We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Message from TripAdvisor:
This place is temporarily closed.

“Great Resort and Personnel!”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 4, 2014

The pictures really do this resort justice! It's even more beautiful than advertised! My friend and I had a great time. We had a gorgeous ocean-front balcony room on the 7th floor. The staff was mostly very welcoming and helpful, especially our housekeeper and the staff at the front desk, particularly Vicki and Roy. We got stuck because of the snow storm back home and the front desk could not be more accommodating! It is really only a quick walk into Philipsburg if you want to go into town. I took advantage of the on-site dive shop and the spa services, which were both great. I can't wait until my next trip! The only reason for 4 stars, not 5, I thought the food could be better with just a little more effort and more variety at dinner.

Room Tip: I would def recommend the Ocean-front 7th floor room away from the main part of the resort. It's...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank chaff93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alexlynch, Guest Relations Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2014

Dear Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on your stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. We value and appreciate all of your comments and as you can't wait for your next trip, we look forward to welcoming you back as well.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Lynch
Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (4,326)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

2,420 - 2,426 of 4,326 reviews

Reviewed February 2, 2014

We have experienced The Dominican, Jamaica and Mexico on previous trips, this was our first trip to Sonesta Great Bay in St. Maarten. It is an older resort that has had some recent upgrades and facelifts. It is a "well loved" resort. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but we are realistic with our expectations! If you want a five star resort then be sensible and go to a five star resort and pay through your nose!

This is an older resort, it's clean, small, on the quiet side with great food. The location is close to shopping and you can watch the cruise ships come in if you are up early to watch the sunrise. As a tourist you should always be cautious but we found the people very friendly and the streets safe! We were there Jan.16 - 30th and could of stayed another week.

Andy (I think that was his name) makes the best pizza. My husband ate it everyday for 2 weeks! Jonathan was always happy to serve us and went out of his way.

Antonia cleaned our room daily and did a fantastic job. We always had everything we needed, thank you Antonia.

A special thank you to probably two of the youngest employees Kim and Maritzio at the pool side bar. They brought our drinks to us on the beach. We miss you already! However, they can definitely use another bartender at this bar as it is very busy!

We had wonderful overall experience and would definitely return!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank Elena M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alexlynch, Guest Relations Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2014

Dear Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on your stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. We value and appreciate all of your comments and truly look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Lynch
Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

What can I say about this hotel other than wow. The hotel has everything you could want or need so I'll break it down.

Check in was a breeze. We had asked for an upper floor ocean view room and when they told us at checkin that we were on the first floor we were disappointed but once we saw the room with direct access right to the beach we were glad we were on the first floor. Some other reviews say to ask for an upper room for the view but we were really glad we didn't get one. The beach access was so convenient that it surpassed the view we saw from the upper rooms.

The food was excellant and there was always a huge selection to choose from. My wife needs a glutan free, lactose free diet and she had plenty to eat and the chef would even make something up if she asked for something other than what was available. We only ate in the buffet restaurant because we aren't big seafood lovers and the Italian may have been an issue for my wifes requirements. We did get snacks from the snack bar and the food there was just as good. It was great being able to walk up and grab a couple of slices of pizza and bring them back to the beach.

The drinks from the bars were usually really good but sometimes inconsistant depending on who was making them and what supplies they were running low on. The wine that was available all the time was really good for an all-inclusive resort.

Room was always cleaned well and we had plenty of space. If I had to say anyting about the maid service was their failure to replenish the toilet paper. On every day except one I had to grab a roll from their cart after the fact or contact the desk. It must have been made out of gold or something. I thought our daily tips would avoid this but this wasn't the case. Towels were also a small issue on some days but not as bad as the toilet paper issue.

Nightly entertainment was pretty good - not the big productions of some of the major resorts in Punta Cana but pretty good.

The beach was awesome. The sand was a little coarse and the tide was a little rough at times but man - what a view. The only problem with the beach is pretty much the same as any resort, people going down and putting their towels to hold chairs and then not showing up until after lunch. I was up before 7 AM in order to get chairs with umbrellas for the days we were going to be on the beach. One day I even saw a group of guys come over and relocate an umbrella because the chairs had remained empty all morning with the peoples towels on them - they finally showed up at the end of the day to pick up their towels and leave. And again, we had direct access to the beach from our room which was awesome. This Bay is also where the cruise ships come in so that was a bonus - especailly watching them come in to port backwards.

Both pools were great but you had the same issue with towels on chairs. The only issue with the pools was not enough shade - even if you had an umbrella.

My only negative about the hotel is the staff - not that they were bad - just indifferent. We are not people who have really high expectations but a smile and a hello from the staff would go really far. If we said hello or smiled then they would do the same rather than do what someone in the service industry should do by greeting the customer with a freindly smile. Most of the time at the bar or the front desk, once they got around to serving you they would just stand there and look at you until you said something - even if we said hi and smiled they may or may not do the same. Maybe the hotel isn't concerned with this since they have a 'captive' crowd but it needs to be addressed.

Now some info about the area. Its a short walk to the Boardwalk for some shopping which was great and as I mentioned the cruise ships come in to port there so it was a great area to vacation. While this isn't really the proper format for this is do need to mention that we were less than satisfied with the Sunwing/Signature rep Sansary at the tour desk. He told us there wasn't really any good shopping nearby so we should avoid the Boardwalk but other guest told us differently so we checked it out and he was wrong, We also asked about doing something that involves the local culture and he said that the Tuesday night bus to Grand Case was really good for that so we signed up - big disappointment. This is soemthing set up just to soak more dollars out of the tourists and wasn't any more culturally stimulating than the entertainment that was available at the hotel. We spent $45 per person to go and felt we were ripped off. It was 1 1/2 hour to get there and 1/2 hour to get back? What a waste of time. I know the excuse is because we had to pick up one tourist at the Sonesta Maho but I'm not sure why both buses had to go that way for one person. It would have made more sense to pick up the one tourist in Maho and then pick eveybody else - there were alot of ticked off people on the bus that night.

We've been to numerous islands in the south and St. Maarten was by far our favourite island and we're even talking about moving there. All in all - we would recommend this hotel and highly recommend this island.

Room Tip: Some say upper floor for view - I say first floor ocean view for direct beach access.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank sauce53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alexlynch, Guest Relations Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2014

Dear Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on your stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. We value and appreciate all of your comments which we have taken keen note of. We too look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Lynch
Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

First let me say that we used our RCI time share to stay at this resort, which has two buildings separated by the lobby. One building is the time share and one is the resort but both use the same facilities.
The time share rooms inside were nothing special, and way below average compared to other timeshares we have stayed at. Their "full" kitchen didn't have an oven nor was it well supplied with plates and utensils. Our bed was one that could be transformed into a couch, which was hard but not too bad. We did spot bugs in our room on several occasions which wants from leaving any food out (as I read in another review). With that being said the view from all the time share rooms were ocean front and BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Loved sitting on the small balcony and watching the cruise ships come and go. Balconies are tiny, just enough room for two people which made it difficult to hang out with our friends who we traveled with. But the view made up for all of the minor negatives I listed above!! Also, this resort had an awesome location within a quick walk to shops and restaurants on Front Street. The resort said we would be safe walking back after dark but a waiter at the hard rock told us otherwise and suggested we take a cab ride, which only costs the four of us $10. Well worth our safety. We rented a car which made going to the market and such easier. The resorts primary lot is very tight and one day we found our car blocked in. Since they don't take plate numbers at check in they weren't able to contact the person who had blocked us.

We chose not to do the hotels all inclusive program at suggestions from others on the plane. So glad we listened. There are so many restaurants and bars to choose from on the island at reasonable prices we ended up getting to try some really cool places and spent less then we would have buying the food/drink plan at the resort. We tried eating dinner on the resort the night they had the beach BBQ but by the time we finally got seated they had run out of ribs and corn on the cob (which was what they were BBQ'ing, so that was extremely annoying and solidified our choice to eat elsewhere on the island.
Staff at this resort were very friendly, as were all the folks/workers throughout the island. A smile goes a long way. Show kindness and they will return it and then some!
Checking in was a breeze, they even held our luggage until our room was ready, but there were no indications as to how often our room would be cleaned, new towels etc. we discovered in the time share wing that they fully clean the room two times a week, but will leave new towels and bottled water every day.
We will definitely go back to this island, as the people are very welcoming. Since it was a timeshare trade and cost us very little to stay at the resort and the location and view can't be beat, at least in my opinion. So, we would probably also go back to this resort if we did a timeshare trade.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
4  Thank lvsvacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alexlynch, Guest Relations Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2014

Dear Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on your stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. We value and appreciate all of your comments, and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Lynch
Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

Had not been to St. Marten in over 19 years. This hotel has had a lot of upgrades since my last visit.The beach area was much larger and the swim up bar pool was new. We picked this hotel because of the location, close to down town. The room , however ,except for the showers, were not much changed. But who spends much time in the room anyway.We were there for the sun, sand and entertainment. There was always something going on. Michael , at the bar, and Michael with the evening entertainment were just the best.The people and the food were great. The view overlooking the bay was spectacular.The Casino would have been more enjoyable if it had tables with real dealers. A is what you make of it time , we had a memorable time!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Elise S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alexlynch, Guest Relations Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2014

Dear Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on your stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. We are glad that we made your stay a memorable one, and we truly look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Lynch
Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

When ice, snow and frigid temperatures are predicted in the middle of January, what's a girl to do? Hop on a jet and head for an island in the Caribbean, of course! Well, the trip was actually planned a year in advance since it has become an annual thing for us girlfriends, but knowing that the bad weather was about to hit at home, made it all the more inviting.

As I said, it has become an annual event, and we have visited several islands in the Caribbean over the past few years. This time we found a real jewel when we stayed at Sonesta Great Bay Resort in St. Maarten January 18-25, 2014! We really liked the size of this resort which made it easy to navigate our way around. It is an "Adults Only" resort and that was a plus for us. Never have we encountered such a friendly, welcoming staff as we did here. From the moment we checked in with Vickie on the front desk, to the day of our departure, we were treated kindly by all the staff. In talking with them, I think they realize how lucky they are to reside in such a beautiful country! I obviously can't remember all of the names of the staff, but I would like to recognize a few in this review.

Denroy led water aerobics in the pool each morning and actually made it lots of fun to participate! He also called out letters for several rounds of Bingo each day and lucky winners were awarded nice prizes.

Sheldon, one of the bartenders, was delightful and even made refreshing drinks the color of our bathing suits: Purple bathing suit = grape flavor, green bathing suit = lime flavor, red = cherry or strawberry (you get the drift). I'll have to say that this was a "first" for us girls! He was a lot of fun. Michael, another bartender, was equally nice!

Patricia, the restaurant supervisor, greeted us with a big smile whenever we walked into the restaurant. Cleopatra, another beautiful lady, was kind and gracious. The hosts and hostesses were very accommodating and usually seated us at the table of our choice. The restaurant is built in such a way that practically every table in the restaurant has a lovely view of the water.

This resort has the best food of any resort we have visited in the Caribbean, and there have been many! Omelets, with your choice of ingredients, were available every day, as was a variety of hot and cold cereals, yogurt, granola, freshly sliced fruits and an assortment of nuts. Breakfast meats, potatoes, scrambled eggs,muffins and breads such as banana nut, fresh blueberry, cherry, apple and pineapple were also available on the buffet along with other items too numerous to mention.

Salads of all kinds, fresh sliced avocadoes - just everything - was served fresh and delicious! As we went through the lunch and dinner buffet lines, the cooks were grilling fresh chicken, fish, steaks, ribs, etc. right in front of you!

The desserts were not only a beautiful work of art, they were irresistable and sinfully delicious!

The housekeeping staff did a fabulous job of keeping the place clean and spotless! Each day when we came back into our room from the beach, our beds had been meticulously made, bathrooms cleaned and deodorized, and plenty of towels and wash cloths left for our use. The housekeepers also kept the in-room refrigerator stocked with a nice assorted of cold beverages. A coffee pot was also in each room.

Every morning it was fun to open the drapes in our room to see how many cruise ships had sailed into port while we slept. We would watch them leave in the evening, beautifully lit up, knowing they no doubt had a wonderful day of excursions on the beautiful island of St. Maarten.

The entertainment nightly on the pool deck was very good. The bands played all types of music so there would be something for everyone to enjoy. I can't recall the name of the band, but I especially liked the band whose music rotated with the 3 or 4 professional dancers in costume. The band played selections from Motown as well as rock and roll. The crowd really got into the music as was evidenced by couples getting up and dancing. There was even a line dance or two that night and fun was had by all!!

A couple of my travel companions visited the spa on the premises and treated themselves to a massage, while another friend enjoyed a facial. I might add that the facial was a result of her ticket being drawn at a cocktail party for guests one evening. Another friend's ticket was drawn and her prize was a nice pair of gemstone earrings from the jewelry store locted on the premises. There is also a casino at the resort.

Another nice thing about this resort is that it is a very short walk into town (Philipsburg). For those of you who love a bargain, there are plenty to be had! Although I didn't purchase any jewelry on this trip, I've heard this is a good place to buy. We got very excited to find sarongs (bathing suit cover-ups) 4 for $14.99. That is less than $4 each!!!!! We have paid anywhere from $18 to $22 on average in Mexico, Punta Cana and other islands for sarongs that were no better quality than these. I brought baseball style hats back for my husband and son and paid only $5 each. Again, these were very good quality and have paid 4 times that much in other countries.

All in all this turned out to be a very memorable trip and my travel companions and I plan on returning to this resort again in the very near future!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank Vacati0nGirl59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alexlynch, Guest Relations Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2014

Dear Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on your stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. We value and appreciate all of your comments. Reading your review even made me excited and wanting to stay here if it wasn't my work place. We are glad that our team made your stay a memorable one and truly look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Lynch
Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

I have been to St. Maarten over 15 times, and this stay at Sonesta Great Bay has been by far, the absolute worst.

First of all, the 99% of the pictures you see advertised on their hotel website for this hotel are not taken on the hotel side of the 'resort' (if you can even call it a resort). The pictures are taken on the time-share side of the 'resort', which people booking a week-vacation aren't allowed to access anyways. Me and my fiance booked, paid for and requested an ocean view room and when we got there, we were one the first floor of the hotel, and our view consisted of a children's broken playground, and a solid concrete wall. Let me inform you, that the first floor of this hotel is actually below ground level, and virtually a basement where the only view you have is of everything except the ocean or beach. We decided this was unacceptable and went to the front desk to request another room, and it took us an hour of arguing with the 'manager' before they switches us rooms. They moved us to the time-share side of the hotel, which was a significant upgrade when comparing rooms to the hotel side of the report, but in all honestly, were still pretty poor. I really wish I took pictures of the condition of the rooms and hotel in general.

We purchased the all-inclusive package, and we ate at the hotel the first night and never again......thats how bad the food was. What they don't get rid of at breakfast, makes it way as a 'special' for lunch and dinner. Honestly, I am not even that picky of an eater, and the food was a huge turn off. In fact, at dinner the first night, we were told we were only allowed to order one appetizer and one entree each. I wouldn't consider myself a huge eater by any means, but if I am paying for all inclusive (all-you-can-eat/all-you-can-drink), then why am I being told I am only allowed to order limited amounts of food in the restaurant. When the food came out, it didn't taste fresh, the portions were tiny, and it was just not acceptable. Again, not the food you see pictured on their website.

At this point, I can say me and my fiance went to different beaches every day, would return to shower before heading out to dinner in either Grand Case or some of the other restaurants in the area.

The staff at this hotel are underpaid, and overworked. We actually felt bad for them, and tried to tip where we could. You can tell they are not treated very well, and if you stop to get to know some of them, you can tell the company doesn't make their staff a priority in their business model whatsoever. I can agree with some of the other reviews about some of the staff being rude and unfriendly, however I think it was more they were employees being treated unfairly rather than them being rude to the guests on purpose.

If you try to complain about anything at this hotel, the manager is always conveniently away from the office, and you get absolutely nowhere with the staff behind the front desk. To be honest, the front desk itself I think they salvaged from a restaurant that must have went bankrupt....thats how old and dirty it was. When you ask about things broken in the rooms (the drapes were dirty, the bathroom has tiles that were cracked, you could see rust on the shower hinges, the bed was as hard as the floor, the lights on the end tables had cracked shades on them, etc), the staff here try to point out that at some point in the early 2000's they spent $10 million dollars on renovations (highly doubtful), and have since spent 500k in the past few years on the rooms. Let me be blunt on this: NO THEY HAVE NOT. The only thing built in the last few years at this hotel is possible the pizza bar, and thats about it.

After the first room we were given, and the food we tried that first night, we should have cancelled the week and switched hotels. I have stayed at both the Westin, and La Samana in St. Maarten before and they are worth every penny. To be honest, sleeping on the beech would have been better than staying that this hotel. I will continue to travel to St. Maarten, as I love the island, but never again will I ever stay at a hotel owned by Sonesta again.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank David N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Philipsburg
3.1 mi away
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten
5.8 mi away
Grand Case Beach Club
Grand Case Beach Club
#2 of 8 in Grand Case
1,816 reviews
2.5 mi away
Simpson Bay Resort & Marina
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.9 mi away
Alamanda Resort
Alamanda Resort
#6 of 8 in Orient Bay
510 reviews
4.4 mi away
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
4.5 mi away
Sonesta Ocean Point Resort
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

Address: 19 Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St Martin / St Maarten
Phone Number:
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
#3 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range: $337 - $691 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Cancelon, Hotwire, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, HotelQuickly and getaroom.com so you can book your Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel Philipsburg
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort And Casino
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 Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing