Thursday September 29th 2022

Sapphire Beach Club – A High End Hotel… in 1990.

sapphireI visited the Sapphire Beach club for a week in February of 2009. I booked the hotel site unseen through a timeshare program. Shortly after booking the room I did my research and found enough negative reviews of the hotel to be concerned. While some of the poor reviews were warranted, I think a lot of reviewers did not have the proper expectations set for their trip.

Hotel Location

The Sapphire Beach club is located in the southwest corner of the island on the Dutch side in Cupecoy. It is a fairly short drive to the French side. This area of the island is a bit more remote, and requires a car or taxi ride to get to any of the larger cities. A lot of other reviewers found the hotel to be too remote and did not feel safe walking to any of the nearby restaurants or beaches. I agree walking near the hotel is a bit treacherous as there is no sidewalk, but I walked to plenty of places without incident. Just around the corner from the Sapphire is a casino which has 3 nice restaurants and a 4th more casual burger restaurant. Mullet Bay beach is about a mile walk from the hotel and is very nice with chairs for rent and food and drinks for sale. A taxi to the two major cities of Marigot and Phillipsburg costs between $15-$20.

I would warn potential guests to take stock of their vacation plans before choosing a hotel. If your goal is to roll out of bed onto the beach each day then this hotel is probably not for you. However, if you are looking to get away from the crowds and plan to take some day trips out of town then this hotel would be a good choice. You will just want to factor some transportation expenses into your budget.

Rooms

The room we reserved was advertised as a two bedroom, two bathroom suite that sleeps six. Fortunately, we were only two people, so we had plenty of room. I think this room would have been too small for six people – at most I would say it would be comfortable for two adults and two children. There is really only one true bedroom. The second bedroom is also the foyer to the suite, which you have to walk through as you coming and going. The fifth and sixth guest would essentially be sleeping in the kitchen on a strange futon-couch.

Both bathrooms were spacious with full sized showers and excellent water pressure. The bathrooms were reasonably clean but were showing their age. They had marble walls and floor, which I am sure was nice when it was new, but now looks weathered. The suite was also equipped with a full kitchen that included a fridge, stove and dishwasher. Overall the rooms were clean, but like the bath, showing their age. The hotel offers daily maid service and the staff did a good job at cleaning the rooms each day.

We had a room that faced the “lagoon” side of the island (as opposed to the ocean.) What this really meant was that it was right on the busy street. With the windows closed we did not hear much outside noise but we were not really able to enjoy our patio as a result. The ocean side rooms also have jacuzzis on the patio, which our room did not have.

Hotel Amenities

When you arrive at the hotel you walk into an open air lobby where you will find the reception desk, concierge, a car rental agency, a small jewelery shop, and a small travel agent. On the lower level of the hotel – okay, it’s the basement – you will find a small convenience store and a spa. When you walk through the open lobby you will find yourself in the pool area. The hotel has a decent sized pool and a restaurant and bar overlooking the pool. I encountered a variety of attitudes from the hotel staff – from the concierge who was very helpful to some of the front desk staff who didn’t seem to care as much.

While the concierge was quite friendly I did find the hotel sponsored activities to be lack-luster. They advertised a welcome reception with free rum punch the first day we arrived, but we never quite found the party. We also went on a free “shopping tour” they recommended, which was sponsored by one of the local jewelery shops. For free I could not complain but if you attend you do have to listen to their sales pitch on the ride over.

I ate a number of meals at the onsite restaurant. The food was decent and reasonably priced. The poolside location offers a nice backdrop and at night it is lit up and very pretty. A few nights a week there is a live band that plays at the bar. It’s not the most upscale place but it certainly does the trick when you are tired from a long day at the beach. We never encountered a wait to get into the restaurant, in fact some nights we were the only patrons eating dinner.

There really isn’t much beach front at the hotel. The hotel is very upfront and makes you aware in advance that much of its beach washed away in past hurricanes. However, what is left of the beach is very private and serene. There is a relative small area of sand with large boulders to the left and right of the beach. The area would be good for a romantic picnic or watching the sun rise. Depending on the tide there are also small coves to discover if you climb over the rocks. It is not a very good swimming spot though, as there is a steep drop off into the ocean and the surf is quite rough here. I would not bring kids to this beach. There is no lifeguard at the beach and no amenities.

Conclusion

Set your expectations appropriately when coming to this hotel. This is not a high end resort or a hotel on with a large beach front. If you’re planning a beach bum vacation then there are plenty of other hotels on the island to visit. What you will find at the Sapphire Beach Club are modest accommodations and a location that lends itself exploring other parts of the island. Base your hotel choice on your vacationing style and goals.

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