Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Spacious low-rate, low-frill rooms
Simpson Bay Suites' website describes the 18-condo hotel as "ultra-modern," "grand," and "a bed and breakfast." In truth, it is none of these things. It is, however, a fairly new all-suite property ideal for families looking to stretch their dollars and still have plenty of space to stretch their legs. You'll be hard-pressed to sleep this many for so little anywhere else in St. Maarten, and all units come with kitchens, so guests save even more by cooking in.
That said, Simpson Bay Suites' rates are low for a reason: It's just off the traffic-ridden main road from the airport, providing rather unattractive views from the balconies (though lovely Simpson Bay can be seen in the distance from the units on the upper floors). And the property's amenities top off at a free parking garage and a few coin-operated laundry machines.
For a property so new (it first opened in 2009), it’s surprising how unremarkable and unfashionable the furnishings in the rooms are. In my One-Bedroom Suite, the queen-size beds were generic motel-style beds with scratchy sheets and tacky comforters; the foldout couches were ugly orange leather; and the patio furniture looked like it could be from Home Depot’s cheaper offerings. Things do, however, improve in the Two- and Three-Bedroom Suites, with better kitchen appliances and more design details (chandeliers, modern couches, and decorative pillows). Still the bathrooms and bedrooms remain the same -- tired and unexceptional.
It's definitely possible to find equally cheap prices in St. Maarten -- and closer to the beach at that. But those who want space, space, and more space will absolutely not find it for a cheaper price than at Simpson Bay Suites. Nonetheless, if beachfront and a restaurant are more important than room size and full kitchens, head to Mary’s Boon Beach Resort on the other side of Simpson Bay -- the property is old but the beach is one of the best around.
Central location with plenty nearby -- though traffic is heavy on the main road, and there is no direct beach access
The property is located roughly five minutes from one of St. Maarten's best beaches, Simpson Bay; however, it's close to the busier area, filled with tourists coming from several beach restaurants and resorts nearby. As a result, you'll feel like one of the only outsiders paying for your beach chairs (or hanging on a lowly beach towel). For any other beaches, you'll have to get in the car.
Simpson Bay Suites' location on a busy street is at least beneficial for the close proximity to tons of restaurant, shops, bars, casinos, and a movie theater. A grocery store is across the street (just past the Burger King), and plenty of the island's popular hangouts (Topper's, Jimbo's, and Skip Jack's) are all within walking distance. However, the main road is often packed with traffic, making driving even half a mile a 15-minute ordeal. So be sure to pad in plenty of extra time when arriving at your destination on time is important.
Extremely spacious with full kitchens and private balconies, but few frills
All 18 of Simpson Bay Suites' one- to three-bedroom units are incredibly spacious -- easily the largest on the island for any price -- and include well-equipped full kitchens, large living rooms with pull-out sofas, and private balconies. The furnishings may not be the most elegant (pea-soup green bedspreads), and the views might not be the best (busy Airport Road's traffic is more of a focal point than distant Simpson Bay), but with units that start at 600 square feet, it's still a great pick for those looking to sleep an entire family at budget rates.
Hardly any amenities beyond what's found in the rooms
This 18-unit condo hotel in Simpson Bay offers some of St. Maarten's most affordable and spacious rooms. And on that strength alone it's a great choice for families who want plenty of space to stretch out and a full kitchen for homemade meals. Still, this place is cheap for a reason: minimal service, no pool, no restaurant, no fitness center, and no beach access. For a beachfront and more amenities at comparable prices, head to Mary's Boon Beach Resort.