Well folks, this definitely isn’t the news we wanted to hear today. We just received an email from a reader who is an owner at the Westin. The email stated that the Westin will not reopen until 2019. We confirmed with a second owner the letter’s authenticity. Here it is in its entirety:
As progress continues to move forward at The Westin St. John Resort Villas (WSJ), we wanted to provide you with an update regarding both the island’s and resort’s recovery efforts.
First, the beauty of St. John is returning. Our hillsides are now covered with new foliage, and our waters are boasting their beautiful turquoise colors. The beaches are making their way back. However, given the significant impact of two Category 5 hurricanes, the clearing of debris throughout the island — including roadways — remains ongoing.
Many local businesses have begun the rebuilding process but need time to become fully operational. About half the island’s power has been recently restored. Linemen from the United States mainland and USVI continue working diligently to bring power to more homes and businesses. At the resort, while WSJ had been operating off generators since the storms, we are grateful to have received power last month, along with all of Cruz Bay. The governor has stated that 90% of the territory is expected to regain power by the end of 2017.
We’re currently finalizing demolition, clean-up and debris removal at the resort and expect to be complete by year end. We remain committed to opening as quickly as possible. While we are well ahead of other resorts in the area, we still have months of work in front of us to be able to deliver the vacation experience you have come to expect. This is a monumental rebuilding effort with complicated insurance considerations, but we’re fortunate to have skilled labor and the resources necessary to keep us on track. Reconstruction is planned to begin at the first of the year, however the resort will remain closed throughout 2018 with an anticipated reopening date of Jan. 4, 2019 (week 1 on the interval calendar).
Due to the resort’s closure, Owner Services will begin efforts to cancel any remaining scheduled 2018 reservations from July 1 through week 52, 2018. Reservations will be accepted for arrivals beginning Jan. 4, 2019.
Although you are unable to occupy, deposit or convert your ownership, we are providing a choice of one of the following alternatives to help you preserve your 2018 vacation:
Reserve a Vistana Signature Network™ reservation for a stay at one of our other 20 network resorts by logging onto vistana.com to book an online reservation; OR
Request Banking of your 2018 Use Year StarOptions® with no transaction fee (valid for use through Dec. 31, 2021); OR
Request assignment of your Week or Points Use Right with the full trading power of your Home Resort interval with Interval International®1 for use through Dec. 31, 2020. While there is no fee to assign your Week or Points Use Right, at the time you initiate a vacation exchange request, Interval will collect its current exchange fee.2
In addition to the above choices, you may purchase an SPG® Starpoints® package (up to 110,000) at a preferred rate that can be redeemed at over 1,500 hotels and resorts worldwide (package valid for six years from issuance and subject to the terms and conditions of the SPG program). Offer available until Dec. 31, 2018. Limit of one SPG package only.
For your convenience, we invite you to submit your request for StarOption Banking or assignment with Interval International via email to email@example.com or for Vistana Network Reservations, you may log onto vistana.com and book your reservations online. You may also contact Owner Services at 888-986-9637 or 407-903-4635.
As we focus on reopening, our Associates’ well-being also remains a top priority. We have been able to relocate many to other positions throughout the company, and 148 Associates are still employed at the resort assisting in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts. Additionally, the ILG Associate Relief Fund provided financial relief, and food and toy drives were held to provide much-needed assistance and to ensure that Associates’ children experience the joy of the season.
Again, thank you for your support. We will continue to communicate with you on a regular basis as information becomes available. With the new year quickly approaching, we wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to welcoming you back home to The Westin St. John Resort Villas as soon as we can.
Senior Vice President