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St. Maarten Oyster Bay Beach resort vs. Simpson Bay Resort

Maple Leaf

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Wow!!! Thanks stmartinfan for all that useful information. Have fun planning your trip. Hopefully I can get some more tips from you when you come back in Jan.
 

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Which St. Maarten resort of the ones mentioned here is the most luxurious (Marriott/Westin quality) property and why?
Good question. I'm trying to figure that one out. First time for me using II. The MVC resorts are rated as "Elite" and the ones mentioned here are "Premier". I would really love to understand the difference between Elite and Premier in real terms. "Elite" are said to be "the highest level of recognition and set the standard for truly exceptional vacation experience". Premier are said to provide "an outstanding vacation experience with state of the art conveniences and modern features and appointments". The only Elite I see in St. Maarten on II is the Dawn Beach Club and that seems hard to get.

On another note, does anyone here know if Divi, Simpson Bay or Oyster Bay have safes in their room. There was no mention of that in the "amenities" for these resorts.

Thanks!!!
 
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PrairieGirl

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OBBR also has safes in the room. And re: Dawn Beach Club - yes the t/s units are open but the entire Westin hotel complex is still closed and has not been rebuilt since IRMA. I think the only amenity that is currently open for the t/s is the pool. Use of the Westin facilities would be what bumped DBC up to Premier status. Reportedly Marriott has taken over the property and will be repairing/refurbishing/rebuilding it but if you are set on amenities of that level, you would be best to wait.

The other 3 are all very nice resorts and they have a wonderful feel, but of being in the Caribbean, not at a Marriott/Westin. Having been on the Westin SXM property several times before the hurricane here is my take - Yes, it was drop dead gorgeous, but you could have been on a Westin property anywhere in the world. Not my style, I want to experience my locale when I travel (warts and all). YMMV
 

Maple Leaf

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Another question I have is that some of these resorts state they have "live entertainment". Is this like a show at night with a live band playing Caribbean music with dancers etc., like a lot of Caribbean resorts have, or it is like some one playing jazz music on a guitar? I saw a pic at one of the resorts with dancers etc. so was just wondering. Thanks.
 

optimist

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One of the best sources for info on the island is the St. Maarten/Martin section of traveltalkonline.com it's participants are mostly avid fans of the island and share trip reports with summaries of restaurants, beaches, activities, etc., You'll see lots of reports with include photos, including amazing restaurant meals, and other scenes. Several of the regular posters rely on taxis to get around so you'll also find recommendations on the drivers they use regularly. I've seen several reports with some new restaurants that I need to add to my list to check out!

We're booked for 2 weeks in January, so need to start creating my list of places to try!
Thank you for this link, I will check it out. We are booked on a Tradewinds catamaran trip around St Maarten in February and have extended our trip to stay in a hotel an extra three nights. If you had to pick a part of the island to stay in for a few nights, where would it be?
 

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pedro47

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Beach is very nice, large area and good for swimming. There's snorkekling not far off the beach. There are attendants on the beach who will set you up with chairs and umbrellas and there are usually plenty available. (Tip is appreciated.). It's on Little Bay, so somewhat protected and doesn't usually get large waves.

There are 3 pool areas. One's a small infinity pool tucked away by one of the tImeshare buildings. It's higher up and overlooks the water. Usually not very busy and a great place to watch the sunset. The second pool is adjacent to the beach and the luncheon restaurant and has 3 levels, one shallow for kids. The 3rd pool area was recently renovated and is quite lovely…a large area for swimming, a shallow area with loungers to sit in the water, a waterfall and a swim up bar.

Divi has several restaurants, a couple with casual meals like pizza, burgers, Mexican, which are all fine. Their more unscale restaurant was usually pretty unexciting but I understand they have a new chef and food has improved. Belair, the resort next door, has a casual place called the Gingerbread Cafe, which is pretty good. There are several good places in Philipsburg and lots more in Simpson Bay and Mayo areas, as well as a host of great places on the French side. For anywhere except Divi and Belair, you'd need a car or taxi.

Driving on the island is reasonable. It's all two lane roads, and pretty slow. Worst part are the crazy motorcycles that cut between cars and drive like they are suicidal. Taxis are readily available and you could arrange with one to take you to restaurants and back.
What are your though on visit the island in either late January or early February?
 

stmartinfan

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We are booked on a Tradewinds catamaran trip around St Maarten in February and have extended our trip to stay in a hotel an extra three nights. If you had to pick a part of the island to stay in for a few nights, where would it be?
Lots of people love the Simpson Bay area, but we have always preferred the quieter location of Divi. Great beach, still close for a quick drive to restaurants. Divi has a new high rise hotel area that has just opened.

Staying on the French side is fun, but I probably wouldn't do that for just a 3 night stay, because of the extra driving time. I’ve never stayed at Mary's Boon, which is an older hotel right on the beach but know it has lots of fans and would consider it if I had a need for a few hotel nights.
 
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pedro47

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Lots of people love the Simpson Bay area, but we have always preferred the quieter location of Divi. Great beach, still close for a quick drive to restaurants. Divi has a new high rise hotel area that has just opened.

Staying on the French side is fun, but I probably wouldn't do that for just a 3 night stay, because of the extra driving time. I’ve never stayed at Mary's Boon, which is an older hotel right on the beach but know it has lots of fans and woul$ consider it I& I had a need for a few hotel nights.
Thanks for your very positive posts.
 

CanuckTravlr

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What are your though on visit the island in either late January or early February?
These are good times to visit. Nice weather and past hurricane season. We're booked for late January this year.
I agree with @stmartinfan that it's a great time to visit. Mid-January to late February is also our preferred time to visit. Hurricane season has passed, everything is open, the weather is great, and the sea is warm enough to swim in. It's also peak season, so places tend to get booked up, and it is busier, with more traffic, especially if 3 or 4 cruise ships are in port that day!
 

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Another question I have is that some of these resorts state they have "live entertainment". Is this like a show at night with a live band playing Caribbean music with dancers etc., like a lot of Caribbean resorts have, or it is like some one playing jazz music on a guitar? I saw a pic at one of the resorts with dancers etc. so was just wondering. Thanks.
At least in recent years, Divi has had some small musical groups playing a few nights a week at their outdoor bar/restaurant. It's usually a few musicians and a singer doing a mix of island sound, pop songs and some good dance tunes. They don't have the big show with dancers. I don't recall hearing about that kind of production at other timeshares, but I've never checked them out.
 

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We will be at The Villas at Simpson Bay in mid January celebrating my wifes birthday…looking forward to returning to beautiful St. Maarten
 

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At least in recent years, Divi has had some small musical groups playing a few nights a week at their outdoor bar/restaurant. It's usually a few musicians and a singer doing a mix of island sound, pop songs and some good dance tunes. They don't have the big show with dancers. I don't recall hearing about that kind of production at other timeshares, but I've never checked them out.
Thanks for your response!!! I saw dancers on some of the resorts listed in II in St. Maarten, so was just curious. It's nice to know there is some local music.
 
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Maple Leaf

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I agree with @stmartinfan that it's a great time to visit. Mid-January to late February is also our preferred time to visit. Hurricane season has passed, everything is open, the weather is great, and the sea is warm enough to swim in. It's also peak season, so places tend to get booked up, and it is busier, with more traffic, especially if 3 or 4 cruise ships are in port that day!
How about mid to late April. Are places shutting down then? Thanks.
 

CanuckTravlr

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How about mid to late April. Are places shutting down then? Thanks.
No. While mid-April marks the end of peak season traditionally, nothing really shuts down. The island's primary economic driver is tourism, so it would be counter-productive to "shut-down". It's just less busy. There are many restaurants and tourist-related businesses that do shut down once a year for a few weeks for "vacation". That is normally in September/October, due to it being the lowest tourist season, mainly because that is peak hurricane season.
 

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How about mid to late April. Are places shutting down then? Thanks.
This is precisely when i like to go. When I was going to St. Maarten, I lived in the Florida Keys. So I didn't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire during hurricane season.

It's been awhile, but I remember most things being open that time of year. That being said, I don't go out to restaurants very often -- not unless they are known for some dish which I aim to duplicate at home. The Grand Marche is as good as any supermarket in France -- even better in some respects because it is in St. Maarten, but the prices are the same as Europe.

So I buy European goodies with both hands -- really good cheese (don't forget Dutch gouda), wine, rillettes and sausages. And then hit a fish market for the other half of the food-paradise equation.
 

CanuckTravlr

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...That being said, I don't go out to restaurants very often -- not unless they are known for some dish which I aim to duplicate at home. The Grand Marche is as good as any supermarket in France -- even better in some respects because it is in St. Maarten, but the prices are the same as Europe.

So I buy European goodies with both hands -- really good cheese (don't forget Dutch gouda), wine, rillettes and sausages. And then hit a fish market for the other half of the food-paradise equation.
To avoid confusion for any new visitors to the island, the Grand Marché supermarkets are now called Carrefour or Carrefour Express, the same name as they use in France. It is also our primary supermarket on the island and has a good selection of both European and North American brands.
 

ScoopKona

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To avoid confusion for any new visitors to the island, the Grand Marché supermarkets are now called Carrefour or Carrefour Express, the same name as they use in France. It is also our primary supermarket on the island and has a good selection of both European and North American brands.
Wow. They haven't changed their website. I just looked them up to make sure the information was still valid.

 

CanuckTravlr

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Wow. They haven't changed their website. I just looked them up to make sure the information was still valid.

That may be because either the overall corporate operation may still be operating for legal reasons under Grande Marché, or they have preserved it for people like you who have not been on the island for awhile, so that they can find the current website.

If you actually look at the notice in red on the lower right side of the old web page you reference above, you will see the announcement that Le Grande Marché is now Carrefour Market and there is a link to the current website.
 

Maple Leaf

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Most of the check in dates seem to be Saturday at the 3 resorts in this thread. Does anyone know if they also have Sunday check in? Thanks.
 
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