St. James's Club, one of Elite Island Resorts' four properties on Antigua, will temporarily close from July 15 to Sept. 30 due to an onslaught of sargassum seaweed on the island's south coast, according to Larry Basham, COO.

The 280-room resort plans to use the closure for a $3 million renovation and conversion program in several junior suites and the main restaurant.

"All guests have been notified and are being relocated to Galley Bay Resort & Spa, on the north coast, and to the Verandah Resort & Spa and Pineapple Beach Cub on the northwest coast, where the beaches are pristine," Basham said.

"Tour operators have been notified as well," he added.

Staff and employees at St. James's Club will be temporarily relocated to the three resorts.

Basham said that webcams will be operational within the next few days at the three resorts "so that guests can see for themselves that the beaches are clear and clean."

The company's three other properties, The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa on Antigua's west coast, St. James's Club in Morgan Bay on St. Lucia and Palm Island in the Grenadines, remain unaffected by the invasion of sargassum, which plagued parts of the Caribbean in the summer and fall of 2015, including St. James's Club.

Elite Island Resorts built, owns, operates and manages all seven of its properties.

"Our message is that we will use the closure to turns lemons into lemonade and turn seaweed into super suites by reinvesting in the resort," Basham said.

"We completed 20 new junior suites a month ago, and we will convert 20 more premium rooms into junior suites during the closure, expanding the room size, building a new balcony on the outside of each suite and outfitting with new soft goods, furniture and amenities," he said.

The Rainbow Garden, the resort's main restaurant, also will be renovated, and a new waterfront Cafe & Coffee Shop overlooking Mamora Bay will be added.

The sargassum situation is affecting beaches primarily on the south and east coasts of several other islands, although no other resorts have reported closures to date.


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