Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Huge condos with full kitchens offer families and groups an affordable way to stay near Oyster Bay -- but amenities are next to nil
There are really only two reasons to stay at the Caribbean Princess: the gigantic, apartment-like units, and the location within upscale Orient Bay. Few features exist beyond this -- just a small, barren pool and a rarely open front desk, both of which leave much to be desired. Essentially, Caribbean Princess is a lovely, well-groomed complex of just 10 colonial-style units at which you'll be completely self-sufficient and totally on your own.
What the Caribbean Princess has going for it is the incredible size of its condos, which can comfortably fit a family or other group, as well as each unit’s inviting island-style decor. Whites and creams dominate the living areas with light furnishings featuring small bursts of color via red and mustard yellow throw pillows. The open-plan kitchens are downright huge, with excellent, high-end appliances and enough tableware and cookware for a Thanksgiving feast. Massive terraces are a far better choice than the complex’s pool, if not for the privacy than for the little bit of landscaping.
If you are most concerned with having a spacious home base while visiting St. Martin, Caribbean Princess might just be your best bet. But if you want the leisure of resort-style amenities, this is not the place for you -- head instead to the Esmeralda Resort or Hotel La Plantation. The rooms there are of course smaller, but self-contained villas with interior adjoining doors can be opened for roughly the same apartment-style effect. Moreover, at both of these resorts, you’ll find restaurants, a more traditional hotel-style staff, and, at Esmeralda, even a private pool for each villa.
Within walking distance to one of St. Martin's prettiest beaches, in an upscale gated community on the island's French side
Located just a short walk from the lovely white-sand Orient Bay, guests at Caribbean Princess have quick access to water-sport rental shops, restaurants, bars, and massage huts right at the water's edge. The happening scene, pristine sand, and cerulean crashing waves are a major island draw, and all are within five minutes on foot. Take note: In true French spirit, the beach is clothing-optional.
The Orient Bay location is also attractive for its safety and well-manicured grounds. Monitored by a security gate off of the main road, the area is ideal for families. Parking is no problem, as Caribbean Princess has more lots than actual units. When you choose to head outside Orient Bay, keep in mind the island tends to have quite a bit of traffic, so be sure to add extra minutes to your estimated travel time when promptness is important.
Huge two-bedroom and three-bedroom units with full kitchens
Condos at the Caribbean Princess are huge (1,500 to 2,000 square feet): The two-bedroom units can sleep five or six, and three-bedroom units can house seven. Every condo has a large kitchen with ultra-modern appliances and tons of tableware and cookware. Decor is fresh white-on-white in the living rooms, and vibrantly colorful in the bedrooms. On the downside, the technology is dated: small tube TVs, and no DVD players, stereos, or even bedside alarm clocks. Bathrooms are nicely tiled though, and terraces and balconies are spacious. Ground-floor units are especially nice for the extra private yard off the terrace.
Virtually nothing beyond a small pool
Caribbean Princess' 10 gigantic apartments are stylishly (though sparsely) furnished in an all-white wicker-wood combo, and extremely spacious with open-living floor plans and expansive private decks. But the pool is small and uninspiring, there's no fitness center, and the popular beach is a five-minute walk away. Even worse, the rates are hardly cheap -- you might have less room to spread out at nearby Hotel La Plantation or Esmeralda Resort, but you'll have plenty more amenities for lower rates.