Tropical Beachfront Resort with All-Inclusive Dining and Casino Thrills
In the 17th century, the French, Dutch, and British all vied for control of tiny Saint Martin (St. Maarten on the Dutch side) in hopes of getting their hands on the island's lucrative salt mines. Nowadays, the island's most popular asset is not the Great Salt Pond—located in the southern, Dutch-controlled part of the island—but the ocean shore across from it. On a land bridge between the two bodies of water, The Sonesta Great Bay Beach & Casino links an all-inclusive resort to the beachfront pleasures that draw people to the island today. Its location along the Great Bay Beach puts you in the midst of a tropical paradise—Frommer’s writes that “you get killer views virtually anywhere and everywhere you plop yourself.”
Overlooking the sugar-sand shoreline, the resort's main pool area features a deck dotted with ultramarine lounge chairs. At the infinity pool, which seems to extend all the way into the Caribbean Sea, you can sip chilled cocktails at a swim-up bar without leaving the water. Dining options range from the casual, open-air Bay View Restaurant to the formal, ocean-view Molasses Restaurant, where chefs craft Caribbean specialties. At the onsite Golden Casino, you can test your luck on 84 slot machines.
When the evening winds down, retreat to an ocean-view guest room, where modern teak furnishings and bright, turquoise accents create a cheerful, tropical ambiance. Past the coral-hued curtains, you can step onto a private, glass-walled balcony overlooking the pools and seashore below.
Saint Martin: Scenic Shorelines, Lively Nightlife, and Boutique Shopping
The island of Saint Martin, located just south of Anguilla in the Caribbean, was ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Islands in the World for its “soaring mountains and beautiful shorelines.” This gorgeous topography has been peacefully shared by the French and the Dutch for more than 350 years, giving the island two very distinct yet harmonious personalities. Both parts of the island, however, feature crystal-clear bays filled with fascinating coral structures and tropical fish. On the French side, it’s worth it to take a guided snorkeling trip through Creole Rock, which has a collection of boulders encircled by reefs. Dolphins, eagle rays, and barracudas are frequently spotted here.
The Dutch side, called St. Maarten, is known for its quiet beaches and lively nightlife. Casual barbecue restaurants known as lolos line the shore; they serve up heaping portions of creole ribs and rice alongside guava-berry rum. The bars of Simpson Bay are filled with live music and neon lights, and when those close, locals and visitors alike keep the party going at 24-hour casinos.
A short distance from the resort lies Front Street, Philipsburg's main thoroughfare, where shops housed in West Indian and colonial structures sell duty-free wine and fine jewelry. Near here, the St. Maarten Museum chronicles the island's colonial past, including the harsh legacy of the slave trade.
No-shows will be charged total Groupon rate; no refunds, rescheduling, or rebooking allowed. Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.