So this would be a detailed and in depth review of the Westin Dawn Beach Club (Timeshare villas). Firstly, after reading some of the reviews my wife and I were petrified and second guessed our decision to rent the WDBC. Some of which were very scathing. However once we arrived we were pleasntly surprised by our villa.
Pros - The rooms were very nicely appointed and spacious. There was enough space and we felt right at home. We took some of the travellers' advice and stopped at the supemarket on our way to Westin. Our preference was Le Grand Marche. The prices listed are in Guilders but easily converted to USD upon check out. Prices were slighly higher that what we would have paid at home but they were not astronomical as we have encountered in the past.
Our room was on the top floor facing the ocean of building B. There was always a nice breeze coming in and a great deal of sunlight. Sometimes the sunlight was that much that we we forced indoors. The pool at the Westin was never no more than a 3-5 minute walk from our villa and is as advertised.
Cons - There weren't many to list. But the one thing that stands out is the lack of shade in the pool area. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NONE, unless you want to sit on a barstool and drink all day. The lounge chairs are great but I don't really care to spend $50 a day for a Cabana set back from the pool. Eventually we broke and rented Cabana's on two occasions. But it would not kill Westin' s coffers to provide umbrellas like most if not all vaction resorts do.
Our villa as nicely appointed as it was had some minor issues. The washer and dryer although very new made more noise than my 10 yrd old Maytag Neptune. It was not the rumbling type, but for a High Efficiency unit to not be quiet was very noticeable. In addition to this Building D is supposedly newer but it is on a hill, and that was our view to the rear in addition to a retaining wall, rocks and dead brush en route back to out room. Our toilet in the master bathroom broke one evening and they were very prompt to fix it and followup to make sure it worked fine and was indeed fixed.
Summary - I would return to the WDBC again in the future. If it were up to me we would return next year. SXM is a beautiful island. We weren't hassled by the Timeshare salespeople as many had said. That's not to say they weren't around and trying to sell rentals. We would see them walking around the property showing prospective buyers. They were at the bottom of the hill as advertsied and at many of the popular jaunts offering invitations to 'parties" that they were hosting. Oh and that hill.... I loved it because it felt like a free rollocoaster ride everytime we went in and out of the resort. It didn't bother me one bit. Most people that stayed at the resort all seemed to have a rental car as it is truly out of the way. Not in a bad way, it's just away from everything else. But when you are on vacation and you have a rental car, a 20 MIin drive to the beach is not the end of the world.
TIPS - I believe the only things we paid for at the Westin were our two cabana rentals, WiFi ($45 for the week) and a few drinks. We loaded up on booze, food, and snacks for the kids all at the supermarket. So we were able to eat breatfast and lunch back at the room. Drink at night after a long day. For dinner we went to Canoa and Daniel by the Sea. The former had excellent food and service. Hence the reason they are the top ranked restaurant in the area. The latter had great food but service was left to be desired. They were not rude, they were just too busy to attend to customers timely. The food and location are all great but we had to ask for our check midway through dinner knowing we would get it by the time we were done eating.
Oh Seasweed!! The seaweed issue that is written about does not only affect Dawn Beach or St. Marteen for that matter. It is all over the caribbean. With that being said Westin did a great job in clearing the beach every couple of days. It did not start building until maybe midway through our weeklong stay. I hope this review hopefully puts some fears to rest as I know we were certainly checking TA daily.
Rental Cars - Unity Car Rental (Great rates and hassle free)
Tours - Capt. Bob and Souliga tours (We did snorkelling tour)
Dinner - Canoa, Daniel by the Sea, Piazza Paschal, Mama Mia Pizza
Breakfast - Mr Busby's
And BEST by a longshot ----------------FATBOY JIMMY's street food
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