First of all, let me just say that St Maarten itself is gorgeous with the most beautiful blue waters you've ever seen. This resort however, is a disaster from start to finish.
Like many other guests during our stay, my boyfriend got VERY sick on the last day of our trip. Though we initially thought it was food poisoning, the manager quickly assured me that it instead was a virus, specifically norovirus. Something that is very common on cruise ships. It mimics food poisoning in that it causes painful vomiting and diarrhea that lasts 24-48 hours and comes on very quickly. On our flight home, there were other passengers from our hotel that were also violently ill. This was not an isolated incident.
I was told by the manager that a large group came in already sick and that the virus had been spreading around the resort for the past week or two, and that "dozens" of his staff were also infected. I understand that they can't control what guests bring in, but if they KNOW this is going around they should a) warn their guests and b) take extra precautions. But staying at the Sonesta you quickly realize that their staff is going to be anything but helpful.
Upon checking in, requesting and being told we'd have a room with a King bed, we were sent to a room on the other side of the resort that of course had two twins, but also had a toilet that was overflowing when we walked in. Not a good start. We did get reassigned to a room overlooking the pool with a King that seemed nicer.
Down at the pool they were out of towels, and didn't seem to care too much. But hey, we were in paradise so we were easy going about it.
It's hard to say if the food or the service were worse...they were both equally terrible. The scrambled eggs at the buffet tasted a bit like pinesol and most food looked and tasted like it'd been sitting out for days. At dinner the fish was filled with bones, at lunch the fried chicken looked like it had plastic wrap stuck to it prior to being cooked. We laughed most of it off...but it was really pretty awful.
The staff appears to not care at all about anything. It's almost impressive how they can walk by you and completely ignore you. When my boyfriend fell ill, we had to stay an extra day because he couldn't fly. After waiting over a half hour for a manager at the front desk I had to argue to get the rate of the room the same as what we'd been paying for the earlier part of our stay. When they finally caved they took away our all-inclusive access. As if we wanted to eat anymore of their terrible food anyway.
The icing on the cake was when I needed to get bottled water for my boyfriend because he was starting to get dehydrated after vomiting all day. The one store in the resort that sold bottled water closes at 7pm and the front desk informed me that they were out of bottled water. That there wasn't a single bottle of water in the whole resort that I could have or even buy. Near tears, I went up to the spa, and the ONE helpful person on their whole staff made a call and found out that it wasn't that they were out of water...it's that the person with the keys wasn't readily available. So they'd rather let their guests suffer than locate their employee. Incredible.
The resort is run down, which you could overlook if other aspects were better. But the tub was filled with rust, there was no screen on the patio door so the mosquitos ate us alive, half the towels out by the pool (when they had them available) were the size of hand towels, the bathrooms by the pool are disgusting, and the lining on the pool seemed to be coming apart. The fact that this place is rated 3.5 stars is INSANE.
The positive of the trip was the person I was traveling with, and that is all. This resort is cheap for a reason. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under any circumstance. Pay a little more and stay somewhere, ANYWHERE else.
Rooms overlooking the pool are loud, if you're a party person you will like this. The rooms over...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.