“We have a very special guest blogger today, Melanie Reffes, who wrote a review of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort while on a trip to St. Maarten! Melanie Reffes is a seasoned travel journalist specializing in the Caribbean and Riviera Maya. She is the Caribbean editor for JaxFax magazine and much-published in the USA, Canada and throughout the Caribbean. When she’s not racing through airports, you’ll find her in her Montreal garden growing the hottest scotch bonnet peppers this side of Montego Bay.” – Sean
A Stay at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort
On the southwest coast of sunny St. Maarten, five minutes from the Princess Juliana International Airport, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is celebrating a facelift that has freshened up the largest resort on the island. Sitting pretty on Maho Beach and smack dab in the middle of Maho Village with its clubs, bars, shops , casino and restaurants , the resort is a one-stop-shopping vacay experience with its own tennis courts, pools , lively swim-up bar, mini-casino, spa, restaurants and nightly entertainment to beat the band.
With more than five hundred rooms and suites on ten floors ( we recommend the Moonlight Suite ) , the resort is now a fully all-inclusive property which means nightly rates include meals and drinks, cocktails with top-shelf liqueurs, (note to partyers: this means none of that other stuff better known for wicked morning headaches), reservations not needed at the three restaurants, no hidden surcharges if you indulge in a lobster dinner and no hidden fees for the nightly entertainment shows or movie screenings by the pool.
With general manager Armando Pizzuti at the helm, the property is guided by one of the most savvy industry veterans in the hospitality business. With three decades of experience under his belt including quality time spent with SANDALS and Secrets Resorts, “Mr. P”, as his adoring staff refer to him, knows how to morph a great vacation stay into a grand vacation stay.
Eat, Drink and Be Happy
At the open-air Palms Grill, delectable burgers, martinis poured by Bartender Ramon and views of the DELTA jets coming in for a landing at the nearby airport are divine while at the seaside Ocean Terrace Restaurant, fabulous buffets for breakfast; lunch and dinner are a gastronomic treat. For al fresco dining in the comfort of an air conditioned eatery, The Point is the go-to spot for delectable pastas, fine wines and desserts so rich they come with their own pre-nup.
New at the resort, Napoli Pizzeria is staffed by Mr. P’s brother Marco who bakes the best pepperoni pies this side of Naples. “Try a slice, “he says to newlyweds from New Jersey passing by his pizza oven, “you’ll come back for another, I guarantee it.”
Fronting Maho Beach, one of just a few places in the world where jets can be viewed in their flight path just outside the end of the runway, the resort is a favorite of aviation aficionados and shutterbugs who snap photos of the graceful landings on the tarmac. For even more excitement, the nearby Sunset Bar & Grill broadcasts the radio transmissions between the pilots and the airport’s control tower.
With plenty of comfy sun loungers on the beach or by the pool, a stop at the swim-up bar is a daily rite of passage. With a smile as wide as the sea, Elizabeth Attidore Cheryl lords over the Pool Bar as if it were her own living room. Affectionately dubbed ‘Dr. Cheryl’, she pours six hundred cocktails each day during high season and knows how to cure a hangover like nobody’s business, “My advice is to drink in the morning what you had the night before “, she explains flitting about the bar like a butterfly, “and if that doesn’t work, a shot of crème de menthe is the ultimate cure-all.” Open from 11 am to 6 pm, Cheryl’s bar is one of the most popular spots at the resort. Get there early for a good seat!
When the sun goes down, the casino in the lobby is the place to be. With video poker machines and slots, it’s all night fun for couples and singles alike. Across the street from the resort, Casino Royale is the largest casino on the island with poker tables, hundreds of slots and sports games on the big screen television sets. Complementary $20.00 match bet coupons from the resort are a good incentive for those who like to tempt Lady Luck.
Stress No More
Serenity rules in the Maho Serenity Spa on the third floor of the resort. A relaxing haven for rejuvenation, the spa takes pampering seriously with a medley of massages that will remind you why you booked a vacation in the first place. Open every day from eight t eight, the spa tempts with a Green Coffee Cellulite treatment and a Detoxifying Treatment for Men that blends black pepper and frankincense oils for a relaxing rubdown from head to toe.
- Melanie Reffes