Business almost as usual in the Caribbean (The update)
If you’re hunkered down in Europe, the northern states of the USA or anywhere else in the world that’s facing wind, rain, sleet and snow, read on. You’ll soon be planning your next moves for 2018, with the best of intentions and a sunny disposition in your heart.
Nature can be cruel. The devastation caused by hurricanes Irma, José and Maria in 2017 to several of our favourite Caribbean destinations means many locals there are still suffering as a result of the storms. And yet the islands still beckon, especially at this time of year. The Caribbean region consists of 32 countries and spans more than a million square miles, so re-establishing phone, internet and electricity post-storms, for a start, was a challenge but is now under control in most places. All airports have reopened too.
Essentially, the Leeward, or the Middle Islands as they are sometimes called, suffered the most damage. Many of our preferred hotels remain closed until refurbishment is complete later this year, and none of the reopening dates below is set in stone, but quite a few properties are open for business as usual, with some incentives you may not want to miss. Cruise ships continue to operate, and their routes may be modified to avoid some stops, so it’s worth looking into what’s on offer, ie, new places you may not have visited before.
Instead of shying away from the area’s hotels and cruise routes, why not take advantage of the good deals and offers out there? Look at it this way: visiting now is putting money into the pockets of those islands and their inhabitants, who need our help to rebuild. They need tourists and the work they bring, and they deserve all the help they can get.
So you don’t have to do all the research yourself, here’s the lowdown on LuxuryBARED’s ‘collection’, the places and properties we have previously reviewed on our site, deemed favourites by us and our clients.
The French-speaking island of St Barths – also known as St Barts and, more formally, as Saint Barthélemy – with its 14 soft, white sandy beaches, elegant shops, restaurants and resorts should be fully functional, restored and back to its usual self (even better, perhaps) by the end of this year.
While many smaller hotels and guest houses are open on the island, Anguilla took a hard hit when hurricane Irma swept through. And although operational, plans are under way to rebuild Clayton J Lloyd International Airport and the Blowing Point ferry terminal, both of which suffered severe damage in last year’s storm.
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences – will reopen on 23 March, with special offers for spring and summer.
Malliouhana – scheduled to reopen in November.
Belmond Cap Juluca – estimated to reopen on 15 November.
Take a tour around the island of Antigua and it will be hard to imagine any hurricane has hit here in the recent past. Except for a few damaged palm trees, the long white beaches are as beautiful as before, and restaurants and shops are all open for business. The only difference is that there are fewer tourists to share all this with. The same is true of one of the island’s most popular snorkelling spots, near English Harbour.
All our best-loved properties are now open; most were closed for their annual servicing period when the storms passed through, so no guests were in residence. Following structural tests, all resorts are open and functional.
Barbados has not been hit by a hurricane since 1955 and was not affected by any of last year’s mega-storms, but the island’s tourism is still suffering from their impact. According to sources, this is mostly due to confusion with the island of Barbuda, and a general lack of knowledge about Caribbean geography.
So here’s what some of our top resorts in Barbados are offering this season:
Sandy Lane – take advantage of the family package, valid from 14 April to 31 October, where one child (aged three to fourteen) can share their parents’ room at US $125 per night. Up to three children (aged sixteen and under) can share a second room at 50% off the adult cost. And there’s unlimited use of The Treehouse Club and complimentary dinner for children aged three to twelve from 14 April to 31 October.
Coral Reef Club – the property is offering seven nights for the price of six for arrivals and departures between 10 and 24 March. The offer includes free breakfast.
Fairmont Royal Pavilion – last November the hotel completed the first stage of its restoration, a major upgrade to the facilities, including the guest rooms.
Turks and Caicos
Although it’s not a Caribbean island, we include Turks and Caicos in our round-up because it’s a popular destination in the same vicinity. The islands, too, suffered when hurricane Irma hit, but they cleaned up quickly. In fact, the damage was minimal across most of the Turks and Caicos’s eight inhabited islands.
The following are a few great offers from our choice resorts here: Amanyara on the Island of Providenciales, and COMO Parrot Cay on its own island.
Amanyara – from 9 April to 31 May, and again from 1 November to 20 December, the hotel is offering a package where guests staying four nights will get complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, plus a sunset cocktail with canapés.
COMO Parrot Cay – in addition to a ‘refresh’ of all rooms, which was completed last December, the hotel has opened the COMO Beach Club and a new restaurant, Lotus. Book now to take advantage of a seasonal deal where you’ll get four nights’ stay for the price of three, excluding stays at Private Estates.
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