Mary Pomeroy- the original owner of the lovely Mary’s Boon Beach Resort and Spa- was quite the character.
She disappeared without a trace in 1990 at the age of 77 while flying her own small plane. And though an exhaustive search was undertaken, neither wreckage nor body were ever recovered. And much of Mary’s past is as shrouded in mystery as her disappearance was. Well known for her eccentricities, strong opinions, and propensity to guard her properties with a shotgun, it was rumored she might have been involved in gun running, been a spy for the British in Italy during the World War II, and delivered planes from Antigua to Africa for the US. And Mary was very independent for a woman of those times. She despised sailing, so she got a pilot’s license so she could hop around the world at will.
Born in Malta, with lineage that leads all the way back to William the Conqueror, Mary was always a rebel. She left her arranged Malta marriage on a whim, and went to study interior decorating in England. It was there that she suffered a bad accident- steel girders fell off a truck and sliced through her car- and with the large financial settlement received in compensation, Mary headed to the Caribbean with a Mr. Pomeroy- a Naval Officer she had met, to start anew.They never married, but presented themselves as such, and they bought a historic plantation in Nevis. Unable to make a living by selling coconuts and raising livestock, Mary decided to turn it into a guesthouse hoping to attract the rich and famous of Europe. (It is still a famous resort today called Nisbet Plantation.)
From the outset, it was obvious that Mary always liked things done her way. And soon she was not appreciating the way her “husband” was attempting to run the resort, so she kicked him off the island! Ironically, she herself was eventually kicked off the island for her strong opinions and criticisms about how the Nevis government was running things. After that, her friend and fellow pilot Jeffery Boone secured a property for her in St. Maarten that she named “Mary’s Boon” (“boon” also means gift or something of value.) And she ran it HER way. No-frills, just good food, good drinks and good company on a stellar stretch of white sand along with five of her original staff from Nevis. The original staff was nicknamed “The Fab Five”, and three of them are still working there and love to tell “Mary stories” whenever requested to do so.
Today, the new owners of Mary’s Boon have kept the tradition intact – offering a warm, welcoming and intimate spot where guests become friends, and locals often stop in for a drink to enjoy sunsets along the gorgeous stretch of beach. They have however upgraded the property to meet the 21st century with modern amenities and fully refreshed rooms. And the new seaside dining spot The Tides also offers improved culinary offerings and a new spa offers increased on-site luxuries.
In continuous use for the last four decades, Mary’s Boon continues to be one of the island’s most storied landmarks thanks to its most interesting original owner. And it’s rumored that once in awhile the ghost of Mary herself drops in to ensure everything is still being run... just the way she liked it.
Photo courtesy of Mary’s Boon Beach Resort & Spa