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“Found my new home away from home!”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Found my new home away from home!”
Reviewed March 23, 2012

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!

Accommodations:
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). :-)

Food:
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).

Fun:
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!

Shopping:
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!

Overall:
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!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AnnfromSTL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Guelph, Canada
1 review
Reviewed March 22, 2012

My husband and I recently visited this resort for lunch on two occasions while staying at their sister resort Sonesta Maho. We thought it would be great way to experience both resorts, beaches and neighbouring areas while in St. Maarten. On our first visit my husband ordered a burger and it was served rare and needed to be sent back to the kitchen. After a few requests they finally prepared another burger but it was still raw in the middle. On our second visit we ate from the buffet the meat was dried out, the pasta was the worst we have ever had, the choices were limited and the servers were not welcoming. We were visiting the resort and not staying here so we are unsure if the treatment was different for us than someone who stayed at the resort.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BarbV159
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, March 23, 2012
Thank you for the review, we appreciate the opportunity and will discuss with our restaurant teams on performance. The culinary and service is vital to our resort and the services we provide. Enjoy your stay at our sister resort- Sonesta Maho Beach.
with hospitality,
Juan- GM
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Dundee, Illinois
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2012

This resort was a wonderful experience for my husband and myself. The resort is a little older but very clean and kept up very well. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a wonderful vacation spot. Close to shopping and the view is absolutely amazing. Just wanted to thank a few people for making this trip worth every penny we spent.. Thank you Shelly, Maria, Jessica, Kevin, Stanley (the man), Yvonne, and all of the waiters that were so kind and loving. I will return especially to ticlke Kevins ear.

Room Tip: I would recommend the ocean view room. Loved it.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank PamG671
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamilton
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2012

We just returned from a wonderful stay at Great Bay...I was so skeptical to stay there after reading the reviews. We loved, loved, loved the place and would definitely stay there again. Most of the other vacationers that we met, they were long time customers of great bay so that should tell you something. we enjoyed the hotel, the food, the activities...everyone was sooooo friendly!
Jessica and Kevin, you made our stay so enjoyable and so much fun. I cannot wait to see you guys again! Virginia in the restaurant...I miss your smile. A big thank you to you!
Juan, your staff is amazing and we cannot wait to come back. From check in to check out, you could not have made it easier!

Room Tip: we stayed on the mountain side...it was good as we did not spend anytime in our room...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank dolphinsHamilton
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, March 21, 2012
Thank you for the travel opinion, we appreciate the review. We will mention to our staff on a wonderful service they performed on your vacation. We consistently strive to improve our staff service and culinary. We look forward to your next visit to 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.
Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Sonesta for one night and hated it. We purchased through Hotwire. Hotwire rated the hotel 4 stars...it was far from a 4 star hotel. The hotel is really rundown and while having a drink at the bar one of the staff members caught a mouse.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank snobunny12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brantford, ON
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2012

My husband and I traveled to Great Bay July 22-29 2011 with Canjet/ Air Transat. Flight was on time both ways, one dinner option, no snacks even with a stopover in Punta Cana on the way home. Bring snacks if you travel with Canjet.

Arrival through the airport was easy, so was transport to the hotel. Arrived during rush hour so it took about 30 min to get to the hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel they had a welcome drink which was nice. No problems at check in. Wonderful view when you walk in the lobby. Just like the pictures!

Room was nice, booked on mountainview side (7th floor). You do hear a rooster in the morning that is loud. Room was clean. We did have a bit of an ant problem in the bathroom, but I usually put all my toiletries in plastic resealable bags to keep them out. Two days into our trip we got moved to a oceanview because apparently our shower was leaking to the floor below. I would definitely go for ocean view again. Bathroom was stocked with little bottles of shampoo, conditoner and lotion. We also received a copy of the Miami herald in the mornings which I thought was a nice touch.

In general the food was okay. Breakfast was great! Lunch was okay. We usually ended up getting something off the menu like pizza instead. Dinner was okay at the buffet. The "theme" nights didn't really reflect on the food served I thought. Basically it was some meats, rice, salad bar, veggies etc.
The food we really enjoyed was when they had the BBQ night by the pool and the steak night with a wonderful onion herb sauce I still try to create at home. We did end of eating at the Italian restaurant 2 or 3 times with no reservations because we were just bored with the buffet. They did make a great tiramisu for dessert. Dessert was not very exciting, fairly bland. One night the same dessert, a cake, from the night before had sat there for 2 days. The man that was playing guitar and singing at the Italian restaurant was fantastic!

From a island that is suppose to be the culinary capital of the Caribbean you' d think the food would have more of an assortment to choose from. We actually prefered the food in Cuba at the Blau Varadaro. Now there's an assortment! We also found the staff barely said anything at the restaurant. They would basically ask for a drink and leave you alone the rest of the night. Not even a greeting to acknowledge you.

Drinks were good. Pina Colada's were fantastic, so were the Bushwackers and Miami Vice's. When we asked for a drink off the drink menu one night ( for a Bushwacker) the lady bartender rolled her eyes and said that she didn't know how to make it, and didn't know what we were talking about. We told here we've had it before and it was on the drink menu, having to actually point it out to her. She read the menu then did make it, but didn't look happy at all and all the while mumbling to herself.

If your staff is going to bar tend please make sure they know how to make what is on the menu. All the drinks mentioned are just different versions of Pina Colada's. I will say the bartender during the day was much better. Charlene at the buffet was the best server by far! Excellent personality! Friendly and talkative! She should be the example to others how to interact with patrons.

On to the beach.....fantastic view! Sand is course with seashells and coral, not very soft. You do need you sandals on the beach to walk around. Location is great to walk to Philipsburg. There are some ladies that sit under the tent on the beach to give massages. We first thought they were just there on vacation but then realized they sit there all day and talk. Not many people we saw had a massage. No one really wanted to sit under the tent either because they were always there.

Overall I recommend to go to this hotel for the location. I would go back to this hotel because of the close proximity to Philipsburg. Go for the shopping, rent a car ( so inexpensive and very easy to get around) or take the bus. We liked the dutch side much better then the french side. You must go to Maho beach to watch the planes. So cool! As for the food, we went AI so we didn't go to any restaurants outside of the hotel. The Hotel was pretty quiet when we went last July.

I will say we did see the GM there almost every day at lunch and sometimes dinner. I would just remind the staff that St. Maarten is called "The Friendly Island".

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank curlygirl30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2012

My husband and i just returned from Sonesta great bay resort on friday March 9 2010. We had been on a Carribean cruise when my husband developed pneumonia and were dropped off in st maarten and brought to the hospital. While he was a patient there, i stayed at the hotel alone for two days and he then joined me with oxygen and a wheelchair to further recover before flying back to Boston. I cannot say enough about our 8 day stay there ! The hotel was clean, the food was very good,and the employees were exceptional ! Patrcia Zamore was especially kind and helpfull and even called our home to see if we made it back safely ! On one occasion our tv remote was not working and within 10 minutes it was taken care of after i spoke with a pleasant female manager. The beach there was awesome, the pools were beautiful, and we especially enjoyed watching the outdoor movies under the stars !! We too have done extensive travelling throughout the carribean and Sonesta Great Bay was a tropical paradise !!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Erin H
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, March 19, 2012
Thank you for you travel opinion. We are happy all was best for you & your husband to enjoy in a difficult situation from the shorten cruise. We will post with our staff to read. We appreciate the business and look forward to your next visit to our resort.
with hospitality,
Juan- G.M
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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