Hurricane Irma Update: How Caribbean Resorts Fared

Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose over the Caribbean
Photo by NOAA via AP/Newscred

It seems that Hurricane Jose has missed several Caribbean islands, sparing them additional damage from the Category 4 hurricane. However, many islands took the brunt of the force from Hurricane Irma last week. Here’s how the resorts on the islands fared:

Anguilla

As reported by The Associated Press, there is widespread property and infrastructure damage. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency says 90 percent of government buildings and business structures were damaged as well as 90 percent of the electricity infrastructure. 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."

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla announced on its Facebook page last week that the resort is currently under annual closure and no guests are on site, although they have not yet released any updates regarding damage. Belmond Cap Juluca, which was closed for the season, announced on its website: “Reports show many areas have been badly damaged… The resorts of Belmond La Samanna on St Martin and Belmond Cap Juluca on Anguilla are closed for the season and no guests were staying at either property… [And] Belmond is in touch with each resort's general manager and we are continuing to assess the impact of both storms.” CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, which was also closed for the season, said on its website: “CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa was significantly affected by Hurricane Irma, and we are presently assessing the full extent of the damage. Our ownership and management are steadfastly committed to restoring, rebuilding and reopening, as well as doing all that we can to help and support our employees through this most difficult time. Thankfully, we believe all of our staff are safe, but the current conditions remain extremely challenging.” 

On its website, Zemi Beach House wrote: "Our staff are all safe and we had closed to guests in advance of the hurricane... We can also share that our property held strong during the storm so we will be able to welcome you back before long, although timing still uncertain as we consider our property's condition with that of the St. Martin airport and infrastructure that did sustain substantial damage." 

Antigua and Barbuda

While Barbuda was one of the hardest-hit islands—with approximately 95 percent of the infrastructure destroyed—Antigua escaped major damage. Cocobay Resort and Nonsuch Bay Resort each announced on its website that it underwent "a minor clean-up operation" and is currently operational. Carlisle Bay Resort posted on its Facebook page that the resort "was not damaged by Hurricane Irma, and all staff are safe." Jumby Bay Island reported on Facebook that it has "been spared from the devastating effects of the storm and all of our wonderful staff is safe and sound." And Hermitage Bay reported on Facebook that "We are well! Little water logged from the swells, which came up but other than that we are fine."

There have been no updates with regards to Robert de Niro's Paradise Found Nobu on Barbuda; however the actor has personally pledged to rebuild the island, according to the New York Daily News.

The Bahamas

The Nassau Guardian is reporting that The Bahamas escaped Hurricane Irma "relatively unscathed." That being said, the storm had a powerful enough effect to pull ocean water away from the shoreline, temporarily changing the island's shape, according to the Washington Post.

On its website, One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas announced "Hurricane Irma has passed The Bahamas and all of our guests and colleagues were safe during the storm. The resort sustained no damage." Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas posted on its Facebook page that the hotel is open and there is "no damage and the more than 300 in-house guests including tourists, local residents and groups are safe." French Leave Resort has not commented on Irma damage, yet posts are as-per-usual, so it appears the resort was safe from the storm.

British Virgin Islands

Hurricane Irma caused major damage to the largest and most populated island of Tortola, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, who rode out the storm at his home on private Necker island, said entire houses disappeared and the area was “completely and utterly devastated.” 

Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, which is closed for renovations, reported on its website that its team is safe. However, they did not comment on the state of the property or whether it would be able to reopen in time for its initial December date. Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection, on the other hand, has notified the public that it is closed due to the storm.

Cuba

Reports out of Cuba say that Irma struck the northern half of the island, including the Camaguey, the island's third largest city. According to the Los Angeles Times, damage included roofs torn off, trees downed and power disconnected. Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana wrote on its website: "Hurricane Irma has now passed through Cuba and we can confirm that all of our guests and employees at Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana are safe and well. Hotel operations continue at this time and we are in close contact with local authorities as the situation evolves."

Dominican Republic

Both the Dominican Republic and Haiti were "battered by the storm and experienced flooding but neither had as much damage as initially feared," according to BBC

Casa de Campo president Andrés Pichardo Rosenberg said the resort was virtually unaffected by Hurricane Irma and that it's currently open to guests. Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino has not released any info on the state of the property, and AlSol Hotels & Resorts announced on Facebook that all of its Punta Cana properties, including AlSol Tiara Cap Cana, AlSol Del Mar, Sanctuary Cap Cana, The Villas at Cap Cana and AlSol Luxury Village, escaped structural damage. Similarly, it appears that InterContinental Real Santo Domingo was relatively unharmed by the storm as the hotel only cancelled live music performances when the storm was in the area.

Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, 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. 

Eden Roc at Cap Cana has sent out a press release saying: "We are pleased to share that Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Punta Cana and most importantly our dedicated team and our families are safe and doing well. As Irma’s path continued to steer northwestward, the Dominican Republic was spared from a direct hit from the storm’s destructive path. On Thursday, the outskirts of Irma grazed the northern region of the island, leaving Cap Cana and Punta Cana minimally impacted with minor damage to the region."

Puerto Rico

The AP reported about a million people were without power in Puerto Rico, which was spared a direct hit as Irma passed to the north. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company issued a statement last week stating that nearly all of its hotels were now operational and “apt to continue receiving guests."

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve said on its Facebook that Irma caused only minor damages and the hotel will reopen September 12. On its Facebook page, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico mentioned only minor damages and that the hotel is open. The list of little-to-not-damaged hotels includes: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel and El San Juan Hotel, both of whom announced they were up and running.

The W Vieques Island Retreat and Spa has only posted Marriott's generic response to the storm, with a similar message appearing on its website and Facebook page: "We are currently assessing the status of each of our hotels across the Caribbean that have been in the path of Hurricane Irma. The safety of our guests and associates is always a top priority at Marriott and at this time, we are not aware of, nor have there been any reported injuries."

St. Barth's

The French territorial island was one of the hardest hit. Up on its website since last week, Eden Rock-St. Barth's writes: "The island of St. Barth's has been badly hit by the powerful storm. The hurricane Irma has caused serious damage across our island. At this stage, it is too early to report the magnitude of the event on the property buildings and facilities." Le Guanahani St. Barth, mirrored the sentiment, updating its Facebook page, saying, "we still do not have power or service across much of the island so we cannot answer emails. We hope to start fixing the effects and assess the damage next week. We're grateful that all of our staff is safe and we will post more updates, including our reopening date, as soon as we have them." Much of the same, Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa posted online that "important damages were caused to the island unfortunately and to the hotel, but we'll all work on the next steps as hard as possible. We will give more information as soon as we can."

Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France announced that it was closed for the season, and no guest was on the property during the hurricane. The resort, however, did not comment on the state of the property. 

St. Kitts and Nevis

We reported last week on Travel Agent Central that the islands reported minimal damage, and many of the resorts are echoing that. Four Seasons Resort Nevis said on its website: the "island and resort did not sustain any major damage during Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Jose, and all guests and employees are safe." The hotel reopened on September 11. The Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour is reporting little to no damage, and that the resort is scheduled to reopen November 1.

St. Maarten/St. Martin

The island, split between Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin, was among the island that suffered the most damages from Irma. Between St. Martin and St. Barth's, property and infrastructure damage totaled more than $1.44 billion, according to an estimate by France’s public insurance agency. 

On St. Maarten, Sonesta Hotels reported 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. On its website, Sonesta Hotels wrote: "On behalf of Sonesta Resorts Sint [sic] Maarten, we confirm that all guests who were in-house during the passing of Hurricane Irma have been evacuated. The last group left on a Sunwing aircraft today, [September 9, 2017] to Punta Cana." The Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa, St. Maarten said on its website: "Due to Hurricane Irma, The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa is currently closed. The safety of our guests and associates is always a top priority at Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, and there are no reported injuries."

Oyster Bay Beach Resort, which is on the St. Maarten side of the island but just south of the border announced on its website that all but two of the remaining guests have been evacuated as of Saturday. Managing directors Mike Dolente and Joshua Gold wrote that the property "has been significantly damaged but still stands and will be rebuilt. We are already working on plans to get this done. We will be on the first flight down with our Architect, engineer and Interior Designer. It is a daunting task but one that we take on with enthusiasm. 

On St. Martin, Belmond La Samanna posted "Hurricane Irma hit our island with powerful winds and rain. As you know, the resort is closed for the season, so there were no guests or employees at the property. For the safety of our employees, we have asked everyone to remain in their homes. We will provide a more thorough update once we’re able to assess the property and ensure all employees are safe."

Turks and Caicos

Several of the smaller islands in the Turks and Caicos archipelago had their shorelines changed due to the strength of the storm. The good news coming from the islands however, is that most damage appears to be superficial. The Turks and Caicos Collection, which represents Blue Haven Resort, Alexandra Resort and Beach House, issued a statement saying its properties are all fine.

The Venetian on Grace Bay updated its Facebook to say that they have been in contact with the general manager and that "the resort did not experience major damage, and what there has been appears to be mostly cosmetic. Hurricane Irma's high winds brought down palm trees and other landscaping on the grounds but the staff is already at work getting the resort back for business." On The Palms Turks and Caicos' Facebook, the resort has posted a photo of "the calm 'after' the storm."  

The Somerset on Grace Bay is reporting minimal damage so far. "The staff of The Somerset on Grace Bay continues to assess the resort due to Hurricane Irma," the resort writes on its website. "We are grateful our resort survived and are quite busy restoring The Somerset to its original beauty. The resort’s beautiful landscaping and some facilities were affected by the storm. Additionally, the roofs sustained some damage and the extent is still being determined.

No further update other than "We are currently evaluating the resort for the safety of our future guests," has come from Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, which the resort posted on Facebook. Amanyara has posted no updates on the state of its property in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

U.S. Virgin Islands

The United States Virgin Islands sustained varying damages from the storm, with St. John receiving the worst hit. Estimates are that 80 percent of structures have been extensively damaged

From St. Croix, The Buccaneer Hotel is reporting that the property is mostly safe from the storm, and is currently housing first responders and tourists unable to get home. From its Facebook: "Guests with previous reservations that are checking in The Buccaneer this week may see buildings still boarded following the storm. Our Mermaid beach will be fully operating with the beach shack open and our Arcade Pool is open for guest enjoyment as well. The Grotto pool is currently closed for scheduled enhancements. Our tennis, golf and spa facilities are back to their normal schedules. Our restaurants will begin offering their regular menus on Wednesday per their usual dining schedule."

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas has not commented on the state of the property since last week when the hotel said the hotel was closed and there were no reported injuries.

On St. John, Caneel Bay has been posting updates slowly to its Facebook page, saying that the resort had a complete loss of power and have since been assessing the damage. Caneel Bay did note, however, that the resort was closed when the storm hit, and so no guests were on property. 

More to come.

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