Westin Will Not Reopen Until 2019

The Westin pool in 2014
The Westin pool in 2014

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 protected] 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.

Thorp Thomas
Senior Vice President

39 thoughts on “Westin Will Not Reopen Until 2019”

  1. As an owner, I also received the letter and greatly disappointed. Will plan for 2019. Wish they would give us a few more photos as to the progress being made. Glad they are able to keep a number of staff on board.

  2. I am at a loss how it can take so long for such an establishment to reopen. I’m sure I just don’t understand the monumental task at hand, but this is so sad for the island.

  3. Wow. What a shock. We also got the same letter.
    We thought they would open this spring.
    With all the guests that rode out the storm at the Westin and documented their stay on YouTube, it didn’t seem like there was that much damage.

    • Hello, Malcolm. I have lived in the Virgin Islands for nearly 40 years and just wanted to share with you, that if you have never been in a catagory 5+++++ hurricane, you cannot imagine the damage. I was devastated after the hurricanes. My house smashed and ruined. I thought it was bad in St. Thomas with having not one leaf on any tree. Grass even ripped from the ground. roofs missing, tornados everywhere, etc. etc. etc. I thought it was bad here until I went to St. John. St. John was smashed! I started crying the minute I got off the ferry and out of Cruz Bay. Maybe it seemed “not that bad” but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  4. We are owners of 2 weeks there and are so sad, not to miss the annual vacation, but becuase of its effect on tourism dollars to the island. For those that can. please try and stay at a villa or inn on the island. We have to help our island friends recover by bringing tourism back when they are ready for us.

  5. I just spoke to Vistana, couple of points:
    You can not convert your weeks to SPG points
    You do have to still pay 50% of your maintenance fees.

    The main problem is they waited so long to cancel the rest of the year, we can’t get reservations at any other island location. They are all sold out. So basically I am told I can bank 3 weeks of St John, I don’t have that much vacation time. Would be nice though. So the basic response to the owners is you have other options, just not SPG.

    Not very happy.

  6. This is a major blow for the St. John economy. This will probably put over half the rental car companies out of business. Now is a great time to buy a low mileage Jeep and ship it to the states. All the restaurants and stores will also suffer greatly from this. The Westin brought in a huge amount of people.

    • I don’t believe we should have to pay ANY maintenance fees because we are not able to use the resort at all in 2018. We didn’t buy at the Westin St. John to trade to other resorts. And other resorts are already full booked. We have 7 weeks that are unusable. No other business expects payment for services they cannot deliver (especially at this late date).
      Bette B

      • as far as no other businesses expecting payment for services never rendered….Not exactly true. We booked a villa (Villa Serendipity) for our wedding party as well as Rhumb Lines restaurant for our reception, neither of which will return our deposits for services never rendered.

      • Bette, the people who live on St John have just went through total devastation! You are fortunate to have the means to vacation on their beautiful island. Your contract does not cover “an act of GOD”!! Why don’t you take into consideration what these people went through! If you own 7 weeks, I’m pretty sure you can afford the maintenance fees! Don’t you have other 1st World problems to worry about?

  7. I was not aware of the option (allowance?) of paying only 50% of maintenance fees. Is this for real? Did I miss it in the letter Vistana sent out?

    Thanks, Terry

  8. I think there is much more to this story then the Westin will tell. It sounds like maybe they did not have enough insurance and now they are making up for it by keeping the resort closed and just collecting 50% of the fees from all the owners. If you do the math it’s a huge income stream for a resort that is closed with most all of the staff laid off! I have been to the island 3 times now since the hurricane. Yes, they sustained damage but not enough to be closed for 15 months! Gallows point also sustained a lot of damage and was in the middle of building a new pool and patio. They managed to fix almost all the units and finish the pool, it may not be 100% perfect but they are open and continue repair and improve. I would rather stay in not 100% perfect then spend 50% and get nothing. I think the Westin took the easy most profitable way out for them. Its hard to believe they could not open 80% of the resort much sooner even in a few months and take more time to fix the units that had more severe damage. The majority of the resort did not sustain structural damage. Looking at the resort today 80% of the building and the property look fine. I feel sorry for the people who will lose 2 vacations!

      • Thank you News of St John! I’ve never witnessed so many self entitled people only think of themselves! I had my vacation cancelled due to the devastation, but my first thought is with the people of St John! Please don’t pay attention to all of the idiots on here that complain that they’re unable to take a vacation! As an owner, I’m understanding and I stand with the people of St John and understand that this is bigger than me and my vacation! God Bless!

  9. Log into your Vistana account and check your dashboard under Owners Associations you will see Maintenance fees. Mine are a little more than half what they where last year. Also got a letter in the mail last week with the fees and detail of the reduction, this can just before the news of the plan not to reopen until 2019. When 2019 arrives we will have three weeks to use so our plan is to stay twice and then sell off a week.

  10. We also had a wedding booked in December. And postphoned until 2 weeks from today!, March 25. Everyone has been so helpful and grateful for our return. We booked a couple of places through catered to. They have been wonderful and even helped us get off season rates like we would,have had in December one private owner at gallows point wasn’t so nice to a couple of our guests. Wanted to charge more and wouldn’t return their deposits. So there goes that recommendation from us ever !, we can’t wait to get there. This will be out 5th year. visiting First wedding!!

  11. Is there any hope that the Westin St. John USVI Resort can open BEFORE January 2020? Our family of 14 have been vacationing in St. John for over a decade, weeks 51 and 52. Would like to know what the possibility of opening the Westin two weeks before the projected 1/2020 date. Please let us know what the chances are, or, because of tax or insurance considerations, is the Westin blocked into the 2020 date?

  12. Due in part to the hurricane damages, but mostly a result of health issues I am looking to sell my ownership in St. John, Sunset Bay Villas, at $.25 on the dollar. Email me if interested.
    Phil Mayeaux
    [email protected]

  13. This article about the reopening of the Westin is dated December 2017. I woul dlike to know if they did indeed open on January 4, 2019. We are vacationing in St. John in February and have always enjoyed visiting the Westin.
    Thank you!

  14. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, let alone the content!

  15. obviously like your web site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will certainly come back again.

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