Belair Beach Hotel welcomes first guests at soft opening

LITTLE BAY–Belair Beach Hotel has reopened its doors to welcome its first guests since Hurricane Irma struck the island in September 2017. The hotel had its soft opening on Saturday. This milestone in the hotel’s as well as St. Maarten’s recovery was celebrated with guests, staff and Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.

Twenty-four of the hotel’s 70 rooms were severely damaged by Irma. Diligent work by hotel management and staff right after the hurricane has led to the reopening of 54 rooms. The remaining rooms are expected to be back in operation in the next three weeks, said General Manager Calvin Turner.

The property has hotel, timeshare and condominium units. Romeo-Marlin told hotel staff this soft opening: “Without you this could not happen. This is the attitude we should all have in St. Maarten … to ensure that we get back to where we were.”

Observing interactions between guests and staff, she added, “This is a family. … The workers know the guests and the guests know the workers.”

Hotel management was commended by Romeo-Marlin for not firing the staff, even though faced with insurance challenges. “Things are tough, but together we can do it,” she said.
Hotel owners and management took the bold step to start rebuilding in spite of insurance challenges by including all stakeholders connected to the property and finding financial resources to ensure the reopening.

“It’s nice to see all the happy faces here,” said Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs TEATT Acting Secretary-General Valya Lake Pantophlet as she welcomed guests at the hotel. She also commended hotel staff for their efforts in the reopening.

Source: The Daily Herald