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Yesterday at 11:08 PM Flamingo update [by SXMScubaman]
I got permission to copy and paste this from Yvonne Mendenhall off of the Flamingo/Royal Palm Timeshare Owners Facebook page:

We met in room 7210, Mervin's Flamingo office. They are using that room as the existing sample of the "original" studio and have a room in the 600 building that is being maintained as the sample for Villa rooms.

REBUILDING PROGRESS: Some of the big points: The work is going well, demolition is nearly done. They are a little behind the schedule, but Mervin feels that is not a problem, they will LIKELY catch up and the reasons for the slower progress are good reasons. They also have built in time for most likely delays in their schedule.

They are making more and better construction decisions by taking the time to work with the contractor to do a superb job (not just a good job) of rebuilding. He described some of the improved changes and said Diamond and the insurer are supportive because it should build in lasting improvements.

One thing all of us who survived Irma at Flamingo should be pleased about is they are planning to affix the sliding glass terrace panels to the concrete floor AND concrete ceilings to make them stronger. In so many cases with Irma, the glass survived, but the frames gave away. They are also testing several new concrete mixtures and have test areas already in place for the contractor and insurers and Diamond to observe and evaluate.

Roofing is completed on building 7, but the flat roofs (Villa buildings) are going to be redone from the base up. That is a recent change of plans. They found that the many repairs, made through the years, has offered lots of new "trails" for water to flow and leak into rooms. Rather than "patch it up again" they will remove all the layers of repairs down to the base and add new and improved materials.

One other delay is new complete drawings are being done of all buildings to make future maintenance, care, replacement and changes better controlled. The new drawings will be electronically stored as well as hard copy, so they don't get lost through years of transition. The lack of accurate drawings are slowing the current repair process, so it is wise to avoid such delays in the future and of course having accurate current drawings will help the current reconstruction.

REOPENING HOPES: He is still careful about estimating a reopening because there are so many unknown variables (like weather), but there is HOPE that some of the units may be ready for a "soft opening" at the end of 2019 and the rest following shortly after. You can't bank on that yet!! The next few months should help see into that future a bit better. PLEASE don't make airline reservations until there is more data and a more firm calendar!! We should start hearing more on reopening dates once they really get into the reconstruction --starting soon.

STAFF: Mervin said that during demolition they hired around 4 dozen former Flamingo staff both women and men who worked for them through that process. Now that reconstruction is coming along, they will try to rehire some of the staff to help with the new work. He said many have found other jobs, a few are still working for them in landscaping and upkeep tasks. Some have retired. He believes Harold has retired, but said he will try to get an update. He is also going to see if he can find out something about Remy. Others he said are working at nearby resorts and with contract firms.

DESIGN AND DECORATING: Mervin had a small online "swatch" sampling page someone shared with him that he showed us, he warns it's not final, but they are definitely going with a tropical look! The colors were blues, greens, whites, and some nice wood hues. He said he is confident when we are at the Flamingo we will know we are in the Caribbean!!

Currently he said the room arrangement plans for the studios will include moving the bed to the front section in all units. The kitchen areas may be placed similarly to the existing layout, or they may be located where the bed is now placed. Sitting in room 7210, we could see what he described, but it's hard to imagine in the empty spaces. Likely some of those plans will adjust over the months, so we are just happy to hear it will be open and Caribbean happy! We didn't discuss the bedroom units, but they never had the sliding wall issue blocking owners from the beautiful view.

RESTAURANT: NOW, the restaurant! There will NOT be a structure on the beach. The beautiful beach will be for guests' enjoyment, views, relaxation, playing and sunning! There will be food service, but it will be mostly lighter, grill type choices, beverages, snacks, light breakfasts, etc. Possibly a small area (patio?) for a few tables. And, they are talking about beach-side service!! YAY! Mervin said that Simpson Bay area is where the growth is happening, so an onsite restaurant is not really needed, but good quality and easily available food and beverage offerings for guests and visitors will happen. The pool bar is likely to remain and they are looking at the corner near the stairs as a possible location for the main grill area.

HOWEVER, they are still looking at other possible sites on the property for the food service area(s), so it's not a final decision. Doug and I agreed with him that a "destination restaurant" would struggle with the new competition in this area and is unnecessary with all the new and varied restaurant options already underway down the street on Welfare Road.

People who come to Sint Maarten should get out into the diverse, exciting, interesting and active island to experience this amazing place!!

PHOTOS: All but the last three photos were taken this afternoon. I nearly cried when I went into OUR studio at 7212 and took my "annual photo" of the beach. It is so hard to be in our "happy place" and have it be empty without the liveliness and full happiness we have known for 30 years. Mervin said he walks the two properties at the end of each day, and often feels the same wave of sadness: this place is for people and it is not complete without us!! I feel it every time we walk by, and that's usually twice a day. A tug of the blues!!

DISCLAIMER: I tried very hard to hear Mervin and not put words into his mouth! He is a very positive man, and since this all started when he was a little hesitant about becoming a property construction manager for TWO properties, he has grasped the details and seems to be a great negotiator! Doug and I both felt Mervin is very positive, he watches the weather patterns, local politics and business activities, economics, and the community. I think he's good at seeing the pieces and realizing how it all works together. And, he loves the island!
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Yesterday at 04:39 PM One person's take after being on island for 10 days [by johndana274]
These are observations of island life of a tourist. This is 3rd year we have stayed on island. 1st year after hurricanes.

Airport: arrival easy with quick lines through customs. Tents have a lot of ventilation. Quick pickup of bags.

Roads: still crazy traffic. Stayed in a villa on Happy Bay so saw a lot of road work. They are in process of burying electric lines under road. Nice to see improvements being made.

Police: See more on French side than ever have. They were doing random pull overs outside of Grand Case one evening. Felt more reassured by their being there. Dutch side saw more too.

Rebuilding: Dutch seem to more ahead in the game but hear saws and hammers wherever we go. Orient is rebuilding, just slow. Still travel by many houses on French side that seems people just walk away from. Roofs torn away - can see light through them.

Always enjoy our time here. Beaches still beautiful and Grand Case still makes me leary.
Think the rains will help with growth of landscape to hide some of rundown that has always been here. With time will be covered lol

People are upbeat with lots of crazy stories!
Til next time...
1 366 Read More
Yesterday at 12:41 PM Perch Lite [by stangied]
Does anybody know if the Perch Lite is open today and if they are renting chairs today
11 521 Read More
Yesterday at 11:26 AM morning showers [by RonDon]
sxmislandcam.com shows rain at 7:30 hope it passes soon for those on the island. Have a great beach day.
6 454 Read More
Yesterday at 10:48 AM Orient Village [by JimDS]
Will be staying in Orient Village in September. Before Irma, I used to have lunch at the Yellow Submarine in between walks to the beach and shop for groceries at the Supermarche' next door. I believe the two are no longer open. Any recommendations for somewhere to have a light lunch and to shop for groceries? Thanks, in advance.
7 500 Read More
08/18/2018 07:20 PM Peter Island [by ScurvyD]
Can someone describe the facilities that are running on Peter Island? Anything open in Dead Man's Bay? Anything in Great Harbor beside The Willy T? State of the Marina? How is overnighting in Little Harbor? Thanks for all your comments. thanks
4 440 Read More
08/18/2018 07:05 PM Bruno’s Paradise Bungalows [by Pan]
Has anyone stayed at Bruno’s Paradise Bungalows since Irma? If so, please provide a review or general impressions. We’re looking to return to the Orient Village vicinity this November. Thank you.
7 607 Read More
08/18/2018 12:01 AM Who Really Cares About Club O? [by gotaluvit]
Club O, the hotel is looking more and more like Mullet Bay Beach Club and may take just as long to resurect. I belive that 90% of the people here have never stayed there and never would.

On the other hand many of us cared quite a bit about the clothing optional beach in front of Club O and the Perch bar and Papagayo. If whatever powers that be would just rebuild a nice Restaraunt and bar or two like Luftman is doing further north with bathrooms and the like I would be a happy camper and those powers that be would have a very nice income (with the chairs) to bridge their way to whatever future the hotel business might have. Perch “lite” doesn’t cut it in anyway shape or form.

If there were any true business people involved they would be mining the gold on that section of the beach...

My apologies to those of you invested in the property or who liked camping there...
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08/17/2018 10:21 PM day boat tour- Saturday [by usasxmlover]
Wondering if anyone has recommendations for a day- 1/2 or full tour that goes around SXM. Could be motor or sail...would like to give my adult kids a sea perspective of island, various beaches, etc. Will be in SXM end of September

Thanks in advance.
3 352 Read More
08/17/2018 01:19 PM Sargassum at Guana Bay [by Carol_Hill]
Daily Herald story

Wow, that picture is awful!
8 618 Read More
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