Submitted on 23-07-2016
Firstly, we ended up at this resort for 2 reasons.
First and foremost, while vacationing in Belize in January 2016 on Ambergris Caye, we were roped into a presentation of a timeshare at Captain Morgans resort under the umbrella of Interval International Resorts. On a scratch ticket, we won a "so called" free vacation provided we attend their presentation. To cut a long story short, the presentation was typical aggressive marketing, and at the end of the day, after selecting to go to Simpson Bay...
Firstly, we ended up at this resort for 2 reasons.
First and foremost, while vacationing in Belize in January 2016 on Ambergris Caye, we were roped into a presentation of a timeshare at Captain Morgans resort under the umbrella of Interval International Resorts. On a scratch ticket, we won a "so called" free vacation provided we attend their presentation. To cut a long story short, the presentation was typical aggressive marketing, and at the end of the day, after selecting to go to Simpson Bay and Marina resort, with all extra bits and pieces, we had to pay $>400 ( the timeshare levy), and thus NOT FREE as promoted.
As there were not too many options or time slots to choose from to use this so called free "Dream Week", the one reason why we choose it was that at least there was also a "continuing medical education conference" during this period for me as a medical practitioner, thus thinking we are getting 2 flies with 1 swat.
Upon arrival, the conscierge Mehmar (alloted to us) got us settled in, but as we arrived a little bit late in the evening, we were handed an introductory package, and almost instructed to attend a information session the next morning.
Although 1 or 2 of the resort staff at this information session was very friendly and entertaining (Rainida and Jimmy), this presentation was 90% about not only pushing the timeshare, but also pushing selected local businesses.
If you are going to the Caribbean to shop (instead of having a true CAribbean experience vacation) do not read any further!
IF you are considering going to this resort for a true Caribbean experience vacation, be warned of the following:
1. As mentioned right from the word go, shopping, and time share sales is almost pushed down your throat and to make matters worse, there were more smokescreens and mirrors for instance: we wanted to book a sunset dinner cruise with our conscierge, and he advised us, to just attend the timeshare presentation as that would automatically make us eligible to have this cruise for free. Truth of the matter is, that once one of us sat through 90 minutes of aggressive marketing talks, and indicated that we are not going to immediately sign on the dotted line, then attitudes changed and the free dinner cruise turned into 2 cheap resort branded t-shirts.
We approached Mehmar later about this and between him and whoever turned negative at the end of the timeshare presentation, they come up with a multitude of non sensical excuses as to why this incentive came off the table. We handed the tshirts back to him as we had no desire to keep or wear them and from this moment on, our so called dedicated concierge Mehmar avoided/ignored us when ever we were in his vicinity.
2. Our room had many maintenance shortcomings: Bathroom towel rack broken, screen door onto balcony was ripped, papertown holder broken, and safety deposit box was dysfunctional and ice maker in fridge on the blink.
3. Some areas of the resort grounds were in shocking need of upkeep, and maintenance with garbage lying in plain sight.
4. The beach was average.
Towards the end of our stay, more gremlins appeared. None of the staff at the front desk or conscierge desk had any idea how to get in touch with the airport, let alone help us attempt to pre print our boarding passes.
Furthermore, on booking in, they accepted and put a hold on my visa card ("and there was a big formal sign" on the reception desk that states we accept visa or mastercard. ).
On checking out, suddenly requested cash for the few incidentals we had, as they said they cannot use my visa card. (I told them to "go flying"). As we needed to keep our cash, as this resort on top of it all, does not have complimentary airport shuttle, necessitating us, to get and pay for a private taxi.
After looking around a bit ourselves, (as we are fairly well seasoned travellers and visitors to the Caribbean), we can without a doubt say, that there are much better options for dining, and shopping than what is presented at your introduction to this resort. It is blatenly clear, that this is much more about "you scratch my back and I will scratch yours" than taking the real interests of the guests at heart.
Lastly, our overall impression is that St Maarten might be the shopping capital of the Caribbean (so if that is your scene, all well and fine), but it is far from a true Caribbean experience and even further from the so called "friendly island" of the Caribbean.
From the resort to certain of their associated retailers, to the airport staff, we were met only with an attitude of "if you are willing to spend large amounts of money, you are a valued island guest", if not, be prepared to try and amuse and get around yourself.
The only good/maybe unique experiences to come from this trip were:
1. Maho beach, and that Driftwood Boat Bar makes the best Mango smoothie ever
2. Orient Bay beach
Unless something very odd happens, (having visited more than 10 other Caribbean islands) there is no way that we will ever return to St Maarten and most definately not Simpson Bay Resort.