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Hurricane Dean Spares Caribbean and Mexican HotelsAugust 24, 2007 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Although it was the third strongest Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall, and it killed 21 people in the Caribbean and four in Mexico, Hurricane Dean, a Category 5 storm with winds of up to 165 miles per hour, did little damage to hotels in the affected regions.
After numerous reports about how Hurricane Dean was going to pummel Jamaica with lethal force, the last thing SuperClubs’ John Issa thought he would be doing was celebrating.
But that is exactly what the executive chairman of SuperClubs Resorts was doing when Travel Agent spoke with him after Dean decided to make a last-minute detour and spare the island from major destruction. “We dodged a bullet,” Issa told Travel Agent. “We were very fortunate.”
Dean moved away from Jamaica after hitting the island nation with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour, and gusts of at least 138 miles per hour. All SuperClubs properties in Jamaica saw only minor damage such as broken branches and excess debris. SuperClubs gave guests who couldn’t fly back Aug. 19 a free night.
SuperClubs wasn’t the only resort company in Jamaica that got lucky, as all seven Sandals Resorts and three Beaches Resorts in Jamaica also reported no structural damage Aug. 20 as a result of Hurricane Dean. “We are thrilled to report the extraordinary good news that our resorts have weathered the storm,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Sandals Resorts’ founder and chairman, in a written release.
Since St. Lucia and Jamaica did experience hurricane-force winds, Sandals and Beaches enacted their Blue Chip Hurricane Guarantee and every guest staying at the three Sandals locations in St. Lucia and 10 Sandals and Beaches locations in Jamaica, will receive a free replacement trip to return.
The free replacement stay is for the same duration and room category as the originally booked trip and is valid for one year after the original vacation. Also, Stewart extended a complimentary night for guests who could not depart their resorts in Jamaica due to cancelled flights Aug. 19 or Aug. 20. “What could’ve been an awful day has turned into one of the most blessed,” said Stewart in the release. “Dean turned south, sparing our beloved Jamaica.”
Managing director of Half Moon Montego Bay, Richard Whitfield, reported that the 400-acre resort experienced only minimal effects following the hurricane, such as fallen trees, limbs and debris. There has been no physical damage to any structure or injury to any person. Guests and employees were sheltered at Half Moon’s 6,000-square-foot conference center to wait out the storm.
“While we were all anxious about the effects of Hurricane Dean, we were well prepared with our emergency management procedures and were in full gear to secure both lives and property,” Whitfield said in a written statement.
The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica, and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman are open for business as usual, reported Ezzat Coutry, senior vice president of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. The hotels incurred no structural damage and are fully operational following the storm. Recovery teams have surveyed the properties and reported fallen trees, limbs and debris, which have been removed. Visit www.ritzcarlton.com.
Anthony Bowen, vice president and managing director of the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in St. Lucia, reported no structural damage to the 60-acre resort.
Couples Resorts announced that all four properties: Couples Ocho Rios, Couples Sans Souci, Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away are open and ready to welcome guests. Only minor landscaping damages were reported at each resort.
Operators of Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios and Sunset at the Palms in Negril have made assessments of all three of the company’s North Coast properties. Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios reports no damage. At Sunset at the Palms, there was only landscaping damage. Guests were evacuated from the resort prior to August 18 and were accommodated at Sunset Beach Resort & Spa and Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa. The hotel reopened for arrivals Tuesday afternoon, at which time evacuated guests returned to Sunset at the Palms. Visit www.sunsetresorts.com.
With maximum sustained winds of up to 165 miles per hour, the Category 5 hurricane made landfall at the Yucatan Peninsula near Chetumal, about 225 miles south of Cancun. Its top winds did not have far reach, and only hit the Costa Maya cruise ship port town of Majahual, which suffered damage; people had been evacuated. The Cancun International Airport is open and operational. Hotels reported little, if any, damage.
As with its two Caribbean hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun received no structural damage.
The JW Marriott Cancun Resort and CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort are both open, said Christopher Calabrese, general manager of both resorts, in a written release. “We had ample time to prepare for Hurricane Dean, and are grateful that we sustained minimal damage,” he said. Visit www.marriott.com.
Oasis Hotels & Resorts, which operates 10 hotels throughout Cancun and the Riviera Maya, received only minor damage from Hurricane Dean, according to Enrique Klein, vice president of sales and marketing for TravAmerica, Inc., which represents Oasis Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. According to Klein, the management team of Oasis Hotels Resorts is currently out surveying each of the individual properties, and reported no flooding or major damage. Klein added that he has also received a similar report for the area of Akumal where the Grand Oasis Riviera Maya is located.
AM Resorts announced none of its resorts was damaged by the storm. Dreams Cancun and Secrets Capri are in the process of sweeping and cleaning up. Power and phone lines have been restored at Sunscape Puerto Aventuras and all regular channels of communication are open. The swimming pool on the marina side of the resort is open.
Except for a few tropical plants uprooted by strong gusts and lots of leaves blown into its two pools, Élan Resort & Spa did not sustain any serious or structural damage from Hurricane Dean. Because Élan faces the 42-square-mile Nichupté Lagoon, which is rimmed with mangroves, it did not feel the force of the hurricane. Telephone service and Wi-Fi are working and the resort is welcoming guests.
Hotel Esencia in Playa Xpu-Ha, about one hour south of Cancun International Airport, reports no structural damage. The property will reopen to guests on August 28 after clean up of landscaping and debris. In anticipation of Hurricane Dean, Hotel Esencia evacuated all guests on August 18 where guests were able to secure flights home.
Blue Bay Getaway and Blue Bay Club in Cancun reported no structural damage and are both fully operational and open for arrivals. Visit www.bluebaycancun.com.
Barceló Hotels & Resorts announced its hotels in Cancun and along Mexico’s Riviera Maya coast have not sustained any major damage from Hurricane Dean and remain fully operational with all services and power. This includes the Barceló Costa Cancun Hotel and the Barceló Tucancun Beach Hotel, both in Cancun, as well as The Barceló Maya Beach Resort, which includes four hotels: The Barceló Maya Tropical Hotel, The Barceló Colonial Beach Hotel, and The Barceló Maya Beach and Caribe Hotels.
Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun emerged undamaged.