My wife, 2 young children, and parents recently returned from a trip to St. Martin and stay at Sonesta Great Bay. I, like many others, don't understand the number of negative reviews the hotel receives. I guess you can't please everyone. When you check in they give you cold towels and a tasty cocktail to welcome you. Nice touch!
Rooms: We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment and the room was fantastic (Room 461). We have been to 8 Caribbean islands and the view from our rooms was amazing! Ocean front rooms (2 balconies) with unobstructed views of the bay, the cruise ships, and the city of Phillipsburg. My parents were in the normal side of the hotel with ocean view rooms on the 4th floor and their room was also nice, but certainly not as nice as ours. The hotel appears to be renovating the rooms. Our bed in the room was absolutely amazingly comfortable. Probably one of the best beds we slept in. The fridge was stocked every day with water bottles, beer, and soda. A very very nice touch.
Pools: The have a total of 3 pools but no one seemed to use the one closest to the apartments. The Infinity pool with the swim up bar was excellent and offered amazing views of Great Bay and the ships/port. The swim up bar was very popular as you can imagine. The other pool behind was also nice.
Beach: The beach was ok. Unfortunately, there was a storm that hit a few weeks before that had wiped out some of the beach front and also kicked alot of seeweed/etc. Obviously, this is no fault of Sonesta's. The only annoying part is that you have to pass the ladies of the beach who offer massages, braids, etc. They're all very nice and will leave you alone if you want. We did partake in some massages and can't complain.
Food/Drinks: The food is ok, but not great. The breakfast buffet was excellent and had some very nice food choices. Thoroughly enjoyed it every morning. Lunch and Dinner buffets were ok. They have 2 other restaurants on site but only one was open during our stay. The food at Molasses was good. Much better than the dinner buffet. Definitely recommend getting the all inclusive package so you can drink and eat as much as you like there.
Service: Everyone of the staff we spoke to at the hotel was nice. We didn't have any issues with them. The servers at the buffet and restaurant were all very nice to us. The bartenders were also very nice. I would like to give a special thanks to Karl (the new General Manager). He treated us very kindly and said to ask him personally if we ever needed something. We actually ran into him every day and have very nice conversations with him. We asked for milk cartons for our 2 children and he was more than accomodative in getting us what we wanted. I also had some indepth conversations to find out what peoples issues are. Apparently, the new managment is changing some things (including the gazebos) and many of the regular customers are not happy with some of the changes. Some people compained that there weren't enough umbrellas which Karl said were on order and that they were waiting for them to arrive. All in all, the staff was very nice to us even if they are going through some of their own challenges with the new management. Change is hard and I hope everyone settles their differences for the benefit of the tourists and the property. Karl, thanks again for everything! Best of luck to you.
Things to do: I suggest you definitely rent a car and explore the island. I definitely suggest going to Sonesta Maho and using their facilities. You need to get the all inclusive package and use the other property. The food and food choices are definitely better at Sonesta Maho than Great Bay. Another cool part of Maho is the beach is located directly in front of SXM and you can watch the planes take off/land. Well worth a day trip or two. However, the views are much better at Sonesta Great Bay! We also drove to Orient Bay to check out that beach and drove around the island. The island has many many steep hills so be prepared to go up and down the mountains. We walked into Phillipsburg one day which was ok. Yes, they have many liquor and jewelry shops which have good deals if you want. Try and go on days without cruise ships as you can get better deals.
Definitely would return to Sonesta Great Bay especially if I can get the same room (461).
- 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
- Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa St Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg