My first visit to St. Maarten and Sonesta Great Bay was in December 2011. I loved it so much that I planned a "girls trip" 3 months later in March 2012! I went in December with a friends family who stayed for 17 days over the Christmas holiday. We had too much fun!
My first stay in Decemeber was on the condo/timeshare side of the property. We enjoyed the views and the convenience of the units having refrigerators and kitchens. Also, there is another pool and hot tub on that side for those who want a little more privacy. On the second trip in March we stayed in a hotel room and it was nice as well. The rooms and linens are always clean, and we found housekeeping staff to be friendly and helpful. When you first get into your room, there may be a slight damp smell, but we opened up the door to air it out, sprayed a little Febreeze and it was all good from there. As for safety, the hotel has round the clock security. When travelling to any city be sure you are aware of your surroundings.
Towels: I've read where some complained about the towels (beach and otherwise). We never really found it to be an issue. I mean, how many towels do you need per person? When we asked we were given more towels for the room, and understand that many hotels everywhere are trying to conserve on water and on laundry and such. So it was no big deal (and there are ways around the beach towel thing). :-)
Our first trip was on the condo side so we did grocery shopping and cooked in the condo. However, we took advantage of the bars located at the hotel. The second trip we did the all-inclusive package. We found the food very good and enough choices to satisfy our taste. If we were looking for something specific we went off resort to different restaurants. We didn't get a chance to try the two restaurants on site, but we heard from other guests that the food was excellent. Definitely good drinks and great people. Special thanks to our fave bartenders Nigel, Michael, Maritza, Scooby, and Leo!
For off resort eating: we love Pineapple Pete's, Sunset Beach Bar, Chesterfields, and Andy & Cheryls (at Orient Beach).
Now I can't say enough about the Activities Staff! They always make sure guests are having fun! There are activities for kids and the big kids. We had daily water aerobics, volleyball, trivia, bingo, giant jenga, water balloon toss...there were movie nights, salsa dancing night, karoke night...if you don't want to participate you don't have to but if you do there's plenty to do. Special thanks to Jessica, Maria, Shelly, and Kevin! They are the reason we have so much fun and can't wait to come back. My friends daughters can't wait to get back to hang out with Maria, Jessica and Kevin. The Activities Staff are like family now!
While not directly a part of the hotel, the watersports guys are ready to make sure you have fun out on the jet ski and are fun to hang around. Rasta and Sam are always ready to help you have a good time.
We also went out to a few bars and clubs in the area and had a blast!
We didn't do any major shopping since it wasn't the main focus of the trip. Philipsburg is a short walk(~10min) down the beach, or down the street. We find the stores are really willing to work with you on prices for just about everything. Oro Diamante is a jewelry store located in the hotel and Vic is ready to work with you on prices. I bought a beautiful pair of gold earrings from them in December. Also, I got another tattoo while in Philipsburg courtesy of Carlos (got one in December as well), if you're into that sort of thing. He works out of a shop in Philipsburg as well as one on the French side. He does great work!
I would definitely recommend this resort. The majority of people we met at the resort were on a return trip; and those first timers were planning their return trip. As with any place there are always some not-so-great things, but for me those were far and few between and not worth mentioning.
With both trips, I've met some very wonderful people from all over the world and plan to keep in touch! I would love to start a family tradition of my own by bringing my family and friends to Sonesta Great Bay!
- 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