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TORONTO — Hurricane Maria has laid waste to Puerto Rico causing extensive damage, flooding and complete power failures, and now the storm has moved on to the Dominican Republic, lashing the island with heavy rain, strong winds and inevitable flooding. While there are only preliminary reports from D.R. resorts, word is that the island’s properties moved guests to interior rooms or to other properties in-land to ride out the storm.
Bahia Principe issued a statement saying it had taken the precautionary step of relocating guests from Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado and Luxury Bahia Principe Samana, both located in Samana and with a total of 145 rooms, to Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Green in Punta Cana.
Bahia Principe also activated the D.R.’s security and alert protocol to all properties in the country which includes, among other measures, ensuring guests stay inside their rooms during the storm, closure of beaches and common areas and increased distribution of provisions.
Meanwhile an update from RIU says that the only damage caused by Maria at its hotels in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata occurred in the gardens due to the heavy rains and wind. “The maintenance teams are already working to restore normality,” says RIU. “As of today, Thursday, Sept. 21, the 8 RIU hotels in the Dominican Republic will be 100% operational and offering full service to their clients.”
The RIU hotels also had the emergency protocol activated and were in constant coordination with the local authorities.
AMResorts said it was going outside of its traditional policy as a preventive action for the care and concern of its guests, putting its inclement weather policy in place for in-house or arriving guests travelling to and from all AMResorts properties within the D.R. The policy is outlined at amresorts.com/inclement-weather.
AMResorts added that as a precautionary measure, all in-house guests were relocated to either on-property shelters or other properties within the region to withstand the storm. “If you have any questions about a specific guest’s relocation, please reach out to that resort’s Director of Sales to provide more specific information.” Contact information is listed at amresorts.com/inclement-weather.
Tour operators and airlines did well staying one step ahead of Maria, with carriers including Air Canada, WestJet, Transat and Sunwing announcing flight cancellations, repatriation flights, hurricane policies for trip cancellations or all of the above.
Transat announced today that due to the impacts caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria, scheduled flights on Sept. 21 and 22 to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, departing from Toronto, Montreal and Quebec are cancelled.
Customers affected by these flight cancellations will all be contacted and may travel at a later date; travel to another destination, subject to certain conditions; or cancel with full refund (excluding travel insurance costs when purchased).
Transat’s hurricane policy has been implemented for flights still scheduled to depart until Sept. 25 to the D.R.
Maria’s forecasted track has the storm moving away from the D.R. later today and starting to impact the Turks & Caicos and the southeast Bahamas tonight and into tomorrow.