Some visitors to St. Maarten opt to sightsee by bicycle. © // 2014 St. Maarten Tourism Bureau
While some Caribbean destinations drift along with the seasons without making any major changes to tourism infrastructures, St. Maarten seems to keep up a steady stream of tourism-related renovation projects and new developments.
“St. Maarten is an island that is as unique as it is beautiful,” said Edward Dest, interim director of tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. “Both the public and private sectors are making strong efforts to work together to ensure that our island remains a preferred destination for travelers.”
Dest said the island’s variety of accommodations, range of available excursions and consistent upgrades to the airport, roads and other infrastructure is broadening St. Maarten’s appeal to visitors.
Infrastructure improvements include the new Simpson Bay Causeway, which has a swing bridge that alleviates traffic and improves accessibility to Simpson Bay, the airport, Cole Bay and Marigot. The causeway also has two protected sidewalks for pedestrians and a bicycle lane.
A number of projects are underway to add new accommodations or upgrade existing properties in St. Maarten.
The newly opened Baker's Suites is St. Maarten's first and only all-suites boutique hotel. The Simpson Bay property has 10 condo-style suites. Amenities include full mini-kitchens, free Wi-Fi, daily maid service, on-site car rental, private parking, cable TV and private balconies.
The Blue Mall shopping center has officially opened following a soft opening in 2013. Some of the shops at the luxury-focused shopping center include Dolce and Gabbana, Adidas, La Perla, Brioni, Guess and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort is in the last phase of a renovation project that will modernize 24 units in four separate buildings. A new marina is also under construction at the resort. The marina will have 38 boat slips, including five slips reserved for resort guests. The marina will have a resident harbormaster and a private, gated entrance with 24-hour security. Amenities will include access to Wi-Fi, telephone, showers, restrooms and individually metered water and electricity outlets.
The all-inclusive Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino recently completed a series of renovations. Each room now has Wi-Fi, a flat-screen television and a clock radio with an iPod dock. The all-inclusive rate includes a champagne check-in, premier liquors, stocked minibars, beach service, room service, afternoon tea and evening turndown service. Rooms and suites have been updated with bright, contemporary Caribbean decor that includes teakwood tables and chairs on guestroom balconies. Personalized butler service is provided to guests staying in the property’s Miramar Wing suites.
The Towers at Mullet Bay has completed a multimillion dollar renovation. Room upgrades include new beds, drapes and new kitchen appliances. The hotel's bar has been renovated and the grounds are being enhanced with redesigned landscaping.
Sapphire Beach Club Resort, located just three miles from the Princess Juliana International Airport, has recently unveiled a newly renovated on-site bar and restaurant. Guests can now relax in an open-air dining room set amidst tropical gardens while enjoying sea views.