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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Macclesfield, UK
Reviewed September 30, 2005

We have just returned from 2 weeks at Great Bay. Like many others who have read the reviews we were not entirely looking forward to it - however we had a great time.
We had a mountain view room which was a good size (one king size bed and still plenty of room), new furniture and a great big walk-in shower (enough space for 2 !!).
Food - nothing exceptional but on a par with other all-inclusive resorts with the second week being a repetition of the first. There are themed evenings and on the seafood night I was able to get a juicy steak due to me not liking what was on offer. They dont overly advertise that you can get alternatives to what is on the buffet and that there are bar snacks in the afternoon.
Drinks - plenty and a good variety.
Staff - very helpful, polite and friendly.
Pools - infinity pool with swim-up bar is ace which means that the other pool is hardly used. Jacuzzi is good too.

You can see that the hotel has been refurbished but the standard of the finishes are not what we are used to in the UK - a bit of rustic charm !

I think we picked the right time to go (low season, fewer people) because according to the staff high season gets extremely busy with queues for the restaurant. However they are still working on the hotel. Another restaurant is needed.

Out and about - short walk to Philipsburg for shopping, eating and drinking. Dont miss the free island tour. Maho beach is a must, just to see how close the planes come when landing and the Sunset Beach Bar does great cheap food.

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Manchester, England
Reviewed September 26, 2005

Well we just got back home from this fantastic hotel on Saint Martin. My wife, daughter, brother and niece travelled from Manchester to this resort on 10th September 2005. We stayed for two weeks and we have to say it was more than satisfactory in every way.

My wife and I traveled to Saint Martin once before during May 2004. We stayed at Maho Beach Resort on that occasion and we have to say it was not very satisfactory.

We were all more than impressed on this occassion though. The rooms were clean and cool with Air Conditioning constantly available (A must in the humidity of September). The maids visited twice a day with clean linen and towels.

The hotel staff were friendly on the whole although some of the male bartenders made inapropriate advances to my 15yr old niece.

Bar stocks were adequate and drinks readily available.

The restaurant food was plentiful on a buffet style layout with lots of choice and salads. If you dont fancy that then simply ask for a burger and they are more than obliging!

The pools are great with the top one being very deep a 2.5metres. fine if you like diving with your kids. The lower infinity pool is spotless with a swim up bar and lovely views.

There are plenty sunbeds available and the beach is clean and free from aggro. The sea is also clean although shelves steeply so be aware.

Overall the holiday was very enjoyable and we are sad to be home.

Look forward to a repeat visit soon!

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Surrey, UK
Reviewed September 19, 2005

Having read a number of negative reviews about the hotel before deaprting for St Maarten I was really expecting a poor stay at the Great Bay. How wrong was I! The hotel is absolutely phenomenal in every service.

I stayed in a standard mountain view room and it was a very comfortable stay. The room is spacious with a very bright and airy bathroom and a wide balcony.

Reception: Very helpful and quick - no complaints.

Bars: Wide selection of drinks available in the 3 bars across the hotel varying from local cocktails to soft drinks and beers.

Food: The main restaurant is absolutely fantastic with varying theme nights and whether it be Italian or Seafood there is still a distinct Caribbean flavour. Breakfast can be a little repetitive but it is enough to keep anyone's taste buds satisfied.

Pool: I am not usually a pool person but the infinity pool there is not to be missed. Offering panoramic views of the beach and distant Phillipsburg this has to be one of the most relaxing places on the resort. You could spend hours relaxing in it by the swim up bar with cocktails on hand.

Beach: Fantastic beach which offers one of the best beaches I've ever been on. The sea is ok although with the cruise ships arriving on the other side of the beach a lot of seaweed is dragged onto the coast line. You are not hassled with vendors although you do get around a half a dozen a day.

Entertainment: There is a lot of local culture showcased - i.e. pan music and the fantastic Chocolate factory from downtown Philsburg.The casino is the place to be at night time, offering the usual - slot machine and game tables. All you need is the luck which I certainly didn't possess during my time at Great Bay.

Staff: The majority of staff are fantastic - notably the breakfast and lunch servers who cater to your every need. The bartenders are great especially Richard and Maritza. However, some let themselves down by going over the top during your second week in the attempt to get a tip.

Other: A stay in St Maarten is not complete without the following:-

Ph'burg - great shopping - but not as cheap as you may expect from a duty free port.

St Martin - rent a car as the taxi costs are expensive. Go to Marigot the French capital for some great window shopping.

Pinel Island - Unbelievable - see it to believe it - MUST SEE!!!

Le Gallion - Another great beach with a great bar serving amazing food.

Maho Beach - the beach is nothing to write home about, however, the beach is at the end of the Intl airport and you are literally meters away from landing and departing aircraft. Truly spectacular - go to the Sunset Beach bar for the best views.

Anyway if you are going to Great Bay - then don't worry - this place is fantastic!

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
21  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2005

My wife and I just got back from the Great Bay hotel in St. Martin and we were pleasantly surprized. Based on a friend who had been to the island before, she picked the hotel because she wanted to be closer to the shops in Phillipsburg and we wanted to be right on the beach and watch the cruise ships.

I saw some of the negative reviews AFTER we booked the non-refundable package so I was a little scared about the trip but the whole stay was very good. We got an ocean-view room to watch the ships but really didn't spend much time in the room. The room itself was a little small but it had everything we needed. You could tell the funiture was new and everything had just been redone.

The food and service in the restaurants is good. We mainly ate breakfast because there are so many good restaurants on the island. I recomend Los Gauchos, The Boathouse, Mario's Bistro, Uncle Harry's (it is located in the shipyard but is very good). Some places were closed because of low season. I wouldn't do all inclusive at the hotel with such great food everywhere on the island.

The people were nice especially the bartender at the swim up bar. The activities people made the it fun after we got tired of just sitting on the beach. Jet skis and, pool volleyball were fun and we played tennis with another couple although it was a little too hot and humid.

Overall I am happy with our trip!

Stayed: September 2005
10  Thank Denver2SXM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2005

My sister and I stayed here for a week in late July, 2005. This was supposed to be our dream vacation; we spent $2500+ just on the flight/accommodations for the two of us. She left a review after we got back, warning people about this hotel. I'd like to add a few things. First, the food: There was a good selection of fruit every morning, and the dinners were adequate, although I would have liked more recipes with a native flavor. Lunch was very limited; hot dog, hamburger, or cheeseburger unless you went during the very restricted lunch buffet hour, and then it was very often re-designed leftovers from dinner the night before. Second, security is a joke. Some other reviewer said they have a problem with a "few" neighborhood children swimming in the pool; well, it's more like a gang; when we were there, there were 12 boys being so rowdy none of the guests could use the pools. The boys would jump behind the bar and steal soft drinks. Disgraceful. I don't know why they didn't call the police. Sorry to hear they still haven't solved that problem, and don't concern themselves with the comfort or safety of their guests. Third, our room was TERRIBLE with mold smell, and so wet all the time I left my clothes in my closed suitcase; they were better off there. I still had to wash everything and air my suitcases out for 3 days because of the mildew smell. I WOULD SAY THIS HOTEL IS NOT EVEN A 3-STAR; MORE LIKE A 2 STAR. We demanded they transfer us to the Maho Beach Sonesta, their sister hotel, after the bottom floor flooded because the "cesspool" backed up into the hotel. (We had a much nicer room, more things to do right outside, felt safer out at night, and the food was very good, even at the buffet.) The 10 mil they spent on renovations was pretty much wasted; it looks like a 20-year old hotel that hasn't been maintained, with grout missing around the tub, handles falling off in your hands, mold on the chairs and around the air conditioner and in the closet; the doors in the bathrooms are old with just a bad paint job. The intake and filter on the ac unit was GROSS with build-up. If there even was a filter; I couldn't tell. They should have installed dehumidifiers. The lobby is open-air, with only the rooms air conditioned and this creates a problem with condensation on every item in your room every time you open a door. Nothing ever has a chance to dry out. Speaking of the door, there was a 1-inch gap at the bottom of the door to the room, and with tile floors in the hallways, every sound from people coming in later than you, or even later than that, disturbs your sleep; in addition, the light coming in that crack is very annoying; I had to put a towel on the floor up against the door so the room was dark enough to sleep. The shower wasn't consistently hot, and you'd get several blasts of cool water with each shower, and sometimes only a lukewarm shower. Oh, and there is no tennis court, as their ads state, although there is one ping-pong table and one shuffleboard court. I wish we'd gone somewhere else. Travelers beware.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
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12  Thank lesliejo1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Pittsburgh, Pa
Reviewed August 26, 2005

My warning to you is this...don't stay here! This was our first and last trip to Great Bay. Everything you are reading about the rooms and service at this resort is true to date. Aside from the Mold present on ceilings, vents and lamp shades, we were visited by a very large cockroach!(Bayview side...the more expensive rooms!!) The rooms did smell, a mix of must and moth balls...if you can sense that? They are unbelievably boasting themselves as a five star resort...they are not even a three in my eyes. The food we believe was o.k., just not enough selection of places to eat. They have the bayview which offers buffet style lunches and dinners and The Molases which has a VERY small menu selection. Staff...not friendly. A few exceptions, but not enough to sustain another visit. We enjoyed the island, but there are so many to choose from, we will not return to St. Marteen. The island is sustained by tourism and if this resort is the example set, it will not survive. You know the surprising part...we were sent here by a travel agent! Not going to use her again either!!

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
19  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 25, 2005

The food here is terrific, the hotel staff are very nice and helpful. I just got back from an all inclusive stay and could not believe how great the buffet food was. The swim up bar and pool is very nice also, They also have 2 additional pools that are very clean. The beach was very clean and you could swim anywhere on the beach front with little to no trouble due to crashing waves or dangerous rip currents. There were 2 or 3 dogs that have also adopted this beach front for shade under the chairs, they do not bother anyone and are friendly. I had the best time here and would go back many more times. The staff constantly roamed the premis cleaning and arranging and took great pride in their work and their environment. I'd stay here again, no doubt about it.

7  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 Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

Address: 19 Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St Martin / St Maarten
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
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
Price Range: $366 - $796 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — 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
Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa St Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg

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