Hotel at a Glance: Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort Casino & Spa
Set between St. Maarten’s Great Salt Pond and the Atlantic Ocean, the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort Casino & Spa spans a land bridge linking the adults-only, all-inclusive resort to the beach. Its location along the Great Bay Beach puts you in the midst of a tropical paradise—Frommer’s says you’ll get “killer views virtually anywhere and everywhere you plop yourself.” Guests get access not only to the resort’s spa, three swimming pools, and nightly entertainment, but also to all the amenities at a sister resort, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.
- Go for a swim in one of three swimming pools or belly up to the swim-up bar for a refreshing cocktail.
- Grab a bite: Offerings at the four onsite restaurants range from the casual buffet-style Bay View Restaurant to the more formal, ocean-view Il Pescatore restaurant and wood-fired pizza at Tre Assi Pizzeria.
- Sister-resort amenities: a tiki village, casino, nightclub, shops, restaurants, and swimming pools
- Pamper yourself with a massage or facial at Serenity Spa.
- Enjoy the view from your private balcony overlooking the seashore.
St. Maarten: Scenic Shorelines, Lively Nightlife, and Boutique Shopping
The island of St. Maarten, 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 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.