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“Family Week Stay at Belair Beach Hotel”
Review of Belair Beach Hotel

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Belair Beach Hotel
Ranked #4 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 December 2011

We had 3 condo type rooms for 8 family members for 8 days. The views from the condos are outstanding. Every one has a water view and nice balcony. The Gingerbread Restaurant is good and right on the premises. There is a little store for quick supplies and extras. They have a sports rental kiosk to rent waverunners, etc...and last but not least they have a trip planner person to set up all the excursions you might want to do. St. Martin is called "The Friendly Island" and they are friendly enough but not as friendly as we expected at the resort and on the Dutch Side. The French side was more friendly in our opinions. If you want to know about the rooms at the Belair, they are clean and the A/C works great but they are very dated. No dishwashers, but everything else. We were there from December 10-18th and it was very quiet in the rooms for sleeping. Philipsburg can be scary at night even though we had no problems. The beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world at St. Marrtin but the snorkeling gets a thumbs down. The reefs have been destroyed by hurricanes and are just growing again.. But there are enough activities to keep you busy for a week or two. Take lots of cash, there are quite a few places that do not take charge cards and both the French and Dutch take US dollars if you are from the states. Enjoy

Room Tip: They all have beach views
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank traveldiane54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 December 2011

Most of the reviews have detailed that the hotel could use some updating but that it is clean. This is all accurate. We found Gingerbread Cafe to be good to very good. We ate there 3 times throughout the week. I would go there again. We ate dinner/late lunch on those occasions. We ate breakfast in our room which has a very well equipped kitched. I also found that Jody's place had just about everything that one could possibly need while on vacation and possibly wanting to eat a meal or two at the hotel. I would say the prices were certainly higher than at a grocery store but there is certainly a value to "convenience" isn't there? I mean you could get cheese and crackers, a bathing suit, liquor,and baked beans all with taking about 5 steps! Now onto the beach which I had occasion to use 4-5 times. The sand is very soft and I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable beaches I have ever spent time on. It isn't crowded but not deserted either. They have one of the water trampolines for kids. You can also rent a jetski and although I did not snorkle there, several people were. We were there with another couple and I am not overly "kidsy" but I have to say that there was plenty of room for all and I didn't feel intruded upon. I had been expecting a huge dropoff and a powerful surf from some of the other reviews. I did NOT find this to be the case at all. In fact I thought the dropoff was minimal and the surf was only really strongish on very few occasions. I think that perhaps the reviews about rocks, and hard surf etc...were perhaps written by someone who hasn't spent alot of time swimming in the ocean. Finally,location....Little Bay is great if you get up early, you can catch all the cruise ships heading into port. Plus if you take a left out of your hotel, you go to Simpson Bay and a right gets you to Philipsburg. Both are just a few minutes now that the construction is fixed in Simpson Bay. Lastly, a warning. Although we loved Belair, we will probably not return to St. Martin until and if the government and or police decide to be more proactive in attempting to prevent crimes against tourists. We stopped at Mullet Bay Beach for a cocktail. We were there for no more than an hour in the middle of the day and we parked where a ton of other cars were parked. In that hour, someone jammed a screwdriver in the passenger side door, opened the tailgate and emptied out everything we had in there including 2 beachbags, our camera and my purse(which was buried under everything else). I strongly feel in hindsight that there are people watching the parking lot and also possibly people signalling to those that are going to break in that they are all clear because the tourists are occupied. We weren't even going to bother with a police report because the general attitude was that it happens all of the time. We did end up making a report in the small hope that maybe someone someday will stop to think that if enough tourists get robbed, their business will be impacted. I would also like to mention that Lorna(activities director) made a snide comment that if we had gone to her little sales pitch we would have known to stay away. Nothing like kicking a person when they are down. Unnecessary comment. If it is that prevalent, why doesn't the welcome book or letter inform guests? It would take 2 seconds to write up a letter. Granted people don't like to point out bad things but this a pretty important oversight in my book. Unless we hear about a dramatic effort to decrease the amount of crime against tourists, we will spend our money elsewhere. One last note, when I was using the internet downstairs by the front desk, a woman was asking whether or not she could pay with a check as all of her cash and credit cards had been stolen. If you have not already booked your trip to St. Marten, choose another island whose government is interested in protecting tourism as their main business.

Room Tip: I would pick a room on the 3rd or 4th floors if given a choice....best views. Ground floors are main...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank MFORT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2011

Our visit was 3rd week November 2011, hotel staff very courteous, our guess room door had old fashion locks not the swipe type like the other rooms, and they can improve on TV signal quality, ocean view from our room spectacular, wireless internet sucks, best to use direct connection PC in lobby. Room has good quality, nice fridge, table top stove, toaster oven and utensils I still would recommend staying here.
Kenny

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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Thank kenroy e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2011

We stayed at Belair Beach the first week of November 2011. Despite, feeling like my room resembled the set of the Golden Girls, the room wasn't 4 stars but the view was!!! All balconys overlook the beach. FABULOUS! There was a full kitchen and large fridge/freezer with automatic ice, which we didn't use cuz we were on vacation!
The front desk staff was helpful. The restaurant staff too, but they aren't overly friendly. Food at Gingerbread Cafe were good, but on island time. If you want something with your meal (like a beverage) you had better catch them when they bring the food (otherwise you won't see them until the bill is delivered with 15% tip included). They ran out of a lot of breakfast & lunch items towards the end of the week (like bananas). We didn't stay for dinner. We tried on Monday night to stay for dinner (via reservation) for the all you can eat BBQ and hppy hour when they serve complimentary wine and cheese. Bless thier hearts - they tried and failed. Wine was cheap (and not all cheap wine is bad, but this was!). And it was warm, paired with crackers and cheese, which was melting in the heat and was also cheap and velveeta like). (I eat Taco Bell so cheap food can be good, just not when you're expecting some nice wine and cheese in a tropical setting). We overlooked this and started to settle in for the BBQ. The front desk staff plays the steel drums, which was nice except for the SINGING which was at the loudest possible setting. In fact it was so loud, I literally couldn't speak to my boyfriend or parents sitting 6" away. Seriously, it was like a rock concert which is fine if you're at a rock concert, not a vacation dinner. And it was scheduled to go on for 3 hours! The songs were geared at the older, easy listening crowd - Brian Adams, sappy, etc. Which wasn't making a very festive, carribbean or vacation vibe. When she sang "Killing Me Softly" she literally was. I couldn't take it anymore and convinced my parents to leave with us. Plus we were getting eaten alive by mosquitos, so it worked out well.

There's Jody's Place convenience store with booze, snack foods and toiletries. They also sell rafts $14 for chinese plastic and noodles $. The raft took me 15m to inflate. Seriously. She said she had a defective batch, but who knows? Buy one at home and pack it - it made playing in the water so much more enjoyable. Especially when it got wavy, we tried to surf. Fun!

We took a cab downtown for dinner which is $4 pp one way, In fact we took cabs everywhere. I'm a great driver in the US, but I could detect no discernable traffic pattern in St. Maarten. There are no lights on the island, so left turns are scary - as our taxi driver is turning left into traffic, people are turning left into the lane. No car accidents though so they must know the code to drive here safely. There are also hardly any street signs so they tell you directions by landmarks, which is insance if you're driving - since it all looks the same. There are mountain roads too. Crazy. We'd rather spend $ on cabs than end up in an international car accident, the hospital or jail. It was vacation where it's always 5 o'clock, so this mode was good for us! Just plan your trips accordingly so you only go to town once.
We met a cab driver - Frankie - Peter Taxi and he became our personal guide. By luck he offered us a ride back to our hotel on Monday and gave us his card. So we just asked the Belair and all other restaurants to call him when we needed him. It was nice to have one who cared. He dropped us in downtown and told us he'd drive us to a lighted area so we didn't have to walk thru a dark corridor to get to our restaurant. Nice guy and the cab fares are set by the gov, so it's practically $4 for each trip ($8 pp to airport). Well worth it - we called him at all hours and he was there for us.We calculated that this cost us an extra $200, but divided by 4 ppl, it was $50pp for a week of carefree transportation. We all wondered where you would even park a car to go into downtown as there is NO parking anywhere. A couple on our plane ride in (saturday) rented a car and parked it at the Sunset Beach in Maho (where you can watch the landing jets) and on thier way back to the cold US, thieves broke into the trunk and stole all of the luggage. Oops! They had to go back to 32 degree weather ih beach wear. So beware!

My parents (early 60s going on 21) booked an island tour with Lorna the Belair Beach Hotel activities director. They booked us too and we immediately cancelled. We wanted to spend time on the beach. They went on a 3hr bus tour of the island. Come to find out from our cab driver, that the tourguide isn't even from St, Maarten and was misinforming his captives. He told them no fruit grew on the island. Which is false since I saw bananas at a farm from Frankie, an educated island native. We also booked snorkeling on Thursday which required 24hr cancellation and an $18 deposit each. I left a msg on Lorna's vm at 5, which was not 24 hrs, but o well. We wanted to enjoy a late dinner and not worry about getting up at 6am. Then at 10pm, a mini hurricane rained down on Philipsburg for 2hrs. Which would have made the visibility limited and made choppy waves. So we were glad we had forseight to cancel. Lorna called us in a huff at 10am the next morning , asking where I was. Um hello - I answered the phone in my room, where do you think I am?! She said everyone but 2 ppl had cancelled and now they couldn't go if we didn't, blah blah blah. Sorry, I was up since 5:30am when the sun rises and just had breakfast. I told her we cancelled the night before on her vm (which was the number she provided) and she told me she wasn't there to check it. Well sorry again, but it wan't my problem. If the trip was cancelled, then we should have a refund, but no. She called back and said we could go friday. I told her we had plans and then she retorted "well there's no refund on your deposit". Whatever! She told my parents that they had made the lunches already and that was the cost. So when my dad jokingly asked for them, she got angry. We are on vacation - lighten up hon! Frankie told us that he would drive us to the French side to take a ferry for $3 to the best snorkeling on the island. I believe it, because lorna's tour took us the the bays that house cruise ships. Whatever.
We went to the French side and he waited for us to shop and eat. Then he gave us a tour of the island and we saw the beaches and Chuck Norris's compound. Lots of pic opps. This taxi ride was only $150 and he gave us recommedations on shopping. The mall in Marigot is $$ but had a great silver jewlery store Sexy Fruits (despite the name, they had reasonable prices (in EURO) & beautiful shiny objects). Your visa will convert the rate on the day of purchase though. There was a flea market with flea market wares, and they negotiate.

In fact, our cab driver said NOT to shop downtown Philpsburg when cruise ships are in because they jack up prices and remove 2 for 1 specials. HA! I knew it. So we shopped off times and when you tell the store people you are staying on the island, they are nicer to you (so are restaurant people) and they give you serious discounts. They are nice and you must visit the Guavaberry Emporium for hot sauce, bbq sauces, rum and of course guavaberry liquer which can be used as marinade for chicken. YUM! You can't get the liqour shipped to you in the states, so stock up here. The mini bottles made great souveniers for non drinkers. I went back on Fri before we left and she hooked me up with a free T shirt. Woo hoo!

If you want to drink with some fun festive bartenders, walk down to the Divi Little Bay Resort. Fun vibe, cool music and they even put on football on Sunday on thier flat screens. Limited menu, but very good for bar food. Wonderful frozen drinks and a large friendly parrot that walks around. Don't agitate her - apparently she bites some people she doesn't like. We all had a blast and then we got to walk home. This is pretty much the only thing within walking distance of the hotel. Everything was tooo far to walk and not that you'd want to on cliffs and hills with the way they drive.

I personally wouldn't want to be on thh 1st floor because people are constantly milling by and there are resident cats that wander and keep rodents away. The beach wasn't wide either, but it was wonderful. The hotel assigns you chairs & umbrella for your stay with room number, which elminated the rush to save seats. Towels are signed out daily and to get an extra one was like pulling teeth but you can get them. The waves got choppy which was fun for us on our raft, but strong enough to almost drown 2 elderly people on seperate occasions. The beach was clean, sandy and there was shelling down the way. Exquisite.

I didn't use my cell (which was a first since I went on a cruise 5yrs ago) and you could pay $3 for 30min of internet in the lobby which was all I needed to tie up loose ends.

So overall - the hotel wasn't the Ritz but the air worked, there was ice, clean sheets and showers and the view was heavenly. We had a fabulous time we will never forget. A great place to stay.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank M1ssJettSett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Belair in April 2011 and my niece joined us 1/2 way through for the last 4 days. The rooms, while a bit dated, are clean and comfortable and have all necessities. The king size bedroom is quite large and very comfortable with plenty of drawer and closet space for all that you've overpacked. The second bedroom, while a little small is still nice as it has it's own door to an ajoining bathroom. While I'm sure my niece (18) would have, under normal circumstances, liked a bit more of a party atmosphere, since she had a cold when she arrived she was grateful for the quiet. In October of 2011, we returned with my brother. Having been through several months of physical rehab after an accident, the relaxed atmosphere and wonderful staff at Belair were "just what the doctor ordered" and a nice break from his daily routine. The Gingerbread cafe's food is quite good and is only topped by the friendliness of the staff. Rufus, Dwayne and Brenda took great care of us making us feel right at home. Proximity to Philipsburgh and the airport very convenient. On-site car rental a nice perk and the staff was wonderful. When I needed to take a cab out to the airport to pick up my niece, I stopped to ask if it would better to rent a car or take a cab and they offered to take me out as they had to drop keys for another rental at the airport anyway. And,while I didn't "free-load", the tip I gave the driver was less than what I'd have paid for a cab. Jodie and the staff at her on-site grocery are very friendly and the grocery has more than just basic necessities. There is a large grocery store about 10 or 15 minutes drive from Belair and we stocked the room w/ liquor and food from there and that helped a great deal in that my niece was sick on first trip and my brother not quite up to leaving the hotel for meals on second trip. To be sure, if you're looking for a luxury accomodation, this is not the place for you. But if you are looking for convenience, value and beach beach beach, you've found the right place. In just a few weeks time, I will be a proud time-share owner at Belair and am looking forward to returning again and again. FYI - I've chosen "friends" as the type of travel in that it wasn't just a couple but we were all adults and the "family" choice isn't quite correct either.

Room Tip: Views on fourth floor are incredible but I prefer the convenience of a ground floor room.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Jacquie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2011

We stayed at Belair Beach the first week of November 2011. The resort overall could use a face-lift, some new linens, flat screen TV's, but having said that it was very clean and comfortable. Our room was on the fourth floor and we had great views from the living room and the balcony. The kitchen was pretty well equipped, no oven but a large toaster oven/microwave so you could cook about anything, blender, coffee maker, filters.

We overdid our shopping and ended up leaving lots of food and even some booze to some very happy staff members. Next year we plan to buy more breakfast stuff, mega mugs to take drinks down to the beach and wine which they will let you take to the restaurant with a $10.00 corkage fee. We will also bring some binoculars.

We rented a cell phone from I think "Queenie" but found out that we could have gotten one for less at Belair Beach. We also rented a car from Dollar, they would not honor our US Dollar deal or account at all, however the car was fine and the price was not outrageous. It is easy to get around and I would recommend a car, nothing is really walkable from Belair Beach unless you are really a good walker. The road between the airport and Belair Beach is currently under repair with only one lane open for a stretch, this really creates a mess. There is another way up over a mountain and around, not sure if it is shorter but check with some locals and get the navigation device that comes with the rental car.

We did not realize that a 15% tip was included on all of our meals at the Gingerbread for the first few days, duh, so we were very good tippers, as a rule this is the case everywhere on thee Dutch side and on the French side we understood that the tip was included in the price and to just leave an extra 5 to 10% depending on service.

The Divi resort right down the beach has a restaurant and bar that make for a nice change for breakfast or afternoon snacks and drinks, watch out for the parrot he bit my sister-in-law, but everyone says he is nice??? Divi also has other services and a pretty nice store that you can walk to if you need something you can't find at Jodi's in the Belair.

Golfed at Mullet Bay, it was in pretty rough shape, but had a great time and enjoyed the time with one of their members. They charged me 98.00 with rental clubs, I think I paid a bit more than others, but what a beautiful view of the ocean many of my golf balls remain there enjoying the view. There is a course on Anguilla that looks great, around $200.00 to play, but if your a golfer I am sure it would be worth it, the ferry is an easy ride over and back from Marigot.

We had spa treatments at the Good Life Spa, www.thegoodlifespa.com. I had a great massage (right after golf, perfect day) my sister-in-law had several services and we were both happy. They do offer services at the hotel, but we did not try them so cannot comment.

Room Tip: I liked the fourth floor, took the stairs every time to work off all the extra food, but a first flo...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Paula S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2011

My husband and I are not picky people when it comes to accomodations. We require a nice beach, air conditioning, hot water and cleanliness. Bel Air had all of these. We really enjoyed the fact that your beach chairs and umbrellas are assigned to you so you don't have to worry about reserving them for the day.
Our only complaint is that the beach towel staff was not very friendly and one day housekeeping took our dirty towels out of our room and didn't replace them so when it came time to shower that evening we had no towels and the front desk was not very helpful with that problem.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank mattmandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Belair Beach Hotel

Address: Little Bay Beach | P.O. Box 940, Philipsburg, St Martin / St Maarten
Region: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range: $346 - $526 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Belair Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 71
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Also Known As:
Belair Beach Philipsburg
Hotel Belair Beach
Belair Beach Hotel St Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg

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