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Safety In Grand Case

Lancaster, SC
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52 posts
148 reviews
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Safety In Grand Case

My wife and I have been seriously looking at taking a trip to St. Martin in August of this year and staying in Grand Case. One of the top places on our list is GCBC. It seems just recently that I have been seeing more articles on the escalation of crime in St. Martin and especially in Grand Case. We know that there is no place in the world that is safe and you always need to be aware of your surroundings, but we don't want to have to be nervous 24/7 that we may be robbed/attacked, etc. Has the town of GC increased their security lately and/or made any changes to improve their tourist safety ? We have really had our hearts set on Grand Case but are starting to have second thoughts. Any current updates/advice are much appreciated ! If it's not safe, do any of you have any other suggestions on safer places to stay on the island OR even another caribbean Island that is beautiful and safer ? Thanks !

Huntington Beach...
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11 posts
6 reviews
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41. Re: Safety In Grand Case

That review was posted before my trip. We have been to La Samanna 8 times. We just returned from this trip last Saturday.

Cedar Point, North...
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1,246 posts
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42. Re: Safety In Grand Case

Got it! Thanks!

Huntington Beach...
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43. Re: Safety In Grand Case

Yes be very aware and if your hotel has turn down service? I wouldn't allow it- we came up to our room one night after swimming and it was dark but our lights were in and the turn down lady was in our kitchen rummaging and eating our food. We saw her eat it!!!! Crazy. We didn't say anything because we are nice and we thought well, maybe she was really hungry. However, looking back I realize that just because you're staying in a nice place and it's gated and all that- the employees can be criminals. That may be a little extreme about a few chips but if you can't trust the people going into your room??? We didn't allow turn down after that. Sad to have to worry on your vacay. We've been all over, even to Mexico many times and we've never been robbed. We are smart travelers, we stay away from dark alleys and don't go down town at night. We watch our backs and don't wear expensive jewelry. But really, La Samanna? So very sad. I love that place and it pains me to have to write this stuff. I really hope they will remedy this.

Cedar Point, North...
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44. Re: Safety In Grand Case

It sounds like your complaint should be towards the hotel more than the Island itself.

45. Re: Safety In Grand Case

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Groningen, The...
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12 posts
11 reviews
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46. Re: Safety In Grand Case

So will we! Booked for 7 nights in August at the Grand Case Beach Club. We stayed there before, but it was 10 years ago - will be interesting to see what has changed...

Toronto, Canada
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928 posts
21 reviews
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47. Re: Safety In Grand Case

It is very unfortunate that peaches has once again been a victim and learned a very hard lesson, because they are obviously a kind and trusting couple. It is natural that in an upscale, gated development that you would expect to not only feel a strong sense of security, but actually experience it. This car theft, together with the turn-down experience with the maid, suggests that perhaps La Samanna should revisit their hiring processes. Some of their employees may be colluding to commit crimes. I would expect more of such an upscale resort, but it can happen anywhere.

As an employer I want to know about any employee's questionable character. My business depends upon it. I must be able to trust them. I would have called that maid on her actions on the spot and walked her out of my room immediately. I would also have reported her to her employer. Her actions showed a complete lack of character and concern for her guests, which is absolutely unacceptable. Who knows how far that employee is prepared to go in her own self-interest? More importantly, if it is allowed to continue, it sets a tone for other employees.

Additionally, it is important that everyone learns a very important lesson from the car theft. There is an ongoing debate on these forums as to whether you are better off leaving your car locked or unlocked on St Martin. The theory is that if it is unlocked and you have nothing in it, that they will look through the car and, finding nothing, will go away. There will therefore be no damage charge from the thieves breaking into the car. Being in the insurance industry, I want to emphasize that if your car is unlocked, and especially if the keys are in the ignition, your insurance will be voided! That applies anywhere in the world that I have been.

You have an obligation, under the insurance contract to "mitigate" any damage to the car. In other words you have to minimize the possibility of damage or theft to the vehicle, or the insurer can deem the contract to be null and void. You can lock the car and have a few hundred dollars damage if it is broken into, but it will generally be covered by the insurance, or you can leave it unlocked and be out several thousand dollars, as peaches has found out. Your choice!

We have a similar issue here in Toronto in the winter time when it can get quite cold. Many cars are stolen every day when their owners go out and start them up to get warm, then go inside to finish getting ready. This is despite constant police warnings not to do so. People are generally trusting, but there are always criminal elements hanging about looking for crimes of opportunity. My wife and I never leave our car unlocked without one of us being present, even for the short period when we are loading or unloading it. It is sad that we must do so. In St Martin, with its reputation for car thefts, this is even more important advice.

The one question I have always had in St. Martin, being a relatively small island, is where do all these stolen vehicles go? They can't be easily shipped off the island and how do you re-register a stolen vehicle? I would suggest that the police could be doing a lot more to curtail this practice in the first place by making it harder to dispose of the stolen property. In the meantime, please everyone, do not leave your car unlocked and unattended, even for a short time.

Groningen
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12 posts
7 reviews
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48. Re: Safety In Grand Case

Excellent and very informative response! Actually, I discussed the car theft as described by Peaches with my husband, and his first question was indeed: but where do all the stolen cars go? St. Martin/St. Maarten is a very small island, and it shouldn't be too hard for the police to find a stolen car - IF they want to, and are not colluding in some way with the criminals....

I also want to add that we have in fact been to St. Martin at least six times, and never had any problems. Just use your common sense - for instance, on our last visit my husband absolutely wanted to go to the top of Pic Paradis, the high hill on the French side. I agreed to go only on condition that we go by taxi (and during the day), not by ourselves in our rental car. But okay, of course bad things can happen anywhere, there's never an absolute guarantee that they won't. We are nonetheless looking forward to our stay in St. Martin in August - our first visit in 10 years! Should be interesting to see how the island has changed.

United States
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9,316 posts
251 reviews
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49. Re: Safety In Grand Case

This thread popped up as I must have posted on it awhile ago. I gave up on St. Martin a number of years ago and am sort of amused by those that continue to say it is just as likely to have an "event" occur at home. Ok everyone has different opinions. Never watched my back more on a caribbean island that St. Martin...get to St. Barts (where clearly things happen too) and was able to relax. Just my observation. As for this car theft...why is it people keep talking about locked vs unlocked.? The entire car was stolen not just things inside. I assume at a place like La Samanna there is valet service? Who has the keys? I do not understand that a car was stolen on their premises and they had no responsibility? I suppose there are signs etc. indicating they have zero responsbility for theft of vehicles or anything inside...I do think Peaches should write a final review of the property as these posts go away and reviews stay for future travelers to be warned...both the maid issue and theft are important to report on a review. Many of these thefts are inside jobs where staff are working with their friends...good arrangement for both. As for police help in curtailing events like this...sorry but would not be surprised to see them driving around in the stolen vehicle with police logo fixed on the side!!!!

Toronto, Canada
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928 posts
21 reviews
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50. Re: Safety In Grand Case

Trav88 and Gene - agree with your comments on police and the possibility of collusion with criminals, maybe even including some of the rental companies themselves. If the police and government really wanted to solve the problem it could be done very easily, but no one in authority seems to really care. Agree also on suggestion for Peaches to do a review update for La Samanna concerning the maid and car theft. The only way to get some of these resort owners to act and insist on police involvement is to hit them in the pocketbook. Witness the increased police response and initiatives by the business owners in Grand Case after the word started to get out about hooliganism and vehicle vandalism there, especially at night in the municipal parking lot.

Fortunately, most of us never have to deal with a stolen or vandalized car. But if it happens to you, it can be not only financially, but also emotionally devastating. While it is true cars are stolen all over the world, I agree that far too many cars are stolen or broken into relative to the population of the island, even after factoring in the large tourist population influx. And no one seems to know where they go.

Gene - while your comments about St. Barts may be fair, many of us just prefer St. Martin for any number of reasons, notwithstanding any increase in potential crime. Whether or not there is valet service at La Samanna is irrelevant in this particular case, since the vehicle was not in the control of a valet, but in the control of Peaches and her husband at the time of the theft. Nevertheless, I still believe that La Samanna should be bending over backwards to do everything they can to assist Peaches and her husband. It is just the right thing to do for one of your guests and is part of building a strong brand. If they do not, this should be highlighted in a review of the resort.

Finally, you questioned why it mattered whether the car is locked or unlocked, since the whole car was stolen. I obviously did not make my point clear enough. Whether the car is locked or unlocked makes all the difference in the world. In this case the car was not only unlocked but the key was in the ignition and the engine running, so the insurance is null and void. Whether the car is stolen or just broken into, if the car is locked and the keys are not in the car, you are covered by your insurance, including any potential baggage or contents insurance, whether that be under the rental insurance or your credit card insurance.

It is obviously a lesser issue if the car is unlocked and they just steal the contents (if any). The insurance is still void, but at most you are out a few hundred dollars. But if they steal the car and it is unlocked any possible insurance is not only void, but you are now personally responsible for the replacement of the entire vehicle, plus any contents you may have had in the car, plus the loss of rental income by the rental company until they can replace the car. As Peaches has now unfortunately discovered, this will amount to many thousands of dollars.

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