Tantra nightclub after the passing of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Lotus nightclub in Simpson Bay.
~ From Tantra nightclub to Lotus nightclub ~
By Andrew ****
MAHO/SIMPSON BAY–How quickly has nightlife in St. Maarten/St. Martin changed drastically. In September 2017, devastating Hurricane Irma visited the island and nearly wiped out most critical infrastructure. One of the premier nightclubs, Tantra, was not spared by the category five hurricane, but was completely destroyed along with major damage to the Maho plaza.
Former Tantra group owners opened Lotus nightclub in Simpson Bay on March 3 this year. The club is located next to Topper’s restaurant and has become the island’s most visited club. Owner Manny Almirakis and a group of investors look back at the struggle of closing Tantra for good and moving on to a new club.
Almirakis and his business partners met Tantra in ruins on September 8, 2017, and thought it would not take too long before reopening the once-popular club to the public and tourists alike.
“The business was gone and we thought Maho would start repairs to the plaza right away and we would be fine. This was not the case because of many factors. Insurance, plans, negotiations are just some of the factors that led to us deciding as a group not to reopen the club,” said Almirakis.
The group decided to fall back and come up with a plan that would allow them to open another club. “From the onset, we believed in the island’s night life. We love to cater to locals and tourists who come and have a good time and tell all their friends that they had a great experience. Meanwhile, months were passing by as the government was trying to figure out how and when will the island rebuild,” he said.
Simpson Bay is where the first set of businesses reopened last year. “These businesses stepped up big time and started to reopen their businesses while Philipsburg and Maho and even the French side were still trying to figure out how they would reopen. The looting was also a major problem that hampered most businesses.
“After sitting out and watching the economy closely, we decided to take a spot in Simpson Bay and turn a spot into something new and fresh for tourists and locals. Some persons told us many times, how we can go from a big space to such a smaller place. The answer is simple, Quality of quantity and day,” said Almirakis.
The name Lotus is used in this context to represent divine beauty and purity, while the unfolding of its leaves represents the expanding of the soul and spiritual awakening. That best describes the resilience of the people of St. Maarten, according to the owners. The club was opened and many doubted it would survive due to stiff competition by other nightclubs.
“We do our own thing. The club is small and we love it just like that. We open Wednesday with ladies’ night, Thursday Caribbean night, Friday is our about last night party, Saturday we turn it into elegance night. We have a good formula and I plan to not change it anytime soon.
“Our security at the club is also something to be proud of. They enforce the club rules on a nightly basis and this is what keeps the club safe,” said Almirakis.
He added that the nightlife business is not easy, but determination is key for success. Lotus management thanked the public for supporting them and hoped that they continue to do so.
“We are going to keep pushing the nightlife in Simpson Bay. For years it has been under-rated, but I do believe that it has potential to becoming the entertainment capital of the island. The Simpson Bay strip has hotels, clubs, shops, popular fast-food restaurants and much more. We managed to be part of the Cole Bay/Simpson Bay area. We intend to develop it even more,” he concluded.