An idea to save Maho Bay Camps

The calendar is ticking on what could be the last year of operation for Stanley Selengut's Maho Bay Camps. His lease runs out this year.

Every day, many times a day, Maho Bay staffers are asked by guests, "What's to become of the place.  Is there a way to save it."  On Facebook, there are groups (here and here) trying to gin up support for a bid to buy the land or get a non-profit to pony up. 

Meanwhile, back at the camp, the Maho Bay blog says a 13-year-old guest, named Theo, had a suggestion for Selengut.  Alerting the Westin's owners to the possibility there could be another resort built, where Maho Bay is now, might persuade the big chain to step up and take one for the island, and acquire the campgrounds just for insurance.

"Maho Bay Camps poses no threat to the Westin because those who stay at the Westin would never think of staying at Maho, while those who choose to stay at Maho would never think of staying at the Westin.

"Not only that, but helping to save an eco-friendly campground couldn't be bad for the Westin's reputation either. If you  could convince them that if they help out that there is something in it for them, they might just give the effort to save Maho a little extra push."

18 thoughts on “An idea to save Maho Bay Camps”

  1. Why not get Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO & sometime visitor via his yacht) to buy it & deed to Stanley? It’s a drop in the bucket for him (his stock holdings are worth more than $33 billion).

  2. You can ‘buy’ stars, right? So your potential management company divvies up the land and offers square-inch plots to the general public at say $10 each to raise enough for the purchase (maybe throwing in timeshare on bigger holdings as more incentive). Then anyone could say they own a piece of the rock!

  3. Be careful what you wish for, if a corporation like Starwood Hotels & Resorts(Westin) gets Maho it will only be a matter of time before it’s developed into a resort, albeit an exclusive one. I do hope Maho Bay Camps can be saved, it’s such a unique location and concept, it has given so many who stayed there an introduction to the importance of saving our environment. If I can just win the power-ball lottery it would be the first thing I do;-)
    I’m not sure there’s a modern day Laurance Rockefeller who could help, even he seems to have been quite unique in the world of philanthropic Billionaires.

  4. Genius idea Theo! But I am afraid that they would overdevelop the land. But you are right it would be to their benefit to keep Maho a campground and not a hotel or resort.

  5. Someone with compassion for the outdoors would have to pony up…Not many w/money have that. Conserve, Recycle, etc…I’m not saying they don’t…not many…
    Jim has a good idea and it is such a unique place, however, with the suggestion of Starwood, is like any large corporation…Do I need to say more? I know I’d help if could!

  6. It will be very difficult to develop Maho into a large resort. During the busy dry season they have difficulty getting enough water to cover their current needs that include community bathrooms and cold showers. And over the years they have struggled mightily with their sewage plant and where to put the effluent. A large resort will either go dry or have no place to discharge effluent, and a desal plant and/or discharge into the NPS-controlled bay will never happen. My guess is that if it ever sells it will become Peter Bay East.

  7. I was unaware of the water and sewage issues.
    I wonder what the annual break even lease price would be in order to convince the owners that it would be profitable for them not to sell and keep things otherwise unchanged. Would the daily rental have to double? triple?
    I also wonder how the current operations organization is interested in continuing as-is.

  8. A few years ago management told me that every hotel chain looked at the property and they ALL passed. A total nightmare to develop.
    Maho Bay camps owns Concordia and the land, so they are pushing that. Unfortunately it is no Maho. Apologies if it is a rant, but Concordia’s marketing skips the downside of staying there.
    Concordia does not front a beach. Its a 15 minute walk to Salt Pond bay (the nearest swimming). It is on the dry side of the island, so it is significantly hotter and not tropical jungle like Maho. It has some restaurant services but they are closed 2 days a week. It does not have entertainment (at least when I visited) nor any social areas that were used. Great if you are into quiet mediation and reading, a little morgue-like if you are used to Maho Bay camps. And you need a car, unless you take the Vi tran.

  9. Yes, there are many Rockefellers out there now…more than ever! Problem is that eventhough they have more than enough money than they could ever spend in their lifetime, they are too obsessed with their $$$ making more of it. Who needs to step up is someone who is willing to consider Maho as an educational tool (Carnegie libraries, remember?), first and foremost, and set it up as a foundation funded by those who stay there, and scholarships/internships extended to those whose lives are committed to environmental issues which include habitat, WATER, sustainability and climate.
    C’mon New-Money philanthropists, open your minds, hearts and vaults…PLEASE! When it comes right down to it, haven’t most of the ‘paying public’ invested in your wealth?

  10. Hear yeh, hear yea, Unfortunately Bill Gates, Apple and the rest of the tech billionaires have no interest other than expanding their consumer markets into Africa and the rest of the third world and adding profits by using the third world.
    Look to your local wealthy crowd for someone to step up and establish a new non profit in their honor with funds from their trust or estate.

  11. People like Kenny Cheney, Brad&Angelina,jimmy Buffet the list goes on. Spent a lot of time on this and it’s big business as usual. Hopefully the new owner has a brain and maybe renovates and reopenes. That is a smart business mind.

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