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“Perfect vacation”

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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Andover, Massachusetts
116
Reviewed December 10, 2005

My husband and I wanted to get away from the cold New England weather and relax in a warm climate with ocean breezes, hot sun, beautiful blue sky, wonderful ocean water with the hews to take your breath away and we had seven days of the above. I read the reviews from all the negative people out there that will never find their perfect place because it does not exist on this earth. This hotel is not a five star, nor did we pay for a five star.....but this hotel was clean, comfortable, the staff friendly and congenial, and the ammenities were all that we were looking for. The food was good, there was certainly plenty of that. We did the all inclusive and what a pleasure it is to leave your wallet locked in the safe and not have to worry. We found some dogs on the beach but they too were friendly. If you do not like dogs, well, I am sorry for you. There is a bit of a slope going into the ocean, but it was great to spite the slope. If you can't swim, you shouldn't be going to the ocean. No one drowned in the ocean and or the pools while we were there. I heard no one complaining. Everyone I saw there seemed extremely content. The cruise ships came and went every day and that added to the scenery. I find it hard to understand all the complaints about that, but those who complain must just not enjoy anything in their lives worth enjoying. All in all, I had a great time and wouldn't hesitate to go back again.

  • Stayed: December 2005
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16  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Washington, DC
110
Reviewed December 5, 2005

We just came back from St. Maarten and I can really tell you that if you are looking for a nice room, this Hotel is not for you. The room smelled. I had to buy air freshener so I could sleep. I can still smell my suitcase!!!...and that was in the second room they gave us, because the first one I just could'nt stand. It is an old Hotel and they are STILL remodeling, so until it's done, stay away from it.

  • Stayed: November 2005
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10  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2005

My wife and I just got back from the Great Bay Resort celebrating our anniversary, and what a great time we had there. The hotel defently is a three star hotel, but we got more than we paid for, and we travel a lot through out the Caribbean.
The room was clean, well painted and everything seems new. Our room did not have bad odor. What was missing was some art in the room, the ambiance was boring (and through out the hotel)
I was also pleasantly surprised with the quality and presentation of the food at the Italian Restaurant. I ordered some lamb chops and my wife had lasagna and both where exquisite. The service was also top notch. Book early the restaurant, since reservation tend to fill quickly. The buffet at the main restaurant was fairly good and breakfast was plentiful with an omelet station. You have to taste the pineapple, wow how sweet.
If you wish to rent a car, there is a less expensive rent a car service across the street. But my wife and I took the hotel's shuttle bus to Orient Beach (cheap, only $10 per person for a round trip), as well as other shuttle bus trips to around the Island during the day, and trip to Maho Bay area in the evening and other activities. For us it was more convenient$ for two to travel by the shuttle bus then renting a car. Check with their activities desk, you might find other trips.
The beach at the hotel was not spectacular. The Island has far more beautiful beaches to go., but Great Bay was ok for late afternoon dipping with some frozen guava berry drinks (local St. Martin drink) from the pool bar at the hotel just a couple of steps from the beach. The staff of the bar was friendly and served quickly, even with the bar full of people.
Each evening that we stayed they had a band at the lobby bar (called the Living Room). We enjoyed very much the group that played on Wednesday. They had good Merengue and Salsa music, and we dance all night long.
Indeed, this all inclusive, three star hotel, that surpassed our expectations and was worth the money that we paid.

  • Stayed: November 2005
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18  Thank consultantsense
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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17  Thank islndgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Alexandria, VA
19
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
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Canada
116
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
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16  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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29  Thank lin/jim
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
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: $353 - $689 (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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