Planet Hollywood Resort to take shape soon on Great Bay Beach | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten will get its first branded resort since Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on its accommodation capacity on September 6, 2017. Sunwing Travel Group has shared with government its plans to start construction of a branded Planet Hollywood Resort on the former Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort property.

An exact date for the start of construction on the “450 deluxe room” resort with a sky lounge, sports bar was nightclub was not revealed in the press statement issued by Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Stuart Johnson on Thursday, about his August 2 meeting with Sunwing representatives.

Sunwing Executive Vice President of Hotels and Resorts, Daniel Diaz and Sunwing local representative Keith Graham are cited in the release as saying: “Once we obtain the permits [from government – Ed.] we will be ready to start construction right away.”
Johnson pledged his ministry’s “full support” to Sunwing as “the new resort will positively transform the destination and solidify its position as the region’s leader in the hospitality industry.” He added that Sunwing’s investment is “a significant boost” in returning St. Maarten to the number-one vacation spot in the Caribbean and “solidifies investor confidence” in the country.

Sunwing reps were told by Johnson about the “One St. Maarten Cooperation” agreement with the French side on destination marketing. He encouraged Sunwing to start working with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau to strengthen its destination marketing programme and to promote the soon-to-come resort.

The new resort will be completed within 18 months once construction starts and will be built to “Miami-Dade standards” to weather hurricanes.

Sunwing will reconstruct the permanent water channel from the freshwater pond to Great Bay. This will be “an environmentally sound solution to the issues faced with channelling water from the pond to the ocean,” according to the press release.

Sunwing estimates that Planet Hollywood St. Maarten will employ close to 1,000 people at a ratio of two persons per room. Sunwing is committed to maintaining a 97 per cent local employment rate with only three per cent of expats in keeping with its employment policy on its other Caribbean properties.

Former Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort staffers are in hospitality services re-training classes – the “Hospitality 360” initiative started by Sunwing and The Maho Group in December 2017.

Sunwing, via its airline, will resume year-round, weekly direct flight services to St. Maarten from both Montreal and Toronto, Canada. The first flights from both cities will depart Thursday, February 28, 2019. The flight resumption will coincide with Sonesta Maho Beach Resort’s reopening.

When construction of Planet Hollywood St. Maarten is completed, Sunwing plans to increase its flights to four per week to service this new property. The additional flights will originate from Montreal and Vancouver, Canada, and will service key US gateways through Vacation Express, a Sunwing US-based tour operator.

Demolition of the old Great Bay Beach Resort is slated for completion within three weeks. The old resort was severely damaged by Irma. All concrete was crushed and will be reused for concrete mix. The steel from the old building was separated for recycling and smaller bits of debris were sent to the dump.

Canada-based Sunwing Travel Group purchased the 257-room Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino and Spa over a year ago before it was damaged by Irma.
Planet Hollywood brand’s target group is mainly the mid- to high-end clientele from North America

Source: The Daily Herald