My family and I just returned from a week at the Beachside Villas and felt it was important to provide prospective vacationers with our personal opinion on the experience. I’ve read the other reviews here and have to say that in terms of the property, the units, the beach, the landscaping and the wonderful attitude of the staff, all of it is true. It would be hard to find a better place for our family to spend a wonderful week on the beach with the exception of the airport.
We chatted with several other renters, some of whom are repeat guests, and asked them what they thought of the airport and the noise that’s created by living 100 yards from the main runway. The repeat guests seem to take it in stride. Having dozens of commercial and corporate jets landing and taking off daily seems to be an attraction to some while others ignore it. But we felt it was beyond acceptable for our taste. It may just be us, but when we arrived on a recent Saturday afternoon we were greeted with the outrageous roar of 757 and 747 jets at a rate of several an hour landing and taking off until 11 PM that night. It was so bad we spent much of Sunday driving around the island looking for alternate accommodations. Our efforts were to no avail since all the real estate agents are closed on Sunday and we were there in the midst of high season, a bad time to try to find something for seven people.
We were told that Saturday is the noisiest; with a dozen large jets bring in time share owners. That makes for a dozen landings and a dozen take offs on top of the dozen or so regularly scheduled large jets from American, Delta, US Airways, Air France, KLM, etc. that land and take off. Each aircraft constitutes a landing and a take off. That’s two opportunities to stop conversation among guests. I can’t tell you how many times I couldn’t hear someone two feet away from me because the noise overwhelmed the conversation.
Please keep in mind that when the big ones throw their jet thrusters into reverse stopping can be just as noisy as taking off. And you might want to disregard any comments you see in other reviews about this being some kind of quaint small island airport. This airport is handing huge commercial aircraft. They are big, they burn a lot of fuel and they make a heck of a lot of noise. In addition to the large commercial and charter flights coming and going, there are numerous corporate jets taking off and landing throughout the day. It should be noted that corporate jet engine noise is not regulated by the FAA while the commercial aircraft are, and for their size they are plenty noisy! Throw in a bunch of small island hoppers and you’ve got a teaming airport runway less than a football field away from your unit. When we asked the owner how close we were to the airport she told us we were a fifteen minute drive away. This is true. It takes the cab approximately fifteen minutes to drive from the terminal to the end of the runway and to circle back to the point where the Beachside Villas is located. As the bird flies, it would take one minute to slowly cross the airport property to your unit and only 5 – 10 seconds from the runway. We heard from another guest that he was told the exact same 15 minute explanation. True? Yes. Misleading, certainly. The villas are located just about where the jets lift off, providing the maximum amount of noise for us. The number of flights does drop off after Sunday, but there are still a substantial amount of takeoffs and landings every day from 7 AM to 11 PM. And my wife says she heard a couple of corporate jets taking off around 2 AM. The beachside bedrooms are noisy, but the backside – toward the airport – bedrooms are thunderous. No, wait. All the rooms are thunderous; it’s just a matter of scale. A couple of guests said they kept the windows closed and the air conditioning running. But we like to feel tropical breezes wafting over us as we sleep and we really appreciate the sound of the waves on the beach all night long.
When you take into consideration the joy and pleasure of keeping your doors and windows open during your stay, we were very luck while we were there in that the trade winds were blowing in from the south, which pretty much kept the smell of jet fuel out of our noses. But there may be times when the winds are blowing toward the complex and delivering the smell of airport solvents. I don’t know what the impact would be, but if it’s happening and it impacts your week of vacation, it would be a big deal.
What’s this all mean? My kids didn’t care. They loved the proximity to the beach, the nearby shopping district and the villa itself. But my wife and I found the pervasive noise to be an incredible irritant and distraction. Would I recommend the property? Again, we met several guests who go their every year and really like it, so for some this must be ideal. But I’d only recommend this to those who are not looking for a quiet, peaceful beachside experience. For us? As nice as all the “good stuff” was, we’ll be looking elsewhere next year.
- Also Known As:
- Beachside Villas Hotel Simpson Bay
- Beachside Villas St. Maarten-St. Martin/Simpson Bay