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17 Best Resorts in St. Martin + St. Maarten: A complete guide

You won’t find a tropical island where the food is as delectable as on St. Martin/Saint Maarten! No doubt that’s because the “Friendly Island” (as it’s dubbed) is half French and half Dutch.

One of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, it charmed us so much when we visited a few years ago that we had to go back.

So we did, making like the French for almost three weeks this time – sipping chilled rosé at swank beach clubs, sailing, getting our fill of escargots, foie gras and frogs’ legs and enjoying many more fun St. Martin activities.

We stayed at three of the best resorts in St. Martin (all small boutique hotels).

And because we’re hotel lovers (and reviewing hotels is in our blood!), we spent the day at a fourth uber-luxury hotel also on the French side of St. Martin (the posh Belmond; see #3 below), checked out the best hotels on the Dutch side of St. Maarten – and inspected several more top lodgings on the island.

Peach lounge chairs around the Belmond La Samanna pool
The Belmond La Samanna is positively dreamy!

Best resorts in St. Martin and St. Maarten

So if you want to know where to stay on St. Martin/Saint Maarten, read on – because here are the 17 best hotels in St. Martin and Saint Maarten!

One thing that makes the accommodations in St. Martin and Saint Maarten especially attractive is that most of the hotels (even the smallest) have kitchens or kitchenettes, so you can be self-sufficient if you don’t feel like eating out all the time.

It’s worth stopping at one of the island’s large Carrefour or U super markets to stock up on a few supplies for breakfast, light meals and/or nibblies.

The French wine and cheese selections are truly fabulous, and you’ll also find delicious yogurt, paté and other goodies not readily available in North American groceries.

Costs for many of these delicacies are relatively low too, as a lot of products are duty-free on the island.

About St. Martin and St. Maarten

Map of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Map of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

St. Maarten/St. Martin is part of the Leeward Islands in the northeast Caribbean Sea, about 190 miles east of Puerto Rico and 22 miles northwest of St. Barts.

It has a bit of a split personality – it’s the smallest island in the world to be ruled by two different countries.

The northern side is St. Martin (also spelled “Saint Martin”). It’s French – an overseas collectivity of France.

The southern part is St. Maarten (also known as “Saint Maarten” and “Sint Maarten”). It’s Dutch and one of the countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) is found on the island’s Dutch side. You fly into this airport from the U.S., Canada or Europe, no matter whether you’re staying on the French side of the island or the Dutch.

There’s no physical border dividing the two sides – there’s no customs or passport check when driving from one side of the island to the other. You’re free to explore both sides and come and go as you please.

And as it’s a small island (only about 37 square miles in size), you can drive around the whole island in under two hours (traffic allowing).

Where to stay in St. Martin: French or Dutch side?

Philipsburg, the pretty capital of Saint Maarten
Philipsburg, the pretty capital of Saint Maarten

French side:

French St. Martin is known for its top culinary scene and chic beach clubs. You’ll find mainly smaller boutique hotels in St. Martin.

It’s not quite St. Tropez though (or as high-end as St. Barts).

The narrow roads are often pot-holed, with cows occasionally causing traffic jams (cute!), and the twisted beams and torn roofs of many buildings (remains of the 2017 hurricane) still litter the landscape.

Dutch side:

With the airport, cruise port and yacht harbors, Dutch Sint Maarten is busier and more commercially developed than the French side.

Resorts are larger, and there are more options for all-inclusive packages at Dutch-side resorts too. For the most part, they’re also a bit less expensive than St. Martin hotels on the French side.

Best area to stay in St. Martin

Yacht at anchor in the turquoise sea on the Caribbean side of St. Martin
One of many yachts that anchor off the Caribbean side of St. Martin

When deciding where to stay in St. Martin (the French side), you’ll want to be aware of the differences between the Caribbean side and the Atlantic side.

The two most popular villages or resort areas are Grand Case and Orient Bay. Grand Case is on the Caribbean side while Orient Bay is on the Atlantic side.

Which of these is the best area of St. Martin to stay? That depends…

They each have their own distinctive feel – in fact, even though only a 10- to 15-minute drive apart, they feel like completely different beach holidays.

Renting a car is recommended to explore all that the island offers.

But the beauty of staying in Grand Case or Orient Bay is that you don’t need a car.

Within Grand Case and Orient Bay, you can get around on foot. And a taxi between Grand Case and Orient Bay is only $20 USD.

Hotels in Grand Case, St. Martin (and Caribbean side):

Beach chairs on Petit Plage on the Caribbean side of St. Martin
The beaching is pretty easy at Petit Plage (Little Beach) on St. Martin’s Caribbean side

The Caribbean side of St. Martin (i.e., the west coast) is more protected from the wind than the east coast. The water is also calmer for swimming.

If weather conditions are really windy (which it was when we visited the second time in early March), it’s more pleasant sitting out on a Caribbean side beach.

You also get at least another hour more of sunshine at the end of the day on the Caribbean coast. When the beach clubs in Orient Bay shut down around 5:00 pm, the sun still shines on the Caribbean side until about 6:30 pm.

A couple lying on the sand of Grand Case Beach
A couple soaks up the last golden rays of sunshine on Grand Case Beach

Another big draw to staying at one of the Grand Case hotels is “Restaurant Row.” A string of superb French restaurants are sprinkled along the main street.

Before Hurricane Irma blasted the island in 2017, Grand Case was known as the “culinary capital of the Caribbean” – and since the rebuilding of these restaurants (along with the addition of new ones), it’s reclaimed that honor.

It’s hard to beat beaching by day, followed by dining at night at some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean – all within walking distance of your hotel.

Orient Bay hotels, St. Martin (and Atlantic side):

The morning sun wakes up Orient Bay.

Tanned beach boys haul out cushions and umbrellas and get beach clubs ready to receive guests on the powder white sand of Orient Beach.

The wind stirs up waves, and wind and kite surfers zip across the glittering blue ocean.

Pink umbrellas of Coco Beach Club on the white sands of Orient Beach, St. Martin
Coco Beach, one of the best beach clubs in Orient Bay (Credit: Esmeralda Resort)

The boutique hotels in Orient Bay stretch out behind the beach bars and clubs, hidden behind palm trees and other foliage.

When hunger strikes, the beach clubs offer fresh seafood, wine and other essentials of life.

For dinner, La Place du Village is just over a five-minute walk away from most of the best Orient Bay hotels.

This popular restaurant village in Orient Bay has several indoor/outdoor restaurants – French, Italian, Asian, Mexican and more – all conveniently clustered around a courtyard in one central place.

Other areas or places to stay in St. Martin:

Anse Marcel (where the Secrets resort is located – see #9) and Marigot (the capital of St. Martin) are the two other main areas to stay on the French side.

Best hotels in St. Martin

Now that you know the main St. Martin resort areas, let’s move on to the top hotels in these areas.

1) Hotel L’Esplanade

Elegant living room of Hotel L'Esplanade's loft accommodation
Elegant spacious suites and splendid ocean views are the hallmark of Hotel L’Esplanade

Carved into a lush hillside overlooking Grand Case Bay, this gorgeous 24-room boutique hotel definitely makes the cut for the best resorts on St. Martin!

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious yet cozy studio, loft style accommodation or a one-bedroom suite, L’Esplanade has it.

Featuring full kitchens, they’re decorated with hand-crafted Brazilian woodwork, Balinese furniture and subtle artwork inspired by the surrounding tropical landscape.

To give you an idea of size, the deluxe studios are 560 sq. ft. and come with a private terrace, while the most spacious suites are 1,025 sq. ft. and have a wrap-around terrace.

All offer jaw-dropping sea views, which are spectacular from every corner of the hotel.

Esthetics aren’t the only thing L’Esplanade stands out for.

You’ll also find a beautiful outdoor pool nestled in the bougainvillea-filled gardens, a small spa and a yoga center designed to make your holiday as relaxing as possible.

The swimming pool is a sweet spot to relax (Credit: Hotel L’Esplanade)

It’s hard to believe that you can have all this and be just a 5- to 15-minute walk away from the beach (depending on what part of Grand Case Beach you choose) and a short stroll from Restaurant Row.

We’ve stayed here twice now – and written a whole separate review of Hotel L’Esplanade. Hop on over to that post for more luscious details.

Hotel L’Esplanade: Check rates and availability

2) Le Petit Hotel

Le Petit Hotel, Grand Case
Good things come in petit packages (Credit: Le Petit Hotel)

This three-story Mediterranean-style villa is a jewel box of a boutique.

Located at the south end of Grand Case Beach, Le Petit Hotel is just steps away from the ocean – and a beautiful place to spend your holiday.

Each of the 10 light-filled suites are kitted out with full modern kitchens.

Upper rooms are 477 sq. ft. studios with Brazilian hardwood ceilings, slate floors and private sea-front balconies. Or book a main floor suite, and you can walk right out onto the sandy beach from your terrace.

View from the terrace of our upper-floor studio

A complimentary continental breakfast is included in your stay (you take a tray to your room).

There’s no restaurant. But you won’t miss this, as you can simply stroll along the beach to several beach clubs or, in the evenings, into Grand Case for a tasty meal at one of the fine restaurants there.

You’re also welcome to use the pool at sister hotel, L’Esplanade (#1 above) at the other end of Grand Case.

Bottom line? Among the top St. Martin hotels on the beach, Le Petit Hotel is the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

We absolutely adore it – and expect you will too.

A couple walk on the golden sand of Grand Case Beach, St. Martin.
The glorious golden sand of Grand Case Beach is right at your doorstep at this boutique St. Martin hotel! (Credit: Le Petit Hotel)

Le Petit Hotel, St. Martin: Check rates and availability

3) Belmond La Samanna

Peach umbrellas and cushioned lounge chairs at Belmond La Samanna
It’s pretty peachy at Belmond La Samanna!

Ooh la la! The Belmond La Samanna is the height of hotel sophistication.

A true 5-star hotel in St. Martin, it’s lured the rich and famous like Oprah Winfrey, Jackie O, Salma Hayek, Anderson Cooper and Kevin Kline.

Its 83 rooms and suites are housed in a collection of two-story white-washed cottages that are adorned with shutters, arches and terracotta tile roofs.

Named after flowers, they feature travertine floors, soothing blue and coral colors and a touch of glamor. Some suites even have private pools.

You’ve traveled all this way, so maybe you don’t want to cut to corners at the final stretch?

For the full Caribbean magic, splash out on the largest 4-bedroom villas. They boast over 4,600 sq. ft. of space and private infinity pools.

White-washed room with beautiful fan palm outside at Belmond La Samanna
Housed in white-washed villas, each room is unique

The beach – fine, sugar-white and powdery – is the hotel’s greatest asset.

It’s the kind of chichi place where beach attendants lay out your thick pink beach towel on your cushioned white cane lounger, set up your umbrella just so and hang a dapper bag with ice and bottled water on the umbrella stand.

If you want your shade adjusted or perhaps a cool cucumber margarita cocktail, plant a flag in the sand and voilà, help will be there in a jiffy.

View of the turquoise sea from the Belmond La Samanna open-air reception
Can the views be any more perfect?

And, sorry! You have no excuses not to keep up with your exercise routine at this luxurious hotel while away.

You can flex your muscles in the gym, yoga center and infinity pool, or play a friendly match on one of three tennis courts.

Wine connoisseurs will appreciate the hotel’s 15,000-bottle wine cellar. Maybe choose a bottle of their finest to enjoy over an intimate white-tablecloth dinner at L’Oursin, or a refreshing white to accompany a light lunch?

There’s no getting around it. Belmond La Samanna is simply the best and most exclusive of all luxury St. Martin hotels.

Belmond La Samanna: Check rates and availability

4) Esmeralda Resort

A lilac-painted cottage at Esmeralda Resort overlooks its own pool.
Rooms at Esmeralda are clustered in several pastel-colored cottages; each cottage has its own pool

Sprawled across acres of lawn and coconut groves at Orient Bay, this 4-star resort is as relaxing as they come.

Its 65 rooms are scattered among 18 Caribbean-style cottages, with the resort’s road meandering around them.

Our room was a 500 sq. ft. standard room with a terracotta tile floor, soaring plantation-style ceiling, very comfortable king-size bed, spacious bathroom with a tub/shower combo and a small kitchenette area with a microwave and mini-fridge.

Larger suites have 4-poster king beds and separate living rooms.

Deluxe room at Esmeralda Resort, with a king-size bed and tree mural on the back wall
A deluxe room (Credit: Esmeralda Resort)

Each cottage has its own swimming pool with pool loungers (but no umbrellas, as the area is quite windy).

The resort’s fine dining French restaurant, L’Astrolabe, is superb – their weekly lobster night is renowned island-wide.

The glorious white sands of Orient Beach are a 5-minute walk through the property, and then you’re at the tony Coco Beach Club.

But for complimentary beach chairs (a welcome Esmeralda perk), you need to walk to the next beach club, KKO (also very good) or neighboring beach clubs.

Bonus: Esmeralda’s room rates are considerably less than other top Orient Beach accommodations (like #6 and #7 below).

Esmeralda, St. Martin: Check rates and availability

5) Grand Case Beach Club

The water in front of Grand Case Beach Club is calm and gentle for swimming

Grand Case Beach Club is a strong contender for the best resort in St. Martin for families (as well as couples) who want easy beach access.

At the north end of Grand Case Beach, it fronts two heavenly swimming beaches – Petite Plage (Little Beach) on one side and a narrow stretch of Grand Case Beach on the other.

Blue-and-white striped umbrellas on Petit Plage at Grand Case Beach Club, St. Martin
What’s better than one beautiful beach? Two! (Credit: Grand Case Beach Club)

The resort’s beach club offers complimentary SUP boards, snorkeling gear and floating mats for guests to use.

Unfortunately, it was too windy during our stay for us to take out the SUP boards. Consolation? A prime lounging spot for two in a cabana on the resort’s rocky promontory jutting out into the sea.

As for the accommodations, they range from studios to spacious two-bedroom guest suites that span two floors and have their own living rooms and furnished balconies – these 1,400 sq. ft. suites are perfect for a family or a group of up to five adults.

A two-bedroom suite at Grand Case Beach Club, with wooden stairs leading to an upstairs loft.
A two-bedroom suite with an upstairs loft (Credit: Grand Case Beach Club)

All rooms come with full kitchens and large balconies (most with up-close ocean views).

For sundowners while watching technicolor sunsets, the aptly named Sunset Café is perfect. Actually, with its beachy vibe and perch over Petite Plage and the water, the restaurant/bar is ideal for anytime casual drinks and food.

That’s not all.

As well as enjoying a coveted beachfront location, the resort is also within walking distance of the charming village of Grand Case and all its tempting French restaurants.

See our Grand Case Beach Club review for more on the resort.

Grand Case Beach Hotel: Check rates and availability

6) La Playa Oriente Bay

Cook in, eat out, chill by the beach or swim in the pool – La Playa offers it all

This lovely 4-star luxury hotel in St. Martin is the cat’s meow.

With blonde wood furnishings and floors and Caribbean boho-chic décor, its 56 suites are polished and fresh (completely renovated in 2019) – and it doesn’t hurt that each one has a private balcony.

Standard junior suites are a generous 516 sq. ft. in size. Top floor suites are particularly airy in feel with soaring white vaulted ceilings.

Most are equipped with a clever kitchen too. Complete with a two-burner cooktop, microwave, fridge and sink, it’s hidden behind cupboard doors.

For more space, go for a 710 sq. ft. executive suite on the top floor, with a full kitchen outside on a covered terrace.

Light-filled Executive Suite at La Playa Orient Bay, St. Martin
Nab an Executive Suite, and this is your view (Credit: La Playa)

Located in a prime spot on Orient Beach, La Playa lays claim to its own outdoor pool, beach club and restaurant too.

Fancy fresh sushi for lunch? The cool beach bar under a tented canopy is the place.

Dinner? You’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from all the great restaurants in Orient Bay’s La Place du Village.

La Playa Oriente Bay, St. Martin: Check rates and availability

7) Orient Beach Hotel

Room with king-size bed covered with royal blue cushions at Orient Beach Hotel, St. Martin
Boho-chic rooms at the Orient Beach Hotel are beachy in feel

Epic views of kite and wind surfers flying across the water. The soothing sound of waves rolling up onto the beach. Brilliant sunrises. And brand new, oh-so-smart digs.

There’s lots to love about the Orient Beach Hotel!

Set back behind sea grape plants, it comprises a row of attached three-story cottages, each containing seven rooms, all facing the Orient Bay beach.

Row of rooms at the Orient Beach Hotel, with sea grape plants outside
Rooms at the newly opened Orient Beach Hotel all have ocean views

At first blush, it appears quite similar to the neighboring La Playa (#6 above). The classy blond wood floors, for example, look the same.

But we asked, and were told that Orient Beach Hotel is a separate hotel (and not a sister resort).

All studio-style rooms (517 sq. ft.) have a small kitchenette (complete with a microwave, mini-fridge and ceramic stovetop), living room area and private patio or terrace.

In a palette of royal blue and earth tones, they’re contemporary, fun and inviting. The screen of branches between the bedroom and kitchenette area is both whimsical and clever.

The quietest units are on the top floor and at each end of the second floor, as there’s no one above you. (On lower floor rooms, you can hear a little noise from the floor above.) Upper floor rooms also have the most expansive beach views.

On the other hand, ground floor units have space on their walk-out terraces for larger chaise loungers – and you can walk directly out to the beach.

Kidney-shaped pool at Orient Beach Hotel
It’s nice to have the option of chilling by the pool

There’s also a small fenced pool on the property.

Most guests, however, prefer to take advantage of the complimentary chairs and umbrellas at the KKO Beach Club next door.

Orient Beach Hotel, St. Martin: Check rates and availability

8) LTC Hotel Partner Le Temps des Cerises Jeans

LTC Hotel room with blonde wood furnishings
Enjoy clean and quaint rooms in the heart of Grand Case

This little St. Martin boutique hotel, right on Grand Case Beach, has only eight picture-perfect rooms.

With plank floors, shabby-chic furnishings and white clapboard walls, the rooms feel like they belong to fancy beach cottages. Some offer incredible views of the golden sand and turquoise sea just feet away from their glass-walled balconies.

The hotel’s laid-back beach vibe is well suited to a day reading a good book and sipping on a delicious cocktail.

Except… When the music is playing from the outside beach club (and neighboring beach clubs), it’s a bit loud for our tastes.

Grand Case Beach scene at LTC Hotel, St. Martin
It’s pretty chill on the beach (except the music can be loud)

If you love music and a hip party scene, this won’t bother you. Perhaps bring ear plugs if you want an afternoon nap or to go to bed early.

Better yet, don’t fight it if you choose to stay at LTC Hotel St. Martin – just don your itty bitty bikini (by day) or sun dress (at night), and join the party!

The happening onsite bar has a winning array of high-end cocktails and spirits.

Le Temps des Cerises Beach Hotel: Check rates and availability

9) Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa

Modern guestroom with wood floors and king-bed at Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa
Guest rooms are spacious and modern at this all-inclusive resort in St. Martin (Credit: Secrets Resort)

On the island’s north coast, Secrets is an all-inclusive St. Martin resort. It’s also one of the few resorts on the French side for adults only.

The Secrets Resort has 258 comfortable and elegant suites.

Several come with mountain or sea views (or a mix of the two). Pick a residential swim-out suite, and you’ll have your own living room and bar, along with two private terraces and spectacular views from every window.

Secrets is built practically on Anse Marcel Beach, which is calm and gently sloping. You’ll spend most of your time snoozing on the white sand or soaking in the warm Caribbean water.

There’s also an infinity pool and oceanfront whirlpool, if you prefer not to get sand in your swimsuit.

Come on in! The water is really inviting (Credit: Secrets Resort)

We didn’t get a chance to see the resort personally, so we’d suggest reading reviews on TripAdvisor and other guides.

Some guests have loved their time there. But others say the food can be hit-and-miss and this St. Martin resort isn’t up to the same high standards as other Secrets resorts.

Secrets St. Martin: Check rates and availability

Best hotels in St. Maarten

Many of the hotels and resorts in St. Maarten on the Dutch side of the island are clustered around beaches and bays in the southwest (Simpson Bay and Cupecoy) close to the pretty Dutch capital of Philipsburg, or in the Oyster Bay area (a 15- to 20-minute drive from Philipsburg).

10) Sonesta Ocean Point Resort

Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, St. Maarten
This is the best all-inclusive resort on St. Maarten for adults only (Credit: Sonesta Ocean Point Resort)

Stylish. Sensual. Sophisticated. That sums up the new Sonesta Ocean Point Resort.

One of the few 5-star resorts in St. Maarten, the adult-only Sonesta Ocean Point is an all-inclusive resort with 130 suites, complete with custom-designed furniture and artwork.

Lather up with Molton Brown bath products in your Greek marble bathroom, and soak up the stunning sea views from the white wicker chairs on your balcony.

We especially like the swim-out suites which have direct access to a beautiful meandering pool. You can sip your morning coffee (brewed in your Nespresso coffee maker) on your deck with your toes in the water, then slip right into the pool for a pre-breakfast swim.

The top swim-out suites come with butler service too.

Swim-out suites at Sonesta Ocean Point Resort
These swim-out suites are pretty cool, right? (Credit: Sonesta Ocean Point Resort)

Another perk to staying at this luxurious resort is that it’s right on the beach and has spectacular views of Maho Bay. And if you’re feeling lucky, you’re just steps away from Casino Royale, the island’s biggest casino.

Add to that 24-hour room service, two exclusive à la carte restaurants and access to additional restaurants and facilities at neighboring Sonesta Maho Beach Resort (see #11 below), and you have the ideal escape for a honeymoon or romantic long weekend away.

Fine dining restaurant with blue table cloths and ocean view at Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, St. Martin
Fine dining with an ocean view (Credit: Sonesta Ocean Point Resort)

Sonesta Ocean Point Resort: Check rates and availability

11) Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, St. Maarten
This fun all-inclusive resort caters to families, couples and groups of friends (Credit: Sonesta Maho Beach Resort)

With some 400 rooms and suites, the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Spa is the big sister to the Sonesta Ocean Point Resort (#10 above) – and the largest on the list of St. Maarten all-inclusive resorts.

Luckily for families, this one is family-friendly. There’s even a kids’ club that runs daily activities for little ones, plus a pool with an aqua park featuring three animal-themed water slides.

Rooms are clean and chic. If you’re a light sleeper, ask for a quiet room. From some, you can hear the thump-thump of loud late-night music from clubs across the street.

What’s nifty: The wristbands that serve as your room key are convenient – no hunting in your pants pockets or beach bag for that dang key card!

The resort sits on a large stretch of beachfront and has its own private beach. And it’s fun to watch the airplanes take off and land by neighboring Maho Beach.

Guests doing yoga at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort
There are tons of activities on offer for kids and adults at this family-friendly all-inclusive resort on St. Maarten (Credit: Sonesta Maho Beach Resort)

There’s no opportunity to get bored here.

Dance classes, yoga sessions, beach barbecues, bingo by the pool and live music shows guarantee you’ll never have a dull moment.

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort: Check rates and availability

12) The Morgan Resort & Spa

Morgan Resort & Spa, St. Maarten
The Morgan Resort is one of the newest hotels in St. Maarten – and it has a super cool pool

It’s flashy, new and one of the best places to stay in St. Maarten close to Philipsburg.

This modern hotel has 124 rooms with sleek interiors – floor-to-ceiling windows, 55-inch flat-screen TVs, iHome docking stations and spa-like showers.

There’s no beach.

But the Morgan makes up for that in spades with its amazing infinity pool, with a gently sloping edge so you can easily wade in. It has the look and feel of a beach, but without sand under your feet.

Cool curved pool chairs under large umbrellas and palm trees around the large swimming pool are comfy spots to kick back while listening to the chilled pool music.

Woman in a pink bikini standing in the pool at the Morgan Resort & Spa, St. Maarten
You don’t need a real beach when you have a pool like this!

(Mind you, the strips of artificial turf in front of the balconies of the main-floor pool-facing rooms are a bit of a surprise – detracting somewhat from the “wow” of the pool itself. Real gardens and plants would go better in our humble view.)

Aside from the stunning architecture, the resort is conveniently located right next to the Princess Juliana Airport and Maho Beach — two popular tourist attractions in St. Maarten. It’s close to the cruise port too.

Because of its proximity to the airport and cruise port, this luxury hotel in St. Marten is an especially good pick for a pre- or post-cruise hotel. (And don’t worry, you can’t hear the planes taking off and landing.)

The Morgan Resort Spa & Village: Check rates and availability

13) Oyster Bay Beach Resort

Aqua-colored buildings by the sea at Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Ocean colors predominate at Oyster Bay Beach Resort

A favorite St. Maarten resort for time-share owners as well as hotel guests, Oyster Bay Beach Resort is perched at the edge of a coral reef overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Oyster Pond on the other.

Its 180 studios and suites are clustered in several attractive and well-maintained aqua-colored buildings.

Studio rooms (318 to 416 sq. ft. in size), located in the courtyard, are closest to the pool and the resort’s main amenities.

Beautifully decorated in blue and white colors, they have spacious bathrooms with travertine marble floors, small kitchenettes and ocean-view balconies.

Blue and white courtyard studio at Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Courtyard studios are dressed in nautical blue and white colors

For more space, opt for a one- or two-bedroom suite. Featuring full kitchens (with dishwashers, not common in many St. Martin accommodations) and king-size beds, the one-bedroom suites offer 770 sq. ft. to spread out in.

Most units offer either views of the Atlantic surf (gobsmacking!) or Oyster Pond.

The marina at Oyster Pond was unfortunately destroyed by the 2017 hurricane and hasn’t been rebuilt. So while you see wood pilings sticking up out of the water rather than yachts at anchor, the Oyster Pond views are still pretty.

A major plus is the resort’s infinity pool. Guests love to hang over the edge and watch the Atlantic waves crash against the rocks below.

Unique and spectacular, it was rated by Travel + Leisure as one of the top five pools in the Caribbean.

Freeform infinity pool at Oyster Bay Beach Resort
A pool with a view! (Credit: Oyster Bay Beach Resort)

Oyster Bay Beach Resort is also just a 2-minute walk from Dawn Beach, so you’re never far from a swim in the Caribbean.

You’ll probably want to rent a car here.

The resort’s chic new Veranda Market & Bistro is stocked with groceries, wine, spirits, fresh-baked pastries, handmade pizzas and the like, so you can eat in or take out.

But you’ll need wheels to dine at off-site restaurants and explore the rest of the island, as the resort is somewhat out of the way in Oyster Bay.

For an affordable luxury resort in St. Maarten, it’s a winner.

In fact, after personally touring the resort, we can say it looks better in reality than it does on its website.

Oyster Bay Beach Resort: Check rates and availability

14) Coral Beach Club

How about staying in a beachfront villa on St. Maarten? (Credit: Coral Beach Club)

When it comes to 5-star hotels in St. Maarten (Dutch side), Coral Beach Club pretty well ticks all the boxes.

Operated by Oyster Bay Beach Resort (#13 above) and located on the same property, it offers 24 condominium-style villas and townhouses with Italian gourmet kitchens and washers/dryers.

The villas are drop-dead dreamy.

Flooded with natural light, they overlook the Atlantic Ocean and have two, three or four bedrooms each.

We love the fully retractable floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall glass doors that you can push back, so the outside becomes an extension of your living room.

Luxurious amenities include pre-stocked wine fridges (you pay for the wines though).

Some villas even have their own private pools.

Swimming pools in front of the white-washed villas at Coral Beach Club, St. Maarten
The villas boast all the comforts of home, and more!

Don’t feel like cooking?

No problem. Coral Beach will set you up with a private chef.

As for the two-level townhouses with views of Oyster Pond, they each have travertine floors and two ensuite bathrooms with designer glass sinks.

Oyster Pond view from the balcony of a Coral Beach Club townhouse
View of Oyster Pond from the balcony of a townhouse

Because the resort is somewhat isolated, we recommend renting a car to stay here, so you can explore beyond your deluxe cocoon when the mood strikes.

Coral Beach Club: Check rates and availability

15) Oceans at Divi Little Bay

Guest room in the new Oceans wing of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
Guest room in the new Oceans wing (Credit: Divi Little Bay Beach Resort)

A sleek bright 422 sq. ft. room or 822 sq. ft. one-bedroom suite with a full kitchen and washer/dryer? Three sparkling ocean-view pools? VIP check-in?

Say hello to the upscale, brand-new Oceans section within Divi Little Bay Beach Resort!

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort is a popular St. Maarten resort close to Philipsburg.
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort is a popular St. Maarten resort close to Philipsburg (Credit: Divi Little Bay Beach Resort)

You get access to the expansive main resort, including its fitness center, full-service spa and six restaurants and bars.

But your accommodations are fresh and new, and you’re treated to extra perks, like robes and slippers, spa bath amenities and an in-room Nespresso machine.

Wake up and head down to Little Bay Beach, which is at your doorstep. Also be sure to do the short hike up to Fort Amsterdam, a colonial stone fort located at the end of Divi Little Bay.

This family-friendly resort has enough to keep everyone busy and happy, including offering plenty of water sports.

Add some adrenalin to your time away and take out a jet ski to zip around the bay! The onsite water sports center also has kayaks, snorkel gear and SUP boards on hand and can book boat tours and sailing cruises for you too.

Dock with red roof jutting out into the turquoise sea
The water sports center can set you up with snorkeling, diving and a host of other fun water activities (Credit: Divi Little Bay Beach Resort)

If you aren’t planning on leaving the hotel much, you might want to go for their all-inclusive plan.

Yes, Oceans makes it high up on our list of top St. Maarten resorts.

Oceans at Divi Little Bay: Check rates and availability

16) Holland House Beach Hotel

White Holland House Beach Hotel exterior with pink bougainvillea flowering outside
The Holland House Beach Hotel is just a hop, skip and a jump from the cruise port and airport

If you’re wondering where to stay in St. Maarten that’s right on a beach and has easy access to plenty of shops and restaurants, take a look at Holland House Beach Hotel.

Directly on Great Bay Beach, the 55-room Holland House Beach Hotel is smack-dab in downtown Philipsburg, sandwiched between a vibrant boardwalk in front and bustling Front Street behind.

While outside is a hive of activity, with streams of people strolling around, guestrooms inside are all soundproof (we couldn’t hear a peep).

Half the rooms face the boardwalk and beach and the other half have views of Front Street. The bathroom is open to the bedroom, but you can close a partition for privacy.

Holland House Beach Hotel guestroom with king bed on a turquoise carpet
Guestrooms are clean, functional and most importantly, soundproof (Credit: Holland House Beach Hotel)

Some rooms have recently been renovated – ask for one of these.

The breezy Ocean Lounge gets high marks for its ocean views and bar snacks.

As for the white sand beach in front, well, it’s popular! Guests get the use of free cushioned beach chairs, shaded by umbrellas, along with an outside shower to rinse off the salt water.

Cruise ships dock to the left of this beach, and boats can be seen in the bay (Credit: Holland House Beach Hotel)

Because of its close proximity to both the cruise port and airport, this is the perfect hotel in St. Maarten to stay at for a night or two if you’re coming from or heading out on a cruise.

Holland House Beach Hotel: Check rates and availability

17) Simpson Bay Resort

Master bedroom in a 2-bedroom villa at Simpson Bay Resort, St. Maarten
Master bedroom in a 2-bedroom villa suite (Credit: Simpson Bay Resort)

Here’s a family-friendly resort in Sint Maarten that’s close to the beach and not far from Philipsburg.

We didn’t get a chance to see this resort personally.

But we can tell you it has 272 suites (from studios to three-bedrooms), all with full kitchens. There are also 83 recently renovated “villa” units, from junior suite villas (for two) to two-bedroom villas (that fit up to six people).

All have an island feel – and with the different room configurations, you can choose whether to bring the kids along or sneak off for a quiet long weekend away together!

Spend the day on the sheltered beach along Simpson Bay (calm for swimming) or splashing about in the six swimming pools. Six restaurants and bars, a gym, casino, tennis courts and spa round out the resort’s amenities.

And you won’t have to choose between relaxing on the beach or giving your credit card a shopping workout, as both the beach and shops are nearby!

Simpson Bay Resort: Check rates and availability

Now you know the best places to stay in St. Martin and St. Maarten

What’s peachy is that the accommodation options are so varied.

From adults-only lodgings, intimate beach hotels and luxury villas to easyish-on-the-wallet condos, you’ll find something to suit your style.

You can’t make a wrong choice – whether you choose to stay in one of the St. Martin French-side hotels or one of the St. Maarten Dutch-side resorts. But you can pick the side that’s best for you.

Because we like small boutique hotels, French cuisine and less “action,” the French side suited us really well (although there’s lots of buzz and beach partying on the French side too for those who love this).

Some visitors split their stay between both sides.

Why not stay in Grand Case or Orient Bay on the French side and then also a Sint Maarten hotel on the Dutch side? This way, you get the best of both worlds!

Experience more of the Caribbean!

Read our posts on:

Antigua | Find out how you can holiday like royalty at the lovely Blue Waters resort.

Puerto Rico | Check out the top things to do in Old San Juan!

Cruising the Caribbean | It’s hard to beat a West Indies sailing cruise with Star Clippers.

Planning your next trip?

See the following helpful services:

Our Travel Resources Guide | Get airline booking tips. Discover great travel, tour and car rental companies. And find crazy useful trip planning info!

Booking.com | Score a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one.

GetYourGuide | Check out the best local guided tours and book skip-the-line tickets to attractions.

World Nomads | Never travel without insurance! World Nomads offers great coverage for adventurous travelers under 70 (including for surfing, scuba diving and bungee jumping).

Our Travel Shop | Find the best travel gear. We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.

CDC | We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccinations are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.

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Photo credits: 1, 4 to 6, 9, 13, 15 to 20, 22, 28, 29, 31 to 35, 45 to 50, 55, 56, 58, 62 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!