As the year of 2017 comes to a close, we look back on the disaster that was Irma three months ago and are encouraged and excited with the great strides we’ve made as a resort, an Island, and a people. The Island is continuing to accelerate its return to normalcy. Every day sees the reopening of restaurants, shops, and activity centers. Grand Case recently opened four of its most famous restaurants, and Main Street Case is taking shape. The Boardwalk is open in Phillipsburg as are many of the shops and bars. The casinos, hospital, banks, schools, social services, and many other institutions are open again. Through Christmas weekend and until Boxing Day (December 26th) there were five cruise ships in port with 10,000 passengers. Travel to the Island is getting easier, the airport is open, and the terminal is being repaired.
The Oyster Bay Marina, which suffered moderate damage, is under repair. It is operational now with Captain Alan ready to resume his snorkeling trips to serve the already blossoming tourist industry. Many other water sports activities, a mainstay of St. Maarten’s tourist industry, are being restored. The Heineken Regatta is scheduled in St. Maarten for early March, rhino rides and scuba diving trips are being booked, and the demand for Mega- Yacht slips is strong.
Reconstruction and restoration of the Resort continues at full speed. There are currently four construction trades working to complete the 68 units in phase I by June 1, 2018, consisting of all of the Mainsail units, Marina Front buildings 15-18, buildings 31 and 32, as well as the Lobby/ Check-in, the spa, gym, laundry, and shipwreck shop. The contractors have repaired more than half the rooms in phase I, and we are ahead of schedule. The roofing contractor has completed the Lobby/Check-in building and is about to start work on the Mainsail roof and other roofs in phase I.
We have ordered, where needed, new air conditioners, sliding glass doors and windows, new balcony and stairwell railings, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, furniture, appliances, elevators for the Mainsail building, a new back-up generator system and lighting and plumbing fixtures. In addition, we are repairing the infinity pool and jacuzzi which will have a more modern, luxurious and comfortable feel with an updated pool deck and rock wall feature. We are also taking this opportunity to improve the Resort by replacing all of the sliding glass doors, frames, and windows in the older buildings to match the strength of the Mainsail windows and doors. These higher grade windows and doors are engineered to withstand much more storm force than the older windows and doors. We have started to reconstruct the pool deck and should be completed in January. The pool was undamaged but is getting a resurfacing and new coping stones and tile. The concrete deck is being replaced with non-slip shell stone/brick pavers.
We are on schedule for Phase II and III. We have selected the prime contractor after obtaining numerous bids from other contractors. We plan to start construction on Phase II by February and Phase III by April. All work should be fully completed by December 1, 2018.
Our reservation and customer service department are continuing to assist owners with both their banking and Interval International exchange requests Many owners are banking their weeks for future stays at the new Oyster Bay Beach Resort, while others are exchanging their usage to other great resorts in the Interval International exchange system.
We‘re continuing to work with our insurance company to settle the claim from Hurricane Irma. We received some advance payments on the claim, with the balance of our policy still needing to be paid. With the sheer volume of the claims being handled on island, the insurance companies are needing to work overtime to keep up with the demand on their insureds. We are hopeful that the claims will be settled very shortly. We will provide more details of the insurance matters in the next report.
The management and employees all appreciate the owners’ help and the care they showed over social media for their well-being directly after the storm. They look forward to the opening when they can show their appreciation to the owners for the tremendous support and generosity they’ve received. We are confident that Oyster Bay Beach Resort will be even better than before the storm and a closer bond between the owners, management, and employees will be formed and make our resort even more appealing.
We look forward to the New Year and to telling you about our exciting progress to opening day. Look for our next post in January 2018.
Happy New Year.