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“Great time at Great Bay” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
“Great time at Great Bay”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 21, 2005

My Wife and I just returned from Great Bay, and after having concerns on the way down, fully enjoyed our two weeks. The hotel is nice, rooms are just a little above average, though everytrhing is nice and clean and newly painted. The newe pool is great, the older one could use some work. The pool and beach area have plenty of chairs and umbrellas, and new lounge chairs were brought out during our stay. Entertainment during the day was the usual activities. The food is ok, though it gets monotamous. It could use some variations. The bars are fine, service is excellent Location is great, just a ten minute leisurely walk into Phillipsburg and shopping. St. Martin is great, and the easiest place to rent a car and get around on your own. Pinel Island for beach, Dawn Beach for snorkling, Orient Beach for people watching. Great weather.
If you are looking for a five star resort, this isn't it. If you are looking for a relaxing time, great weather, location and beach, this will do it.
Last year we stayed at the Maho, this is definely a better deal.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
16 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2005

We got back from Great Bay yesterday, and although it has been nicely renovated, work is still under way and it really should not be open to guests yet.

There was a lot of unfinnished tiling in corridors, with tools and stacks of tiles left on the floor, during our ten day stay none of this work was touched, let alone completed, and the tools were left there, despite complaints made by us and others on that floor.

All over the hotel there are various jobs left unfinnished, tiles missing, lights not working, dust and tools left laying around.

One elderly lady tripped over a stack of tiles and sprained her ankle, that and children running around all the tools and debris, it just isn't safe.
The cesspool that others mentioned doesnt appear to be kicking up a stink anymore, but it is unsightly.

There is alot of construction going on in the second building which is not yet taking guests, it was so noisy it made it impossible to relax infront of the swimming areas, or on the beach, we even saw digging vehicles crossing the beach.

Great Bay is a nice hotel, the staff are friendly, the food is ok and the rooms are clean and spacious, but there is so much work going on that it really spoiled it for us and others.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2005

We just got back Mar. 15, 05. I've read some really ugly reviews. what in the world do people want???? It was clean the service was good, buffet average, the al a carte terrific, good selection of beer and alcohol throughout. This const. complaint in my view is unfounded, they are working on a building next door!!!!. I've travelled every year for years, Mex.Hawaii, U.S. etc. This is a good hotel, with good staff and decent facilities. Is it a 5*, no, but we didn't pay for a 5* either. The beach is new or rebuilt so it gets my lowest mark. It is still a bit coarse but we walked it every day into downtown Philipsburg. I would go back. The value was good for what I paid. This was truly a very good carribean vacation at the price.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2005

Seems a lot of people are on a rant.
Our party of eight arrived on Valentines Day, had a four hour delay for our oceanfront rooms but were provided with rooms for each couple so we could shower, etc--no big deal. We have all travelled extensively in the Caribbean and have learned not to expect the same amenities as home. Construction crews were busy doing finishing touchs but there was no loud noise and any workmen encountered were courteous and quick to make room for our passage--again, no big deal. We never encountered a rude or unfriendly staff member [or islander for that matter]--house keeping was quick to respond, bar tenders were friendly, tour operators were helpful and the waitresses were always cordial and smiling. I had one of the top five steaks in my life [Argentinian beef] at the al a carte--great chef and very nice presentation all around. There was ONE night that they messed-up with the buffet [I think it was their fifth night of operation] and ran out of food. What to do, what to do? Our party of eight went upstairs to the al a carte and within fifteen minutes were led to a freshly put together table for our party and had another very pleasant meal--the hotel provided inconvenienced [P.O.ed] guests with eighty dollars[U.S] per couple so they could go to town for a restaurant meal! There is a good argument that this hotel should not have been open till the end of February but it certainly was not the nightmare painted by other reviewers---I haven't seen anyone mention that on or about FEB 17th the hotel provided all the quests with vouchers for a FREE one-week-all-inclusive stay at the hotel for next year in the same type of room as purchased this year--our party of eight is already booked for March 1/'06 in the exact same rooms as per our request. Added bonus, Air Transat is refunding $100 each for any inconvenience we might have suffered due to the hotel not having been totally finished. As for the retched smelling ditch, I think it was about day three that the city-works people started digging and produced the foul odour--imagine the hotel management with all the problems already on their plate. Why would the city-works wait until the hotel had just opened when they had months to address whatever the problem was prior to opening? My opinion, we should all be emailing the city-works/mayor of the City of Phillipsburg to express our complaints and disgust. Enough said, we all agreed that we had a great vacation and are anxious to repeat it; especially given the fact that all we have to do is get our butts down there.
One more thing, if you go to Sint Maartens, do not miss the Sunset Beach Bar at the end of the runway, ride the Rino-riders for snorkeling and go to Orient Beach for nudes and tequila.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank MorseB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga,On
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2005

It seems that everybody went a little bit to early...we just got back and we were treated very well!!!
This place is up and running...The people are very nice..they are the same people that have been there a long time!!
The rooms are fantastic...new beds,furniture,bathrooms!!
The food is better than b/4.(food is a personal thing,we all like different tastes...you will not starve, if you are fussy..just go a la carte)
The beach is better than last year..easier to get in..although still a little steep for older folks..however they all managed to have fun in the surf.
There is some concern about the "Pond" beside the hotel...this has been fixed..and the odor is gone(completely)
I personally don't care about the Entertainment Sched. as we make our own fun, but everyone seemed to have a great time there!!
I find if you treat people with respect,you will have very few complaints..don't forget this is a small island..and they don't have all the ammenaties(sp)we do..so while you are on the plane going down..take a few breaths and get ready to relax...isn't thats what it is all about??
Dan & Pam
Mississauga

Helpful?
33 Thank danandpam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2005

Digital photographs taken of channel dug beside Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino were made available to our travel agent upon our return. The smell of manure was continuous day and night. On the afternoon of February 25th a mechanical digger built a ditch from the "salt pond" (beside the hotel) to within yards of the ocean. When beach guests came over to ask and watch, the operator stopped his work. Hotel guests received a notice slipped under each door that "they have "guaranteed" us that the beach will be back to normal first thing tomorrow morning February 26, 2005".
I awoke at 4:20 a.m. on February 26 to watch the digger cover the ditch very efficiently. Why was this done under the cover of darkness?
This hotel is not ready to receive hotel guests, at the rates they are charging, until smelly cesspool is dealt with.
Early into her holiday an hotel guest fell on an unexpected step on the incomplete staircase from the lobby to the pool level. Her sore shoulder, knee and black eye were a reminder to us that the stairs were a hazard. Stairway was not completed nor was signage put in place to warn of this unexpected step.
This Hotel is not ready to receive guests.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2005

I was at this resort from 2/26/05-3/5/05. this hotel should not have opened until renovations had been completed. major problems with the plumbing: toilet did not always flush, intermittent hot water, water flooding out from the shower. hotel staff rude and uncaring except for 2 bartenders in the lobby bar & some of the housekeeping maids. no entertainment to speak. limited buffet.
one day the pool bar blender did not work. bartenders had no blender in the lobby bar. no espresso machine, no cream for coffee which was terrible. the beach umbrellas were limited, no one offered to help erect the umbrellas that were available for the beach. mountain view rooms faced a slum and the street was noisy day and night. a lot of traffic, barking dogs, and early morning roosters. the area around the hotel is like a slum with crack houses on one side. did not feel safe there. would not reccommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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 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. Maarten-St. Martin/Philipsburg

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