by Lisa A. Grimaldi | October 20, 2017
Three U.S .Virgin island resorts popular with meeting and incentive groups -- the 443-room Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort and the 297-room Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, both on St. Thomas, and the 166-room Caneel Bay Resort on St. John -- will remain closed until 2019, as they undergo repairs for damage sustained from hurricanes Irma and Maria, according to press reports. 
 
Several smaller properties, which currently are hosting emergency and relief workers, will begin welcoming new guests as soon as Nov. 1, according to the USVI Hotel & Tourism Association. Expected to reopen in 2018 are a number of other resorts -- the 90-room Emerald Beach Resort; 74-room Bolongo Bay Beach Resort; 180-room Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas; and 226-room Westin St. John Resort and Villas. The projected schedule remains flexible, according to the USVIHTA.  
 
"The closure of the largest properties in the territory at the same time is not ideal, but it presents opportunities for us to renovate and update the tourism product," Lisa Hamilton, president of the tourism group, said at a meeting this week. "And while the hotels focus on revealing a polished, new product, USVIHTA will continue to promote properties and members who came out of the storms with minimal damage. Many of our members are up and running, and ready to welcome guests today. However, restoring the territory's infrastructure, airport and hospitals is essential prior to welcoming visitors back."