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“Great Location and Value”

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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 3, 2010

My husband and I spent 5 nights here on a mini-vacation (all-inclusive). We had visited St. Maarten on a cruise a few years ago, and were looking forward to spending more time on the island. We rented a car so that we would be able to freely travel about. I would highly recommend this as there are fairly limited options on the property. (Although, to be fair, the hotel did sponsor a number of activities that we did not take part in). I was nervous about the reviews complaining about the service, and I have to say we couldn't disagree more. When we went to the room we were assigned, it had a musty smell to it. This was in the apartment section. I returned to the front desk, and the clerk spent quite a bit of time trying to find a room that would meet all my requests (we wanted a deluxe ocean-view room). He reassigned us to a newly-renovated room in the apartment section, which was wonderful. The housekeeping staff did a wonderful job throughout the hotel. Our balcony overlooked the bay, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the cruise ships arrive and depart from the port. A short ten minute walk brought us to downtown Philipsburg, where we were able to shop to our hearts' content (although it was a bit painful to our wallets). The waitstaff were always friendly and willing to do whatever it took to make our stay better. I wish I had gotten the name of one of the female bartenders. I usually drink white zinfandel wine, which was not available as part of the all-inclusive. Once I told her that, she concocted a special recipe to create a drink that tasted just like a high-quality white zinfandel! For breakfast every morning there was a good selection of typical breakfast fare, including incredible fresh fruit and an omelet station. We didn't usually eat lunch, but there was a luncheon buffet as well as a typical lunch menu available. I have to say dinners were incredible! Two nights we ate at Molasses, and the food was as good if not better than food we have eaten during cruises (we have been on 10 with Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Princess). We also ate at the Italian restaurant on site one evening - again, a wonderful dining experience. The buffets were similar to cruise line buffets - good food with a good variety. The only negative experience we had was in the casino. My husband played blackjack two nights, both for short periods of time as he was made to feel very uncomfortable. The dealer knew some of the players, and they basically talked only to each other (including the dealer joining other players talking about a betting mistake he made. They spoke as though he weren't present - and he was sitting right there!). He went back the second night, hoping the first night was an anomaly. Unfortunately, despite being on a great winning streak, he cashed out and left after only about 15 minutes the second night. The cashier was rude to both of us on separate occasions - and even shortchanged my husband $5 when he cashed in. He realized it half-way back to the room, but felt the aggravation he would face wouldn't be worth it. To sum up our experience, it was wonderful and we would definitely return. We would simply spend our money in a different casino.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cstav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,435 - 3,441 of 4,331 reviews

Reviewed March 22, 2010

Rooms were clean , beach was nice but better beaches around the island,2 pools and 1 Jacuzzi, hotel staff very friendly but casino staff beyond rude except Timothy(Roulette dealer). Buffet was very good but got repetitive, Unlimited A la Carte Restaurants were Amazing, Bar closes at Midnite but Casino bar open til 3am ,, All bars have Bottled Heineken, Coors Light and Presidente. Location was great for seeing Cruise ships and Hotel nestled between mountains, view was spectacular. 5 min walk from Philisburg(Great shopping but close at 6pm) Not much entertainment at night besides Monday night(BBQ outdoors, band & Dancers) Special thx to Steven (Food&Bev Manager), Jean-Baptiste, Gregory(Reception) Maid Rm 716, All Security, Dawn, Tania, Alberto, Stanley,Audrey,Patricia H(Wait Staff) Everyone at Activity Center. I rate this hotel 4* and was generally satisfied as were the majority of people

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank vaccouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2010

Thank you for the review. We enjoy receiving the feedback and share our guests opinions with the staff. We are happy to read you enjoyed the resort and island of St. Maarten. We look forward to seeing you on your next visit.

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Reviewed March 18, 2010

great food, quiet place, very clean, poor beach, ocean view great.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank goodguyMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2010

No vallet parking, you have to park accross the street and carry your bags in - no bell man available to help. I discoverd a strong smell of cigar smoke in the room, I called the front desk to request and requested a non smoking room and tey said "you are in a non smoking room". Then I collected all the ash trays from the old worn tired room with antique TV and telephone and went down to the front desk, were they changed their tune and said there are no non smoking rooms - smoking is not allowed in the rooms but there is nohting they can do to stop people from smoking in the rooms. In order to move to another room wihtout the smoke smell, they wanted an additional $40 for an "ocean view room" which I declined to look at and I just decided to leave and go to the Westin which is 100% NON smoking and as really great large modern rooms and I love . Great Bay should be called "old worn out bay"

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank dynoflash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2010

We appreciate your response. We value our guest feedback to assist us with providing service training and product improvement. The guest rooms did recieve a renovation in 2007 for 12 million USD. As of March 18, we began an upgrade process in our rooms with new flatscreen TV's, Ipod clocks and ordering new beds to compliment our rooms. We plan on completing the bed upgrades throughout the summer. We do have non-smoking only rooms, but at the time, we could have been sold out on the type of room you required, this would be why the fee to move rooms to the ocean side from the non-ocean side. We wish you the best in you travels, if you do visit St. Maarten in the future, please stop by to review our changes.

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Reviewed March 17, 2010

Ok, let me first start off by saying that I am usually not a complainer, having said that..this place is horrible. The room was dirty, broken toilet seat, shower was broken. The beach was horrible. Looks good, but the sand is actually crushed shells and it kills your feet. The food is terrible and very exspensive. Your actually a 5 minute walk to downtown Phillipsburg but everything there closes at 500pm when the cruise ships leave. I will say that the staff was pretty awesome...very friendly and very helpful. If you want to stay in this area stay next door at Little Divi Bay...took a tour and it looked really nice. So if you stay at this hotel..you have to rent a car or a 4 wheeler..go to Simpson Bay or Maho beach for dinner...5 minute ride and the food is incredible...We will be going back to St. Martin but I will stay away from this hotel!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank DCnarcotics
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmgreatbay19, GM- Juan Fernandez at Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 18, 2010

We really appreciate the review and value the guest feedback. We apologize for poor display of room quality. We completed a major renovation 3 years ago and this year we are upgrading several items in our guest rooms- TV's, Bed, Clocks, etc... Our food is a very high quality and will discuss with our Chef's in emphasizing excellence in food & beverage. Thank you for the kind words on the staff, they work very hard in making our resort top notch! Please contact me at the resort to discuss in further detail.

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Reviewed March 8, 2010

I just arrived from Great Bay with 2 boys 13 and 15 years old. The room was old deco but clean. We wanted an ocean view but had to pay $40/night extra..The ladied working there are very nice. The men working there are rude. The food is good, but it's the same every morning, afternoon and night. If you are travelling with children, no kiddy pool and no activites for kids. Night time is sooooooo boring. Need a car to get around or else you are stuck at the Hotel. The beach is beautiful and you can see the cruiselines coming in everyday. Down town is a 15 min walk and can also be walked along the beach. We, along with many other guest we sick with the stomach fku, apparently it is going ar ound the hotel since dec/2009. nothing is being done on their part to stop the flu from going around. The pool was clean, but as the days went on it got dirty. never saw anyone clean it. overall it is a good hotel 31/2 stars.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank st-marteen-2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2010

We thank you for your response. We value our guest feedback and utilize this in training our teams. Each morning at 6am the pools are clean and chemicals are tested twice daily. We have several activities throughout the day for everyone to enjoy. Our food and beverage has 3 restaurant open and the buffet restaurant them changes each day for lunch and dinner. At night, our resort is quiet, you are correct in renting a car. We encoruage this for all guests to expolore the wonderful island of st. maarten

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Reviewed March 6, 2010

Where to start! We stayed in unit 254 in the timeshare section. We bought our first timeshare in 1991, so we have been staying in timeshares since then. This is the worst unit that we have ever stayed. The maintenance is nonexistant. We brought our son and his wife to vacation with us. They stayed in the guest bedroom. The things that I'm going to mention are just the things wrong with that bedroom. The toilet leaked, the shower didn't drain, the fan in the bathroom didn't work, and on the evening that it rained, the ceiling leaked on their bed. The clocks in the bedrooms didn't work. We asked for new ones, and finally got one new one 4 days before the end of our 2 week vacation. The TV's would shut off by themselves. We never did figure out why. The kitchen was so small that we had to set the toaster on the burners. There iasn't one drawer in the kitchen. The silverware was in a container sitting on the TV stand. There is no sofa in the unit, just an armless uncomfortable "thing". I don't know what to call it. The unit is supposed to be for 6 people. There are not enough living room chairs for 4 people. People have to sit on kitchen chairs to watch TV. There is supposed to be a spa, but that isn't here either. When someone stays at a resort where there are maintenance problems, it wouldn't be so bad if the staff would be there to fix the problems. When the ceiling leaked, we called the front desk. They sent a "maid" up to look at it. She said, "yes, you ceiling is leaking" and then left. We never heard from anyone after that. When I called them back, they told us that we could move, but there were no 2 bedroom units for us. So, we moved the bed away from the leak and left it there for a couple of days. I will also complete a review for RCI and let them know of the problems. Now for the good things. There are only a few.I think it is the best location on the island. We had an ocean front view, which was great. We watched the cruise ships come in in the mornings and watched them leave at night. Also, our patio/terrace was 30 feet square. We really loved it.If there weren't so many maintenance problems and the kitchen/living room were larger, it would be a grear place to stay.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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Thank OakGrove_MNJoyceN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2010

We appreciate the review on the timeshare unit. We will utilize in our staff training to assist with making our resort improvements. We value our guest opinions and will make the necessary adjustments to improve our resort experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Phone Number:
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: $329 - $637 (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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