In St. Maarten Hotel Guests Became Refugees and Prepared to Survive – And Fight

On Sunday I wrote about the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean with looting common on St. Maarten for instance tourists “hiding in their hotel bathtubs fearing for their lives” as “a gang of men with “long swords” who reportedly showed up at a hotel.”

Here’s another incredible story from St. Maarten where a hotel’s management told people staying on property that they were no longer guests they were refugees everyone had to work and band together.

  • Guests used their room keys to identify each other and separate themselves from looters, “[p]eople with machetes, people with long sticks, pipes”

  • With worries that they would be stuck indefinitely they set up for the long haul.

    Under leadership of the resort’s entertainment director, they organized into recovery teams; clearing debris, rationing food, and caring for young children with no chance of rescue in sight.

    “We potentially had a helicopter secured, and it was attacked by armed locals with guns, and they couldn’t land,” Lauren said.

    …One doctor and a couple of medical students set up an infirmary — people were becoming dehydrated, and anyone with diabetes was running out of insulin. Food was available, but management locked up the alcohol to make sure no one got drunk and started fighting.

  • The hotel secured a plane that they thought would ferry 99 people off the island. Everyone prepared to leave but it turned out the plane had seats for only 80. Women and children first, then men in order of descending age got the seats.

The hurricane was bad enough. The stories of the people — from the looters, to those banding together to survive — will soon become a movie of the week.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is what happens when law abiding citizens are denied legal firearm ownership and the right to protect themselves and their property. I guarantee you that in a time of natural disaster, my property and family would be protected against any knife or machete yielding thug – and if confronted they would be met with deadly force.

  2. @ alan
    Of course, in time of natural disaster thugs will not come with knives or machetes, but with more firepower that you could ever afford. So, climb back under the rock.

  3. Miro, you sound like one of those thugs, and how do you know how much firepower I can afford? I guarantee you my family and I will not be climbing under any rocks. My wife is a very good shot, my son’s a marine. We will not be cowering in our bathtub!

  4. @miro
    That’s a stupid comment because even if thugs came with “more firepower than” Alan “could afford” how in the world is it better for Alan to be completely unarmed? At least if Alan is going down, he will go down fighting and will take a good bunch of them down with him. What’s more likely is this so called well armed group of thugs will catch one of Alan’s bullets whizzing past their heads and decide instead to go bully someone who isn’t going to light them the F up.

  5. United diverted my flight to St Maarten where I was dragged off the flight by armed thugs, who refused to reaccomodate me. Fortunately, I had an M-50 in my checked bag that David had given to me.

  6. Lol. Stupid alan and rob. You just use disasters to justify weapon ownership. Lol

    A good government can easily prevent injury to its citizen in times of disasters. By good preparation. You got weather forecast, you can predict hurricanes. Evacuate people, create shelter, roll out the army to maintain order and deter criminals.

    But, why would govt spend so much time and money on the said effort, while its citizen would gladly kill each other in the name of freedom of carrying gun?

  7. Well James that’s fine and dandy but what happens during the years a “good government” is not so good? Or can you show me a government that has been a “good government” and never became a bad government at times?

  8. Good reason (1) not to book travel to islands in the hurricane belt during hurricane season (2) evacuate when storms are approaching (3) stay at Marriott because they will send a boat for you.

  9. @ James
    Right, we are the stupid ones. When you find an actual country in existence that does what you say a “good government” would do, you let Alan and I know. It is our right to be armed if we choose to be, and we choose to be. We don’t need to use disasters to justify it, because we don’t need to justify it. If you choose to believe in mother government nestling you in their bosom in times of need, you go right ahead. Might as well pass on the flood insurance too, I’m sure FEMA will set you up in a very comfortable used trailer.

  10. During the hurricane season, stay at one of the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao.) Islands. They rarely/never have those problems, I’ve heard.

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