If you’re planning a trip to St. Martin, you’re in for a Caribbean vacation treat.
From sugar-white beaches and waters that wow in shades of turquoise to delectable French cuisine, it’s the dream – so book your ticket!
Now you need to choose where to stay on St. Martin.
There are several enticing options in French St. Martin, one of which is Esmeralda Resort on Orient Beach. It’s one of the best Orient Bay hotels.
We’ve enjoyed extended vacations on the island a couple of times now, trying out different resorts and hotels. On our most recent visit, we stayed for almost a week at Esmeralda.
Here’s our full review of the Hotel Esmeralda, St. Martin.
Esmeralda Resort review
We’ve come up with at least seven reasons to stay at Esmeralda.
(Let us know if you come up with any more! You can share your views in the Comments below.)
1) It’s super close to Orient Beach clubs
Let’s be clear.
You stay at Esmeralda for the beach. Orient Beach, that is, on Orient Bay (Baie Orientale).
(The other great beach in French St. Martin is Grand Case, where we stayed at the Grand Case Beach Club and Hotel L’Esplanade.)
One thing that all Esmeralda Resort, St. Martin, reviews have in common is that they rave about its location – and we definitely concur.
It’s a mere 5-minute walk from Orient Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of Saint Martin. It’s located right behind Coco Beach Club.
The powder sand between your toes, the windsurfers and kiteboarders flying along the brazenly-blue waters, the cool cocktails and fresh seafood for lunch…
This white sand beach on the French side of the island has a buzzing European feel – and visiting this beautiful beach is widely known as one of the best things to do in St. Martin!
Esmeralda Resort wants to help its guests enjoy the beach as much as possible.
So you get free sun loungers at KKO, Bikini, Wai and Kontiki beach clubs. (KKO Beach Club is our favorite.) There are plenty of additional beach restaurants too where you can grab snacks.
(Side note: Use of the beach chairs at Coco Beach Club will cost you more, but it’s just a short walk to KKO and the other clubs mentioned here).
Take a dip in the blue water of the Caribbean Sea, try a variety of water sports (kite surfing, anyone?) or just spend the day relaxing and catching up with your latest book.
Then, after a day on the white sands of Orient Bay Beach, you can easily walk from Esmeralda to La Place du Village Orient Bay, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants for every palate.
2) It has a fine French restaurant, L’Astrolabe
But wait. One of our favorite restaurants – L’Astrolabe – is right at Esmeralda Resort. (It could even be the finest restaurant in Orient Bay).
L’Astrolabe is perfect if you love tantalizingly tasty French cuisine.
If it wasn’t for the tropical weather (you can choose to sit around the outdoor pool or inside in the air conditioning), you’d feel like you’re in a Parisian bistro!
It’s definitely one of the best fine dining French restaurants this side of the Atlantic. And it gives the top-notch Grand Case restaurants on the other side of St. Martin a good run for their money.
We ended up dining here three times during our stay!
If that’s not enough to entice you, dishes like seared Mediterranean seabass (with fennel, olive oil and saffron crushed potato), fresh grilled lobster and Angus beef filet mignon (with poppy seed crusted potatoes and Bernaise-style sauce) sure will.
You can choose any appetizer, main and dessert for 54 euro, or order the dishes separately.
L’Astrolabe also serves a continental breakfast poolside from 7:30 am to 10:30 am every morning, with fare like croissant, pastries, fruit and coffee included in the room rate.
You can pay extra for a hot breakfast if you feel like eating more.
3) There’s a lovely feeling of space
One of the main reasons to opt for Esmeralda, rather than one of the other Orient Beach resorts, is just how much space there is here.
Say bye-bye to packed vacations where you feel like you’re staying on top of countless other tourists, and say hello to your hotel in Orient Bay where you can feel undisturbed and at peace.
The resort is gated, which gives it that extra level of privacy.
It consists of 18 pink and lilac Creole-style villas.
They’re widely spread out, adding to the private atmosphere. And there’s plenty of green space and lawns, with tropical gardens, coconut trees and flowering bushes surrounding each villa.
If you’re renting a car for traveling around St. Martin, you’ll have your own free parking space right outside your cottage.
4) Rooms are very clean and comfortable
Of course, one of the most important parts of any hotel stay is the room.
You’re in luck at Esmeralda Resort, which boasts spacious rooms, with each cottage having three or four side-by-side units.
Rooms are available for a party of any size.
You can choose from a superior room (410 sq. ft.), which has a king-size bed or two double beds and is ideal for couples or friends.
Or go big with a four-bedroom suite (2,584 sq. ft.), which is a whole cottage with your own private pool – ideal for bigger groups or families.
Most villas don’t face the ocean though at this plantation-style resort.
We stayed in a deluxe king room, located at one end of a three-unit cottage. We loved the comfortable large bed, the freshly painted white stone walls and the high-quality dark wood furniture.
It also had a flat-screen TV, iPod speaker and perfectly cold air-conditioning.
While the private bathroom was spacious, we did find the bathtub was a little outdated.
Most of the space had already been renovated (the resort spent $2.5 million on a renovation recently). But a few things had been missed and the bathtub/shower combo could be spruced up.
Our other minor gripe was that the room wasn’t soundproofed, and we could hear the guests in the next room.
Turning to a big plus, however, there’s daily housekeeping service, which is fantastic – our room was spotless every day!
5) Rooms have kitchenettes too
All deluxe rooms and suites at the resort have their own small kitchenettes, with a mini-fridge, microwave and electric kettle.
We requested that they bring a cooktop, and they happily did so. This meant that we could make a much-needed grilled cheese sandwich after exploring one day.
6) The cottages have semi-private pools
Cottages all have a small shared pool. But if you rent out the whole four three or four bedrooms in a cottage, then of course, your group will have a private rental with their own pool.
The pools are the perfect place to chill in the late afternoon, with beach chairs surrounding each of the pools.
There are no umbrellas as it can get quite windy. If you’re relaxing here, make sure that you put on some sunscreen.
(Another plus: There are also tennis courts onsite.)
7) It’s reasonably priced and very good value
St. Martin is not known for being an inexpensive island. It’s certainly not at the low end, price-wise, when it comes to the Caribbean.
However, Esmeralda Resort is quite reasonably priced by Caribbean standards for a property by the beach. Its rates are about 30% less than nearby Orient Beach Hotel and La Playa Orient Bay, also among the best hotels in Orient Bay.
We think Esmeralda offered great value for what we got.
Sure, there were a few nit-picky issues with the room.
But the staff were great and the room was very comfortable. Oh, and have we mentioned that Esmeralda’s location is unbeatable and its onsite restaurant is superb?
Plus, the rate includes free Wi-Fi and free breakfast.
That’s a wrap for our Esmeralda, St. Martin, review!
With excellent rates, an idyllic location and a welcoming relaxed vibe, Esmeralda Resort on St. Martin is perfect for couples, friends and families.
We found it a very comfortable and convenient place to stay, and we felt relaxed and at ease the second we got there.
Esmeralda Resort, Orient Bay, St. Martin
Discover more of St. Martin and the Caribbean!
St. Martin | How do you decide between St. Martin vs. St. Maarten? Is one side of the island better than the other?
Antigua | Check out all the reasons why the Blue Waters Resort & Spa is one of the best places to stay in Antigua!
St. Barts | You can visit St. Barts on a day trip from St. Martin – it’s the swankiest French island in the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico | Simply wandering the colorful cobblestone streets is one of the best things to do in Old San Juan!
Our top travel tips and resources
Here are our favorite travel resources:
Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)
Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out GetYourGuide and Viator.
Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.
Travel insurance: World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Vaccines and meds: We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.
Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)
Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.
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Photo credits: 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 3 Coco Beach Club | 4 KKO Beach Club | 5, 6 L’Astrolabe | 11, 12, 14 Esmeralda Resort
About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
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