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      • June 5-6, 2015 - Diamond Holds First Homeowner Meets for Royal Palm and Flamingo: Reports from those who attended the meetings report Diamond outlined mutli-year plans for the resorts, including capital upgrades. Although Diaomond directly and indirectly has the majority of votes, attendees were told elections next year should see non-Diaomond representatives join the Homeower Association Board. SXM-TimeshareNews.com will help candidates communicate freely with other owners.

      • April 24, 2015 - Diamond Establishs new reservations contacts: Diamond has emailed all owners to inform them of new telephone and email contacts for reservations and other matters for fixed-week owners. The numbers are 1 (800) 463-7256 toll free and 1 (407) 226-9500 for outside United States and Canada. The email contact is: OwnerServices@Diamondresorts.com. The new contacts follow the closure of the long-time local reservations office on the Island.

      • April 5, 2015 - Diamond to Establish Howmeowners' Associations: Diamond has emailed all owners to announce meetings at the Royal Palm (June 3, 2015 for Royal Palm Owners and June 4, 2015 for Flamingo owners) for annoual meetings of the new Homeowner Associaiton for both resorts. More details to follow, but tabling of financial information and answering questions are expected to be the highlights.

      • November 16, 2013 - Flamingo and Royal Palm Maintence Fees Rise after Two-Year Freeze: The increase is 6.9% on a Flamingo Studio and 4.8% on a Roayl Palm 2-Bedroom unit. It follows stable Maintenance Fees in 2012 and 2013. The primary cause is increased operating costs including, for the first time, provisions for retirement costs for staff. Although the workers at thr two resorts do not recieve pensions, their collective agreements do provide for retirement payments based upon service. Details for Premium Subscribers under the Owners Tab.

      • August 31, 2012 - Simpson Bay Resort and Marina (SBRM - aka "Pelican") Wins Legal Battle with Union A panel of three judges has overturned a judge's ruling that the resort owes laid off workers millions. The dispute had threatened to close the resort on Simpson Bay. The outcome means the resort will stay open and avoid a costly additional special assessment. It also opens the way for furtehr discussions between the owners of the resort and Hard Rock Casinos who have indicatedan interest in acquiring the property.

      • June 10, 2011 - SXM-TimesahreNews.com Posts Draft Timeshare Legislation After extensive problem identification and consultation with Island officials to understand Dutch legal approaches and institutions, SXM-TimesahreNews.com editor and Publisher Bruce Cameron has completed a 19 page Draft Timeshare Legislation Policy Paper for consultation. To see and comment on the draft, please download the MS Word doc by clicking here. Please turn track on and offer edits and comments and then email as an attachment back to sxmtimeshare@yahoo.ca

      • March 8, 2011 - Pelican Resort (Simpson Bay Resort and Marina)  Reopens In an agreement signed today in St. Maarten, Government, managemenet and the union agreed to several matters which will allow management to reopen the resort. The three week shutdown will end within 10 days. The standoff between the union and management appears to have ended with the Government agreeing to look favourably on tax concessions and the union agreeing to layoffs if permitted by the Government and the courts. Negotiations for a new collective agreement to settle matters permenatly are promised in the Agreement.

      • February 20, 2011 - Pelican Resort Closed Indefinitely. Following an adverse court ruling and a failure to secure a new collective agreement with its workers, Simpson Bay Resort and Marina (formerly known as Pelican), management closed the doors of the resort saying it could not operate with so many liabilities. Efforts to resolve matters are underway by Government, the union and management.

      • February, 2011 - Diamond St. Maarten Court Group Loses Battle. A group of owners at Royal Palm and Flamingo have lost a two-year old battle again maintenance fee increases put into effect in January 2009. The group filed a number of court actions to block the increases, but in the latest setback, the St. Maarten Court ruled their contracts and St. Maarten law did not protect them and based upon the facts before him, he saw the increase as a one-time matter.

      • January, 2011 - Pelcian Resort Becomes Simpson Bay Resort and Marina The new owners of the former pelican resort have rebranded it as Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. All resort Buildings - including the new Marina Residences are rebranded. Meanwhile there have been worker protests against plans to file for layoffs with the Government. The management told the workers in late January there would be a downsizing and many were sent home with pay while an application to the Government is being processed. Meanwhile the workers have also filed for court action against management.

      • December 16, 2010 - Court Orders Sale of Pelican Resort to Lenders. A court managed sale of the Pelican Resort went ahead today with only one bidder - QIT which held a 30 million debt against the Resort. The Owners Board said the sale price was too low and planned to fight the transfer from their hands to the lenders.

      • Novemmber 16, 2010 - Pelican owners Board Recommends no Fee Increase for 2011. In a release to owners the Board is recommending the annual meeting ratify a no fee increase for 2011. However, the budget issue may be moot as the Board is also facing foreclosure action by owners of the resort's debt. An injunction has been filed to stop the foreclosure - a decision is expected on November 26, 2010. If the injunction fails, the resort could have new owners in a court auction ion December 16, 2010.

      • November 16, 2010 - Diamond Resorts raises  total maintenance fee by 6.1% for 2011. The increase is calculated on the total fees paid although only the operating portion is going up - the Capital Reserve Fee stays at the same level charged in 2010. A significant part of the 2011 budget is for recovery of previous year's cumulated losses. The Budget for 2011 is promising major furnishing upgrades in the Flamingo Villa units - including new linens, ipod clock radios etc.

      • August 30, 2010 - 5:30 PM EDT: Hurricane Earl Moves off SXM as a Major Category 4 Hurricane as of 6 pm EDT, A curfew remains in effect on the island. Local radio is reporting GEBE power went out during the storm but has already come back on in many parts of the island.

        The strom skirted to the north of the island around mid-day as predicted. However, peak winds appeared to be just below hurricanne force on the island itself. The major fear was high seas and drenching rain. Local reports of damage are trickling in - there are no reports of deaths or injuries or major damage.

      • August 30, 2010 - 11 am EDT: Hurricane Earl is now a Category 3 Hurricane  Hurricanne Earl has been upgraded to a major story - Category 3 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 MPH or 195 KMH. It is expected to strengthen further through mid-day Septmber 1, 2010. Hurricane Force winds are extending out for nearly 100 kilometers or 60 miles. As of mid-day on Monday Aigust 30, 2010 St. Maarten was reporting wind gusts of 68 MPH and these numbers have been growing all morning as the centre mobves toward the island.

        Eyewitness reports from the island report very strong winds - impossible to see Pelican from Royal Palm. The beach camera at Pelican shows high storm surges but the beach restaurant at the Pelican end of the beach still standing. Throiugh much of the morning Island 92 radio continued to broadcast, and power remained intact for much of Dutch and French parts of the island. However, Island 92 reported problems with its generator and went off the air later in the moriing. Prior to losing contact callers were reporting Divi Little beach swept away.


      • August 30, 2010 - 6 am EDT: Hurricane Earl Hits St. Maarten as a Category 2 Storm By early am Hurricane Earl is growing in strength and potential for damage. Now rated a Category 2 Storm with maximum sustained winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, Earl is posied to inflict more damage on St. Mararent than the bruising suffered under Omar less than 2 years ago. Sea surges are also expected at four feet or more above normal high tide.

        The Blogs on the island are silent with no local posters since around 9 pm local time. The last posts talked of winds picking up and heavy rains beginning. I would expect most of the island lost grid-connected power around that time. The loss of power would take the internet down leaving satellite communications only. Telephone connections through cable mayt still be in place. Princess Juliana Airport shut down at 5 pm.

        As of 6:15 am EDT August 30, 2010, Earl is directly to the east of St. Maarten moving about 15 miles per hour to the west/northwest. It is still on track to have its centre brush by St. Maarten early this afternoon - but brushing is a relative term with hurricane force winds running 50 miles from the centre - St. Maarten is definitely going to feel those winds.


         

      • December 03, 2009: Diamond Raises Maintenance Fees and Lowers Capital Reserve Fees  Diamond Resorts International is raising operarting fees substantially and cutting Capital Reserve Fees - but the net effect is an increase in total fees for both Royal Palm and Flamingo. There is no Hurricane Reserve Fee for 2010.  Diamond says the maintenance fee is rising due to utility and insurance cost increases. However, the budget also includes a provision for recovery of previous years' losses and full recovery of both a 15% management fee and all admin support costs. For more details become a Premium member. See Newsletters section of website. Premium members can access full details on fees going back to 2007.
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      • September, 2009: Pelican holds the Line for Fees in 2010 - Marine residences see $50 Capital Reserve Fee. The management at Pelican has been able to keep fees stable at the main resort for 2010. However, owners at the new Pelican Marine Residences building on Simpson Bay will see a $50 increase in fees to start building up a Capital reserve Fund for future major projects.
      • December 05, 2008: Diamond Raises Maintenance, Capital Reserve and Hurricane Deductible Fees  Diamond Resorts International is raising fees across the Board. The Capital Reserve fees are up to cover the refurbishment costs and replenish the reserve to prepare for the next round. The Hurricane Deductible Reserve has been largely depleted by Omar and must be replenished - as the replacement cost of the resorts have gone up - the amount required to cover the deductible has also gone up and so the cost of providing a fully backed reserve has also gone up. The maintenance fee is rising due to utility and insurance cost increases and very large increases in administration, management and admin support costs. For more details become a Premium member. See Newsletters section of website.

      • November 20, 2008: Update on Omar Damage at Flamingo  Diamond VP for Homeowners, Marilyn Windsor reports that a unspecified number of ground floor Flamingo units may be out of service until after Christmas. This is in addition to the Point units which have been totally destroyed. In an e-mail to SXM-TimeshareNews.com, Windsor says "I have an update about the partially damaged units:  Steve (Hicks - VP OPerations)  is finding that much of the furniture will not arrive as soon as we hoped and we may not have those units available until shortly after the first of the year.  He may have some firm dates later this month and we will keep you posted. "

 

      • CleanupCrew.jpg
      • Meanwhile I have also received a picture from Diamond showing the volunteer "Cleanup Crew". The work of the owners and staff on the day after Omar allowed Toppers to reopen that day and start serving food immediately.








      • November 1, 2008: Diamond Resorts Reports on Flamingo and Royal Palm Damage from Omar. In an Interview with Sxm-TimeshareNews.com, Diamond VP reports no units at Royal Palm were affected to any significant degree and all are open. At Flamingo 3 units at the point are under total renovation and may not be open until February/March. Three other units on the beachside near the point are being repaired and could be back within weeks. The pools at both resorts are back in service. The restaurant at Flamingo is fully operational, food and beverage service at Royal Palm is limited due to the total destruction of the restaurant at that resort. The beach at Flamingo is in fairly good shape with walls and rocks in need of repair. At Royal Palm the beach suffered more extensive damage and will require artificial reconstruction after the rock barriers are repaired to ensure the new sand stays on the beach. Meanwhile general cleanup and monitoring of critical systems (water, airco's etc.) continues. Diamond promises to keep SXM-TimeshareNews informed as repairs continue.
      • October 19, 2008: Hurricane Omar Damages Flamingo and Royal Palm Initial reports say Category 3 Hurricane Omar, which passed within 50 miles of St. Maarten and scattered tornados off to its side, did significant damage to the seaward side of Flamingo - Royal Palm's main damage was to the restaurant. Particularly hard hit are the Flamingo units on the ground floor at the point. No word yet on extent of structural damage - but beach cleanup was underway hours after the hurricane passed. Click here to see pictures of Flamingo the day after the hurricane.
      • October 16, 2008: Jet Blue to Start Boston to St. Maarten February 14, 2009 Jet Blue has expanded from its New York (JFK) base into St. Maarten and will start Saturday service out of Boston (Logan) this winter. Full details in the News Release page in the owners section.
      • September 18, 2008: Financial Results Show Flamingo Breaking Even in 2007, while Royal Palm Suffers a Loss. Diamond Resorts International financial reports for both resorts are in. The full details are in the Owners section of the website. In summary, both resorts have deficits in Capital Reserves although Flamingo could be back in the black by end of 2008 while Royal Palm will need 5 years or more at current fee levels. On the operating side, Flamingo essentially broke even while Royal Palm suffered a significznt loss due to rising electricity costs.
      • May 18, 2008: Flamingo Resort Manager leaves for Pelican. Flamingo Resort Manager, Jules James, is leaving Diamond International after 12 years at the resort. James told SXM-TimeshareNews that his decision to work at Pelican after more than a decade with Flamingo, thoufgh not an easy one, is a career move. James was seen by many fixed week owners to be sympathetic to their needs and the next resort manager may be more focused on Diamond's priority - the needs of the Club members. 
      • Dec. 31, 2007: Renovations Complete with a Handful of Deficencies. The $18 million renovation program at Royal Palm and Flamingo is substantially complete. However, Managers at both resorts report a handful of deficiencies in the final units renovated. Some of the original granite for Flamingo broke and the replacement stone didn't arrive in time for installation before the heavy winter season so some pieces are missing in the ground floor units from the beach out to the point. At Royal Palm a number of minor deficencies such as new curtains and some pieces of new furniture are on back order in the ground floor units out toward the point by the boat dock. All major deficencies are expected to be  fixed when the units become avilable for work in April/May with minor fixes done when material arrive.
      • Nov. 10, 2007: Diamond/Sunterra Raises Fees 17-22%. The owners/developers/managers of FlamingoBeach Resort and Royal Palm Beach Resort have put into effect a very significant fee increase for 2008. All units at both resorts will see Capital Reserve fees rise by $50 to cover cost over-runs on the unit upgrades and to replenish the reserves. The fee was raised by a similar amount in 2007. Operating costs are also higher - the exact amount varies by unit size. Management in Las Vegas attributes the operating increase to a restoration of full management fee recoveris and an upgrade in linens and attention to smaller scale maintenance repairs. The full fee schedule is avilable in the owners section by clicking here.
      • Oct. 11, 2007: JetBlue Set to Serve SXM. JetBlue Airlines,a low-cost US-based airline is set to begin operations from JFK on January 17th, 2008 seven days a week. The airline has rapidly expanded operations over the past few years and had a few stumbles including a meltdown when weather delays in JFK caused massive cancellations throughout their systems. However, the arrival of the carrier has been much anticipated and the increased competition is expected to drag prices down - especially on flights from the northeast.

      • Mar. 22, 2007: Fires leaves 87 Homeless, Including 2 at Royal Palm and Flamingo Donations are being sought to help 2 workers who have lost all in the Cay Bay Fire on March 13, 2007. Onia Alonso works at Flamingo in housekeeping , while Natael Lagrace is a gardner at Royal Palm. Donations may be made in the form of a cheque made out to either individual and sent to them care of Sunterra Human Resources, Flamingo Beach Resort, 6 Billy Folly Road, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten, NA


        Mar. 12, 2007: Diamond Resorts to Takeover Sunterra Corporation A LasVegas-based private corporation owned by developer Steven Cluebeck has received support from the Sunterra Baord of Directors in its bid to takeover the company that owns the Royal palm and Flamingo Resorts in St. Maarten. Diamond resorts says the takeover will not affect the management structure of Sunterra. Clebeck's companies are involved in a number of US property developments in Hawaii and Nevada - including the Las Vegas Polo Towers and a new joint developemtn with Marriot. The Sunterra News release on the subject is available from the news archives.
        Mar. 04, 2007: Petition for Timeshare Regulation in St. Maarten A campaign to convince the Government of St. Maarten to improve the regulation of timeshare sales and operations is now underway. A peition for owners at Flamingo and Royal Palm has been established. You can sign the petition directly by going to the owners' section of this website, or more at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/725610688

        Feb. 22, 2007: Royal Palm and Flamingo Regain Royal Crown The RCI website shows that both resorts have now regained their Gold Crown status within RCI. The two resorts lost the elite status before renovations and attention to service details. The higher scores represent more satisfaction about accomodations, amentities and services by those who have visited on exchange. A total of 9 resorts in St. Maarten have Gold Crown status, including Royal Palm and Flamingo.

        Jan. 22, 2007: Spirit Airlines to Fly Friday, Saturday and Sunday The low cost US-based airline has announced that it will begin 3x a week service between Fort lauderdale and St. Maarten beginning April 20, 2007. Flights leave Fort Lauderdale at 11:00 am arriving 1:50 pm and depart SXM at 2:40 pm arriving Ft. Lauderdale at 5:55 pm. Initial flights out of south Florida are in the $350 USD return range. Connections to other Spirit hubs are higher. see Sprit website for details.

        Jan. 12 2007: LIAT and Caribbean Star Combine Schedule The two airlines are reporting progress on their planned merger and accounced that the commercial agreement between Caribbean Star and LIAT 1974 Ltd involving a new combined schedule will enter into force from 1st February 2007 – leading to enhanced service and connectivity for the region. Additionally, this commercial alliance is expected to facilitate travel during Cricket World Cup 2007. The parties have also agreed on next steps, process and time frame for the creation of a new company to be called “LIAT, The Star of the Caribbean” as well as a financial package for liquidating LIAT liabilities.
        Jan. 09, 2007: Caribbean Sun Airlines to Shutdown   Caribbean Sun airlines out of San Juan is shutting down in two phases. The airline served as a US-based airline and connector for other airlines into the norther Caribbean. Competition is cited as the reason for the termination of service at the end of this month. A sister airline - Caribbean Star airlines will continue service. Phase one consists of the termination of all Caribbean Sun flights between San Juan and Santo Domingo as of January 16, 2007. Phase two consists of the termination of all remaining Caribbean Sun flight operations and the closure of the airline’s operational hub at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Caribbean Sun’s final day of flight operations is January 31, 2007.

        Dec. 19, 2006:  Spirit Airlines to Serve SXM in 2007  Sprit Airlines out of Fort Lauderdale has announced it has applied for permission to fly twice a week between Florida and St. Maarten on direct flights using an Airbus 319. Flights on this "low fare" carrier are scheduled to begin on April 21, 2007. see Spirit Press Release for more details. Update January 22, 2007 - Spirit is now taking reservations. NY Laguardia to SXM about $650, Ft. Lauderdale about $350 round trip.

        Nov. 10, 2006:  Capital Reserve Fee to Rise by $50 for 2007   Sunterra management has told SXM-TimeshareNews.com that the Capital Reserve Fee will rise by $50 when the 2007 bills go out to owners in the fall of 2006. The Opertaing Fee will remain the same. The Owners section of the website has the details of the total fees. The reason for the increase in Reserve Fees is to cover the increased cost to the unit renovations at Flamingo and Royal Palm, plus rebuild a prudent reserve level.

        Oct. 31, 2006: Room Renovation Program to Finish in Fall 2007   Sunterra management has told SXM-TimeshareNews.com that the renovation program to the units at Royal Palm and Flamingo is approximately 1 year behind schedule. The delay mainly due to the additional work required once the tiles were otnoff the walls and hidden damage came to light. The Owners section of the website has the details on when the renovation program is now expected to be copmpletd.