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“Villa Agora - Luxury in Terres Basses”
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12 reviews
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Overview
Villa -
4 Bedrooms, 5 Bathrooms, Sleeps 8
Terres Basses, Saint-Martin, St Martin / St Maarten

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Excellent - based on 12 reviews
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Reviews from our community

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  • French first
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Boodus
Washington, DC
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Villa Agora - Luxury in Terres Basses”
Reviewed 23 March 2015 for a stay in February 2015
2
people found this review helpful

Villa Agora, St. Martin

We spent a week at Villa Agora this past winter while snow storms raged in the U.S. and temperatures hovered in the low single digits. The villa provided a beautiful, tropical setting for our getaway but is on the expensive side – although far from the top in St. Martin – and with plenty of choices on both the French and Dutch sides, here’s our take on whether this villa is worth your hard earned money.

Villa Agora is located in the Terres Basses section of French St. Martin, the first area you come to after the intense hotel and condo development of Maho and Cupecoy. Only about 10 minutes from both the airport and the French capitol of Marigot, Villa Agora sits in a good location from which to explore the island and its many beaches, especially the western, less developed beaches like Baie Rouge, and Baie Longue, or even spectacular Mullet Bay. Dinner out in Grand Case or a day trip to Happy Bay, Orient Beach or Pinel Island are all within easy reach if you have a rental car – which you should. I will say that if most of your interests lie at the northeasterly end of the island you’d probably be better served with a villa closer to that area.

Heading northwest from the airport on the main road that circles the island it takes only a few minutes to cross the invisible boundary line running past Cupecoy and dividing Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin. The change is immediate and dramatic. This is Terres Basses; quiet, residential and upscale. Instead of high rise condominiums you see only walled and gated compounds. Worried about security? Then Terres Basses is the place for you. Access to Villa Agora’s community is through a gate that is guarded around the clock, and not by sleepy looking rent-a-cops. These guys look serious. Think French foreign legion.

This is an area of one and two story compounds surrounded by heavy vegetation. Most properties here are not visible until you get past the villa gate and Villa Agora is no exception. Without the grand entrance of some larger properties Villa Agora’s entrance is still welcoming and comfortable without hinting at what’s inside.

Be sure to check all the photos of Villa Agora available on the web. There are many, and in the case of Villa Agora they give you a highly accurate picture of what you can expect - not always the case. So I won’t try to describe the villa in detail. I’ll let those pictures do the talking. Instead, let me give you a sense of the feel of Villa Agora beyond what the pictures show plus a few details the pictures leave out.

Villa Agora presents an interesting layout, essentially comprising five separate living spaces, joined by an outdoor gallery running the full length of the property. The central space contains the common areas: kitchen, inside and outside living areas. All of these areas have large sliding glass panels that recess completely into the walls and allow you to open the Villa wide to the outdoors and the pool. This is Villa Agora at its best, everything open and flowing together from front door, to pool and to the view beyond. All the villa pictures on the web are taken with the glass doors wide open.

I love this type of design. It certainly was a factor for us in selecting Villa Agora. But this same design might present a slight drawback for you if you like air conditioning in your living areas or you’re determined to keep the mosquitoes out. In that case you’ll need to keep the glass doors closed all the time and that will not only make the kitchen a little tight but gives a real feeling of separation from the outdoor areas and bedrooms. So if you’re determined to come to the Caribbean to close yourself up in the AC, you should keep that in mind when considering Villa Agora.

Adjoining the central living areas is the pool, and the pool at Villa Agora is nothing short of fabulous with a gentle, sloping entrance but deep enough at the far end to really enjoy. And the heat …… oh the heat! When Villa Agora says the pool is heated, they mean it. If you don’t care for the heat, no problem, but if a heated pool is what you’re after (and I guarantee it will be welcome in the height of winter), this is the place for you. Complementing the pool area are the outside living areas, a great dining table and lounge area, a pool gazebo with the best view at the villa, and a large roof deck. Again check the website photos because they are exactly what you can expect. The furnishings are good quality and the areas are spacious. If you like to cook you will find the kitchen very serviceable with the exception of the cutlery. For some reason getting a sharp knife in a villa is an impossibility so, if you are a serious cook, bring at least one good knife.

On either side of the main living unit are the bedrooms; two on each side. Again, this is a design that takes a little getting used to. There is no interior hallway from the living areas to any of the bedrooms. All are accessed from the outside gallery. That means locking the door to the living areas when you go to bed, and probably locking your bedroom door once you’re in. I don’t want to overdo this. It’s an interesting design that makes for maximum privacy; a nice touch. But it is a little different. One other note to those nervous about security. The bedrooms all have hurricane shutters that can be closed at the flip of a switch providing complete security, or, more likely, a welcome respite from the morning sun if you want to sleep in.

If you’re concerned about who gets which bedroom, rest easy, this villa truly has four “equal” bedroom suites. Except for the interior color schemes and linens, they are virtually the same, with one exception. Only two have large soaking tubs. But all have wonderful outdoor showers and the joy of an outdoor shower with good water pressure and plenty of hot water didn’t have us looking for a soak in the tub.

I haven’t discussed the roof deck which while large has limited appeal compared to the rest of the villa. Although it could have a fantastic view, that view is almost completely blocked by the peaked roof of the outdoor living space. An odd design choice. We spent no time there and I doubt you will either.

So all in all, a beautiful villa in a quiet, secure area which is very close to the beach and the airport. Who could want more? Well, there are a few things.

First, for some unknown reason Villa Agora has NO and I mean NO sound system. There are no speakers, no stereo to hook into, just plain nothing. It’s hard to believe this was overlooked considering the money that obviously went into this villa, and even harder to believe it hasn’t been corrected. Who doesn’t want some tunes on vacation?

Second, the internet is fair at best. It works fine in the living room but hardly at all in the bedrooms and sparingly around the pool. Yes, I understand this is vacation, but let’s be honest, internet connectivity has become such an integral part of our lives (we use it to adjust our home thermostat and alarm system) that we’re no longer just talking about email. Anyway, we at least want the option to use WIFI throughout the villa. In this price range a good broadband WIFI system is a must.

Perhaps minor but these things kept us from giving Villa Agora 5 stars, which is after all perfect. These are not major fixes and should have been taken care of long ago. You can probably handle the music on your own, although a central system would be far better. But the WIFI is what it is. As long as you don’t mind staying in the living room to use it, or if you could care less about being online while on vacation, you’ll be fine.

All in, Villa Agora is a beautiful property and one we’d recommend with just a few, and relatively minor reservations.

How easy was it to book the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: The heated pool.
Liked least: No sound system.
Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rhopki
New Rochelle, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Paradise in Paradise”
Reviewed 18 February 2015 for a stay in February 2015

What an incredible time we had at Villa Agora. This is our 5th villa vacation in St. Martin and by far the best. From the moment we booked it with Optimum Caraibes, the staff, both onsite and remote, were amazing. The answered every question quickly and thoroughly and were so helpful. Upon entering the Villa the first time, we were awestruck at it's beauty and its cleanliness. Wow, the view over the pool that first night at sunset will forever be engrained in my memory (see attached). Each bedroom is essentially identical - making selecting rooms easy when you are traveling with a group. It was great to have the outdoor showers each day that were so private and luxurious. If you go, take advantage of the onsite chef services. The meals are extraordinary and quite frankly economical when compared to other restaurants on the island. We also had the house manager, Daggi, arrange a charter boat to St. Barth's for the day with Captain Matt of MattCharters.com. Other than the views from the villa, the charter was the highlight of our trip. Go and Enjoy Villa Agora - I promise you will have an exceptional time!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: The view from the comfort of the outdoor living room.
Liked least: The coffeepot (yeah, it was a little slow :-)
Travelling group: Large Group
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
morganbn
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Luxury in St. Martin”
Reviewed 16 December 2014 for a stay in November 2014

Really an excellent overall experience. We traveled to St. Maarten/St. Martin for Thanksgiving, and we found this rental online. It was fantastic.

Initially, we were a little concerned, because we started with the reputable websites, like VRBO and Airbnb. When we made an inquiry about a property, the owners responded that it was not available but Agora was. We liked Agora a lot from the pictures, but without the backup of VRBO/Airbnb, it is risky to make the reservation directly. Not to worry! Danielle and everyone at Optimum Caraibes was helpful and responsive and totally trustworthy.

We arranged all the details by email and they worked flawlessly. I had more worries: (1) how to get to the Villa -- pickup was included (one-way transfer from SXM to Villa is complimentary) -- and someone met us with a sign with our name and drove us directly; (2) car rental (they arranged to have a DollarThrifty car waiting for me at the Villa at a very good price, and the rental agent showed up at a convenient time for me and signed the paperwork -- there are a lot of negative reviews of St. Maarten DollarThrifty online, but Danielle assured me that they had used them before with no problem, and the tripadvisor reviews suggested that maybe villa clients get better treatment, and anyway, no problems at all and a great price), and (3) $1,000 security deposit had to be prepaid -- and that was promptly refunded when I got back to the US.

So, on to the Villa. It is really, really nice. We have rented some nice villas before with pools in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, but this was a gorgeous and luxurious setup. There are 4 master bedrooms -- all essentially identical (although 2 have indoor showers and outdoor showers, while 2 have indoor bathtubs and outdoor showers), so it was kind of over-the-top for our family, but it was definitely worth it. You could have 4 couples here and there would be no fights about who had the "better" room! Very spacious, good views, outdoor shower area (with couch!) was definitely a must-do every day, good lighting and amenities. The DishTV apparatus in one bedroom controlled all 4 (there was a separate channel changer for the living room Dish, where there was also a DVD player and extensive collection of bad movies), but that wasn't a problem for us as we didn't watch tv. The air conditioning was extremely effective (and necessary). There are bugs, so keeping the doors open didn't really work (although there are screens).

The living area is nice. There is one open area with an entryway, a living room on the left and a kitchen on the right. The living room has a few cushy couches and reading lounge chairs, and the kitchen is extremely well stocked. (Nice setup when we got there of some soft drinks, wine, beer, bottled water, milk, juices, breads, snacks, staples, I won't go on.) More than extensive dishes and utensils and cooking facilities. Double fridge and double freezer. Microwave. Etc. Etc. The kitchen has a breakfast stool area that seats 3; otherwise, you pretty much have to eat outdoors, which isn't optimal, just because of the bugs, but isn't so bad.

The four bedrooms and the main living area are not connected except via the big outdoor deck. (I.e., you are constantly going outside to get around, which isn't bad, just something to note. It is all covered when it rains.) The pool area is breathtaking -- as you can see from the pictures. Lots of lovely lounge chairs and sitting areas (including a reading seat inside a side wading pool that I loved), covered and uncovered, plus a grill, plus a big top level roof area for better views. Definitely the highlight of the place was hanging out by the pool in the day and in the evening and swimming and just enjoying being there -- popping in to the kitchen to grab a snack, etc.

The villa feels very safe. The Terres Basses area is a gated community with a guard at the entrance, and then the villa itself has a gate. The villa has a code and a clicker (the clicker didn't really work, so we had to keep getting out and entering the code -- this may have been the biggest complaint of the rental, which isn't bad -- except the kids also had some complaints about loud birds at night and finding bugs in their room . . . )

There are a few good French grocery stores around to stock up, and the restaurants in Grand Case are worth the drive. I didn't find St. Martin to be a particularly lovely island, but I did find Villa Agora to be a particularly lovely place within St. Martin.

The villa comes with daily maid service (she's there cleaning for hours), a pool guy twice a week and a gardener twice a week. You can probably turn some of those down (or off) if you want more privacy; we didn't care.

So much better than (and maybe close to as cost-effective as) a hotel. It makes it harder to go explore the island, because you are so happy when you are home at the Villa!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: the beauty, cleanliness and sheer luxury
Liked least: the bugs
Travelling group: Teenagers
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway People with disabilities
Older travelers
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Todd M
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“It's nice to have A-list friends...”
Reviewed 15 December 2014 for a stay in December 2014

It was as if George and Amal let us have the guest house for the week.
From the moment you swing open the extra wide pivot door you enter a Zen world of comfort, serenity and private casual elegance. Well stocked with the essentials and a faraway view of the ocean across a calm infinity pool you are surrounded by plenty of outdoor living spaces, double lounge chairs and shade umbrellas as we walked to our private bedroom suite.

The suites are nearly identical complete with double vanities, sunken king tub and an outdoor shower. An in room safe, platform king bed, private garden with a cushioned sitting area complete the comforts of the suites.
The entire property is designed and decorated in a modern, traditional style . lots of natural light, fresh air with a comfortable yet minimalist feel.

Overall condition of the property Bedding & mattresses
Kitchen & utensils Bathroom cleanliness
Service
Liked best: The outdoor shower
Liked least: The Mosquitoes
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
luvtotrav...
Shreveport, Louisiana
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Incredible time”
Reviewed 15 December 2012 for a stay in November 2012
1
person found this review helpful

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday on St. Martin with some friends. Agora was everything we expected and more. We never wanted to leave the villa! In fact, we didn't leave very much. We hung out and enjoyed the incredible pool, ocean and sunset views, cooked, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Rose and Marie were always very helpful. The villa lives up to all the online reviews and pictures. I can't wait to visit St. Martin again and stay in another of Optimum Caribbean's properties! Thanks to Laurielle at Optimum Caribbean for making everything so easy!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Pool, views, privacy, service from Rose and Marie
Liked least: Sometimes spotty Wi-Fi access
Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DoctorSW1...
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Truly amazing experience at L[--]Agora”
Reviewed 30 August 2012 for a stay in August 2012
2
people found this review helpful

My wife, my two sons and daughter-in-law were at L'Agora for a week . The service provided was amazing! From the convenience of the reservations with Jean-Michel and Sylvia to the Concierge service by Marie, just about everything was top-class! Marie came to the airport and waited 2 hours for a plane thatbw as delayed. She had our rental cars ready and waiting for us to fill out the paperwork. She escorted us to the gorgeous villa and showed us everything we needed to know.
We absolutely LOVED the property!! The photos are just how it really is . Its beautiful! Opti-Caribbe ( Marie) goes out of its way to make it specila by stocking the refrigerator with bread, butter, juice, milk, and everything one could possibly need. We had rented cell phones, umbrelas and beach chairs - all of which were waiting for us upon arrival.
The location is the best: its in the best area of St Martin . Its very very safe. Its beautiful. The amenities are more than what one would need.
This was one of the best villas we have ever rented, if not THE best one!! Try it for yourself.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: the beauty of the villa, the cleanliness, the spaciousness,
Liked least: Nothing to dislike except the lizards and iguanas which are on every Caribeean isle
Travelling group: Extended Family
Your age range 50-64
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new york
Reviewed 22 May 2012 for a stay in March 2012
1
person found this review helpful

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Check-in / front desk Service
Would I recommend this holiday rental to my best friend?  
Recommended for:
A romantic getaway Older travelers
Luxury-minded travelers
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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