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“Sonesta may be all inclusive but..............”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Sonesta may be all inclusive but..............”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

Recently returned from St, Maarten Dutch side stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay Resort and Casino.
Upon arriving I was happy with the size not a big resort which I like. People seemed friendly enough room was adequate clean and comfy bed.
Good Spa had to use it right away for a massage - and not expensive.
Coffee in room which is nice - but when looking for menu for room service could not find one - called front desk, informed no room service available which was not great for us as we like breakfast in our room while on vacation.
Now, when I go away it's mainly for the sea and beach. AWFUL just AWFUL. Dirty and full of seaweeds and one day even poo - yes poo was floating around - just disgusting. There was a huge GAP between the beach that you sit on and the water.......so bad that many of us could not get in and out without assistance from someone else. There was no lifeguard to help either.
Two friends almost drowned just trying to get out one day. Needless to say they did not go back in. Very disappointing. The pool was fine, clean enough and always chairs available, and bar staff was friendly enough - most of them.
There is only one restaurant for breakfast lunch and dinner and then a pizza/sandwich type restaurant only opened at lunch and at 11 pm at night. No 24 hour food service available, no beer or alcohol dispensers in the room either. The food was good but after the second day you get sick of the same atmosphere and can tell that they were using last nights left overs for lunch meals as well, which I guess is ok they have to use it but it was very obvious. The theme nights were not well executed. The staff in the restaurant were hit and miss when we finally complained we were given their best servers (8 in our party). We were told the resort was recently purchased by new people and that a lot of changes were on their way. Not sure I want to go back to see them but maybe anyone considering this place should wait it out. All in all I enjoyed it cuz I didn't cook or clean and just laid around and we had a fun group of people with us. Not impressed, actually very disappointed.

Room Tip: ask for beach view the street view/garden view sucks
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank sil004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karl B, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this review, 19 June 2014
Hello Sil004

Thank you for taking the time out to write a review.

It is a pleasure to know that you enjoyed the hotel size and Spa services. However we are sorry to hear that you were not impressed with your entire experience. In regards to your room service enquiry; we currently only offer room maid service and not room service from a food & beverage perspective. We apologize for any communication error.


At Sonesta Great Bay we aim to please every guest and will make every effort to honor requests, therefore we apologize for not catering to all your needs as that is not customary of us. Based on your described experience, the management team will analyze your feedback and put necessary measures in place to eliminate future recurrence.


Thank you for choosing us and we do hope that you consider visiting us again soon.

Regards,

Sonesta Great Bay Management
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English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2014

I visited this resort Memorial Day Weekend with my travel family and was not ready to leave by the end of my stay. The service and staff were top notch, friendly, and made my stay very enjoyable. I can honestly say that out of all the resorts I stayed, the food here was on point at every meal from the selections to choose from to the impeccable taste. Had a wonderful stay and look forward to coming back some day.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tawana S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
49 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2014

We stayed at Great Bay for our honeymoon from May 29 - June 12, 2014. Our arrival was a little bumpy. They did not have our names included in their Sunwing arrival (they handed out small gifts from a table but we were not included there) so we had to go to the front desk. The person seemed unaware that we booked for 2 weeks and that it was for our honeymoon (which was all indicated when we booked with our travel agent). We were initially booked on the 2nd floor of the oceanview side but told we would have a better room available soon, when it was cleaned. We were also told we could put our things in this 2nd floor room but to not "mess it up" and they would phone us when the new room was ready. Not sure if they wanted us to wait around in the room until they called us but sorry, I was going to the beach, so if sand got into the room, that isn't my problem LOL After about 4 hours, we were finally settled into room 707. From this point forward, our experience was great!

Rooms: Average. But you aren't there to spend time in the room are you? :) The most important thing to me about a room is the sleep quality, and I would rate it 5/5. The bed was so comfortable! The bathrooms however are not great because the water pressure is very low, sometimes trickling out of the shower head. Also, the water tended to have an rotten smell and the shower would smell bad when you were done showering. Also, the resort had some hot water issues during our stay and brown water was noticed for a few days. We brushed our teeth using bottled water during this time. I am unsure if this is a regular occurrence or an isolated issue.
Our room was cleaned well every day between 10am-11am. The safe worked so we never had to worry about our valuables. The oceanview is the only way to go. So gorgeous.

Beach: The sand is white but it's very grainy and rough, with lots of shells in it. It might hurt a bit but it is still gorgeous. There is a steep hill leading into the water and it is very deep very quickly. Not as nice as Anse Marcel on the french side (in my opinion) but very beautiful nonetheless.

Pools: We swam in the infinity pool everyday! This was our favourite spot. The swim-up bar is in this pool. You definitely need to get to the pool deck early because people like to leave their belongings on a chair and leave it there for hours until they decide to come back. Very annoying but I guess this is something you can't avoid at any resort. The pools were clean and roomy, with lots of space for tanning and shade.

Food/Bars: The food was good. There was a lot of variety everyday, the service was always fast, and the staff are friendly (with the exception of some bartenders who seemed to have good and bad days in terms of their mood!). This resort had a different theme for dinner every night, including Caribbean night, French night, Latin, among others. Lots of new food to experience along with the familiar :)

Animators: These are the employees who keep the activities going during the day and evening. We LOVED them! I have to say that the most energetic and keen animator was Denroy. Very personable, friendly, humorous, and all around a great guy! He listened to suggestions all the time and put them into action. For about a week into our stay, we heard a lot of the same music played repeatedly on the pool deck so I suggested playing much more variety to Denroy and for the rest of our days there, the music was switched up a bit!
I did find that if Denroy was not working a shift, whoever would be working instead was not nearly as "animated" or outgoing as Denroy. They were all very friendly though and open to suggestions and still had fun with us. We really enjoyed beach and pool volleyball!

Internet connection: The basic WiFi on this resort is terrible. Example: Photos being loaded on facebook, or just a simple view of photos on facebook, took way too long. My Songza App never worked either because of the bad connection. There is a fee per day if you want the faster internet. I think the best internet should already be included because going to this resort isn't the cheapest of trips!

Overall, I would recommend this resort to anyone looking to relax. There are plenty of activities and events planned on this resort everyday to make your stay enjoyable. It is a very small resort and my guess is that the average age of visitors is 40-55, so it's not a huge party resort. There are many activities you can do off the resort though if you wish. The locals are friendly too! Rent a car though if you decide to travel around and sight see. Taxis are way too expensive, and they charge per person in the car. We rented a car for a day for $59 including tax/insurance.

I recommend you going to Anse Marcel Beach on the french side. GORGEOUS! Also, we did the Farewell Tour on a catamaran around the island (9am-4:30pm). VERY worth your money! One last note: please try St. Martin's Banana Vanille Rum! It is to die for!

Thank you for making our honeymoon memorable! I only cried 3 times the day we left LOL

Room Tip: Choose oceanview because it is worth the money.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Laura J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brick, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

This trip was a girl's getaway vacation while our husbands were on a golf trip...I think we got the better deal on this vacation :) This resort has the most beautiful beach, great pools and swim up bar...the rooms were nice and clean and the housekeeping impeccable! I had to take a moment and recognize a couple of the amazing staff here at this resort! Roslie, one of the managers was absolutely amazing from the time we checked in until we checked out...she even helped the maintenance man fix my safe when I had a problem getting it open...great personality and smile and always willing to do what it takes to make sure her guests are happy! Vicky at the front desk...well, if you need to know anything about this beautiful island, see Vicky...she had so much knowlege and we all relied on her throughout our stay. I realize that all inclusive resorts aren't always top notch with food...the breakfasts and lunches are really good..make sure to eat at the outdoor grill for lunch! Dinners for me were a challenge since I am vegetarian but I managed. This island is beautiful and every person we met was kind and helpful in every way! Walk down the boardwalk to Philipsburg and do some shopping and enjoy all this gorgeous island has to offer. I would absolutely vacation here again and stay at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort. Once again, thank you for your wonderful and welcoming staff...they are true assets to your organization!!

Room Tip: get an ocean front room...the view is amazing.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank lovemybeach2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amanda F, Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this review, 17 June 2014
Dear lovemybeach2014,

We appreciate you taking the time out to write a positive review about your stay with us.

We’re glad to see that your “Girls Trip” was a success and that you all enjoyed you time with us. Thank you for highlighting the location we are in, how good our food was and the quality of our customer service, we’ll make sure to pass on your kind messages to Rosalie and Vicky.

We hope you and your friends will come back to see us again soon.

Best regards,
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Management
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Laval, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

Great hotel and personal. Denroy (entertainment/activity Supervisor) really made our trip unforgettable. He is really hard working and fun. Most of the people at Sonesta are customer driven at the exception of some bar tenders. Thank you all for a memorable trip!

Room Tip: You must choose an ocean view room. This is well worth it.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank Marie-France D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wasaga Beach, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

This resort needs major repairs. Apparently, some of the rooms have been renovated so if you were lucky enough to get one of them, they were ok. We were not lucky. The bathroom sink wouldn't drain, and the tub/shower was so bad, I put a hand towel in the bottom rather than step on it. No hot water on our second day, and when it returned on the third day, it was brown. No matter how much we ran it, it would not clear. We went into the Sonesta Maho on the third day to explore. WOW!! After talking to Clint on the front desk, he made arrangements for us to transfer for the remaining 5 days. HE SAVED OUR VACATION!!!

Room Tip: Try to obtain a renovated room
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank helenc999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

I traveled to this gorgeous resort for Memorial Day ! The hospitality was impeccable. From the staff at the front deck to housekeeping, everyone was very nice and helpful. Dining was excellent. The rooms were a good size and very clean!!!! The beach and views of the island was gorgeous! I would definitely stay here again!!


@cassirayy

  • Stayed May 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cassirayy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa

Property: Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Address: 19 Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St. Maarten-St. Martin
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > St. Maarten-St. Martin > 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 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Sonesta 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
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa St. Maarten-St. Martin/Philipsburg

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