingo Beach
- Sunterra Flamingo Beach Resort