Sounds like my experience was very similar to everyone else's. When we checked in I was a little nervous just seeing the lobby as there is really nothing to it and as everyone said the hotel is a bit dated. The rooms while dated were very clean, our maid Tika, came in and it smelled like she bleached everything every day. We had first floor room and it was a plus, especially traveling with 3 children. The ocean and beach were 5 steps off our patio and we would have coffee on the beach each morning while watching the cruise ships coming into Philipsburg. The beach was beautiful and nowhere near as hectic or packed as the other beaches we visited while there which get overrun with cruise ships on a daily basis. When you get there reserve a chair with the towel hut and they will tag it for you for the week. Water was calm compared to other beaches as well. I really didn't think the staff was all that friendly and the servers in The Gingerbread Cafe are working on island time but it's really no different than anywhere else we visited. Eating out every night on the island can be very expensive, lunch one day for a family of 5 (1 pizza, burger, salad and 4 adult drinks was $120 on the French side at a beach bar). All the rooms have a toaster oven and 2 burners. Grocery store is a 5 minute drive but I have to say I always felt odd there especially with the baggers insisting on carrying whatever on had 30 feet out the door and then insisting on a tip.
As it is a timeshare a lot of people already know each other and it's almost like a family reunion watching them on the beach, also a bit of an older crowd. There really is nothing within walking distance of the hotel so a rental car will be helpful but if you are just going to Pburg the taxi will charge you $4 a person. You can walk to Pburg by cutting through the Divi (resort next door), it's about a 15 minute walk but not anything that you should do with young children in a stroller. Driving on the island was a bit hairy and you do drive through some rough areas but we never ran into any issues. Really did have a great experience at the Divi and I have to say while the staff seemed rude and time did start to grow on me towards the end of our week. I will be back and hopefully soon.
One last thing, the air conditioners in the room are VERY loud and made it difficult to sleep towards the start of the week. There might as well have been a jet engine in the room. Also the mosquitos were really bad the week we were there and while they supply citronella candles for the deck I would recommend bug spray. Screens on the sliding glass doors would have been nice to enjoy the evening weather while keep the bugs out and listen to the waves from inside.
First floor towards the Divi, no noise from the Gingerbread Cafe especially when they have entertain...
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