We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nice, average hotel”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 6 more sites!
Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 22, 2007

My fiancée (26 y/o) and I (30 y/o) were scheduled to stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach & Casino for 7 nights (July 10 – July 17). However, due to safety issues we incurred on our walk to Philipsburg, we moved to the Sonesta Maho after 1 night at the Great Bay (note: just to be clear, the safety issue did not occur at the property). So my review is based on limited time spent at the property. I travel a significant amount with work and am not a picky traveler at all. Overall, the Great Bay was a nice, average resort. We did not do the all inclusive and did not eat any meals at the property, so I can’t comment on the food.

CONS:

(1) Room. Our room was average…it wasn’t great but wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews make it out to be. I didn’t pay for a Ritz room, so I didn’t expect Ritz quality. I didn’t notice the musty smell others were referring to (we were on the 6th floor). Two minor issues with the room…(1) the room had a safe, but it wasn’t an electronic safe. As a result, we had to constantly carry the safe key and worry if we lost the key, they would charge a $100 replacement fee. Also, the safe was relatively small and only big enough for wallets, passports and jewelry (ie no laptop). Granted you’re on vacation and shouldn’t carry a laptop, but just wanted to mention it and (2) the room didn’t have a mini-fridge, which would have been useful for water, beer, milk, etc. Once again, these were minor issues but just wanted to bring them up.

(2) Nightly entertainment. There are a few small bars at the hotel and a small casino, but it was relatively quiet at night with not too much activity.

(3) Walk to Philipsburg. It is about a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel to Philipsburg. On the way to Philipsburg, we walked on the road, which was not the safest walk since you pass by a lot of local housing. On the way back to the property, we decided to walk along the beach. On the way back, we encountered a few stray dogs which were pretty intimidating. As a result, we returned back to the street. On the street, we encountered some harassment from the local kids (with their parent’s present). After this experience, we decided to move to the resort’s sister property. My advice is if you walk to Philipsburg, do it during the day and stick to the beach.

PROS:

(1) Location/beach. Based on the location of the property, the only people on the beach are generally people from the hotel. As a result, the beach is not very crowded. There are plenty of free chairs and umbrellas on the beach. Also, the hotel is a 10 minute walk to Philipsburg (assuming you can avoid the issues we encountered), which has a ton of shopping and restaurants.

(2) Pool. The infinity pool is probably the best feature of the resort and provides great views of Philipsburg, the bay and the cruise ships. Also, there is a swim up bar at the pool. There were plenty of available chairs at the pool and was not very crowded.

(3) Minimal number of kids. Based on my limited time at the resort, I didn’t notice a lot of kids at the resort. While I don't have any problem with kids, sometimes kids get a little out of control around the pool. Luckily, this wasn’t the case at the Great Bay. A majority of the people at the property were couples or families (with older kids).

Overall, the Great Bay is a nice, average resort. If you’re looking to relax by the pool without too many distractions, this is probably a good place for you. There is also a ton of shopping and restaurants a short walking distance away. On the negative, the rooms were nothing special and there weren’t a lot of nightly activities unless you walk to Philipsburg.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. After 1 night at the Great Bay, we transferred to the sister property, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino. See my separate write-up on that resort.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank gvreilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (4,331)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

3,590 - 3,596 of 4,331 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2007

I stayed here in June 07 with two girlfriends and had a wonderful time! The staff, the location, and the breathtaking views are all amazing. The location is perfect, a close 15 min walk to the heart of Phillipsburg, but far enough away to avoid the large crowds of tourists brought by cruise ships each day. The hotel has a beautiful pool area and an uncrowded beach. Also the staff is incredibly friendly...We had a wonderful time in St. Maarten and would go back in a second.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank ERDOC79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2007

When i first arrived i had about a 20min wait to get in to my room but besides that the rest of my trip was excellent. All they staff there are very friendly. All the rooms have balconeys housekeeping is very attentive. I would come back and stay again i am even thinking of buying one of the apartments there.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank tim139
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2007

We were so excited when we saw how beautiful SM was!

We loved the staff- they are all so friendly! The food was wonderful- do all-inclusive! The shopping is so close and the dive shop is the perfect way to add spice to the vacation! We did a 2 hour jet ski tour of part of SM and ended with a snorkling tour. We also went scuba diving (they offer a mini lesson so those who are not cert. may go around 40 ft.). We will be back!!!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank 07funinthesun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2007

I enjoyed an overnight stay at the hotel. The hotel is right on the beach and it has a nice pool, too. Since I arrived on Wednesday night, I indulged in the hotel's Caribean night buffet. All of the entrees were delicious! There are lots of mosquitoes. Bring your Off Deet Towelettes! Also, the Internet server goes down quite a bit. Friendly, but slow staff.

Hotel is like a college dormitory. Again, it's nice and I would stay there, again.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank houtravelchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2007

Booked ALL INCLUSIVE. One look at the AWFUL food and ate OUT all the time. Door handle broken. Floor dirty. Tried it a second time as I thought it would have improved after 10 million refurbishment - it hasnt. Lots of much better hotels in StM.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank AAAAGGGHHHH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2007

Just returned from 7 nights at the Sonesta....and I couldn't wait to write to say it is truly a terrific place. Our experience was VERY positive. My husband and I have traveled extensively in the Caribbean (that is the only destination for us!) and have been at a number of all-inclusives and we are not room and food snobs....every island is different and should be appreciated for that fact. We did take the all-inclusive option and were really glad we did.

LOCATION - Pretty good on Great Bay Beach with a fabulous view of the Harbor and cruiseship port. Short walk to Phillipsburg were you can shop until you drop. Also note - on the Dutch side of the island there is NO tax charged whatsoever on anything. The inifinitely pool on the beachfront with swim-up bar was my hangout when we were actually at the resort...I could spend hours there taking it all in.

HOTEL ROOM - we asked for an oceanview room upon check-in and were kindly given a 6th Floor room with a breathtaking view. There was a stale cigarette smell initially, but after a couple of days it diminished. Our housekeeper was awesome and was in the room twice a day - the second visit is for fresh towels and turn down service. I mentioned the smell the first day and she told me she would work extra hard with the Lysol for it for me.

FOOD & DRINK - OUTSTANDING!! We have had experience with All-Inclusives and we have to say the Sonesta's food was the best. Everything was seasoned well and visually appealling. Made-to-order omelets, fantastic french toast...more than enough at breakfast to get you going...and oh, the view on the balcony! The ala carte specialty restaurants were absolutely our favorites - every item to perfection. One night was a Prime Rib Buffet and the meat was better than anything we have had here in the Midwest! One other buffet night was the Gala International Buffet that was just incredible - food from 4 different countries. We never went hungry and definitely got our money's worth in food and drink. All of the servers and bartenders were attentive and friendly (note it always helps to approach the employees in a friendly manner).

ACTIVITIES - Since we were there in the low season, the list of activities was minimal, but there was always someone available to help you make plans if you needed. We are very active sightseers (we went to 12 beaches in 5 days and the remaining 2 days were spent at St. Barths and Anguilla), so we were not in need of resort activities.

SPA - GO!!! I convinced my husband I needed some downtime after being overachieving sightseers, so we walked in one morning and were just in awe of the atmosphere and attention to detail in the spa. We were both able to book massages on the spot which were heavenly. My husband had a hot stone massage and he never wanted to leave. The Fitness Center also was very well equipped and larger than I expected.

RENTAL CAR - I booked on ORBITZ with Budget for $137 for the week. For less than $20/day, we had the freedom to go where and when we wanted. I highly recommend Budget - smooth in and out.

BEACHES - We went to 12 beachs in St. Maartin (including Pinel) and the top five favorites were Baie Rouge, Orient, Pinel, Mullet Bay, and Maho. We went to Maho nearly every day to catch the 'big' planes landing.....quite a rush!

SIDE TRIPS - If you crave speed and are a little gutzy, go for the Rhino Riders trip. We had our own powerboat traveling in a small group from Simpson Bay to Creole Rock for awesome snorkeling. Our guide was great and gave us a lot of insight on local culture. This was the best $90 we ever spent for the trip of a lifetime to see the island from the water at what seemed like a crazy rate of speed - definitely my husbands highlight of the trip. Blows the heck out of a jet ski rental for sure.

ST. BARTHS - If you go, FLY, don't put yourself through the miserable ferry ride. It was a gruling hour each way. On the way there, we all were clutching barf bags. On the way back, the boat broke down. For a little more money, you can take a 10-minute flight there. I also don't recommend getting a rental car from Eurocar as they only pick up the driver at the ferry dock and the passenger is left standing in a parking lot - for me it was 45 minutes of wondering what was going on. We had lunch at LeSelect which consisted of an overcooked hamburger and burnt bun that was way overpriced. On the upside, the island is drop dead gorgeous, very clean and a lot of fun to drive around on. Our stay was much too short and we will definitely come back in low season when it is affordable.

ANGUILLA - we caught the first ferry (8 am) and grabbed a rental car (D & D Rental) at the ferry dock which was recommended to us by the ferry captain. I had an Avis reservation but when we got to the dock, we were offered much better deal from D & D that saved us about $22 and did not require paying a taxi driver to get to the airport. The beaches on the island were well worth the trip when we were able to find them. The most frustrating part was that there are minimal road sides and on a small island like this with only one main road, we actually got lost 3 times. I thought I would like Anguilla much more than I did...parts of the island are just deserted with empty buildings, no businesses and a sense of loneliness. Shoal Bay was gorgeous but my husband snorkeled and said it was very murkey, so he was disappointed especially after reading that it was a great place to snorkel. We had lunch at Uncle Ernies which was awful. I ordered ribs that I swear must have been goat ribs. We had a drink with Bankie Banx at his Dune Preserve beach bar that was truly a unique experience....don't miss that place!

SUMMARY - Definitely recommend St. Maartin in the off season. I can't imagine going in high season because the roads were crowded and crazy enough. Each part of the island had its own character and flair and we definitely enjoyed the Sonesta Great Bay.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
16  Thank katezooza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Philipsburg
3.1 mi away
The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten
3 mi away
Princess Heights Hotel
Princess Heights Hotel
#1 of 8 in Oyster Pond
760 reviews
5.8 mi away
Grand Case Beach Club
Grand Case Beach Club
#2 of 8 in Grand Case
1,818 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.5 mi away
Simpson Bay Resort & Marina
2.5 mi away
The Villas at Simpson Bay Beach Resort & Marina
4.4 mi away
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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
Price Range: $367 - $799 (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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz, getaroom.com, TripOnline SA, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing