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“Best Girls Weekend, Ever!”

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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 March 2014

Me and three girlfriends took a trip to St. Maarten and stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. Ah-Mazing! The views, the food, the hotel services and staff, the pool and spa and beaches! Just paradise! One of the PR reps, Kiran Prasher worked closely with us to make sure our stay and activities were of tip-top expectations. I never wanted to leave. Such a home away from home and I will definitely be staying here when I come back with my boyfriend!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank nhardesty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 March 2014

My family and I just got back from a week at Sonesta Great Bay (3/23-30/14), and had a great time. We stayed on the timeshare side and went with another family who had a room near us. The resort is older but well kept and clean. The only big complaint I had was that the dishwasher didn’t work the whole time we were there, even though we reported it at the beginning of the week. Not a big deal to handwash, but then we ran out of the dishsoap liquid and it took awhile for them to replace it.

Otherwise, I have only good things to say, especially about the staff. They call it The Friendly Island for a reason - everyone took good care of us. There were activities to entertain the entire family -we have 2 girls, ages 14 and 16 and the other family had 4 kids ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old. Bingo, volleyball, water aerobics, evening beach bonfire with roasted marshmallows and other activities, though they didn't always stick to the schedule. A special thanks to Denroy, Jeosh, Nas and Theo, who made sure we were enjoying ourselves and took special time to get to know all of us, even the girls - we also learned alot about them, the island and the culture.

Taxis are expensive, but don't rent from Hertz at the resort - too expensive. We went next door down the road to Divi Little Bay resort and got a car for half the price. We didn't rent a car the 1st few days and I wish we had. There is so much to see around the island - don't limit yourself to just the resort. It's really not difficult to get around the island - we figured it out pretty fast. We went to Loterie Farm and went on the zip line obstacle course-a bit of a workout but our guide Robert was very helpful and we had fun. Also visited other beaches - Orient Bay is beautiful and the sand is powdery without the water getting deep quickly like at Great Bay. Friar's Bay was pretty but very rough as it was quite windy, so we went to Le Galion Bay - very calm and gets deep very slowly - perfect for young children. Also went on the jet skis - girls loved it!

Could have had the option of the all-inclusive, but at $80/day per person, we decided to make some meals ourselves in our kitchen area (though no oven). Overall a great trip!

Room Tip: I believe all timeshares face Great Bay, and with the sound of the waves, prepare for some great sle...
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Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
Thank 60trouble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014

I came here at the top of the year for some much needed rejuvenation and reflection after a rough 2013. The Great Bay was everything I needed to get my head and heart back in the right place. I stayed in the Serenity Ocean View Room and felt like I woke up to God every single morning! The balcony was a great size for me to meditate comfortably without worrying about seeing a fellow vacationer to the left and right of me. Also the staff were superb and treated me with such care, ESPECIALLLLY AT THE SPA! Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
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1  Thank Tracy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014

What more can you ask for beautiful views, friendly staff and great food! I would definitely go back! The beach was picturesque, not overcrowded and quiet. You could relax and read, enjoy your drinks or nap! It was great. The food was so tasty and plentiful. The rooms were clean and decent size. We were not sure what to expect but it was overall a wonderful week.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
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2  Thank Jennifer W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014

I enjoyed my stay at Great Bay/ Timeshare portion of resort. The staff was excellent! Rosa Lee (manager)was great, Guilane D'Haity-Hillaire, The servers were all great! I can't say enough!
Front desk excellent! The food was great, Glad they gave you an option of being all-inclusive or not.. Very clean. The entertainment was excellent! Had everyone dancing!!

Room Tip: Ocean view
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Lion813
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014

My wife and I, along with another couple, recently returned from an eight night stay at the Sonesta Great Bay. While we all enjoyed our stay, the hotel does have its warts and overpromises its complimentary amenities.

We had a "Serenity island view" room. Translation: looking out on the lawn and the main road. Since we didn't spend much time in the room, it didn't bother us, but if you want to spend time out on the balcony, pay extra for the ocean view. The rooms themselves were large enough, but are showing their age. The bathroom was rather small, and had a LOUD fan that went on anytime the bathroom light was turned on. If you ran the water for any length of time, you could see a brown tint to it (which was supposedly safe to drink). The ceiling tile supports in the bathroom were rusty, pieces of hardware were missing from the door, and the safe looked like it was installed 20 years ago. The beds, however, were very comfortable, and there was plenty of storage space to put our clothes.

There are 3 restaurants - a buffet (that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner), an Italian restaurant and a seafood restaurant. The Italian and seafood restaurants alternated the days they were open. You ordered off the menu in those restaurants, and the food in both those places was very good. However, since there were not a lot of tables at either restaurant, you needed to get there before or just after they opened, or you wouldn't be seated for an hour and a half. The buffet meals were OK. Each evening had a different theme, so there were different entrees every night. The staff at all three restaurants were very attentive and friendly.

Great Bay guests can use the pool and the restaurants at their sister resort. However, the Maho resort is a 15 minute car ride away. (There is no shuttle service). The Maho resort is newer, seems to draw a younger clientele, and the one time we ate at their buffet we thought it was better than the Great Bay buffet. The beach is smaller than at Great Bay, and the noise from the jets taking off from the airport - which is about 2 blocks away - could get on your nerves.

Drinks were easily accessible at the Great Bay resort. The pours were very generous. Every day there was a tropical drink special available. I only saw 2 beer choices - Heinekens and Coors Lite. But with the mixed drinks so available, few people were drinking beer. The wines at dinner were always from Chile.

We had inquired before arriving whether tennis and snorkel equipment would be available. We were told that it would be. However, upon arriving we were informed that "maybe" the other resort had the equipment, but not at Great Bay. Why have a tennis court if you don't stock a few rackets and balls? Your hotel is on the ocean. No snorkel equipment?

The casino in the hotel is fairly small. No live blackjack, craps, poker or roulette, although there is electronic blackjack and roulette.

The hotel is a few blocks from Philipsburg, the main town on the Dutch side of the island. It was a 10-15 minute walk down the beach or road. There were many bars and small restaurants along the beach in the city, catering mainly to the people arriving on the cruise ships. Be aware that there is at least one cruise ship in port every day. Some days, up to 4 ships are in. No problem at the resort, but the town can get pretty busy from mid-morning until mid-afternoon.

Overall, we were satisfied with our stay at the Great Bay, but if we returned to St. Maarten, we probably would choose a different resort.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean view room - you don't face the main road.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BillC55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2014

Our trip to St. Maarten may be over but has been replaced by wonderful memories of our stay at the Sonesta Great Bay March 16-23. We’ve stayed at Riu’s at other locations and were initially surprised by the Sonesta’s smaller size upon our arrival but soon learned how much we appreciated it; we didn’t have to walk a half mile to go anywhere. We were greeted with drinks by a new found friend Geo who took great care of us and always had a huge smile. As others have said, the resort is older but very well maintained and clean. The staff is pleasant and always helpful if we needed something. The food at the Bay View buffet was plentiful, varied and good. The specialty restaurants, Water’s Edge (Italian) and Piscatore (seafood but they also have a superb steak), was *excellent*. We also loved the fact that reservations are not required unlike Riu’s. We would suggest being at the Water’s Edge when they open for serving at 6:30pm as there can be a line waiting for a table if you wait too long. We never noticed this at the Piscatore. Collared shirts for men are required at these two restaurants but shorts are allowed, you won’t need trousers.

Our room was a “Miramar Ocean View” and was clean and comfortable. One person mentioned the positioning of the potty not being very suitable for anybody that was tall. That’s why 45 degree angles were invented and wasn’t a problem for me. :-) The view of the beach and bay and hearing the surf against the rocks just below our room (459) made for a very enjoyable experience.

We're beach people, that’s why we chose Great Bay over Maho and we were not disappointed. The beach is wonderful; long, wide, not crowded and has plenty of lounges. The water is the typical picture postcard beautiful Caribbean; a little coolish but not rough the week we were there. Other than our first day we were able to get lounges with an umbrella and we might have been able to do it then if we looked harder. And, this was not at sunup by throwing towels on the lounges to “reserve” them. It was generally around 9am or later after a leisurely breakfast at the buffet. We never had a long wait at the beach / pool bar for drinks or beers and you’ll often find Kim walking the beach to take your order with a pleasant smile.

There is no off resort night life in the vicinity but that’s not our thing so wasn’t a factor. Downtown Philipsburg and the boardwalk is a short 15 minute walk from the lobby for shopping or hanging out at a beach bar to people watch. There is a band at the resort nightly and once the guests get going it was always a fun time for all.

We would recommend the Sonesta Great Bay and would definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: An ocean view room is worth the extra cost.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jeff F
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
Region: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Sint Maarten > Philipsburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre 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: £267 - £533 (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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