So here it goes, you may need to sit down for this one. For a year and a half my now husband and I planned this perfect wedding. Of all of the hotels on the island we decided to go with Sonesta Great Bay...BAD IDEA.
We initially visited the resort in March 2011 and came back with feedback to the hotel rep that at the time was assisting us to plan this once in a life-time event. One of the things we spoke about was customer services. Our guest would be traveling from New York and NJ and paying over $2000 to stay at the hotel that WE CHOSE and stressed that customer service was key. We were promised that everything would be perfect the week of.
So everything is great, until the guest begin to arrive. One of my bridesmaid and her significant other were given a room on the bottom floor where there is no ocean view there is only sand view and hotel supply view. The refrigerator leaked and the room had a weird smell. After complaining about the room, mind you they initially said we had to be stuck with the room, they moved her to a mountain view room which is not what she had paid for, but to prevent arguments she was a trooper and stuck with it.
Then as more guests arrived there was confusion about all-inclusive with Expedia.com. After 2 hrs on the phone with Expedia, mind you the hotel did nothing to say let me see what we can do, the guests were forced to pay $500 extra to obtain the all-inclusive they had previously booked.
Then the big day! We had met with staff at least on two occasions to finalize everything and the wedding planner met with them prior to our arrival and we had coordinated this event for a year and a half. Why on the day of the wedding the hotel refused to complete the original table set-up? I had numerous calls from the wedding planner who was also frustrated by the hotel's lack of professionalism.
Then we get to the reception and please explain to me why a hotel manager instructed our DJ whom we paid $1,000 for the night, not to play music while the orders of the guests were taken without our knowledge or consent? This went on for about an hour or so. My husband had to instruct the DJ to play the music at a level where people could heare the music and the staff could take orders.
Finally we get to the end of the night and I decide to give away bottles to my guests, thinking that because we had not only paid for more people than actually came to the wedding and we had a premium bar, that I could give my guests a little present. Please explain to me how the manager of Food and Beverage Julian decided to come to us in the middle of the reception floor to address us in front of our guests about giving away the bottles and then directed a staff to take the bottles back from the guests without explanation and then the staff began to accuse the guests of "STEALING" the bottles of liquor? Essentially it became an embarrassing argument between the Father of the Bride, the Father of the Groom, Managers, and hotel staff. Did I mention that the other guests at the hotel who were on looking at the event were also present at the time?
As if that wasn't enough, monetary gifts that were left at the sweetheart table managed to disappear also.
So the same night we file a complaint with management. Everyone is very sorry, but the envelopes had yet to appear. Subsequently after leaving the hotel we took time to wind down and think the event through. We had to apologize to our guests and family for the incident. We also reached out to Mr. Juan Fernandez himself and it is going on over a month and we have yet to even receive an apology on his behalf. We requested a refund, which we thought was proper and guess what we have yet to hear from the hotel or a rep.
The hotel staff such as Joan Samson, Violet, the activities team, and the chef Renada were amazing! A MILLION AND ONE THANK YOUS! Also thank you to Oro Diamente!
But the hotel management such as Mr. Fernandez and Mr. Richardson with whom the complaint was made on the night of, are unprofessional as was Julian who should have taken other steps when she felt that giving away drinks that we had paid for was inappropriate. As well as the staff who began to argue with the guests.
The hotel food is good, the bartender DESTINY is awesome, the front desk night staff are good too, the rooms on the apartment side are amazing and worth the investment, but it seems that in order for such a good hotel to become great it requires new management that actually care about their customers and keeping them coming back.
Our wedding memory was destroyed as people first remember the argument and not the kiss, or the decor, or the food, or the good time that was had prior to the embarrassment. Everyone we speak to question if the hotel even gave us a partial refund to compensate for the bad experience and we have to say that we are still waiting to at least hear back from the general manager. what is most upseting is that we paid for 50 ppl and we ended up with about 30. We overpaid the hotel for the amount of guests that attended. Each guest paid for their stay which was $330.00 per person per night all-inclusive and aside from that we paid about $77.00 per person for the premium bar, cocktail hour, and reception food. And we have not even received an I'm sorry, or please come back here is a voucher for you and your family, or the right thing a refund.
Aside from the wedding disaster, when we get home and go over our finances and statements we found that the gift shop had charged us twice for each purchase we made there and also charged seperate amounts for purchases that we had not made. Thankfully this was the one thing the hotel rectified.
I would recommend staying at any other hotel in St. Maarten than here. This place is overpriced and it does not have the professionalism or service to come with the price tag.
- 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, Hotels.com, Travelocity.ca, 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 Martin / St Maarten/Philipsburg