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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
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Reviews (4,342)
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3,578 - 3,583 of 4,342 reviews
Reviewed January 13, 2008

Just got back this AM from 2 weeks @ Great Bay & loved it.. We were here approx 14 years ago & the improvements/upgrades are very evident. Hotel is advertised as a 3 - 4 star & that is pretty accurate - not a 5 star but certainly adequate. We stayed on first floor. Room was great as everything worked ie power never went out, AC was great, water pressure great, etc. Beds were kinda soft. It would also be nice to have a screen door to leave open to get some fresh air but no big deal. We found the staff pleasant & helpful - no problems whatsoever. Try saying "good morning" first & you always got back a friendly good morning & a smile. Beach @ Great Bay is OK, sand is coarse but you can go into the ocean. Infinity pool is pretty cool and there is a swim up bar. You can also walk into town on the beach. There is about 100 - 200 metres of beach & then a FANTASTIC boardwalk starts - only recommended during day ie walk into Phillipsburg - we walked every morning early into Phillipsburg . Take a stack of US $1.00 bills with you. We tipped @ all meals including the buffet and also the maid every day a couple of bucks. Maid service is pretty good and they do a turn down service at night & give you fresh towels...very nice. Never had a problem with towels either in the room or @ the pool. A la carte meals were OK - we preferred Molasses vs La Cuchina but stuck to the buffets as we could always find something to eat. Don't expect gourmet dining - food is adequate...besides, w went for the sun & beach & not the food
and were not disappointed.

If you want an Island Tour or a taxi, we recommend Gilbert, Mr Reliable & he usually hangs @ Great Bay.

The stagnant pond beside the hotel hasn't changed in a bazillion years and is a breeding ground for mosquitos so bring some after bite. FINALLY, after all these years, they fixed the sidewalk where the hotel ends and the public sidewalk starts so no more leaping Across Golden Pond.

Activites at night are pretty minimal at the hotel but the second week we were there, there were more. Hotel needs to work on this. There is internet access in the Activities Centre & it is pretty reasonable ie $8.00/hour. Don't use the computer on the far right - it is messed up...lol. Make sure you logout cause you can keep using your number on more than one occasion until the one hour gets used up.

We loved Great Bay re the convenience re walking into town & would go back in a nanosecond. Never a problem getting a chaise either @ the pool or on the beach & there is quite a bit of shade as it gets kinda toasty!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Elmerfudpucker2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2008

The Sonesta Great Bay is in a great location, but the service, food and facilities are marginal at best. Think "Motel 6" in paradise with bad service. The good news is that it's within an short walk up the beach from Phillipsburg (restaurants/shopping) and 15-20 minutes from some the best beaches and food in the Caribbean.

Aside from the location, our stay at the Sonesta was a bust. Our room had a pungent mold smell that was driven by the constant dampness of our room. It took us several days to figure out how to operate the A/C without making the tile floors wet!! We would have put towels on the floor, but they were not always available. We had to go the front desk on 5 of our 10 days get them.

The pool was nice, but you have to really like the song "Hot, Hot, Hot!" - it's every 5th song in the rotation. Snorkeling, jet-skis and SCUBA boat are also available right from the beach but finding someone in the Activities office to sign you up can be a challenge.

The food was ok for breakfast or lunch if you're not too picky, but do yourself a favor and go out for dinner. Try Antoine's or Chesterfields in Phillipsburg for fine dining - amazing dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine for <$150($$$). Any of the places on the beach for light fare - salads/sandwiches are good too($). Also, try any restaurant in Grande Case (20 min drive) - best food in the Caribbean! Outside of the hotel, we never had a bad meal.

Next year we're renting a condo – we looked into it and found the cost about the same or slightly more. But with the option of eating in, we expect to save money in the long run.

By the end of our 10 day stay, we were happy to pack our soggy clothes to go home and get dry.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank Reston9261
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2008

There was a total of 8 of us (6 stayed at Great Bay, 2 others stayed at a different hotel). We visited their hotel-it was nice. They visited our hotel and they were impressed (we paid less than they did for the week). When people say there is a musty smell, they are correct. We slept with our sliding door opened (I loved to hear the ocean when sleeping). I found the smell to be in mostly in the halls rather then the rooms. I got used to it. The rooms were nice as well. The beds were very comfortable. Every morning during the weekdays I woke and looked at the ocean to see cruise ships coming into the bay.
As for the staff, they were Great! They did everything in their power to assist in any issues-never shying away from them. When you asked for a taxi it was a short wait, but make sure the price is negotiated before you get in and negotiate a pick up time as well as it is not easy to get a taxi after midnight. We went all inclusive and it was some of the best money I have ever spent! The food was good, water coolers filled with ice on the bar (full and cold all the time) and the bartenders were a lot of fun!
I went out for a late night jacuzzi (although staff forbids this) and one of the security guards came over frequently to make sure everything was ok! Just another plus for the staff!
Would I visit this resort again? Definitely!! I am already planning to go back around the same time in /08!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Jimyp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2008

Advice: if you get a good price, hotel is ok. I had read reviews and didn't expect too much. Yet, I was still disappointed. Mostly disappointed with hotel staff's attitude and with St. Maarten itself.

Pros:
beautiful view (we had an ocean view room)
weather is always breezy, if it rains, passes quickly outdoor restaurant seating
3 daily buffets plus 2 dinner restaurants
plenty of lounge chairs, and umbrellas (free)
internet access (but often slow)
activity center to help book trips and provide games
take driving island tour with Gilbert (friendliest guy on St. Maarten)
used US $ the whole trip - never even saw a Dutch Guilder

Cons:
Staff is not friendly - not only do they not smile or anticipate your needs, but often are not responsive even when asked. It creates a vicious cycle of unhappy guests complaining and unhappy staff then more unhappy guests

There seemed to be a towel shortage - we would come back to our rooms after being gone all day and there would be no clean towels - no excuse at a beach hotel. Also a couple of times ran out of towels at the pool.

Average cleanliness and average quality linens and mattresses There is
a green lagoon next to hotel, although scent was not apparent during our visit. I found it easy to ignore.

Although you can walk into Philipsburg from the hotel, the shops are all closed by 5 pm. There are shady people and run down builidings during the 10 minute walk into town. I felt like I might get robbed, especially because there were aluminum walls that came down at night to protect the shop windows AND the shops still hired security guards to sit outside the stores at night. Walking along the beach is prettier but parts are pitch black at night.

There is not much to do on the island without renting a car but the car agency I spoke with didn't offer additional insurance - meaning you will be liable at least $1600. One couple at the hotel left a rental car at a local beach for 5 minutes and in that time the back seat was ripped out in an attempt to get into the trunk.

Hotel posts signs in the room that say "not responsible for items lost
in the room" (including those in their safe) - made me feel like I was
even going to get robbed in the room.

Conclusion
We stayed at the resort for 5 nights and were bored by the last night or so. I would try another island in the Caribbean next time.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Christie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2008

We just returned from a 2-week stay at the Sonesta Great Bay and we really loved our vacation. We found the staff to be lovely and the food was absolutely delicious. We have stayed before at beautiful 5-star hotels on the Mayan Riviera and sure, the rooms at the Great Bay are not as fresh and lux, but, the beds are very comfortable and the view from our oceanside room was amazing.

We ate at the buffet restaurant just about every night because the food is so good. There is always fresh green salad at lunch and dinner and always, always something delicious to fill you up. We used the all-inclusive option and I believe that is definately the best way to go as eating on this island can be very expensive.

We loved the view from the beach and even though we rented a car for the two weeks, we did not venture out in it as much as we thought we would. We just loved to be on the beach in front of this hotel watching the cruise ships and the mega yachts in the bay.

We did venture out to a few beaches and, as promised they are beautiful. The one thing I would say is DO NOT GO TO PIC PARADIS. In the 5 minutes we were gone from our rental car it was broken into and they did a lot of damage to the car. Afterwards we could hear them laughing and talking loudly in the woods down the hill from our car. Obviously they know that we are not going to go and confront them. When we went directly to the police station afterwards, they said ours was the third break-in reported that day at Pic Paradis. There are many other places on the island to get a great view so AVOID PIC PARADIS at all costs!!!

Don't hesitate to book this hotel. I did not want to come home!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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7  Thank liveforbeaches
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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