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“Love it” 4 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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40% off All Inclusive
Ranked #3 of 13 hotels in Philipsburg
Montreal
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Love it”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

this was our 5th stay at this resort, we love it for the location, beach and the staff.
It may not have the wow factor you find in Mexico or Dominican Rep. This is common in the Caribbean. Having said that, I prefer being able to walk out the door and walk into town, or drive around the island, dine out at night and not have to worry. The hotel is very clean, buffets are not massive but the quality of food is great. The view at Great Bay is what I would call " a million dollar view" The island has so much to offer in nightlife and dining, prices are very reasonable. We will be returning again next year, can't wait!!!!!!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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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 (653)
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West Hartford, Connecticut
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

We arrived on Friday afternoon and were out of there by that evening. This place is narly. The entire place is dirty, the room are tiny and smell of mold. Two people can barely fit in the bathroom. We had a "Mountain View Room" which was a room with a view of someone's dirty back yard with chickens and rooster crowing. I didnt even want to open the doors because mosquitos were flying in. I was there with my mom to celebrate my 30th birthday- and I cried like a 5 year old thinking I had to stay there for 8 days. I called our travel agent and told her to GET US OUT OF THERE! When we finally found somewhere else to go we tried to high tail it out of there. The manager Karl, who was very nice asked to speak to us so he could understand our frustrations with his hotel. He basically told us he completely agreed with us. He just came on and said the hotel has not been renovated in 20 years, and that he worked at the Sandals in Negril and knows that Sonesta is not up to the standards they set by their completely misleading website. We ended up going to the Westin in Simpson Bay - It was like we died and went to heaven!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Manager1201, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this review, February 5, 2013
Dear Valued Guest,

I'm sorry that Sonesta Great Bay did not meet your expectations. It is true that I have worked at Sandals, but I think you misunderstood me--I never said anything about a lack of renovations or standards. The hotel has gone through several renovations over the past 20 years, and we continue to surprise our repeat guests every year with new features, such as our beachfront cafe' and pizzeria that opened this year. Our all-inclusive program offers a great vacation value, and we aim to surpass expectations for guests looking for an enjoyable holiday with good service and a stunning beachfront experience.

Best regards,
Karl Bourne
General Manager, Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013 via mobile

I thought very hard about this review. I read some of the negative reviews and cannot figure out what their problem was. This was my 4th year coming here. The minute we walk in it feels like home.

Let me give you a quick rundown - First you walk in to a very comfortable lobby that is so inviting people are just hanging out all over. No it is not posh and fancy, it is warm and welcoming. There is a bowl of apples and usually cookies in the lobby. Also there is a Bellman available if you want help with your suitcases - he helped us!

The rooms and hallways are absolutely clean. I made a point of looking for dust in the hallway after reading a review that said there was dirt in the corners (even checking the fire alarms) and there was not a speck of dust. And if you get the junior suite for a little more money it is huge. The bathroom is also very large with a Jacuzzi bath tub.

The next complaint I have read is the staff - yeah they were a bit too cheerful for me in the morning. Most people were all-inclusive so they did not bother to tip but the servers were still friendly and attentive. Shout out to Vicky at the front desk. And anything else you need ask for Rosalie.

The beach area is great. Yes there are a lot of chairs but they are not heavy and the beach area is so large you can always move your chair if you want more room. There are two pools overlooking the beach that are lovely, one of which has a swim up bar. There was also more than enough beach towels. There are activities such as bingo if you feel like it (I could not believe someone complained you could hear them calling the numbers on the beach. Some people on the beach play.
The hotel is on a main street but I tried and could not hear any street noise from the pool.

At night there is entertainment in the lounge. Mondays are the best - there is a Managers reception followed by a barbeque and band for dancing.

The breakfast buffet has everything you can possibly want. And to show how accommodating they are I mentioned to someone that they always seem to burn the pancakes. The next day the pancakes were perfect and the staff made a point of showing me and were quite pleased I approved. After that they were always perfect.

I do like the food but admit it is not gourmet. However if you do not like the food and are all inclusive you can go to their sister hotel and eat in any of their restaurants as part of your deal. If you are not all inclusive there are plenty of good restaurants in town which are a 10 minute walk or $8 taxi ride.

So you get up in the morning, have breakfast, lie on the beach, eat and party in the Living Room or gamble in the casino. What is not to like?

I guess if you see the glass as half empty you can find a problem anywhere. i do admit the hallway did have a leak covered by a blanket which they were working on. This should ruin my vacation - really? The hall was still clean.

One last note. The fee for wifi is steep but if you go to Sonesta.com and register for their guest program, which is free, the Wifi is free when you give them your number.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newmarket, Canada
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

We were at the Sonesta December 6 through the 12, 2012 with our friends the Ducks. We were welcomed warmly when we arrived. We had an ocean facing room which was nice. The cleaning staff were good but usually forgot towels for our room. When asked we did get them. The beach was crushed shells so footwear is required. The weather was great. Hot liked we hoped. We spent most of our time at the hotel either in the pool at the bar or playing volleyball or dozing in our chairs. We enjoyed Nigels service at the bar who created many flavourful drinks for us. He even went above and beyond when my husband Peter wanted Guiness. Food was good. the restaurant upstairs was better than the buffet and the service was a bit slow but worth the wait. Jonathan who bussed around the restaurants was always smiling. Best smile ever. The wait staff were always pleasant. The entertainment staff of Danroy, Kevin and the girls were great. They had us participating in the "name that tune", bingo and the dancing in the evening. The elevator however did make scary noises so I took the stairs. Philipsberg was so close so we did walk there often. Great staff and fun hotel. We would go again. The Wattersons

Room Tip: We were on the top floor facing the ocean. Best view. Watched the ships come in the morning. Very co...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Visited The Island of St. Maarten from Jan. 20 - Jan. 27 stayed at Sonesta Great Bay and absolutely had a great experience! The hotel itself was very clean (aside from a musty smell in the room) the staff was on the whole friendly, good food and great drinks!!! Beautiful beach!!! Would return for sure!!

Room Tip: Room on the south side are quieter
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sudbury, Canada
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Sonesta Great Bay Resort is a good resort with a superb location. After cruising for years and landing in St. Maarten on several occasions, my wife and I decided to change it up and stay at a resort. Price and staying near or in Phillipsburg was important as my wife likes to shop. Did a lot of research before deciding to go to Sonesta. Price was reasonable and couldn't ask for a better location. As stated in a lot of reviews, the resort is a 3-3 1\2 star resort. I would say it is a 3 1\2. It is bit dated, but very clean and provides a good open layout. We took an ocean view room on the 4th floor. To get above the palm trees, you need to be at least on that floor. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Rooms are regular hotel sized rooms that are clean and well kept. Food was good; with some very good dishes and some excellent! Even breakfast had a great selection. I pretty much tried everything and I can say that I did not find any food that I wouldn't eat. Does this compare to the value and the service you get on a cruise ship? ....well ...no, but it is more than adequate. And now for those who post very negative reviews for this resort... some of you need truly need a reality check. First off, do some research before you book any trip. You are at a 3 1\2 star hotel, you are not royalty so don't expect to be treated as such. Service is fine (you have to be polite to people, and treat them with respect) they will take care of you. Tipping helps no doubt, but a friendly conversation and getting to know your server goes a long way. We never had issues getting served, never ran out of drinks and beer of our choice, and certainly never had to beg for service. We did, however, see a lot of tourists treating staff with no respect and constantly complaining about everything. Overall the Great Bay resort is a pretty decent place. We will go back again and again. If you are a person with realistic expectations who is looking for reasonably priced resort in a great location, then this one is for you!

Room Tip: Ocean View at least on 4th floor or above to enjoy full view
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

There are two sides to this hotel.One Newer and One Older. While off to a Rocky start due to this and the hotel being all inclusive (some very late Hijinks and Partying in the Hallways) the Management quickly took control and helped make our stay quieter and extremely enjoyable,Very Many Thanks to Rosalee (Front Desk Manager) for making the stay perfect after this.
The rest of the trip we got to enjoy a lot of Sonesta's Great Restaurants and Bars and relax and enjoy the amenities.
Great location to walk to Philipsburg and the staff are good,But under a lot of pressure from a mass of people all wanting to sit eat and drink like it was there last.So i can see both sides of peoples comments here.we tried to be patient and courteous and it was returned by most.
We will return to Sonesta and very soon and We will stay on the New Side and we will NOT bring our kids!
The Island itself is amazing and extremely reasonable,Found is a mix of a lot of Flavors But also has strong American Cusine readily available.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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:
Ranked #3 of 13 hotels 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 Hotel Philipsburg
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort And Casino
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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