from Santa Maria, California
Submitted on 01-07-2016
My wife and I traded our Marriott timeshare for a week at the Oyster Bay Resort in May 2016. We have been traveling to the Caribbean annually for many years and St. Maarten was our choice this year. The island is small, half owned by the French and the other by the Dutch. We stayed on the Dutch Side but you could see the French side from the resort. Best way to do my review is by different aspects of the resort and the island. The short version if that is what you prefer is this resort is very q...
My wife and I traded our Marriott timeshare for a week at the Oyster Bay Resort in May 2016. We have been traveling to the Caribbean annually for many years and St. Maarten was our choice this year. The island is small, half owned by the French and the other by the Dutch. We stayed on the Dutch Side but you could see the French side from the resort. Best way to do my review is by different aspects of the resort and the island. The short version if that is what you prefer is this resort is very quaint, small, great service, and beautiful.
AIRPORT â?? The airport at St. Maarten is word famous due to the presence of Maho Beach right under the runway. If you want a thrill, or are just really weird, go to this beach in the afternoon and hangout. Just donâ??t hold on to the fence. You will have huge e airliners coming in about 100 feet over your head and the shockwave is pretty huge. The airport is efficient, immigration goes smooth, modern airport. You pick up the shuttle to go to your rental car location. I recommend getting a car to visit the island, signage is excellent and with the exception of traffic in the two capitals, Phillipsburg and Marigot, easy to get around the island. One of the easiest airports in the Caribbean to get around and get to where you need to go.
ONE ISLAND TWO COUNTRIES â?? Very different lifestyles. We found the French side quieter, less developed, and the small little off the beaten track eateries superb. Easy to drive around the island, only will talk you about an hour unless lots of traffic in the cities. Check out the borders where you see the monuments and county flags. Dont worry about getting Euros etc., dollars are accepted everywhere. Personally I enjoyed the Dutch side. The capital is Phillipsburg and the board walk is awesome, this is Simpsons Beach. Lots of cruise ships come in which actually is a good thing as all the shops, bars and restaurants are open. The place looks like a ghost town when they arenâ??t in, lots of stuff is closed. The beachfront of Phillipsburg hustles, open shops, jewelry stores, souvenirs everywhere. If you are taking a car you have two options to park , there is free parking across the street from the police station, just go there, its only a block from the paid parking. The strip was a lot of fun. My two favorite places were two seedy beach bars Dirty Sanchez and Burger Madness. Both located on opposite sides of the boardwalk. Best Mojitos I had on the island and the staff are crazy fun.
If your looking for a lot of beach leisure you will have to travel to it, Oyster Bay is on a rocky bluff (which is beautiful). In fact St. Maarten is not what you would call a snorkelers paradise. The water is quite rough. There are a few beaches that are very nice (like Orient and Anse Marcel) but by and large the coastlines are rocky.
OYSTER BAY REPORT â?? It is a fairly small resort, word that come to mind are charming and quaint. Impeccably maintained. It was funny but when we went the clientele was older, 30s and up. I saw no children at the place. Its only about 200 rooms so you never feel crowded. If you can get a room with an ocean view, our balcony was right over the water and the sound of crashing waves (the resort sits on a rocky ledge) was like music. The rooms have limited cooking facilities, fridge dishwasher etc. Very comfortable beds, AC works great. We enjoyed our room, though we are never picky with rooms as we are seldom in them. In the distance you can see St. Barts rise out of the mist, reminded me of Jurassic Park. The grounds are heavily landscaped. Parking is suitable for rentals but sometimes finding a space can be challenging. Check in was so easy and they gave us glasses of champagne welcoming us. I have to say it is to set you up to get a presentation appointment for a timeshare but we didnâ??t mind. The staff are very warm and accommodating. We had absolutely had no issues or problems with the rooms, amenities or the resort.
AMENITIES â?? The report has a spectacular pool area with lounges, waterfalls, a regular and infinity pool and hot tubs where a waterfall of hot water goes in. This is where activities are held as well and you can walk into the bar area, sorry no pool bar. The one bar in the resort is an open air next to the pool and lounge area. They offer good drinks and bar food and the process are very reasonable. Dave is the bartender and he is the man! Anyone who owns a Marriott timeshare knows how bad you can be saddled with expensive food and drinks, not here. Evening activities like karaoke are done there as well. Fare is mainly American burgers and fries etc but it is very good.
Take advantage of their excursion to Orient Beach, its free and it is a huge beach to the north on the French side, we had a blast, they provide the covered lawn chairs. Plenty of eat and drink in the beach and the water us superb. Orient Bay has a small beach located adjacent to the resort.
EAT AND DRINK â?? Numerous places are adjacent to Oyster Bay and in the resort. The Infinity is the resort restaurant. I only had breakfast there, beautiful views and the food/serve was excellent. Prices reasonable, lots of pasta choices there. Cuisines on the island are diverse, lots of seafood but in the smaller places on the French side, the creole is superb.
Adjacent to the resort are several places and we enjoyed them as they are all on the beach. Mr. Busbyâ??s Beach Bar, Big Fish, Beau Beaus are located next to each other and offer varying menus depending on the day and time you go. I recommend walking around and checking them out. Also one thing you should so is ask the locals what are areas they go to eat at. Youâ??ll find a huge variety of out of the way places. Especially on the French side, I recommend in the Orleans quarter, Yvettes. Its about a 10 minute drive from the resort. Prices for food and drink on St. Maarten are some of the most affordable I have seen on the many islands we traveled. At Oyster Bay, at least compared to the Marriott, they are very reasonable and not bank breaking.
ST MAARTEN STAFF/PEOPLE â?? My last comment has to be about the greatest treasure of the island , its people. We have been to many islands in the Caribbean. My gold standard in hospitality has been the Jamaicans and Dominicans. I place the folks of St. Maarten right with them. Kind, considerate, welcoming. There are so many I wish I could list all of the people and how they went out of their way to be kind to us. With any culture, please be courteous to them, respect their culture, and show kindness and you reap tenfold back. We had so many hugs from staff goodbye with an exhortation to come back,
Our trip to St. Maarten and to the Oyster Bay Resort. If your looking for a simple and elegant location where you arent crammed in with thousands of other vacationers, Oyster Bay is your place. It is beautiful, high quality and sits on a stunning island of diverse charm. Cant go wrong with Oyster Bay or St Maarten.