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Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
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Reviewed November 11, 2012

The hotel is right by the airplane spotting beach, Maho beach. You should really love airplanes to stay here (that was the reason we stayed here). This is not the place for a 1-2 week relaxing vacation, but totally ok for a couple of nighs exploring the dutch side of the island. (We spent 3 nights here and 6 on the french side).

The room standard is average, although we choose to pay for a better room and got a high floor sea facing room. Absolutely recommended!
There is good sound isolation in the rooms, you don't really get disturbed by airplanes when doors are closed.

Rooms are ok, but overall the hotel is worn, under construction... average.

The buffet is ok, breakfast had much variety but it did not really taste much (compared to the other hotel we stayed on St Martin). It had the most grumpy and irritated omelett chef we have ever met. :) There is a second dinner restaurant indoors with really nice food and service. Make sure to look for this one!

The main pool has a pool bar, water games etc. There is a smaller pool facing the sea that is nice and calm if you don't like to listen to crowds playing bingo in the main pool. You can spot planes from the pool.

Service was not great. There was a fridge in the room and it was supposed to be filled with water and coke etc (all inclusive), but we only got it filled 1 day. (We asked the reception 3 times). Two days the water was cut of without notice, due to construction work in the building (it came back after a couple of hours, but without any info).
The pool was not really clean.

There are some shops, restaurants, casino and night club just outside the hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Anna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2012

We visited Sonesta Maho for a week. Check-in was fast and we got an upgraded room. Were do
I start to tell you about Sonesta Maho, first the staff is wonderful, from the bellboys to the management. Frankie and Daniel at the check-in. The supervisors Sharon and Shasha, all the
staff in the restaurants, Juely our winesteward and don't forget Ramon at the Palms Grill, we had
a great time at his bar. Sewpal makes the best pizza. Every night there was entertainment, we
heard some great music.
Forget all the negative comments, I have nothing negative to report. We will definitely return again when my friend Martin from Holland comes to visit me again in Canada.

Room Tip: We had an ocean view room, great view of the landing planes, the noise did not bother us. No planes after 9.30 pm.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Loesje4164
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2012

A colleague and I stayed here in September 2012 for business; we were teaching a class in the hotel's conference room. September is off season here and it shows - there's little going on - and other than some retirees - not a lot happening.

The staff were quite friendly and helpful - from check-in to check-out the staff were always there for us. There were some issues with the conference room, but they were quickly resolved by the sales and conference staff. The hotel itself is a mixed bag. There are three buildings - the tower, which appears to be more updated than the other buildings, a smaller, three story "connector" building which was completely gutted and under rennovation, and another building which appears to have been a different hotel at one point, but absorbed into the Maho. I stayed in the latter, and found the rooms to be very bare and outdated. All the rooms have balconies - mine had two chairs and a small table. However, I had an "ocean view" room initially - but on the third floor - the palm trees block everything. After talking to the staff, I got moved to the fourth floor with had a better view (see the pictures).

In the room - it had tile floors, a bed, a small table, and a small credenza with a tv - that's it. I'd say all the furnishings are typical of the early 90's and very basic. The A/C ran night and day and did an OK job - it never got really cold. The bathrooms - the "hmmm - well OK" moment - the bathrooms have pink tubs and toilets - I think those were banned in the 80's. The Internet access is terribly slow - you can count on it for email - but web browsing, streaming, don't bother.

Fortunately, the facilities are more modern than the rooms. The resort has 2 pools, one of which was closed for rennovation. They are working on the Point restaurant, which when its done, will be a pretty nice spot for dinner. In the mean time, the beach-side bar/restaurant has basic, but good food (burgers, sandwiches, beer, drinks). The main buffet restaurant has a rotating theme and was generally pretty good - definitely try the pizza - its one of the stars of the buffet. I was on an "all inclusive" package, so other than the annoying wrist strap, I can't comment on the prices - it seemed like a pretty good deal though for $160/night for all you can eat/drink.

The beach is a short walk down the stairs. The airport is indeed right there, but really, I didn't notice the noise - the planes are a big attraction anyway since you can stand behind them and get blown by the jet blast as they take off. The Sunset bar is a 3 minute walk - great place (if expensive) for relaxing outside and drinking your cares away.

Bottom line - the staff and the facilities are good - the rooms are not so good, but they are indeed trying to update things. If you are looking for a 4-5 star property - look elsewhere. If you don't mind the outdated rooms and just want someplace to lounge around outside, enjoying the local clubs, bars and beatiful beaches/sunsets - this isn't a bad spot.

Room Tip: Main tower - get a room on floors 6+ for a view. Other building, stay on the 4th floor for a view.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Chris E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

This hotel needs an entire rehab, not just the band-aids they keep adding. The lobby and elevators are dark, dingy and very outdated. There is no air con in the lobby, elevators or hallways. The room air con is barely adequate and must be turned to the lowest temp and highest fan settings to just barely cool the room. The smell of must and mold in the room is overbearing! We stayed on the 7th floor and the bathroom has been updated with new tile, fixtures etc. However the lighting is horrible, I had to go into the main room to put my make-up on each eve. When will hotels understand "rainshower" shower heads are useless unless you are a balding man. Not enough water pressure to get the soap off your body let alone out of a normal amount of hair.
The staff are very unfriendly. Rarely a smile the entire week and I tried numerous times to engage the bartenders and wait staff. The omelet "guy" literally grunted at me every morning. I addressed him as sir and always said thank you! Go figure.
On our last day they placed new pool lounge chairs that are lovely. I'm sure they are in the $750-1,000 range each. They should have put this $$ into the air con and fixed the crumbling/moldy exterior first!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Kelly B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Stayed at the Maho in St.Marteen for a recent business trip, staying for 4 nights on October 2012. Let me start by suggesting you read other reviews, which I failed to do or I would have chosen another hotel.

When I got here, the staff took a long time to check-in. Not a biggie, but there were only 2 people ahead of me and 2 front desk clerks. When I got to my room which was in the "new reconditioned area" the first thing I noticed is there were no towels in the restroom. Had to call front desk, hence my first call and not my last on my first day at 4PM.

The structure. The hotel has 2 buildings, a really old 60s looking tower near the sea at the back and a newer one facing the main street. Both are 8 floors or so. Ask to stay at the newer one which also has some recently remodeled rooms. Between both buildings is the pool area, 2 to be exact and have a very cool design which your kids will love. After both pools they have 2 dining areas with accomodations for even a high season and you can seat right overlooking the ocean if you want. The lobby is fairly spacious and also has a Hertz counter (but I didn't see any representative during my stay) to the right and a small casino/bar to the left. Between the lobby and the elevator is a small play area with air hockey, ping pong tables and a couple of shops.

Although some areas look good, the elevators must be at least 20 years old. The rooms and especially the bathroom do not look the part of a resort hotel rated 5-stars. Each room has a Sharp LCD, around 32 inches I would guess, but get this, all channels have grainy reception. Maybe they use one cable hookup and split it between all rooms or something like that. Each room has a small balcony with a small glass table and 2 chairs. From my vantage point I watched the night life on the main street and the scenery is very nice. Lots of photo ops. One other thing, the hotel is within 200mts from the landing area of the airport so you can see planes departing/arriving. I thought the noise will bother me but I guess the windows have the appropriate isolation since you hear them very far away, unless you step out on the balcony.
Each room also has a 4-digit safe which is big enough to fit a 15 inch laptop or most tablets and still have space left. Easy to use.

My experience at Sonesta
The internet. If you come here, be prepared to leave your gadgets behind which is no big deal if you're with your family or in a honeymoon. In my case, it was a business trip so I really needed internet. The front desk gives you a piece of paper with 3 to 4 codes depending on the amount of days you're staying. No instructions, nothing.

Since I know my way around computers I was able to log to the page, which for some reason doesn't appear automatically like the gateway servers I've seen on other hotels. First I was trying with my smartphone, it did recognize the maho SSID but no notice on where to input the 10-digit code. After 15 minutes of config I was able to log on to the slowest Wi-Fi I've used since the 90s. I'm thinking it was way below 1MB. Low graphic pages like Google or CNN took more than 1 minute to load. When calling the front desk to report the AC problem I mentioned above, I asked about this and the clerk told me "sometimes it's slow"...well, I was missing home already!

Since I had brought a laptop, I tried using it but a message appeared that the codes provided only allow 1 device to browse...so i left it on the smartphone. Text wasn't working and later on when I tried calling my family with Facetime it didn't work either...by then texting was back on (lots of rebooting and typing the Wi-Fi codes again!) I've seen cheap hotels with faster internet service than Sonesta. On my third day I met with a business acquaintance who by coincidence knew the staff there and after complaining yet again to a satff member he knew, the service was better, not fast (to me at least 2-4Mbs in a hotel) but steady. Even though my internet was complimentary (if you have a mileage account with Sonesta) I could'nt log my 2 devices so after it was fixed I stuck with my laptop only.

My room, which had a back view, not to the seaside but the parking lot and the street, was really hot. The A/C was set to 50 degrees and high gear, but it was above 80 F. My second call of the day. They told me the A/C tech was finishing other calls, which led me to think this was not an isolated thing. A/Cs here suck. This is one thing to considere if planning on going to the beach and getting sunburned and then sweating in your room! To be fair, by my second day they did something to it and that night it was at least 70F and I was satisfied.

The service. Caribbean people do not seem to have this skill. They make you feel that you're somehow bothering them. Got that message when asking the front desk clerk about the procedure to the internet, the general directions to hotel amenities. A lot of info about the configuration and hotel services, and only verbally except for the aforementioned internet access codes written on a piece of paper. The dining area is not better. If you ask for a drink or anything, they don't give you "service with a smile", more like "here's what you ordered, don't bother me anymore." Oh but they're quick to slap you with the check, even if you're not finished yet! First time I've been to a hotel where service was this bad.

Now the good stuff
The buffet dinner on my first night was nice. It is served on the back, in a open space with music and sand, arranged in a very good caribbean theme. No complaints here. Other nights it was a simpler arrangement on its breakfast restaurant.
The hotel has many taxi companies on the front, so no problem if you need transportation. Also, as I mentioned, they have a Hertz counter, and right around the corner less than half a mile, I spotted Avis and other rent-a-cars.
Sonesta has many tourism packages and excursions to St.Barts and other places but I didn't try them out, so if going there on vacation they're worth a look from what I saw.

Suggestions
Over all it's not that bad for a "hotel" but since it has that "resort" tag, it has huge room for improvement starting with the maintenance manager which should be fired immediately!
Do not get the all-inclusive option unless traveling with kids. I think it's best to stick with the breakfast-only option and for the other meals just eat out. There is an almost infinite amount of restaurants nearby with excellent food and atmosphere. Went to at least 4 of them and the food/service was outstanding.

Rent a car, since getting around the island is very easy - it's just one main street that gets you from the Princess Juliana Airport to Sonesta, to the area with all the restaurants and bars. Also recommended taking a tour to the French side of the island (follow the street after passing Sonesta to your left)
There are more hotels in the area, which I hope are better than this one, so for next time I won't be staying at Sonesta.

If you're flying from other caribbean islands (Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico) on smaller airlines, stick to carry-on luggage since checked luggage tends to be opened and things get lost or broken. And this is advice I got from a St.Maarten customs agent when I reported an incident with my bag.

Room Tip: Get all-inclusive with view to swimming pool area Watch out for the air conditioning units Vacation only
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Reymontero
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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