At a time when environmental conditions can be about as unpredictable as the economy, it's especially rewarding to come across news that a holiday destination that's been through a rough patch is making a comeback. That's especially the case for the venerable island of St. Maarten, which is rebounding so quickly two years after a devastating hurricane, it grabbed the attention of Planet Hollywood.

The restaurant chain with eateries operating in North America and Europe plans to have a resort built on St. Maarten by the end of 2020. It's all part of a venture with Canadian travel company Sunwing Vacations to diversify its brand and recognize additional revenue streams. St. Maarten fits the bill for their ideal location.


The government, recognizing that the presence of Planet Hollywood would symbolize a return to prosperity in the wake of the havoc wreaked by Hurrican Irma in 2017, eagerly granted the venture backers a construction permit. All that remains is to get it built.

450-room resort overlooking Great Bay Beach

What we know about the new resort is that it's being constructed on the same spot previously occupied by Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort and Casino, which was devastated by Irma. Once built, the complex will be 14 stories with 450 suites and will be the third resort in the chain's new hospitality venture.

The amenities being offered at what will be called Planet Hollywood St. Maarten Beach Resort hasn't been officially announced, but don't rule out such attractions as Tinseltown memorabilia, preserved personal items from notable celebs and even props used in major motion pictures.

Designed to be an all-inclusive establishment, one report from Forbes revealed that a PH spa and beauty bar will be on the premises as well as a beach club, a 16,000 square-foot casino and fitness facilities. Those will be enough to work up quite an appetite and get an opportunity to dine in at least five restaurants, including a Planet Hollywood eatery and Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint.

Digging out after Hurricane Irma

What's remarkable is that Planet Hollywood's forthcoming resort is being built on an island that was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Irma back in September 2017. The Category 5 hurricane wreaked havoc on structures on the island, leaving 90 percent of them damaged and roughly a third of them totally destroyed. For an island with an economy almost entirely dependent on tourist dollars, the government felt the nation was all but wiped out.

But volunteers who felt their livelihoods were on the line worked around the clock to clean and fix things up, starting with the airport and cruise docks, which resumed operations mere weeks later. Recognizing the sweat equity being poured into restoring the island, cruise lines and airlines loyally kept St. Maarten on their schedules. Because of damage to resorts and other attractions, packages were affordable, which drew tourists to an island still trying to recover.

Since the summer of 2019, though, St. Maarten has become one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean with nearly every resort back in operation. It seemed that Planet Hollywood's powers that be deduced that if an island can bounce back so quickly after a natural disaster, imagine how well a new hotel could perform under more normal conditions.

Related: 15 Best Caribbean Cruises To Consider In 2020, Ranked

Chain offers more locations to vay-cay like a star

Once completed, the resort will be the third such hotel in the chain ever since Planet Hollywood inked a deal with Sunwing in 2018 to expand beyond the restaurant business. It's first one in Costa Rica opened in 2018, with the second one in Cancun slated to open in March.

More Caribbean resorts are reportedly in the cards, but while Planet Hollywood hasn't made public the amount of its investment, Caribbean Journal revealed that Sunwing has put $600 million into the venture. Accentuating the attractive features of these resorts is an aggressive marketing plan to "vacation like a star."

That includes dining, sleeping, eating and cavorting in an environment based on everything Hollywood, including the possibility of running into a bona fide celebrity in any of the three resorts once all of them are officially open.

But wait, there's more!

However, once Planet Hollywood opens its shiny doors on St. Maarten, it'll be in for plenty of competition. Most of the hotels and resorts that were damaged by Hurricane Irma should be fully repaired and operating by then. In 2019, roughly two-thirds of those accommodations were back in business. At this point, that number is up to 75 percent, meaning that almost all of them will likely be up and running by the time Planet Hollywood's ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place.

Additionally, newer operations will already be taking in vacationers, such as the French-owned Adonis chain, which just opened its new 52-room Adonis Cupecoy. Morgan Resort is also expected to open shortly its new 124-suite spa and village facility overlooking Simpson Bay. And not far behind will be the launch of Apple Leisure Group's adults-only Secrets resort promising 258 suites of luxury.

Next: A Floating Hotel And Spa Has Just Opened In Sweden