Friday, 15 September 2017
The Sonesta Maho Resort, which normally hosts the TK Poker Tour events in St Maarten, is doing its best to help its employees in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. We received this message from them today, letting us know what we can do to help:
"Our beloved island has been devastated and, although we will rebuild in the future, our primary focus now is on relief efforts providing the basic living essentials like clean drinking water, food, clothes and cleaning supplies. There is much to do and compassion must be paramount.
As you know, our Sonesta St. Maarten team and staff and the people of Sint Maarten are the soul of our hotels and our destination. It is the people that make the experience exceptional – they are the ones that make St. Maarten “The Friendly Island" and they cannot be forgotten in their time of need. So now, please help us help them.
We are working directly with the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse that has been instrumental as the first responders to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and they are currently stationed at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort supplying humanitarian relief efforts to the island.
We have also set up an official fundraising page for the employees and staff of Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten and The Maho Group. This fund will collect money to provide new clothing, supplies and household items; it will also help support aid to the employees and staff and offset medical and travel expenses.
We kindly ask for your support and donations today as timing is critical. We assure you that your donation is legitimate and legal, and that it will be closely monitored.
Donate through our dedicated Sonesta St. Maarten GoFundMe page providing direct relief to our cherished resort staff at: www.gofundme.com/sonestasxmstaff.
Or visit the Samaritan’s Purse website to donate to general St. Maarten island relief efforts at: www.samaritanspurse.org.
We cannot let Irma’s victims in the Caribbean be forgotten. The real work is just beginning."
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
|The St Maarten resorts we know and love are in shambles following Hurricane Irma.|
Last week one of our favorite poker destinations was flattened by Hurricane Irma. The category 5+ storm tore into several islands in the Caribbean with 185 mile per hour winds, ripping roofs off buildings, flattening homes and filling streets with trees and debris. The Sonesta Maho Resort which was to host the WSOPC St Maarten in November has had to close. The badly damaged hotel has had to cancel all reservations. The casino across the street was also badly damaged and is closed. So the WSOPC has been officially cancelled.
Sad news for us -- but even sadder for the locals. Not only is their island and home destroyed but now the resort they worked in is closed. Tough times :(
The island has started the long process of re-building after the storm, but they need help. Water, food and medicine and rebuilding infrastructure all cost money. We're told that the best thing we can do to help St Maarten is to send financial aid.
The Netherlands has been offering a lot of aid on the island and the Dutch Red Cross has opened a special account to raise funds for further aid. If you can handle the Dutch website you can donate here.
Globalgiving.org’s Hurricane Irma Relief Fund accepts online donations and their website is in English.
Thursday, 7 September 2017
Wow. It's worse than we thought -- and we knew it was going to be pretty bad. Hurricane Irma hit the West Indies this week and there has been catastrophic damage to some of our favourite Caribbean islands. All of the resorts in Punta Cana, and St Maarten that we've been to for poker tournaments have sustained heavy damage.
St Maarten was hit so hard that the organizers of the WSOPC tournament that we planned to attend in November have no choice but to cancel the event. No one knows when the airport will re-open and the host hotel is cancelling all reservations for the remainder of 2017.
Official Statement of Sonesta Maho Resort & Casino where the WSOPC was to have taken place:
"All guests and staff of Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Royal Casino are safe and unharmed.
The damages to Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Royal Casino are severe, as is widespread damage and destruction on our beloved island of Sint Maarten. Severe damage has also occurred at Princess Juliana International Airport, and we do not have news as to when the airport will resume operations.
The Sonesta St. Maarten executive team and management are doing their best to assist guests who are at the resorts to remain safe, secure, and as comfortable as possible until they are able to depart Sint Maarten—this is our primary concern. Guests are currently in on-property safe areas at the resorts.
Due to the damages the resorts suffered, all further reservations from now through the end of 2017 will be cancelled."
Our thoughts are with the wonderful people of St Maarten and the Dominican Republic. We'll let you know when we hear of ways we can help them through this.
We'll also be thinking about our friends in Florida where Irma is headed this weekend.