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“Orange Grove's best stay ever on St Martin!”
Review of Hotel L'Esplanade

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Hotel L'Esplanade
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Grand Case
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 11, 2009

When we found out our trip to Grenada after SXM had to be cancelled..at first we were a bit down as we would have loved to show Grenada what OG is all about! However, when we found out we'd be staying the remainder of our trip at the L'Esplanade..suddenly our frowns had turned upside down. After all, on the same day we received this news, the hotel was on the front page of the local newspaper for having just entered the Top Ten of the Caribbean's most luxurious hotels! It was #7. Hey..I myself..and speaking for the rest of the band (there were 7 of us staying at the hotel) have never stayed at a more comfortable hotel. It was perfect for relaxing and getting ready for the rest of the shows we had scheduled on the island. I cannot say enough about the L'Esplanade. Just take my avice and do not even bother going to another hotel on St Maarten/St Martin..this is the best one there is period.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
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1  Thank michaelmaidwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 25, 2009

My girlfriend and I decided to take our first Caribbean trip this August. We went to St.Martin from Thursday 8/13 - 8/17. After reading rave reviews here on TripAdvisor we selected Hotel L'Esplande as our hotel and got a nice off-seaon rate in the very low 200's per night for a studio with king bed and kitchenette and ocean view terrace. I believe ALL the rooms have an ocean view if you are curious.

Hotel Room Review:

The rooms are beautiful and large! The bed is amazingly comfortable. The bathrooms are clean, stylish and refreshing. I especially liked the stone walled shower. The kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel appliances and granite! The view of the ocean from the attached terrace is very nice. I enjoyed many drinks on the terrace as I stared out at the sea. The service at the hotel is impeccable. The maids keep the room extremely clean. Upon arriving the hotel, your room has one big bottle of water, snacks, teas and coffee and fresh bread waiting for you, all complimentary. I thought that was very thoughtful. Each room has it's own wired internet connection and they provide a cable. The rooms do not have Wi-Fi. The hotel lobby has Wi-Fi along with tons of brochures on what to do on the island. I forgot to bring a Voltage Adapter but the staff gave me one to recharge my devices while I was there. Make sure to use the beautiful pool! It is open 24-7 and it is very charming and secluded. My girlfriend and I were the only people in the pool late at night!

We did have one small problem. Apparently, a storm knocked out the internet to the rooms a few days before we arrived and no one on the island got around to fixing it while we were there. We just brought out laptops out to the lobby and used the Wi-Fi there with out any issue. You can sit there and stare at the ocean while you do some emailing. The room has a TV, dvd player and cd player/boombox. They get every single US Channel on cable so you won't miss out on any TV if that is your thing.

If you want breakfast, you have to put your order in the night before. There is no restaurant or buffet in the hotel. My advice is to walk down to the local grocery store and stock up some foods since you have a full kitchen in the room. Eat breakfast in the room each day on the terrace and then eat lunch down the street at the open air Creole barbecue joints.

That concludes my hotel room review, now for my brief review of the island.

St.Martin French Side Island Review:

We flew in to SXM airport on the dutch side of St.Martin and took a taxi to L'Esplanade on the French side. It took about 30 minutes and costs $30 + tip. All the taxis take American dollars. On the way to the hotel the taxi driver chose to take the "scenic" route and we saw the poverty and squalor of the island. Other than the touristy places and the beaches, the island is a large dump. For a few minutes of the ride to the hotel the smell was so bad we thought we were going to vomit. We didn't want to sound like stuck up Americans so we were pretty silent the entire way to the hotel. I was pretty shocked at what I was seeing because you don't see this poverty and dirtiness in all the pictures in the ads. I was thinking "WHERE DID I BRING MYSELF!". This is a mistake!

Luckily, things got better each day as we figured out what to do and where to go. We chose not to rent a car as I didn't want to deal with the headache of getting lost, parking, getting gas, etc. Driving is a mess there from what I saw. I wouldn't want to be driving if I did not need to. People break in to rental cars over there all the time too.

Beach:

Each morning Friday - Sunday we took a 3 mile cab ride from the hotel to Orient Beach and stayed till 5pm. The weather was consistently 85-95 degrees, sunny and breezy. PERFECT! Bring your SPF lotion, the sun is different sort of intense than Washington, DC. I got sun burnt pretty bad.

Going to Orient Beach was a great first day activity and quickly made me appreciate the island. Apparently, everyone knows to go to this beach because I saw half the people from my plane trip on the beach! The water is pristine, the view is beautiful, and the Guavaberry Colodas are AMAZING. We found a great place to set up base. If you enter the beach go to the right until you see a sign that has a painted picture of a girl's butt in a bikini. I can't remember the name! A local black islander named Junior works there. He hooked it up for me and got me a discount on parasailing ($60 for two). We got two beach chairs, two umbrellas, a table, and two free Guavaberry Colodas for $16. Can't beat that! We were right next to the water as well and the service was very good. We set up our chairs at this establishment every day. Orient Beach is clothing optional so be prepared for lots of topless ladies. Sometimes this is a good thing, many times not so much! One end of the beach is 100% nudist. I recommend staying away as most of these exhibitionists are old, fat and ugly. Not exactly Playboy Mansion. Food on the beach is kind of a crap shoot, it is either French, overpriced, or just not that great. Usually all of the above. The best idea is to pack sandwiches/food that you pre-made at Hotel L'Esplande in a cooler and bring all your own food and drink. Just buy your alcohol on the beach. You will save a ton of money and probably enjoy your food a lot more.

We went parasailing at Orient Beach and it was fun but it's safety was questionable. We went out with some 20 something year old French stoner rastafarians. I told the French guy at the booth my girlfriend couldn't swim and that she should have a life vest but they just said she won't be swimming! But we had to take a Jet Ski out about 300ft in to the water to get on the parasailing boat! I was like what if she falls off the Jetski in to the water? Isn't that a safety concern? He says she wont fall! I'm like, sweetie just hold on to me real right. We made it on the boat safely after hopping off the jet ski on to the boat which again was a little questionable considering one of us could not swim. Then they took us up in the air and I thought some sort of metal rope connection would be tethering us. No, it was a simple double knot on the rope attached to our parachute apparatus! I was like holy crap, if that thing unravels we are done. We made it back to the surface safely but were a little stunned at the entire operation we just witnessed. I don't know if a simple double knotted rope is the parasailing industry standard but I just thought it was weird and a little scary.

On to snorkeling, at Orient Beach I told the snorkeling guy my girlfriend could not swim. He was like I cannot take her but I can take you. I asked if he would stay by when I went. He said he would just drop me off and come back to get me, WTF? I told him I was a poor swimmer and he was like you will be ok. I was like ok, no more amateur businesses trying to take my money and put us at risk. We waited till Sunday and went to Octopus diving and snorkeling near the Hotel (3 minute walk). They were MUCH safer and more professional and I guess they are highly rated here on TripAdvisor. We paid them our $40 each and we were soon on a boat taking us to Creole Rock. I told them my girlfriend couldn't swim and told them I was a poor swimmer and No problem! They gave us wetsuits, life vests, neck floaties, and paddle boards. I only used the wet suit as that adds quite a bit of bouyancy. The guide stayed near my girlfriend and I the entire time and pointed out what to look at. The fish that we saw were pretty exciting but overall the snorkeling is pretty lame. I am not a professional snorkeler but I have had many Marine Reef Aquariums so I know my coral and marine life. There is NO coral around that island. Plenty of vibrantly colored reef fish but the rock is barren and not coralline encrusted and there is no soft or hard coral. If you really want to go snorkeling on the island, I recommend Octopus as their service is terrific. There just is not much to work with in terms of marine life around the island from what I saw. I hear Hawaii is much better for snorkeling/diving.

Lunch/Dinner:

In the evenings after Orient Beach every night, we would walk down the street from the hotel through some questionable short stretches that scared us at first to all the restaurants. Don't worry, it will feel like you are walking in to straight ghetto but the restaurants will arrive. Don't bother with all the over priced French "Fancy" restaurants. First of all, they are not that fancy. Second of all, the food is not special. We did the fancy, expensive restaurant thing one night and we were unimpressed. French food isn't exactly our cup of tea so maybe that was the problem. What you SHOULD do is save your money and treat your taste buds right and eat at one of the 3 open air Creole BBQ places on the main strip. They are all combined and you cannot miss them. One is called LoLo's and the other is Sky's The Limit. They offer the same ocean view that the expensive French restaurants offer if you ask to sit near the back. The food is MUCH better and MUCH cheaper AND they offer full 1:1 Euro:USD exchange. Mixed drinks are only $4!!!!! All the locals comes here because the food is good and not too expensive. It is always busy which makes it fun!

In terms of nightlife, there really is not much to do on the French side. We went to Le'Shore for drinks after dinner one night. They had some live music. We had heard the same band at the restaurant and bar down the street the night before haha. Small island right. It was not that exciting and we sometimes got the feeling that French people find American people annoying so we didn't stay since this place was 200% French from what we could tell.

From everything I have read, nightlife is more prevalent on the Dutch side. But I also read that the Dutch side is even dumpier than the French side so we did not even bother venturing there. I wasn't really on the island to party so sticking to scenic beaches and eating good island Creole food was enough for me!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my review of the hotel and my brief stay at the island. I loved the hotel but I don't think I will go back to the island again. Next trip, Hawaii!!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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13  Thank DeepCutta720
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2009

Stayed here for our honeymoon in June. Such a nice hotel! The staff were very helpful and responsive. We had a deluxe loft. Our room was comfortable, spacious and immaculately clean with a balcony that had a wonderful view of the ocean. We watched the sun set over the sail boats in the water every night. We didnt want to leave the room at all, but had to for dinner. The dirt path to Restaurant row felt safe (I was more nervous about a chicken jumping out and scaring me). The restaurants in Grand Case are good; most do a 1Euro = 1 Dollar, but some don't, so be careful to find out before you order. We loved the locals and ate lunch there everyday.

The entire area is quiet and serene. If you want the partying and nightlife, you will have to venture to the Dutch side. A few things to keep in mind....You will need to rent a car if you plan to leave the French side. Cabs are expensive and it adds up catching them everyday. Also, most if not all of the ATM's are on the Dutch side, so bring enough cash if you plan on staying in the French side the entire time.

Overall we had a very memorable experience at Hotel L'esplanade. We went back home feeling so refreshed and will visit again on future trips.

Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
2  Thank trippinNy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2009

This was our first trip to St. Martin and happened upon this hotel - primarily because we wanted to stay on the French side - and we like the look of the photos from their website. First thing -- their photos are accurate -- it is a very well kept hotel - with beautiful views and a small, but comfortable pool.

We did not rent a car, but the hotel proved very well located for walking to restaurants as well as the nearby beach. The one day we needed a taxi, they called one that showed up in 5 minutes.

The staff was incredibly friendly and went out of their way to make us feel at home.

We were a bit surprised by the additional "service" charge when we checked out - for room cleaning - but this is definitely the best place we could have stayed in Grand Case. The sister hotel, located at the other end of the Blvd. Grand Case, is also very pretty, but felt a bit too isolated from the 'downtown' area.

Even though it is a bit more than I would usually pay for a long-stay hotel ($220 per night, plus service fee and tax) - I'd definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank feinstee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2009

Great hotel with excellent infrastructure--

Pros
Excellent room- clean, great bed, safe parking
Pool is first rate and very clean
great cable TV
air conditioning worked excellent
French Soaps and cremes free
Renovated Bathroom-- clean and better than home
excellent rooms/ decore
friendly staff willing to go the extra mile to make you happy

Cons

Hotel is located on a hill-- might be tough for an older crowd to walk to town and beach
(unless you drive everywhere)

Walk to Grande Case late at night looks questionable -- hotel lighting is exceptionally, but road to grande case looks dark and suspicious late at night-- hotel has a security guard patrol road to keep guest safe-- try to get back before midnight@

Hotel was not cheap- over $250.00 per night ( plus room charges/ cleaning fees)- very rich for my blood-- but it was clearly the best hotel in the area -- maybe the island-- you do get what you pay for!

In short, this was the one of the nicest hotels I ever stayed at as an adult-- the hotel actually exceed my expections in every way-- better than web site portrayed!

I will return when I get another chance.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank sanjuan787
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2009

Our trip to St. Martin was wonderful! Hotel L'Esplanade is everything we had read and more. It is small, has beautiful rooms, wonderful views and beautiful grounds. I think the reason they provide such excellent service is because they are small and concentrate on trying to anticipate your every need. This is what it is all about. They appreciate you being there! Be sure you do not go during the island's off season if you want all of the extras. The Hotel is up on a hill so be prepared to walk also. You will definitely need a car if you want to experience the island.

A special part of this Hotel is Alan, the bartender by the pool. He is one reason this Hotel is so special. He and his sweet wife actually set up a table for two by the pool for us one night at sunset and served grilled lobster that was the best! This was a sepcial treat and very romantic. Just that extra special touch!

We loved Marigot. It was not touristy and provided the island atmosphere, unlike Phillipsburg. The French side of the island is definitely the place to be. Tropicana Restaurant in Marigot was fabulous for lunch, with delicious food and the best service. We also enjoyed a day at Pinel Island. You take a 5-10 minute boat ride to the island and the little restaurant there makes fabulous cheeseburgers (plus anything else you might want). Orient Beach is beautiful but be prepared for the "ALL clothing optional" issue if you get there early for a walk on the beach!

As far as where to eat in Grand Case, you can't go wrong anywhere you go. The main street through Grand Case is right down the path from the Hotel. We were never afraid walking back and forth from the Hotel to Grand Case. Here is the list of where we ate and we recommend all of them (some may be misspelled!).

LeTastevin (open air on the beach side - fabulous lobster soup!); LoLo's (The Sky's the Limit is the one we went to and the ribs were delicious); Cosmos Cafe (you sit in beach chairs at low tables right at the water and the service and food is really good - fun place!); LeAbergae (excellent service, more formal atmosphere and delicious food); Spiga (located right off the main road - great!); Spicey (the service was the best and food to die for - try the tenderloin and shrimp on a sword!); Sunset Cafe (can't beat the view or the food for breakfast).

We experienced a week we will never forget and hope to go back. This Hotel is for couples wanting a special place. Hotel L'Esplanade is it!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank Pep2MS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2009

We really enjoyed our time at L'Esplanade although I have to say that we didn't actually spend much time there as most of our time was spent on the beaches (and this hotel is not on the beach). Pros: 10 minute walk to excellent restaurants in Grand Case; 5 minute walk to Petit Plage beach in Grand Case Beach Club; pretty rooms with comfortable beds; lovely ocean views from balcony; WiFi in all rooms; helpfulness of staff. Cons: none (except for some faulty driving directions?) ;)

The staff made excellent recommendations with regard to restaurants and activities. They were happy to arrange all reservations and handle all details in advance...all we had to do was show up! Miriam in particular was wonderful--always a beautiful smile and so helpful! I highly recommend this hotel--it's lovely and a good value.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank Julie_Chahboune
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel L'Esplanade

Address: On the Hill of Grand Case | St. Martin, Grand Case 97150, St Martin / St Maarten
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Saint-Martin > Grand Case
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Grand Case
Price Range: $245 - $495 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel L'Esplanade 4.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amid lush tropical gardens, affording its visitors privacy without sacrificing its panoramic ocean views. Spacious interiors blend harmoniously with the Mediterranean architecture. Magical sunsets come to you on your private terrace to touch your soul. A delightful footpath leads you on a journey of discovery. We invite you to find your own rhythm, knowing that our staff is there to ensure that your every day is a perfect day, knowing that your comfort is our excellence and with us, you are home. For those who appreciate privacy, enjoy an uncrowded atmosphere, gracious hospitality and seek relaxation in exclusive, blissful surroundings...Welcome to Hotel L'Esplanade. Introducing our new Ti Spa for all of your beauty and relaxation needs! ... more   less 
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Hotel l Esplanade

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