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“Spring Break” 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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Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in Philipsburg
Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Spring Break”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

The staff at the hotel were very polite. Reception always went out of their way to help you. The food was very basic and always a good variety. You can use the 2 a la carte restaurants anytime without a reservation which were very good. We had a deluxe oceanview room which was very clean and had a superb view.
Cons: Since it was school break you had to get up by 7:30am to get an umbrella and chair at the beach. Also, did not like the immediate drop in the ocean when you walked in. They have an industrial blender ice crusher at the pool which make drinks all day long, that is so loud certainly not zen. Stay at the beach!
Too bad we did not visit the Sonesta Maho as it would have cost 40$ for the trip return. Not worth it. They should have a shuttle a least a couple times a day.

Pros: They did have live entertainment at night which was pretty good.
A 10 minute walk to downtown Philipsburg was fun. Lots of shopping!
On the hold if you want a run of the house clean hotel this is it. Definitely worth the money.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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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2,159 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 (746)
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay Resort from Feb 13th.

Cons:
-Ok room, but it was not facing the ocean as we had originally booked and because the hotel was at capacity, they could not switch us to another room.
-We are in the 30-35 age group and we were the youngest ones there. I would say this is a resort for the 50+ crowd.
-Not enough nightly activities for us, but again, we were a lot younger than the crowd there. There was karaoke, but that was about it. There is also a casino on site.


Pros:
-Great variety of food and it was always very yummy! Good job to the chefs!
-Great service by the waiters/waitresses. Always happy and helpful!
-A 10 min walk along the beach or street to Philipsburg with all the great duty free shopping
-Good mixed drinks :)
-Great pizza at the lunch bar by the beach

Note:
This is one of two all inclusives I believe. Sonesta Maho is also inclusive but it much closer to the aiport and the Sunset beach bar where people like to go to stand on the beach and have the planes fly right over their heads. A cool experience. Maho is also close to an area with shopping and restaurants. Maho also looked like an older crowd, but I did see families with young children. I believe they use the Sunset beach as they do not have their own beach.

Tips:
-Rent a car if you can. Its a beautiful island with lots of little beaches and you can drive the island in practically 2 hrs or less.
-Orient Bay is pretty cool. Check out The Original Bikini Beach for some good calamari. We also ate at a restaurant along the beach that started with a "K" (but i cant quite remember)....it had great pizza!
-Sunset Bar or Beach is cool to see the planes and the food and drinks are priced decent. I had the ribs and fries at $13 (I think) and it was great!
-For Canadians, take US$, they accept US and Euros mostly.
-Bliss night club is pretty cool place to check out if you like dancing. Its right beside the Sunset beach/bar.

  • Stayed February 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
    • 4 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.
Mississauga, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

The view from the oceanside of the hotel is fabulous. The property is well laid out and all amenities are easily accessible. Everything is well kept up and clean with the possible exception of the beach which needs raking -- broken glass and sharp shell fragments are a hazard to bare feet. Recommend you wear beach shoes.
They should really replace the flooring in the elevators. It does not have satellite TV -- a handful of cable channels.
There's an abrupt drop-off at the waters' edge which can be a challenge to older swimmers or young children.
If you plan to go scuba diving with the inhouse shop, be prepared to be up to your ears getting on the boat. Bring a dry bag. The staff are very accomodating and professional, with good adherence to safety protocols. You can also call Scuba Fun who will pick you up for free -- their boats are boarded at a dock behind the cruise ship area. You will be happy with the service from either shop. Be prepared for 5 foot swells, current and a surge at even 50 feet.
The food is of good quality, however after a week becomes rather repetitive (typical of all-inclusives). Tap water is safe to drink. My bar fridge was freshly stocked every day with bottled water, beer and soft drinks. Decent quality brands of beer (Heineken), other alcohol brands, servers are outgoing and pleasant and don't skimp. The wine is disappointing.
If you want to do some sight seeing consider renting a car. Taxi rides are about $15 each way into any of the hamlets (do negotiate with the drivers). Once couple stated they rented a car for $99 for the week.
There's a small casino with all-electronic machines and games on site just off the lobby.

Room Tip: Get an oceanview room. Guests who stayed on the mountain side complained about dogs barking, and eve...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 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
    • 5 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.
Santiago, Chile
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

This resort is really basic and needs urgent a refurbisment. When we arrived, we must wait til 5 PM for our rooms (we were 2 families travelling together and we were located in really far away rooms). We stayed 7 nights, so we could appreciate really well the resort and facilities.
The best thing I can say about the hotel is the LOCATION.
Phillipsburg was a short walk from the hotel (don't do it at night. St. Maarten is a ghost town after 8 PM).
The beach and the view are awesome. But after 10 AM it is impossible to find a umbrella.
The rooms are in really bad conditions. We got a room with Mountain view, but it was on the first floor and it really has a “street view”. The balcony was stone made and the room was very dark. My friends got a much better room (same side of the building) for the same price on the 6th floor. Very unfair.
We try to change, but the hotel was full and we couldn’t. We were with our two kids and the double beds were so small that we had to ask for another bed and join the double beds to sleep the other 3 people.
The pools were OK and the poolside bar was excellent.
The staff is really helpful and warm, specially Vanessa at the pool bar. And the lady from the omelettes, really nice too.
The food was tasty, but too much repetitive. The desserts were always the same: pastries. Very boring.
And this is an advce to all the people who is thinking about going to St Maarten: Just leave this destiny as a cruise stop. It’s OK for one day. But at night here there is nothing to do. Even at the hotel. Everything closes when the ships leave the port. Maybe a couple of bars are open, but with 2 or 3 tables with people. Nothing to do at night. We must stayed at our hotel every night and the activities were finished at 10 PM. There was a Casino (with virtual croupiers)... empty; and a disco…empty. Very boring. St. Maarten is not a destiny for fun and entertaintment at night. Unless you just want to sleep at night.

Room Tip: Pick a ocean view, top floors
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stayner, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

Vacationed at the Sonesta Great Bay and were treated wonderfully by the reception staff when we arrived, by the servers and had a blast with the activity staff. We also enjoyed the location, such a short walk into Philipsburg. We could see the cruise ships sailing in early morning as we layed in bed looking out the patio doors :) very pretty. We went out one day with Capt Bob on a modern pirate ship with 6 other couples and we had a blast. Every cove we explored was breathtakingly beautiful. Some of the reviews complained about the rooms, the dampness and so on, well sure it could be all that but c'mon your on vacation ! We enjoyed ourselves, the only thing lacking is nightlife.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino for a one week holiday in February and enjoyed it immensely. Upon booking we struggled to decide which hotel would suit us better - the Sonesta Maho or the Sonesta Great Bay. After looking at Trip Advisor reviews we went with the Great Bay location and were very glad we did. The Maho hotel looked nicer but had the airport beside it with planes flying by all day. The beach at Maho was very small and not at all suited to swimming. The Great Bay Location was terrific - the hotel was nice and had a gorgeous view of the bay with lots of boat action to look at. The beach was beautiful and great for swimming.. Phillipsburg was a short 10 minute walk along the beach and boardwalk and great for a daily walk or run or to hit the shops or cafes along the board walk and in town. If you must stay connected there were plenty of bars that offered free wireless on the beach (but not at the hotel where you had to pay). We had lots of fun exploring - did a bus trip around the island and also a catamaran tour around the island with stops to swim at beaches and have lunch. We also participated in the 12-metre challenge - a mock sailing race using Americas Cup sailboats - we were in the Canada II boat and won our race. Very exciting!

Room Tip: Choose one one the beach side - level 4 or higher for the best view.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Brookline, Massachusetts
1 review
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

first off, let me just say that if I could, I would give this hotel 0 stars, but that wasn't an option. Also, I am writing this review from their upstairs computer that is only allowed to write reviews and check your flight status since wifi and internet costs $16 a day (we're in 2013, everywhere has free wifi, including a motel 6). Where to begin, I have stayed in hundreds and hundreds of hotels, and never have I ever been treated this poorly. First off, they are the least helpful people int he world. They wouldn't even provide us a weather report.... seriously??? Second, there is NOTHING to do here, at all. The only thing one can do here is eat and drink, but the food is awful and the nicest tables by the water, are closed...why????? Third, I had specifically called and asked for a room on the highest floor and instead, we got a room in he dungeon. NO, literally, it was a dungeon (think of the floor on a cruise ship where all the employees sleep..ya). The list goes on and on, but my advice, do never stay here. Seriously. Even the location isn't good (stay in Simpson Bay or Maho).

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 16
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 Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 257
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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