ST THOMAS, United States Virgin Islands, Saturday October 28, 2017 – It will be more than a year before some of the US Virgin Islands’ biggest hotels will be able to welcome guests again.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria last month caused damage across the group of Caribbean islands has resulted in the majority of large resorts and hotels on St Thomas and St John closed for repair until 2018 or 2019.
Among them are the 443-room Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, one of the largest resorts in St Thomas which employs about 400 people. Others projected to remain closed until 2019 are: Sugar Bay Resort and Spa and Flamboyan on the Bay Resort and Villas, also in St Thomas, and Caneel Bay Resort in St John.
Following its first meeting since the hurricanes, the US Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association (USVIHTA) said the tourism season is expected to remain in recovery through December.
“The closure of the largest properties in the territory at the same time is not ideal, but it presents opportunities for us to renovate and update the tourism product. And while the hotels focus on revealing a polished, new product, USVIHTA will continue to promote properties and members who came out of the storms with minimal damage,” said USVIHTA president Lisa Hamilton.
“Many of our members are up and running, and ready to welcome guests today. However, restoring the territory’s infrastructure, airport and hospitals is essential prior to welcoming visitors back.”
The USVIHTA said medium to small properties throughout the territory are ready to open once power is restored.
Properties ready to open this year include: Lindbergh Bay Hotel and Villas; Mafolie Hotel; Island View Guesthouse;Windward Passage Hotel; Gallows Point Resort and St. Croix accommodations.
Those projected to open in 2018 are: Emerald Beach Resort (January); Marriott Frenchman’s Cove (February); Margaritaville Vacation Club, Wyndham (February); The Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas (February); Bolongo Bay Beach Resort (June); The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas (October); and The Westin St. John Resort and Villas (October).