PHILIPSBURG– St. Maarten has been named the number four destination that the rich like to trip to in the Caribbean in a recent article published online on Bloomberg.com.
The photo essay says of St. Maarten: “Food is also a draw to this bifurcated slice of paradise … (Mind-bogglingly beautiful beaches and green-hilled vistas certainly help, too.) There’s also the unique, curiosity-inspiring geographical setup. In a rare example of two countries behaving like adults, the borderless French and Dutch division of the island allows for two unique experiences in one sunny package.
The piece is accompanied by a photo of Survivors Troupe in the Junior Carnival Parade.
After Europe, the Caribbean is the second-most popular getaway for the wealthiest one per cent and five percent of travellers. Some 47 percent are considering a vacation there in the next one to two years, according to a report released by Resonance Consultancy.
But with luxury villas and resorts popping up like pieces on a Monopoly board, spread out amongst 7,000-some idyllic islands, the survey set out to identity which countries and destinations are the most sought-after for a little off-the-desk time.
To find out, the firm surveyed 1,664 travellers, with the top one percent defined as those with annual income above US $400,000 or a net worth above US $8 million. The five per cent were classified as earning at least US $200,000 per year or having US $2 million or more.
Destinations not appearing on this list (e.g. Cuba, and Curaçao) received three per cent or less of the response. They still may be desirable to the wealthy (e.g. Mustique), they’re just not being visited as much yet.
Topping the list was the Bahamas, followed by the US Virgin Islands and St. Maarten’s neighbour Anguilla. Of Anguilla, the essay says: “Tiny, boho-chic Anguilla has the best dining in the Caribbean, with more than100 multi-starred restaurants. But what really puts it up the list: privacy. Tourism here doesn’t happen in hordes or on cruise ships with paparazzi documenting the scene.”
“Anguilla is not for those seeking validation,” said Cardigan Connor, a parliamentary secretary for tourism, “Our low-key, understated vibe is what attracts our celebrity clientele.” (Indeed, among just the one per cent, the country ranks number two.) To add to the bliss: the only Turkish hammam in the Caribbean opened recently at the new Zemi Beach House.
Following St. Maarten at number five was Cayman Islands. Sister Dutch Caribbean island Aruba took the number six spot with Turks and Caicos, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Bermuda rounding off the top 10 on the list.
About Aruba, the essay states: “Aruba got a little hokey in the 1980s and ’90s after massive tourism developments and a certain Beach Boys song introduced this small tropical paradise to the hoi polloi, so much so, that in 2007, the government moved to slow the growth.”
Further, “This past June, the island announced progress on its US $1 billion ‘revitalization and beautification’ investment program, including hotel and airport upgrades to recapture its exclusive feel.”)
At number 11 is St. Barths. The essay says of St. Barths that despite the re-opening of Hotel Le Toiny and the new, immaculately sexy Le Cheval Blanc, St. Barths is a bit down on this super rich list, a surprise to Kimberly Wilson-Wetty, co-president/owner of Valerie Wilson Travel, a New York-based agency specializing in high-net-worth clientele, who was interviewed for the list.
“It’s like France in the Caribbean. It’s got bars, great restaurants, and nightlife,” she said. “St. Barths is used as a benchmark of what many other islands wish they had.”
The essay adds: “Maybe it’s just gotten too glamorous for its own good: New Year’s 2016 saw Roman Abramovich and Larry Gagosian’s Leonardo DiCaprio-hosted bash at La Plage pitting the Black Keys against Diddy and his S.S. Oasis yacht party with guests like Rihanna, Russel Simmons, and Rick Rubin.”
The Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Barbados close of the list.