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Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
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Reviewed January 27, 2008

My friends and I booked a 3 night stay with the Sonesta Great Bay Resort and Casino requesting a mountain view and 2 double beds. The day we have checked in, the front desk informed us that they have only one king bed available which was fine due to the fact there rooms were supposedly oversold. We requested a rollover bed since we might have a 3rd person staying with us. They gave us a room number which was 112. What was so odd was when we were going to the elevator, we would assume that the first floor would be either the same level we were in or one level up, the funny thing was the 1st floor was actually 3 floors down to where we were at. We took the elevator which only 4 people the max can fit in, to the first floor and what do we see....? We were in the basement. It felt like we were in the dungeon of the hotel. When we opened the door to the room, our mouths just dropped open. The view was no mountain view. It was somewhat like a 4 foot wall with bars on top and u barely can see the street. The room smelled like mildew and later on we noticed there was mosquitoes in the room. The sheets were all mildew n wet. Our door was closed and to our shock without any knocks on the door, one of the workers just opened the door and threw the rollover bed to the wall and just left. How disrespectful can someone be, without knocking on the door and just strolling in. What if there was something going on in the room, if you know what I mean? Um, how about setting it up? It took 3 of their workers later to come and set up the bed. They had no clue how too. They were moving furniture around because the room was so small. One of them made a comment saying, "well if we put the phone on the bed maybe it will work a little and put one of the furnitures out on the balcony, How crazy was this? Of course we went upstairs to complain about the whole thing. We approached another hotel personel, he was extremely rude saying that the hotel is oversold and there was nothing he can do, there was no rooms available and if we wanted we can talk to the manager the next day. All the manager did was the last day move us a floor up with 2 double beds which was a total inconvienence for us, meaning we had to pack our stuff, move all our luggage and barely fit into that so-called elevator. And she gave us a bracelet so we can eat all we want. The food we didnt even touch after the first taste at the buffet because it was disgusting. Something from a frozen package thrown in the microwave. I came home with mosquito bites. Did I forget to mention the shower? It was one of those shower the shower doors but there was no other half. One half was closed, the other half was nothing. Unbelievable.
They had no phonecards to sell in the area. What kind of hotel does not sell phonecards in one of their stores? We would have to go to west bamba to find one, in which we didnt either. We took some desserts to try this all inclusive thing to go, the lady had the nerve to say that "we were the only ones that had to eat those." so basically, if my friends would of passed by, i was unable to offer them some goodies. its so funny but at the same time it is frustrating do to the fact that they already inconvienced their guests and they have the nerve to be cheap with us! Speaking of cheap, We needed an extra pillow, since their pillows felt like rocks and to be more comfortable, I went to take an extra pillow from where the housekeepers keep their stuff while servicing the rooms. Not even 3 min past, the housekeeper had the nerve to knock on the door and ask if I took the pillow and that our room is already provided with pillows and we have limited ones. How Cheap is that? The drama that they have caused us, they should've gave us a refund at least for one night.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with friends
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3  Thank oonyzfinestoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 25, 2008

We arrived at the resort in the afternoon for a 3 night stay. Upon checking in we quickly unpacked in our Mountain view room. The room was nice. Only a shower, no tub in bathroom but everything was taken care of by the daily maid service. Fresh towels and toiletries were put out. No complaints. No strong musty smell although I did bring scented tea lights to burn just in case. We went straight down to the beach area, had our welcome cocktail and took a dip in the beautiful bay. Yeah there’s a drop off, I’m short and had trouble getting out of the water but I loved it. The water was a beautiful blue and turquoise and warm and calm. We got enough sun that first night that we slept well and were not bothered by the rooster. We could hear him but if you close the balcony door and draw the drapes its not intrusive to sleep. We did not go all inclusive but did have the lunch buffet one day which was excellent. I particularly enjoyed the grilled grouper that day. We ate once in Molasses which was good and once in Cucina which was okay. There was a singer w/a guitar in the Cucina and we enjoyed his playing. We walked into town 5 times on both the beach and street. No problems with folks, there’s stray dogs lazing around but they don’t bother you. I would not walk it at dusk or night time though. There’s a nice boardwalk area just down the beach from the hotel and you can eat in many of the restaurants. We enjoyed the Blue Bitch (quesadillas, burgers and plantains which were yummy). Another day we walked from the hotel up the hill and over to the Divi Resort and snorkeled there after enjoying a nice breakfast. We did not rent a car or take any cabs so the walking was fine for our short stay. We had transfers from/to the airport. We also kayaked and rented wave runners in the bay and had lots of fun. They had float mats which looked so peaceful but we never got to them. Hamid who works in the water sports area is a delight. I would return. Loved the trip.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with family
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3  Thank Frostillicus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 19, 2008

We were there Jan5-12/08. It felt like we stayed at a different place than all the negative reviews. Lot's of towels, rooms were awesome, we had a an oceanview, no musty smell (tip - I bring scented candles whenever I travel), staff was always smiling & helpful without being intrusive. I guess you get what you give - if you are a jerk they will treat you like one. We've travelled extensively in Caribbean and although we've stayed a nicer hotels - this hotel/location was our absolute favourite. My only complaint about the hotel was the thin walls in the rooms - they need to insulate the walls/doors a bit more. If you are a really light sleeper you should bring some earplugs in case you get some noisey neighbours.

Found out that because the island is salty they cannot grow anything so everything is imported. The Sonesta imports only the best (prime rib, angus steaks, fruits, etc) so you are getting the best.

Stay all inclusive - food at the hotel is reall good, beer is in bottle/cans (no draft beer). Both a la cartes were fantastic & easy to get a reservation in. Molasses overlooks the bay so it's nicer. Normally don't like buffets but this was great - food was hot & lots of it. We arrived at 10PM on our first night - the hotel still had the buffet going.

We took the Orient Bay shuttle ($10pp return) and then arranged for a speed boat ($20pp return) to take us to Isle Pinel for some lunch & snorkelling - awesome trip. We also went to Simpson Bay for dinner (Tequilla's) - mexican restaurant overlooking multi-millionaire $ yachts. Excellent food, music, service.

Took the ferry to St. Bath's ($55 pp return) - island is beautiful. Can see why the rich & famous go there. Very pricey on the island but is worth the trip. We got a taxi to take us on a tour of the island ($40pp). Our driver stopped at areas he thought would be good for photos & told us about island life/custom. Was fascinating. You can see Aruba & Antingua in the distance. Once our tour was over he dropped us off at St.Jean's beach for a few hours & then picked us up. He said pay me when I pick you up. Nice eh?

Phililpsburg - great deals on jewelery, cameras, sunglasses (Oakley's for $100??) & booze. Bring insulated mugs to keep your Heineken cold (they cost $1). Very safe & clean. We walked into town almost everyday. Was nice to see the cruise ships arrive leave - didn't have an issue with too many people & the cruise people don't come to the Sonesta beach.

The pictures in the guide are exactly what you get . Preferred the dutch side over the French side & will definitely be returning. If you like sun, sand, crystal clear water, shopping, lots of trips, amazing food & the friendliest locals this is a place for you. By the way on the dutch side, EVERYONE speaks english with a hint of a carribean accent.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank hammy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 16, 2008

This is a great getaway destination if you're looking for a clean, safe property, beautiful beach, great weather and proximity to Philipsburg. The hotel is about 25 minutes from the airport. Arrival was effortless and check-in was quick. We upgraded from a mountainview room (which was OK) to an oceanview room for US$35/night - a great value and well worth the views of the hotel pool area, beach and cruise ships anchored in Great Bay. The rooms are typical - tiled floors, standard floral decor and dark woods, TV, coffeemaker, good-sized bathrooms and everything was clean. Hotel staff are very responsive and met any request - extra pillows, towels, etc. Rooms were always immaculate. This is a more laidback property and demographic tended toward a mix of middle-aged and older couples. Many from the US and Brazil during our stay and everyone was friendly. Great atmosphere for our holiday, especially since we had one of St. Maarten's nicest beaches all to ourselves. Water was beautiful and the beach is comprised of crushed shells. The result? Virtually indistinguishable from sand, but without the dirt, much cooler to the touch at any time of the day and easier to clean off! The hotel can be an all-inclusive or with brkfst only. We chose the breakfast-only because St. Maarten offers some of the finest restaurants, and all varieties of food and price, in the Caribbean. We were totally glad to be out at a different place every night since buffets are not our thing. Still, Sonesta offers very good dining in 'Molasses', their finer dining restaurant open on the weekends. Service was great and seafood was wonderful. There are two pools right alongside the beach. One has a swim-up bar serving any drink you want. Try to warm up to Destine, the bartender. He needs to work on his ppl skills a bit(!) but service was prompt. We stayed beachfront. Plenty of loungers, umbrellas, towels. Jet skiing was available nearby and it is a perfect beach for relaxing as the hotel sits at one end of Great Bay, away from the busier area around Philipsburg. Bored of the pool and beach? Walk ten minutes along the beach to Philipsburg for more restaurants, duty-free shopping and friendly people. This is a great hotel for a relaxing holiday. We are returning (something we've never done) next January. Enjoy!

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Citta5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 13, 2008

We had a choice between both Sonesta properties as these were the only hotels left for the New Year's weekend (we booked late). There is a reason. The pictures of Sonesta Great Bay are not the likeness of what you get. Besides the dirty bathroom wth mildew in the guest room, the greyish scrub like mixed up beach and bath towels that show up in youroom; forget even the fact the rooms are worse than the worse travel lodge in some forsaken company town - it is the down right rudeness and tired beligerance that you get. From check in, food service in the buffet for breakfast (you get the runs from the fruits, and greasy to more greasy for any entrees), going to the 2 restaurants (requires reservation even though NO ONE IS IN THERE) comes from the same kitchen. NOTE: if you call the French side, they don't tell you, it is an International call, it will cost an average of US$15.00 fro the minute you connect. So many other choices. Pass this one and save yourself from a nightmare.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with family
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3  Thank sweetkaty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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