My Wonderful Holidays at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort
My wife and I just got back from St Marteen with a two more couples for our anniversary and had a great time. we stayed at Sonesta Great Bay Beach, the rooms are a little dated, but you’re never in them. Since the resort is right in the heart of downtown Philipsburg there is no shortage of activities all around you and it’s quite easy to get to anywhere you could want to be. We really only returned to our room at night to wind down and sleep to prepare for another big day out in St Marteen, and I found the beds to be very comfortable and the rooms clean and pleasant.
For a St Marteen all inclusive I think the value here proved to be fantastic, and I really didn’t expect to have such a wonderful experience on a relatively low budget. Much of that is thanks to the location, but I should say that I was also pleasantly surprised by the resort itself and the whole atmosphere we were presented with. It really stands up next to the best resort experiences I have had elsewhere when you put everything together, because while it is not a five star resort I have stayed in worse rooms in much worse locations for unfortunately higher prices!
Again, the most important thing here is that the resort is in a good location take a look to my photos, if you are looking to stay in Philipsburg. It’s a short walk to Front Street and the boardwalk restaurants, casinos and shopping. I have been on many different trips all over the world and when it comes to resort experiences my favorites are those that put you into the local scene, as opposed to boarding you off to a very private location. While the resort has strong amenities itself, the true strength here is absolutely how close it puts you to the beach, the food, and the nightlife of Philipsburg.
I really enjoyed the laid-back attitude, which is true of the resort and its staff, and the people all around who just seemed to be enjoying life. In some other locations so close to the nightlife I have found young and rowdy crowds to be a bit much, but that didn’t come up here as everybody was very warm and casual and much more mature. That created a really strong impression and allowed me to relax and get into the trip from the very first day.
One of the huge benefits of this resort is that staying here also allows the tourist to use the sister resort at Maho Beach, swim in their beautiful pools, eat at their restaurants, park for $1 an hour and watch the jets coming into Princess Julianna Airport dive over the beach area.
I found Sonesta Great Bay absolutely stunning, and not overly crowded at the times we went out to enjoy the sand, the surf and the views. I LOVE the warm ocean and I have to confess that I didn’t even get the chance to use the pool at the resort – though it looked very nice and clean when I was enjoying drinks while my friend tried it out – because the beach was so nearby and the water was wonderful to swim in. If you like to swim in the ocean you’ll love this, and it is probably going to stay right near the top of my list of favorite beaches in the world, and is definitely the premier beach for St Marteen. We also had a great snorkeling experience out in the water and I would suggest trying that for anybody interested. They have a very professional team. If you like to jet ski for U$S 60 dollars you can rent one for 1/2 hour, I know look pricey but the bay look great from the ocean.
Even looking out from the resort itself, when we were away from the beach, I really enjoyed watching the water, and seeing the cruise ships come and go from our window while getting ready for the day. I would highly recommend that you get the ocean view – well worth it. This was our first time in St Marteen, and we were really impressed with the food selection in Sonesta Great Bay Beach. It was great to have the beverages at the pool, and the beach is just steps away. Drinks were not watered down and bartenders were really friendly. The staff in general was very pleasant and accommodating and made us both feel very well cared for!
The food at the resort itself was very good, though not particularly special. It certainly wasn’t disappointing at all but there was nothing that really made my jaw drop, and I wasn’t expecting that anyway. I actually really enjoyed the breakfasts, and we had breakfast at the resort every day while we were there! Lunch and dinner were more or less standard and met both of our expectations, with the tasty highlights almost always being the drinks.
My favorite place to eat nearby was definitely molasses international / Caribbean restaurant. We ate there multiple times and when we left I think I missed that more than the beach itself! It’s a really fantastic restaurant and I still have a bit of a lingering craving for their food. I was traveling with a vegetarian who also very highly praised the food there, and I can tell you that we rarely agree on restaurants.
I almost forgot to mention the shopping! We didn’t do a ton of shopping, but we got out to do a great deal of window-shopping and there was quite a bit to see with the major shopping district being so close to the resort. Prices were fantastic in the duty-free shops as well, which is where I made most of my own purchases. I recommend to rent a car for a day just for 30 or 40 Dollars and you can see the whole island in a day.
On the whole it is extremely easy to recommend a St Marteen all inclusive package to absolutely anyone, and the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort exceeded my expectations in a big way. When I go back I will definitely book in advance and grab myself the same room and view.