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Progress Report, September 27, 2017

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The Island is making substantial progress in its recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma. Roads have been cleared of debris, and major clean-up efforts are underway Island-wide with the island looking much improved in a relatively short period of time. Supermarkets have reopened, and the food and water supply are back to pre-Hurricane level. Electric and water have been restored to most areas of St. Maarten including to our Resort. We have public water to all areas of the Resort that are capable of accepting the water through undamaged plumbing. GEBE has brought public power to our gates, and we will be able to resume public power after we make repairs to a few switches and electrical connections for us to safely accept the public electricity.

Our staff is working very hard to clean-up the Resort. After taking a substantial number of photographs and preparing written reports of the damage for insurance purposes, we have formed project work teams to tackle debris removal in various areas of the Resort. Our initial focus is to remove standing water from the units and common areas and dispose of furniture, fixtures, rugs and construction debris that is saturated with water and unusable. We are also trying to preserve the drywall by removing the bottom layer of sheetrock that was submerged in water to prevent mold. We are also pruning the trees, shrubs and flower beds with the hope that we can save much of the lush landscaping that we have enjoyed over the years.

Our architects and claim adjusters are aggressively moving forward with the damage assessment and claim preparation. We are also interviewing contractors and construction management firms to begin the reconstruction cost assessment and timeline for completion of the rebuilding of the Resort. We still have a long way to go but we are working hard to get the process started as our goal is to be one of the first Resorts to break ground on the rebuilding efforts

The initial damage reports indicate that about half of the units need to be fully reconstructed. The remaining units require something less than a full reconstruction with some needing relatively superficial repairs. Most need some if not all furniture replacement. We hope to divide the work so that the lighter work can be accomplished by our local contractors who have been renovating and rebuilding units for us for the last seven years and have done an excellent job. We think the partially damaged units can be fully repaired by these contractors. It would also give a head start to the schedule of when we can once again accept guests. We’re hoping to open the first units in 9 months, but that is a very preliminary estimate. Once we receive bids, we’ll be able to predict more accurately if that goal can be met. The more damaged units would be bid out to several larger contractors. We are preparing the documents, plans, and specifications necessary to put out a Request for Bids. We will be depending on the availability of skilled labor and materials which will be affected by the other areas struck by Hurricanes as they may be competing for the same resources. Once we receive bids for the more intensive work, we’ll be able to better estimate the schedule for full availability in a completely restored resort.

The GoFundMe page, seeking to raise money for the employees has been quite successful, reaching $107,000 as of this writing. We expect to receive more as donations are still coming in. We and the employees are more than grateful for the outpouring of sentiment, compliments, and prayers for the staff and resort as well as the generosity of the donors. We are all deeply moved and appreciative. The success of the fundraising effort and the comments being made spur us on to fully focus on the date when we can once again accept as guests the wonderfully generous people who donated on the page as well as all of our owners and fans.

Our senior management is compiling information on the employee’s situations to determine what portion of the fund should go to each. Criteria include; amount and urgency of need, wage earned by the employee, tenure and other factors to be determined, as we progress in the process. Full and complete disclosure will be made after the money has been distributed. To donate, please visit GoFundMe.com/OysterBay or click on the button below.

https://www.gofundme.com/oysterbay/
We have been taking many calls at our home office and at the resort (phones and electricity have been restored) from owners who want to find alternative accommodations during the reconstruction period or bank their usage with OBBR or Interval until we reopen. We have also worked out an arrangement with Interval International for our owner’s to use accommodations in the following Interval International Premier rated Resorts;

  1.  Sheraton Vistana Villages and Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando, Florida
  2.  Bliss Jungle and the Grand Bliss in Riviera Maya, Mexico
  3.  The Mayan Palace and Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta
  4.  The Grand Mayan in Puerto Penasco



We have been able to fill every request for a trade through Interval International. As you can see, Interval International has been very supportive through this process and assure us that they will continue to work with us to find alternative accommodations for our owners until we can re-open the Resort. They also made a substantial donation to the employee aid fund.

As we progress and have reliable information on our plan, we will update this site.

Thank you again for your generosity and patience,

Michael Dolente
Josh Gold
Managing Directors.

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The Rebuilding Process

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Temporarily Closed for Repairs

Due to Hurricane Irma, Oyster Bay Beach Resort and our sister property Coral Beach Club are currently closed. Thankfully, all of our resort guests and staff are safe. Unfortunately, the resort suffered major damage and will remain closed until repairs can be made. We plan to rebuild the resort as soon as possible. We are looking forward to the day when the resort will be restored to its original beauty and serenity. We can’t estimate when the resort will reopen at this time, but we will continue to update this page as progress is made.

Please donate to our Island Staff

On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma made a direct hit on the Island of St. Maarten. Oyster Bay Beach Resort was hosting 148 guests at the time. Several staff members remained at the resort to take care of guests and ensure their safety rather than attend to their own homes–many of which were severely damaged during the storm.

We have established a GoFundMe page to collect money to aid the resort staff to address their personal loses. The donations will be collected and distributed directly to the staff, in accordance with their needs, by the resort managing directors Josh Gold and Mike Dolente. The needs will be assessed by the Oyster Bay Beach Resort’s senior management team residing on St. Maarten. They will make recommendations as to the disbursement of the funds. The urgency of this funding cannot be overstated–the island is trying to emerge from the Hurricane damage, and many have little to restart their lives. There are many whose homes are so damaged they are seeking shelter from us at the resort. Please consider donating to these selfless individuals, many of whom you know so that they can restore safety and security to their homes.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated. Please visit GoFundMe.com/OysterBay or click on the button below.

https://www.gofundme.com/oysterbay/
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Bulletin #6, 6:30PM EDT, September 14, 2017 (revised) Please note: we have revised the phone numbers in this post to our toll free number: 866-297-6978

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Dear Oyster Bay Beach Resort Owners and other Fans,

As we have successfully evacuated all of our guests safely and expeditiously, we are now focusing on the care and well-being of our staff and the rebuilding process. It is still too early to say how long the rebuilding process will take and when we will be able to reopen. We are in contact with our insurance carriers, we have assembled our team, and we are totally engaged in gathering the information needed to process the claim. We are identifying qualified General Contractors to bid on the work and are preparing an RFB package for submission when the extent of the damage is completely identified.

We understand that our timeshare members are interested in the opportunities available to them for their usage rights during the reconstruction period. We have worked out an agreement with Interval International that assures our owners there will be weeks available for exchange at another resort in the Interval International system during the reconstruction period. Our owners also have the option of banking their available use rights with our customer service department for future vacations at OBBR when we re-open. In order to make your exchange with Interval or bank your usage, please call our customer service department in Blue Bell, Pa until we can re-open our reservation department on St. Maarten. Our Blue Bell phone number is 866-297-6978; from 8:30- 5 PM M-F. We will assign a reservation number that will allow you to complete your exchange through Interval International. The Interval International reservationists should be ready no later than tomorrow to accept reservation numbers and complete the exchange. For those people seeking to internally bank their usage for 2017, we have extended the banking deadline until November 15, 2017

We are currently housing 40 employees and families at the resort. Public electricity, while still not to OBBR, is gradually spreading out from the main plant and lighting the neighborhoods. We have one generator working for half the resort and hope to have the other one working soon to cover the whole resort. Water is still being supplied by bottled water. The food supply is sufficient at the present time thanks to General Manager Ricardo Perez securing a food supply from Puerto Ricco.

The Dutch Marines and local police have restored order on the Island. OBBR’s staff is intensely involved with cleaning up the Resort before major repairs are started. Included in this Bulletin are photos taken of the resort today after three days of intensive cleaning and piling up the debris. This clean-up is essential for many reasons, not the least of which is the boost in morale of our staff. Putting a little sparkle back in the Resort certainly provides hope and a sense of accomplishment as we move forward with the rebuilding effort one-step-at-a-time.

We understand that there is a tremendous desire for owners and other fans of OBBR to donate money to help with the aid of our employees as well as the Island as a whole. There are several GoFundMe pages for donations already established privately. We’re working on establishing a charity that can accept contributions which are deductible to the donor which hopefully will increase the number and amount of donations. We don’t know if that can be done quickly enough to help the most in need. If we can’t get it done quickly, we will establish our own GoFundMe page or some other way to make donations.

There is a photo included in the attached images that shows some of the staff saying hello to their favorite Americans and Canadians. There are many on social media asking about our employees. Hopefully, the smiling faces in this picture relieves some of the anxiety our owners feel about their friends on St. Maarten. We are determined to bring back their homes, the Island, and our Resort.

Further Bulletins to follow as we have facts to report.

Remember anyone trying to get an exchange needs to call our Blue Bell Office at 866-297-6978.

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Bulletin #5. September 11, 6 PM, EDT

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Dear Oyster Bay Beach Resort Owners and other fans and guests of the Resort,

As all of our guests have departed from the Island, we are in the process of accessing the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. We are also working on a plan to begin reconstruction. Many of our employees have suffered damage or destruction to their homes, so we have invited many to stay with us. Currently, we have 60 employees staying at the Resort. Each of these employees is in need of shelter, food, and water, which we are providing.

The security situation is improving as relief supplies, and assistance is brought to the island from Holland. Our security personnel from Sheriff Security are on their posts. In addition, we have private security people working directly with Management and patrolling the property.

Most of the employees are engaged in a massive clean- up effort to remove debris from around the resort which will help us in our damage assessment and improve the appearance of the resort. Preliminary pictures and reports show substantial damage to many of the older buildings but less damage to the Mainsail Building. The Light House, including its glass dome, held up reasonably well given the power of the storm. We cannot provide details on the loss until we complete our damage assessment. When we receive more detailed information concerning the reconstruction efforts, we will share it with you on a timely basis. We know everyone is anxious to learn of the timeline for reconstruction and the damage assessment. Rest assured, we are totally focused on getting this information to you in a responsible and timely basis. We will communicate this information to you through this site.

We continue to supply emergency generator power to half of the resort. The electric company engineers have been to the resort to inspect our electric lines as they intend to bring power to our area. We can’t estimate how long it will take to restore electricity, but as they have already brought electricity to the Hospital and the surrounding areas, we hope it is soon. It is reported that GEBE is making fresh, potable water at the water desalinization plant and are starting to distribute it to certain regions. However, we have not received water from the central water company and are drinking from bottled water. The combination of operating water and electrical plants would be a great improvement as well as a sign that the island infrastructure is prepared for the size of the reconstruction effort needed to bring the island back to its pre-hurricane level.

We are working on a plan to ensure that owners can have their vacations accommodated at other resorts until OBBR re-opens. As we work out the details, we will publish them on this site.

We will keep you informed of the extent of damage and the plan to restore Oyster Bay Beach Resort to its former beautiful state and how long that will take.

Best Wishes,

Michael Dolente
Joshua Gold

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News Bulletin #4, 3 PM September 9

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Dear Friends, concerned relatives of our guests, owners and other OBBR fans,

It is with profound relief that we can report that as of 2 PM today, all but two of our remaining guests boarded planes for several different airports and will eventually reach their homes safe and sound. We started out with 148 guests who weathered Irma. We are in the process of calling the families and loved ones to inform them of the conclusion of a very intense and difficult week. As there are many calls to make it may take some time before all of the families are notified. The story has a happy outcome because of the incredible persistence of Anne Marie Brooks Mientje Brown, Lorenzo Bryan and other staff who spent the last week working around the clock to get everyone out of St. Maarten without a thought of their own well-being or the condition of their homes. The obstacles to even get to the airport were daunting. They overcame every roadblock (some literally) as well as two overturned 50’ sailboats blocking our entrance road. They pushed through, and their unwillingness to take no for an answer and unfaltering persistence paid off for all of us. They are the heroes who brought 146 of our guests out of St. Maarten. They are now at the resort caring for our two special Canadian guests and intend to get them on the next plane out. Our other 25 staff who stayed for the week of the storm to care for our guests were also incredible. They did a great job, and we are grateful to all of them.

Hurricane Jose has been downgraded to a tropical storm event on St. Maarten as it turns North into the Atlantic. It is not forecast to threaten the Mainland US. It will add misery to the residents on St. Maarten but hopefully no further damage. Our next Bulletin will discuss the effect of Jose after it passes.

As for OBBR, it has been significantly damaged but still stands and will be rebuilt. We are already working on plans to get this done. We will be on the first flight down with our Architect, engineer and Interior Designer. It is a daunting task but one that we take on with enthusiasm. We have wonderful and dedicated timeshare owners who have already been reaching out to us in great numbers to ask how they can help. It is heart-warming to see the care and concern that our owners have for our staff and their “home away from home.” We look forward to our owners returning home as soon as possible. We won’t know the extent of the damage, the cost to rebuild or the time frame for its completion until we can get on the island and meet with our insurance adjusters and contractors. We will be providing regular updates as we progress in the process. Many owners and other lovers of OBBR have expressed a desire to donate money to help the employees and the Island. We are working on developing a plan for this effort and will provide more information in our next update.

We are also pleased that although the employees suffered much property damage from Irma, all are reported to be safe and unhurt. Communications are still difficult, and we don’t know when they will be restored so getting in touch with them directly may be difficult. We have confidence that the St. Maarten Government is already working to restore the vital infrastructure.

Thank you to all for bearing with us and for the gratifying comments many of you have posted on the internet. Hopefully, when your loved ones tell the story (which they will), they will have positive things to say about those employees who volunteered to stay with them all week. Special thanks go to Anne Marie Brooks, Mientje Brown and Lorenzo Bryan, three of the most dedicated and selfless people we know. We are proud to have them on our senior management team.

We are extremely relieved that all of our guests are off the Island and we weathered the worst storm in the history of the Western Hemisphere without any injuries to anyone in our extended family. Our real work to restore our resort can start now.

Watch this site for further news as we progress in our drive to reopen the Resort as soon as possible.

Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Florida and Georgia. We wish them the best and hope everyone is safe!!!

Mike Dolente
Joshua Gold
Managing Directors

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News Bulletin #3 6:30 PM, EDT September 8 (revised)

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Dear Concerned Friends and Relatives of OBBR Guests,

It has come to our attention through social media that people are reporting that the situation at OBBR is strained and food supplies are running out. This information is incorrect. We are in regular communication with our Managers on the Island who report that the food and water supplies are sufficient. We have established generator power to portions of the resort. The electricity will work in the kitchen of our restaurant so the freezers will work and the food will not spoil. The electricity will also allow us to light half of our resort including the entrance road which is manned by our private security force.

It has also been reported that there is widespread looting on St. Maarten. The Dutch Marines, who flew in today, man check points along major roads with the help of the local police. The Dutch Marines are also distributing food and water to the general population.

We are feverishly trying to arrange air -lift off of St. Maarten for our guests through various channels. We are trying to do it as soon as possible. We are dedicating all of our efforts to get our guests off the Island. We have had some success in our efforts. Twenty-Two of our guests were flown off the Island tonight. Their families are being notified by our corporate office and advised of their flight. We are hampered by the lack of lights at the main airport in Phillipsburg as well as the approach of Hurricane Jose. We will continue to work to get all of our guests off the Island as soon as possible. We will continue to update flight information as soon as we can confirm flights out have been assigned to our guests.

We have picked up medicine from a Pharmacy for the guests who are in need of medication resupply. We are advised by our Assistant Manager, Anne Marie Brooks, that all guest medication needs can be met.

Hurricane Jose is predicted to pass near St. Maarten on Saturday afternoon and evening. We are preparing for the storm and if the need arises we will be in a position to shelter our guests in a windowless, concrete area of our restaurant where they will be safe and secure during the storm. Maximum winds should occur between 2 PM and 6 PM. Current forecasts from NOAA Hurricane Center indicate that Jose is shifting to the North and as of 5 PM was not expected to make landfall on any island. We are hoping that St. Maarten will experience only a Tropical Storm with a much lower wind speed and rain content than Irma. All of our guests will be safely accommodated during the storm.

Our managers and staff are reporting that our guests are holding up well in difficult conditions. We are enormously grateful for the strength and resiliency of the people who are sharing a very difficult time. Everyone, including our dedicated staff, is pulling together and taking care of one another. We can’t be more thankful for their courage, which is a true measure of their character.

We will post to this site any further information as soon as we receive it.

Michael Dolente
Joshua Gold

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News Bulletin #2 6:30 PM, EDT September 7

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The Island continues to work to recover from the direct hit by Hurricane Irma. By now most of you have seen films of St. Maarten on the news. The Island infrastructure, as well as many houses and businesses, were badly damaged. It is reported that the Dutch Marines have landed by ship with food, water, and equipment to first take care of the needs of the population and then to start to bring back essential services such as the airport, electricity, and water. Not being in direct communication, we have not yet confirmed that they have in fact arrived.

The telephone service (land line and cell) to our area is still out. Our communications with the Resort are sporadic. What we can report is that our on island management team led by Anne Marie Brooks, Mientje Brown and Lorenzo Bryan are doing an outstanding job caring for the 148 owners and guests who remain on the island after the storm. Mientje Brown is attending an emergency government meeting in Phillipsburg to discuss all aspects of the recovery efforts and hopefully, determine the time frame for reopening the airport and restoring essential services to the island. At this time we have not had a report back from the meeting, so we are unable to communicate to you the government’s plans.

Our first concern is for the safe evacuation of our 148 guests. We have 25 staff on site, including security guards, ensuring they get food, water, safety and other necessities. We have been told that the Dutch Military is repairing the runway at the airport in order for Military transport planes to deliver food and water to the people. It is our understanding that the military is working feverishly to restore air service to the island. As soon as we obtain more information for outbound flights, we will publish it on this site. We are making the strongest effort possible to evacuate the guests on the first flights out. We have already arranged transportation to the airport and have confirmed that the road to the airport is clear.

The guests are safely sheltered at the Resort and have ample provisions. We know that they are anxious to get home.

We will post another report as soon as we hear the results of the meeting with the government.

Michael Dolente
Joshua Gold

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News Bulletin from Oyster Bay Beach Resort, September 6, 6:30 PM:

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001-Pool-daytimeWe are pleased to report that all guests, employees and other visitors are safe with no reported injuries. We are extremely proud of and thankful for our dedicated managers and staff for their heroic efforts in making sure that everyone was able to safely weather a very powerful and dangerous storm.

The phone service still doesn’t work at OBBR but is functional in other parts of the Island. We don’t know when communications to Oyster Bay will be restored, but we expect it to be within 24 hours. The airport is currently closed, and we don’t know when it will reopen. It is a top priority for the Island Government to reopen the airport so the Island guests can be safely evacuated. We will report on its re-opening as soon as we hear. We know that there are anxious people who would like to leave as soon as possible.

The Resort suffered significant damage that will take some time to repair and rebuild. We are very anxious to begin the process as we are totally committed to rebuilding and repairing the entire resort. We are already making plans to do so. The Managing Directors along with our architect and interior designer intend to be on the first flight into St. Maarten to plan, along with the Island staff and Managers, the rebuilding of OBBR. We do not know yet when we will be able to begin taking reservations for guests, exchangers, and owners but we will make every effort to open the resort as soon as possible. We will know more after we fully evaluate the condition of the resort and vital infrastructure.

We are in touch with Interval International who is committed to finding alternative accommodations for your vacations as we begin the rebuilding phase. We will provide more detail on how to make a reservation at another resort through Interval International in the next several days. We look forward to the completion of the reconstruction and making Oyster Bay an even better resort than before Irma. We will provide regular updates as we learn more about the condition of the property and the time frame for the re-opening.

Best wishes to all:

Mike Dolente
Joshua Gold
Managing Directors

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Hurricane Irma Update

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At about 6 am Wednesday morning, September 6th, Hurricane Irma passed over the Island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, as a Category 5 Hurricane.  As typically occurs when a significant hurricane passes an island, the electricity and telephone lines are shut down. We are doing our best to re-establish communication, but experience shows that this may take a little time. As soon as additional information is available, we will update the web site to provide relevant information for all those concerned.
Thank you for your patience.
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Mainsail: Refreshed and Rejuvenated

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The new in-room upgrades in the Mainsail Pavilion make the view inside the room nearly as spectacular as the view outside.

All units available to reserve in the Mainsail Pavilion, including the exclusive, premium penthouse apartments, are undergoing substantial renovations. New, high-quality furniture, fixtures and fabrics have already been ordered. The new colors are warm, inviting and relaxing — Caribbean charm at its best.MainsailMoodboard_v3

These renovations are scheduled to be completed in the next few months as part of our on-going refurbishment and renewal of all of Oyster Bay Beach Resort. 

We have listened to your feedback and ensured that these spaces will delight visitors with unique, beautiful artwork and attention to detail. We’re excited for our owners and guests to enjoy these re-envisioned luxury units.

Reserving a newly renovated unit in Mainsail means you’ll enjoy all the modern-day amenities you deserve. Including a flat screen TV, DVR player, free high-speed Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping attention, and more.

These spaces are in high-demand, so be sure to make your reservations early. Contact Paolo LoCastro (plocastro@obbr.com) to explore quarter share and weekly timeshare availability.