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One month has passed since the most powerful hurricane in recorded history went right over our tiny island of St. Maarten - St-Martin.
We are the kind of people who have experience with tropical cyclons. A category 2 hurricane, which would cause mandatory coastal evacuation in the USA, just motivates us to close window shutters and to order another beer in our favorite pub. Many of the island residents remember powerful Hurricane Luis, hitting SXM on almost the same day of the month, but 22 years ago. We all thought it can't get any worse than that. Boy, were we wrong!
The fury of a category 5+ storm can't be described; the howling, rumbling, sound of debris crashing into ones home, shaking of the complete building, of the roof ready to lift off, water pushing through every crevice, flooding of living quarters... everyone's experience was different - none easy, for most traumatic.
Directly after the storm, there is the initial disbelieve in the carnage visible around, not recognizing ones neighborhood anymore. People who lost everything they own are roaming the streets, looking for help. And the bottom dwellers of society smell their pathetic little chance to benefit from the disaster around: looters break into the remaining buildings which weathered the hurricane somewhat intact.
Where to get food, water, shelter are the challenges of the first days after the catastrophe. The question arises if the island will be able to rebuild. Because the visual impact of the devastation is so strong that even the most positive minds struggle to believe in a future.
While the average person battles for survival, the political posturing of the ruling elites has already started, making the differences of the Dutch and the French side very apparent. Here the generous, instant and professional disaster relief from France, in stark contrast to the South's refusal to accept assitance by the Dutch, the hesitance in enpowering the Dutch Marine soldiers to step in and stop the looting. Than the absurd closing of the boarders by a Prime Minister, who days later denyes of ever having given these orders...
Thousands upon thousands of persons evacute the island on military planes send by various countries or by chartered cruise ships.
The nights go by in darkness. There is an initial curfew of 6 PM.
But work is being done: every day, clean up crews clear up the debris, work through mind numbing heat in the toughest conditions and manage to make a huge difference: as soon as the worst obstacles are removed from the roads, some sidewalks cleared, all looks allready so much better.
A week or two into the disaster comes the news that the first neighborhoods have electricity again, some even water.
In the Simpson Bay region, some restaurants and bars re-open. The curfew is pushed to 9 PM and later to midnight. The first cold beer becomes a powerful symbol of the return of civilisation.
Now, one month after the storm, we are still in surrvival mode; but at least we, who remain here, are now convinced that Sint Maarten - Saint Martin will be rebuild into an even more fantastic vacation destination, creating opportunities for all residents. We also understand that we have to earn this with our own hard work.
While huge parts of the island are still not back on grid, Simpson Bay has become the nucleus of commercial activity. Here, we have resorts with rooms intact, great beaches and some of the visitor's favorite restaurants already open again. The international airport accepts commercial flights again by October 10th, the first cruise ship is expected for the 11th of November and will stimulate the opening of stores in Philipsburg. And by the middle of December, there will be enough attractions rebuild to wholeheartedly invite visitors back to the island to have a vacation of a life time!

St. Maarten - St-Martin Updates

SXM Not ‘Destroyed’

We need to get the language straight: there are far too many articles and YouTube videos showing the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, and published with introductory headlines based on phrases like...

ST-MAARTEN.COM Video Series

Talented videographer Peter Sagnia is the creative mind behind a series of videos produced in collaboration with Jan Thoelke, publisher of ST-MAARTEN.COM. YouTube and other video channels are...

Shopping Returns to SXM

The first containers with fresh food and produce have arrived. The surviving super markets are again reasonably well stocked. The island's favorite discount super market - the French chain Super U -...

Princess Juliana International Airport Reopened

A major achievement towards the quick recovery of St. Maarten - St-Martin's tourism industry is today's reopening of the Princess Juliana International Airport.

HURRICANE UPDATE: Life Returns to Simpson Bay

Simpson Bay is the first region to bring back some commercial activity. Many bars and restaurants have opened and the fun mix of great food and exciting entertainment is...

The First Month of Recovery from Hurricane Irma on the Island of St. Maarten - St-Martin

One month has passed since the most powerful hurricane in recorded history went right over our tiny island of St. Maarten - St-Martin. We are the kind of people who have experience with tropical...

Restaurants and Entertainment - Presently Open

Isola Authentic Italian Restaurant

Enjoy the gentle Caribbean evening breeze on the open terrasse of Isola Ristorante Italiano while dining on authentic Italian cuisine.  Adjacent to...

Ocean Lounge

Overlooking the beach and boardwalk, the Ocean Lounge Restaurant and Bar at the Holland House Beach Hotel has become the center of fine dining in the...

Pineapple Pete Restaurant

At PINEAPPLE PETE Restaurant there is a simple motto: “Great Food, Great Service”. This is exactly what you will find here, outstanding food, fast,...

Red Piano Bar

The Red Piano is among the most famous bars on St. Maarten, situated in the center of the Pelican Key in between the Simpson Bay Resort and Flamimgo...

Taco Macho - a Colombian-Mexican Restaurant & Bar

For authentic Mexican and Colombian food, presented with warm Latin hospitality, there is no better place in St. Maarten than Taco MachoThe...

The Hollywood Casino on the Island of St. Maarten

The Hollywood Casino is located right in the center of a group of larger resorts and is the gaming spot of choice for anybody staying in Simpson Bay or...

Topper's Restaurant and Bar

Topper’s Restaurant & Bar is a great international restaurant in a fun Caribbean cottage that celebrates all-American comfort cuisine alongside...

Hotels and Resorts on St. Maarten - St. Martin - Presently Open

Porto Cupecoy - Spared by Irma

A recent visit to the elegant Porto Cupecoy development with its luxury condominiums, gourmet restaurants and yacht harbor was very encouraging: There is almost no trace to be found that a...

Atrium Beach Resort & Spa

The Atrium Beach Resort & Spa is located right on the beach and only a short walk away from several beach bars, restaurants, shops, water-sports, casino and nightlife.

Commodore Suites Boutique Hotel

The Commodore Suites is offering contemporary suties with kitchenettes right in the center of Simpson Bay and close to all entertainement.

Princess Heights Deluxe Condo Hotel

This family operated Boutique Condo Hotel offers spacious studio, one and two bedroom suites that feature balconies with ocean views and fully equipped gourmet kitchens.

Pharmacies and Spas

Miguel's Spa + Salon

Ideally located at the Atrium Beach Resort an SPA, Miguel's Spa + Salon offers excellent and qualified service for ladies and gentlemen.  After treating St. Maarten visitors for nearly ten years, the...

Orange Grove Pharmacy

In urgent cases, the Orange Grove Pharmacy is the only one offering 24-hour emergency delivery service to any location on the island. No matter what the cause, Orange Grove Pharmacy, as one of the...

Simpson Bay Pharmacy on Sint Maarten Island in the Caribbean

This pharmacy is located at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club and is within walking distance to a Medical Clinic, an ENT-Clinic and a Dentist. The Simpson Bay Pharmacy is also conveniently close to hotels...

Tijon Parfumerie - Fragrances and Skin Care Produced on St. Martin

Located in the gourmet town of Grand Case where fine restaurants are stringed along the main road, there is also Tijon Parfumerie. While the restaurants apply to the palate, Tijon wants you to come...