Gert hits two Bermuda hotels hard; elsewhere, damage light

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HAMILTON, Bermuda -- Hurricane Gert made a meal out of the Elbow Beach Hotel's seaside restaurant and almost swept one of the Pink Beach Club's cottages out to sea, but overall damage to Bermuda's hotels was minimal, hoteliers and tourism officials reported.

The hardest-hit area appeared to be the south shore, where as much as three miles of prime beach was under water as a result of the storm.

The Elbow Beach Hotel lost its beach restaurant, Mickey's, as waves crashed over a 15-foot wall between the beach and the hotel, said Kendaree Burgess-Fairn, a spokeswoman for the hotel.

"The beach itself is in surprisingly good condition, with some beach erosion. We had no damage to our rooms," she said.

The hotel, which dates to 1908, had only 30% occupancy when normally up to 80% of its units would be filled, Burgess-Fairn said.

The Pink Beach Club sustained about $250,000 worth of damage as Gert sent water crashing through one of its beachside cottages, taking with it half of its eight rooms.

"There's damage to about seven other rooms, but the rest of the property is operating at 100%," managing director Michael Williams said, adding that guests had already returned to the resort's beaches.

As at Elbow Beach, however, occupancies took a beating, down to 50% from what would have been 100%, Williams said.

Meanwhile, Bermuda's airport reopened at midnight

on Sept. 22, and Celebrity Cruises' Horizon and Royal Caribbean's Nordic Empress were scheduled to return to the island on Sept. 22 after a temporary diversion.

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