More about Oyster Bay Beach Resort
LOVED Oyster Bay Beach Resort!!
My boyfriend and I, both in our 40s, stayed at Oyster Bay Beach Resort December 11-18, 2004 through an II exchange. We were booked in an efficiency unit. It was the first time we exchanged for our home unit and we were more than pleased with the results. This was my boyfriend's first time in St-Martin and my third (first time was one day with a cruise). I stayed previously at Grand Case Beach Club.
Before leaving for St-Martin I e.mailed the resort about getting an ocean view room and was told they would try their best, which they did. I can only imagine that those who complain in this forum about the service at this resort were just getting back the attitude they put out ... just be polite instead of demanding - put a smile on your face. Don't get out of the cab complaining about the driver etc. I can't begin to count the amount of Americans we overheard, constantly criticizing. You're in someone elses country, have a bit of respect and relax.
I found the staff to be very gracious and more than accommodating. I broke my leg the week before leaving on vacation and they offered to drive me around in a golf cart whenever needed. Even the lady who gives the aqua fit classes in the morning offered to help me exercise my leg in the pool.
Rooms: I spoke with Marion from the front desk since she is the one I had been communicating with by e.mail. She gave us an upgrade to a suite, at no extra charge. It had a beautiful walkout patio overlooking the ocean and front lawn with pretty palm trees. On our right was the gorgeous infinity pool. It was nice and quiet. Our room had one double bed and rattan furniture with big comfy cushions, the bathroom had a shower/bath and bidet. Our kitchen was small and efficient. There were ants that appeared when we left out our bread but that's not the end of the world. We just made sure to put stuff away after that. Yes, they charge for AC, but you know us North Americans take everything for granted. $5 a day isn't much considering how much energy we consume. Our room was clean and didn't have any kind of smell. I don't recall daily maid service, because it's a timeshare, and I prefer it that way.
We went out and bought some baguette, cheeses, wine and beer for our room and had that for breakfast with sparkling wine with OJ, outside on the patio. It was heaven.
Beach: The resort is located on Dawn beach which is one of the nicest beaches in St-Martin. It can get a little rough but that's good for those who like to boogie board and play in the waves. I went in the ocean, broken leg or not! The beach is very clean and the sand is white and soft. There are no rocks and the ocean is beautiful, blue and clean. There are some vendors on the beach but they aren't obnoxious about it. We ate lunch either in our suite or at Mr. Busby's on the beach. They have excellent ribs and cheap .75 Carib beer. The fruity drinks are a little on the expensive side. There's also Mrs. Busby's a few feet down the beach for good ribs as well but we didn't make it that far down because walking in the sand with a cast on isn't too much fun.
Snorkling: I couldn't go but my boyfriend went diving with some guests he met at the resort and he said it was great. There are reefs to snorkle right off the beach.
Jade's Restaurant and the Resort bar: Mario, who owns Jade's restaurant is a character and a half! Love those wooden clogs he wears :) Mario rents the space for Jade's restaurant from the resort, he doesn't work for the resort, that is why you will need to pay separate. We had two meals at Jade's. One was the BBQ ribs and chicken night which was good. The other was the lobster night which was obviously fresh caught lobster and very very good and only 16 usd! We ate out on the terrace overlooking the pool and ocean. Wish I was there right now!
As for the bar, it has a beautiful continuous ocean breeze but isn't that lively. We left a credit card imprint so we could get drinks without having to worry about carrying around cash, we settled up at the end of our stay. The bartenders are nice guys and there are 2 for 1 happy hours and cheap beer. When one happy hour ends another begins out on the beach at Mr. Busby's of Beau Beaus. We did manage to have one late night watching a concert on the projector screen in the bar and being entertained by Mario's antics after he'd had one too many :) ... as did my boyfriend. We met a group of English people and invited them back to our room and had a blast.
We never made it to Beau Beaus - too many other things to do.
Excursions: We booked one excursion at the resort, if you do this they will give you 2 for 1 so it's worth it. All you have to do is listen to the most laid back timeshare presentation which takes all of 15 minutes. No big deal, no pressure. The excursion we booked was a sunset cruise on the lagoon followed by dinner at Le Frigate. We left the hotel and were bused to the dutch side to catch the small sailboat, however, the rain got worse and then the brakes on the bus failed! We sat around for another bus, didn't get on the sailboat because it was pouring out, but the group concensus was to go ahead with dinner. The restaurant was close to the resort and wasn't very good. It was outside (it was cool from the rain) on picnic tables. We had two choices, fish or curried chicken. I had the chicken but it wasn't great. Others thought the same about both dishes. The restaurant didn't seem prepared for us and they seemed really rushed because we were a pretty big group and they were told we had cancelled because of the rain.
We went on the cruise portion another day. Most people were annoyed because they had booked other excursions and couldn't make it. The cruise was nice, lots of rum punches and beer.
Getting around & Grand Case: You will need a car at least for a few days if you stay at this resort. We rented a car for one day only to pick up groceries and drive around. We rented from the resort and they come deliver the car and pick it up. The rest of the time we took cabs. Beware that taking a cab after 10 p.m. will cost you 50% more. It cost us $20 to go to Grand Case and $40 to come back! The resort does have an excursion for $30 per couple into Grand Case. It's a cab ride there, you have dinner at your choice of restaurant and they pick you up 3 hours later.
We ate dinner at Chez Martine. It was fantastic. It's a small little restaurant right along the ocean. We ate off of the "lobster menu" which is a set price of 39 euros - pay cash and it's 1:1 - it is a choice of 3 appetizers - 3 main courses and 3 desserts. All the appetizers and main courses are lobster meals. We started with homemade raviolis stuffed with lobster in a saffron sauce, then had whole lobster out of its shell and covered in parsley garlic butter followed by chocolate souffle. All that and a bottle of Chablis for $118 usd. We recommended this to another couple staying at Oyster Bay and they said it made their stay.
I would highly recommend this resort. It's a bit out of the way but this side of the island is quiet and the beach is beautiful. One day we went over to the beach at Divi and the cab driver who droves us back to the resort said "you left this to go to divi?!" The resort is very lovely especially at night with all the twinkling lights on the trees and the pool. The only minus for me is that the bar is kind of boring, unless of course, we Canadians and the English are there :) I noticed a strange phenomena ... whenever there was an event like say, a cocktail party or latino night, everyone would be hooting and hollering and having a great time, then as soon as the "free stuff" was over people scurried to their rooms instead of continuing the revelry in the bar, even though the partying was at the bar ... very odd :)
We stayed at Oyster Bay Beach Resort in January 2005, as part of an II exchange. It should be noted we met many people who return there every year for multiple weeks, we enjoyed our stay but won't be coming back. Overall the weather was fine - water was nice. The resort could be great but poor, spotty service was a draw back. Be prepared to pay extra for A/C ($12 per day) - we tried the AC for the first two days but the units were so noisy it was irritating. Finally we opened the windows and had a great cross current, were glad we did! The first room offered was at the lowest level of the buildings and smelt strongly of sewage. Staff at the desk were not helpful about moving us until we made it clear we would stand at the desk until accommodated. Some of the front desk staff were wonderful, I felt that others took delight is saying "no." (I observed this in their interactions with others as well.) Room was marginally clean (never more than superficially done) I cleaned the kitchen before using it.
The beach was child friendly - no undertow and small waves, some limited ability to snorkel. Be prepared for grumpy beach staff, clearly did not enjoy their job. Umbrellas and beach chairs are available - but you have to ask for them. Some nudity on the resort beach but less than at other beaches.
Something odd with the restaurants on site - had to close out the checks separately.
We had a car the whole week so getting around was easy, roads are pretty straightforward though there are lots of reckless drivers.
Husband truly enjoyed his day scuba diving, said it was some of the best he's done.
Had a wonderful dinner at the French restaurant across the bay and at Escapade in Grand Cass. Also really enjoyed our day sail on "Random Wind" though we wish they had used more sail and less motor. Phillipsburg shopping was standard cruise ship, more variety in Grande Cass.
Bottom line - Oyster Bay Beach Resort could be great, it missed because of marginal cleanliness and grumpy staff. St. Maarten was a nice vacation spot with good beaches.
Stay at OBBR - Wont be dissappointed
stayed at OBBR 12/18 - 12/225/04. had a 1 bedroom with marina view - very nice. staff was friendly and check in and out was not a problem. the pool area is nice and right next to dawn beach ( the beach was great) The place was very clean and comfortable and I am use to 5 star. this was a timeshare exchange for us and most likely will be again. 10 minutes to orient beach and 20 to grand case and 30 minutes to marigot or phillipsburg depending on traffic and time of day.
parking is not a problem with rent a car plenty of space available.
looking forward to staying here again same time next year. Weather was great. I rated this resort above average do to its cleaniness and location and beautiful pool area with great views of st barts
Ok - Better rent a car
My wife and stayed at the OBBR last summer for our honeymoon. The reason we chose this resort was because some friends of ours gave us their timeshare for the week as a wedding gift.
Overall, it's not a bad place. Our room was a 1 bedroom suite with an oceanfront view. A bottle of champaign and a cheese platter were left for us in our room when we arrived. The room was clean and had plenty of space. Only negative would be that when we checked in, the room had a strong smell of bug spray and it seemed like every time they cleaned the room - that smell would re-appear.
The facility is in decent shape, lobby centrally located, decent rest, and nice medium sized pool. The beach is nice, not too crowded. Snorkelling is quite nice in this area as well.
Biggest problem we had with this place is that it's quite a hike from the airport, major attractions, etc. Luckily, we rented a jeep for the week and overcame the location problem. Also, there is not a lot of dining near the resort - so be prepared to drive to dinner every night.
We spent most of our time on the island visiting other more lively beaches, shopping areas, etc. Also took a tour to St. Barths for the day - which was awesome. Will spend the extra cash on the next visit to this part of the carribean to stay at St. Barths or Anguilla.
We did check out of the resort two days early to meet up with a couple of friends at the Maho Beach Resort to party and take advantage of livelier atmosphere.
Overall, the OBBR is average. Stay there if you are looking for a quiet, out of the way resort at a reasonable price. Aslo, I strongly encourage you to rent a jeep for the duration of your stay on the island - made our stay much more enjoyable.
Worse experience ever...
We were extremly disapointed with is resort...The room smell mildew, a lot of mouldiness were accumulated around the air conditioner, certainly because of the condensation...We couldn't even open the windows, the wind from the ocean was unbearable. We requested another room that we managed to obtain after our forth day, but it was exactly the same problem. The staff was very unfriendly. The sales team try to convince us to buy, but when we told them it was no question about buying, a women with the name of Susan intervened very unappropriatly. She was extremly vulgar, she then became very rude and obnoxious, her breath smelt like alcohol, we assume she was intoxicated. Later on we learned that she was the Director of "in-house sales"!!! Anyhow she was representative of the resort itself. We will never go back.
Our St. Maarten Experience
My boyfriend and I visited St. Maarten and stayed at OBBR in October 2004. We shared some of the same experiences as others on this BB. Some good, some interesting and some just not worth revisiting, because we were on vacation.
We had a one bedroom suite, which was plenty big, since we spent most of our time out of the room, except to sleep and eat a meal or two. It wasn't the view of choice, which was of the parking corridor for cars; needless to say we did not spend much time on our balcony, since all we saw were people coming back from the pool, the beach or outings in town. The pictures online for this resort are pretty much accurate. I made good use of the kitchen, making daiquiris and lasagna, which I shared with Francesca, our room staff. The pool was great with the infinity feature, making you feel like you were over the sea. The downside was, arriving at the resort to find that you are charged a per day fee for the use of AC. We decided initially to see if we were okay with just the ceiling fans, then ended up asking for it to be turned on after day four. We went at the time of year when it is raining, so the humidity did not help the room fans cool us off, and opening the windows just blew warm wet air. We expected this for this time of year, so we didn't complain and went with it. This not your five star resort, and we have stayed at much nicer and better quality resorts, but we live and learn. The front desk staff could have definitely been friendlier. I felt the same way as one the other vacationer’s; that you felt wrong for asking a question or for needing any service. The wait staff was great in the restaurant. We had breakfast there every morning on their plan. It was 7 meals for $60. This was great for us since we are late risers, and would not have time to enjoy breakfast at other spots on the island. Although we heard that Mr. Busby’s on OBBR’s beach was good. Mrs. B’s Spot was a delicious place for ribs and a beer while on the beach.
The highlight of our stay at OBBR was our room courtesy staff. She was absolutely wonderful and a delight. She cleaned our room’s everyday, although we are not messy individuals, which she appreciated. She always smiled and came when it was convenient for us. We are not overly picky, but we like clean floors, towels, bathrooms, bedding and appliances. All this was well kept and up to date. I made sure (financially and verbally) that Francesca knew we appreciated her services. Most think this is part of the cost, but when you are in a timeshare, they are not always guaranteed to come everyday without paying an extra fee, plus they are providing a service I don't want to do when I am on holiday.
The island was absolutely what the doctor ordered, despite rain. On the days we had good weather we toured the island and enjoyed the local cuisine, which we found tasty. One of our favored meals was at The Boathouse, can you say yummy to the tummy!, and decent service as well. Another of our likes was in Phillipsburg, a shanty on the side of the road in a parking lot, where they served ribs that melted in your mouth, and sauce that said 'pour a little more over me'. It was located near the KFC and Suzuki dealer (I think) on the way to the Airport, on the left-hand-side. And worth it too, you get a container of ribs (about 10 cut baby back’s) for $3.00 US dollars. This was a cheap meal and quick off the grill. These are the experiences that make our trips worth while. We don't mind spending money on a good meal, but when you are tired and not sure where to eat, this helps. The locales are very friendly and eager for you to buy or taste their wares. We did not do much shopping this trip, but know where to go when we return in two years.
The beaches are absolutely worth small or long day trips, and the best beach of them all to us was Orient beach. The water was so warm and blue that you then knew why you came to St. Maarten for your vacation. There is a lot of activity and places to kick your feet up and have a drink or a snack and watch the water or people. Further down is a nudist area, which is great for those who like to be un-inhibited. There were some gaukers, but for the most part, people were just enjoying sun and fun.
Definitely rent a car or jeep. We rented a jeep from the rental agency located in the hotel (Vacation Car Rental – VCR). I spoke and emailed Charles before our arrival, to arrange pick-up at the airport. Daniel picked us up (on time) from the airport, gave us a second vehicle to drive behind him to the resort, and when we arrived and checked in, he took care of our rental and had us on our way. We specifically asked for an older Suzuki, one because it’s cheaper and plus we don’t feel so bad getting sand and dirt from the beach in an older vehicle. We called it our ‘struggle buggy’ because it was loud when we were going up the hills/streets of St. Maarten, but boy did it save on gas. The only time we filled up was when turned the car in. We were there for 8 days and used the car everyday.
If you are considering going to St. Maarten for relaxation, you will not be disappointed.
We loved it and bought more!
Full disclosure. Last year we were on a cruise and visited St Maarten. While there we toured OBBR and liked it enough to buy a timeshare. We just got back from our week there and we both hated leaving. Our experience was that the staff was excellent and went out of their way to help us. The room was clean and serviced daily. In the morning I watched as the staff raked the sand and cleaned the beach before they put out the chairs and umbrellas. Did I mention the sunrise, wow. And while there is not a whole lot of restaurants etc. right there (although they now have Beau Beau's as well as Jade's) we had a rental car and found more than we wanted within a 10 minute drive. The rooms are not plush, but they are very nice and we were both very happy. How happy? We bought another week! As for the negative complaints: never smelled mold or anything else foul. The staff was nice and very helpful at all times. If you are looking for a smaller facility that is a little secluded, set in a beautiful location, this is it. But rent a car for those few times when you want to go out.
Treated like Family
I had the pleasure of staying at this resort for two weeks over Christmas. I had a blast. The staff were so nice, I was only there 1 day and I was being treated like family. Very friendly and outgoing, the activity staff were wonderful at getting people involved, but not pushy if you preferred to sit by the pool and relax. They also provided me with great information on places to visit on the island. The view from the infinity pool is breathtaking, gorgeous sunrises. 2 for 1 drinks at Happy hour just added to my great time at Oyster Bay. Very clean facilities and a beautiful beach. I can't wait to go back.
Glass Half Full
You get exactly what you make of it. That about sums up my experiences with OBBR, and St. Martin in general.
Reading some of the commentary herein, I find myself giggling, thinking back to my very first visit to St. Martin. I stayed at another resort, and experienced many of the same "annoyances" reflected by others here.
St. Martin, I believe, either freaks you out completely, or kind of grows on you. I remember driving through a stretch of the island that looked like total devastation... and after five years, it still looks that way. It seems island time, here, is the norm. That is to say, St. Martin isn't a boutique location, like St. Barts, fit only for snobs. It is rough on the edges. There are shanties here, and some of the natives seem disinterested at best, and the time share gig is a turn-off. The power is often unreliable, the weather almost too warm.
Suffice it to say, if you come here with a an uptight attitude and unrealistic expectations, you will not come back again.
That said, what about OBBR? You are on a secluded part of the island, away from the hot spots of the island. That can be a good thing, but probably not without a car. Cars do not have to be expensive. Rent from Mikes, not the resort, not the name companies -- he's the best. Discovering the island is a lot of fun. Nearby Dawn Beach is pristine, with a wonderful sunrise, decent snorkling, and a beachside restaurant. But explore! St. Martin has almost every kind of beach somewhere on the island. Places to eat? Try Grand Case, especially if you like a top notch dining experience. But, again, explore! There are plenty of places hidden all around the island that fit every taste and budget. Best breakfast? Try Zee Best, in Marigot, near the oceanfront, a Canadian croissant and crepe restaurant that lives up to its name, and is inexpensive, too. Shop in Phillipsburg, but for the best deals (yes, you can negotiate the price of everything here) go when the cruise ships are not here.
Yes, you pay for the A/C. If you knew what it takes to have it, this would not seem so ridiculous. The $50 charge is a government deal, not the resorts -- it is a tax. Guess what, you pay similar taxes everywhere you go, just sometimes you don't know it. The room surcharges are for larger rooms, because the standard is a one bedroom, sleep four unit. Yes, special requests are harder to come by, depending on demand. No, many rooms do not have a great view, at least from your balcony. Of course, a view is always less than 100m away. The pool is great. You may or may not like King Beau Beau -- he is a long time favorite here. Personally, I don't think any amount of money is worth even the (soft sell, in this case) timehare spiel, so bag it.
The staff, IMO, is not rude, though some are more helpful than others. I concur with the observation that a smile and a little patience go a long way here. Even a five hour wait for ones room (which was, btw, measured by someone's early arrival), can be made into a time for exploration. The person who commented on Susan, who btw is a great person and good to get to know if you can, either found the wrong time, or never has a right time (if you get my drift)... some folks are never happy (and heck, they come from LaLa land?)
My guess is that everyone who hated OBBR would hate just about every other place on the island, because honestly, I've been around, and there is no better resort experience on the island. There are other islands in the Carribean, but if you want a taste of St. Martin, OBBR is a pretty decent home base.
Great Time at Oyster Bay
Our stay at Oyster Bay was great. The facilities were spic and span. The staff was friendly and very accommodating. They cheerfully answered all our questions, did a great clean-up job in our unit. They let us check out at noon instead of 10am, told us about some great places to dine, etc, etc. We're glad we had a car all week so we could visit the whole island at our pace. Service is slow, but that's typical for the whole island...be patient, slow down, what's the rush, you're on vacation!