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“Sonesta Great Bay - Great Place”

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Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Philipsburg
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 February 2012

Just returned yesterday from St Maarten where we stayed at the Sonesta Great Bay. The resort is small, on the Bay where, if you have ocean view, you can watch the cruise ships perform the awesome feat of docking those massive carriers. We were on the fifth floor. There were 6 of us, including two four year old twins. Sheldon at the swim up bar looked after the boys, making them milk shakes. He was their new "buddy". Because the resort is small I wouldn't expect a huge selection of food, but what was served was very good. During the lunch you can order some foods a la carte as well as the buffet. We didn't try any of the A la Carte restaurants. You can walk into town easily, under 10 minutes, The beach in front of the resort is not fine sand but just down towards town the sand is fine. Very safe in town. Would return in a heart beat.

Room Tip: Try to get a room on fourth ti fifth floor - Ocean View
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Doug G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 February 2012

This resort is really 3.5 stars. Clean, nice reception area easy view on to the bay / Spectacular. Easy check in, smiling staff always ready to help. Important when you book, ask for an ocean view room-appartment aso available. It's very worthwhile-third florr and up. Food was good and for all tastes. While we were there, new pizza ovens being built. Beautifull beach great temperature.

Then there is the 3 pools, speaking of the pools -the swim up to the bar and meet your bartender-Destine-man he is good and smilling all the time-don`t forget to tip. Hot tub-should be much hotter !!! 5 minutes away walking to Phillipsburg and no end in shopping. By the way the local population very nice, very respectfull and everyone says hello to you. Found a very nice Fench restaurant-you must go in Phillipsburg calld Saveurs de France ... From Montréal styled smoked meat-real stuff to fois gras and frozen champagne flute glasses and so much more, its a must !!

Also at the resort, many activities but not to much participation-dommage. During the evening, outdoor movie nights-more family style ... Some may not enjoy same. However, did experience ounce lack of water pressure and hot water ... this should never happen in such a fine hotel.

You must take a day an drive around the entire island being all of 57,7 km we did it it was fantastic. From the Ducht side to the french side and back-note rent your vehicule from accross the street from the hotel and ask for Jean for the best rates its worth it !

By staiying at this hotel, you can visit their sister hotel at Sonesta Maho-that is your aircraft landed at Saint-Maarten, if you like a younger croud and to hear the landings and take offs of the international flights, this is for you and the hotel is much larger. However on your visit, you can eat, drink there for free visit and enjoy the amenities. Whitin Great Bay and Maho great shopping of top quality, best brand names known from around the world and more.

In closing, it is an older hotel, however, they are continously upkeeping the resort for the betterment of the visitors. You have been to Cuba, Mexico , Dominican republic and would like to experience something different and enjoyable, St-Maarten is for you with this resort !!

Ps. Thank you to Rosalie and our Sunwing representative at the hotel Julie.

Room Tip: Higher floors Ocean view a must check out appartements for more privacy with swimming pool
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank MikiPascale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2012

We appreciate the business and thank you for the travel reviews. YES, we are building a new open air pizzeria, if all goes as planned we should be open very soon. You gave some very good suggestions to all travelers to experience our resort and our sister resort- Sonesta Maho. In addition to explore the island.
with hospitality,
Juan- G.M

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Reviewed 5 February 2012

My husband and I were at the Sonesta Great Bay Martin Luther King week. We are back only 3 days and I already miss it. We have been going there every January for 3 years now and love the island, the people, the majority of the employees and the hotel. I will try to make this review as objective as possible. As every hotel it has its pros and cons. Most of the cons I feel are mostly due to lack of management’s involvement in employee training, management’s lack of organization and management’s lack of involvement of the daily operation of their employees. It would be nice if each manager spends one to two hours each week getting feedback from the guests.
Getting there- Sonesta is about a half hour drive by taxi from the airport in average traffic. No need to book a taxi ahead of time, there is always plenty of taxis available. The taxis are regulated and will be the same cost for all taxis. It is around $18.00 US for two people from the airport to the hotel. You can find the rates on the internet for the different locations you might want to go. If you have a favorite driver you can email the driver ahead of time and driver will be there to pick you up. They will also do island tours. http://taxistmaarten.com/
Location – Location, Location, Location… Sonesta is the closest resort to Philipsburg. It is an easy five to ten minutes pleasant walk down the beach or down the street to the main shopping area of Philipsburg.
Reception desk – Check in and checkout was a breeze. There are delays if there is a group from a tour checking in/checking out or a majority of the people from your plane are staying there. The front desk staff was pleasant and efficient. Also, there is a valet to take your luggage from the taxi to your room if you wish and hold your luggage on checkout if you have a later flight.
Clientele - Most of the guest are English or French Canadian and Italian with a hand full of Americans. Even though the hotel states it is for families it is geared primarily for adults. There are a few organized activities for young children (very few), but that is about it for children and nothing for teens. Everything else is geared for adults, the pools, the bars, the food and etc. It is nice not having other people’s brats not bother you. I would suggest if you have children to select another hotel that is more kid friendly.
Dress - Dress is casual. During the day a bathing suit with a wrap or shorts and a t-shirt is fine for going anywhere on the property. You can dress up or dress down in the evening, whatever you feel like. In the evening shorts with polo shirt is fine for the men and shorts or a sundress it fine for women.
Rooms- This year we had a suite, but the previous two years we were in an ocean front room. The hotel is rated three stars and the rooms are typical for a three star hotel; King size bed or two double comfortable beds, dresser, small table with two chairs, nightstands and deck with 2 chairs are standard. The bathroom is a tub/shower combo or a walk in shower. The rooms we had were always clean, but lacking any color. Everything in our suite was white, even the quilt, except for a gold futon. A colored feature wall behind the bed would go a long way, maybe in a citrus color, after all you are in the Caribbean and the local markets and homes just explode with beautiful colors. I have read other people’s reviews’ stating the furniture is dated, but I disagree. It is solid teakwood and charming. It would be a shame to get rid of such well made sturdy furniture to the new crap they are making now. I have been in many hotels with new fancy furniture only to have broken drawers and peeling veneer. We don’t go on vacation to sit in a room, so as long as it is comfortable and clean we are happy and Sonesta’s rooms are that.
The maid comes in twice a day. Once in the AM to do most of the cleaning and in the PM to replace any dirty towels and turn down the bed. This year we had a problem with the maid replacing used items such as coffee and Kleenex. At least 3 times we had to search down a maid to get coffee from her cart this included the day we left her a note stating that we needed coffee. I feel this is the lack of management’s organizational skills. Maids should have a check list for every room and a couple of rooms should be spot checked every day by the supervisor.
If possible get the ocean view room. The mountain view is just a view of a hillside and a busy road. Also I wish the reviews would stop complaining about the roosters waking them up in the morning. The hotel does not own the rosters and have no control over them. Roosters and chickens run free around the island like squirrels do where I live. Dogs also roam free and are the most docile dogs I have ever come across, when they are sleeping on the sidewalk just walk around them. They will not bother you. They are just part of the islands charm.
Year after year, after year I hear the same complaint. There are not enough locks for the safes for all of the rooms. What is the management’s problem? Just order more locks so every room can have a locking safe. It’s a no brainer! People don’t want to be sitting at the pool guarding their cash.
DON’T FORGET TO TIP THE MAID!
Upper lobby and lower lobby – Although also lacking color (color paint cost the same as white, why so plain), except for gold cushions on the wicker furniture the lobbies are spacious and comfortable. The upper lobby also has tables to enjoy a drink or play cards. There are a few cushions on the love seats in the lower lobby that could be replaced; they are as flat as pancakes.
Smoking – Yes, the hotel allows smoking everywhere except for the restaurants. The main areas are all open air and the smoke is no problem. It is a pleasure to enjoy the freedom that is denied in many other places of the world because of a few whiners. One reviewer stated that she smelled a strong smoke smell coming through her air conditioner. In all of the rooms the air conditioners are self contained in the rooms (no wall units). Unless there was someone in her party smoking in her room, there is no way she could smell smoke from the air conditioner.
Pools/hot tubs- There are 3 pools and two hot tubs, although one of the hot tubs was out of order when we were there. They are clean and the water was crystal clear. Be careful of the tile pool deck, it is slippery when wet. It is better to walk on it in bare feet. The pool deck is large and muti-leveled and it would cost the hotel a fortune to replace, so I don’t see that happening soon. We have never been at the pool when they have run out of towels or chairs and the hotel was full when we were there. Selfish, rude people do put towels on the chairs in the AM to save them, only not to use them until hours later.
Activities - The hotel has an activity staff. A sweetheart of a girl named Maria and two nice gentlemen. They do several activities a day, anywhere from Salsa dance lessons, pool aerobics, bingo, drink mixology (don’t miss this one, yummy), volleyball and etc. The activities are listed in the lower lobby. Most nights there is music and dancing in The Living Room Lounge.
Bars – Five: The Living Room, The Lobby Bar, The Anchor Swim Up Bar, The Bay View Bar and the Casino Bar. Bring your own drink into the Casino bar, it is a cash bar. The all inclusive drinks are included if you are on the machines and they are suppose to come around and serve you. Forget it, it doesn’t happen. The Living Room Bar and The Lobby Bar are the same bar, just one side faces the lobby and the other side faces the lounge. The problems with the bars are that they are not stocked very well. The stocking practice is very much unorganized. Five out of the eight days we were there The Living Room bar had none of the local Gavaberry Rum, but the Anchor bar had a five gallon container. All of the bars have the equipment to make the frozen drinks (try the Gavaberry colada, its good), but not all of the bars make them. WHY? Why was it that the Bay View bar one day was not able to make frozen drinks because of lack of colada mix when the Anchor bar which is 50 feet away had colada mix and was able to make frozen drinks? Although I think it was not due to lack of colada mix, but to laziness. I blame the disorganization of the stock due to the management and/or the management doesn’t care. The bartenders are not trained correctly to check and stock their bars before they start their shift and re-stock at the end of their shift, they are not trained on customer service and how to mix a proper drink. Some of the bartender should not be there at all. There are wonderful bartenders and there are not so wonderful bartenders and one terribly horrible bartender. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly.
Enrique - The newest of the bartenders and he is awesome. He is a truly professional bartender. He stocks his bar before his shift, he is always smiling and pleasant, efficient, mixes the frozen drinks correctly and presents them attractively and rarely leaves the bar area. We would wait until he started his shift before we would have a drink. The other bartenders just dumps the liquor in with the colada mix in a cup un-mixed, Enrique actually mixes the drink in the machine. The customer comes first with Enrique. He should be the lead bartender and trainer. He knows his stuff, a true professional. Don’t lose him like you did Anthony, he was another go-getter.
Marisa – A sweetheart. Fun and pleasant. Works the Living Room bar in the evening.
Michael – he usually works with Marisa and they make a good team. He is also a good bartender.
Christian –The Anchor bar is his bar. He keeps it well stocked and takes pride in it. Knows where everything is and don’t mess with his stuff. His is the bar to go to when at the pool.
N – Didn’t get his name, but I think it starts with a N. Usually works the first shift at the Bay View bar. You could die of dehydration by the time you get a drink.
Samoan – We knew her when she was a waitress and she was pleasant, efficient, and kind. I don’t know what happen, but now she is slow and grumpy. Never says hello or can I help you. You might get a drink if she is actually behind the bar. She likes to disappear a lot. I think she just needs retrained in customer service.
Jose- The worst!!!! He is soooooo lazy and nasty. We were at the bar and a lady came up and asked him for a Kahlua and cream and he told her there was no milk. Not more than five minutes later Enrique started and a lady asked for some milk for her child and guess what there was milk. Jose was just too lazy to make the drink.
I wasn’t at first going to mention this, but friends who are bartenders and my daughter who is also bartenders insist that I should. I know this is strong, but try to avoid him at all cost. I will not go into details because we have no proof, but my husband had an incident happen when Jose was serving him and we will never trust him serving us a product that we ingest ever again. I am writing a separate letter to the GM to air my concerns.
When the two bartenders are working together they have a tip jar. Not that we don’t tip, we do, but we want to tip the bartender that we choose to. We cannot see a good bartender having to split a tip with a lazy bartender when the good bartender does all of the work.
Food - We were disappointed at the food at the Bay View Buffet this year and we are no way foodies. The Bay View is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We like the Bay View because you do not need a reservation for dinner; we do not like schedules when we are on vacation. I will describe the food as boring. And they also need to practice food safety. The same food day after day. Breakfast is good and tasty, sausage, bacon, home fries, eggs Benedict, omelets, pancakes, fruit, all the usual breakfast items, except they serve baked beans with breakfast every morning. Who in the heck eats baked beans for breakfast? None of the guests I spoke to at the hotel. They would be good on the Monday night barbeque and one or twice for lunch, but not breakfast.
Lunch and dinner was the same old, same old. If I see another chicken leg or mixed vegetables I will scream, there are other parts to a chicken. There is no imagination preparing the dishes and a lack of planning of what to serve with the dishes. They had lamb and no mint jelly, French onion soup with croutons with no provolone cheese, baked potatoes with no butter or sour cream, fried shrimp without cocktail sauce, fish without tartar sauce as an example. Some of the food was good and some not so. The salads are the same for lunch and dinner every single day. The deserts are the same at lunch every single day and the same thing at dinner every single day. How about some variety! Some of the things that were good were the salmon, the stuff that was served to put on the soft tacos (there is more to Latin food than just tacos though), pasta bar (although every day was too much), and the prime rib. Each night is a different theme. Saturday is French night, Sunday Italian, etc. They may have had one or two items that pertains to that night’s theme and that was all. Why don’t you make something native to the Caribbean? Like goat, conch, yucca, etc. I thought Caribbean night would be good, after all you are in the Caribbean and you could not tell it was different than any other night. They have a wealth of employees from the Caribbean that I am sure have great recipes for Caribbean food; they should use their knowledge or go on Google and get some recipes. St Maarten is a small island surrounded by ocean with an abundance of sea food, but sea food is almost non-existing at the Bay View except for some baked fish and one night they had fried shrimp.
I guess it depends on where you are from, but for us the food is expensive on the island, which is understandable since most of it has to be shipped in. As an example a sausage McMuffin from McDonalds is $4.89, lunch order for one person of goat with rice and vegetable and 2 soft drinks was $20. So I would suggest going all inclusive at the hotel. If not make sure you look at the items at the Bay View before you purchase dinner. They charge $27 for dinner. They have a menu listing what they are serving every day at the Bay View, but it is useless. Much of the stuff listed on the menu they don’t have. Some of the items listed on the menu that they didn’t have was seafood salad, ice cream (but the Molasses restaurant that is above them had ice cream. Go figure?) mussels, yucca fries, lamb stew, rice pudding, strawberry moose, chorizo, pumpkin soup and more. So you’re paying for something that you are not going to get. I find that a deceptive practice. If they are unable to constantly deliver the food, just put out a black board at breakfast listing what they are serving for dinner so you can make a choice of eating there or make reservations at the Molasses or LaCucina that night.
I have read some reviews about people getting ill who were staying at the Sonesta. Food safety is very poor at the Bay View and in previous years it was not. There were some foods we just could not eat due to it not being kept at a safe temperature. It’s a no brainer, hot food always need to say hot and cold foods need to stay cold. Salad dressing, mayonnaise, potato salad, coleslaw, mini shrimp, etc just sit for hours in the heat of the day on the counter. That stuff must stay cold at all times. The hot food needs to be kept hot at all times, not to leave it sit there for hours after the sterno’s burns out. Management desperately needs to take a course on food safety.
We ate one night at the Molasses restaurant and the shrimp appetizer and the shrimp entrée was very good. We did not eat at the LaCucina, so I cannot review it. Men need to wear long pants to eat at the Molasses and the LaCucina.
Don’t forget to tip the servers. All inclusive is suppose to include the tip, but trust me the servers never see any of it and wages are low. Leave at least $1 per person per meal.
Virginia (breakfast and lunch server), Evon and the gentleman that I did not get his name (host), and Gilberto and Rufino (dinner server) are awesome. I am sure the other servers are good, but we only use the ones listed.
Philipsburg - Charming town, it is not overly developed. It is safe to walk around during the day. I feel safer walking around Philipsburg than in my home town. We have never had a problem, but I have heard of a few pick pocketing incidents. That happens in any place where there are tourists with money in their pockets. I would not recommend walking around town after the shops close down at night though.
Philipsburg is only four streets wide and about a mile (if even that) long. The streets and sidewalks are not very agreeable with wheelchairs or strollers. The sidewalks are brick and in some places they are so narrow that you have to walk single file and the streets are only one car wide and made of cobblestone. The boardwalk although is agreeable with wheelchairs and strollers.
Shopping – Philipsburg is awesome for purchasing fine jewelry and clothing. I would recommend Ore Diamante for fine jewelry. You name the gem and setting, they will have it. If not they will make it. Vic and his wife Nandy will not hard sell you and they have beautiful jewelry. First they will show you want you want, and then they will show you beautiful items that you can afford. They have a shop in the hotel and on Front St. I would read the reviews on any other jewelry stores before purchasing an item. Some are honest, and some are rip-offs.
As for anything else, you can find beautifully colored sundress’, wraps, shawls, scarves, costume jewelry, souvenirs, etc in town. First I would check out Rema, it has a lot of the same merchandise you can fine in the open air markets, but cheaper and all in one place. From the hotel head down Front St, turn left onto Schoolsteeg St. for about three blocks and turn left on WA Nisbeth Rd. It is a yellow building on the left. The Great Salt Pond is across the street. Or the open air markets and shops on Front St, Back St., and the boardwalk are also nice. Yes you can bargain at all shops except for Rema, they expect it. Cigarettes and liquor is dirt cheap. Beware do not buy the cigarettes made in the Philippines, they are cheaper, but crap.
Try to stay out of town when there are more than 3 cruise ships in port, it gets very crowed. http://www.portofstmaarten.com/schedule.htm
Getting around the island - You can use the taxies, rent a car (they drive like nuts) or walk into town to Back St. and take a bus to most places on the island. A taxi to Margot for two people is $20; the bus for two people is $4. The buses run to:
Philipsburg
Marigot
Mullet Bay
Grand Case
Dutch Quarter
Middle Region
St. Peters
French Quarter
I hope this review was helpful for all of you wanting to visit this lovely island. The island motto is “the friendly island, I call it the “whatever island”. I love the freedom of being able to walk down the street with a beer in hand, smoking a cigarette and it’s no problem.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank averagejoe53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2012

Thank you for the detailed travel opinion. We will utilize this with our daily/weekly training we complete with our teams. These training sessions help us to improve our level of service. Our resort is consistently 1 of the best rated for service on Sint Maarten. We appreciate the positive comments for the staff. In regards to food, safe locks, bars, etc... we will discuss and improve. We have ordered more safe locks, we are just waiting their arrival. As well, the culinary team is always implementing new items to attempt to keep the consistency of variety and challenge the cooks on new cuisines. We look forward to seeing you in the future and showcasing the resort upgrades.
Sincerely,
Juan- G.M

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Reviewed 4 February 2012

Even for an all inclusive, the food and drink were sub standard.The staff were anything but friendly.The bar staff could not make any of the usual tropical drinks.All drinks are served in plastic cups not just at the pool.The food all tasted the same and not much of a variety bring the rolaids.They would run out of pool towels but did not allow room towels to be used.Although the resort was lacking, the island and the people of st maarten were great.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank harry s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

We booked the Sonesta Great Bay because our neighbours have gone 5 years in a row. We will never go again.

There were several good things:
1) the walk to Philipsburg is quick,
2) watching the cruise ships is fun,
3) the food is pretty good (if you go, have the coconut shrimp at Molasses),
4) the welcome champagne is nice.

We were disappointed in a number of things:
1) they ran out of beach towels several days,
2) we had to ask for regular towels several days (they must not have enough regular towels or beach towels when they are full); they would get towels to the room by about 9 pm,
3) unless you showered before about 7:30 am, there wasn't hot water; we tried 7:45 am, and got hot/cold fluctuations, and in late afternoon there never was any hot water,
4) the fitness centre had only 2 treadmills and one multi-use nautilus-type machine and free weights, but the one treadmill and nautilus machine were out of order the entire week
5) they had run out of pina colada mix for the first couple of days we were there
6) the buffet restaurant one day had a hard time keeping food available (they must have been short-staffed that night). At other times, there was a line up to get in, as they couldn't keep up with bussing the tables.
7) they list daily activities, but the one day we wanted to do something (the morning walk to Ft Amsterdam), the guide never showed up. We went alone (it is close and easy)
8) people can smoke everywhere except in the restaurants; we noticed the strong smoke smell coming through our air conditioning, in the hallways, on the balcony, in the lobby, etc.

If you stay at Great Bay, you can go to the Maho and still eat/drink for free (if you have the all-inclusive). We did that one day. We spoke to people who stayed at the Maho, and they didn't enjoy their stay any better. The Maho has a nicer lobby, has a spa and a better fitness centre. But, the noise of the planes and smell of jet fuel get old pretty quickly. The Great Bay has a better beach.

We took the bus to Marigot one day and to the Maho another day (each time <30 minutes and only $2, so very worth it rather than getting a taxi, at least during the day).

I know people return to this resort, and have wonderful stays, but I can't get over the lack of hot water and towels, in particular.

We flew with Sunwing. Our flight attendants were really nice and the food actually wasn't too bad. But, we found out that sometimes Sunwing needs to stop part way home to refuel (e.g. in Dominican Republic), so your flight may be direct, but not non-stop. No one warned us of that.

Room Tip: The Ocean View room was worth it. There is definite entertainment value in watching the cruise ships...
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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26  Thank RuthCampbellvilleON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 1 February 2012

Thank you for the travel opinion. We appreciate comments on our service. I will personally look into the towel shortage as we have plenty of towels. In regards to the gym, yes we are awaiting parts for 2 machines, it just takes longer in the islands, but they are arriving shortly from the USA. You suggest some good options for guests to really enjoy the island, it is very accomodating & easy to move around at a very in-expensive price. I highly reccommend to anyone reading the post to visit Marigot, Orient Beach, Grand Case, Maho Village, etc.. You will really enjoy it!
We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to the next visit to the island and our resort.
with hospitality,
Juan- G.M

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Reviewed 30 January 2012

My husband and I just returned from St. Maarten.. our stay at the Sonesta Great Bay was excellent as usual. We have stayed at this resort several times during our stay on the island and keep going back! The rooms are quite clean and the staff is just wonderful. They remember you from previous visits and treat you like family... we cant say enough about the service staff, always smiling and greeting you warmly each time they see you! We have noticed improvments, and the buffet choices are getting better all the time. A very nice place to stay for a relaxing good time. If you are looking for alot of nightlife and tons of activities this is not the place for you... Try the Sonesta Maho for that ! If you want a great place to laze on the beach, have lots of tropical drinks, warm and friendly staff and just an overall good time, this is it... we are already planning our next 2 week vacation there.. Thanks to all at Great Bay for making our stay an excellent one..we will be back !!!

Room Tip: if you want a great view of the bay get the deluxe ocean view rooms or deluxe ocean view suite.. try...
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kim j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmgreatbay19, General Manager at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 1 February 2012

We appreciate the travel comments. We look forward to your next return! We have made several changes in the past few months and we are happy to read you have noticed. The improvements to the restaurant & bars, Chef Floris has really made major step in presenting some the best food on the island. Plus, opening soon a new Pizzeria on the waterfront, it is going to be very nice & relaxing. We made other big changes within our activity program with a new kids clubs, daily games, challenges, etc....
sincerely,
Juan- G.M

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Reviewed 30 January 2012

Stayed at The Great Bay for two fabulous weeks January 15-29th. We were very impressed with the staff from the moment we arrived. Our room was not ready but they told us to have lunch and come back in an hour. The room was clean but did have a musty odour. We eventually got used to smelling it.. Never had a towel or pillowcase issue that was not resolved with a simple phone call to the front desk.
The dining staff was second to none. Virginia, June and their bussers were amazing. I will miss them all. I also got a warm hug from Luisa everyday too. We did however, find Stanley ( restaurant manager ) very rude at times. Not only to us but to the young bussers. Juan, please talk to him about embarrassing those kids in front of the guests. Very unporfessional. i know he runs a tight ship but he is loud and abnoxious. I told him that he had a bad attitude one day. Not really complaining as the other staff members were perfect in every sense of the word. It was more upsetting to watch than anything.
I really too have to mention the staff at La Cucina and Molasses. Marcia, Chris and Audrey always greeted us with a warm hug and a get smile, How nice to start off your dinner that way. The ambiance was very nice and the food excellent. Our compliments to Wayne the chef. The thought of that mahi mahi makes my mouth water. We always tried to award them nicely at the end of the wonderful meal and service.

The activity staff we great and always cheerful. We were fortunate enough to have won great jewelery from Oro Diamonte Jewellers. Kevin thank you for the warmth and fun.

We had no trouble with the wifi in our room. I did hear other mention they had to go to the lobby.The pool area was clean and chairs plentiful. Bar well stocked and staf friendly.

People that complain about the little things should stay home. We saw one fly and 3 pidgeons during a 14 day period. No cochroaches as one person reported. These people need to realize they are in the islands and there will be a few inconveniences.

All in all Great Bay...thanks for the experience. We will come back.

I need to mention that one night i was feeling ill so told my husband not to worry and go to dinner and have a nice time at the bar and casino. Little did I know that within 30 minutes of him leaving me , i became violently ill. I called the front desk and the next thing you know this little maid ( Marcolais). Anyways she does the night turn down in room 328.I don't really remember her name but she has gold teeth in the front. Well, this little lady was so kind and good. She cleaned up the mess I made, had fresh sheets and towels brought up. Helped wash me and had the terrible task of cleaning that horrible uncontrolled vomitting mess I made. She was so kind i did not even feel embarrassed. She washed my face and brushed my hair too. Did not leave until she knew the worse was over. i have never been treated so kindly by a stranger. I thanked her so very much. She didn't even want the gratuity but I forced her to take it. She was so humble. ( Juan, please give her a kind word from us again.) The next day her shift began at 3:00 and she came looking for me around 2:45 to see how I was. Brings a tear to my eye. This kind gesture alone will bring us back to the Great Bay.

We rented a car at the Hertz desk in the front lobby. See Bobby he is very helpful. Had a wonderful tour of the island. There are no stop signs and only a few traffic lights. The turnabouts are very confusing and remember that cars in the turnabouts have the right of way. Took us a few days to get used to it. The locals are very friendly and willing to help. I did not at any given time feel threatened, I felt safe even at night. I am sure there is crime but we felt safe.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Ferdon
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

Address: 19 Little Bay Road, Philipsburg, St Martin / St Maarten
Phone Number:
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 Family Hotel in Philipsburg
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Philipsburg
Price Range: $342 - $777 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg

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