An Update on the Resorts

gallows point door in tree
A door frame hangs in the tree at Gallows Point – Oct. 10, 2017
Hello everyone and happy Thursday! We’ve received a ton of questions regarding the status of the resorts on the island. Here is a quick rundown of what we know as of now…

Gallows Point Resort

Gallows sustained a decent amount of damage during the hurricanes. It lost all 200 doors on the units, according to Akhil Deshwal, the resort’s general manager. The roof to Ocean 362 was also lost. The good news is that a lot of work has been done to the resort since Irma struck, and currently 40 of the 60 units are operational at this time. Those units are currently housing relief workers. Gallows has also kept on all of its staff and has paid them since the first hurricane hit. Akhil stated that all 60 units will be ready for Christmas and that Gallows Point is now accepting reservations from December 23rd on.

Please check out this quick message from Akhil:

Grande Bay

Grande Bay fared pretty well during the hurricanes although some units did take on some water damage. Bay Isles, the entity that controls the timeshare units, have cancelled all reservations through the end of 2017. The individual owners are taking reservations on a case-by-case basis and many will do so once power is restored. Grande Bay is currently housing numerous residents who were displaced by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Cruz Bay Hotel

Cruz Bay Hotel did not sustain any damage – how amazing is that!! They are currently filled with FEMA and Red Cross workers who have booked the hotel through the end of the month, according to Denise Walker, one of the hotel’s owners. Denise said they are fully operational – powering via generator and on city water – but are accepting reservations from November 1st on.

St. John Inn

The St. John Inn sustained heavy damage during the hurricanes. They lost their roof, but all guests were safe throughout the storm. They do plan to rebuild.

Caneel Bay

Caneel sustained heavy damage although the entire resort was not a loss. FEMA workers are currently staying on property. The roof at ZoZo’s was torn off. Caneel Bay just announced publicly that it will not reopen for the 2017-2018 season. It has also laid off its staff. Caneel Bay released the following statement earlier this week:

We thank you for the overwhelming support we have received from so many of you in the past few weeks.

We are heartbroken by the devastation caused to the island of St. John and the USVI following the Category 5 Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017, and then exacerbated by Category 4 Hurricane Maria on September 19th. Unfortunately, Caneel Bay Resort was also devastated and while we are happy to report all our employees survived the storm, Caneel Bay did not. Sadly, it is impossible to open for the 2017/2018 Season.

We are working diligently with Federal and local authorities to attend to the business realities necessary to rebuild Caneel Bay, which is critical to help rebuild the lives of the USVI citizens. After all, Caneel Bay is as much about the people as it is about the place.

Speaking on behalf of the entire resort team, we want to express our gratitude for the support you have shown us over the years and past few weeks. The Laurence Rockefeller legacy is one of champion and guardian of the community, which the Caneel Bay team has always honored. Now more than ever this is our commitment.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Caneel Bay Resort.

Please stay in touch by visiting us online at http://www.caneelbay.com or by email: [email protected]

Westin

The Westin resort also sustained heavy damage. The roof on the reception building, which also houses Knox & Ollie’s, was torn off. There was widespread structural and water damage throughout the resort, and several of Cruz Bay Watersports’ vessels landed on the beach. The resort has since laid off its staff and has cancelled reservations through June 30, 2018. Here is a a portion of a letter sent to the Westin timeshare owners:

As you are aware, the Caribbean and specifically the islands of St. John and St. Thomas were significantly affected by the recent hurricanes. Given the magnitude of these storms, it has taken time for us to assess the full impact on The Westin St. John Resort Villas and the local community. We understand your concern about your vacation ownership at the resort and want to assure you that we will keep you informed with the latest information as it becomes available.

During Hurricane Irma, our top priority was to ensure the safety and well-being of our Guests and Associates at the resort. Our 300 Guests and 37 Associates took shelter at the resort, where they remained safe with food, water and power. Shortly after the storm passed, we chartered a ferry to transport all Guests safely to Puerto Rico where they were able to return home. We are pleased to report that there were no serious injuries, however, many of our Associates’ homes and belongings have been destroyed. Through the company’s relief fund, we are providing support and assistance to help with their immediate and long-term needs. We continue to support the community by providing assistance to first responders and supplying fresh water to those on the island who may not otherwise have access.

The Westin St. John Resort Villas suffered structural damage and water inside the villas. Within a week, risk management and facilities professionals along with restoration and security contractors were on-site to assess the damage and secure the resort. Our cleanup efforts are underway and we are working on a timeline to complete the remediation efforts. We will continue to work closely with each Association’s Board of Directors and provide regular updates.

In order to proceed with these efforts, the recovery process requires the cancellation of all scheduled reservation arrivals through June 30, 2018. At this time, no new reservations are being accepted for 2018. As we make progress, we will communicate updates should these dates change.

Regarding the private villas and condos, many sustained damaged, many did not. Unfortunately there are too many villas on St. John for us to provide an update on each and everyone. I suggest contacting your individual property owner or management company regarding its status. And please, if you have an update on a particular villa or condo, leave it in the Comments section below.

Again, thank you all for your continued support of St. John. We all truly can feel the love. Have a wonderful Thursday.

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66 thoughts on “An Update on the Resorts”

  1. Casa La Famiglia Villa, our 5 bedroom home -4 King Master suites and 5th Bedroom for Kids which is over Klein Bay in Rendezvous Bay area (3 minutes east from the Westin) suffered no damage and we have a full-house generator. We are taking new reservations.

    Please visit our website below (we are advertisers for News Of St. John) to see our home and calendar.

    http://www.CasaLaFamiglia.com

    • Having just returned from St John I can only caution visitors to do their own research on whether the island is ready for them, rather than whether the calendar is open at any one villa. While the island relies on tourism, an influx of tourists while the infrastructure is being rebuilt does not help the rebuilding progress. Projections vary widely on when basic services such as power, water, groceries, banking, and transportation etc. will become reliable again. Disaster tourism is not needed, nor is competition with relief workers, locals, and other people involved in the rebuilding process. Please chose your visit dates wisely.

  2. Looking for update on Sunset Ridge Villas – do you have any info? Do you know if the Friends of the Park will hold their annual online auction in December?? Thank you!!

    • They have updates on their Facebook page. They sustained damage. Lost most windows and doors. They only lost a porch roof, they did not lose roofs to any units. It will take some time, but they will reopen. We stayed there this past summer and fell in love with it so I have been keeping an eye on their page.

    • Sunset Ridge sustained a good bit of damage in loss of windows and doors which allowed water in to destroy the furnishings and interiors. The pool area was also damaged. We are owners with 2 weeks in December and will not be able to stay in 2017, early 2018 does not look possible either. We are hoping to be back in 2018.

  3. I noticed a ton of villas in my “St. John Favorites” list on VRBO are now grayed out, which I take as destroyed or heavily damaged.

  4. St. John News advertisments from info private condos and villas. Question to the people who run condos and villas for rent. Why would people go to.an island were devastation is all over island. Contruction going on, limited on places to go to (beaches, bars, trails, other islands), tourists will just be in the way? Tourists want to help we really do, but wouldn’t it be best if the island legistlation mandate to take 6 months to a year off on promoting tourism for yourselves and get your homes and help others homes built and to be safe so you can function. People get the need for income but at who’s expense?

  5. I would specifically like to comment on the fact that GALLOWS POINT has kept on all of their staff and has paid them since the first hurricane. That, in and of itself, makes me want to stay there. What an amazing feat! Congratulations to Gallows Point for helping the community by keeping their employees employed.

    The article doesn’t specify whether Grande Bay kept employees on, but they are giving back to the community by allowing so many to stay in their safe units. Thank you, Grande Bay for giving back!

    Because of what Gallows is able to accomplish, it surprises me that the Westin, which has a flow of income from many other properties around the world, was unable to keep ANY staff on board. That’s really too bad, in my opinion.
    The news of Caneel laying off all of their workers is also surprising and disappointing. You mean to tell me the grounds crew can’t help with cleanup?

    Anyway, I would just like to send out a big THANK YOU to Gallows Point and Grande Bay.
    Love to all of you safe and working so hard to make things better!
    Lisa Rymer

    • Thank you for your comments Lisa and thank you for being a loyal reader over the years. 🙂 I just edited the post to say “its employees” as opposed to all. I know countless people at both resorts who have been laid off – both management and non management. Is it possible that one employee stayed on somewhere? Sure. That is why I removed the word “all”. Again, thank you. I can’t wait to have you back on island soon!!

      • Wanted to share this from my prior communication with Vistana / Westin St. John about 1-2 weeks after Irma.

        “Vistana and Interval Leisure Group (ILG) care greatly about the safety and well-being of our associates and their families in St. John. A Human Resources Service Center has been established on St. Thomas in order to communicate with associates who live on the island, and to provide them much needed supplies. To further aid them during this hardship, we have established the ILG Relief Fund, which provides emergency housing and support for those who have incurred significant loss.”

        I inquired if Westin owners could donate funding to ILG. That wasn’t possible but they recommended other relief organizations operating throughout USVI.

        I also recommended that when communications were restored that they offer Westin St. John employees first priority / first right of refusal of available positions at other Vistana (previously Starwood) resorts. Not sure it went anywhere, but at least I said something to corporate with that idea. 🙂

        Surprised at the layoffs and not keeping people on staff to help at the resort – like others posting here, I’m agree there is / will be a lot to be done but guessing that until the contractors get there to rebuild/rehab/repair, there isn’t much to do unless the Westin is housing relief workers (like other places on the island) then indeed, some personnel are needed.

      • Thank you for the clarification. I love Caneel Bay and am really disappointed that they couldn’t find a way to keep on most of the grounds staff to help with the work. The housekeeping and food teams are awesome as well and there was a donation/relief effort mounted on behalf of the employees but didn’t garner enough supprt. Sadly, that’s resorts for you – nice places but they’re all about the cash!

    • I couldn’t agree more Lisa. Truly disappointing to see Caneel Bay & The Westin lay off employees instead of having them participate in clean up. A big big salute to Gallows Point and Grande Bay as well. While we’re “villa” folks typically, we will consider staying at either of these when it’s time to return for this reason.

  6. I’m surprised and disappointed by staff layoffs at the Westin. There are a lot of great people that work there who we’ve gotten to know or at least recognize over the years. Maybe I’m way off base, but if the resort needs cleanup (debris removal from open spaces, villa cleanup, or housekeeping for people staying there) people would be willing to do that work vs. not having a job at all on top of possibly not having a home.

    We were hoping to visit at our usual time of Memorial Day week, but it was cancelled, so hopefully we’ll come back to the island later in the year or in 2019.

    Thanks for the updates Jen. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time. It’s great.

  7. Wondering if anyone has an update on Artistic villas?I was booked for November 4th, I’ve tried contacting the owners by phone and email, but no response yet…

  8. We are very thankful to report that our beloved house and rental villa, Waterfall, in Fish Bay sustained very minimal damage ( the gazebo and some railings were damaged). We have a large generator and hope to be fully functional, depending on when Fish Bay gets electricity back, by Jan. 2018.

    Thank you so much, Jenn, for your invaluable community service. We so appreciate your combination of honesty and optimism. We check your blog first thing every morning..

    Also want to add that we lived through Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 (which was terrible but, of course, not as terrible as Irma) and we know first hand how quickly nature regenerates and how the amazing St. John community mobilized back then, too. Paradise is not lost! St. John Strong.

  9. Glad to be back to reading your blog everyday with news of STJ but knowing that so many people are now out of work is hard to hear

  10. I know the condo we rented at Villa Caribe sustained water damage, but we were told it would be addressed by the end of the year. We had it booked for March 3-10, and are trying to decide if we should cancel. We want to come, but we also don’t want to be in the way. Trying to decide if March is far enough out.

  11. SERENDIP VACATION CONDOS
    We are starting the process of rebuilding the 10 vacation condo rentals. We sustained heavy damage, especially to the top units, because the roofs blew off both buildings during Irma. Then the rain from Maria caused more problems by over flooding the upper units which seeped down into the lower units.

    At this time, we are offering our guests 2 options: refund their deposit or a 15% discount on their total reservation to keep their deposit on hold with no expiration date.

    As Property Managers, we are very grateful that the owners are keeping us on payroll, along with the cleaning lady and her brother, the grounds keeper, who have worked for Serendip for over a decade.

    We are not accepting reservations at this time but have a target reopen date of March 1. Please check our website and Facebook page occasionally for updates!

    Trina and Brian Keene

    • So sad to hear about the damage to Serendip, but thrilled to hear that you plan to reopen in March, God willing. Am going to start thinking about when I want to come back…never have come to the island in spring, or early summer, but hey there is always a first time. And a big thank you Jennifer for posting all the updates.

  12. Owners/ Property Managers: If any villa owners are accepting reservations (for a party of 2) and have an availability from 12/20-1/4/2017, please let me know. I visit the island multiple times a year and always for Christmas/New Years. Unfortunately, our rental villa was totally devastated. We are hoping we do not have to cancel our flights, as we have signed up to volunteer for a few different organizations. St. John is very dear to our heart and we would like to come regardless of the devastation. I am having difficulty determining on VRBO which villas are fully functional. Thank you.

  13. Hoping our favorite little place Stone Harbor Cottage on Harold’s Way in Coral Bay is ok…
    Thank you for constant updates.
    MJ

  14. This is really disappointing. Fell in love with the island after staying at Caneel in July and had already planned more trips in my mind. (We’re not villa folk; I hate having to drive on vacations; so Caneel was perfect).

    One would hope that one of the benefits of the economies of scale provided by large resorts/large employers would be that they would start rebuilding FIRST, and then the economy would gain as their rebuilding workers would spend money at local establishments. Instead, it appears that the largest places are going to rebuild LAST, if ever.

  15. Does anyone have any information about Paradisiello Vacation Villa (formerly Dream Catcher)?? We have tried contacting the manager but no luck getting any response. Supposed to vacation there in February. Thank you for the updates, I look forward to seeing the progress.

  16. We are Booked at Seas Edge villa on rendezvous bay for January 8th. Was told the house had minimal damage but no word beyond that. We are also concerned that the house may be fine but will the island be ready for tourists? Anyone have any word on Seas Edge?

  17. Love reading all updates. All progress is phenomenal.
    It bothers me a bit to see some owners or managers of accommodations announcing dates of when they’ll be open for business in 2017. Gallows Point, for example.
    At this point, that is a very difficult promise to make: that they will start receiving guests on Dec 23. Villa and other tourist property owners need to follow Love City Strong and their message daily. They are plugged in to the latest, accurate info and meet with officials every day, touring the island, etc. Right now, the message is “do not come.” Anyone additional without a specific purpose or invitation is just in the way.
    Of course, the message MAY be different by Christmas, but to say now that people can come back starting Dec 23 is not looking at the larger picture and even a bit irresponsible. Just because one’s property is ready doesn’t mean the island is ready. I want to come back as much as anyone, but I won’t until there is a clear message that the rock can handle all of us.
    Keep on truckin, STJ.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Love City Strong is an amazing group and they are on the forefront of our island’s recovery and rebuilding efforts. Their message is clear, and I support them and their message 100 percent.

  18. Thank you for the updates. We take a family trip every year with our family to St.John. We have dined both at the Westin and at Caneel Bay and have stayed at Caneel Bay. So sad to see that most employees have lost their jobs.
    Anyone have any updates on any of the Viva Villas by any chance?

  19. Has anyone heard from Sea Shore Allure? Delrise and Delbert? We just met them this summer….they have a beautiful place

  20. Does anyone know what’s happening at Concordia? Haven’t heard many reports about the Coral Bay side of the islands….Are the roads to Coral Bay drivable?

    • Yes the roads are drivable. Concordia sustained considerable damage. From what I saw, it looks like all of the units were destroyed or pretty close to destroyed.

  21. Does anyone know about a property in Coral Bay owned by Annie Harris? We have made 4 attempts to contact her without success. The property manager has also tried to contact this home owner as well unsuccessfully. We are scheduled to be in St. John January 13 2018. We are also previous hurricane survivors and very sympathetic to the people of USVI. Our thoughts have been with you. Would appreciate any information you might have.

  22. Wondering if anyone has heard or seen the status of Palladios View on Calabash Boom? We rented for November through a leasing agency. They have very limited info & haven’t been helpful & we have no way to reach out to the owners ourselves. Hoping to reschedule for sometime in 2018.

  23. My husband and I have stayed in St. John 3x and would come back and volunteer our labor to clean up and recovery. We have already contributed monetarily but if there is a way to contribute in free labor for the benefit of the Island, we sure would be happy to lend a hand.

  24. Hello,
    Could someone please update me on the status of VI Friendship Villa? We’ve lost communication with the management co. Cimmaron. We are praying everyone is OK. Does anyone know how to contact the owners? We are scheduled for a Dec. trip. Thank you very much & God bless.

  25. Rebecca’s Fancy at Hansen Bat is my parents place. They have some damage and solar power damage. So they have limited power. Been on contract with them. Threw email only.

  26. The Love Palace (vacationrentalstjohn.com) sustained only minor cosmetic damage and will be ready for guests in the next month! Our villa is 3 bedroom, 2 bath and can sleep up to 8 people.

  27. Joy of Life Villa, with two private units ideal for couples, 180 views in Coral Bay, is open as of Christmas week. We are solid concrete home and decks, and will be running on either whole-house generator or solar (ordering the solar as we speak). We have no neighboring properties with construction noise. We firmly believe in the progress being made today and the benefits tourism will have for St. John. We have flights, ferries, groceries, restaurants, north shore road now open, and power being restored soon. We are a small, family run villa and this is our sole income, so we welcome our guests and thank them for helping bring jobs back to our island.

  28. Has anyone heard from Kristen Cox of St John Ultimate Villas? We had booked Villa Darcini for Christmas and have not been able to reach her. We have no news if the Villa’s condition either.

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