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“Terrible”

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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 11, 2012

The hotel is really old and in bad shape. The service was terrible, the entire staff had no training whatsoever.

We could not eat at all in the restaurants besides breakfast. Although an all inclusive resort we ended going to Grand Case for dinner almost every night. The one night we stayed, half of our group got sick.

This place really needs a change in management in addition to a major facelift.

In addition the drinks were really terrible, made with watered down alcohol. We had to buy alcohol outside and bring it with us to the pool for the bartenders to mix.

The one thing great about this hotel was the beach and location.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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8  Thank Serge L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 10, 2012

I just travelled to St.Maarten for my first time and stayed at the Great Bay Resort. I stayed 2 weeks from Oct 25 to Nov 8th. I flew with Sunwing and they were good as always. The Sunwing rep Martha was at the airport to greet us and bring us back to the Hotel. I was welcomed at the hotel with a cool beverage and the staff were warm and welcoming. Edrick took my bags to my room and he was always helpful during my stay. The Oceanview room (307) was always clean and the fridge was filled with drinks. The view every morning was breathtaking watching the ships come around the point with their bows (6:30am). The staff at the front desk were always so helpful when I had a question. I would like to share my experience of the following:

Service: The staff are so warm and accommodating.

Food: The presentation was beautiful and the soups were absolutely amazing everyday. I enjoyed all their food from the buffet dining to the fine dining upstairs. The staff were always warm and welcoming. A shout out to the "waffle maker". I wish I could have you at my house every morning :o)

Bar: I loved all their fresh juices and their different coffees. I don't drink but their bartenders were very knowledgeable of how to make all kinds of drinks that guests ordered while I sat at the different bars.

Activities: The staff were always engaged with the guests and made the day fun.

Room: Always clean and I slept well.

Shopping in town: Can you say "cha ching" :o) If you like shopping this town is for you ! Know your prices and pamper yourself as I did because we are worth it right ?

Taxi Service: I used exclusively Ash & Albert for getting around. They are very reliable and brought me to my destinations and gave me their phone numbers to call when I was finished. The store owners would call them for me when I asked with no questions asked. Everyone on the island works together to make your stay enjoyable.

Excursions: I loved the ATV ride and the Catamaran tour. I was totally disappointed with the "Ride The Rhino". I paid for snorkeling in the Creo Rock and a tour around the Island and both never happened. I am an easy going consumer and I would NOT recommend my experience to anyone who has plans for other excursions as the "Ride the Rhino" made excuses for my October 30th booked trip (ships didn't arrive) so they weren't going out although I had already paid $25 transportating costs. They asked me to come back the following day which I did and we didn't go around the island or snorkel, which I paid for. They then asked me to rebook again to snorkel. They'll never get another dime out of me. A special shout out to "Junior" from the ATV excursion and Neil from the Mirabella Catamaran. You both are class individuals and I will rebook with your companies.

Sunwing Rep: Martha She was warm and inviting from the day I met her till the day I left. Thank you for making my stay enjoyable. You represent Sunwing well my dear.

Maho Hotel: I went over to the Maho Hotel and enjoyed their facilities. Their are no issues while doing so, and the staff was very accommodating. I went over and experienced Sunset Beach Bar with the amazing views of planes coming in and taking off. I had a Air France 747 fly over my head and this is when your brain tells you, "This ain't right" and when your body tells you, "Bail". Sureal experience and I will never forget it. To those thinking of holding the fence when a aircraft is powering up to take off, I suggest you look up the word "danger" in a dictionary prior to trying to "hold onto the fence".

Overall Experience: I enjoyed my stay and I will be travelling back sometime soon. A special shout out to "Thelma & Louise" from Burlington Ontario who can really dance on the pool bar stools. You girls rock !

Steve B. Lindsay, Ontario Canada

Room Tip: Oceanview rooms are breathtaking
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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6  Thank Steve B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

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).

Room Tip: Rent a car and drive around the island. Make sure to go visit Sonesta Maho.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank ThePhillyCritic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

I did expect a little more for a hotel in St. Maarten. Although this hotel was all inclusive, it still didn't provide everything everywhere. Most of the staff were very friendly (Michael, Kevin, Mariska). We found out that the hotel just underwent a change in management, but not for the better unfortunately. Management needs to work on treating their staff better and to provide them with the resources they need. The staff worked on keeping the hotel clean! It is a bit dated, but it looks like they are working on improving it :)
The food was good. Not a huge selection, but what food was there was good. The value was good and I would go back? The location of the hotel was great too and close to St. Phillipsburg.
Also, I don't understand why only ocean view rooms were giving liquor in their rooms and mountain view rooms did not. Also, it would have been nice to have the water and pop replenished in the room more often.
The only bad part of the trip was the disgusting couple who decided to go skinny dipping in the ocean and then carried on in the swimming pool!!!

Room Tip: Spend the extra money and choose ocean view.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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9  Thank Julie155019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Nine "older"women travel together each Oct. We like the all-inclusive resorts . Much easier. This Sonesta is a nice size-about 250 rooms. Oct. is off season so it was easy to get a table or a beverage. Mostly buffet--only one other restaurant and only open certain days. The rooms are OK-nothing special. The employees are very friendly, from the waitresses to the bartenders to Kevin, the aerobics instructor. There was little or no beach because of a bad storm the previous week. It was nice to walk into Philipsburg and shop. We took a tour of the island one day with Michael(who was also our night bartender) What a guy--great tour.. The last night they put all the tables by the pool--candles all around the pool and a great buffet. A great ending to a fun week. St Martaan is a lovely island!!

Room Tip: Ocean view are much better than the view of the street and hillside that we had. But there is a pric...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank carolyugo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

I have stayed here but also rented a car to go to Sonesta Maho to spend the day and for sure the beach at Great bay is much better. You can walk easily to the shops and downtown area as well as have great views of the port with the cruiselines.
It is quiet at night as there isnt much to do around as all the action (clubs, nightlife, ) is all in Maho. There are a few restos but other than that you would need a car,
Daily buffet everyday at the hotel and different themes.
Breakfast was ok (lots of fruit)
The gym is quite small.
You can rent kayaks directly from the hotel.
daily activities
nice view of the mountains
Some of the servers/front desk staff were friendly all week while some were a little bit rude at time.
The great thing is that with your wristband you can go spend the day at Maho and eat in their restos.
As for location, make sure you walk along the beach to the town or even further to the port area
But a big suggestion.... Make sure to visit the island, rent a car (not from the hotel) right across the Great Bay as there is a small rental place and we were extremely satisfied and had a good deal for the week. Dont spend the week in the hotel as it would be a shame to see what you can miss. :)

Room Tip: The best way to have great rooms is to book with the hotel directly as their delux mountain or ocea...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Namaste24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

I bought a room at the sonesta great bay beach resort and casino based on the name Sonesta and "casino" (what a joke that small casino room was : ). It took almost two hours for them to send me on a wild goose chase to at least five different rooms (all of them had mold for which I am allergic)...before finally finding a room on the other side of the hotel that did not appear or smell like mold. Thank Gosh for John, who finally got us a mold free (almost sort of) suite......but not without me spending two hours of travel time traipsing around the hotel looking for a "moldless" room. Thank Gosh the deliciious cookies at the front desk kept my travel companion from losing it completely. I was sorely disappointed to see Sonesta's name on this property.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Victoria K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

Address: 19 Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St Martin / St Maarten
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > 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
Price Range: $397 - $698 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — 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
Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa St Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg

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