Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino

, Philipsburg, St. Martin
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Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino

, Philipsburg
19 Little Bay Road - Philipsburg - St. Martin Hotel Website | 54-22446
774 Traveller

Reviews - Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino

Historical Traveller Reviews of Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino

Okay, but some problems . . .

from A TripAdvisor Member
Just returned from staying at the Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino. Had an ocean front room, which was nice, but the hotel definitely has some problems. I was told their satellite was not working, so all the television stations could not come in. When I arrived it was raining and there were leaks throughout the hallway on the way to my room. The elevator had a terrible odor and the carpet on the way to my room could have used a good cleaning. The beach was beautiful, but the sand consisted of a mixture of cracked shells and sand, so it wasn't very comfortable to walk on barefoot. The hotel has a lot of potential and could be really beautiful if some major money was put into it.

My friend on the other hand stayed on the opposite side of the hotel.
The room's air conditioning was not working and neither was the toilet.
To their credit, she was given a major discount when she checked out.
And, yes, she did complain and ask for the air and toilet to be repaired, but she did not get any satisfaction during our stay.

I honestly can't say whether or not we would stay their again.

Fun Fun Fun

from A TripAdvisor Member
Great Bay was wonderful. The rooms were clean, the food was good, and the staff was very friendly. We were lucky to be there with a large group of crazy Buffalonians, so that made the trip even better. Whether you are 14, or 84, everyone has fun at Great Bay. The only bad thing I can say is that the beach is very shelly and not soft at all....also you have to walk all the way up to the pool to get a drink! Great Bay....think....beach waiters! Overall great trip, great place, great people!

s ups and downs

from A TripAdvisor Member
After using this site to help me plan my vacation, I feel that St. Martin and Great Bay were slightly mis-represented. Great Bay is an alright place to stay. And it's worth dealing with the few shortcomings of a hotel to experience the wonders of this little island. So here's my side of the story.Great Bay Hotel is not a five star hotel, but it is probably the nicest hotel on the Dutch side of the island. Other hotels are right next to abandoned buildings or are too expensive. The employees are all around great and genuine people. Dawn (our waitress) is probably the most extraordinary server I have ever had. She took great care of my family all week long. And bartenders like Michael and Maritza kept me well entertained, and they knew what I wanted to drink before I did!The rooms are...let's say...adequate. They are very clean, and little things like a paper slid under our door each morning or turning down the bed at night add much to the hotel's charm. In the minus category, our toilet wouldn't flush when we first got in, but a quick call to the front desk fixed that. The room smelled a bit musty, but I haven't been to a hotel that is close to the beach that doesn't retain a bit of that odor. Bring a candle or some incense and you'll be fine.The food is pretty good for buffet style, and there is an a la carte menu at lunch if you don't like what you see (mmmm...cheeseburger). This place is not, however, designed for the vegetarian (or for children at that matter). Great Bay can you say grilled cheese? Of course not, 'cause it's not on the menu and no they won't make one for you upon special request. News Flash - kids love grilled cheese and so do I!The beach is man made so watch out for the 45 degree drop into the water. It is also made of crushed up shells with the consistency of sandpaper, so bring sandals. Fortunately there are more than 30 other beaches to choose from with sand like fine sugar, and I recommend Orient and Dawn beach.If you're looking for a 5 star hotel, stay on the French side of the island. You'll pay a bit more and complain less. But if you want a great, down to earth experience, check into Great Bay. At least now you know what you're in for.

liked it so much, we went back for a a 2nd stay!

from A TripAdvisor Member
my wife and I have come to stay at Great Bay for a 2nd time last summer. the hotel is definatly not 5 star (3or 4 at the most) but the staff treats you like its 5 star. the food is very good, as is all the TOP SHELF booze thats included in the all inclusive. pay the extra $ when booking for ocean view. its worth it to see the cruise ships in the bay . mountain view may sound nice but its the base of the mountain across the street! the hotel is located a quick walf from famous Phillipsburg Front Street w/ plenty of cheap duty free shopping. a bottle of absolute is $5US and a carton of camels is $7us! and i even bought my wife some diamond jewelry, and im usually the cheapskate! do yourself a favor and rent a car to go enjoy some of the out of the way beaches on the island. its safe to drive here (unlike mexico or dominican) and hard to get lost (heck, its only 35 square miles, about the size of a township). the 2 hotel pools are wonderful. the great bay beach isnt the best, but most others are! even little bay just to the right is great for snorkeling w/o going out too far! hopefully well come back to great bay for a 3rd time in a few years!

Great Vacation

from A TripAdvisor Member
I went with a group of eight people for five days. The hotel was better than we had expected for a moderate hotel. The staff was wonderful.
Although tips were included in our all-inclusive price, a tip of $1.00 a person per meal got us exceptional service. The food was excelent. To really make the most of the vacation, car rental is a must. Purchase duty free items on the Dutch side and enjoy fine dining on the French side of the island. Exchange your money to Euro dollars on the French side or expect to pay extra. U.S. dollars are best on the Dutch side.
The Vacation Express flight left a lot to be desired. Expect delays.
Eat before you get on the plane. It's hard to make it 5 hours on just animal crackers and oreos.

Great Trip

from A TripAdvisor Member
We stayed at the Great Bay in April 2003. We had an ocean view room(which is a must). The view was gorgeous and the staff was very friendly. Tipping helps. The food was good. Their was a wide variety to select from. The hotel was nice and clean but it isn't the Four Seasons Hotel. We liked the fact that we could walk to Philipsburg which was only about five minutes. The trip to St. Barts was definetly worth the money. It is a must to see. A beautiful island indeed. We were disappointed in the Orient Beach. It wasn't anything special. Luckily we had ate already since we saw many people, some old totally in the buff. Our only complaint was the unbrella's for the beach. The were old and broken. They definetly need new ones. We would most likely return, but not go during the high season.

Fantastic! Best trip ever!

from RichieRich
What a trip!!!

I purposely waited over a week to post a review to get over the initial excitement of having spent a week at one of the better hotels I've stayed at in recent memory. I guess the excitement is still there.

The 3.5 stars assigned to Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino is on the low side as it could easily be a four star. To start off, we had an oceanview room which is highly recommended (the view is incredible).
The rooms had all the basics and I could easily say that the bathrooms were the best I've seen, even compared to some 4.5 star resorts.

Quick note: I've read one or two reviews complaining about smell. We made about 50 friends at the hotel and not one of them "smelled" anything.

As for the staff, most were very enjoyable and fun to be around (I miss a few). I noticed that the bar staff weren't as friendly (even after leaving tips) but we made jokes about it rather than complain. We chalked it up to the relaxed mood of the island itself.

Food at the hotel was also very good. Huge selection for breakfast, including made to order omelettes. Buffet style lunch was also good but you can also order sandwiches and other items from a menu. Dinner was a choice of buffet or a la carte. Again, unless you're going on vacation specifically for food, you'll have no complaints here.

You are also across the street from the car rental place (rent one for a day or two and go exploring) and very close to town. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best situated hotels on the island.

Aside from the hotel. We did a couple of tours including the Rhino run in which you take a very quick two-person boat around the island for snorkelling. The other was a catamarran trip to Anguilla which lasts the day. Anguilla has one of the top ten beaches in the world so it is a definite must. Loved it there.

I may be biased because my girlfriend had a lot to do with making the trip fun. But everyone I talked to who made the trip down talk about going back and staying at Great Bay Beach Hotel.

Two thumbs up...

Ahhhhh.... memories...

Believe all the 1 star reviews!!!

from A TripAdvisor Member
I'm not that picky, and I read the reviews... I knew this wouldn't be a 4-star hotel, but I was hoping that since there were more positive reviews than negative reviews that it would be OK.

We stayed there June 2003. Got an oceanview room for 4 nights through AA VAcations. I don't know whose fault this is (AA or Great Bay), but I paid extra to get breakfast bullet daily and $50 in casino vouchers, but the hotel check-in person said that it didn't say so on my vouchers. Good thing I printed out the e-mail that proved that I should get these things, he had to copy it and I finally got what was purchased.

Had to switch rooms FOUR times because the smell of mildew was nauseating. Think of the cheapest Ocean City, MD motel you can think of -- smelled like that but about 5 times worse. Finally the manager upgraded us to a jr. suite which was definitely a nicer room (and bigger) so the smell was more bearable, but we were still afraid we'd have bacteria spores grow on our lungs through the night. The staff (including the cleaning staff) was well aware of the smell too, it definitely wasn't imaginary (someone had posted the same comments on this site but I thought that maybe it was just his/her room). Besides the manager (who was very accomadating), the staff wasn't friendly AT ALL. And I tried smiling first, saying hello, etc., but overall, it was a very unpleasant atmosphere.

One more side note -- Is there any Carribean island where they treat Asian-Americans NICELY? Similar to Barbados, we were called racial slurs on the street while driving by attempting to enjoy the scenery. I notice that Caucasians/British *didn't seem* to suffer this kind of treatment, and I can tell you that we found this very disheartening and it definitely put a damper on our vacation(s)...

Good time at Great Bay

from A TripAdvisor Member
Just came back from Great Bay resort. It's in a great location within walking distance to Philipsburg. It's a 3.5 star property so I wouldn't choose it for a honeymoon but it's great spot for vacation. You must, I repeat you must book an oceanview room - the view is amazing (the nicest I had so far in all thecarribean). Beach is nice (made from shells so a little harder but still nice) Water gets deep very quick so watch out if you can't swim! Food was excellent - not much to choose from because it's a small 250 room hotel but whatever they had was great. Drinks are good too (free Heineken!!!). Great place to buy cheap alcohol (5-7 dollars for bottle of absolut) and $9 for carton of smokes. Lots of jewellery stores with diamonds and watches. Cruise ships come in (excellent view from hotel room!) during the week so it gets busy then. You must go to Maho beach to see planes coming in - you will never seen them that close again but cover your ears. There is a nice 4.5 star resort right there if you don't mind the noise - nicer than Great Bay but the beach is much smaller and not as nice.Still I would recommend Maho for honeymoon. Anyway, back to Great bay... There are two pools (pretty small but sufficient) open 24 hours, 3 bars open at different times and two restaurants. They have some activities but we didn't participate as we travelled around. Nice gym, pool table, shuffle board, big chess set.Renting a car is a must (around $20 on internet with Alamo)There are 36 beaches on the island with orient beach being the biggest (naked people!!) but we found Baige Rouge the nicest. Great vacation for the price. i would highly recommend it if you can get it for around $1000.


from A TripAdvisor Member
Just returned from the Great Bay 2/3/03. Had a great stay. The view is spectacular. Nothing like it!!! Even loved the rooster crowing in the am. Tiping a few bucks ($5.00 for dinner) really will go a long, long way. Ask for Veronica, who works in p.m. shift. She made our vacation truely enjoyable.

Top Local Tips for Philipsburg

Orient Beach is one of the three best beaches on the island Rent a car and visit Orient beach. It's the windward side of the island so it has cool breezes to give a break from the sun. The sand is outstanding, the water is cystal clear and comfortable, and there's plenty of places to get great food, drinks and enjoy water activities.

Dont bother to rent a car!~ Save your money on car rentals! Unless thats just really what you want to do! Utilize the islands 'bus' system, its much cheaper, and since its such a small island, it doesnt take 3 days to get there like you would think most 'bus' rides would.. Most of the buses on the island are minivans, although they DO have some buses that look more like a traditional tour group bus... Very cost effecient way to get around... word of advice, ASK how much to your destination BEFORE you hop on board.. If you are wanting to get to particular area and not sure which bus to take, ask the locals, they are always willing to help!

Excursion Take the trip on the Bluebeard 3 on Thursdays out of Simpson Bay (Lady C) to Anguilla to beautiful Shoal Bay. Good beach, good food, fun crew.


Other names for Great Bay Beach Hotel and Casino

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  • sonesta philipsburg
  • sonesta great bay beach hotel
  • sonesta great bay
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  • great bay beach hotel
  • great bay beach
  • Address: 19 Little Bay Road - Philipsburg - St. Martin
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