We stayed 9 days/8 nights in one of the deluxe rooms. The room was spacious with firm but comfortable king size bed, bathroom with large shower, kitchenette with refridgerator/sink/dishes/glasses/coffe maker(no coffee)/no hotplate, deck with table and two chairs, and a small pool shared between the four rooms in the villa. The facilities are a little old but in fairly good shape. We also had a family of cats that would join us on the deck but weren't obnoxious and our neighbors who didn't like cats were not disturbed. The pool stairs were slightly broken and we reported this but they were not fixed while we were there. The phone in our room was broken and was not fixed during our stay but we never really needed it. We only used the restaurant (Astrolabe) for breakfast which is an unlimited free continental (good coffee, fruit salad, toasted french bread and wonderful hot plain and chocolate crossaints). The hostess was extremely pleasant and delightful. Full of information on the island. Doesn't like to swim though. You could get other breakfast food as well for an additional charge. The hotel staff were very friendly and helpful including the chamber maids, head of housekeeping and the front desk staff. The beach was about 150 yards from our Villa but this could vary as much as 300 yards to the furthest villas. The Coco beach facility is very nice with free lounge chairs and umbrellas for hotel guest. The beach facilities are seperate from the hotel but you can charge back to your room. You can also charge at any of the other beach facilites back to your room. The beach is at one end of Oriente beach furthest from the naturalist club. You can still see topless women though so be forwarned if you are offended. The bar food and drinks are excellent and resonable priced. There is typically a beach boy that will bring everything to you and help move the umbrella and such. There are massages facilities at this and most of the other beach facilities that are quite nice. There are windsurfing, parasailing, parachute towing, Hobie cats, snorkeling and jetskis available for rent up and down the beach. The best snorkling at Oriente are at the other end down past the naturalist resort. Lots of fish, urchins, conchs and starfish were seen. The waves were fairly mild most days we were there but were about 3 foot breakers on one day with about 2 foot swells. The Esmeralda has a small store with wine, beer and other sundries and there is a small grocery store in the center of Oriente beach that has fresh fruits, vegetables and baugette with very nice frech wines, cheeses and meats. Half the time we would grab food and wine at the grocery store and walk down the beach and have a picnic. About three of the five beach bars had some form of baked cheese (Brie or Camembert) that should not be missed. We rented a car for the entire time and had no issues getting around the island. Lots of speed bumps though so watch out for them. Also we did see a few people having trouble getting up the hills when it rained especially in the 4-wheel drive jeeps. Our little Toyota Yaris tooled right past them. lol. I think the car rental is the best way to get around. Shopping for souvenirs was a lot cheaper on the Dutch side (July 2011) may be a function of the exchange rate. Everywhere took dollars and debit cards. American Express was not taken most places. In our opinion the best dinner dining was in Grand Case which is about 2 miles from the hotel. Lots of really nice frech and italian restaurants. Also the open air barbecues right on the beach in the center of town are especially good. Watch out for the hotsauce on the table since its made from scotch bonnet peppers which are wicked (as in infernal) hot. We enjoyed every meal that we ate on the island, formal or informal. Overall the best vacation we have ever had and we are already planning our trip there next year.
My husband and I (61 yrs) took my parents (87 yrs) to the Esmerelda for a week's vacation. I'm telling you our ages so you'll appreciate how easy it is to get around . We had adjoining hotel rooms (with king size beds)that were part of a four unit group. The four units shared a very nice pool with lounge chairs. We never had anyone else but ourselves in the pool and it was great. The beach was close enough that my parents could walk there and was a fun beach. A bit more crowded than many of the other island beaches but great for people watching. The beach bars and restaurants were fun - we enjoyed a lot of good drinks and lunches there. Particularly at the Esmerelda's Cocoa Beach Bar and at Bikini Beach. The real restaurant at Esmerelda was where the continental breakfast was available. The only "free" things were baguettes, croissants, fruit, juice and coffee/tea. The yogurt or cold cereal even had costs of $2 each. You could order eggs, bacon pancakes etc. (The pancakes were SO fluffy!)In the evening the restaurant was somewhat fancy. You MUST have a reservation. The food is great and presented artistically. None of us would hesitate to stay there again. (Also the units were clean and we saw no insects!) The rooms were cleaned each day and clean beach towels were provided. They supply shampoo etc and do have a hairdrier.
Esmeralda has nice beaches and the food was very good. However that was all I can say that was good about it. Service was bad; I know it's a beach so you don't mind always waiting for our food, but they could have been friendlier. Its seems they were more friendly to the french speaking customers. The restaurant opened late every morning for breakfast and the continental breakfast was skimpy. Fruit, pastry and coffee was all that you got included with the room. You had to pay for any additional items. You had to pay $3.00 for a small yogut (the $0.50 size) and $8.00 for eggs. I had a better continental breakfasts at the Marriot Courtyard (2 stars). There is no way you can rate this four stars when you have to go 100 yards to get ice to the only ice machine in the place. There were no activities offered by this resort. CheapCarribean website states " a great place for water sports enthusiasts (water-skiing, windsurfing, jet skiing, surfing, snorkeling and parasailing)". All this is offered by vendors along the beach if you hunted them out but Esmeralda doen't offer anything. Even their fitness area (which is an empty hut) was empty and never had anything scheduled at anytime. Also, your travel transfer vendor, St. Martin Siteseeing was late to get us at the airport because their driver was stopped by police for drunk driving. And when I called for the sunset cruise or snorking tour that came with the trip, it wasn't offered before we were sheduled to leave to go home in 4 days. Very disappointed in the resort and CheapCarribean's portrayal on their website and of the transfer/ siteseeing package you provided.
April, 2015. If you are expecting a five star hotel such as those you find along the Mexican Rivera, this is not for you. But you can have a great time at a clean, well maintained, nicely located hotel with a friendly, helpful staff at a very good price. The rooms are large with high vaulted ceilings and great air conditioning and ceiling fans. The Resort consists of multiple one story buildings. Each building has four rooms and a separate swimming pool for each building. Each room has a deck overlooking the pool, but from what we could see, those pools were rarely used.The bathroom was large, no moldy or broken grout and had a separate water closet. Very hot water every day. Very clean, never saw a bug inside. There are some stray cats on the grounds but that is common on the Island.The room has a microwave, mini fridge, kitchen sink and some flatware, utensils, glasses and dishes. Not a true kitchenette. Maid service was excellent. This hotel is on the french side, on Orient Beach, closer to the North End. I don't believe you can see the beach or ocean from any of the rooms. The beach is a bit of a walk from most rooms and it is a very nice beach and groomed. But Orient Beach has had a problem with large amounts of seaweed accumulating on the shore. It seemed the weekly cleanup of the seaweed from the beach south of the Esmeralda was piled just off Esmeralda's beach. Not very pleasant there during our stay. We walked and spread our towels or rented chairs further up the beach. The daily breakfasts are very good but limited in selection.The tables are on the deck of the resort's restaurant, a high end very good one, L'Astrolabe. The beach bar is Coco's, which has a full menu for all three meals. We did not eat there at all so I can't comment. This hotel is good if you want to venture out and see the Island. We rent a car for our entire stay and use it almost everyday. We eat at restaurants located on Orient Beach and in Marigot, Grand Case and Phillipsburg. We go to numerous beaches and an excursion or two. Orient Beach has a clothing optional section on the far south end of the beach. You won't see any nudity near the Esmeralda but toplessness is common on the Island and all over Orient Beach. Overall we would be happy to return to the Esmeralda. But this was our 6th trip to St Martin and have never stayed in the same hotel twice. It is too much fun to try new places. If you go, you will have a great time and depending on your preferences, the Esmeralda would be an excellent choice.
St Martin is an island for tourists who just want to enjoy the lovely beaches. We booked a trip for 12 nights and I feel that we got an excellent deal. The Esmerelda Resort has a lot of security which helped ease my husbands fears, but is not located in front of a lush jungle as provided the photo-shopped picture depicts. The landscape is more desert, with harshly chopped bushes and brown grass. A swimming pool is provided for every 4 units, which seems a waste of precious water, because most people use the GORGEOUS beach but was a lovely place to cool off after a long day of hiking. We rented a car right in the Resort's Lobby, and I must give Kudos to the CheapCaribbeanTours package offering of a ride to and from the airport - totally on time and worth it (both ways) The large Resort room have TV with cable and lots of English channels, and 110 Volts in the bathroom so I could re-charge my camera's battery & phone and I adored a free International Newspaper (in English) every morning (M-F). The "kitchen" had a small frig, coffee pot I could never get to work, and a microwave. But if you want some salty popcorn, pack your own because the grocery stores only sell it French style: with sugar. I also loved the shower because it was tall, wide and never ran out of hot water (on demand heating). I didn't like the smell of Pine Sol - it was hard to live with after the room was cleaned and I found the restaurant (on site) food uninspired and lacking so we ate at Koko Beach with was better tasting but Very Expensive (like the entire island) (They have to import EVERYTHING, don't grow anything) The staff at the Esmerelda Resort were Super friendly and helpful. I bought a big floppy hat in the resort's store my first day which really helped keep the burn away. The small mosquitoes are big biters so take some Deet! The room provides a safe to lock up your wallet and valuables and one other guest said that their medication (oxicotton) was taken, so we started locking that up too. Unfortunately for us, we are not really into the beach, but hiking on St Martin is not really an option, as there are few "non-beach" paths, and we found their "marked trails" that rely on unstable boulders with cliff drop off falls... unsafe. Also hiking up on the desert hills was unbearably hot. The Island of St. Martin has cut down almost all of their old forest trees, and the only place to see some is at the Loterie Farm. This forest was lovely, and offers some zip lines for tourists (yawn) but the staff knows nothing about the wildlife, including their hummingbirds. From Loterie Farm we hiked to the top of the island's tallest mountain after paying their fee and I was glad to use a walking stick for when the quick rain shower slicked up the path. We passed a busload of people that were dropped off at the top of the mountain and so the easier climb down was all they had to do. The locals whom I plagued with questions seemed to know little to nothing about the names of their local wildlife or flora. I packed 2 hummingbird feeders (& sugar) and hung them up on our porch and got wonderful photos of the Green Throated Carib. The primary flora at the resort (Oleander and bouganvilla) are not good for wildlife (no pollen nor nectar) and I was unable to find any Crested Antillian Hummingbirds on site, but if they'd plant some smaller native flowers they could attract them, as I did see a few on the Island. Many cute yellow breated birds - the Bananaquit also came for the sugar water. Surprisingly, I was also able to photograph some mating Peregrine Falcons and an American Kestrel all on the Esmerelda Resort grounds. The endangered Bumble Bees were on a neglected shrub by the huge boulders leaving the resort and were too hard to photograph because the wind constantly blew the bush, moving the flowers and the bees never landed for longer than 1/2 a second. The best Iguana pics were on Pinel Island, a $7.00 water taxi ride (one way) or $34.00 all day kayak rental to paddle there where we also saw a Green Sea Turtle. There is a restaurant there that feeds them and so I was amazed to see 25 iguanas - the Green and the Marine all together, vying for some lettuce and carrot scraps. The snorkeling wasn't all that great on St. Martin. Our need for hiking lead us to Island hop to The French West Indies of Guadeloupe, or as we called it the French Costa Rica, for 2 nights, where few speak English, few take the dollar and all rental cars are stick shift. That is where we will go again, it was green and flowery and lovely beyond measure and not set up for tourists at all. Time Share opportunities exist on St. Martin and we were lulled into a 90 minute talk where I saw superior rooms at a Hotel which is why I didn't give the Esmerelda Resort higher marks, but I was looking for a bargain and I got one with this trip: flight/Hotel and ride.
Our 4th time in St Martin--first at Esmarelda--very nice resort--there are no resorts directly on Orient Beach (the nicest 1 1/2 mile beach on the island), but Esmarelda is only a 2 minute walk thru their lovely property to the beach. Each 4 unit building has its own swimming pool--small, but often we had it to ourselves. Did make friends with another couple in our building one evening at the pool. The resort is affiliated with Coco Beach, and Coco provides free chairs and umbrella to Esmarelda guests. Esmarelda's guest card can be used at most bars and restaurants on Orient Beach--to put meals and drinks on your room bill, so you don't need to use a charge card at every meal. Great service both at the resort and at Coco's. Coco has the only sanctioned nude sunbathing area outside the Orient Village nude area. Only room for about 8 spaced umbrellas, but adequate. Coco has lots of beach seating, so you don't have to get to the beach early to get chairs or an umbrella. Everything in St Martin is expensive (but we knew that and still picked St Martin for our vacation)--dinner for 2 with one drink and a $6-8 bottle of drinking water averages $80-$120. Continental breakfast is included daily (french bread toast, croissants, fresh fruit salad, juice, coffee, jams) Good, but got old during our 10 night stay. Could add eggs, pancakes, etc for $8-10. (Eggs included bacon and hashbrowns, with were french fries, not hash browns--on the beach, a hamburger came with french fries--for about $14. Will probably pick a less expensive island next winter, but will be back to Esmarelda in 2 or 3 years.
Accomodations are very comfortable, the units are acattered accross the property with beautiful landscapes and a feel of privacy. The pool being shared by only 4 rooms is wonderful and enables intimacy and relaxation. Freindly and accomodating staff that is just as beautiful as the surroundings. The beach and water are fantastic, and embellished with top notch service and food/drink while at COCO beach. We will definetely return many more times.
MY WIFE AND I HAVE STAYED AT ESMERALDA EVERY MAY FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. IT OBVIOUSLY MEETS OUR NEEDS FOR A RELAXING AND RESTFUL VACATION. WE HAVE MANY FRIENDS THAT RETURN EACH YEAR DURING THE SAME TIME FRAME. WE ENJOY THE WATER SPORTS OFFERED ON ORIENT BEACH ESPECIALLY THE SCUBA DIVING. WE HAVE EVERY INTENTION OF RETURNING NEXT YEAR. RANDY & KATHY
We have been to many carribean islands but always come back to St. Martin and would never think of staying anywhere but the Esmeralda Resort. We tried one time another place but were so disappointed - Esmeralda has everything you would want, the pool, beach, restaurants and shopping all within a 5 minute walk and the most beautiful of all beaches. We even tried other beaches on the island but always come back to Orient beach and the facilities and amenities available there. Would recommend it to everyone but would like to keep it to ourselves.
My husband and I went to the Esmeralda for our winter break in January. I loved it! Our room was very clean and well kept. It's a few steps away from the beach and we walked along the beach to go to dinner in Orient Bay village at night. The staff was very helpful in booking taxis for us if we wanted to go further. They even gave us tips on taking the bus when we were feeling adventurous. We ate dinner at the Astrolabe restaurant and it was fantastic. We had dinner on Seafood boulliabaise night! Breakfast is also at the Asrolabe restaurant and we started every morning there. The staff was friendly and the food very good. In all, it was a very stress free vacation. You are given a card when you check in that allows some of the restaurants and beach places to charge things directly to your room. This was very convenient.