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Hotels around the Caribbean are facing a significant business downturn as COVID-19 spreads, and some are temporarily closing their doors. The shutdowns include Saint Lucia's BodyHoliday and Rendezvous resorts, which will close their doors to guests from March 20 through May 31.
The upscale resorts will close "in order to support the preventative measures being implemented, and due to the decrease of guests able to arrive to Saint Lucia," said Rebecca Platt, director of sales and marketing at SunSwept Resorts, which owns both properties, in a statement sent to travel agencies. The properties will resume operations on June 1.
The Saint Lucia resorts draw sizeable numbers of European travelers, who now face restrictions and quarantines when traveling to the country. Sun Swept is providing travelers who are booked but unable to travel to Saint Lucia in face of the restrictions with waivers of standard cancellation charges.
Guests will also receive a credit to re-book within 12 months of their original travel dates. Vacationers who cannot travel to the resorts during the re-booking period will receive a full refund. Also, guests who make new reservations through May 31 can cancel the booking without penalty within seven days of arrival.
Meanwhile, Excellence Resorts will temporarily close Excellence Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on March 20 due to coronavirus. The company's decision is "a strategic measure that will optimize our operations through these challenging times, said officials in a statement. The property will re-open on June 5.
Current and future reservations will remain open even after the closing date; guests visiting during this period until the reopening date will be accommodated at Excellence Punta Cana's sister property, Excellence El Carmen.
No cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the Excellence properties. "Our team will continue to reinforce our heightened cleaning and disinfection procedures to guarantee an enjoyable and healthy stay," said Domingo Aznar, vice president of sales and marketing. Guests at Excellence Punta Cana on March 20 will receive free transportation to Excellence El Carmen.
Barceló Hotel Group is also planning the closure of unspecified properties among its Punta Cana resorts, said Raúl González, Barceló's CEO, in a statement on the company's website.
"Unfortunately, we are in the process of closing some of our hotels, therefore if you have a reservation in the upcoming days, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can assist you," said González.
Guests who cannot travel on their original dates can reschedule through December 22, 2020, at Excellence Punta Cana at their original rate or any of the company's other properties.
González added, "We have made our booking policy as flexible as possible so that you have the possibility to modify any reservation. We are very aware of the responsibility that this moment requires, and our entire team is dedicated to managing all incoming requests."
Brian Major is Managing Editor for Digital Publications & Guides/Caribbean.
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