Monday, 2 October 2017

PUERTO RICO: Hurricane Maria Many Hotels Sustained Damage Leading To Closure

Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, forcing many of the popular destination’s hotels and resorts to shut their doors.

Many hotels sustained damage in the powerful storm, which has left the island with little or no power, cellphone service, water, fuel, and food.

Hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies, and several say they will be closed for weeks or even months. Some are also serving as lodging for emergency responders and others involved in the cleanup effort.

The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort plans to re-open at the end of the year.

While there are no reports of injuries at the property, the resort is focused on the safety and security of guests and employees and we will remain closed until further notice, the hotel said in a statement.

The Verdanza Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts' Lifestyle Collection, will re-open to guests on Oct. 15. At the moment, it is housing first responders and representatives from local and federal agencies who are working on recovery efforts.

The hotel did not suffer significant structural damage, although some landscaping was uprooted. The property also did not lose water service, and a generator is providing power.

El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is no longer accepting reservations through Dec. 31. The hotel’s website says it is closed to evaluate damage but that all staff was safe.

The Royal Isabela on the island’s northwest coast says that it is still assessing the damage caused by the storm.

At this time, we are not currently accepting any new reservations for arrival for the next several days, the hotel says on its website.

The W Retreat and Spa in Vieques, an island off the island, is also not taking new reservations until further notice. The hotel says it is waiving cancellation fees.

If you’re thinking of visiting Puerto Rico or have travel plans booked in the coming weeks, we’re here to keep you informed.

The safety and security of everyone on the Island is our biggest priority in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. We continue working with state and federal government agencies and collaborating with our industry partners to assess the impact and continue to provide updates to you.

The past week has been a very difficult time for Puerto Rico and all its residents, families of Puerto Ricans living outside the Island, and travelers on the Island whom have not been able to go back home.

Safety and security remains our priority as we continue to provide relief as quickly as possible.

What has truly kept the spirit of the Puerto Rican people alive and lifted during these days has been the overwhelming support from not only the emergency crews and government agencies providing critical help on the ground.

But also the tremendous support from the private sector and notable celebrities and individuals.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank everyone so much for the outpouring of generosity.

Our relief efforts have been significantly augmented by the help received from our most loyal travel partners.

Efforts like the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Adventure of the Seas’ humanitarian mission happening today to deliver donated supplies and take evacuees to Florida have been awe-inspiring. Royal Caribbean modified a voyage to help with these recovery efforts.

Delta is another travel partner who is going above and beyond.

They flew a flight full of law enforcement and National Guard to the Island from JFK and the flight will be returning later today on a humanitarian mission to JFK full of evacuees. As a legacy partner to the Island, we cannot be more thankful.

We are deeply grateful to our most loyal travel partners for their committed support and generosity. What will continue to keep us strong and on a path to rebuilding will be continued assistance like this and I’m hopeful we’ll continue to receive support from other partners.

We remain confident that Puerto Rico will quickly recover and the resiliency and strength of our people will get us through the days ahead.

Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU)

The resumption of normal flight operations is being delayed for safety reasons due to radar functionality limitations impacting the number of arrivals and departures.

The airport is operational again but on a limited schedule from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT until further notice. There are approximately 32 commercial flights scheduled daily. International flights have not yet been authorized.

Airport authorities are working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resolve this situation while ensuring safe operations.

These operational limitations unfortunately have also resulted in overcrowding conditions and passenger delays.

The Puerto Rico National Guard has been on-site distributing food and water to the remaining travelers at SJU to make them as comfortable as possible until they are able to reach their final destinations.

We strongly encourage travelers without confirmed flights to avoid going to the airport.

Reservations are not being managed at SJU and passengers must reconfirm these reservations directly with their airline before going to the airport for check-in.

Also note that airplane seat capacity is extremely limited as airlines continue to work on additional recovery flights.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company expects increases in airport capacity as soon as technical restrictions are eased.

Other Puerto Rico Airports

The following airports are operational and offering limited service:

- Rafael Hernandez Airport (Aguadilla)

- Mercedita Airport (Ponce)

- Jose Aponte de la Torre Airport (Ceiba)

- Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (Isla Grande)

- Antonio Rivera Rodriguez Airport (Vieques)

Please note that all this information is subject to change. We encourage travelers to contact airlines directly, as they have the most up-to-date information specific to each traveler’s circumstances.

Port Updates:

The following ports are open with restrictions (daylight transit only):

- Guayanilla

- Tallaboa

- Salinas

- San Juan Harbor

- Fajardo

- Culebra

- Vieques

- Guayama

Other hotels that are closed and not taking new reservations for an unspecified amount of time, according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, are:

- Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

- Gran Melia

- Coral by the Sea Hotel

These hotels remain open, but are not taking new reservations before Oct. 15.

- Hyatt Place San Juan

- Hyatt House San Juan

These hotels are open, but are not taking new reservations before Oct. 22.

- Hyatt Hacienda del Mar (Dorado)

- Hotel El Convento (San Juan)

- Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino (San Juan)

- Condado Vanderbilt Hotel (San Juan)

- AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado

- La Concha Resort (San Juan)

- InterContinental San Juan in Isla Verde

- San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

- The Wave Hotel (San Juan)

- Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado Hotel by IHG

- Canario Boutique Hotel (San Juan)

- Coral Princess Hotel (San Juan)

- At Wind Chimes Boutique Hotel (San Juan)

- Best Western Condado Palm Inn & Suites

- Comfort Inn San Juan

- Hotel Miramar (San Juan)

- Hotel Villa Montana & Spa (Isabela)

These hotels are not accepting existing or new reservations through Oct. 31.

- Caribe Hilton San Juan

- The Condado Plaza Hilton San Juan

- Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort

- Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan Hotel & Casino

- Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

- Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

- El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton

- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan

Puerto Rico Tourism Company Travelers Support Center:

We are online and standing by to support you. If you have questions about your upcoming travel plans, please call: 787-522-5960 or talk to us via our Live Chat.

Aid and Support:

Many of you have inquired about ways to help us get back on our feet. Your support means a lot to us and is greatly appreciated. Please visit for information on how you can make a difference.

United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz RossellO, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane MarIa.

We are confident that Puerto Rico will quickly recover.

We came together not long ago to help our Caribbean neighbors post-Irma and it’s this generosity, the hospitality of our people, and the beauty of our Island that we know will continue to entice millions of travelers like you to visit us.

Please continue to check back with us here and thank you for your continued interest in visiting us. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to our Island once again.

Tourism Observer

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