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“Great Experience!!”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Point Fortin, Trinidad
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great Experience!!”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

This was my first trip to St Maarten and what a great way to spend it!! If you're looking for friendly staff, good cuisine and great live entertainment, then this is the hotel for you. The rooms are spacious and clean. The meal choices we equally good. Live entertainment from live bands to Karaoke - awesome!! While you're there look out for bingo! Philipsburg is walking distance from the hotel and so it's close to popular hang out spots, if that interests you.
I must mention, though, a few of the people that made my stay at Sonesta Great Bay especially good:
Edrick - The friendliest and most helpful porter there is!
Vicky, Olga & Latesha - Our front desk clerks - they helped us with all our minor queries and issues
And there's Alain and Andy, who's on-the-spot, hand-made, pizza and hamburgers were on point!
Thank you guys for everything!!! Great Job

Room Tip: Rooms that are on higher floors have a great view of the beach.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Amina2o13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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English first
Richmond
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Sonesta Great Bay for 5 days & 4 nights at the end of May, 2013. First, note that there are two Sonesta resorts on St. Maarten's Dutch side. The Sonesta @ Maho is about twenty minutes east of the Sonesta @ Great Bay. Maho is where the beach is adjacent to the airport's landing strip.

Pros:
The view is absolutely breathtaking.
The food was excellent or very good for all but one meal (Oriental night was not good - I love Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai food... this was not any of those things.)
The three pools and one hot tub are very nice, clean, and big.
Our room had a very efficient a/c (critical!) and a wonderful oceanfront balcony.
When we arrived, they had two bottles of liquor waiting for us, and a half-stocked mini fridge. Everything is very close together, it's 90 seconds between the beach, the pool and the dining area.
Overall, Sonesta Great Bay was an excellent value.

Cons:
The service. We joked that there was an A-team and a B-team. Unfortunately, most of the staff seem to be on this junior varsity squad, and don't really seem to care if you have a good time or not - table service was generally perfunctory and slow and, at times, rude. The bartenders, in particular, were just going through the motions.
The restaurants are not always open, there are occasional gaps in service.
The internet. This is an all-inclusive hotel with the following rates for internet access as of May 2013. 30 minutes in the internet cafe - $8 USD. 60 minutes in the internet cafe - $12 USD. (There's three PCs, two were out of service each time I went in there.) One day of wi-fi access - $16 USD.

Room Tip: Splurge on an oceanside room - the others don't have a nice view, and the oceanside view is amaz...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank W W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed June 3, 2013

I give this Hotel a perfect score mainly because of the great service I was provided. I want to start with the servers at the restaurants. I encountered 5 individuals at this hotel that made my stay magical because of their simply amazing service. These individuals are: Gilberto, Audrey, Winston, Andy, and last but not least Rufino. GIlberto is by far the best server I have ever had at any Hotel I have ever been in, this man should be in management due to his caring demeanor, excellent people skills, communication and outgoing personality. When I was there every time he saw me and my family, his warmness and caring took over, when I wanted something, it was like he read my mind every time, I spoke with the manager of the hotel about Gilberto. I will say it again here, Carl, do yourself a service and a favor and promote this man. Furthermore, Audrey is also by far one of the most talented and friendly servers ever, when she took care of me and my family, she treated us like royalty, her attention to detail is simply amazing by any service standards. Audrey pays attention to what you want, listens to what you say, and observes every second you are seated, taking care of everything you need, she even goes out of her way to get things they don't have. Andy at the pizza restaurant is amazing, Rufino and Winston treated me and family amazingly as well, I can write about these people all day! The food in the hotel was great, they did not have a huge variety of food, however, they had enough. If I saw any issues at this hotel, they were simply washed away by the service I had here, in the pool bar and bars you have two outstanding bartenders as well, they are Destine and Owen, these two guys are warm, always friendly and will go out of their way to make the drinks you want, always with a smile on their face. I will come back to ST Maarten and will stay here again mostly because of these workers that make your vacation a real vacation.

Room Tip: Get a room a little far from the elevators, you can sometimes hear the elevator sounds if you are to...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rafael S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 3, 2013

staff Is Wonderfull they welcome you since you place the first step in the lobby check in goes 1 sec. the restaurants had a nice gourmet with great choices. rooms are spacious clean and nice comfort. walking to the City is great.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank oozytimo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
80 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed June 3, 2013

Just got back from a 6 night stay at the Sonesta Great Bay. There were 13 of us in the group and we arranged a van to pick us up at the airport to take us to the resort. Upon arrival at the resort, we were the only guests checking in. It didn’t take as long as some other Caribbean Islands to get that taken care of so that was nice. Only one of the rooms was not ready but the rest of us were able to get into our rooms to change.
Rooms:
We were all on the 5th floor facing the street. It was nice we were all on the same floor, 508, 510, 514, 520, 524, 528. The grounds were always clean. All the rooms we were in had the musty damp smell to them. We did have a situation where a few of the rooms appeared to have some sort of bed bug or flea infestation or something where 3 different rooms (520, 521,528) people would wake up with itchy welts on their legs from overnight. Someone from our group had another person check out their bed and they did find some type of bug in the bed itself crawling around. They went up to the lobby and requested a room change which they were given a new room facing the ocean on the 7th floor. Another occurrence we had was after returning from a day excursion. We were told by housekeeping to go to the lobby about their room (514). They found out they had to move from their room because their ceiling was sagging. Sure enough when they went to get their bags it was bowing in. They moved them to an ocean facing room (521). We forgot earrings in the old room and went the next morning to retrieve them from the old room. When the staff gave us a key and opened the room, the entire ceiling had caved in since they’d moved out! There was insulation with black mold and the entire ceiling caved in on their beds. How fortunate we were that it didn’t happen while they were in there. Someone was definitely looking out for them. The rooms definitely need upgrading. At least the safe worked. One person did have a cock roach come from under their fridge but that was about it besides all the other stuff that happened. Our room was cleaned every day before we got back from the pool/beach.
Food:
We started off going to the buffet area to get something to eat but all that was open was the Grill. We made the mistake of ordering from upstairs since we didn’t know the Grill was downstairs and our food ended up being served to us cold. Would have been nice to be told the lay of the land and what was where. We ordered burgers, fries, and hot dogs. They were all pretty miserably cold. The next day, we figured out that the Grill was downstairs and we would wait for our food there and get it ourselves and it was always piping hot. The burgers were kind of weird tasting, more like a gyro burger than anything. When the fries were hot, they were really good. We had pizza which was good. The buffet breakfast was the same fare every day which mostly was edible. Their lunch buffet was always very good and tasty. I had the various soups they made which were always good. Their chicken was well seasoned and fish was not fishy at all. They had mostly grouper, swai, and tilapia during our stay. By the way if you want ice cream just ask the wait staff at the buffet and they’ll serve you up some from the back with whipped cream on top. We got vanilla ice cream and it was delicious. Also, if you are in the mood for a latte or espresso, just ask the wait staff and they’ll brew one up for you if you don’t want the regular brew they give you at breakfast.
Other info
The beach is great. We tried snorkeling in the roped off area but you can’t see much, not even your own hand during this time, but not sure there would be much to see anyway. Town was within walking distance to the shops which were fully opened and operational when the ships were in port. So, be aware if you are not going to St. Maartin during high season and want all the shops to be open, go when you see the ship in port.
Maho
We did wander over to Sonesta Maho using the local bus. We paid 2 dollars each but I heard some people paid 1.50 so not sure what the real rate is so you’ll have to negotiate the cost before you get on the bus. We caught the bus by the school where all the shops are for the cruise ships. Look for the bus that has a Maho sign in it and the license plate says BUS xxx. We didn’t see any rooms at Maho so can’t comment there. Maho has a bigger pool and had more people but did have the constant sounds of planes landing and departing. Their grill area was nicer and offered wings. We also ate lunch at the buffet which was good and similar to Great Bay. The food was comparable but different offerings for sure. The pool here was dirtier and the bartenders left something to be desired regarding service and making you feel welcome. The Great Bay bartenders seemed nice compared to the Maho bartender and that’s saying a lot. But the beach at Maho was definitely not as good as Great Bay. When you went down to the beach at Maho, you had to go through the gauntlet of women asking to braid your hair, or give you a massage, and things like that. There were also random rocks that you could hurt your feet on or trip over if you weren’t watching where you were walking. The only neat thing about this beach is that you can walk over to Sunset Bar or the beach area where the planes land. Other than that, I liked Great Bay beach better.
Excursions
We did a snorkeling excursion with Rhino Tours. We thought it was $65 per person but ended up being 3 dollars more, so be aware, they tack on a fee to preserve some nature thing when you get there. Also, you will have to get your own transportation to Rhino Tours. If we would have known about the bus system earlier we would have used the bus not a rented van. The tour was fun and got to see some newer fish and more coral than I’d experienced on previous snorkeling excursions. There were lots of spiny sea urchins in the area where we snorkeled. Some people saw a barracuda.
We also did the progressive dinner with Captain Neil. The cruise was nice, just wish it was done late in the afternoon to be able to see the sunset not during full darkness. The food was okay, definitely not worth $85 per person.

Overall the hotel rooms needs renovation at least the ones on the 5th floor. The pools are nice, the beach is great. The price is reasonable, just need to set your expectations before you go.

Room Tip: Nothing on the 5th floor facing the street
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ca_yee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2013

My new husband and my 8 year old son traveled here for our wedding. We had a deluxe ocean-view room on floor 5. It was a great view! The beach was lovely and we were able to walk to town frequently. The resort does need a few renos but overall it was clean and the food was good. Some of the staff especially, some of the bartenders seemed aloof if you didn't tip. Denroy the animation supervisor was great. He was super friendly and was really engaged with people. I think the hotel needs more people like him.
The nightly evening events were fun- karaoke, cocktail night and different bands kept us entertained. My son loved the pool and we liked how there were two pools to use.
We were able to visit the sister resort- Sonesta Maho Resort and we were glad we made that decision. It seemed like a nicer hotel and we had nice experience but it was way too close to the airport.
Our wedding was amazing and held on the beach. The wedding planner/team (www.sintmaartenmarry-me.com) I hired made the day so much more fun (and way smoother). Jean Vallette was our wedding photographer (www.jeanvallette.com) and I every time I look at these pictures and I remember one of the happiest times in my life. He did a wonderful job!
Overall we had such a great time and can't wait to go visit again.

Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank JadenStar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed June 1, 2013

Chanella, housekeeping staff, advised the staff that it was my friends birthday and they decorated the room, left champagne and cake. Couldn't ask for a better surprise.

The new housekeeping manager and the night staff were excellent !!

Room Tip: Great location, and that beach to die for
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank henne1
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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