There is no getting around that this is an older resort and in need of updating and those who comment basing this resort against a 5 star standard are sadly misguided. With that said, that doesn't mean that SBG is without merit ... it is
You will find its merit based on upscale restaurants or fancy wine bars or disco ball lit clubs that are often found in the amenity folios in other all-inclusives. You are choosing this resort as a value priced way to enjoy St. Maarteen and in that it succeeds. And if you read notihng further understand that I would return to this resort.
Check in was smooth easy and courteous thanks to Vicki
My room was not ready but Edrick valeted my luggage and directed me to the bar so I could enjoy the resort without worry about my luggage. Edrick was equally gracious upon my departure again holding my luggage until I was ready to leave for the airport
I had a Mountain view room on the 2nd floor and it was accessible to the bar/ pool restaurant area w/o using the elevator or stairs (an option if you have mobility issues)
Downside is the view of the street from the balcony vs. mountain and the rooster who served as my alarm clock.
This is where I will be the most critical of this resort as I am not a big room reviewer but there were several elements that were less than satisfying - broken fixtures, moldy smell , old furniture, curtains and a strange tub shower arrangement. The room had a flat screen TV.
not a big deal for me because I'm not in SXM to watch TV.
The staff works hard at keeping the resort clean and given what they have to work with they should be commended. I can forgive an old room but not a clean room.Overall the resort is extremely cleaned and maintained.
Great Bay is by far the best beach on the Dutch side. With it's location at the far end of the bay you are pretty much exclusive to the guests of the hotel and not subject to vendors, gawkers and tourists from the cruise ships across the bay. Although it is quite a sight to see the number and size of ships at the Phillipsburg port. Great photo ops.
The sand on the beach is a little different from most Caribbean sand as it is like panko bread crumbs vs. the more familiar granular sand.
- The resort should definitely fix the last step to the beach as the drop off is ridiculous and potentially dangerous. Shade umbrellas are limited and I was told by a member of the staff that people are placing towels on the chairs at 6:00 a.m. when breakfast is served and showing up to claim their umbrellas at 3:00 later that day.
Phillipsburg is a short 10 minute walk along the beach or the street; your choice and is lined with honky tonk beach bars serving $1 beers to the cruise passengers. This is also your shopping mecca for the island.Front Street (separate post on details)
Note- US $ is the currency of choice and exchange at the hotel for a better rate vs. euros plus no fee.
We visited other beaches both Dutch and French and on the Dutch side this is the beach of choice. Use that in making your decision to stay at this resort (+)
Note: rent a car if you plan on leaving the resort more than twice
Most of the excursions leave from Phillip's Bay and it's a $40 cab ride from the resort and a car rental is $99 for the week Easy math there. Bonus is you get to visit the French side beaches - Orient, Cupecoy, Maho.
Much ado is made about topless sunbathing on St.Martin and from my observation it is much more prevalent on the French side vs. the Dutch, But really not a big as big a deal as promoted.
Restaurants / Bars :
This is where the resort succeeds and creates the value you are looking for.
There are three dining choices which do not require reservation for seating... yes that means no getting up at 8:00 in the morning to stand on line for chance at dining that night.
Two of the restaurants are Al-fresco,the buffet is one, but one is in doors and the food at all of them was always above average. Dining themes changed each evening so nothing was ever just routine.
June and Gilberto exemplified service beyond the measure of the the resort
Pool: again the age of the resort showed but the younger guests and families appeared to be oblivious to the outdated infinity pool and spotted liner. ( the water and surrounding area were always clean).
Hey..this is an all-inclusive so let 's not forget the bars and entertainment
Again, this is an area where the staff exceeds the resort. Owen ( both of them ) and Yolande provide the guests a level of service that is 5 star.
I'll wrap this up....
SGB is resort of merit is you temper your expectations to the fact that this is a 3.0 to 3.5 resort and you are working with that in mind. You are choosing this resort based on value .The staff is great and the location / beach is excellent
I am planning my return so to me that speaks volumes
- 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