With each month moving us further from the day Irma paid the island a visit more tourists and regular visitors are returning to the island. The island is different, and damage is visible but the adjustments that everyone is making to accommodate both the ups and the downs is incredible to see – and there are certainly many more ups. The beaches are beautiful especially on the French side, less crowds, less beach bars. While beach bars are going to come back we will have to wait and see how the structures will be allowed to be rebuilt in many cases. It stands to reason that many structures will not be allowed back near the shoreline.
The island and islanders are rebuilding back to being better than before, hopefully not as haphazard and to a higher standard so that if another “once-in-a-lifetime” blow comes through the aftermath will be less devastating.
Both the Dutch side and the French side have, however, many restaurants opened once again where they offer some of the best cuisine. New restaurants are exciting to visit like Emilio’s (here), St. Maarten’s best new fine dinning restaurant. The restaurant is in an amazingly restored building on a well-known property on the island. The main stone structure has been restored as the dining and bar area, the other old buildings have been turned into a museum, souvenir shop and kitchen and the grounds are having much attention paid to them. Large paths sweep through old shrubs and trees and lead visitors to a new activity – a ski-lift that transports one to the very peak where there are exquisite views of the island; returning back down to earth make a choice of a return on the ski lift or try out the zip-line. (here)
Cruise ships are returning, bringing many visitors to the island shores once again. Traffic is the same as it always was – peak times suck.
Hotels are moving ahead with rebuilding – Divi Little is scheduled to open in May 2018 (here)
The 38th Heineken Regatta has just gone by, once again the organization was excellent, and everyone had a fantastic time both during the sailing and the entertainment was tops.
Visitors whose usual happy places to stay are finding new places to stay in until they can return the “their” piece of paradise, and there are many to choose from. Hotels are opening up slowly, slowly – Mercure hotel on the French side is the first big hotel to open. Belair Beach and Divi Little are set to open soon (not all rooms and facilities at once) but they are set to open.
Fun people are hanging out at the beaches, enjoying excellent diners out; it is also great to dine in what with the supermarkets – both French and Dutch side – that offer such a glorious array of products. Boats are back anchored in the lagoon and the mega yachts are lining the marinas – true not as many as there usually are but life has not stopped. What has resumed is enjoyed more than ever as every knows how fragile life actually is.