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“unforgettable 25th anniversary trip”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Guelph, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“unforgettable 25th anniversary trip”
Reviewed June 24, 2014

Our 25th anniversary trip. The hotel is 20 min. from airport, and you can walk to downtown Philipsburg within 5-10 min. We had a room on the upper level where we enjoyed the pool and the hot tub, hardly anyone there,away from the patio/pool area where everyone gathered during the day. They have 2 pools there, a bar, the beach and lots of activities although we did not partake in those. Staff are friendly and the food was great. We went on a power boat trip (Coconut Reef) that took us thru the Bay, out to Creole Rock, Pinel Island, Tintamare, and our Captain was kind enough to take us to a couple of quiet secluded beaches as well as a tour of some of the French side marinas. He was great! Also did the Anguilla catamaran boat tour which I thought was a little pricey for what you got. Catamaran staff are awesome but all you got was the boat ride across to Anguilla, had to wait for a bus to come get us, took a small tour of part of the island and then to a gorgeous beach where we had lunch (chicken, burgers or fish) nothing special and then free time to enjoy the beach, snorkelling, walking or relaxing. Then on the bus back to the boat and back to St Maarten. Many people said the Prickly Pear tour was better. At night they usually had entertainment at the hotel in the form of a small band but most of them were fantastic. Several couples danced the night away to the music they played. Our last night we had a blast, the band (forgot the name - Chocolate something) played a little longer than usual but played some awesome tunes and almost everybody was up and having a good time.

Room Tip: we had room 260 but not sure if that was given to us because of our anniversary or not. Nice and qui...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rick V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2014

My wife and I recently returned from our trip to St. Maarten and our stay at Sonesta Great Bay Resort. We stayed on the Miramar side with an ocean view, which we really enjoyed! This side is a little more secluded, so we felt like we had the whole wing to ourselves! The hotel is in the process of doing some renovations, and as this is the slow time of the year, there was a crew working down the hall from us. They only worked during the day, and did not bother us one bit. I am glad to know that the hotel is working to keep the resort as nice as possible for future stays.

The staff here was incredibly friendly and helpful! The food was good, and we never went hungry with all of the options and different themes. We also liked having pizza available for a mid afternoon or evening snack.

We also enjoyed an afternoon at Sonesta Maho. It was so nice to be able to go over and not worry about where we were going to sit, where to get a drink, or get something to eat. Would it be nice to have a shuttle to go over to the other resort....sure, but no matter where we went on the island, it was only a $20 cab ride.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Great Bay!! We are already looking forward to our next trip to St. Maarten!!

Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Lanny B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2014

We stayed at this resort in May of 2013, and we liked it so much that we had to return for another stay. This year, it turned out even better - the food was fantastic, the beach was enriched with more sand, and the service was taken to a whole new level!

I especially loved the improvements in the buffet, my favourite was the soups, grilled fish and desserts. I liked the soups so much that I asked the chef the recipe for one of their best soups (fish). I got the pleasure of meeting Alfredo and he was very gracious in that he gave me the recipe (in English) to take home with instructions for preparations. Thank you Alfredo and Renata for the excellent food and gifting me with a unique souvenir to share back home.

A special thanks to Julia, the cleaning lady (on the fourth floor) who made our stay very enjoyable and comfortable.

We had a comfortable and enjoyable stay at this hotel, and will not hesitate once to return for a third stay.

Room Tip: If you like to go to bed early, and get some good sleep you want to be further away from where the e...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Elizaveta R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, Connecticut
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2014

If you're looking for a sprawling beautiful resort on a beautiful island this is definitely not it. The property is extremely small and not at all luxurious. Upon checking in we discovered a number of issues with the room. The balcony glass was cracked, the thermostat was broken, there was no lighting in the bathroom and the bed was hard as a rock. We contacted our travel agent who called the hotel and was told the manager really wanted to help us and was on his way up to our room right away. The person who showed up was certainly not the manager. He was a maintenance man who proceeded to tell us he couldn't do anything about anything and that we were definitely getting ripped off at his hotel. He said management is cheap and tries to save money in order to pad their bonuses. He told us we could expect never to have hot water in the shower because again management is too cheap. We were stunned! And just wanted this scary, creepy man out of our room. After going back and forth with various people at the front desk who refused to let us see a manager even though we asked NUMEROUS times we eventually met a manager. They moved us to one of their apartment style rooms which was much better but certainly nothing amazing. The trip got progressively worse and by the end of the week we could not wait to get out of there.
The service at this hotel was absolutely horrendous. Every single day housekeeping forgot one thing or another and it was utterly impossible to get what we needed. At every other hotel I've ever stayed at if you call the front desk and tell them something is missing they will send someone right up with a replacement. This was not the case at the Sonesta. They could not care less. Their attitude was well we'll just have housekeeping bring it next time they're around, if we remember. So you may or may not get what you need and it may not be until the next day. For example, there was a refrigerator in the room that was supposed to be fully stocked with soda, water and beer. Ours had nothing when we arrived. We asked that it be stocked at least 4 times and they just would not do it for 2 days. Another day they forgot to refill the coffee. So I called down in the morning to get some and they never bothered to bring us any. We had to track down the maid ourselves and ask her to refill it that afternoon. Another time they took all our dirty towels and didn't replace them with clean ones. When we called the front desk to get some they sent someone up to the room to see if we were telling the truth! Then came back a few minutes later with the towels. They also kept insisting that our 'do not disturb' sign was on the door and that's why they weren't coming, which was absolutely not true. And to top it all off, the housekeeping staff left the door to our room completely unlocked and wide-open for anyone to walk in on not one but TWO separate occasions! We're lucky all of our stuff wasn't stolen. The front desk staff was not apologetic at all when we told them our room was left unlocked.
The hotel itself was dingy and dirty and falling apart. Every time it rained water came pouring through the roof into the hallways. We had to jump over puddles to get to and from our room. The hotel's fix for that? Throw a couple blankets over the puddles. The elevator was downright scary. One of the staff actually said it was safe for baggage but not people!
The food was terrible as well. Very poor quality. Even in the 'nice' restaurants (those that were not the buffet) food was pre-made. So you ordered and it came to the table within minutes. Which meant it was not cooked to order. And the service in the restaurants was excruciatingly slow. Even if there were only 4 people in line we would have to wait 10 minutes to be seated. Then another 10 before a waiter came to take our drink order. The staff walked around like they just had no desire to be there and no interest in making it a nice experience for their guests.
The drink options were very limited. Our choices for wine were: red or white. No different kinds like Cabernet, Malbec, Pinot Grigio, just red or white - both of which were disgusting. The only choices for beer were Coors light, miller light and heineken. The 'all-inclusive' was absolutely not worth it.
The casino on the property is a joke. It was a small room with about 2 dozen slot machines at its kept at about 40 degrees.You can't even bear to be in there for more than 30 seconds.
One of the worst parts about the hotel is the fact that there is nowhere to go and nothing to do if it rains. They have absolutely nothing in place to entertain guest when there's bad weather. 3 out of 4 restaurants/bars are outdoors. There was one lobby bar indoors with only about 4 seats and not a single TV in the building. So if it rained (and it did just about every day) you have absolutely nothing to do but stay in your room. Yet the entertainment manager was hounding us to write a glowing review on trip advisor when we got home.
The island itself was ugly and run down. Starving stray dogs are everywhere and nobody does anything about it. There's a very high crime rate and con artists stalk you right outside the hotel doors. Truly a disgusting place. I will never return to St. Maarten and probably will never stay in another Sonesta hotel again. This was a truly awful vacation and a waste of money.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank jd32014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dhaka City, Bangladesh
Level Contributor
39 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2014

I stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay for 6 nights over the Memorial Day weekend. After our arrival to the airport, the ride and views to the hotel were very smooth and scenic. The roads leading close to the resort look over the bay so you can see boats, beautiful houses and even cruise ships.

Lobby:
The hotel lobby was much like many other Caribbean and South American resorts in that it was very airy. They have large windows that look over onto the bay that are closed during inclement weather but open during beautiful days. The welcoming staff (bellmen and front desk agents) were happy to receive us with smiles.

Room:
I opted to stay in the Apartments which are more spacious, have kitchenettes and have access to private patios and a private pool. Most come with butler service as well. This experience, although it adds time to your walk back to the room, was great. The service I received was wonderful and there was plenty of attention to detail.
The room was equipped with alcohol bottles. However, I think they were watered down. Tip - A tip and smile goes a long way. Get friendly with your butler and/or room service agent and they can deliver un-opened bottles of liquor to ensure they are not watered down.
Housekeeping service was up to par. There was not one time where I returned to the room and the room had not been made. I am always appreciative of this.

Food and Beverage:
I recall there being a few options but we mostly ate at the buffet and grill during the day and one night we went to the seafood restaurant right off of the main lobby. The food at the buffet always seemed fresh and different. It did not feel like they used scraps or left-overs from the prior meal to create something "new". The seafood restaurant experience was great. However, remember that everything is not included. They have white or red generic wines offered unless you pay for a bottle of your preferred grape.

Area & St Maarten:
I really spent time exploring this trip. There is a great rental company right across the street that rents cars, Jeeps and ATVs. I opted for the ATVs with a few friends. For $90 we were able to take them for 24 hours! Great deal! This allowed us to literally explore the entire island. We visited Orient Bay, Palm Beach, Princess Juliana Airport (where planes fly right overhead) and a few local restaurants both on the Dutch and French sides.
One day, we took a ferry to Anguilla and spent the day exploring their beaches and visited Sandy Island, a private beach with a beautiful restaurant. The following day, we took a ferry to St. Barths and visited their beaches and did a bit of shopping and had a great meal on the beach of Nikki Beach, St Barths. The final day, we got passes to go to the port where the cruise ships let off. The district is full of jewelry shops. They advertise sales and deep discounts with strike-through marks on all of the tags but honestly, you can go much lower as long as you are buying multiple pieces or have a very good knack for negotiating.

The weather was perfect the entire time we were there (70s- mid 80s) with low humidity, the people were friendly and the food outside in the town was wonderful.

If you go, I really suggest you explore, don't just stay on the Dutch or French side, Visit both and Anguilla and St. Barths for day excursions.

Room Tip: Consider the price difference for the Apartments.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank FastCheckIn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Staten Island, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2014

Hi my husband and I along with 4 other couples stayed here June 8 thru the 15 most of the staff was excellent, food very good rooms were average it was very hard getting in and out of the shower it was way to tall! Denroy the activity director was awesome as was Nigel the pool bartender and the staff in restaurants and buffet were all excellent ! We had a great time and will definetly return but rooms do need an upgrade!

Room Tip: We booked ocean view and the first room they gave us had a terrible view but they did move us the ne...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank 107regina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2014

6 of us girls booked Sonesta Great Bay resort and Casino for a 50th birthday. Have to say loved pretty much everything about the resort except for a couple of things: the crushed shell beach which was hard on your feet. It was supposed to be an adult only resort..and during the week we were there (April 24th - May 2nd 2014) , there were kids in the pool , on the beach and in the restaurants. I wrote to Sunwing and have not heard back anything from them..not impressed :-(

The staff are super helpful, friendly and accommodating (except for Jose at the bar, who should get himself a job not dealing with the public) lol Some amazing staff: Marcia (butler) Mauritzio and company at the bar; the waiters at all restaurants were really great. My room was always spic and span, I have no complaints.
Best food I've had at an all inclusive and I would go again..if they had softer sand lol
Entertainment ended at 11pm sharp every night - so if you're looking for the nightlife..this isn't the hotel that has it..I'm sure you could walk into town to find it (15 min)
Saw the 45th Caribana festival - which was amazing !
We rented a jeep for the day to see St Martin and had a great time !
Weather all week was 28c-32c - fabulous !!

Room Tip: we had rooms on the other side (not ocean view) - we were kept up a lot of nights by barking puppies...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mur1elle
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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