Caribbean hospitality company Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has announced the temporary closure of Sandals Grande Antigua beginning September 20 for “important maintenance projects,” according to a Sandals news release.
A letter of intention to close was shared with government officials late last week. Original estimates suggested that the work would take five months to complete, but after a full and detailed assessment and a new project plan that condenses work flow, SRI officials confirm that the resort will reopen December 17.
This is the first time Sandals Grande Antigua, the only flagged Sandals Resort in Antigua, has closed since opening in 1992.
“There is no convenient time to inconvenience people, and while many hotels in Antigua have traditionally closed on an annual basis, we have not and recognize the dramatic consequences this action has on our staff, industry and destination partners, vendors and of course, guests. We humbly and sincerely apologize and promise, Sandals will take care of you,” said SRI chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart in a written release. “Our team is committed to handling this period in the most professional and practical way possible.”
Stewart appointed Sandal Resorts International Chief Operations Officer Shawn DaCosta to take all necessary steps to engage with affected staff, union representatives and government officials in Antigua.
Tammy Gonzalez, CEO of Unique Vacations, Inc. (UVI), an affiliate of Unique Travel Corporation, worldwide representatives of Sandals Resorts, is working closely with impacted clients including travel agents, tour operators and guests.
Gonzalez said clients impacted by the closure of Sandals Grande Antigua may choose to return to the resort within one year of their original travel date and Sandals Resorts will honor the original rate and pay any airline change fees or penalties; or they may choose to travel on their original dates but revise to a different Sandals Resorts or Beaches Resorts and again, the airfare will be covered.
Travel in either case must be completed by December 15, 2018. Additionally, Sandals Resorts will also offer impacted clients credit nights (depending on length of stay) as a gesture of goodwill.