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Historical Traveler Reviews Esmeralda Resort Orient Bay
Peaceful, relaxing, renewing
We stayed at the Esmeralda the first week in June. It was a lovely, relaxing and peaceful. This is our 8th trip to St. Martin and our first stay at this hotel. The Esmeralda is not in Marigot. It is located on Orient Beach which is a ride to Marigot. We stayed at Le Habitation before. The rooms at the Esmeralda were clean but could have used a floor washing. There is no turn down in the evening and we had to request soap from room service twice in one week. Some of the rooms have full baths, others just showers with no enclosures. If this is important to you, make a request. We found a room that was suitable after seeing three rooms. Orient beach is far the most beautiful beach in St. Martin. On each trip we make we take a day trip to Anquilla. The ferry runs from Marigot and take a taxi from Anquilla to Shoal Bay for about $35.00 USD roundrip. Dont forget visit the other beaches while in St. Martin.We would certainly consider returning to the Esmeralda as well as Le Habitation even though we have not been to Le Habitation since 1990. It would be quite a toss up. Dont forget to get a massage from Lucy at the Beach. THe private pool outside each room is super relaxing when you return to your room in the afternoon for a rest or light lunch or at the end of the day. All the rooms have cooking facilities. It was a a peaceful vacation although not luxurious.
Esmeralda was a great honeymoon spot- but....
We visited Esmeralda Resort for our honeymoon the last week of June... and it was truly the most laid-back and relaxing week of our lives. Esmeralda is a great resort for people who are looking for QUIET and SECLUDED serenity. There is no night life here folks...and there isn't a whole lot in walking distance...except the other beach bars, which close early in the "low season" which is when we were there. The set-up is ideal- bungalow style and sharing a pool with only 3 other rooms. The staff is helpful, the restaurant and beach bar were great and we loved the beach service and the "roomy spacing" of beach chairs. We felt so spoiled being waited on while lounging at the beach-food and drinks at CoCo Beach were excellent! We have no real complaints about Esmeralda except for a few minor things. We stayed in the "Presidential Suite"- wonderful proximity to the beach and big pool, otherwise, nothing special. Tired mattress and pillows- we were ready for a massage after a week! And there are LOTS of stray cats and dogs around...not a big deal except there was a MAJOR "animal fight" right outside our door one night...loud and a bit frightening! And a bit of a strange odor permeating throughout the room. We thought it was just us, but some other guests we met said they had a similar odor as well. Also, even though we used a calling card to make a few calls, there is a hefty "connection fee" upon check-out...just be warned. All in all, we'd recommend it to our friends...just be ready to not only see people sunbathing in the nude...but downright "frolicking" on the beach- I wish I'd been warned!!! Oh and rent a car...even though streets are not well marked, cabs are expensive and Esmeralda is a far piece from Marigot and Grand Case as well as the Dutch Side. Also, after midnight, cabs charge 50% more.
A few St. Martin "words to the wise"... DO NOT travel on Carribean Sun if possible. We lost our luggage...and apparently as we found out when we reported it...many people do and no one seems too worried about it!!! Le Pressior in Grand Case came highly recommnded to us, and it was VERY expensive and VERY disappointing- we both felt very ill after eating there. SPIGA in Grand Case was incredible! We ate there TWICE and it was delicious!
A very memorable and relaxing trip!
Our Favorite St. Martin / Orient Beach Resort
We have stayed on Orient Beach numerous times. However, this was our first stay at Esmeralda and it will not be our last!
Esmeralda Resort feels more like your staying in villas rather than a hotel. The grounds are very spread out with well maintained gardens and rock walls around each unit. The units are single story and consist of four individual rooms. Each unit has its own pool.
While Esmeralda does not promote itself as a clothing optional resort, nudity is regularly & socially accepted in the pools, on patios, and on the beach.
Esmeralda guests have free use of chairs and umbrellas at Cocos Beach Bar. Chairs are divided into two sections clothing optional (to the left) and clothed/topless (to the right). Compared to other Beach Bars on Orient, Cocos is very spread out, fewer chairs and less cruise ship day trippers/gawkers.
We have only been back just over a week and already we booked for November 04!
Esmeralda this year, next year La Plantation
We stayed at The Esmeralda Hotel in February 2004. We enjoyed our stay there and loved the French culture of the island. The hotel is beautifully landscaped and the villas are spread nicely throughout connected by paths and roads, which makes it feel almost as if it were a small French village on its own. Each villa contains about 4 units.
Each unit has the capability of opening into the unit next door, in case you come with friends or family. The walls are not paper thin but they are not totally soundproof either. Each villa has its own pool and patio area. My husband had a few swims there but it was not as warm as the ocean. The pool bubbler and pump stayed on all day and night which bugged me a bit, especially at night when I really craved peace and quiet. The inside of the villa was very spacious and I loved the bathroom, especially the shower. There were plenty of fluffy white clean towels for beach and bath. I didn't care for the decor of the room and felt that for the amount of money that we paid for the resort that they could have updated the interior a bit. There were few decorations on the walls and what was displayed were a few faded framed posters. There were a few wicker chairs and a small coffe table, but there was no place to draw or write which I like to do at night. The bed was not comfortable but a little on the hard side. The pillows were flat and hard. The air conditioner worked very well and it came with a remote. The tv got 3 channels and 2 were in French. I know that when you are on vacation in the Carribean you are not suppossed to care about the interior of the room and the contents of it because much of your time is spent out in the sun and at the beach. Well, we are a couple of middle aged "boring folks" so we tend to stay in at night and hang around the villa, so for me it does matter. It's home away from home for one whole week. We just got a phone bill for 3 person to person calls from our villa. I thought I was seeing double when saw the amount that we owed for 3 twenty minute calls... $ 250.00!!! That came out to be $ 5.00 per minute for our calls back home. We should have gotten that phone card on Day One ! All the villas at The Esmeralda are a short walk to the beach. The little beach bar is called Coco Beach bar and restraunt. It has a great breakfast and is a nice place to go for dinner, too. The pizza is excellent but it has other nice main course dishes, too. We found it rather expensive however as with the alcohol drinks. I prefer to eat meatless dishes and I had a hard time finding them anywhere on the island. The beach is lovely, has beautiful white sand, comfortable padded chairs and umbrellas, thick frosty exotic fruit drinks (blended for you and delivered by wonderful waitstaff), lots of wind and waves and warm turquoise water. I am a people watcher and I had a great time watching everybody. There is quite a bit of nudity and toplessness and for many it is part of the culture. At first it seemed odd but after a short while I wished that we grew up feeling as good about our bodies as others do, it seems like thats the way it should be. To sum it up, we enjoyed our stay at the Esmeralda but would stay (we already researched it) at another nearby resort for approx $100 a day less, for similiar proximity to the beach, and updated interiors (we saw them) and some even have a slight ocean view. We had a lovely time on the island exploring it a little each day and having fun watching the sights on interesting and beautiful Orient Beach.
The private pool is the best part
about the ESMERALDA! The rooms arn't bad but not worth the price tage we paid! They are charming in their own way and the pool is really the best part of the stay there. Coco beach is at the end of the beach and all the bars, fun, people are down more toward La Playa in the middle, so you will get peace and isolation if that is what you crave! The Coco Loco has a great beach party Sunday night with cool techno music and drinks! You may also want to try Boo Boo Jam on Friday night everyone goes there even the Esmeralda staff its pretty fun as well but expect alot of locals not tourists! See George down the beach at a little bar for great Carribean Punch! My husband and I travel quite a bit and truly loved St Martin! I got married and honeymooned in Hawaii and St Martin really is a close second! In many ways we loved it more in the sense of the flavor and culture we got to experience! You must have dinner In Orient at Le Fish Bar and L'Cote D'Azur! Cats and Dogs roam in and out children and old men play the game with the ball nightly in the little village like are and it is very charming! We noticed how the french arn't loud and obnoxious like back here in the state while having dinner, not to mention the whole dinner experience is actually enjoyed. St Martin is awesome and the Esmeralda isn't bad...If you want to save some money like about half the price go down to L'Hoste! We extended are trip by a week and stayed there! Better location,free beach chairs and umberella, and a great free breakfast buffet! If you want even better than Esmeralda then stay at Alamonda, its new and a better location on Orient! Have fun!!!
Relaxing, Private & Lovely!
We just returned yesterday from a 6-day stay at the Esmeralda. We travel a lot and I am picky about our accommodations. This resort is excellent for couples looking for a quiet, romantic trip. Our room was very nice, comfortable bed, spacious and clean. The staff met our every need, and never was obtrusive. It was really nice to have a fridge & stove in the room & they had all the utensils we needed. (tip - stop at the big supermarket called Ram's on your way to the resort and buy food & drinks for your room) We started the day with coffee & juice on our patio, then it was off to the beach. Orient Beach is very nice and once we got used to the Naturism, it seemed totally normal. Coco Beach offers very good (but expensive) breakfast, lunch & dinner. But their Pina & Guavaberry Colada's were the BEST and the beach service was great. Guests of the Esmeralda also get a little charge card where you can charge food, drink & items from the gift shops at several beach spots. The villa pools are nice to take a dip in after a a day at the beach. We also liked that we where only a few minutes from Grand-Case and all the fantastic dining. Be prepared for lots of slow moving traffic thru Mariogt. This was the only thing that really annoyed us. We'll be back!
The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY
This was my wife's and mine first trip back to St. Maarten in nearly 5 years. For a while there, it was one of our more popular places to go. Much of the reviews are true concerning the island and the beautiful weather, but we found that the past 5 years, things have changed a lot. Our most popular place to stay has always been the Esmeralda Resort. For the money and the amenities, we have always been very happy. We've recommend that if you're traveling to stay on St. Maarten, find accomodations that offer you the ability to cook within your room. This will save you HUNDREDS of dollars of eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Esmeralda also is very convenient to one of the more popular beaches in St. Maarten (Orient). The Esmeralda offers you a convenient place to park yourself for the day while attendants at Coco Beach wait on you. The food is good and the cost is reasonable and the location makes it convenient for you to go back to your room for lunch, take a nap, and then come back again in the afternoon. The rooms have always been clean for us and we've never had issues. The small private pools are also a nice effect if you get tired of the ocean water, and choose for something more refreshing. Orient Beach has really grown since the last major hurricane. The beach has now transpired to more of a "Daytona" feel. There is something for everyone though. You can walk up and down the beach and find beer and drinks at a reasonable price, and meet people from all over the world looking forward to enjoying the day. They have built some other nice hotels near the beach lately (Alamanda) and some others. The Bad...the Euro. People don't realize the effect that the Euro has on the dollar. If you stay on the French side, it's $2 for a heinken. On the dutch, it's $1. The Euro is cutting into the dollar so much, that it makes it very expensive to stay and eat there. I would be curious to note how many Americans are staying on the Dutch side, since the currency is in NAF and is more compatible with the dollar. Similiar $50 dinner at Cheri's in Maho would cost you $80 in Grand Case. Both offer something different, but $30 can go a long way over an extended stay. Food is different on both sides and offer something for everyone. For families on a budget, there is domino's, KFC, and Burger King where you can eat at a reasonable price. Not so on the French side, so be prepared to pay for an "experience". The UGLY......TRAFFIC. I swear, I wonder if the next hurricane will blow some of these cars out to sea. I can't believe how long it took to get from one end of the island to the other. There are some short cuts you can take, but AT ALL COST AVOID MARIGOT!!!! I don't know what these people do in this town, but we never went through that town when we didn't have to wait for traffic. If you're going to Orient Beach, follow the road to Philliipsburg and then around to Orient Beach, or go through the Maho section. Don't take the normal "straightest" approach. If you have to leave for the airport to catch a 3pm flight, be there by 1pm. St. Maarten has at least 5 LARGE planes that arrive between 1pm-3pm. At least 3 of these planes are American Airlines. If you're flying American, then you'll want to be there early OR check in very early around 10am, leave your bags, and go to the beach by the airport or shop for a while to avoid the long lines. This airport isn't as effecient as you would see in the states, so if you're in a hurry, or want to savor all you can, check your bags early. By your gas on the DUTCH side. It's cheaper, but be careful that you know the conversion rate. The best place we found to rent a car was AVIS. They will also fill your tank up there as well so you know you're getting the proper deal. The islanders will take advantage of you when it comes to exchanging dollars, so know your conversion rates before you pump. Favorite Restaurant: Cheap: Burger King, Dominos Moderate: Coco Beach, Waikiki,Orient Beach Expensive: No one really blew me away. If you read the reviews of the restaurants in Grand Case, I think that most of them are over rated. It depends on your taste and what you're looking for. We've eaten most of the ones recommended on the sight, and what we have found is that if you walk down the street, someone will tell you how GREAT a restaurant was, and another person coming out will tell you how they can't wait to get back to the room to eat something good. We were very disappointed with SPIGA and Fish Pot. Sometimes I think you're better off eating at the places that aren't recommended so highly, then you won't be disappointed. Our BEST meal of the trip: First class lunch from SXM to MIA on American Airlines.
Nice for families or couples
Over the past 7 years, we have been constant companions to the Esmeralda. We found this resort by mistake, but really enjoy the amenities that it offers. Over the years we have used the resort as a family and couples trip. As a family trip, the hotel offers several pluses.
1. Small swimming pools for each 4 cottage room. These pools are very clean and are a great size for families that want to swim in clean water at the room.
2. kitchenettes offer opportunity for families to save a little $$. On the way from the airport, stop by the large grocery store between Marigot and the airport. They have a refrigerator and cooktop where you can have breakfast on your own private deck outside your room, come back for lunch, and even cook dinner if you wish.
3. beach proximity is about 500 yards away. You and the family can walk to the beach without the need for a car. The best time is in the morning when the sun isn't so high, and then again in the late afternoon. It's true, you'll have to explain why naked people are walking around, so whether this is the right place for teenagers.....may need some consideration. For us, we just explained the difference in culture between the U.S. and Europe. Made it a history lesson.
4. security. The grounds are on gaurd for the evenings. Limits who can come onto property.
For Couples: All of the above are pluses, but one reviewer mentioned the Coco Bar. It's a great place to hang out, and my wife can attest to the Pina Colada's. Fella's, make sure your wife has a couple of these.
I don't know what they put in them, but they are worth the price. You can spend all day with the ocean breeze and the scenery. It's a relaxing clean beach that offers music, drinking, and sun. At the end of the day, a nice nap back at the pool, or in the room will refresh you for a romantic dinner in Grand Case. Great trip if you want to get a way from it all.
We've just returned from a ten-day stay at the Esmeralda in St. Martin; yes, the front desk staff could be a bit standoffish, but we took that as part of the culture and nothing more. A volcano on Montsurrat forced us to extend our stay by two days and the staff and management were very helpful upgraded our room in fact. [A word to the wise: once you get an iron from housekeeping, guard it with your life or youll never see it again. Theyve only got a few on the property.] The housekeeping staff was great, very thorough. Each room has a kitchenette, and the staff washes your dishes everyday to the extent that you eat inside. The beach is fantastic; if you want quiet surf, would suggest that you stay at Le Meridien, also a nice place w/more of a hotel feel.It is true that the Esmeralda accommodations are decidedly different from, say, the Peninsula Bangkok, but come on, it's one of the least developed islands compared to Aruba and St. Thomas. For us, the Esmeralda's cabana feel was just what we were looking for; clean, air-conditioned accommodations with individual swimming pools. Recommend that you first check out Internet room rates as we stayed in great accommodations for $159/ni tax included.The Coco Beach staff is attentive. Recommend the food at the Coco Beach Bar -- best pizza I've had in quite some time. And boy can they make a killer Colada (Pina or Guavaberry). Grand Case food, while not exotically creative, is simply some of the best -- yes it's expensive, especially with the $$ to Euro exchange rate on the negative side for us. Stop by Spiga for interesting Italian.Recommend St. Barth's though be aware that the shops close from 1p - 4p every day. Swaliga sail boat very nice day trip that includes snorkeling. And speaking of snorkeling, not much to see here. Pinel Island was touted as a wonderful undersea playground but it really had nothing to offer. The water off St. Barths better but not by much.Marigot another great experience. Wife conducted an entire commercial transaction wherein neither she nor the merchant could understand a word they were saying to each other. Great fun!For the novice photographers, definitely bring a 35mm SLR but use 400-speed (I know, I should have known better) morning and later afternoon/evening.Finally, if you do stay at Esmeralda or any place on Orient Bay be aware that folks take the clothing optional edict very seriously. That is, they usually opt for little or no clothing during morning and late afternoon hours. Yes, there are plenty of folks who were swim suits/trunks, but you WILL see fully 100% buck-naked people walking the length of the beach. Not a criticism to each his/her own and, aside from some of the British women, with their brown/yellow teeth and flap-jack breasts, it was pleasant scenery. But need to prep yourself and loved ones.
We stayed at the Esmeralda Resort in January. It was more than we could have asked for! The staff went out of their way to be helpful and were very friendly. The beach could not be beat!
TripAdvisor Reviews Esmeralda Resort Orient Bay
Travel Blogs from Orient Bay
... in time....only to find out that the ferry does not go to St. Barth on Wednesday. The Ladies were feeling a little sub-par anyway so it was probably a good thing that we were not being tossed about in a small ferry in the sea! So, we did what The Ladies do best...eat and shop! We lunched at Rosemary's at the wharf, where Susan and Mary were brave enough to eat the curried goat! They proclaimed it to be delicious and ...
... the nest site to the sea, and they are only little. Plus there is a lot of seaweed on this beach, which is hard for the little guys to climb over so we need to be there when they hatch to help them make it to the sea. Only 1 in 1000 baby turtles will live to reproduce. There are so many dangers out there that we have to help them get to the ocean in one piece to give them a fighting chance! One of the other volunteers brought ...
... Maarten and St Barths and out into the Atlantic Ocean. We shower and dress for dinner and meet Sue and Malcolm in the Imperial Lounge. Mhairi and Tam join us shortly afterwards. Brandy and Cokes, G&T's Jack and Diets are the order of the evening. We part company with Mhairi and Tam as they are on set dining at 8.30. We head to deck 5 as we are on my-time which means we can pretty much turn up when we like. I had a very enjoyable meal tonight. Salmon Carpaccio, ...
... on the island is terrible and it appeared to us that we were going to be stuck in the taxi all day. We also feared that we were heading in completely the opposite direction to where we had asked to go. Our reason for wanting to go to Maho beach was because this beach is very close to the airport and St. Maarten is famous for the planes which swoop only thirty feet above the beach as they come in to land. Before you read more ...
dancing competition. Each team had five minutes to work out some sort of routine. It was going to be judges on its merit; how together they all were, and anything else the judges could think of. The only problem was that the teams would not know what the music was going to be until they were 'on stage’. And then have to adapt their version of the dance to the music. If you could find a costume to wear, you’d receive more points. And that was all ...