We have been back for a couple weeks, not much time to report back on island so will try to do this in bits and pieces highlighting the good that we got to experience. We spent 8 nights on island, and we toured the island one day and while we wish we had more time this trip we did get a good picture of both sides. Our heart goes out to all those that live on island and all they have and are going through, it is an overwhelming amount of work that has been done and still needs to be done. Pretty impressive in areas on how they have recovered and that is mixed with areas that have a lot left to do.
We stayed our first week at La Vista in one of the cottages, something we had always wanted to do and finally got our chance. La Vista Beach is back open and looks like nothing much happened, the La Vista property above is coming along. The cottages were open and some of the units in the most recently built structure above were open. The further you get towards Flamingo the more work that needs to be done, that building was hit pretty hard but they are making progress. The pools were open, deck mostly repaired and the office area is up and running. Kudos to their hard work.
We spent our final night at El Zafiro, we ended up in an upper two bedroom unit and it was simply fantastic. They have worked their tails off and still are to bring the place back to where it was or better, I was very impressed. We are already working on adding some nights there for our November trip. The biggest mistake we made is that based off of previous trips we did not eat here earlier in our trip and waited until our final days. We had a breakfast, lunch and a dinner and all were excellent, it was a very pleasant surprise. Breakfast was good, lunch was very nice and dinner was simply fantastic. Looking forward to more time there on our November / December trip.
Dino has a winner in Emilio's, very nice setting in a great historic building and excellent food and drink. We were warned that it is expensive, we didn't feel that it was overly priced at all. The food of course is excellent, the cocktails are among the best on island. Creative and very well done. Really enjoyed the evening we spent here.
The Palms is still one of our favorite hang outs, a place that is we frequent on each trip and did so again this trip. They also have worked their tails off getting the place back up and running. The house ground sirloin burger is my favorite burger on island and the spicy lasagna as well as the drunken ribs are on our must list each trip. Greg and Jo do a great job of making people feel welcome, even if we do not eat there we often will stop by for a cocktail or three.
We got to spend some time with Lal and that was fantastic, Lal's Curry in a Hurry is still serving the same great food and they now have a bar set up which we had missed from his place closer to the airport. Simply love his food, and pretty fond of Lal as well.
Dany's at Cupecoy has been one of the places that has upped the game and the only unfortunate part was while on island that side of the island was getting very heavy wave action. We spent a couple days there and enjoyed every moment. Still one of our favorite places to relax and forget about the rest of the world.
In our drive around the island we did not spend time on Front Street so can not comment on their progress but at least they are getting ships in. Orient was hit pretty hard as you all know, but it was nice to see that some have started on rebuilding. It is heartbreaking to see what has happened, and how much needs to be done but they are moving forward. Our hope is to sit at La Playa in November and see Bruno smile again, be able to enjoy a day there and walk the beach and relax and enjoy a few fantastic days.
I am certainly not a contractor but I do a lot of my own home remodeling and I can not help but to look around and think about the tens of thousands of man hours that will be needed to get back up to anywhere close to what it was prior to Irma. I get a bit annoyed with the people that can't understand why their place is not back up and running by now, it is just not that easy to not only find the labor but the supplies have been slow to come in. Have patience people.
I probably would not suggest to somebody that has not been to SXM before to go for their first time but we did run into some and they were having a great time, but if you are an island regular I highly suggest you find the time to make a trip and put some money into the economy, they could really use it and you will have a great time. We missed some things that we previously got to enjoy but it was still a great trip and will probably be in our memory as one of our favorite trips.