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May 22, 2018

Hurricane Recovery: New, Renovated Meeting Hotels

Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is set to open this October. 

Since last fall’s powerful Hurricanes Irma and Maria, destinations in Florida and the Caribbean have been continuing to reopen hotel meeting venues that were impacted and, looking ahead, some all-new properties are on the horizon. Here’s what planners can expect. 

Tourism officials in the Florida Keys and Key West report that 86 percent of all lodging units are back online, post-hurricane. All told the Keys are set to add nearly 1,500 rooms to their lodging inventory as the destination continues to open new and fully refurbished properties. 

In Key Largo, the 60-acre Ocean Pointe Suites continues its reopening with a newly restored marina and private beach, as well as a new over-the-water gazebo for intimate weddings and events. All 170 suites, sleeping up to four or six guests, are set to reopen in June. In terms of new hotels, the new 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort, a Curio Collection by Hilton, is scheduled to open in September, with 17,000 square feet of meeting space.

In Islamorada, the 214-unit Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa reopened March 30 after a $25 million overhaul that includes a rebuilt 525-foot-long wooden fishing pier, redesign of its main lobby and all rooms, 4,600 square feet of meeting and function space, a 5,700-square-foot spa with seven treatment rooms and a refurbished nine-hole golf course. The resort also added a pizzeria and pasta bistro. Later this summer, a second oceanfront pool and a Tiki bar are set to open. 

New in the Caribbean

In the Caribbean, a number of major hotels have announced reopening dates. Sonesta St. Maarten Resorts reports that the Sonesta Ocean Point Resort will reopen November 15, 2018, while the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa will reopen February 1, 2019, after significant reconstruction. Changes will include major improvements to the storm resistance of both properties, with new building envelopes designed to withstand sustained winds in excess of 200 mph. Additionally, the Convention Center, including the Royal Pavilion, will be completely rebuilt and redesigned by Design + Positif. The 24,000 square foot facility, which has space for up to 700 guests, will receive new décor in keeping with the contemporary style of the adjacent resorts. 

In Puerto Rico, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, reports that it will officially reopen this October following a restoration that included décor updates to each of the resort’s 114 beachfront guestrooms and suites, the addition of new dining and wellness amenities and the restoration of the grounds. The resort’s signature restaurant and bar will have a new dining concept, scheduled to debut in mid-November, while the poolside restaurant will offer a new menu. The resort has a number of meeting venues, including the 4,558-square-foot Surf Room, the 494-square-foot Board Room and an oceanfront gazebo. 


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