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“Terrific Vacation”

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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 April 2006

We stayed at the Great Bay From 4/1 - 4/8 and had a great time. The hotel was very clean..our rooms were very clean and the food was very fresh and plentiful.
The beach was nice and very clean..sand was a bit coarse..but after awhile, you didn't notice. We really enjoyed watching the cruise ships come in. We were only a 10 minute walk to town and once in a while someone would come up trying to sell something, but we just said no politely and they went away. People have to remember that selling goods is what these natives do for money.. and we need to respect that. There are little bars to stop and have drinks on the way...fun and relaxing.

We noticed some reviews were negative about things...some people are just never happy...my husband and I have been to many 5 star resorts..and this was great in it's on way. We would absolutely come back...

  • Stayed: April 2006
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10  Thank GailST
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,651 - 3,657 of 4,331 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
117
Reviewed 7 April 2006

My wife and I stayed at this hotel from March 25 to April 1, 2006.

I am filled with praise both for Air Transat and for the Great Bay Beach Hotel. Check in was well organized, quick and efficient. We lined up by sections
of the alphabet to avoid overloading any one hotel clerk. Our room was pre-assigned and they had respected our request for an upper room facing the
ocean. The Air Transat girl gave us a detailed orientation session on the first morning. This girl was at her desk every day during specified hours. She was a valuable source of info. Either she accommodated our desires or she referred us to the Activities desk run by the hotel.

As for the hotel, I have read all the negative criticisms on this site.
Let me dispose of these first.

1) the hotel was supposed to smell musty. Nonsense! There was a slight musty smell in the hallway that we noticed when we first arrived but never in our room and never afterwards. This is the Caribbean. It is humid there. You have to be realistic!

2) they burn garbage on the adjacent property and that smells. They burned
something once and only once but only for an hour. Once or twice you could smell smoke. That was it.

3) there are stray dogs who leave their droppings on the beach. Yes, there
are two or three and yes I did see one or two old droppings on the beach on
one of our walks to Philipsburg but the dogs never come near the hotel's beach and never bark or bother anyone.

4) the food is bland, boring, etc. Well, I liked it. There was always a variety to choose from in buffet form. If you didn't like what was on offer, you had only to ask and they would get something else for you.

5) there have been complaints about the nightly entertainment on offer. To be honest, my wife and I did not partake of any of it. By the time we had finished our evening meal we were tired. I guess we are dull, or getting old, or, I know when I have had a lot of sun, I always get overwhelmingly sleepy.

6) the beach is coarse and the land drops off too steeply when you get into the ocean. True, on both counts. But my wife and I are not into making sandcastles anyway so what difference does the coarseness make? If you want to walk along the water's edge, the sand there is fine and walkable. We don't go in the ocean much anyway anywhere. Who needs cut feet, jellyfish, etc.? I think this is not the best beach for kids. But we don't have any.

Now, here is what I liked about the Great Bay Beach Hotel.

1) it is fastidiously clean. They seem to have a veritable army of staff who are everywhere and always scrubbing, cleaning, etc.

2) they have a million dollar view. No other spot has such a view with so much, like the cruise ships, to look at.

3) the food is plentiful and varied. Even the drinks are prepaid so if we had wanted, we could have drunk ourselves into a stupor at no extra financial cost.

4) the staff are efficient and helpful. They have shuttles and cruises for just about anywhere we might want to go.

5) location, location, location! We could walk to Philipsburg.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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17  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Cornwall, Ontario
213
Reviewed 19 March 2006

We have just returned from a week at the Great Bat Resort and Casino and the group had a wonderful time. The food was great, rooms were cleaned. Towels were exchanged twice a day. There were no complaints from anyone. We were on the 7th floor and the view was wonderful. This resort has the best view. The staff was wonderful. We would go back again.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2006

Lucky for us we had requested a high floor (for the view), because we heard loads of people complaining about the terrible smell on the lower floors. The beach there is extremely disappointing, course sand, empty beer bottles/cans, broken glass!! and dogs wandering free and messing along the beach! Philipsburg is only a ten minute walk, but be prepared to get hassled by the dreaded time share people. the shopping is mainly Jewellery and they mostly cater for the cruise ships and close at 6pm, so no shopping after a hard days sun bathing!! Food at the hotel is ok, better in the molasse rather than the buffet. Some staff are friendly, but some are just outright rude! the view from our 7th floor room was excellent, and the rooms were always kept clean. the chamber maids are constantly in/out of your room, which can be a pain if you are trying to get ready.caught the ferry over to Anguilla, that was very nice and fantastic beaches. you have to get a taxi from the ferry port to the beach. The french side of St Maarten is much more refined and relaxed - would defo recommend staying that side.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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4  Thank NO1ADDICT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
London, Ontario
19
Reviewed 14 March 2006

We just got back from an amazing week at Great Bay. It was fabulous. The rooms were quite nice, nothing too extravagant but clean and tidy and very roomy for two. The food was fabulous, we did all inclusive and were never bored! The food servers were always friendly and pleasant. The front desk staff and the cleaning staff always had a friendly smile and were always helpful. The beach and the pools were amazing! We had a beautiful view of the marina and the cruiseships that were in at Philipsburg. A beautiful backdrop for our dining experiences. Philipsburg was just a 15 minute walk down the beach (we walk slowly). We enjoyed many a walk down to the town to window shop. I have to say we did not want to come home! We are already wondering when we can go back.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Massena, NY
18
Reviewed 14 March 2006

This is the 2nd year that my husband and I have stayed at the Great Bay. The views are awesome and worth the stay!
The rooms are clean, but smell musty when you first arrive. After a few days, we didn't notice it much as we burned candles and sprayed lysol! The buffet meals are okay, nothing spectacular. We ate several dinners at some of the great restaurants on the island, especially Peg Leg's, Mark's, and The Greenhouse. The pools at the hotel are great, especially the new infinity pool. The drinks were plentiful, but they ran out of strawberry daiquiri mix!!! The staff is very friendly and accommodating. A few complaints: We had to ask several times for towels because they ran out; people slamming their doors at all hours of the day & night (very loud because of tiled floors); and the traffic on the Dutch side of the island is horrendous. Other than that, we had a marvelous time and look forward to going back next year when our timeshare is ready!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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8  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2006

Returned Mar.11,2006 from Great Bay. Had a wonderful time. Found the food, service, rooms very good. Stayed on the sixth floor, no bad odors in the room. Did hear the lower rooms smelled musty. Was very impressed with the buffet, food was always good and staff were attentive. If you didn't like what was there you can always order a burger and fries. Pools were nice and clean. Ocean beach was nice but the quick drop from knee deep to shoulder deep may be a concern for little ones. Orient beach on the French side is a great beach with lots happening. Cab is about $40.00 return but worth it for the day. Philipsburg is about a ten minute walk along the beach or a boardwalk is competed about half way. A great place to shop for jewellry. Price are very good and bartering is a must. Best prices are when there are only a few cruise ships in port. Wednesday is the worst day for shopping. Friday probably best. All in all a great holiday. Would recommend, would go back

  • Stayed: March 2006
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9  Thank plattsvillenomad
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: £273 - £593 (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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