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, the resort is one-stop-shopping with its own tennis courts, pools, swim-up bar, mini-casino, spa, restaurants and nightly entertainment to beat the band.
With more than five hundred rooms and suites (we recommend the Moonlight Suite on the 10th floor), the resort is now a fully all-inclusive property which means nightly rates include all meals, cocktails (shaken or stirred) with top-shelf liqueurs, no reservations needed at the three restaurants, no hidden surcharges if you indulge in a lobster dinner and no extra fees to see the entertainment shows or watch the 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. Recently appointed Vice President of Hotel Operations, Mr. P. will oversee both the Sonesta Maho and its sister property Sonesta Great Bay in Philipsburg, the island’s capital city. “I love living through a transformation of a resort from concept to completion, “he smiled showing guests the just-opened Logo Shop in the lobby. Whether the choice is flip-flops or Fendi, everyone is warmly welcome at the primo resort in St. Maarten!
Eat, Drink and Be Happy
At the spirited open-air Palms Grill, delectable burgers, salads, martinis poured by Bartender Ramon and views of the 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 jets making graceful landings on the tarmac. Name the number one ’Truly Unique Beach’ in the world by TripAdvisor.com, Maho Beach is lively from sunrise to sunset. 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. “I knew just one person when I arrived twenty years ago from Dominica, “she says pouring a frosty Heineken for a thirsty tourist, “I came for romance but fell in love with the island and dumped the guy after six days.” The self-proclaimed Master of the Margarita, Cheryl, as she’s known, has little time for modesty. “I’m part-psychiatrist and part-bartender,” she quips, “I offer a shoulder to cry on and an icy margarita that packs a punch.” 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!
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. Open every day 8 am to 8 pm, the spa tempts with creative massages, wraps, scrubs and buffs from a Green Coffee Cellulite treatment and couples massages with the sensual oils of chocolate and strawberries to the Detoxifying Treatment for Men that blends black pepper and frankincense oils for a relaxing rubdown from head to toe.
A Package Deal
The aptly named ‘Just for Two Romance’ package comes with a host of special touches like a lovely flower bouquet in the room, bottle of champagne and fresh strawberries on arrival to grand dinners on the beach, in the gazebo or amidst the fragrant gardens, romantic turndown service and discounts at the Maho Serenity Spa.
For wedding parties booking ten rooms for five nights, the “Marry Me For Free Wedding” package is sweet with suite upgrades for the bride and groom, dressing room for the bride on her wedding day, marriage license, Sonesta souvenir champagne flutes and room discounts for a first anniversary stay.