Location, location, location.
That’s what I particularly liked during my March stay at the Hotel Beach Plaza, an airy, beachfront property on a scenic bay in Marigot, the capital of St. Martin’s French side of the island. A glass roof tops its lobby atrium filled with palm trees and other tropical vegetation – home to chirping birds and the soothing sounds of Caribbean whistling frogs in the evening. Upon entering the hotel, I noticed there are no doors into the lobby and no windows or doors on the other side facing the Baie de Marigot. “With the open space, you’re directly connected to the sea,” says hotel General Manager Eric Mayer. “The lights reflecting from the water are amazing and people arriving at reception are immediately drawn to the water.”
The three-star, 144-room hotel is an older property showing its age with some worn edges and in need of repairs. But that’s likely to change as the hotel is scheduled to undergo a $15-$17 million (USD) renovation and will be closed from August 26 through December 12, 2013. Upgrades will include adding a spa, new beds, improved electrical infrastructure and general improvements throughout the property. “The idea of the renovation is to keep the same Caribbean and colonial feel,” says Mayer. Upgrades in 2014 will include a new auditorium and meeting rooms.
As for location, the hotel is hardly a ten minute walk to the heart of Marigot with its popular shopping district along rue de la Republique, ferries to St. Barth and Anguilla, and the nearby Marina Royale with its scenic harbor and waterside restaurants.
On Saturday mornings, the bayside open-air market bustles as locals and visitors flock to stands of fresh produce and fish just off the boat. Souvenir shops are especially popular with cruise ship passengers bused in from the port of Phillipsburg on the island’s Dutch side.
Views from the hotel’s beachside include sailboats along a gentle turquoise seascape and the crumbling remains of Fort Louis perched atop a hill – part of the scenic vista to the east. “You couldn’t be closer to water,” says Mayer. “Even if you’re working, you feel like you’re on holiday.”
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Blogger’s Note: I was a guest of the hotel and also paid a press rate during my stay. I found the rooms very comfortable and would return. I also found very reasonable Internet rates for this hotel – especially during high season on St. Martin.