After the Hurricanes, A Triumphant Caribbean Comeback - Conde Nast Traveler
More than a year after Hurricane Irma tore through the Leeward Islands, this hard-hit corner of the Caribbean is back on its feet. In December, SMX airport, serving both Dutch Sint Maarten and French St. Martin, finally moved its operations back to their main building from a tent, while the hilly island’s legendary dining scene—from stalwart L’Auberge Gourmande in Grand Case to upstarts like Emilio’s, crafting locally flavored tapas—is bustling. It’s all perfectly timed for the pastel-hued makeover at jet-set magnet Belmond La Samanna on St. Martin, built astride a golden crescent, and the reopening of sister property Belmond Cap Juluca, 20 minutes away by speedboat in the most coveted spot on Anguilla. The $121 million reno is the hotel’s most ambitious since opening on mile-long Maundays Bay in 1988. Its new look features chic linens and rattans, an offshoot of Belmond Cipriani Venice’s lagoon-side lunch spot, Cip’s, and a fleet of bicycles, bringing the hotel’s once-pioneering barefoot glamour into the present. Meanwhile, down the road, Auberge Resorts’ Malliouhana reopened in late 2018, with 11 new suites and a smart beach bar coming this Spring. You could opt for nearby St. Barts instead, but with so much sparkle (and no crowds) right here, this is the savvy insider’s pick.