This is a property with a good deal of unrealized potential. It's in a very convenient, if somewhat noisy location with a staff that struggles mightily to provide a good experience against great odds. The Royal Palm was once a very desirable property until it was taken over by Diamond Resorts, and from that point on, the decline in quality and value has been precipitous. Among the first changes was a dramatic increase in maintenance fees, so that at this point, they have more than doubled since Diamond became involved. There was some upgrading of the accommodations several years ago, but at this point the furnishings are shabby, many of the rooms are musty and they seem to have a far greater problem controlling the bug, especially mosquito population. This is due in part to the fact that for some reason, of the 4-5 windows or sliders in the 2 bedroom units, only one has a screen. In light of the current CDC warnings of mosquito borne chikungunya virus in St. Maarten, this is more serious than just a small inconvenience. The week before, we had stayed at another property at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, which is actually much closer to "ground zero" for this infestation, and the incidence of mosquitos was much lower.
The staff is the one bright spot at this property, and they do their best to respond to the problems that are presented. Unfortunately, there's little they can do about the fact that the furniture is worn and frayed, the towels are thin and in poor supply and unless you're willing to pay an upcharge, housekeeping services are only provided one time during a one week stay.
There is an attempt to entice the uninitiated into buying a timeshare unit during their stay. Don't! We are among a large number of dissatisfied owners who have seen their investment become worthless. Why would anyone be interested in buying a week at a resort where the maintenance costs are among the highest in the area and the quality of the facility is so poor? Not only is there no market for these properties online or through local realtors, if you want to just give your week back, Diamond Resorts will charge you $250 to return it! It's a classic example of unbridled corporate greed.
It's a shame, because St. Maarten is a wonderful destination, with incredible food, weather and beaches, and we have been going there for almost 20 years. At this point, we would recommend renting a villa, or staying at any of the better maintained properties on the island.
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Palm Beach Hotel Simpson Bay
- Royal Palm St Maarten
- Royal Palm Beach Club St Maarten