Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel, above, is enjoying a robust off-season as are other hotels and inns across St. John.
Despite a lingering lagging economy, tourists are still flocking to Love City.
From Great Cruz Bay to the far southern shore on St. John, from large resorts to small inns, hoteliers across the island recently reported an up-tick in business this summer.
Both Westin Resort and Villas and Caneel Bay Resort officials posted higher numbers this summer than last off-season.
“This summer was very good,” said Westin general manager Mike Ryan. “June was up pretty significantly over last year and July is always a good month for us. Looking ahead, August is going to be up as well compared to last year.”
Westin saw an occupancy rate in the mid-80 percentile for June and that number crept up to the high-80 percentile for July, according to Ryan.
“You have Carnival that first week and half of July and that always drives a lot of business for us,” he said.
August numbers look strong for the beginning of the month, Ryan added.
“By the time August rolls around, we’re looking at just below 80 percent,” he said. “We have a good first half of the month and then things start to wind down.”
Despite a perhaps slow August, Westin officials are smiling, Ryan explained.
“We’re definitely up from last year, so we’ve got no complaints at this point,” said the Westin Resort and Villas general manger.
Westin Resort will remain open all summer long, barring any tropical storms or disturbances, Ryan added.
Over at Caneel Bay, things are looking brighter too, according to general manger Nikolay Hotze.
“For June we finished at 10 percent ahead of last year,” said Hotze. “July is looking strong too. I think we’ll finish July about 10 percent up from last year too.”
August is projected to be a bit slower at Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort, but Hotze is seeing a trend of last minute bookings, he added.
“We’re seeing a lot of last minute bookings for summer” he said. “They are booking this week for next week.”
Caneel Bay has enticed more visitors by dropping rates a bit and offering some incentives before the resort closes on August 26, Hotze explained.
“The rate dropped a little bit from last year in order to be a little more competitive through the summer months and that has really helped us,” said the Caneel Bay Resort general manger. “The week before we close, we’re giving a guaranteed upgrade so we hope that drives more people here too.”
Caneel Bay Resort will close its doors on August 26 and reopen on November 1 for season.
In Cruz Bay, all three small inns reported increased business over last year and last minute bookings.
“It’s looking a little slow for the summer, which is normal,” said Inn at Tamarind Court general manager Stephanie King. “But we’re getting a lot of last minute bookings and a lot of walk-ins, which is making a big difference.”
June was steady for the Inn at Tamarind Court and the hotel was fully booked for the St. John Fourth of July Festival events, King added.
“June held pretty steady for us this year compared to last and we were full for the fourth,” said King. “We have some big weddings in August which is great and I expect we’ll continue to get a lot of walk-ins.”
The Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel has only been open for a year and a half, but occupancy looks strong all summer long, according to owner and manager David Guidi.
“The summer is looking really good,” said Guidi. “We’re about 90 percent for this month and last month we were at about 95 percent.”
While August at Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel is looking a bit slower, Guidi expects that number to only increase.
“August is a little slower; we’re at 88 percent,” Guidi said. “But we’re not there yet. We’re getting a lot of last minute bookings and I think by the time August comes around, we’ll finish probably in the low 90 percent for sure.”
Guidi plans to keep Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel open all summer long.
Over at the St. John Inn, co-manager Mary Kay O’Madigan enjoyed a busier than normal June.
“Actually June was really pretty busy for us,” said O’Madigan. “We saw a 35 percent increase over last June and July is shaping up to be quite well too. The bookings for the next two weeks are turning out to be a lot better than last year too.”
St. John Inn is also seeing a lot of last minute reservations, O’Madigan added.
“The trend has been people calling one to two weeks ahead of time and making a reservation,” she said.
Both Maho Bay Campground and Estate Concordia Preserve have also seen steady and slightly better occupancy numbers compared to last summer, explained general manager Adrian Davis.
“At Maho we’re not full, but we’re not down either,” said Davis. “Our numbers have been pretty steady. For June we were about 75 percent and that is what we’re looking at for July as well.”
“That’s about average for us for this time of year,” Davis said.
Concordia seeing more bookings this summer over last, Davis added.
“Concordia’s numbers are definitely up over last summer,” he said.
Estate Concordia was at 55 percent full last week, according to bookkeeper and personnel employee Kim Hayward.
“We’re at 55 percent right now which I would say is about 10 to 15 percent up from last year,” said Hayward. “We’re getting a lot of last minute bookings and a lot of Virgin Islands reservations since we’re doing a great local rate.”
Maho will remain open throughout the summer, but the eco-resort’s sister property Estate Concordia will close for the month of September with both its kitchen and rooms open by the beginning of October.