St. Maarten: L'Esplanade or Alamanda

Old May 23rd, 2008, 02:15 PM
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St. Maarten: L'Esplanade or Alamanda

Stayed at the Alamanda two years ago. Not bad, not great. Great staff and decent room (I wasn't expecting the Ritz Carlton). Anyone know if L'Esplanade is a bit nicer, they are near one another, no? I'll see what I can find out in the meantime. Thank you!
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Old May 24th, 2008, 03:39 AM
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L'Esplanade is on the hill overlooking Grand Case, so, not really near Alamanda. I haven't stayed at Alamanda, so I can't give you a comparison between the two places. I see you've been to St. Martin before, so if you can remember coming into Grand Case from Orient Beach, L'Esplanade is the hotel that sits partway up the hill near the L'Esperance airport.

L'Esplanade's website doesn't lie. It is really, truly as beautiful as it looks. Gorgeous landscaping, very nice rooms (we've stayed in the deluxe loft the last couple of times we were there, lots of comfortable living space, a kitchen, balcony overlooking the bay and Anguilla). It's quiet and quite private, although you will probably hear some of the planes arriving and leaving from the small airport. And it is not beach-front. You will need to walk down the hill to get to the beach and all of those fantastic restaurants. (It's about a 10 minute drive to Orient Beach.)

L'Esplanade has won the Traveller's Choice award from Trip Advisor 4 years running.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 05:22 AM
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We stayed at L'Esplanade in March and it's a gem. I can't compare it to the Alamanda since I've never stayed there. The drive from L'Esplanade to Orient Beach was no more than 15 minutes.
Here's my report:

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Old May 24th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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We have been to St. Martin twice in the last four years and stayed both times at the Alamanda. It is a little dated, but immaculate and in a great location. The suites are two levels, with a master bedroom,small kitchen area and large bath on the ground floor, and a large bedroom and bath upstairs. Good for a family. Also good for two couples if you know each other well, travel well together and can handle the shared quarters. The kitchen is small, but adequate with a two burner stove, a microwave and modest size refrigerator that held plenty of beer, water and groceries no problem.

There is a small restaurant off the main lobby that serves a nice breakfast, and that was included in our package. No other meals onsite.
The pool is a nice size, clean and surrounded by the townhouses.

The best parts of the Alamanda are the service and location next to Orient Beach, which you can see from the balconies. Orient beach is beautiful with a long expanse for walking, and lots of tiki hut bars along the way. The hotels are off the beach, but only yards away--a two minute walk at best. The beach has an area that is clothing optional, but it is a ways down. Most people around the Alamanda wear bathing suits, and the nudity of walkers doesn't offend. Except that many of the naked bathers would look better with clothes on! Don't expect the SI swimsuit edition!

The Alamanda is in an area next to a square with restaurants, including a pizza place. We had good meals there on nights we didn't want to drive to Grand Case. There is a small grocery with fresh baguettes and french pastries daily. For most groceries, however, I would recommend renting a car at the airport and stopping at the large grocery store on the Dutch side before heading to the Alamanda.

Grand Case looks like a deserted village in the day, but at night the shutters come off of restaurants that are right on the water with beautiful views. Loved the restaurants and we thought the small village look was charming as compared to the Dutch side, which is typical Caribbean port. On one night, Wednesdays I think, they close the main street in Grand Case and have a street fair with music, crafts, art and jewelry. Lots of fun. There is a streetside place that sets up picnic tables and cooks really good (and cheap) ribs and chicken and veggies---very popular with locals and frequent visitors.

You'll need a car to really explore, at least for part of your vacation. We felt safe driving everywhere, even coming back from the casinos late at night.

Too long of an email, but we LOVE St. Martin and love the Alamanda. It is not posh, but comfortable. Only drawback is the arrival every day of the cruise ship buses full of people who want to see the nude beach. But they don't stay long, so you can tolerate it.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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We just returned from our first trip to St. Martin and absolutely loved Hotel L'Esplanade. Our expecations were high after reading all of the reviews on TripAdvisor, but they were met and exceeded. The setting on the hillside is beautiful. It's not on the beach but Grand Case beach is just a short walk down the hill as are all of the restaurants on Restaurant Row. Our favorite beach was Orient Beach, which is a 5-10 minute drive from the hotel. We stayed in the oversized loft so we had two balconies with spectacular views of Grand Case Bay. The pool is on the small side but very nice. The grounds are well-maintained and the staff is wonderful. We haven't stayed at Alamanda so I can't compare the two, but we won't consider any options other than Hotel L"Esplanade when we return.
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