My wife and I have been to resorts in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. All of them were all inclusive and what I would call 'mega resort'. What I mean by this is they are basically their own town and have over 1000 people and have an extensive amount of pool, different rooms, and just are enormous. Sonesta Great Bay in Philipsburg is really a hotel that is acting like a resort and is not a mega resort. So just like you cannot compare a upscale BMW to a Toyota, you cannot compare Sonesta with other mega resort. My review below will assume this is understood.
FYI, we are parents of three young kids and like to travel without them to 'recharge our batteries' every couple years
My wife and I went to this resort for our 10 year anniversary with another couple the week of July 14th 2014 for six days and five nights. To summarize, the food was good, the location was good, and customer service was below average, and the price was the real selling point. St. Maarten is an amazing island and we are very glad we went. However, with the shear amount of hotels on St. Maarten and the different types of beach to suite your needs, I have to believe there are better ones out there. See below for the details on why. So if Sonesta bay in Philipsburg is the only way for you to afford going to St. Maarten, book and it you will have a great time. If you have other choices, pick those.
Detailed review 1-5 rating with 5 being the best
So how the food works is that there is one 'nice' restaurant upstairs that changes menus based on the day for dinner. There is also a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was actually good which was surprising as we arrived and saw the place we assumed it would be just average. However, my wife and I are what ever the opposite of picky eaters are so we like a lot of food.
Customer service 1.5:
This is the main reason why I made the comment about finding other hotels. I would say 80% of people that work here don't seem to enjoy it. If I am spending money for a vacation I expect to be pampered and this is the opposite of what we got. When you asked for something it appeared that you were bothering them. Our group had a running joke about the reaction you would you would ask them for something. So they just are overall not friendly people. Then you add in two times were I would rating them a -5 on customer service to add to the mix:
1. I tried to get snorkeling gear and they made me run around the entire hotel looking for the one person that could get it. I told them this was silly and just gave up.
2. My group decided to bring out a board game during a rain storm. Well the table right next to the pool we used was also at the end of the dinner area. The game usually takes 1 hour to play and there are of lot of small pieces you just can't pick up to move. The head dinner preparations lady asked us to move a full 1 hour and 30 minutes before dinner started so they can finish 'prepping' the dinner area (which takes 2 minutes). She was utterly rude and kept on asking us how long more to finish, which would have been 20-30 minutes. She said 'if you don't move I will be fired'. So either the management is horrible to these workers or she just likes to really make paying customers angry. We just gave up and canceled the game. I guess this is small but it goes back to the point that their overall customer focus is bad. When compared to the mega resorts, I would say you are comparing a bicycle to a BMW. Not good.
The room is small and the bathroom is very small. We did not spend really any time in the room. I guess this is expected when you are paying for an economy car (sure do like the bathrooms and rooms in those mega resorts, but you pay for them). Our room the first night was an ice box so I let the front desk know and after multiple attempts they kind of fixed the issue. I ended up just turning off the air to 'manually' regulate the temperature.
The beach was quite and the waves were fun. No problem finding a seat as this was low season. The sand is different but did not bother us. The water was warm and we enjoying acting like kids in the ocean.
They had two smaller pools with one being a swim up bar. It served its purpose.
Sorry, we have three young kids and even on vacation we are tired by 10am. The all day drinking did not help either. So none for us! Oh, I did try to go to a casino in Philipsburg one night. Wow, shady. Do not ever go to Philipsburg casinos during the night.
- 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 Expedia, Booking.com, West Indies, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Cancelon, Ebookers, HotelQuickly and getaroom.com so you can book your Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday 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
- Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa St. Maarten-St. Martin/Philipsburg