The Peter Island Resort has been closed since it sustained major damage during Hurricane Irma in 2017, but operators said it is set to resume operations in October. They blamed Covid-19 for delaying the re-opening past their original 2020 target. (Photo: Provided)

The Covid-19 pandemic was to blame for the four-year delay in reopening Peter Island Resort, operators told the Beacon.

The upmarket tourist property has been shuttered since sustaining heavy damage in Hurricane Irma in September 2017, but it is now taking bookings for as early as October.

“Originally, the opening timeframe was expected to be around 2020, but the pandemic caused delays,” a spokeswoman for the resort owners told the Beacon.

She added that the private villas at Falcon’s Nest and Hawk’s Nest will begin to entertain guests in line with the rest of the complex later this year.

“Both villas will open at the same time as the resort,” she said. “Falcon’s Nest and Hawk’s Nest have been renovated and refurbished.”

Rooms relocated

Besides those two villas, she added, the resort’s accommodations have all been relocated to the beachfront at Deadman’s Beach. “The beachfront junior suites are rebuilt, and there are completely new beachfront accommodations built at Deadman’s Beach,” she said.

The reopened complex will also feature fresh attractions, including a swimming pool by the beach and two restaurants: the Drake Steak House and the Drunken Pelican.

“The yacht club has been enhanced with new facilities and services,” the spokeswoman added. “And the seafront meetings and events facilities are new with increased capacity. More moorings surrounding the island are being installed for the enjoyment of seafaring guests.”

Interest is building ahead of the relaunch, and reservations have already been booked, according to the owners.

Mum on cost

The spokeswoman declined to give details about the cost of the rebuild, but she stated that control of the resort had not changed.

“Ownership, and the management company, AHC Hospitality, remain the same,” she noted. “Carrie Bligh is the new general manager.”

The rebuilt resort will include 52 rooms, along with suite and villa accommodations, restaurants and a new conference space.

Reservations are now being taken for stays beginning in early October, with prices starting at $1,000 per night plus taxes and fees, the resort announced.

Reopening delays

After sustaining extensive damage during hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the resort closed and laid off 176 employees. Since then, the reopening has been delayed repeatedly.

After a long silence following 2017, the resort announced in January 2020 that it aimed to reopen the “main sections” of its operations by December 2021.

Around the time of the announcement, then-Premier Andrew Fahie had signed an agreement for the redevelopment with Peter Island Limited, represented by David Van Andel, then the resort director, according to a government press release.

The release provided few details, and it didn’t explain why the agreement was needed for the rebuild. However, Mr. Fahie said at the time that the project would generate approximately 160 local jobs during the construction phase and that after completion it would create “no less than 50 jobs” and contribute $18-$22 million to the economy annually.

Mr. Connolly reported this story from London