Known for its sublime beaches, stellar duty-free shopping, multi-cultural food scene, and lively casinos, Sint Maarten is the Dutch half of a sunny 37-sq-mile Caribbean island shared with St. Martin, which is governed by France. As home to both Princess Juliana Airport and the cruise port in the capital, Philipsburg, St. Maarten consistently attracts an international mix of travelers who appreciate the destination’s dual cultures (visitors can travel freely between the Dutch and French sides) and proximity to the neighboring islands of Anguilla and St. Barth (both of which can be reached by ferry).
Snorkeling, diving, and water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, parasailing, and jet-skiing are top daytime activities, while the eclectic food scene and a dozen casinos keep nightlife-lovers happy. The island’s lush interior is also home to an eco-adventure park with hiking trails and zip lines. Here are 10 of the best beach resorts and hotels on St. Maarten.
Coral Beach Club
Offering the exclusivity and privacy of a smaller resort—there are just 24 condominium-style beachfront villas and condos—along with easy access to Oyster Pond Marina, Dawn Beach, and downtown Philipsburg, Coral Beach Club fills a niche for a luxury villa-style stay that includes concierge services, daily maid service, an onsite restaurant and access to a fitness center, beach, and multiple pools.
Spacious accommodations, all with contemporary décor and full kitchens, range from one-bedroom Condo and two-bedroom Townhouse units to two-, three-, and four-bedroom Beachview Villas and Beachfront Villas sleeping four to eight guests. Each Villa has its own private plunge pool, while Townhouse guests share a common pool. All Coral Beach Club guests can also access the beachfront infinity pool at neighboring Oyster Bay Beach Resort.
The onsite restaurant, Big Fish, serves fresh-caught seafood appetizers and mains (with chicken, beef, and pasta options as well) and the property can also arrange private chefs for in-villa dinners. Additional restaurants and the St. Maarten Nectar Spa at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort are accessible to Coral Beach Club guests as well.
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort
Stretched along a gentle curve of white sand on its own private peninsula near Fort Amsterdam outside of Philipsburg, Divi Little Bay Beach Resort features 210 rooms and suites that were renovated in 2018 and decorated in cheerful Caribbean hues. There’s an all-inclusive option and kids under age five can stay and eat for free. Accommodations with an ocean view include Beachfront Guestrooms, Studio Suites, and One-, Two-, and Three-Bedroom Suites.
Onsite amenities include three oceanfront pools (one with a swim-up bar) and hot tubs, an expansive beach with umbrella-shaded chaises and an array of watersports, an oceanfront shopping promenade featuring a mini-mart and souvenir shops, and a fitness center and spa.
Guests at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort can drink and dine at five restaurants and bars: PureOcean for a breakfast buffet and a la carte dinner menu, Gizmo’s Bar & Grill for casual burgers and pizza, The Shack for Caribbean-style grab-and-go jerk chicken and roti, Fort Amsterdam Café for smoothies and sandwiches, and PureOcean Pool Bar for pool bar snacks and cocktails.
In January 2022, the resort will add the 98-room Oceans at Divi Little Bay Resort, offering upper-tier accommodations and service.
Holland House Beach Hotel
Guests can enjoy the best of what St. Maarten offers—the dining and shopping district of downtown Philipsburg and access to the boardwalk and 1,000-yard white-sand beach along Great Bay—at Holland House Beach Hotel, a modern-meets-casual 55-room property set on the capital’s vibrant Front Street.
All rooms and suites have a balcony and include City View or Beach View rooms (with a walk-in rain shower), Executive City View, Executive Beach View, Junior Suites (space for two adults and two children) and the Royal Suite (boasting a large outdoor terrace).
The property is also home to the Ocean Lounge Bar & Restaurant, serving an eclectic, internationally inspired menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as cocktails and bar food in the oceanfront open-air lounge. On the beach, the hotel supplies chaises and service for lunch and cold drinks. Guests are also just steps away from duty-free shops, restaurants, bars, and two casinos.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Located on a private peninsula framed by the aquamarine sea and rugged green hills just south of where Dutch St. Maarten meets French St. Martin, the 182-room Oyster Bay Beach Resort surrounds guests with soothing blue-and-white architecture and offers access to Oyster Bay Marina and Dawn Beach.
Rooms and suites, all featuring contemporary beach-house décor, include Courtyard Rooms and Lofts (sleeping two or four, with a small refrigerator and microwave and ocean or garden views), Studios (with a kitchenette and ocean, marina or garden views), Suites (one or two bedrooms, each with full kitchens and sleeping four or six guests) and the Mainsail Penthouse (2,025-sq.-ft., sleeping up to eight and featuring its own rooftop lounge area with private pool, heated Jacuzzi and outdoor kitchen).
The property’s Infinity Pool is a standout, with adjacent hot tubs, a lounge, and view of neighboring St. Barth. The resort’s southern side is located along Dawn Beach, with beach chairs, umbrellas, and food/drink service provided. The Infinity Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, while Bodega Bay in the Marina offers groceries, take-out lunches, and espresso.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort also has a full-service spa, onsite fitness center and souvenir shop.
Port de Plaisance, Trademark Collection by Wyndham
Port de Plaisance, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, offers an intimate marina setting on its own private, bridge-linked island near the Dutch-French border on Cole Bay. The 31 accommodation options at the property are all recently renovated Junior, Executive, or Premier Suites (either one or two king-size beds) with a full kitchen. Amenities include two pools, a 25,000-square-foot casino, spa, fitness center, and seven lighted tennis courts.
The smoke-free hotel offers multiple restaurants, including the all-day Lobster House Café, Mandarin for sushi and Asian specialties, Melange for steak and seafood, and Brasserie for French cuisine. Beach access (at Simpson, Maho, or Mullet Bay) requires taking a taxi or renting a car (there’s a rental office on property).
Royal Palm Beach Resort
Set on lively and popular Simpson Bay, Royal Palm Beach Resort is one of two Diamond Resorts properties on St. Maarten (the other is Flamingo Beach Resort). It offers 141 spacious oceanfront one- and two-bedroom condo-like units (872- and 1,098-sq. ft., respectively, with the latter sleeping up to six), all recently remodeled and featuring full kitchens, living rooms, and in-room washers and dryers.
Other renovations include a new swimming pool, upgraded gym, and enhanced tropical landscaping. Royal Palm Beach Resort is set on a stretch of private beach and its oceanfront pool is lined with shady palapas and chaise lounges and features an al fresco poolside bar. There’s also an onsite restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and nearby access to shopping and casinos.
Simpson Bay Resort, Marina & Spa
As one of St. Maarten’s largest beach resorts, Simpson Bay Resort, Marina & Spa features 272 spacious rooms and suites and 83 two-bedroom villas. Set on a sheltered and swimmable beach amid grounds landscaped with hibiscus and bougainvillea, the resort also has six freshwater swimming pools and a water sports center. Accommodations range from Deluxe Studios (sleeping two or four) to Two-Bedroom Villas (sleeping six) to Three-Bedroom Suites (sleeping eight), making it a great option for families or groups of friends.
Onsite and nearby eateries include La Patrona for Mexican cuisine, Bovin Steakhouse for a meat-lovers’ menu, Replay Restaurant & Bar for sports-themed dining, Juliette’s Bistro for casually elegant dining, and Coco Beach Bar for tropical drinks and snacks. The Sunset Spa, Hollywood Casino and three fully-lit tennis courts round the amenities.
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa—St. Maarten’s largest resort, with 420 rooms—is also one of its liveliest. Not only is it all-inclusive and family-friendly, but its location on Maho Bay adjacent to the island’s airport with its Instagram- and YouTube-famous over-beach landings makes it a top spot for close-up airplane spotting.
This may not be the place to soak up some peace and quiet, but the 10-acre property delivers plenty of tropical fun: an Oasis Pool with waterslides and a swim-up bar, a Beach House Kids Club and Aqua Park, six restaurants (Ocean Terrace for all-day buffet, The Palms Beach Grill for grilled meats and seafood, The Point Restaurant for a la carte continental/Italian, Ascot Pub & Sports Bar for casual dining, Jing’s Kitchen for Asian buffet, and Napoli for pizza and panini), five bars, a spa and fitness center, and a daily calendar of activities and live music.
The property is also home to Casino Royale, St. Maarten’s largest casino, and is within walking distance of the Mullet Bay golf course. Guests can book any of a dozen room categories, ranging from standard Superior Kings and Doubles to expansive two-level Sky Loft Suites with panoramic views.
Sonesta Ocean Point Resort
Pegged as a “resort within a resort,” Sonesta Ocean Point Resort is a 130-suite, adults-only all-inclusive that offers access to the restaurants, activities and casino of adjacent Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa—but within an exclusive, upscale setting featuring chic and sustainable contemporary design, three pools, fine-dining restaurants and even swim-out and butler-serviced suites.
Accommodations include 460-square-foot Junior Suites (with one king or two double beds), 617-square-foot Sunset Swim Out Butler Suites with direct pool access, 810-square-foot Rooftop Butler Suites with an expansive terrace, and a 2,600-square-foot Luxury Butler Penthouse with social spaces designed for hosting gatherings of friends. The resort’s signature restaurant, Azul, sits on a cliff edge overlooking Maho Bay and serves Mediterranean cuisine, while Casa Blue is above it and features a West Indian and Caribbean menu. The Point Restaurant, for continental/Italian specialties, is shared with guests of Sonesta Maho Bay.
This resort’s three adult-only pools, however, are exclusive to its guests: The Edge, a cliffside man-made beach pool, the deck-lined The Point pool, and the semi-private Swim Out Pool for swim-out suite guests.
The Morgan Resort & Spa
St. Maarten’s newest hotel is The Morgan Resort & Spa, a 124-room luxury boutique hotel on Maho Bay featuring striking contemporary architecture and a rooftop observation deck for watching those famous jet landings at nearby Princess Juliana Airport (there are even King Runway View Guestrooms for the aviation-obsessed).
Most rooms and suites, all of which feature soft neutral and sea-inspired blue décor, sleeper sofas and private terraces, offer ocean views. Categories include King Oceanview, Queen Double Oceanview, Junior Oceanfront Suites, Deluxe Oceanfront Suites and Penthouse Oceanfront Suites. The resort’s stand-out feature is its expansive beach-like, palm-tree-and-cabana-lined infinity-edge pool and a swim-up bar with a blackjack table (there’s a waterslide, grotto and underwater music system, too).
To enjoy an actual dip in the ocean however, it’s a one-minute walk to Maho Beach. The Morgan’s sole onsite restaurant, SALT, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features French-Caribbean cuisine and locally sourced seafood. In addition to the Bar-M Pool Bar, there’s also a Lobby Bar.