Hurricane Irma Update: Island-by-Island Hotel Damage Assessments

Hurricane Irma
This photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in St. Maarten. // Photo by Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry via AP, Newscred

Since Hurricane Irma began wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on Wednesday, many hotels have been reporting everything from zero damage to minimal damage to serious destruction resulting in closures through the end of the year.

To keep you up to date, Travel Agent breaks down the hotel reports we have seen so far island by island. For an updated version of this story, click here

Anguilla

Although the island is still assessing the damage to its hotels, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla announced on its Facebook page that the resort is currently under annual closure and no guests are on site. 

“Our excellent team of employees have secured the property, doing everything conceivable to prepare for this storm,” according to the statement. 

According to a statement issued by the Anguilla Tourist Board, "From all preliminary reports it appears that the major resorts are relatively intact, although many private residences sustained some damage."

Belmond Cap Juluca, which was closed for the season, announced on its Facebook page, “While cleanup has begun on property, we're keeping a close eye and preparing for Hurricane Jose this weekend.”

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, which was also closed for the season, said on its Facebook page, “We are closely monitoring the situation and have senior management on property. We will assess and advise once the storm passes.”

Antigua

Sandals Resorts International announced that guests and team members at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, located in St. John’s, Antigua, are safe and well. While Hurricane Irma passed over Antigua as a Category 5 storm, Sandals Resorts reports that guests remain on site and are comfortable.

“The Sandals team is now focused on assisting guests with their safe passage home,” according to a Sandals spokesperson. “Initial review suggests that the resort sustained superficial damage, but a complete assessment will take place as soon as possible.”

Due to the impact of Irma and the close proximity to the already announced closure set to begin on September 22 for resort maintenance, Sandals Grande Antigua will remain closed in the interim and will reopen on the previously scheduled date of December 20.

According to a statement released by Curtain Bluff, the hotel sustained no damage and is still scheduled to reopen on October 28 as previously planned following a six-month closure for a renovation.

The Bahamas

Sandals Resorts International reports that its Fowl Cay property on Great Exuma had already been closed for maintenance, so there was no impact to guests.

As as Friday morning, Sandals Emerald Bay and Sandals Royal Bahamian will not receive any new arrivals until September 13.

Barbuda

Although other media outlets have speculated that it has, Travel Agent wasn’t able to confirm whether Paradise Found Nobu resort, which actor Robert De Niro partially owns, was seriously damaged. With that said, it is very likely since the island has reported that roughly 90 percent of its structures were destroyed. 

In a statement obtained by the New York Daily News, De Niro said, “We are beyond saddened to learn of the devastation in Barbuda caused from Hurricane Irma and look forward to working with the Paradise Found Nobu team, the Barbuda Council, GOAB and the entire Barbuda community to successfully rebuild what nature has taken away from us.”

The British Virgin Islands

On its Facebook page, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection announced, “We are relieved to report that all guests and associates who are on island are safe. If you are a family member of someone who is at the resort, please message us your name, email address and the name of the person/family about whom you are inquiring. Our operations team will then be able to give you updates on our evacuation plans.”

According to its Facebook page, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is currently closed for renovation and therefore no guests were present at the resort. The management team was relocated to the safest possible place prior to the storm. 

According to Peter Island Resort & Spa’s Facebook page, “The worst of the storm has passed and we are pleased to report that all of our guests and on-island staff are safe and sound. Updates will be provided as we receive them.” 

The Bitter End Yacht Club also announced on its Facebook page that its “crew on the ground at BEYC is safe. We are deeply saddened by the events that have taken place in the last 24 hours and our hearts and thoughts are with our friends and neighbors surrounding the North Sound, on Virgin Gorda, the entire BVI community, everyone in the Caribbean effected by Irma.”

Dominican Republic

Riu Hotels, which has six hotels in Punta Cana, is reporting that all hotel guests and company associates are fine. There was wind and rainfall, but the hurricane caused only minor material damage to the company’s Punta Cana hotels. All Riu hotels in Punta Cana are operating normal services. 

The two Riu hotels in Puerto Plata have not suffered any significant damage. As of Friday, the Riu Bachata and the Riu Merengue will be operating as usual and offering full services to their clients. 

Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort, located in Punta Cana, reports that the hotel “remains 100 percent operational as no severe damage was done to the resort.”

Additionally, the Barcelo Hotel Group confirmed that all of the brand’s resorts in the Dominican Republic are 100 percent operational, according a written release. 

Puerto Rico

According to its official Facebook page, La Concha Resort on San Juan is reporting that “Hurricane Irma didn't cause any major damages to our hotel, our guests are all safe, and we are happy to announce that we are re-establishing operations [on Friday, September 8].”

In fact, The Puerto Rico Tourism Company issued a statement Thursday night announcing that nearly all of its hotels are now operational and “apt to continue receiving guests,” said Jose Izquierdo, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

According to a statement released by the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort, the hotel sustained minimal damage and is currently open, although it remains operating on generator power. 

“We expect to be operating at full-service levels by the end of this weekend with the exception of the golf courses,” according to the statement. “We will continue to assess damage and take any necessary steps to ensure safe operations for our guests and associates. Our thoughts remain with those devastated by this storm and those who remain in its path. If you have questions pertaining to an upcoming reservation, please contact us at 787-888-6000.”

St. Barts

Popular celebrity hot spot The Eden Rock Hotel - St. Barths has announced on its website that the hotel's slated re-opening date of early October is now postponed due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma.

"The hurricane Irma has caused serious damage across the small island," according to the statement. "At this stage, it is too early to report the magnitude of the event on the property buildings and facilities."

The good news is no staff or guests were hurt. The property was closed for annual maintenance, so there were no guests in residence. 

According to a statement on the hotel’s website, “Communication between St. Barts and the Metropole has not been restored yet. Further updates will follow this release. The scheduled re-opening in early October has now been postponed until further notice.”

St. Maarten

Sonesta Hotels reported Wednesday night that all three of its hotels on St. Maarten - Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino - were seriously damaged. 

Due to the damage the resorts suffered, all further reservations from now through the end of 2017 will be cancelled, Sonesta announced in the statement. 

All pre-paid reservations from now through the end of 2017 will be refunded as soon as the company restores operations, pending future updates and situation assessments.

Sonesta Hotels reported that guests of Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino were transferred last night to two shelters on St. Maarten, one next to the Dutch marines’ command post in Cay Hill and another in Cole Bay.

Guests of Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa continue to be housed in the interiors of on-property meeting rooms Royal Islander A&B and the Mezzanine.

“We have diesel fuel for generators providing electricity in some areas as well as power to our kitchen where we are providing food for guests both at Royal Islander as well as our guests at the shelters,” according to a spokesperson for Sonesta Hotels. 

The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa announced on its website that Irma has forced the hotel to close. No reopening date has yet been announced. 

“We are waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates and suggest our customers call 1-888-625-4988 for more information about their reservations,” according to the hotel’s site.

St. Martin

Riu Hotels reports that the Riu Palace St. Martin Hotel has been “severely affected, but thankfully the management team at the Riu Palace St. Martin Hotel has confirmed that all the guests and employees are fine.The hotel has plenty of water and food for all guests and employees. We are awaiting further information from the destination.”

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) reported that Hotel Beach Plaza also suffered major damage, while Hotel Mercure suffered "some damage."

Turks and Caicos

According to Sandals Resorts International, as of Friday morning, Beaches Turks & Caicos will not receive any new arrivals until September 21.

“Beaches Turks & Caicos can now report that following the passing of Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever reported in the Atlantic Ocean, all guests and staff are safe and comfortable on resort,” according to a Beaches spokesperson.

The Turks and Caicos Collection, which represents three luxury hotels in the destination, issued a statement saying its properties are all fine. 

“All guests and staff of our three resorts, Blue Haven Resort, Alexandra Resort and Beach House are reported safe and unharmed,” according to the statement. “Given the damage sustained on island, all guests are remaining on property pending further instructions from the authorities on the conditions of roads, electrical service and the status of Providenciales International Airport (PLS), which is currently closed. The resorts have sufficient supplies, food and water to care for all guests in the interim.”

U.S. Virgin Islands

According to the CTO, Windward Passage on St. Thomas will be closed for six months, while Sugar Bay Resort & Spa sustained significant property damage, forcing its closure through December 31.

On St. Croix, the Buccaneer remains open for business, but reports that there may be some limitation of services over the next few days, according to the CTO.

Other Hotels That Checked In

There were also a score of hotels who checked in with the travel media to report ongoing damage assessments. While the details of the assessments haven’t been released yet, here are some of the hotels that have made statements to the industry.

According to its Facebook page, Hotel Le Toiny St Barth reports, “We are conducting our assessment and will provide a more detailed update soon. Whilst the damage to the island has been considerable the spirit of its people is strong. Recovery and clean-up plans and activities are already underway. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you and look forward to welcoming you back soon.”

According to a Marriott International statement, as of Friday, “We have not received any reports of guest or associate injuries. Select number of our hotels in the region have sustained minor to significant damage. We are assessing the extent of impact on each hotel and efforts are underway to fully restore operations in those properties more significantly affected by the storm.”

According to a message on its Facebook page Caneel Bay Resort on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands said it has been in contact with its New York office and is in the process of “checking on the Caneel Bay team and assessing the damage.” 

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more Hurricane Irma updates and be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

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