St. Maarten heats up this year with new and exciting things around the island. With new airlifts, tourism arrivals up, hotel enhancements and special packages, the "Friendly Island" has more to offer visiting travelers. Here’s what you need to know to make this destination an even easier pitch to clients.
The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino is undergoing a $3 million refurbishment and enhancements to conclude in November, resulting in a makeover as it becomes a true all-inclusive resort, where it joins its on-island sister property, the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino.
Clients will enjoy a full breakfast daily, lunch, dinner and snacks each day at a choice of four different restaurants; unlimited international and domestic premium beer and spirits, fruit drinks and soft drinks; no reservations required at the restaurants; all hotel taxes and service charges; a weekly beach party dinner; in-room mini fridge refreshed daily with soft drinks, bottled water (premier categories and higher select spirits and beer are available); $20 per person in match bets for adults at The Casino Royale; and more. Low season all-inclusive rates start at $413 per night, based on double occupancy, including all taxes. Visit www.sonesta.com/mahobeach.
New Products, Packages and Developments
The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa are enticing groups to head to St. Maarten with the "Four Night Group Spectacular" package. This offer lures companies, incentive groups, weddings and groups of at least 25 rooms to St. Maarten with a four-night package starting at $449 per person, based on double occupancy in oceanfront accommodations. The offer includes hotel accommodations for four nights, complimentary breakfast buffet each morning, welcome or farewell reception and pirates buffet dinner featuring live Caribbean dancers and fire show. This offer is valid on new reservations for travel April 7 - October 31, 2013. Additional nights are available from $88 per person, per night. Resort fees and taxes are not included.
Also at the Westin St. Maarten, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday guests will enjoy "The Westin Sunset Party by the Beach" from 4- 7 p.m. with live music from the island's hottest singers.
Coral Beach Club recently announced that this winter it will be installing a common pool for guests' use. Villa guests have enjoyed private pools, but for guests not staying in villas, a common pool will enhance the property by offering a place to take a dip after a long day in the St. Maarten sun. Visit www.coralbeach-club.com.
For the aquatic thrill seekers, Aquamania Adventures has opened at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. Activities abound at Aquamania with parasailing, waiverunner rentals, deep sea fishing excursions, scuba and snorkeling trips, sunset sail and dinner cruises, day trips to neighboring islands and more. Visit www.stmaarten-activities.com.
St. Maarten recently announced that Delta Air Lines will be launching weekly direct service to the island from New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport to Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) as of Dec. 15. The air service will occur every Saturday with a departing 9:05 a.m. flight from New York, which arrives in St. Maarten at 2:15 pm with returning flights every Saturday leaving St. Maarten at 3:15 pm and arriving into New York at 6:05 pm. The new route will provide convenient connections for both international and stateside travelers as well as offers added variety for northeast travelers.
Travel to St. Maarten during the first half of 2012 has been on an upswing as compared to 2011. Visitor and air arrivals have both increased 8.5 percent, creating a 56.6 percent growth in hotel occupancy during that time. With an increase in tourists to the island, the overall destination has seen a growth during the first half of 2012.
As St. Maarten has always been a popular destination for travelers who vacation on the island, it is becoming increasingly popular as a main port of call for cruise passengers. St. Maarten's port has seen an increase of nine percent during the first half of 2012 as compared to the first half of 2011. Day trips to the island afford travelers the option to take in the beauty and duty-free shopping while seeing other Caribbean islands as well.