In a prime beachfront location right on Great Bay, this 257-room hotel has been in business for nearly 50 years, packing 'em in with competitive rates, four waterfront restaurants, four bars, a casino, and that splendid curve of Great Bay sand. It's a beehive of activity, although these days not of the chirping children variety: Sonesta Great Bay has totally reinvented itself as an adults-only all-inclusive resort, aspiring to a refined boutique point of view. It's quite a departure from the days when the lobby was a blur of kids in snorkels. (Kids are welcome at the hotel's sister resort, Sonesta Maho, in Maho Bay.) The majority of rooms are smallish but cheerful, refreshed in a contemporary palette with good linens and tile floors, but hardly luxe, more like generic resort rooms. Many have small patios or terraces with splendid ocean views; other, more economical units offer "island" views that may actually look directly onto the hotel parking lot. What you're paying for here, other than the ease of all-inclusivity—all meals, snacks, drinks, and many alcoholic beverages are included, plus gratuities—is location and amenities, which include a full complement of water sports activities and an activities staff known as the Animators, who work hard to customize your stay. Honeymooners and deep-pocketed travelers might want to spring for one of the sleek, boutique-style Miramar suites, apartments with private butler service and full kitchens. Join the lively mix of (grownup) diners in the open-air Bay View restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that operatic sweep of Great Bay.
St. Maarten/St. Martin
St. Maarten/St. Martin› Hotel
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel & Casino
19 Little Bay Road, St. Maarten
Our Rating Neighborhood Philipsburg Phone US 800/223-0757, 721/542-2446 Prices In season all-inclusive rates $340–$440 double, $360–$750 suite, off season $250–$380 double, $305–$605 suite, special rates for Caribbean residents Units 257 Amenities 4 restaurants, 4 bars, babysitting, casino, dive shop, fitness center, Internet cafe, 3 outdoor pools, 2 Jacuzzi, casino, spa, lit tennis court, watersports equipment (extensive), free Wi-Fi Web site Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel & Casino