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“Wow... disappointment”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Brookline, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Wow... disappointment”
Reviewed March 8, 2013

first off, let me just say that if I could, I would give this hotel 0 stars, but that wasn't an option. Also, I am writing this review from their upstairs computer that is only allowed to write reviews and check your flight status since wifi and internet costs $16 a day (we're in 2013, everywhere has free wifi, including a motel 6). Where to begin, I have stayed in hundreds and hundreds of hotels, and never have I ever been treated this poorly. First off, they are the least helpful people int he world. They wouldn't even provide us a weather report.... seriously??? Second, there is NOTHING to do here, at all. The only thing one can do here is eat and drink, but the food is awful and the nicest tables by the water, are closed...why????? Third, I had specifically called and asked for a room on the highest floor and instead, we got a room in he dungeon. NO, literally, it was a dungeon (think of the floor on a cruise ship where all the employees sleep..ya). The list goes on and on, but my advice, do never stay here. Seriously. Even the location isn't good (stay in Simpson Bay or Maho).

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Dee P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Carlsbad, CA
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2013

First, let me explain that I did not stay overnight at this hotel so my harsh criticism might be a little unfair as I did not see the accommodations.

We were on a cruise and happened to be in port in St. Maarten. As we usually do, we try and find a resort that will offer a day resort package and spend the day at a local beach, have lunch and then return to the ship.
We happened to find the Sonesta and called to inquire about a day resort package. We were told we could come for a rate of $65 per person and use their beach, pools, towels, drink all we want and have lunch. The reviews on Trip Advisor were mediocre but we decided to go anyway.

Upon first seeing the lobby I knew something was not right. We were given tickets for our towels and were told the bar was open for drinks and a lunch buffet would be served. We got our towels and proceeded to the beach where we found filthy stained beach lounge chairs, broken plastic chairs, smokers everywhere, no service and no shade. We were approached by locals wanting to give massages and sell us local wares. A massage on those filthy chairs in direct sun? NO WAY!! We made the best of it and decided to walk up to the bar for a few Cokes. When we ordered the bar tender wanted us to pay for them. When we explained we were on a day package and showed him our green wrist bands indicating our day package, he was confused and knew nothing about it.

We then walked over to the buffet. It was a little too early for lunch however remnants of a breakfast buffet were still available. One look at the flies over the food did it. We gathered our things from the beach and went back to the ship. At that point I didn't care about being ripped off. What a dump.

Do not go here if you expect anything more!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank philc128
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2013

This resort grows on you even though it is comparable to a 3 star Holiday Inn. When we first arrived, we were very dissatisfied (see below), but over our 8 day stay we came to appreciate the beach, the view and the staff. Try to get a room in the new wing, which they are trying to market as time-shares. They are much nicer. We tried but could not get our room changed even when we offered to pay more. Later some friends were housed in the new wing at the same rate we were paying in the old wing…..not a very good business model. In the older 7 story wing, do not accept a room below the 4th floor or your view of the beach will be blocked.
The Good:
• Location – directly on a beautiful beach with 4 pools. Beautiful view across the harbor. Walking distance to shops and restaurants – at least during the day.
• The staff is very pleasant and helpful.
• The parking attendant always found us a place in an apparently full lot.
• Bottled water, soft drinks, beer, and, most surprisingly two bottles, one of gin and one of vodka in the refrigerator in our room were complimentary.
• Great comfortable bed
• Newly renovated bathroom – granite counter top, glass walk in shower
• Balcony with 2 cheap plastic chairs and a tiny table
• Air conditioning worked
• Complimentary beach towels, lounge chairs and umbrellas
The not so good:
• Hallway to our room reeked of bleach
• Room smelled sour
• Broken lock on door to balcony
• Cheap rough sheets and a paucity of thin towels. We had to beg for a bath mat for slippery wet bathroom floor.
• Even though hotel was full, not all restaurants were open
• Mediocre food – breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets – uninspired in presentation and content
• Not all rooms face the beach

Room Tip: See advice above
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PBell68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ontario canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2013

We like all-inclusives and have been to many. If you are like us and always see the glass half full you will enjoy this resort and what it has to offer. What we liked:
*Fantastic and stunning views.....felt like paradise
*Hotel staff worked hard to please.....cudos also to the Italian female staff member Patricia who worked extremely hard
*10 minute walk on the beach to Phillipsburg....great shopping...cheap, cheap duty free alcohol....also nice side trip $2 by a local bus to the French side for a great flea market
*St Maarten people are wonderfully thoughtful...
*safety was never and issue...no guns or camouflaged police lurking about
* took a local bus to the sister Sonesta resort...right on the famous beach that the planes fly over...if you like bigger resorts, recommend you book there
2 complaints about Great Bay:
* a lot of the cups in the restaurant were chipped....I am not a prude, but it was a bit annoying drinking my regular morning coffee out of a chipped cup. I am sure if I had complained it would have been instantly remedied....I wanted to include it here so management is aware and will look at replacing some dishes.
* we were not on the beach side and therefore excluded from the complimentary alcohol that was given to the oceanside patrons...it would have been nice to be given that little privelage since we didn't get the benefit of the fantastic view
Overall this resort met our needs...we got to see beautiful St Maarten without breaking the bank and enjoyed the most stunning views.

Room Tip: oceanview....best views and complimentary alcohol
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank cathycanuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

We traveled to St-Marteen's Sonesta Great Bay Resort for a 7 day trip, starting January 31, 2013.
We have done big 5 star places like: Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe, Iberostar Paraiso Grand Hotel, Beaches Turcs & Caicos, etc. They were all big, with incredible food menus & choice, and night entertainment. This resort was the opposite, but not on the negative side. Arrival at airport was good and fast enough. About 15 minutes ride to the resort from airport. We were greeted at lobby with drink and keys were given to us for the room. (no need for reception desk since our Sunwing agent had prepared everything in advance). We were very pleased with the staff, as they were always kind & helpful. (give them a good smile & good attitude and it will reflect back on your vacation). The resort was very clean inside, as well as outside, and the cleaning ladies who attended our room never missed doing a good job. The resort buffet (outside which was great for the view) for breakfast, dinner & lunch is small & limited, but good for a week. More than that, it would become a repeat. For dinner, a pizza / hamburger stand is also open outside with another great view of the bay & ships. For lunch, they serve italian style food which is very good, on the terrace outside next to the pizza stand, and their à la carte Molasses restaurant was also very good. (ex: pumpkin soup, steak with pumpkin sauce, etc.). Overall table service was good at both places. Their night entertainment is limited to a solo musicien or small local group which was actually quite good, but you will probably be in bed between 9:00 & 10:00 p.m. Concerning the bars, we do not drink much alcohol, so i can't really judge the bar service.One thing that was nice about the resort is that at least 60% of the clients were aged 60 and over, with no more than 5 kids under 15, so it was quite during the day. If you want to go jet skiing, it is on the resort itself, and is a big $60 for 1/2 hour ride. (speed up to 60 miles an hour). You can also walk to town while being on the beach. So for my overall impresion of the resort itself, i would recommend it, but for a week only. I almost forgot one thing, the excursions. They have a counter that has a big choice of excursions on the island, or for any other island. We took the 4 hour island tour and found it was worth it for $35 each. Now for the Island itself. We visited the markets for souvenirs, and as many as 300 jewelry shops are in the town. (rolex, bugatti, versacé, etc). They have great prices, but it could cost you more than your trip if you let yourself go loose. Overall rating for this resort, i would return again without hesitation.

Room Tip: Take an ocean view & as high as possible to see bthe bay & cruise ships.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ParadiseMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westfield NJ
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

Just returned from staying at the Sonesta and we had a fantastic time. Vicky at the front desk always has a smile and is always ready to answer any questions you have. Patricia J and Virginia in the buffet for breakfast and breakfast are always around to get you whatever you need and Florine who I believe is in charge of the restaurants went out of her way on many occasions to make us feel welcome even helping plan a birthday party one night. You can also have the best pizza you will ever have(and I'm from the NY area) down by the beach and Andy and Marco do there best to get it to you as soon as they can. Ruffino who works in the specialty restaurant is very attentive and friendly as well and Edrick will help you with your bags and get you a taxi if you need it. There were 6 of us and not one of us had a complaint. The hotel could use a facelift but it didn't affect our vacation at all. You should also go out with Fab on a boat trip around the island, he and his wife run the dive shop. Great tour guide and host. $55 for 4 hours and they stock beer, soda, water and Rum Punch...well worth every penny. We had an Ocean front Suite which is well worth the money...Rooms are very clean!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Amy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2013

6 nights there. Oceanview room 5th floor. perfect. room was comfortable. Good drinks and easy to get at any of the bars. Refig. always had beer, soda , water and room had two big bottles of booze.
Food was so so. some meals good..some not so good. Always burgers, dogs, fries available during day. Breakfast foods the best. close to town .easy walk. LeEscargot had great food.
Staff in all departments were polite and helpful. Local vendors were polite and added color to the resort. Resort in great location. Would never have a room on the mountain /street side. that would be a total waste of money. Overall a nice place with all the ammenities you could want. Low key,
decent entertainment.

Room Tip: always get Ocean View. 4th floor or above.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gst277
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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