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“Very relaxing getaway :)”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Very relaxing getaway :)”
Reviewed 21 July 2014

This all-inclusive resort was a very nice getaway. It is smaller than most resorts but that's what's great about it. Everything is in walking distance which was very nice. The resort is minutes away from all the shopping stores in Phillipsburg. The staff were very friendly and welcoming. Food was amazing, no complaints there! The only cons were: water pressure in the rooms (could be better), water coming out of the taps were kind of brown, and the sand on the beach was very coarse. All in all, it was a great experience, we didn't let those minor things ruin our vacation. Perhaps the hotel rooms could use some renovations/upgrades. Everything else was fabulous. It was well worth the price, would definitely come back.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jnguyen91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Washington DC
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Background
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

Summery Review
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

Food 3.5:
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.

Room 2:
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.


Beach 3.5
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.

Pools 3.
They had two smaller pools with one being a swim up bar. It served its purpose.

Nightlife n/a:
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.

Room Tip: get the ocean view. It is amazing.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank vtdchi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

I visited the resort with my wife and my daughter. We found everybody very pleasant and willing to please. The accomadations were very nice. Food & drinks great. Beautifull location and we had a very relaxing vacation. We loved the all adult venue. We had no reason to leave the hotel, entertainment and staff great. We will definetly go back and would & have recommended the resort to friends.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Pat D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014 via mobile

The staff are nice and smiling. The food is also very good and there is variety.
The rooms are also big and clean.

The beach is beautiful and the view from the restaurent is amazing ! I would totally go back to that hotel !

Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Rox S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

This hotel is good if you want to get away and just be alone for a few days. The hotel is secluded from the town and is also up in the mountains which isn't bad but it tends to be a little cooler. The beach however is a lot better then the sister hotel. We didn't like the 1 hour break where there isn't any food available. The pool was good and was of deep water which is the first time I've been to an all inclusive with a deep water pool. The hotel also had a jacuzzi and a pool with a swim up bar. The restaurant's available were decent but weren't the best. The buffet was decent but i felt it was the same choices night after night.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Stayed here last October for 4 nights. I loved the small feel of the hotel. The buffet not so overwhelming. And the food fresh. Restaurant was good service. Most of all I loved the pool, small and looking right out to the ocean. You can watch the cruise ship come in. No crowds while we were there. A short walk to the town, great bargains to pick up and easy Island to get around.
Will definitely come back...cant wait!

Room Tip: We choose a higher floor, ocean view. We were happy
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank juned2208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 19 July 2014

My wife and I went here for our 15th aniversary and fell in love with it. Not only does it have the best beaches, the place was perfect. The staff is the best of any other place we have ever stayed. Cleopatra, who is in charge of the staff made sure we were well taken care of. She is constantly checking that her staff was always at their best and welcomed any comments we had, whether it was good or bad. I mean, if we mentioned that someone was not having a good day, she was on it. She was so observant that we did not have to say anything, she just noticed something was amiss. My wife fell in love with her and they spent a lot of time just talking. Now, I cannot say enough about Smiley (I call him that), the bellman, who was always there with anything you need and whenever you passed him doing his rounds, he was always smiling and welcomed a handshake to ask how you were doing. Edrick is his name and if you go there, call him smiley and see if he remembers... We vowed to go there again next year and to stay longer. We were there for 7 days and next year, we hope for 10 to 14 days. We did visit their sister resort but were not nearly as impressed with the staff there. This one is adults only, while the sister resort had LOTS of children. I believe the sister resort was a nicer layout, but you had to deal with all the kids running around. I suppose if you had to deal with children all the time, your staff would tend to not be as happy. Just a guess. So, if it is just you and your better half, stay here. If you want a family type of vacation, go to the sister resort. Nighly there was always something going on, from live music to acrobatic acts. During the day, around the pool there is Bingo and other games. I found a new one that I like, "Tip the Cup". Kind of like beer pong.

Room Tip: If you can, get the apartments. They all have a view of the ocean and are very quiet at night. It...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank y2kjerome
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 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 Family 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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