My wife and I and three other couples recently stayed for two weeks (Feb. 24 - Mar. 11, 2010) at 78 Dawn Beach Estates. While we had a thoroughly enjoyable stay on St. Martin, our experiences with this house, the caretaker and the owner left a lot to be desired.
What follows is an abridged version of the letter that the eight of us sent on March 18, 2010 to the owner (I haven't included the accompanying photographs as they do not copy into this forum).
The owner has not responded to us so I am posting the letter on this forum as a warning to potential renters of this property.
March 18, 2010
Dear Mr. Gallagher:
We have just returned home after two great weeks in St. Martin (February 24 - March 11, 2010). The only negative aspect of our vacation was our stay at your house at 78 Dawn Beach Estates; not so much the stay as we had good times at the house but the house itself left a lot to be desired.
In general, although the house has great potential, it was in a state of disrepair and dirty and the surrounding property was very much overgrown. It was obvious to us that very little, if any, cleaning and maintenance has been put into your property. We were also expecting certain amenities that were promised in the rental information document that you sent us. Very few of the items noted in that letter were in fact available to us. For example: 1) Alvo, the caretaker, was generally unresponsive. Among other things, he did not respond to our request to set up a mid-stay house cleaning and he did not respond to your request to supply new patio furniture and 2) the house cell phone had none of the promised minutes on it (we had to purchase the initial minutes).
Below is a list of some deficiencies that we noted during our stay at 78 Dawn Beach Estates:
Exterior of house: broken storm shutters, rusting roof, mouldy and rotting soffits;
Blue/turquoise bedroom: screen on patio door torn, fan switch cover broken, GFI outlet cover in bathroom broken, GFI outlet loose in wall, mould in shower, patio door curtains in poor condition, caretaker took two days to repair plugged toilet (erroneously blamed us for the problem) and then two of us had to assist the plumber as Alvo was unavailable to assist;
Pink bedroom: torn screen on patio door, broken toilet seat, mould in shower, patio door curtains in poor condition;
Master bedroom: patio and screen doors broken, lights burned out in shower stall, mould in shower, sink faucet handle broken, blood stains on bed sheets at check-in (blood came out when we washed the sheets), patio door curtains in poor condition;
Apartment: refrigerator, microwave oven and gas range not working, air conditioning remote control not working, leaking faucet in bathroom, dirty bed sheets at check-in (sand between sheets), bulbs missing from several light fixtures, patio doors broken, one window broken, mould in shower, main door poorly repaired, patio door curtains in poor condition;
Garage: garage door opener not working properly (opens but will not close with remote control), at check-in side door could not be closed (we had to make repairs), no key provided to this door;
Deck, patio and pool: continuous problems with pool circulation system (pool-man came out once but he did not rectify the problem), broken deck lights, view of sea from pool obscured (no pruning of vegetation), broken patio furniture (chairs and tables);
Gas BBQ grill: only three and then two of four burners worked, gas cylinder supplied by you was almost empty (ran out while cooking during second day at house), spare tank was empty (we had to purchase a full tank);
Gates: all three gates could not be locked, electronic controls for main gate (for vehicles) not functioning, gate had to be secured manually (rubber tubing);
Kitchen/dining area: infestation of ants on counters, range hood (fan and lights) did not work, shortage of kitchen utensils, pots and pans, glasses, faulty wire to kitchen and dining room ceiling fans and lights, missing or burned out bulbs in lighting fixtures, no adequate can opener provided, dirty cupboards (inside and outside), dirty drawers;
Living/entertainment area: dirty, thread-bare furniture, all patio doors broken and/or missing screens, curtains tattered and in poor condition; and
Powder (rest) room off main entrance: toilet clogged on check-in and although a plumber came out, it was not repaired during our two week stay.
Our group has booked vacation villas via the Internet several times and, in all cases but this one, the properties have exceeded their on-line descriptions. Your on-line property description certainly does not. Your on-line description including photographs should be updated and the villa should not be described as "luxury", as it is not, in its current state. Your on-line description is also misleading as there is no mention that two of the bedrooms are contained in an apartment whose entrance is separate from the main house.
Your information package should also be updated as it currently contains many errors and invalid information. Some examples are: 1) incorrect instructions to call to the French side of the island, 2) the beach is not a "short walk down the hill", 3) security and safety instructions; we never saw Sherry or Reya who were to explain them to us.
A final comment (although we could add many more regarding property and staff discrepancies and deficiencies): although our stated checkout time was 11 A.M. on Thursday, March 11, Alvo and his cleaning crew were at the house demanding access to start cleaning at 9 A.M.! This was a very uncomfortable situation for us.