Inside St. Maarten's Maho Group's Plans to Resist Future Hurricanes

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa
Photo courtesy of Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts

After the devastation from Hurricane Irma, The Maho Group (owners and operators of Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts in the Caribbean) began re-constructing the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa with the technology required to prevent future damage.

The rebuilding requires completely tearing down the main structural frame and adding storm and fire-resistant materials, which include new windows and sliding doors integrating argon gas filled air-gaps.

The Maho Group enlisted Reggio Calabria's (Italy) Building Future Lab to do safety tests. The group created a simulacrum of a storm to be sure the material was safe. Building Future Lab is, according to The Maho Group, one of the only labs of its kind in the world. Separate fire-resistance tests were conducted separately in Milan, which the group says performed outstandingly, passing rigorous tests.

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The Building Future Lab used an exact replica of the Sky Tower’s exterior façade constructed with TKE LVKE panels, the part of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort which took the blunt of the damage, and hit it with a jet engine-like wind simulator. They say the material is certified to withstand winds up to 200 mph (Hurricane Irma had one-minute sustained winds of 165 mph).

The tests abided by the American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials, a testing standards group. For more information, visit

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