As most everyone knows this has been a challenging year for Oyster Bay Beach Resort (OBBR) and the many individuals who make the resort a special destination. The following is a comprehensive report of the current status of OBBR and describes Iron Shore Management’s plans to restore the resort to a world-class property.
On October 10, 2017, Josh, Mike and the resort’s architect, Joe Sistler, flew to St. Maarten on the first commercial flight to find the terminal had been heavily damaged during the storm. Reports state that Princess Juliana International Airport will be fully restored in nine months. Currently, Delta and American have reestablished daily service to St. Maarten. Also, Jet Blue is offering flights directly from New York twice a week. Islanders had organized an impromptu welcome for passengers and the Island remains hungry for visitors.
The destructive effects of Irma were evident on our ride to OBBR. However, there is a great deal of activity as people repair their homes, and government and private contractors clear the debris from the roads. Stores are opening in Phillipsburg and Simpson Bay and banks are open with functioning ATMs. Several restaurants have reopened, with more on the way, including our own Infinity Restaurant, Lounge and Bar. We reopened for business on November 1, and are keeping weekend hours, which has been a great morale boost for the Island as well as employees. There is an unquestionable commitment in St. Maarten, and among its citizens, to be a great Caribbean vacation destination once again. Restoring St. Maarten to its pre-hurricane luster is everyone’s goal.
Our on-site management staff, along with Josh, Mike, and Joe, as well as insurance adjusters, contractors, and architects, has inspected the resort. Each unit was assessed to fully understand the extent and scope of the damage. This has allowed us to formulate a plan for opening the resort as soon as possible. It was decided that the best approach to reconstruction was to divide the work into phases with the least affected areas of the resort getting first attention. Thankfully, the lesser-affected portion includes the reception building, Mainsail, and the Marina front units 15-18.
Plan for the Future: 2018
Our schedule calls for opening the first renovated 64 units to owners and guests by June 1, however that schedule is subject to change. Phase I of the reconstruction will consist of opening 40 units in the Mainsail building, 15 units in buildings 15-18, 9 units in the Pool Front buildings 31 and 32, the Infinity Restaurant (which is already operating), resurfacing the swimming pool and renovating the check-in lobby.
Phase II will include the 48 units in the oceanfront buildings (20 through 30). Phase III will consist of the 54 units of the garden/marina view buildings (33 through 41). We are working with architects and contractors to accurately determine the cost and schedule to repair the entire resort. We hope to complete phase II and III by the end of 2018. However, the timeline is subject to change based on the availability of labor, material, and equipment.
Additionally, we are working with the adjusters to mutually determine the amount of the insurance claim and obtain an interim advance so that work may proceed as quickly as possible. We are under contract for much of phase I work and plan to operate as a boutique resort as further work continues to allow owners to once again enjoy the best of the property. We don’t expect work on phase II or III to impact visitors or their enjoyment of the resort.
Employee Fundraising Effort
The GoFundMe (GFM) web page facilitated by management raised a total of $165,491. In addition, $12,500 was received from two private donors, for a total of $177,991 raised for employees to rebuild their lives here on St. Maarten. The donated monies were distributed to 151employees on a needs basis determined by the on-island management staff.
The employees are very grateful and are putting the money to work immediately. We were all very thankful for the support and sentiments expressed by our owners and others. A second GFM was established by a grateful Colorado couple who spent the night of Irma with us. They raised an additional $14,500, which was also distributed to the employees.
The reservations department has been reestablished on Island and is taking most of the calls from Owners. They report that many owners want to bank their week with OBBR to be used in the future when the resort reopens. Others have opted to vacation elsewhere and are seamlessly exchanging their weeks, through Interval International, to any comparable resort through the world. As we get closer to completing phase I, we will open reservations for those units and hope to be able to give three months notice for reservations. We are all committed to reopening the restored resort to serve our owners.
We thank the owners who are overwhelmingly, continuing to support Oyster Bay Beach Resort and we’re confident that your patience will be rewarded with an exceptional restoration of the great vacation destination we all know and love.
Please continue to check our website for future progress reports.