|UPDATED 12:44 p.m. Oct. 31—Although the extent of damage to hotels along the East Coast is still not known, hotel companies and owners are taking initial steps to reopen and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy hit earlier this week.
In a statement, Cesars Entertainment, which operates Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort, Bally's Atlantic City, and Showboat Atlantic City, said, "As we continue to monitor the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, our four Atlantic City properties will remain closed. Our focus is to ensure the safety of our guests and our employees." Spokesperson for the company Gary Thompson told Bloomberg Business that there was some roof damage to its Atlantic City properties due to the storm, but he is optomistic that the casinos will reopen as early as Friday or Saturday.
Marriott also released a statement saying that none of its East Coast properties have come through without guest or employee injuries and is in the process of assessing the damage at each individual property. Marriott says, " While most of our hotels are open, we are assessing the extent of impact on each hotel and efforts are underway to fully restore operations in those properties affected by the storm. Early reports indicate relatively minor damage to our hotels across the region. As services are restored in impacted areas over the next few days there may be temporary interruptions or limited availability of some guest services, such as limited restaurant operations and housekeeping services."
Hyatt also released an announcement to update its employees and guests on the aftermath of the storm: "Our hotels implemented emergency preparedness procedures in an effort to ensure the safety and security of guests and associates. Several Hyatt hotels experienced intermittent power outages throughout the storm, however, the majority are open and operating. Following the city’s mandated evacuation of its area, Andaz Wall Street relocated all guests to Grand Hyatt New York and will continue to be closed until further notice."
Starwood closed the W New York Downtown as part of the city’s mandatory evacuation and shut the Le Parker Meridien due to a partial crane collapse on a nearby residential building. Some Starwood hotels throughout the region experienced power outages, but have been relying on back-up generators in many instences. Some guests have been relocated to other Starwood properties.
We will continue to provide updates as we learn more about the aftermath of the storm and its affect on the hotel industry.
10:28 a.m. Oct. 29—As hurricane Sandy slowly and steadily makes its way towards the East Coast, hotels in its path are taking all necessary precautions to ensure guest safety and protect their properties. The Category 1 hurricane, which is expected to make landfall late Monday afternoon with winds of up to 85 miles per hour, is expected to cause billions of dollars in damage and bring with it destruction and flooding to heavily populated areas of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
In a statement released to its members the American Hotel & Lodging Association warned hotels of the severity of the storm: “AH&LA encourages members to review and re-evaluate their hurricane policies and procedures. Every property is different and the location of every property is unique. As a result, measures must be tailored to the individual property and its location.”
AH&LA also advises its member properties to have a plan for evacuation and safety, as well as an emergency supply kit with a radio. Hotels should also subscribe to local emergency alerts via text messages on mobile phones from state or local governments where available. Properties can also plan to send alerts (voicemail/text) to employees by mobile phone in emergencies, and coordinate with state and local emergency management officials, from planning to response and recovery.
In New York City, where evacuations were ordered in parts of lower Manhattan, Marriott has been forced to close the New York Marriott Downtown and The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. Guests staying at those hotels during the storm were relocated to nearby Marriott hotels and the Ritz Carlton Central Park. The reopening date of each hotel will be determined once the storm has passed and conditions have been evaluated.
Marriott International is also reporting that there have been no guest or employee injuries at its Caribbean properties. However, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Managed Club, Marsh Harbour, Abaco Bahamas has reported minor damage to the resort structure and moderate damage to the resort landscaping. With limited power, telephone, and water service, the resort is closed until further notice. Cancellation fees will be waived for guests until November 1.
In a statement Marriott International said, “As always, the safety and security of our guests and employees is a top priority. Marriott provides comprehensive planning guidelines for hotels in areas vulnerable to hurricanes.”
Hilton Hotels in affected areas will also waive cancellation fees or early check-out fees for guests through Tuesday. In a statement, Hilton Worldwide said, “Our emergency preparedness procedures are active and we continue to work closely with local officials and tourism partners to communicate the most updated information to our guests. Our hotels in the affected areas are making the necessary preparations and, as always, the safety of our guests and employees remains our top priority.”
Hotels and hotel employees seeking information, links, and tips about emergency preparedness can visit the AH&LA web site.
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