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“Would stay at this hotel over and over and over again!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   19 Little Bay Rd, Philipsburg, St Maarten-St Martin   |  
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Hotel amenities
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Free nights+$300 credit
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Philipsburg
Ottawa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Would stay at this hotel over and over and over again!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2012

I really don't know where to start so I will start at the beginning. We have visited this island 3 times and we can't say enough about it. In part because the people are so wonderful but more importantly because of where we stayed. The Sonesta Great Bay ranks at the top of our hotel choices of all of the islands we have stayed on. Our first visit to St. Maarten in Jan, 2011, we stayed at a hotel close to the Sonesta, however, because of unwanted visitors (cockroaches), we decided to never go back (unfortunate, as it was a nice hotel and the staff were wonderful). We hit the jackpot on our 2nd visit to St. Maarten when we stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. From the moment we arrived, we felt welcomed. The front desk staff are attentive, courteous and friendly, to say the least. As with most holiday's, there are going to be some speed bumps (it is the Caribbean) and with that in mind, I can tell you with 100% honesty, that the staff never miss a beat in terms of rectifying any and all issues, as they arise. The rooms were beautiful - Deluxe Ocean-view (in Jan/12) and 2 bedroom suite (in March/2012) and always clean thanks to the wonderful cleaning staff. The location is the best it could possibly be on the island. Walking distance to shopping in Phillipsburg and 30 minute drive anywhere on the island. While visiting in January, my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. The hotel put together a beautiful dinner on the beach at night with the entire beach lit with candles, overlooking the cruise ships, which were also lit like a Christmas tree (not included in your stay). It was so romantic and beautiful. In March, we did the all inclusive (because we were with children) and the food was always very good and the restaurant staff, INCREDIBLE!. The resident Managers Juan Fernandez and Violet Patane are a pleasure to deal with and will accommodate any request (where possible). We will be going back and we will be staying at this resort again next year! Please give this hotel a try, you won't be disappointed! L. Farr, Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Room Tip: Deluxe Oceanview or 1-2 bedroom suites
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,066 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (709)
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Baltimore
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2012

I purchased the all-inclusive trip to Great Bay for 2012 as my husband and I go to the Caribberan every year a different island to celebrate his birthday (3/31) and our anniversary (4/1). We did not receive champagne or anything special for our 'special' occasion as we had on our other trips; however, we did receive a room on the condo/apartment side as opposed to water view hotel side. The room was lovely with a wonderful view away from the restaurant, etc.
The other positive was that they seem to be quite environmentally concsious as far as towels, bedding, water, etc. which we greatly appreciated and utilized.

The positives in our opinion are as follows: great views, great location for short walk to Phillipsburg, great shopping, fair food at buffet; good food at the one restaurant; pleasant staff overall with a few exceptions (guy at bar at buffett - should be fired period). Good strokes and Shout Out to Stanley at buffet and Patrizia (Ciao!) and Camille (hostess) and especially TJ at the front desk. The pool on apartment side never busy and very clean.

The negatives which IF you read these reviews will be constant - some staff with poor attitudes, water a bit rough for water sports we enjoy - wave runners, kayaks, etc.; no Pina Coladas at beach bar, restaurant La Cucina closed even though we had reservations and no one bothered to call us to tell us so we found out when we went to eat and the doors locked.

Overall - a nice trip but would not return as plenty of others out there that offer more for the same price or less. I would return IF Managers make changes to show they really do care.

What I really cannot understand is that IF the Managers read these reviews which of course they should - why oh why are they not taking care of some of these things? The reviews are quite consistent and the issues could be handled and changed and then the reviews would change bringing more business back to them along with referrals, etc. WHY???

Room Tip: We did NOT use room service nor the spa; our room on apartment side excellent, clean and quiet.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

My husband and I decided to try Sonesta for our honeymoon. We knew ahead of time that this wasn't going to be the typical "sandals" type of resort. We were pleasantly suprised to be in a ocean front room as we had booked a mtn view. Room/bathroom was clean. Dining facilities clean and staff was always helpful/friendly(with the exception of the front desk staff, I couldn't figure out why they were a little less than helfpul with any questions we had). The food was average. Felt a little bit like being on a cruise ship when it came to the same dining options each breakfast/lunch. DInner was a little better with lots of different choices. If you are a foodie and enjoy options and variety as well as independence in your food and dining times, I would not recommend the all inclusive option.
Overall, i would probably not stay here again myself as I would choose a more independent option but i would recommend this hotel for familes with children who want to have a simple beach/pool vacation with easy access to quick and decent meals.

Room Tip: Dont be afraid to request upgrades, especially for a special occasion
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

Nice Hotel - Great view and location - Hotel to be congratulated on an amazingly friendly staff. Geneva (U ag uan,everytin eire - YS Falls), Virginia and Patrizia(Ciao) always had a welcoming smile as we sat down for our meals as did the other staff, but these ladies touched our hearts with warmth and great attitude. Mariana, Ola amiga, always a smile and pleasant as she went about her busy way cleaning rooms. The grounds are very well kept, hats off to Geneva's husband with a smile on his face he showed pride in his work. It was great to see the chef and sous chef actually check the buffet tables and also speak with the guests. The sous chef was amazing with the BBQ, very admirable young lady. Recommend and will return!!

Room Tip: all good - outdoors is the place to be
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this review, April 18, 2012
Thank you for the travel review, it is greatly appreciated. We value our guest feedback to consistently strive for the best in service. We will share your review with our staff you mentioned on the travel opinion.
with hospitality,
Juan- G.M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upstate NY
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

We arrived at the Sonesta on 4/6/12 and as greeted by the bellman with a huge smile, once we got into our room which was ocean view we discovered that the air conditioning was not working. The repair service came twice problem not solved so we were given another room problem solved. The next morning breakfast was a a huge mess, now I am thinking about all the reviews I had read, staff unfriendly and diningroom problems from out of food, silverwear and lack of service. The problems ended from that moment on. We had the best time from that point on. I loved getting to know some of the staff as well as others guests. Would I RECOMMEND this resort to other YES YES YES

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bradford
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

The view is worth your money. The staff is very friendly and the service is good, although I’d appreciate they would smile a little more as it seems like the locals as “serious” people :) I really missed the warmth of Dominican and Cuban people but I must say they always service you promptly and very well indeed.

The Hotel is clean and well maintained at all times. The food is well prepared and there are various themes running during the week that are very well organized and handle. It seems like no matter how many people arrive to the restaurant at one time it keeps going smooth.

There is one thing I MUST cautious others, I booked a tour to Anguilla ($120 pp) through Sunwing’s representative that was run by a guy called Alvin and used Fun Times’ boat that was considered a highway robbery to all 6 people who took the tour. There were no drinks, specially no water, included in the tour. The tour to the island of Anguilla was a 5 min trip to a bay and that’s it. The snorkelling advertised was by yourself on the beach with some semi-broken gears. They left us for 5 hours in a local restaurant by a beach in the middle of nowhere, remember even the water had to be purchased. The lunch was included, well the sample lunch with a teaspoon size of salad and a fruit punch. The Hotel offers the same tour at only $85 pp with drinks included all day long; unfortunately I listened to Natacha, our Sunwing rep, and bought hers instead...BIG MISTAKE.

I had purchased a second tour with the same company to St Barth that I cancelled immediately and they wanted to take 60% of my deposit...well needless to say that I had to speak with everybody in the island, it seemed, to get my deposit back in full.

Sunwing’s rep refused to give me her manager’s contact info but the hotel’s general manager was very helpful on this matter; he contacted the right persons and shared with me their contact details for me to follow up. Even after I left he stills monitors the situation and continues to help me find a proper resolution. I’m still trying to get my money back for the trip to Anguilla, let’s see !

In contrast I took a tour booked at the Hotel called “pirates” something and guided by a guy called Bob that was AMAZING, we had a lot of fun, the snorkelling was real, the drinks were included and the food was good. This trip was worth every penny of the $99 pp it costs and then some. They did offered what they advertised and Bob was an excellent entertainer and host.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms are really nice.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

Well were we diasppointed when we arrived. The resort looked very old and not as nice as the pictures show. I will try to give you as unbiased a review as possible.

Firstly, my wife and daughter (20 months old) went to this resort for Easter. The main reason we booked here was because a coworker had stayed there for his honeymoon four years ago and based on the overall reviews from this website.

Let me start by saying that in four years, alot can change. Sonesta Great Bay was not the exquisite picture my coworker painted. The reception area appeared old with worn tiles and a old wooden looking check-in desk. We had a bit of a wait before we could actually get our room. During that time we explored the resort a little bit. We then got our room about one hour after arrival so I will take you through the pros and cons of the resort for our stay. Let's start with the cons:

CON #1 - SMOKERS paradise. If you smoke, then this is the resort for you. If you are like me and hate cigarettes, then this resort is a no-no, especially with children. There were ash tray in the lobby, at the poolside, at the bar and the waiting area... all over and all filled with butts. One night, we came out for dinner and at the lobby area upstairs, which is adjacent to one of the bars, it was like a smoke house. Very disgusting!! Typically, it was like this each night when all the guests just congregated and hung out and smoked.

CON #2 - a picture is worth a thousand words and the room was not like the picture. We stayed in a one bedroom suite and it was not as great as expected. Perhaps our expectations were high since we were comparing to our room from last years' vacation in Bougainvillea Beach Resort in Barbados (which is a fantastic resort btw!!!). The room smelt like old wood and the fridge smelled like stale beer. The picture painted a larger room and this was not. The hotel on the whole is fairly run down and feels like a big ship. There was some awful carpet in the hallway and some of the elevators were not working. We also took an all inclusive package and a fruit platter which looked good on the photos. The real fruit platter was a plate with apples, kiwi, an orange and a handful of rasberries and blueberries. The whole thing was wrapped in red celophane to add that "luxurious" touch.

CON #3 - beach was gorgeous but not kid friendly. If you have children who like to frolic in the sand, then this is not the resort for you. The sand is not like regular beach sand you can build castles with. It is very fine crushed coral which my daughter hated when she walked on it. Also, there is a steep decline from the shore to the actualy waters edge and the water while gorgeous, was deep whn you ventured a few feet out from where the waves break. Nevertheless, the water was beautiful and I still managed to get my daughter to enjoy the water whil holdinh her. She did love it too.

CON #4 - staff was not the most friendly. There was a bartender downstairs who never smiled, was very snobby and always looked like you were disturbing him. I must say that of all the staff, the most friendly were the bell men and the maid who up keeped the room. There was a Hertz rental car guy there and he was a pain because while I was talking to him about renting a car, he just seemed pre-cooupied with other things. Even the desk staff at the lobby were not the friendliest. There was one waiter in the night who was very abrupt, loud and he even quarreled with another one of the guests. For two of the nights, we could not have a dinner in the resteraunt because our daughter was tired so we asked for the food to go. Imagine we had to lug all that food back to our room - no help from any waiters.

Con #5 - HORRIBLE drink selection for an all inclusive resort. Wanted a mud slide - no baileys. Wanted a margarita - no triplesec. Got some half-a**ed drinks which were more ice. There were mixed too strong. In the end, all I had was ginger ale and jim beam.

CON #6 - buffet style food was blech. I mean how many times would I eat baked swai? Three days in a row it was offered. Chicken in white wine sauce was more like boiled chicken. Flank steak in black pepper sauce was more like pressure cooked beef and brown sauce. Peas and rice was actually Pea and Rice.

In spite of those cons there were some Pros:

Pro #1 - Three pools with one of them secluded from the bar. This is great if you want that privacy without the cigarette smoke.

Pro #2 - Good barbecue on a Monday night for dinner.

Pro #3 - good selection of burgers, pizza and hot dogs most days between 12.00pm and 5.00pm.

Pro #4 - room offered a nice view of the beach with a good view of the harbour where the cruise ships dock.

Pro #5 - Location, location, location!!!! Resort is walking distance from downtown Phillipsburg where there is great jewellery shopping and great spots to hang out.

All in all, we did not like this resort and the fact that we were benchmarking to the Bougainvillea resort in Barbado probably did not help. St. Maarten is gorgeous and we will certainly vacation there again but not at Sonesta Great Bay Resort.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

Address: 19 Little Bay Rd, Philipsburg, St Maarten-St Martin
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St Maarten-St Martin > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa is a serene Caribbean haven - and St. Maarten’s premier, limitless all-inclusive, adults-only resort. Delivering a new level of sophistication and style, the elegant destination hotel is situated on a mile-long white-sand beach, overlooking Great Bay and the sparkling sea. With endless amenities and personalized service, the resort invites guests to unwind at three swimming pools, four restaurants, four bars, a spa and the Golden Casino for the ultimate vacation experience complimented by stellar service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort And Casino
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel Philipsburg
St Martin Great Bay Hotel
Sonesta Philipsburg
Great Bay Beach Hotel
Philipsburg Sonesta
St Maarten Great Bay Hotel
Hotel Sonesta Great Bay Beach
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa St Maarten-St Martin/Philipsburg

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