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“Nothing as Expected”

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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We were very excited about booking this hotel, upon arrival we were greeted with a skill and drink, but things went downhill from there. The room we were in wasn't what we had booked, and there were no rooms for the option we did book, so we were stuck. The front desk staff was rather rude and unhelpful. There is a slight dank odor in the halls and bathrooms. At least the view was spectacular.
The cleaning staff started at or before 8am EVERY morning, and were very loud in the halls.
Many of the other staff members were friendly and nice, but it was certainly not as it sounded or what we saw on the pictures from their website. The whole place is older looking and not as nice as we were expecting. The all-inclusive food certainly leaves room for improvement and the open drinks are very limited (example, only 3 types of beer). There is no room service or any food options after about 10-11pm and little to no night life, so we definitely explored other options.
It IS quiet and relaxing, and we met some great people who were also staying. We also took the snorkel trip and had a wonderful time.
I would not recommend straying on the beach or road from the hotel at night and early morning or really the Island as a whole.
It left much to be desired and we would probably not return to the Island. Certainly not the hotel. As I said, the good things were the other guests, the snorkel trip (and activities center), and the beach itself.

Room Tip: The road is very busy, so you will probably have to deal with the sounds of a lot of vehicle, atv, a...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Kimberly W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,825 - 2,831 of 4,331 reviews

Reviewed April 1, 2013

Most of the staff was very friendly, while some at the front desk couldn't be bothered by guests. Traveling with 2 other women, some of the male staff could get a bit...clingy. ***One major problem- The room we booked was larger with 2 double beds. When we arrived, we were given a large room with a king. This would be ideal for a couple, but not exactly 3 friends. After discussing with the front desk manager and reservations, we found out that only one large room with 2 double beds exists at the resort.*** Nothing was done about it, and we were lucky to get a second fold-out bed. The pools and beach front were quite nice. Gorgeous view. Right next to downtown Phillipsburg. At one point, they ran out of towels for the guests. The food was average. The hallway was SO loud early in the morning (starting at 7 or 8), you could never sleep in! Will not be returning!

Room Tip: Don't expect to get what you booked! Very loud!
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank 524samanthah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

- Nice location right on the beach
- The Hotel's "Animators" really liven up the resort with fun activities. Denroy really made sure my girlfriend and I had a great stay. Marion, Sanjai, and Chanella also were great...because of all them, with the all-inclusive, you could conceivably spend all your time at the hotel.
- Rooms were nice and clean, and food was good. Cable and lack of internet leave much to be desired

Hotel's pluses are in its location and its staff (from the Animators to service staff as well). I was disappointed to see a lot of tourists not tipping service staff when getting drinks or after meals. Sonesta, give these people their due for making the hotel run smoothly.

All in all, I really enjoyed St. Maarten and hope to be back soon.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms offer great views of sunrise, sunset, and the Great Bay.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank AndomGheb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

In my travel experience I have determined that the most satisfying get-aways are of two types: the ones that instantly draw you in, such as that felt from a good book or movie, the other being when you first enter the resort you feel like your instantly away, but at the same time at home, with friends, and when you leave you want to comeback the very next week and you also feel like you will remain friends forever with the people you have met.
Such was that experience on Sint Maarten's loveliest all-inclusive resort, Sonesta at Great Bay. I am married and have 2 boys, 8 and 14. We all had wonderful times.
Now let me get specific, my 14 year old enjoyed the beautiful beach and snorkeling trips from the water sports dive shop with Captain Fab. My wife and I enjoyed the beaches and pools at Great Bay and its nearby sister property Sonesta Maho. The meals, prepared by the talented Chef Dave and supervised by the lovely and caring Cleopatra were excellent. Cleopatra's close attention to detail really paid off. Another highlight of Sonesta Great Bay is the kids club and animation team managed by Devon. Devon's creativity and good taste in entertainment really added to the value of this trip. All the animators: Delroy, Maria, Channela, Moriley, Sanjai, and Marion worked hard to ensure everyone had a fun week. I was very impressed with Sanjai for teaching our son some slick dance moves and giving him the ultimate St Maarten experience. Not only was Sanjai the coolest babysitter but also a great DJ! Thanks to a beautiful location, great food, and fun loving staff (Sanjai) we will definitely be return visitors to the Sonesta Great Bay!

Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
3  Thank ShulomF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

The Sonesta Great Bay on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten is the perfect spot for an active family looking for a beautiful place to relax, enjoy water sports , be entertained nightly and tour around the island. Our family of four enjoyed non stop fun under the animation team led by the talented and friendly Devon. Devon has put together a great group of animators to run activities for adults and kids and an incredible line up of nightly entertainment.
Breathtaking morning walks with the animation team: Sanjai, Channela, Denroy, Marion, Maria and Moriley were the perfect way to explore the nearby City of Phillipsburg and historical Ft Amsterdam. My husband and I enjoyed plenty of couple time while our 8 year old played and danced and swam with the kids club. A huge thank you to Sanjai from kids club for your playful loving spirit. Sanjai Is the ever so talented DJ Skills whose dancing and gymnastic skills mesmerized the kids! Sanjai went above and beyond his job as animator by sharing so much of what he knows with our son. Our son had tears in his eyes when he said goodbye because Sanjai made his vacation in St. Maarten the "best week of his life ". If nightlife is your thing, You can listen to live music every night by the pool ( thanks Devon !) and can dance the night away to Dj Skillz (Aka Sanjai) and Marion in the upstairs disco . If your really lucky, you may catch a glimpse of Sanjai and Marion dancing in perfect unison. These boys can dance! Meanwhile, our high school son enjoyed 2 snorkeling /scuba diving trips with Fab and Kirsten at the water sports shop conveniently located on the Sonesta beach.

Manager Karl you have a great staff! Dining at the Sonesta was fabulous, Chef Dave is an enormously talented cook and we loved everything from the 5 course meals to the poolside pizza. I'm an Italian from NJ and was shocked by how great the pizza was! We really enjoyed every meal and felt like VIPs with the food and becerage manager Cleopatra's careful attention to our every need! For example, when Cleopatra noticed I was sunburned on my first day, she quickly asked Chanella to cut off a leaf from her home aloe tree and bring it to me the next morning! We travel with our kids in the US and abroad all the time but were really impressed with the level of professionalism shown by Cleopatra and Devon and their staff! It is obvious that the staff of the Sonesta Great Bay really cares and tries their best to make everyone's vacation a truly enjoyable! I should also mention that the Sonesta Great Bay has the added benefit of having a sister hotel , the Sonesta Maho, a short cab ride away. Guests of the Sonesta can eat their and enjoy their pool as well.
Sanjai we will be back soon for more fun in the sun! In addition to Sanjai's physical skills he also helped with the math homework my 8 year old son was assigned, all while baby sitting him! This vacation was a dream come true!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Darlene F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

We were here with a small meeting group and it was our first time in the Caribbean. The hotel is in a good location, nice beach and easy walking distance to Phillipsburg. I'm not sure if it is typical of a three star resort in this part of the world but it seemed like it had seen better days. Our bathroom had stains on the walls that looked like rusty water and the shower was small and awkward. Hotel staff were polite when approached but didn't go out of their way to assist or serve. Housekeeping was hit and miss - one day we would have face cloths, the next day not. Food was boring to bad; our group had a dinner banquet and the fish was tough as leather - far too overcooked. Aside from the usual water and beach activities and shopping there isn't much to do around the hotel. If you are on a budget you will likely spend most of your time at the resort or strolling the small streets of Phillipsburg rather than exploring the island as taxis are fairly expensive, the charge is per person based on distance. There is a tour desk to help organize excursions.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank Catherine H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Last November we had booked a week vacation in St-Marteen at the Sonesta Great Bay Resort. Before our stay I had written the hotel to find out about car rental services and excursions available. Rosalie, the Front Office manager wrote me back promptly and gave me all the information necessary. Also, we had special needs for our stay and she made sure that all was offered to us. If you need anything she is the one to talk to, she is amazing. When we got to the hotel, we were pleased with the general atmosphere. Very friendly personnel, very very clean hotel and what a view!! We had a deluxe ocean view room and it was perfect. The weather was sunny and warm all week. Service in the restaurant was professional and friendly. The animation staff was fun and made our stay that much more interesting. Kevin and Denroy were full of energy and very nice. Our bartender Michael was the best ever!!! What a great person, always has the nice comment to make you feel special. Make sure you talk to him about an island tour. the best on the island. Our only disappointment was that there was only 1 restaurant and 1 buffet. The restaurant offered the same menu every night and the buffet lacked in variety. We would have appreciated a little more fish dishes, and some variety in salads and entrees. We thank everyone for a great vacation and we will be back in November 2013.

Room Tip: Deluxe ocean view rooms are the best.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Danray456
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: $367 - $799 (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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