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“Resort is improving & still caters to food intolerances!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino

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Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   1 Rhine Road | Maho Beach, Maho, St Maarten-St Martin   |  
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35% off room rate
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Maho
Northern Ontario
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Resort is improving & still caters to food intolerances!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

This was our second time to this resort. Both times were 2 weeks in November & the weather was excellent. I must first say that they are trying to improve many aspects of the resort. They have hired some new staff and they make a huge difference with their friendliness and good customer service. I will name a few in my review. They are also renovating the buffet area as well as other parts of the hotel. Carpets are being removed in the hallways of the main tower. They have purchased new chairs for both pool areas as well as
the Palms Grill restaurant. While we were there, they were working on the grounds/gardens and adding many flowering shrubs. They also renovated the area by the Point restaurant & the bar there.

Sunwing: We flew Sunwing from Montreal. Because the plane was not full, they added a stop in Punta Cana in order to drop people off. No big deal, but it did make our travelling day longer as they made us get off & then back on the plane. Please be sure to verify the Sunwing information about carry-on luggage as we are now only allowed 5 kgs (11 lbs.) compared to other carriers who allow 10 kgs (22 lbs.).

Check-In: Check-In was very quick. We had requested a renovated room in the main tower on a higher floor, and this is what we got. Some people in our group did not, thus, one couple was able to switch rooms the next day while the other couple opted to stay in the non-renovated room but had a gorgeous view.

Room: Rooms are kept very clean and the mini-fridge was stocked regularly. We left notes requesting more water and the person doing the re-stocking complied. The beds and pillows are extremely comfortable compared to many other resorts/hotels. We had no issues with the air conditioning. Our room was facing the pool/ocean on the 7th floor. Be sure to request a higher floor if you want a view. Never saw one bug in our room.

Beach: Some of the beach close to the hotel was unusable due to the high tide and huge rocks being exposed. From our chairs, we had a great view of the ocean. It was not an issue for us to walk over to the Royal Highlander next door and to access the beach from there. Some days the ocean was pretty rough. We have travelled throughout the Caribbean and we found the color of the water to be beautiful here. One good thing is that it was never an issue to find chairs and an umbrella and we were a group of 8. No need to get up early in the morning in order to reserve a spot like at other resorts.

Plane watching: This was an absolute thrill and in 2 weeks, we never got tired of it. A quick walk over to the Sunset Bar will give you a schedule of planes arriving every day. We were most excited to see Air France and the KLM land. It is quite the thrill to see it go over your head either on the beach or while swimming in the ocean. The take-off is another story and nice to see from afar…not such a great idea to stand behind it & get the sand-storm but great to watch.

Pools: Both pools are very nice. The one closest to the resort is the large one & has a pool bar. It usually has loud music blaring. The other one is a more quiet pool on top of The Point restaurant. We are beach people but when we wanted to spend time @ the pool, we chose this one. The view is beautiful from up there (mountains, sea, airport, etc.).

Food: The food is great! We were there 2 weeks and nobody in our group of 8 ever complained about the food. The breakfast buffet includes everything that you could possibly dream of for breakfast. We mostly ordered a la carte at the Palms Grill for lunch although some opted for the buffet on some days. Lots of people raved about the pizza. Our favourite waiter @ the Palms Grill was Fevry, he provided excellent service with a smile at all times. Wendy was also quite friendly. They have also hired a new Supervisor @ the Palms Grill (I forget her name, she is just a tiny little thing) and this seems to have improved the customer service. As for dinner, we were pleasantly surprised that we were able to eat at the a la carte restaurant whenever it was open and needed no reservations. The food there was excellent! Sasha would always take good care of us and made sure that our table was ready for us. Gibson also provided excellent service at The Point as well as most workers who served us there. Thank You everyone for the great service! The gentlemen in our group were especially pleased that they were allowed to wear shorts at this restaurant. On Wednesday nights (weather permitting), they usually have a Beach BBQ. This was awesome and the atmosphere was great but the workers worked all day in order to get this ready. It requires a LOT of preparation.

**Given that I have food intolerances (gluten/celiac, dairy and eggs), I again needed to make sure that I did not get sick during my vacation. The Executive Chef, Mr. Iwan Pennings made sure of that. He and his Sous-Chef (Dennis) were of great service to me. They always made sure that my food was prepared separately and avoided the possibility of cross-contamination. The food was absolutely delicious. These guys are the BEST! Thank you so much for your dedicated attention. I know that you went above and beyond your duties to serve me and thanks to you, I did not get sick once! I doubt that I will get such service at other resorts, thus, will be returning to the Sonesta Maho for sure.

Drinks: I only had wine and wine spritzers and both were very good. My friends drank Coors Light,Carib and Heineken beer. Some enjoyed the fancier drinks and raved about them, especially the mango drink, etc. Frederico, the bartender by the Point restaurant always provided great service!

Mullet Bay Beach and Cupecoy: Mullet Bay is a short walk over to the left of the hotel. It is a beautiful beach. It is $5 for a chair and $5 for an umbrella. Please note that they pick up the chairs around 4:00 pm. The food there is good and inexpensive. The beer is about $2. If you walk further down through the golf course, you will get to Cupecoy. Across from the Blue Mall, you will find a path that takes you to the cliffs of Cupecoy where you will see about 3 secluded beaches down below. We did not go down but some other people did.

Visiting the island. We went shopping for one day in Phillipsburg and made sure it was not a busy “Cruise ship day”. From the Phillipsburg boardwalk we walked over to the Sonesta Great Bay (sister resort) & were able to have lunch and drinks there. Again, food was great! We took a bus back to the resort. We rented 2 Jeep’s and visited the island. We visisted beaches and most tourist attractions (Marigot market, etc.). In the end, we found that the Mullet Bay beach, closest to our resort was one of our favourites as well as Karakter Beach which is parallel to the airport and a good walk over.

Shopping around the hotel: There are great places to shop for souvenirs and especially jewellery on the Maho strip. We especially liked shopping at Jewels & Linens and received great service from Anil. I bought a ring there last year & they cleaned it for me this year. They truly have beautiful jewellery on this island and so many stores to choose from.

As mentioned earlier, I will return to this hotel as St-Maarten and the Sonesta Maho have become one of our favourite destinations. I was especially happy to see that Chef Iwan was still there as well as Carlo. Hope you guys stick around for a long time…


Areas where things could improve:

Pool on top of the Point restaurant: This pool should be scrubbed and cleaned more often or perhaps the pool liner needs to be changed (?).

Cappuccinos: These were not available until 11:00 am at the resort but we noticed that there is a new machine at the bar by the Point restaurant. Perhaps once it is ready, it will be available earlier.

Bar by the Point Restaurant: Last year, the bar was situated at a place where people could sit all around the bar. This new bar is beautiful but people cannot sit at the bar. When it got busy, it became congested as people simply stood there to hang around + there were line-ups. It would be great if there were more sitting areas there so to accommodate, especially given that other than the lobby bar, this is the only place to get drinks at night. It may also be helpful to have some servers during the busy season.

Room Tip: Renovated room on a higher floor.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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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
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Ancaster, ON
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

Just back from a 2 week stay Nov 22nd-Dec 6th. Yes a few problems did occur, a/c out for a few days, power outage one night but this can happen anywhere! People need to chill out!
Resort is very nice, rooms very clean, beds very comfortable. Mini bar stocked with water, pop and a few beers daily. Most staff very friendly! Very large and clean pool, great service by Cherly at Pool bar! Food overall very good, always something to find; pizza exceptional! Staff tried to keep premises very clean and beautiful; even though some guests continued to throw cans/glasses in bushes; unreal! Surroundings very good and very safe during walks & runs.
Casino good, free drinks while playing. Very beautiful Island! Great trip, we can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: Floors above the sixth have been renovated!
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  • Stayed December 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Just returned from a 2 week vacation at the Sonesta, we were there from Nov 22 to Dec 6th, 2012. The hotel did have a problem with the A/C for a few days, however we did not let this ruin our time there. It did make sleeping a little tough, but problem was corrected.
We have been going to this hotel since 2006 and there had never been a problem with A/C before !

We have always found the staff to be GREAT !! Nicoy at front desk is terrific, the bartenders, Falica, Ditto, Raymond, Fernando all happy to chat a little and make us feel welcome. The Maids also greet us with nice smiles and do a Great Job, rooms are always VERY CLEAN !!

The servers, just to name a few, Wendy, Paula, Maxima, Rosemary, Steven.....Thank You so much, we love chatting with you guys and really appreciate all you do. The food is very good, so do not understand criticism ? The pizza is excellent. Wednesday nights there is a beach Bar B Q, there was lobster, ribs, chicken , just to name a couple of things, so basically something for everyone. The service is also very good.....we are always greeted warmly.

Over the years we have recomended this hotel to family who have been to the Sonesta and all LOVED it. We have also met many really nice people there, most who return again and again.

Thank you also to Denis, the new chef, who was very friendly and open to suggestions and or requests. This made us feel special.

If staying there, it is a short walk to Mullet bay which is really beautiful and has a nice beach to take a long walk, and good place to swim.

Pinel Island ( on french side ) has very calm water and another great place to spend a day, you can rent a car, take a bus or go by taxi. Nice way to spend a day.

There are the day trips to Prickly Pear and Anguilla, I suggest taking the Lambada ( leaves from Simpson Bay ) the hotel takes you and then returns you back to the hotel at the end of the day., The Lambada has a terrific crew and really wants to see everyone have a pleasant day. They serve a good meal too.

Orient Bay is another place to see, lots of restaurants on the beach, so easy to spend day.

Cheri's Cafe is a must, it is right beside the casino and has good singers and a FUN way to spend an evening. If you do not laugh while there, there is no hope.

There are so many beaches and things to do. The locals are very friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: The higher floors are perferable.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbury, CT
Level Contributor
113 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

I've been going to the Sonesta Maho over Thanksgiving for the past 3 years. It's an OK hotel. Everything is OK, not great but not bad. Just put your mind on "Island Time". Things happen slowly, check in, check out, getting towels at the pool, renting a car, etc. The reason I go here is the location, there is alot to do in the area, good restaruants, shopping, beaches, plane watching, and it's a 5 minute cab ride from the airport. There are nicer places on the island but nothing beats the location. If you go, be sure to get a room in the main building where you check in. The rooms away from the main building are not as nice and it's a long walk back to the pool, main building.

Room Tip: get a room in the main building
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012 via mobile

Stayed for a week in dec 2012 the hotel rooms are as to expect in a 4 star hotel big and clean. The view of the airport and its landing and departing plains is cool however the hotel needs some updating its a bit shabby here en there but nothing too get really worried about. Go to bamboo for sushi really good!!
Good travels and stay out of the casino :)

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

This place is as bad as the worst reviews make it out to be. I have stayed in many hotels, and many of those have not been high-end. I set my expectations realistically, and don't ask a Courtyard by Marriott to be an Intercontinental. I had read many of the tepid to negative reviews about this property but agreed to stay here at my companion's request, based on location above all. It is near the airport, has a large casino across the street, and a small row of shops and restaurants that you can stroll around off-property, giving it a more "urban" feel than other resorts. However, it proved to be worse than even my low expectations. It is cheaply run, poorly managed, and in dismal condition.

For starters, it isn't a beach resort - don't be fooled if you are looking for one. The beach - the famous beach under the runway approach which is in a million Youtube videos - is small and can only be reached by taking an inconvenient walk through the adjacent time-share property (which by the way is under the same ownership and has a great beachfront pool and location but Sonesta guests are not welcome to use it!). This is in fact a "beach" resort which isn't directly on the beach. It has no staff to assist you should you make your way down there, and the only available lounge chairs are up at the top of the stairs at the timeshare property, though access is past the signs that warn you that it is for timeshare owners and their invited guests only.

The hotel has set its sights on a high-volume, low-end crowd, filling itself with package and charter groups, largely Canadian the week we were there, all doing an all-inclusive option. Entire charter flights from Toronto and Montreal land at the airport and every single passenger is en route to the Sonesta. While it has non-all-inclusive pricing options, it has absolutely no apparent dining or drinking facilities for anyone who chooses room-only. While many in management (let me single out Kevin, the Director of Sales, as a particularly egregious example of rudeness who clearly failed Customer Service 101, don't even waste your time speaking to him if you need anything) choose to justify and get defensive on the basis that "we are trying" and "we're fixing what we can" and "we don't pretend to be a 4-star hotel", the service staff tell a different story. They talk openly about how new management has let them down, basically because they are so cheap they won't spend money on anything. Even my taxi driver couldn't wait to tell me how badly the Sonesta has fallen down, and told me how the hotel tried to negotiate a regular taxi/shuttle service to the Great Bay property, but offered the drivers such low fees that they refused to take it. (Taxi fees are high in St Maarten, but are set by the government and are non-negotiable for individual passengers.) To quote this driver, "They came from running hotels in Jamaica, where costs are lower, and are trying to run their business in St Maarten on a Jamaica budget. But we aren't Jamaica!". Kevin, I don't expect you to be La Samanna - but I do expect that in the course of a six-day stay I will have my toiletries replaced at least once. We had to call the front desk for soap to take a shower by day six of no new soaps or shampoos; as well as calling for bath towels which were removed but not replaced. Even Motel 6 does better than that.

Our stay was during the now-infamous week when the AC went out for 5 days, and we were lucky enough to be in the unrenovated wing where the AC still worked (huh?) but some guests in the main building actually slept on lounge chairs around the pool because it was too hot to be in their rooms! But our room, despite being a junior suite, was still clearly unrenovated in at least the past 30 years, with cracks, stains, inadequate lighting, a safe that required a lock and key (only available on request from the front desk) and discolored acoustical tile ceiling. Furthermore, the one thing that was "renovated" - the electronic key card system - kept failing, leaving us with a bunch of dead key cards piling up in the room as we kept going to the lobby to get new ones. Plus, although we had an oceanfront terrace, although there was a great sea view from within the room, when you stepped out onto it, the view (and smell) to the immediate right was of the crud described in so many reviews - the "back" of the hotel facing storage, sewage, service areas, and a bleakly ugly quasi-industrial landscape.

The sewage smell speaks for itself, and is obvious anywhere you have access to the back of the property, including along the main pool and in the lobby of the older wing, which is also where the buffet is. Nice combination.

Despite the all-inclusive focus, there is only one sit-down restaurant, The Point, which is not open every night and which DOES NOT TAKE RESERVATIONS. So your choices for dinner are 1) the mediocre buffet; 2) waiting endlessly for a table in the tiny restaurant; or 3) saying the hell with having paid for all-in and going somewhere else entirely.

The main pool is a mob scene with insufficient chairs, which in any event get marked and held first thing every day; and replacing your one (!) allotted pool towel is impossible as the pool hut attendant is either not there, or there are no more towels left. This pool is surrounded by buildings and so has no view of the ocean or even of the famous planes landing next door, just a swim-up bar serving tasteless frozen drinks which are really just colored slushies. There is a nicer and quieter pool out by the point, which does have a view, albeit very little shade, and this is where we spent most of our time. However, there is no pool service either - if you want a drink, you walk to the bar, and sometimes there is no bartender when you get there either. In fact the commonest phrase heard at this hotel is: "He/she/they went to lunch". And even at that pool, with its lower traffic, we would see dirty glasses and ashtrays sitting around from the day before, still waiting to be picked up. Apparently the clean-up fairy is out to lunch a lot too at the Sonesta.

The new Customer Service Manager, Carmen, is very nice but utterly frazzled, by her own admission, as her work day is simply a hell of trying to make good to angry guests, and I'm sure that she will be looking for a new job before this season is out if only to preserve her blood pressure and her sanity. Management won't issue any kind of credit for compensation, but will offer some number of free nights for a future stay - because what people really want is the chance to come back and spend another few precious vacation days in this hellhole.

If you want a well-located dump on the beach with all-inclusive options, then you can at least go to Great Bay which actually is right on a nice beach and within walking distance to town, or to the Divi. Otherwise, unless proximity to the airport and the Casino Royale, all the heat lamp food you can eat, and 10 sad little shops next door are enough for you, stay away from this place. What a stinker - pun intended. But there's no extra charge for the smell...it's all included.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Jersey, NJ
Level Contributor
53 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

Stayed at the Sonesta Maho beach from 11/24-29. All the bad reviews are unfortunately true. We had A/C for only about 10 hours during a 5 night stay. And when it was on, it was not forceful.
At check in, we were given a room with no A/C, no working safe, and a toilet that filled with dirty water. We immediately went to the front desk and were told, “no rooms were available today, maybe tomorrow”. The next day, after much discussion, we were finally switched to another room but still no A/C. We complained again about the A/C. At this point, the front desk was aware of the A/C issue in the resort but did not disclose that there was a problem. They should have just owned the issue and apologized for the inconvenience instead of pleading ignorant. I would have much more appreciated the honesty instead of the lying which only fueled the fire. The front desk staff had a poor attitude. Maybe its because they were sweating in the lobby like the rest of us but that is no excuse.
Sleeping with no A/C for 5 nights is a challenge in 80+ degree weather. It got worse. On our last night, we experienced no electricity or running water.

This was not a relaxing vacation. It was very stressful dealing with the front desk and trying not to get heat stroke in your hotel room. I cannot recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Pick another resort.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino

Address: 1 Rhine Road | Maho Beach, Maho, St Maarten-St Martin
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St Maarten-St Martin > Sint Maarten > Maho
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Maho
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Maho
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Maho
#3 Casino Hotel in Maho
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino 3.5*
Number of rooms: 395
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
St. Maarten's only all-inclusive resort for families, singles and couples, the 520-room beachfront Sonesta Maho is located on 10 acres with expansive tropical gardens, stunning ocean vistas, 5 restaurants, 5 bars, the island's largest Casino, Kids Club, 2 swimming pools, day and night entertainment and much more. Duty-free shopping and nightlife is all within walking distance in the Maho Village. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel
St Martin Sonesta
Sonesta St. Maarten/St. Martin
St Maarten Sonesta
Maho Beach Hotel
St. Maarten/St. Martin Sonesta

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