World Trump's Caribbean villa one of few to survive Irma

05:36  12 september  2017
05:36  12 september  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

Hurricane Irma is heading straight for Trump's Caribbean mansion

  Hurricane Irma is heading straight for Trump's Caribbean mansion President Donald Trump doesn't just have to worry about safeguarding the nation ahead of Hurricane Irma. Trump owns a multi-million dollar mansion on the Caribbean island of St. Martin -- and Category 5 Irma is heading straight for it. A hurricane warning is in effect for St. Martin -- a French dependency about 230 miles east of Puerto Rico -- and other nearby islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds could arrive within the next 24 to 36 hours. Trump owns the 11-bedroom gated mansion through a trust set up to avoid conflict of interests during his presidency. The trust has been trying to offload the beachfront property for months.

Billionaire party enthusiast Richard Branson owns a private isle in the Virgin Islands and it sits squarely in the path of Hurricane Irma . He' s decided to ride out the storm in his Necker Island wine cellar. USA TODAY.

Whichever you choose, our Villa Specialists will help you find the luxury villa you need. Many Caribbean villa rentals include a staff of private chef, butler and maid to take care of your every need while you take work on your tan.

President Trump's $17 million Chateau des Palmiers on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin survived Hurricane Irma.© Jack Fleishman President Trump's $17 million Chateau des Palmiers on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin survived Hurricane Irma.

President Trump's $17 million "chateau" on the Caribbean island of St. Martin survived Hurricane Irma nearly unscathed, unlike the rest of the French/Dutch island — and in contrast to the fate suffered by other celebrities' properties in the path of the monster storm still raging in Florida.

Trump's Chateau des Palmiers, located on Plum Bay beach in a posh neighborhood of vacation villas on the French side of St. Martin, is still standing with hardly a single roof tile lost (although the landscaping is a mess), according to pictures sent to USA TODAY by Jack Fleishman, a Californian who co-owns the heavily damaged Villa Mille Fleurs just above Trump's place.

Hurricane Irma is heading straight for Trump's Caribbean mansion

  Hurricane Irma is heading straight for Trump's Caribbean mansion President Donald Trump doesn't just have to worry about safeguarding the nation ahead of Hurricane Irma. Trump owns a multi-million dollar mansion on the Caribbean island of St. Martin -- and Category 5 Irma is heading straight for it. A hurricane warning is in effect for St. Martin -- a French dependency about 230 miles east of Puerto Rico -- and other nearby islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds could arrive within the next 24 to 36 hours. Trump owns the 11-bedroom gated mansion through a trust set up to avoid conflict of interests during his presidency. The trust has been trying to offload the beachfront property for months.

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The rest of St. Martin was 95% destroyed after Irma hit the island on Sept. 6.

Million-dollar villas and hotels, middle-class homes and the ramshackle abodes of the poor and working-class residents suffered similar fates across the Caribbean from the power of a Category 5 storm: All were reduced to little more than kindling. At least nine people died on the French side.

How Trump's sprawling beachside 11-bedroom estate, for sale at a reduced price of $16.9 million, managed to avoid damage when so many other estates nearby were seriously or catastrophically ruined, is still a puzzle, Fleishman told USA TODAY.

USA TODAY has reached out to the Trump Organization for comment.

Meanwhile, the fate of Trump's other major property in the path of Irma, his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort-turned-winter White House, remains up in the air.

Powerful Hurricane Irma hits first Caribbean islands

  Powerful Hurricane Irma hits first Caribbean islands <p>The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history has made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean.</p>The National Weather Service said the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m. Residents said over local radio that phone lines went down as the eye passed.

President Donald Trump (left), Hurricane Irma (right) (Photo credit: Shawn Thew/Pool via Bloomberg, Screengrab/Weather Channel). As Irma threatens to destroy every Caribbean island in its way as it heads towards Florida

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But the expectation is that it, too, will suffer little damage, having survived multiple hurricanes in the 90 years since it was built on an island between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida's Intercoastal Waterway. Besides that, Irma veered more to the west as it moved up the Florida peninsula.

The same can't be said about the Caribbean properties of other celebrities affected by Irma, though the status of some remains unknown.

So far, there's no word on any damage to luxury homes owned by Gloria Estefan and Sean "Diddy" Combs on the star-studded Star Island, a man-made retreat off Miami Beach. Nor is it known how Johnny Depp's private Little Hall's Pond Cay or Eddie Murphy's private Rooster Cay in the Bahamas fared. Or Oprah Winfrey's Caribbean getaway mansions on Antigua and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

But some other celebrity owners of Caribbean islands and properties have gone public with their losses.

Cost of Irma to Barbuda seen at $150 million - prime minister

  Cost of Irma to Barbuda seen at $150 million - prime minister The "absolute devastation" wrought by Hurricane Irma to the Caribbean island of Barbuda has caused estimated damages of some $150 million, Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said on Wednesday. "This rebuilding initiative will take years," Browne told local television after a visit to the island, where he confirmed at least one person had died due to the storm.

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Go to the royalcaribbean.com homepage.

British billionaire Richard Branson of the Virgin empire posted pictures online of his private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which was almost totally destroyed by the hurricane while he and his staff rode out the storm in a concrete wine cellar.

"We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean," he wrote. "But we are very fortunate to have a strong cellar built into Necker’s Great House and were very lucky all of our teams who stayed on Island during the storm are safe and well."

Now he's raising money for a disaster recovery plan for the BVIs.

Tiny Barbuda, one-half of the dual state of Antigua and Barbuda, was flattened by Irma. Most of the island's residents are homeless.

Robert De Niro, a co-owner of the Paradise Found Nobu resort under development on Barbuda, issued a statement to the New York Daily News saying he was "beyond saddened" by the Barbuda devastation and vowed to "rebuild what nature has taken away from us.”

Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing journalist/provocateur whose speeches roil campuses and whose remarks seeming to condone sex between men and boys forced him to resign from Breitbart, posted on his Facebook page Sunday that his house in the West Brickell area of Miami is "gone."

This post came after Yiannopoulos joked last week on Facebook about "positive Irma news" in describing how Branson’s Necker Island had been devastated. A representative for Yiannopoulos hasn't responded to USA TODAY's request for comment about his Miami house.

But good news: The historic Hemingway House museum on Key West survived with little damage, according to general manager Jacque Sands, who spoke to The Orlando Sentinel.

The personnel are safe, as are all 54 of Hemingway’s famous six-toed cats.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Americans rescued from crippled St. Martin .
<p>New satellite images show the Caribbean before and after Hurricane Irma hit.</p>New satellite images show the Caribbean before and after Hurricane Irma hit. The Turks and Caicos Islands are normally a lush, green tourist destination, but thepowerful storm stripped its vegetation and destroyed homes. Eighty percent of the buildings were extensively damaged on St. John, the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. People there had to walk miles for water and ready-to-eat meals.

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