Restoration work at Sea Palace after Hurricane Irma.
SIMPSON BAY–St. Maarten’s timeshare resorts are looking forward to a stronger 2020-2021 high season, a growth that will build in the steadily increasing room inventory post-Hurricane Irma, both from reopening and the expected boost to come from Sunwing Group’s planned, to-be-constructed Planet Hollywood resort.
St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) Chairman Jelle Hamstra told The Daily Herald that association members “will be better and stronger than ever” for the 2020-2021 high season.
SMTA expects a total of 2,050 units on the market from Atrium, Belair Beach Hotel, Flamingo Beach Resort, Royal Palm Beach Resort, Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Sunwing (formerly Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, now planned as Planet Hollywood), La Vista Beach Hotel, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Royal Islander Club La Plage, Simpson Bay Resort and Sea Palace, by then.
There were 1,910 units in the existing resorts prior to Irma hitting the island on September 6, 2017. SMTA members currently have 1,240 units available for guests, accounting for 65 per cent pre-Irma level.
Of the members, only Royal Palm and Flamingo are still closed and Sunwing is still to commence its construction on the Great Bay beachfront.
“Our other members are 100 per cent operational. There was only one resort with minimal damage, which was able to open very soon after Irma,” said Hamstra. The other resorts had to rebuild, renovate and re-decorate. Most have taken the opportunity to upgrade their hospitality and other standards.
Aside from the three closed resorts, the others were completely ready for the 2018-2019 high season and continue to receive guests as the 2019-2020 season approaches. The average occupancy of the 1,240 available SMTA units was 87 per cent in the first six months of this year.
The Towers at Mullet Bay, Sapphire Beach Resort and The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa are not SMTA members. The occupancy rate and available units as provided by SMTA do not include those three properties.
Of the three, The Westin has remained shuttered since September 2017 with little to no information made public about when or if the resort will ever reopen its traditional hotel part. Its “residences” are up and running.