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“once again, it was great”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Ontario
Level Contributor
62 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“once again, it was great”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2005

I just returned from my second trip this year to great Bay and it was just as good as the first time. The food is still great, the staff is friendly and the hotel is inviting.
Do not let other people complaining about a moldy smell put you off from this hotel. How much time do you spend hanging out in the hallways anyway? You will find that because of the high humidity there that some of your clothes or the bed sheets may feel damp. However this is normal in tropical countries. It is nothing to be alarmed about and you should not let it ruin your vacation. Just open the balcony door and let some fresh air in.
On to more pleasant topics - The Italian restaurant is now open and the food is great. They have a good selection of pasta as well as steak, veal, pork, chicken and fish dishes. However the one thing they are lacking is any kind of salad for an appetizer.
If you can swing it, request to sit in Dawn’s section at the a la carte restaurants. She is amazing. She made our whole dinner experience twenty times better. She will do everything possible to make sure you enjoy your meal. She even went out of her way to get me the aforementioned salad because I am a fussy eater and did not like any of the other appetizers offered. We ended up leaving her a $10.00 US tip the first night and she deserved every penny of it.
One tip – book your reservations for the a la carte restaurants early in the week as they tend to fill up fast.
However, do go to the buffet on Friday nights as the prime rib is great. Where else can you get prime rib at a three star all inclusive – I will answer that question for you – nowhere!
The bartenders are great and will make you any drink you want. If they do not know a drink, tell them the ingredients and they will figure it out. My friend had Michael making her chocolate banana martinis one night that were very good. Don’t be afraid to ask for their speciality as well, if you want to try something out of the ordinary. Michael also makes good shooters at the lobby bar at night. However do not let him serve you ‘liquid crack” if you cannot handle your liquor. Maritza, Kevin and Destine are all great too.

There are limited activities at the hotel but you will find enough to keep you busy. See JJ, Luce, or Lawrencia for some suggestions. They are all super friendly and are there to entertain and inform the guests. There is live crab racing on Sundays which is a hoot.
You can also play pool, cards, checkers and other board games in the activities room. You can borrow books or watch movies on their large screen TV as well.

All in all, this hotel is great for an intimate, friendly vacation. Do not expect a 5 star experience and you will not be disappointed. It can be as action packed or as low key as you want to make it. I will definitely be making another trip to Great Bay next year.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank islndgirl
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
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2005

We stayed at the Great Bay Hotel in early August 2005. As soon as we entered the corridor to the room, we smelled a musty, mildew odor. The entire room felt damp, even the cushions in the chairs and bedding. Our skin had a constant clammy feeling. It was awful! Despite the heat and humidity outside, we had to open the balcony door to let fresh air inside. Everything in our closet felt wet and upon returning home, I had to have all of my clothes drycleaned. I purchased some linen placemats at a shop in Phillipsburg. They still smell like mildew! We checked in very late at night and since we would be there for only two nights, we didn't bother to change hotels. Despite anything else that we may have liked about the hotel, e.g., the great view of the bay, the smell of that room will keep us from EVER returning to the Great Bay Hotel!

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2005

wow...firstly, don't let the other reviews scare you!..the hotel was great, it just underwent renovations, so everything was fairly new and amazingly clean. the staff is ALWAYS cleaning. The rooms were clean and comfortable. The food was the best caribean food i have ever tasted. If you did not like something, just ask the chef to make whatever you like and he will. i recommend ordering the steak - it's amazing. The beach was beautiful..kind of rough sand though. The staff and service were great. The people who worked there were so friendly, and made your trip so enjoyable. the activities staff were amazing...they were so energetic and always made sure you were having fun (JJ, MarieJo, Geert). Don't let the reviews pursuade you, you have to go see this hotel for yourself, you won't be disappointed. Plus, it is a five minute walk to the town, where you can find CHEAP cigars, alcohol., and jewelery. Overall Great Bay is an amazing hotel...would go back in an instant...we had the time of our lives:)

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
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Helpful?
16 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamilton,ontario,canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2005

We have just returned from a 1 week holiday at great bay. After reading the reviews I had some concerns, but I must say the hotel well exceeded my expectations. There was just enough variety of food, not alot of waste. The food was always covered so no flies or birds were eating off of the plates. Due to the comments about the musty smell in the room I brought air freshners with me, although they made the room smell nice we did not need them and I never saw any mould around at all. Our rooms were spotless and the turn down service at night is a nice touch. The VIEW from the ocean front room is beautiful and there was 20 ships in last week. What a sight to see everyday. We had alot of fun with the staff and had some good conversations regarding life on the island.
I would recommend this hotel to anyone and we are already planning our next trip back. ENJOY!!
P.S. THE SHOPPING IS EXCELLANT

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
29 Thank lin/jim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2005

Let me just say that as you are reading these reviews, you are sure to notice the vast diference of reports. My fiancee and I stayed at the resort with another couple in at the end of April 2005, the week before we left I found this site and almost threw up when reading the reviews. If we had been able to change our reservations we would have but it was too close to the trip, thank god! Granted the sand was rough, and there was the occausional dog runnign around (but there we dogs at a 5 Star beach resort that I stayed at in the Cayman Isands aswell) they were not bothersome, they spent most of thier time chasing crabs. The food was pretty dul most of the time, but it was always fresh. WE had a beautiful ocean view room on the 6th floor and could not have been happier, you can walk to the major shopping area within ten mins. We found the staff to be friendly, alothough some more than others, but that goes with everywhere. In all we had a great time and are going back next year, but if you are planning a vaction and are looking for a place that does not have negative reviews, you are not going to find one on this site as most of the people who take the time to wrtite a review are angry about something. Have a great vacation wherever you decide to go!

  • Stayed April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london ontario canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2005

We were at the Great Bay Beach Resort And Casino.
I would like to say the following.It was out Anniversary,
And i thought that would be a good place to go seeing we been else,
where.We heard a lot of bad things about the resort we really,
wasn,t sure what we would getting into.
Boy were we happy when we got there 7th foor Oceanview was beauiful,
the room service was Excellent and it smell clean and there we alway on top of things to make it a nice stay.
The staff were very very freindly there Lawercia and Joel JJ were great people alway ready to please you. The Casino was small the staff was great Hurray For Eddie he was alway nice to us 00 he would say to me he knew how to make us laugh. on the days that it rain we play games there were only a few there nice prizes they had i would go there in a heart beat .Yes there were dogs on the beach but i been to alot of place were this happens this os not the only place the other that were there on hoilday had to make it a good one or bad i must say everyone seem to be having fun.
This was the week of oct 8th 2005.

Helpful?
12 Thank labbattgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2005

We have just returned from one week at the Great Bay Hotel and will not be going to this hotel or to any other hotel (Sonesta) that is run by the same owner. Overall the hotel is very old and run down..........I certainly don't know where the supposed "Millions of dollars" were spent on recent renovations??? The beach is a sewer and the sewage actually empties into a space adjacent to the hotel. One hotel patron has pictures of a person releasing all of this sewage directly into this space beside the hotel and it feeds directly into the beach area where the hotel guests are expected to swim. DISGUSTING!!!!

We were quite lucky with our room....it was on the 7th floor and did not have any mold. Others in our group were not so lucky and their rooms were moldy and had mold all around the air conditioning unit and mildew in other areas of their bathroom. We had a "mountain view" which was really a view of the street and parking lot in front of the hotel with a mountain in the background. We were at the end of the floor so did have a view of the "downtown" area and a small inland bay. The shower did not always have hot water (typical of the Caribbean though).

The front desk staff were very courteous and friendly............other employees of the hotel were not as friendly. The casino staff were horrific and resembled "hit men" from some TV program........not one of them could smile. I understand the casino was robbed a couple of months ago so perhaps this has had some influence. Security at the hotel was certainly questionable at best and one evening there was some guy running around the bar and the lobby area asking the guests for money............security was called and asked the guy to leave but he kept coming back and the hotel didn't seem too concerned about it.

FOOD...........it was passable and this is all I can say. Very bland and no imagination at all. The staff at the buffet area on the main level was friendly but the dining room called Molasses was something else! We were treated like a BIG NUISANCE and the person serving us was actually quite rude. This hotel only has these 2 dining areas and the Molasses room was only open for 2 nights during our week at the hotel. The breakfast buffet was okay, lunch seemed to be re-cycled food...............likely from the night before, and dinner was again tasteless and very bland.

The 2 pools were fine and there were new deck chairs. The pool bar was rather strange and the bar tender was not even remotely interesting in serving drinks. More often than not, he wasn't even there. I ordered a drink and the bar tender argued with me about the drink contents. He told me that this drink didn't contain the ingredients I asked for. I guess this hotel doesn't mix drinks like any other bar?? The pool bar only had about 5 plastic stools. The lounge bar was okay and Michael was VERY friendly and honest. My friend forgot her purse in the bar one afternoon and when she returned about an hour later he had it for her..................everything intact. Kudos to Michael!

There were virtually no organized activities at the hotel. There was shuffleboard, table tennis, pool table but that's about it. There were a few kayaks on the "sewer beach".

Phillipsburg was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel along a very poor and dirty area. We walked once but took a taxi after that and always took a taxi at night..............it didn't seem safe at all.

We would return to the island but never to this hotel.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank DivaOakville
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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