You’ve seen the photos and video reports from the Caribbean islands pummeled by Hurricane Irma, and it isn’t pretty. While some islands are re-opening for all-important tourism, which supports so many jobs and businesses, islands including St. Martin (shown above) and Barbuda are in dire straits. Tens of thousands of residents throughout the Caribbean have lost their homes, businesses and jobs, and even major hotels and resorts are closed for repairs.
If you have upcoming reservations, here’s what you need to know, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, but contact your airline, cruise line or travel agent or resort to be sure.
In alphabetical order:
The Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) is open sunrise to sunset for charters and emergency flights. The Road Bay Port at Sandy Ground is open to receive cargo, including food, water, medical supplies and technical support.
Anguilla Resort Hotels
- Carimar Beach Club The clean-up has begun and management will advise of the reopening date.
- CeBlue Villas & Beach Resort had no guests during the hurricane as it was already closed for the season. The villas and resort buildings held up well against the hurricane and re all structurally sound. The resort has begun the clean up process, and looks forward to welcoming guests for the season.
- Fountain Anguilla buildings and grounds are structurally intact. A few units suffered some damage from debris. Assessment and clean up are under way and the resort is expected to open for the season.
- CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and The Reef by CuisinArt was significantly affected, and engineers are assessing the full extent of the damage. The ownership and management have said they are committed to restoring, rebuilding and reopening, as well as doing everything possible to help and support their employees through this most difficult time.
- Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort appears to have suffered be no major structural damage to the resort, and will re-open after the clean up required.
- Quintessence Boutique Resort sustained a fair amount of damage and the proposed 1 November opening is delayed.
- Zemi Beach House had closed to guests in advance of the hurricane. The property held strong during the storm and will be able to welcome guests before long.
- Neveah Villa suffered only cosmetic damage. A clean up of the grounds is under way.
- Sunset Homes Properties will be ready for reopening on 1 November; Little Butterfly survived intact.
- Bird of Paradise was designed to withstand 200 mph winds. There was no structural damage to the buildings or to the roof or any damage to villa contents.
- Blanchards received moderate damage and Blanchards Beach Shack is in great shape, requiring just a little clean-up. The owners expect to re-open both restaurants as soon as the major resorts are open.
- daVida Restaurant & Bayside The main restaurant is still intact although much of the second floor was lost.
- The Bar at the Bayside is still intact, but the dining area will be rebuilt.
- Garveys, Pumphouse and Mango’s were devastated
- Dune Preserve, Elvis’ Beach Bar, Dolce Vita and Ripples also suffered severe damage.
- Jacala, Geraud’s Patisserie and Grands Vins de France all survived.
- Johnno’s, Dads, and Picante are still standing, but will require some repairs.
Antigua and Barbuda
Barbuda, with its approximately 1,800 residents, was severely impacted by the hurricane which passed directly over the small island. The prime minister, Gaston Browne said 90 percent of homes were destroyed. Barbuda’s hotel infrastructure was also damaged, but with less than 100 hotel rooms the overall effect on tourism as a whole is minimal.
Updates from individual hotels on Antigua are as follows:
- Carlisle Bay: Resort was closed and did not sustain any significant damage. Will reopen as previously planned on 15 October.
- Curtain Bluff: Sustained no damage and is still scheduled to reopen on 28 October as previously planned following a six-month closure for a renovation.
- Cocos Hotel: No long term damage
- Galley Bay: An in-depth assessment of the property will take place on 21 September
- Hermitage Bay: All is well
- Jumby Bay Island: There is no structural damage to any of the resort or homes. Jumby Bay Island is currently closed as part of its annual maintenance programme with reopening on schedule for 9 October, 2017.
- Keyonna Beach Resort: No long term damage.
- Pineapple Beach Club: Scheduled to welcome guests starting 14 September.
- Sandals Grande Antigua: Sustained superficial damage but a complete assessment will take place as soon as possible. Due to the impact of Irma and the timing of the previously announced closure for resort maintenance, the resort will remain closed and will reopen on 20 December.
- James Club: Scheduled to welcome guests starting 14 September.
- Verandah: Will reopen as scheduled on 14 October after renovations.
The Islands of The Bahamas
Airports are open in Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and on nearly all Out Islands. International flights have resumed, including service to some Florida airports; and ports have reopened, allowing cruise ships to begin to return. While airlines are operating international flights out of Grand Bahama International Airport, U.S. customs and border pre-clearance is currently unavailable and will be reinstated at a later date.
- Bahamasair has resumed service into the United States at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport; Orlando International Airport; Miami International Airport.
- Out Islands International service has resumed from Exuma International Airport in The Exumas and Marsh Harbour Airport in The Abacos.
Parts of the southern islands were more heavily impacted with damage ranging from cosmetic to severe structural damage. Assessment of Ragged Island continues, but other islands, such as Acklins Island, Crooked Island, Inaugua and Mayaguana are mostly cleared.
The majority of hotel and resorts throughout The Islands of The Bahamas are operating as usual or are expected to reopen on their regularly scheduled dates.
Nassau and Paradise Island hotels received no damage. While many remained open, others are resuming normal operation:
- Atlantis, Paradise Island and Warwick Paradise Island- Bahamas remained open during the storm and continue to welcome guests.
- Sandals Royal Bahamian – Open
- Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas – Open
- Baha Mar Resort and Casino has resumed full hotel, casino and retail operations.
- Melia Nassau Beach Resort has resumed full operations on Wednesday, 13 September
- One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island has resumed full operations.
- Sandals Emerald Bay – open
Grand Bahama Island hotels began resuming operations on Wednesday, 13 September.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation will be releasing updates on islands, hotels and services on Bahamas.com/storms.
British Virgin Islands
The Government of the British Virgin Islands continues to assess the significant damage sustained during Hurricane Irma, all travellers in need of assistance are encouraged to consult with the BVI Tourist Board office. The priority is to ensure that all remaining visitors are safely transported out of the territory. On 11 September, the team on the ground helped American visitors board a ferry to St. Thomas for transportation to Miami via Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise ships.
- Virgin Gorda: The tourist board office is located at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, 10am to 2pm. An overnight curfew remains in effect on Virgin Gorda from 6pm to 9am.
- Tortola: The tourist board office on Tortola is not currently in operation. While work is being undertaken to get the tourist board office back up and running, those who require assistance on Tortola should visit the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) which is operating out of Peebles Hospital in Road Town.
If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a relative or loved one who was in the territory at the time of the storm, please contact [email protected]. This email account is monitored by the staff of the BVI Department of Disaster Management and will assist with all inquiries. As the country works to restore communications including mobile phone and internet service, this is the most efficient channel to seek information about those remaining in the territory.
Updates from individual hotels in the British Virgin Islands are as follows:
- Anegada Reef: Anegada is fine.
- Bitter End Yacht Club: The hotel was not operational due to annual closure.
- Guana Island: Closed at the time. All guests and on-island staff are safe .
- Rosewood Little Dix Bay: Rosewood Little Dix Bay is currently closed for renovation and therefore no guests were present at the resort.
- Scrub Island: Part of the Autograph Collection, is closed until further notice.
- Sugar Mill Hotel: The hotel has suffered some damage but so far it appears manageable. The restaurant is expected to open as planned on 12 October, 2017 and 14 October for the hotel.
- AMResorts experienced no damage to any properties in the country and all are fully operational
- Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana is fully operational and welcoming guests.
- Riu Hotels, which has six hotels in Punta Cana is reporting all Riu hotels in Punta Cana are operating normal services. Two Riu hotels in Puerto Plata have not suffered any significant damage and are fully operational.
- Barceló Resorts: Barceló Hotel Group confirmed that all of the brand’s resorts in the Dominican Republic are fully operational.
- Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada: The hotel is open and operating.
Haiti was relatively unscathed. All services remain in operation and the country continues to welcome visitors. Travellers are advised to contact their local travel or booking agent for detailed arrangements about their bookings.
- Haiti’s Moulin Sur Mer has advised it was not affected by Hurricane Irma.
Travellers have been advised to contact their travel agents and tour operators for arrangements and those with travel from Antigua to Montserrat should contact the Tourism Division, Office of the Premier on 664 491 4702/3.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company reports that nearly all hotels are operational and are receiving guests.
While there are scattered power outages throughout the island, most of the island has power and the majority of the hotels, as well as essential services on the island such as hospitals and supermarkets, have electric service and are fully operational.
The island has also become a transient hub for travellers across the Caribbean.
- Marriott hotels including San Juan Marriott, Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and AC Hotel by Marriott welcomed approximately 700 guests from St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. John.
- Wyndham Grand Rio Mar in Rio Grande, has welcomed approximately 300 guests from St. Thomas. Additionally, crew from the St. Thomas air traffic control centre are staying on the property.
- The staff members of FEMA are staying at the InterContinental San Juan
El Conquistador Resort, The Meliá Coco Beach, Hotel El Convento and all Marriott and Hilton properties on the island, among others, are also in full operation, taking reservations for future travellers, and welcoming new guests.
Visitors with questions about travel to Puerto Rico can call the PRTC hotline at 877.976.2400 or call their hotels directly for more information.
Updates from individual hotels in Puerto Rico are as follows:
- Condado Plaza Hilton: Minor damage.
- El Conquistador Resort: El Conquistador Resort is operational.
- El San Juan Hotel: The hotel received minimal damage
- Hotel El Convento: The hotel escaped damage and resumed operations on 11 September.
- Hyatt House San Juan: The hotel is open and operating.
- Hyatt Place Bayamon: Open and operating.
- Hyatt Place Manati: Open and operating.
- Hyatt Place San Juan City Center: Open and operating.
- Hyatt Residence Club Dorado: Open and operating.
- InterContinental San Juan: Business as usual.
- Rincon Beach: Open for business.
- Royal Islabela, A Destination Hotel – Open and accepting guests
- San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel: Sustained no damage, have full power, and open for business.
- Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar: Open and operating.
- Wyndham Grand Rio Mar: Sustained minimal damage and is open.
St. Maarten (Dutch) / St. Martin (French)
Both sides of this Franco-Dutch island were hit hard. Both the French and Dutch governments have sent people to the country along with supplies and vital aid. There is no passenger airline service until further notice.
Read this harrowing tale of devastation and survival in the NY Times.
Updates from St. Maarten / St. Martin hotels are as follows:
- Beach Plaza: Badly damaged
- Belair Beach Hotel: Sustained damage and it will take time to repair. Phone service and internet down. .
- Esmeralda Resort: Hotel 70 per cent destroyed.
- Hotel Mercure : Damaged
- La Playa Orient Bay: Severely damaged. The hotel was undergoing a renovation project prior to Irma and due to the impact of the storm the reopening of the hotel is postponed until further notice.
- La Samanna – assessing damage but will remain closed for the remainder of the year.
- La Vista Hotel: The Beach building is relatively in decent shape. The roof tiles came off but the roof itself in still there. Some water damage and missing doors and windows.
- Oyster Bay Beach Resort: Significant damage.
- Princess Heights: Minor damage.
- Riu Palace St. Martin: Infrastructures severely affected.
- Summit Resort Hotel: Due to extensive damage, the Summit Resort will remain closed.
- Westin Dawn Beach: Suffered significant damage and closed until further notice.
- Sonesta: All guests who were in-house during the hurricane have now been evacuated. Resort damage is severe. All further reservations from now through the end of 2017 have been cancelled.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Several of the hotel properties were scheduled for annual closure prior to Irma; some properties have now elected to remain closed, to assess any damage to their properties and looking to reopen by the beginning to middle of October 2017.
- Club Med Turkoise: has been working with the airlines to transport guests home on the first available flights with all guests expected to be home by the end of the week. A full assessment of the resort has not been made and while the island’s infrastructure is being restored, the resort is delaying arrival of new guests through 30 September, 2017.
- Beaches Turks and Caicos in a statement said the resort will begin accepting guests on 14 December.
- Alexandra Resort, Blue Haven Resort and Beach House: The resorts sustained some wind and water damage due to the storm, and will be closed for arrivals through 8 October.
- Gansevoort Turks & Caicos – accepting guests starting 1 November
- The Palms Resort, The Shore Club on Long Bay Beach and Seven Stars Resort & Spa – open
United States Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas)
Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas arrived in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on 12 September and was expected to depart Wednesday, 13 September at 6 p.m., taking residents and visitors to San Juan port. The American Red Cross and the Government of Puerto Rico are coordinating support on the ground in San Juan and are helping to rebook flights for passengers who will be arriving on Majesty of the Seas.
Norwegian Sky departed on Sept. 12 and is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Miami on Thursday afternoon.
The Virgin Islands Port Authority’s Executive Director, David Mapp advised the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is open and fully operational with American Airlines flights resuming yesterday, 12 September. The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas received extensive damage. CEKA is only open to emergency relief flights. VIPA is currently conducting assessments and cleanup, with a tentative date of 16 September, 2017 to resume daily commercial flights to St. Thomas.
All seaports on St. Croix are open and fully operational. There is currently no seaplane service available. VIPA will announce when service resumes. All seaports in the St. Thomas/St. John district are open. However, service between Cruz Bay, St. John and Red Hook, St. Thomas is limited to daylight hours only.
The following updates have been shared by individual properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
- The Buccaneer: Open for business. Facilities are in good shape, but there may be some limitation of services over the next few days.
- Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix: Open and accepting guests
- Hotel Caravelle: Open and accepting guests.
- Hotel on the Cay: Open and accepting guests
- Caneel Bay: Complete power outage at the resort. Team assessing the damage.
- Westin St. John Resort Villas: The resort and the surrounding areas experienced widspread damage and the resort is closed until further notice.
- Bluebeard’s Castle Resort: Sustained major damage
- Bolongo Bay Beach Resort: According to its Facebook page, the resort anticipates welcoming guests on 12 November.
- Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, As of 11 September, Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
- Margaritaville Vacation Club:. Recovery efforts to begin
- Point Pleasant Resort: Currently assessing damage, and will share new information when available.
- Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas: Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice. Those planning to visit the hotel should check the news for the most current information and amend their travel plans accordingly. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
- Secret Harbour Beach Resort: No major structural damage to the buildings. The generator is still working.
- Sugar Bay Resort & Spa: The damage is being assessed and an update will be provided when available.
- Windward Passage: Will close for six months.
photo of Honky Tonk Bar, Philipsburg, St. Martin, before and after Hurricane Irma, courtesy Bored Panda.