Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Simpson Bay, St. Martin/St. Maarten

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Pros

  • The most amenities of any St. Maarten resort
  • Two pretty pools feature a swim-up bar and ocean view
  • Beautiful beach with plenty of lounge seating and activities
  • Three restaurants for varied dining options
  • Excellent location for shopping, dining, nightclubs, and gambling
  • Great all-inclusive option

Cons

  • Average-size rooms with unexceptional decor
  • Crowded and noisy, often with day groups from docked cruise ships taking over the restaurants and pools
  • Daily fee for Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

By far the biggest resort in St. Maarten, this 534-room behemoth is a veritable village with two towers, two pools, three restaurants, the island's largest casino, direct beach access, and a 40-boutique shopping center. Most of the rooms have fresh, modern decor and balconies, though the expensive Wi-Fi is a bit excessive. The crowds can get big and even a bit boisterous. But for families and lively vacationers looking for a playground of a resort, the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino is a top choice.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

The most amenities of any property in St. Maarten, 500-plus rooms -- and the crowds to match

The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino is St. Maarten's version of the Vegas-style megaresort -- minus all of the flair and intrigue, that is. The behemoth 534-room hotel is almost a village unto itself, located along the super-touristy Maho Village shopping center and featuring two pools, three restaurants, a beautiful spa, direct beach access, a casino, more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space, and the island's most popular nightclub. What the resort doesn't have, though, is much style or finesse -- the grounds are adequately landscaped and the furnishings are well-maintained and clean, but overall this 10-acre property has a ho-hum personality, and massive crowds create an atmosphere that is anything but tranquil.

At least there's no shortage of activities and choice when staying at Sonesta Maho. Three restaurants include a beachfront grill, a buffet eatery, and a fine dining option. And two drastically different pools accommodate different types of travelers: At the main Oasis Pool, the grounds are rather lush, and the atmosphere is lively with pool basketball, a swim-up bar, and swarms of crowds. And at the relatively empty Ocean View Pool, the sound of crashing waves might be the only auditory interruption. Nearby, the beach is just as crowded as the main pool, and it pushes right up against a separate resort -- as well as the airport. The beach itself is quite nice with powdery sand and a deep crescent-shaped shoreline. Inexplicably, though, guests seem to enjoy taking their clothes off, despite the fact that it does not say that this is allowed anywhere.

St. Maarten does something that many beach destinations would never dream of doing -- it builds hotels right next to the airport. Aside from perhaps Mary’s Boon Beach Resort, where the heart-stopping sounds of planes might rudely awaken you every morning, no other property is quite as brazenly neighborly with giant 50-ton 747 jets as Sonesta Maho. Right there on the beach, next to the splashing children and sun-tanning parents is a simple chain link fence separating the shore from the runway. And several times a day, guests gather around this fence, lacing their fingers into the chains and readying their cameras as they stand behind a growling, hot airplane preparing for takeoff. The noise is earth-shattering (thankfully the rooms have sound-proof windows) and the heat is unbearable, and yet guests respond to it as if its one of the island’s most charming attractions.

If booming airplanes and boisterous tourists seem a bit too much, consider the Sonesta Great Bay or Westin Dawn Beach, both of which are full of similar amenities – but on a smaller scale and sans the hullabaloo.

 Location

Right in the heart of the action on the Dutch side's touristy Maho Village

The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino is located smack in the middle of the Maho Village shopping center, a touristy stretch filled with shops, restaurants, bars, the island's largest casino, and its most popular nightclub, Tantra. Duty-free boutiques, outlets, and big-name-brand outposts are all crammed into this area, and the traffic is virtually non-stop bumper-to-bumper. This tourist haven combined with Sonesta's direct-access beach make for little reason to head elsewhere; however, some nicer and rather diverse beaches are close by and worth visiting, especially given the resort's proximity to the French-Dutch border. Try Baie Rouge on the French side for great snorkeling, or Simpson Bay on the Dutch side for a number of less-crowded beachfronts.

The resort is also located right next to the airport. Thankfully, rooms feature soundproof windows, but the sight of a 747 taking off or landing simply cannot be avoided. Some guests find it thrilling; others think it's a serious eyesore.

  • 5-minute drive to Princess Juliana International Airport
  • 1-minute walk to Maho Bay Beach
  • 1-minute walk to Maho Village filled with shops, restaurants, bars, a casino, and a nightclub
  • 3-minute drive to Mullet Bay Golf Course
  • 8-minute drive to Simpson Bay
  • 10-minute drive to Baie Rouge for excellent snorkeling
  • 20-minute drive to Marigot
  • 20-minute drive to Fort Louis
  • 20-minute drive to Philipsburg

 Rooms

Average-size standard rooms with private balconies, but few other points of interest

Sonesta Maho's 534 rooms are separated among the original Sky Tower and the newer Ocean Tower. In 2010, floors six through nine of the Sky Tower were renovated, making them the newest rooms to date with fresh color palettes and completely redone bathrooms. Nonetheless, like the hotel's public grounds, neither the renovated nor the original rooms are all that special. Furnishings are heavy wood pieces that, in some units, seem a bit out of place. In the standard rooms, bathrooms are quite small, and you probably won't even notice the renovations -- toiletries are generic, stall showers are just average, vanities have only one sink, and fluorescent lighting has a Motel-6 feel. Junior suites at least have much bigger bathrooms (and bigger terraces at that), but the rooms themselves aren't a whole lot larger.

All units feature balconies; however, the V-shape of the Sky Tower makes for little privacy. A bit of advice: The rooms are charged by view -- not how recently they were renovated. An old room with an ocean view, therefore, will be more expensive than a newly renovated room with an island view. To ensure your ocean-view room is renovated, book among floors six through nine in the Sky Tower.

  • Nightly turndown with slippers and chocolates by the bed
  • Wi-Fi available for a high daily fee
  • 32-inch (or larger) flat-screen TVs
  • Ceiling fans and central air-conditioning
  • Mini-fridges, and coffeemakers with Maxwell or Melitta coffee packets
  • Lord & Mayfair toiletries
  • Huge rainfall showerheads in renovated rooms
  • Balconies, with either ocean or island views
  • Cheap plastic patio furniture
  • Radio or CD alarm clocks

 Features

More amenities than any other resort on the island

  • Two large [/st-martin-st-maarten/hotels/sonesta-maho-beach-resort-and-casino/photos/ocean-view-pool/ |pools]]: one with ocean views and the other with a swim-up bar and livelier scene
  • Large but crowded beach with guest-only lounge chairs and umbrellas
  • Full-service spa with massages, facials, body wraps, and nail salon
  • The island's largest casino with craps, roulette, VIP lounge, live entertainment, and tons of slots and card tables
  • Tantra, one of the island's most popular nightclubs
  • Located within the Maho Village shopping center with loads of shops, restaurants, and bars
  • Beach volleyball court
  • Fitness center with plenty of cardio, dumbbells, and a few weight machines
  • Secure garage parking (for a fee)
  • 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space
  • Business center with two computers and a printer
  • On-site car rentals
  • A lobby bar and lounge with slot machines
  • Kids' program
  • Wi-Fi throughout (for a fee)
  • All-inclusive rates available
  • View Full List of Amenities

 Food

Three distinct restaurants for varied dining options

Ocean Terrace and The Palms Grill are both casual dining options with outdoor seating. At Ocean Terrace, the buffets are the attraction, with an exceptionally large Sunday Brunch that features unlimited free mimosas and Bloody Mary's. During other meals, the options are quite spectacular with rack of lamb, oysters, and an extensive dessert table topping the list.

The Palms is more of a beachy cafe for a burger and fries, while the fancy eatery on-site, The Point, is best for seafood and steak.

In all three of these venues, the style is generic, much like the rest of the resort. Overall, prices are about average, and guests taking advantage of the all-inclusive rates will find the three options varied enough to enjoy most of their meals on-site.

 Bottom Line

By far the biggest resort in St. Maarten, this 534-room behemoth is a veritable village with two towers, two pools, three restaurants, the island's largest casino, direct beach access, and a 40-boutique shopping center. Most of the rooms have fresh, modern decor and balconies, though the expensive Wi-Fi is a bit excessive. The crowds can get big and even a bit boisterous. But for families and lively vacationers looking for a playground of a resort, the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino is a top choice.

Things You Should Know About Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino

Address

  • 1 Rhine Road

Room Types

  • Deluxe Suite
  • Island/Garden View Room
  • Junior Suite
  • Pool/Ocean View Guest Room
  • Premier Island View Room
  • Premier Ocean View Room
  • Supersaver Guest Room

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

Mary's Boon Beach Resort
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Princess Heights
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Royal Palm Beach Resort
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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 537
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
Casino: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Simpson Bay, St. Martin/St. Maarten
Address: 1 Rhine Road
(See Map)
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