Bolongo Bay Beach Resort Weathers Storm of the Century, Helps Homeless Staff and Aid Workers
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas may not have electricity or landlines, but the power of its people is shining through as they emerge from the direct hit of category 5 hurricane Irma. The resort will begin welcoming guests on December 22, 2017. In the interim, the resort is housing homeless staff and government relief workers.
Bolongo Bay is operational, and most damage is cosmetic such as missing awnings, decking and palm trees. The resort opened its doors to staff and their families who lost most if not all their homes and belongings. Government relief workers are also residing at Bolongo Bay as they help provide basic necessities to island residents and begin to rebuild.
Guests with future reservations receive 20% increase
Guests with reservations prior to hurricane Irma’s arrival are welcome to contact the resort’s off-island reservations representative at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-449-1577. They can reschedule their travel dates <<LORIE: Is this only for reservations due to arrive between now and Dec. 22?>> and in return receive a 20% increase on the value of their deposit. For example, if someone made a $1000 deposit, their deposit is now worth $1200 and will be applied toward their rescheduled visit.
Go Fund Me account dedicated to staff
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort management established this GoFundMe account. Managing director Richard Doumeng, who is available for media interviews, says “every single penny will go to providing basic necessities, clothes, food and lodging for staff members and their families as they rebuild their lives.” Bolongo Bay is preparing to open staff housing adjacent to the resort knowing the path to recovery will be a long one.
While almost entirely inaccessible due to downed cell towers, landlines and electricity, the resort staff are in remarkably high spirits working together to rebuild. Bolongo Bay’s rooms are occupiable, the 53’ Heavenly Days catamaran survived in protective mangroves, the kitchens in both restaurants are operational and most provisions were spared the storm’s wrath. Lobster Grille reopened Sept. 12 serving 80 hot dinners including NY strip and prime rib. The resort did a soft reopening of Iggies Beach Bar & Grill Sept. 15.
A message from Richard Doumeng
Bolongo Bay’s Managing Director Richard Doumeng shares, “It’s important that nothing is sugar coated. On behalf of the Doumeng family, the magnitude of destruction is like nothing we’ve ever seen in more than 40 years on island including hurricanes we’ve weathered in the past. We are tremendously grateful that Bolongo Bay Beach Resort remains operational allowing us to care for those in-need now and to begin welcoming guests beginning December 22, 2017. The positivity of the people absolutely embodies what it means to be #VIStrong and we couldn’t be prouder to belong here. Bolongo Bay’s guests are absolutely amazing in their outpouring of support, in their commitment to still vacation here and flexibility for those who have adjusted their vacation dates. We even have wedding couples whose weddings have had to be changed and yet, they have insisted that a portion of their deposit be donated to our staff. The U.S. Virgin Islands relies heavily on tourism, and our Bolongo Bay staff promises to deliver memorable vacations once again.”