Detailed Updates on Simpson Bay Timeshare (Pelican Resort Club) Closing Part II

This is the second in a two-part series, looking at the St. Maarten timeshare, formerly called Pelican Resort Club and now known as Simpson Bay Timeshare. If you have not read Part I of this series, you will want to, as it includes some very relevant background information on the situation at this timeshare resort.

Following labor disputes that resulted from management changes as Pelican Resort Club timeshare changed to become Simpson Bay Resort, the resort has been closed. Timeshare owners who arrived this past weekend were assisted in finding other nearby accommodations, at their own expense. Effective February 19, Simpson Bay Resort (the timeshare portion) officially stopped permitting timeshare owner or timeshare guest occupancy claiming “unspecified issues” that needed resolution.

The local tourism and timeshare community rallied to help timeshare owners whose vacations and holidays were about to be disrupted by lack of access to their resort. Many hotels and resorts offered special discounted rates to anyone who was relocating from the Simpson Bay Resort or who arrived in St. Maarten expecting to vacation at the timeshare.

On Sunday February 20, 2011, the website for the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) posted the following:

“Just came from a visit to the resort. All timeshare owners and guests have now checked out. The staff who are still on property, reported that all went smoothly, if not a bit sadly, and that everyone has been successfully placed in alternate accommodations. Our government has both the resort and the union in mediation this weekend and talks are proceeding in an effort to reach an agreement to get the resort re-opened.”

Previously, on February 19, the same website had published this:

“Not exactly good news but… About 12 check-ins of the original 350 that were originally expected at the Simpson Bay resort today showed up on the property not having heard of the closure. All were assisted in finding other accommodations and things went smoothly all considered. This means our Island was successful in coming together to make sure all Pelican people were taken care of that still travelled to St. Maarten.”

What the Timeshare Owners Knew Up Front

Over the years, owners at the former Pelican Resort Club, now Simpson Bay Resort timeshare, have reportedly received communications from the resort that might not have prepared them for the situation, with some communications upbeat and others more negative in tone. Back in the 1990’s, the Pelican Resort Club suffered damage from multiple hurricanes, enough damage that the resort reportedly levied a $2000 special assessment (above annual maintenance fees) on its owners.

And this is the second time over the years that Pelican Resort Club has shut down operations because of financial troubles. According to the resort, “These troubles stem from a major flaw that has plagued the resort for well over a decade – high operational expenses, low employee productivity and inadequate revenue to sustain it. It should be further noted that employment salaries and benefits constitute a disproportionate expense of approximately 50 percent of the resort’s operational fees.”

But it is important to remember that while ownership at this resort may have included a few twists and turns, over the years, thousands of families have enjoyed memorable vacations there.

Where Things Stand Now for Pelican Resort Club Timeshare Owners

On February 15, 2011, both the Simpson Bay Resort and the Pelican Resort Club posted lengthy letters to their member-owners on their websites. and are both functional.

The letter attempts to explain how and why events at Simpson Bay Resort have gotten to this point. Here are some of the most important takeaways from this letter, based on the timeshare resort management’s own answers:

  1. Why is the resort closing now? “…issues that are critical to the long-term viability of the operation of the resort.”
  2. When will the resort reopen? “… as fast as prudent and economically viable…The long-term protection of the resort – and the timeshare usage rights – is being prioritized over short-term fixes that will ultimately come at a very high price…”
  3. What happens to my rights as a timeshare owner? “… Your timeshare usage rights are protected and are not at risk. The new owner has conveyed their recognition of your right to your villa and interval. You remain in good standing by simply paying the Annual Maintenance Fee.”
  4. What if the resort is closed during my usage interval? “If you are unable to use your timeshare interval due to the resort being closed and have paid your Annual Maintenance Fee, you will receive an Occupancy Adjustment allowing you to use an alternate interval in a comparable unit without any added cost.”
  5. When can I schedule my Occupancy Adjustment? “… after the resort reopens…”

Additionally, the letter states that the resort is not responsible for any losses, such as airline tickets already purchased or activities already booked.

While the resort is not working to help its owners find alternative accommodations, the St. Maarten Timeshare Association, mentioned earlier in this blog post, is. These accommodations, although they may be discounted by the resort itself, must be paid for by the person booking them; the Simpson Bay Resort is not covering these costs. Timeshare renters who rented timeshare directly from the resort, seem to be in good shape. The resort’s open letter explains, “If you rented from the resort’s reservation center you are entitled to receive a full refund. At your sole discretion, you may also inquire about alternate vacation destinations and alternate dates. The rental center may be contacted toll-free from the USA and Canada at 888-721-4407 and elsewhere at 954-736-5807. If you rented from any other party you should contact them directly to discuss the matter.”

Timeshare owners also should note that if they book accommodations at another resort, and Simpson Bay Resort reopens in time for the owner’s planned holiday in St. Maarten, the resort booked as “back up” may charge a cancellation fee. Cancellation fees are determined on a resort-by-resort basis and each traveler should check this out for himself, with the backup resort where he books. Owners should also remember that if they are financing their timeshare, the current lack of access does not relieve them from their legal obligation to pay their monthly mortgage payment.

Following Up on the Timeshare Problems at Simpson Bay Resort Timeshare

In a move that should prove reassuring for timeshare owners at the Simpson Bay Resort, St. Maarten’s Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has announced that a public-private sector plan of approach has been formulated during a Monday meeting at the Government Administration Building. (Read more here: Travel Daily News) The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) have commended the Prime Minister for calling together a “crisis team” to assess and mitigate the impending closure of the resort.

And as we always promise you, as more information becomes available, look for it here, on The Timeshare Authority blog.