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“A great day, Feb 18, 2012”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Sutton, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A great day, Feb 18, 2012”
Reviewed February 22, 2012

My wife and I, family and friends stopped for a day at the resort. As past guests, whether it be an all inclusive week or just the day, this resort hotel continues to be a favorite destination. Greeted by courteous staff, we took to the pool and beach area. Excellent beach location. Proximity to town provides relaxing walk time whether on beach, boardwalk or Front street. Great Bay is a great time, thanks again to Juan and staff. See you soon, Monique and Dan

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Monedann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
192 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2012

While everyone has different standards, I would rate my stay at this property as one of my most enjoyable experiences ever on vacation. It is not a luxury resort - but we weren't paying for a luxury resort. It was clean, comfortable, spectacularly located, and our all-inclusive meant great, plentiful food and beverages. We came to lay on the beach, shop, exercise and people watch and we got all of that.
As to some of the prior more negative reviews, I can understand that people who wait all year for a vacation and spend a lot of money and time for it, expect and hope for a perfect experience. But life is not perfect. Like a previous reviewer, our shower handle came off in my hand while adjusting the temperature. I stuck it back on and adjusted the temp and finished my shower. The maintenance guy came in and fixed it in about 2 seconds. What is the big deal? The same thing could happen at home. Another reviewer complained that the fruit on the breakfast buffet was repetitive - pineapple, grapefruit, cantaloupe, watermelon. Yeah - what is your point? How many fruit choices do you provide yourself at home for breakfast? Another reviewer made fun of the baked beans for breakfast. If that reviewer was an experienced international traveler, she would know that the British have baked beans as much a part of their "full breakfast" as Americans do eggs, or bacon. I've never been in a hotel in England or in Europe that offered a "full English breakfast" that didn't include baked beans, and often tomatoes and mushrooms - foods that Americans might think odd. Every buffet included at LEAST three entrees like fish, beef, chicken, or pork, plus a pasta station, plus all the side dishes, a nice salad bar, soup, breads, desserts. The night we arrived, we had been traveling all day without food and got down to the buffet at 9:45 - 15 minutes before it shut down - and still had a full array of hot, delicious food. The point is, some of these reviews are one person's opinion that harps on the worst things they can find.
Having said all that, this property gave us everything we expected and paid for. Our room (703) had a stunning view of the bay and beach and mountains. We had more food than we could possibly eat, all tasty and well prepared. Some might consider the alcoholic drinks "weak", but we weren't there to get drunk - having them less potent actually allowed us to enjoy more of them. We didn't have any trouble getting a beach chair, poolside chair, or towel. There were poolside movies at night with terrific popcorn, family fare like "Grease" and "The Little Mermaid" that we love but didn't need to see again - so should we complain that there weren't new movies of more variety? The kids watching them were loving it. I mean, come on, people. To say "the neighborhood is not the most desirable" begs the comment: You know those run-down homes along the beach? That's million-dollar property. The owners live on the beach in the Caribbean - do you? Why don't you just stay home if you want to be surrounded by people like yourself?
We used the fitness facilities every morning - we never saw anyone else use it, so we got both treadmills and got our workouts in before breakfast. The room smelled like rubber, just like my gym at home. There was no water, so I brought it in from the bar, and no towel, so I brought one. How hard is that?
Abraham Lincoln said that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Keep that in mind when you read these reviews. I love this resort, was treated well, and enjoyed a spectacular vacation in a great location with very nice people, both fellow travelers and employees. If I were paying Ritz prices, I'd expect perfection. For what I paid, I think I got a great experience.
I did discover that I liked the French side of the island better, and would probably stay over there if I returned - but not because of anything this hotel did or did not do. I just like the French culture,.

Room Tip: Higher floors, beach side - spectacular views of St. Kitts, Statia, and Saba as well as the cruise p...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank uptowngirl57
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, February 23, 2012
We appreciate the well documented and detailed review. Your honest opinion is valuable and offered wonderful suggestions for guests to enjoy. We appreciate the business and visiting our resort and the island of Sint Maarten.
sincerely,
Juan- G.M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2012

The location is perfect - the view and bay are lovely. we were lucky to have a great ocean-view room but spent so littlle time there that it wouldn't really matter.
The food was acceptable but we found eating breakfast and lunch at hotel and then going out for dinners was a great way to avoid the repetition at the buffet! The French side of the island has some extraordinary restaurants!
Rooms were a great size. Decor a little dated but they were clean and comfortable.
Beach and pools were both accessible and relatively clean.
Dining room and bar staff were mostly very helpful and friendly and although service was inconsistent it was never truly bad or rude.

Room Tip: if you want to spend time in your room then it would probably be nice to have a higher floor ocean v...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank sarajanefill
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, February 22, 2012
Thank you for the kind and accurate review. We appreciate the comments on our food and service and utilize these reviews to consistently improve our resort. The suggestion of dining on the island of Sint Maarten is a wonderful recommendation. The island boost top-notch restaurant and the island is considered the culinary capitol of the Caribbean.
with hospitality,
Juan- G.M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
54 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2012

We booked this hotel through hotwire as we only needed a room for one night and took a chance on the "mystery hotel". Upon arrival at Sonesta Great Bay we were greeted by indifferent front desk staff. We then went up to our room to drop off our luggage - immediately upon entering our wing of the hotel there was a terrible smell in the hallways that smelt like dirt, mould and stale cigarettes - there were even multiple ashtrays in the hallways. Disgusting. The smell was no better in our room (6th floor). The airconditioning was running when we arrived but the room was swelteringly hot, we assumed that they had just turned the air on in anticipation of our arrival so we set out to look at the grounds and walk on the beach.

The beach is decent although the neighbourhood is not the most desirable.

Upon returning from our beach walk we decided to check out the the bar and the casino, both of which were so revolting we immediately walked out. The casino was approximately 90F and smelt like 9,000 lit cigarettes, a bad combination. The bartender asked us if we were Christian because we ordered nonalcoholic drinks, a strange question indeed. We did play some foosball which was our single enjoyable experience at this hotel.

After returning to our room, 2 hours after checking in, the room was even hotter and smellier. We walked down the stairs as the elevator is small, dingy and smelly just like the rest of the hotel. We explained the situation (lack of airconditioning) to the front desk staff who told us there was nothing other than have the maintenance man take a look and give us a fan. The maintenance man came up to "fix" the aircon which worked for approximately 2 hours, just long enough for us to fall asleep. We woke up at 1am to stifiling heat and immediately called the front desk who told us again that there was nothing they could do and they gave out their only fan. We had to open the room door to the hallway to get oxygen. In the morning while showering the handle to the temperature control broke off in my boyfriend's hand and was stuck on scorching heat. My poor boyfriend. Poor me. Do not stay at this hotel it is ghetto and a Super 8 is far superior. We paid USD220 for this room and don't think it's worth more than USD40/night. I can't stress enough how awful this hotel is. Thank goodness we are staying elsewhere for the duration of our stay in Sint Maarten.

Room Tip: Do NOT stay here!! Sleeping in rental car is preferrable.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank The_Real_Glam
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, February 22, 2012
Thank you for the travel opinion. We appreciate the opportunity, the review was very difficult to read. Our resort is a very high standard and several nice rooms, amenities and one of the best rated service staffs on Sint Maarten. We wish you the best experience possible while on vacation.
sincerely,
Juan- G.M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Absolutely perfect setting (walk to Philipsburg, watching cruise ships, directly on the beach).
Had to move after 1st night due to lack of air conditioning. Ocean view room is a must as well as all-inclusive package

Room Tip: Ocean view is a must
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jeff194719
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2012

I had a one night stay at St Maarten, and quickly booked a hotel, thinking that it was a luxury hotel at the beach. Well, that turned out to be wrong. Firstly, it is not luxury. The main bulding is simply old, a boring block at the beach. I'd say about 3 stars would be a reasonable rating.
Secondly, what I did not know was that most guests were on an all-inclusive package ( I had room-only). I normally avoid all-inclusive hotels, as I do not like the typical crowds that select their destination based on how much they can eat and drink. So I started off disliking this place. But after a few hours I had to admit that this was partly about my own expectations and I tried to view it more objectively. What you then get is a 3-star resort (including beach activities, evening entertainment etc) which could be a reasonable choice if you like such a resort somewhere at the lower end of the scale. The price I paid (one person, room-only was $325) was way too high, but two adults plus two kids all-inclusive can be had for prices like $450 which might be reasonable.

However, there were two items I severely disliked:

1) The staff at the reception desk is terrible. They have a very arrogant attitude, aboslutely not service oriented. For example, they will simply ignore you, even if you are the only guest there. And if you do somehow manage to get talking to them, they will simply walk away from you if a phone rings. Not a word of excuse, simply ignoring you again. I saw this happen all the time, to me and other guests, and to my astonishment even an intern they had working there behaved like that. She must have learnt quickly.
The other staff (restaurants, bar, technical guy) were fine, it was just the frontdesk that was a problem.

2) When I booked, I wanted a nice view over the bay so I booked a seaside view with a request for a room on a high floor. So what happens? They assign me a room on the first floor. That's almost like a basement, two floors below the reception desk. After I saw the room I complained. "Requests are options, we do not have to honor these." Nice, so much for paying for the view. I kept complaining and finally they offered me to have a look at another room in a different wing (I guess that's the timeshare wing). This room smelled so terrible that I stuck with the original room anyway.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HennieGL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia Falls, Montana
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2012

This was an ok hotel--clean, but not new. It was FULL Service, and the ocean was very accessable! I would recommend this hotel and stay here again. We had some problems with the air conditioner, but after speaking with the manager and being persistent, we were moved into a Nice, Cool room!!

Room Tip: Ask for the all inclusive and an updated room--not in the Apartments...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank laurielutgen
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

Property: Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Address: 19 Little Bay Road, 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 Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 Family 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 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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