Family vacations are always a mix of excitement and anticipation, especially when it involves finding the perfect family-friendly resort. Our recent seven-day stay at the Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa in St. Maarten was no exception. As a mom who has traveled extensively with my family, I had high expectations, and this resort did not disappoint. From its top rating as one of the best St. Maarten resorts to its reputation as a family-friendly resort, Simpson Bay Resort was an obvious choice. We were a group of four – my husband, 12-year-old daughter, and energetic 3-year-old daughter who loved the onsite playground. However, check-in had some hiccups and left much to be desired. Here’s how it all went down.
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Delayed check-in blues: Our arrival experience at Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa
After a long and exhausting flight to St. Maarten, we looked forward to settling into our room. Unfortunately, upon arrival, we encountered disappointment as the staff informed us that our room wasn’t ready. We had to wait and were promised a call once the room was available. As we sat in the lobby, hunger and exhaustion took over, and we saw other guests who arrived after us get checked in and head off to their rooms. It was frustrating, and I went to the front desk several times to inquire about our room. Although they tried to help, it wasn’t until the third time that we finally received our room, and the staff seemed overwhelmed and understaffed. Despite the delay, I tried to remain optimistic and thought it was because of the surprise we arranged for our daughters – balloons and a cake. We were happy to finally check in and head to our room to relax.
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Meet Me in Villa 112: A Spacious Oasis
After surviving the check-in drama, we finally reached our first-floor villa, room 112. Upon opening the door, the kitchen area greeted us, but what caught our daughters’ attention were the vibrant teal and purple balloons, cake, and candies waiting for them. I had worked with the food and beverage team beforehand, and they delivered the surprise flawlessly, albeit at a cost of $115.
Our villa’s kitchen boasted modern and stylish granite countertops and high-quality stainless steel LG appliances, including a stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Moreover, it had a toaster, coffee maker, blender, and microwave, making our meal and drink preparation for our family a breeze. We especially appreciated the convenience of having a refrigerator, oven, and microwave for storing and reheating leftovers, such as the delicious Caribbean lobster that we brought back from Skip Jacks restaurant.
The living area
In the living area, the open-concept design allowed for a clear view of the patio through the sliding glass doors. The space included a glass dining table with seating for 4-6 people and a “living room” area with a comfortable couch and a built-in entertainment center that also housed two hidden Murphy beds. Although we didn’t discover the beds until the second day, they were so well hidden that we could easily use the space as a regular living area during the day. Since our toddler slept with us, only one of the beds was used by our oldest daughter.
To access the bedroom, you pass through the first section of the bathroom, which features a double sink bathroom vanity with ample storage. In addition, a storage closet located here contained cleaning supplies such as a broom and mop as well as an ironing board.
The bathroom was quite spacious and accommodating for all of us to get ready in the morning. The shower and toilet were located in a separate area from the double sink vanity, which provided privacy and allowed multiple people to get ready at the same time. Overall, the layout of the bathroom was well thought-out and convenient.
The bedroom was a cozy and tidy space that featured a comfortable king-sized bed and a walk-in closet that came equipped with a safe, providing ample storage for all of our belongings. For entertainment, there was a flat-screen TV that we could enjoy while lounging in bed.
One of the highlights of the bedroom was the sliding glass doors that led to the furnished walk-out patio, which offered a great view of the pool area and made it easy to step out for some fresh air. However, we did experience occasional difficulty with the bedroom slider.
Although free Wi-Fi was available, it was spotty at times and could be unreliable. On the bright side, we appreciated the daily cleaning service that was provided. The housekeeping staff changed our sheets and towels and thoroughly cleaned all areas of our villa, including dishes left in the sink.
From Beachside Bites to Fine Dining: Dining Options at Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa
Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa has an array of dining options from which to choose. The four onsite restaurants are
- La Patrona (Mexican cuisine)
- Replay Sports Bar (American)
- Juliette’s Bistro
- Bovin Restaurant (Grill)
While we didn’t have the chance to try any of these restaurants, we did stop by Café Britt a few times to grab pastries, which were delicious.
Since we were on a family vacation, we wanted to try some of the local restaurants in St. Maarten, so we didn’t dine at any of the resort’s restaurants. However, we did visit the Coco Beach Bar during our beach days, where we enjoyed some refreshing drinks and food. The atmosphere was great, and the staff was friendly and attentive. We also appreciated that the beach chairs and umbrellas were complimentary for resort guests.
Although we didn’t dine at the resort’s restaurants, we enjoyed our experience at Coco Beach Bar and appreciated the variety of dining options that Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa offered.
From Spa to Swim-Up Bars: Exploring the Abundance of Amenities at Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa
The amenities at Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa were plentiful and varied. One of the highlights was the Sunset Spa where I had a 50-minute massage booked by my husband. It was a much-needed break from all the beach activities. Although we don’t gamble, the casino was available for those who enjoy it.
The gym and fitness center was accessible for a fee of $6 per day, which I found to be a bit steep for guests who have already paid for their stay. The laundry room was convenient for my husband to wash our clothes before our trip home.
We also made frequent trips to the supermarket, which offered cheaper prices than those found at the resort.
The six pools were a hit with our family, and we used the kiddie pool the most as it was close to our villa and had a depth of 2 feet. Additionally, there were swim-up bars, tennis courts, and a children’s playground, which kept us entertained during our stay.
What We Enjoyed Most at Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa
When it comes to family-friendly resorts, Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa truly delivers. Here are some of the things we absolutely loved during our 7-day stay:
- Our spacious villa was perfect for our family of four, with plenty of room to spread out and relax.
- The pool was a highlight for all of us, with swim-up bars and free cabanas for shade and relaxation.
- Beach access was convenient and the water was clear, calm, and warm.
- Our toddler was obsessed with the pirate ship-themed playground, which unfortunately we only discovered towards the end of our trip.
- The free shuttle to local spots like Skip Jack’s and even took us to McDonald’s for my preteens’ cravings.
- We loved the proximity to some great local restaurants like Buccaneer Beach Bar, Skip Jack’s, and Pelican’s Bistro. It was a great way to get a taste of St. Maarten beyond the resort.
Looking for the ultimate family-friendly resort experience in St. Maarten? Look no further than Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa! The resort’s numerous amenities, including multiple pools, beach access, and a pirate ship-themed playground that our toddler couldn’t get enough of, filled our 7-day vacation with fun and relaxation. Although we experienced a small delay during check-in, the spacious villa and exceptional customer service made up for it. We highly recommend this resort to families looking for an unforgettable vacation, with the added bonus of being close to local restaurants like Buccaneer Beach Bar and Skip Jack’s. We can’t wait to come back and make more memories at Simpson Bay Marina Resort & Spa!