Expert Advice

Escape To The Caribbean With Hilton Grand Vacations: A Resort Review Of Royal Palm, A Hilton Vacation Club

A relaxing retreat in Sint Maarten

Rania G
A Hilton Grand Vacations Member enjoying the pool at Royal Palm, a Hilton Vacation Club in Sint Maarten

When a friend asked if I wanted to go on a Caribbean escape in October, I couldn’t find a reason to say no. I had vacation time available and needed a break from work.

After a quick check on the Hilton Grand Vacations website, I booked a week in a 2-Bedroom, oceanfront Suite at Royal Palm, a Hilton Vacation Club in Sint Maarten. After all, why not enjoy the space and comfort?

The view of Sint Maarten from Royal Palms, a Hilton Vacation Club 

We flew directly from chilly Toronto and landed in Sint Maarten. The instant we got off the plane, we were in vacation mode, stuffing our winter jackets deep in our bags and enjoying the Caribbean sun.

We rented a car to explore the island freely. There’s no rental car desk in the airport terminal. Instead, you head to the parking lot, where there are special lanes with sidewalks and a sign identifying the rental companies. We found our rental company, where a shuttle took us to our car.

A Review Of Royal Palms

Royal Palms was a short drive from the airport but not too close to hear planes take off. As a Centum+ Member, I had enough points for my friend and me to enjoy private rooms.

And what a room — beautifully furnished, with lots of storage space, a balcony facing the ocean and dreamy views. Lush gardens sat by the white sandy beach.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member taking a vacation selfie in front of a sunset in Sint Maarten 

The first thing we did was grab beach towels and hit the beach. It was easy to set up beach chairs, and the crystal-clear water was too inviting to wait any longer. The beach is in a bay, which means no rolling waves bounce you around in the water. You can snorkel and see some amazing fish. It’s a beautiful beach.

We started our mornings with water aerobics and then relaxed on the beach or explored. Of course, an iced coffee at the on-site restaurant was a welcome reprieve from the heat.

The property has a small grocery store with the essentials, a beach shop, a spa and a jewelry store on-site. There’s also a swim-up bar right in the freshwater pool.

If you’d like, you can go grocery shopping and enjoy cooking in your Suite or on BBQ grills by the beach. There’s a market not far from the hotel, but the Monoprix on the French side of the island is excellent and offers a more “French” experience. After enjoying BBQ, you can play shuffleboard before hitting the water again.

Royal Palms held a Member’s appreciation event during our stay, so we got to meet Members and form some friendships. We also had a blast at a karaoke pool party on our last evening at Royal Palm. Afterward, the resort set up a giant movie screen, and we enjoyed a movie while relaxing in the pool. They offered popcorn, of course, so it was a great movie night experience.

Beach in Sint Maarten at sunset 

What To Do In Sint Maarten

There are plenty of attractions to explore in Sint Maarten. Maho Beach is where you can watch planes land. There’s a bar and restaurant right by the beach, so you can enjoy a nice drink while waiting for the next plane — plus Maho Beach isn’t far from the property. We rented jet skis at the beach at Royal Palms and had a fabulous time.

We also went to Happy Bay Beach and Friar’s Beach. I recommend renting an SUV since some beaches are only accessible through dirt roads. Sint Maarten has hills and speed bumps everywhere, so be on the lookout.

Other attractions include The Devil’s Hole (or Le Trou David) in Baie Rouge and Parotte Ville Bird Sanctuary. The bird sanctuary doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once inside, a multitude of colorful birds surround you and feed from your hands. It was quite an experience.

Sint Maarten is a duty-free island, and jewelry stores are everywhere. However, the best place to go shopping is Front Street in Philipsburg. European brands like Gucci and Longchamp sit alongside diamond jewelers and American brands. It’s safe to say you’ll find anything, from sunglasses to souvenirs.

Insider tip: Bargaining is a must at jewelry stores. It’s a respected art, so be sure to apply it.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member at a restaurant in Sint Maarten 

Where To Eat In Sint Maarten

The beauty of Sint Maarten is the island’s contrasting Dutch and French sides. Head to Marigot, the French capital, for the best croissants, baguettes and other baked goods from Chez Fernand. We used Google Maps to navigate, which worked perfectly. But be aware that if you’re roaming, the French cell service towers take over when you cross into Saint Martin, and you may experience a lag in your GPS. It’s a good idea to download maps for offline usage.

During our stay, we discovered several dinner options:

I can’t say enough about our amazing time in Sint Maarten. I hope to return since this beautiful island has so much more to explore.  

Read “6 Must-See Places To Add To Your Travel Bucket List Today” for more swoon-worthy vacation spots with Hilton Grand Vacations.

HGV Newsletter Sign Up
Hilton Grand Vacations Explorer profile picture

Rania G

Rania is an avid traveler, Google Local Guide and Tripadvisor contributor. She’s been an Owner for over two decades and is passionate about sharing her travel experiences. Some of her favorite destinations include Orlando and Europe. When Rania travels, she loves doing a bit of everything, from cruises, beaches, and theme parks to museums and restaurants. 

Popular Articles