May 30, 2018
When Hurricane Irma ravaged the Caribbean last September, it devastated resorts across the region. Among them were the two all-inclusive Sonesta resorts on St. Maarten -- the adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, Casino & Spa, and the family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa -- both of which will make triumphant returns this winter following extensive renovations.
Sonesta Ocean Point will make its splashy debut first, with a grand-reopening date of Nov. 15, 2018. The least damaged of the two resorts, the 129-suite property underwent a gut renovation in 2015 is undergoing repairs to restore its previous condition and bolster its defenses against future storms. The lobby will be completely redesigned, according to Sonesta, which also plans to add a new Spanish-style tapas restaurant to the property.

Sonesta Maho Beach will reopen approximately two months after its sister resort, on Feb. 1, 2019. The 416-room property's Sky Tower was severely damaged by Irma and is being rebuilt with a new design that uses the tower's original structural frame, which survived the storm. Featuring a storm-resistant building envelope, the new-and-improved tower will be able to withstand winds in excess of 200 miles per hour -- Irma's winds reached 165 miles per hour -- as well as severe earthquakes.

The 24,000-square-foot convention center shared by both properties also sustained extensive damage and is being completely rebuilt and redesigned.

Finally, Maho Village, the resorts' shared shopping and nightlife promenade, will reopen this summer with a new look; the resorts' gaming venue, Casino Royale, will open two new al fresco restaurants and an outdoor bar to complement its 21,000 square feet of gaming and entertainment space.

"Loyal guests will be reassured that the resorts' signature limitless, all-inclusive concepts will remain the same, as will favorite services, amenities and familiar faces of our beloved staff, with a number of exciting new features to debut," a Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts statement read. "Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts has taken every measure to implement the latest architectural innovations and storm-resistant materials in the renovation, ensuring the future security and well being of its properties and guests."

A third Sonesta property on St. Maarten, Great Bay Beach Resort, was sold last year; its new owner, the Sunwing Group, is expected to announce its own reopening date when it is set.