Reed Travel Features
MARIGOT -- Hoteliers here anticipated the reopening of the
former Golden Tulip Saint Martin Beach Resort and awaited a new
opening date for La Belle Creole.
The Golden Tulip, renamed the Little Key Beach Hotel, was slated
to reopen earlier this month, according to a spokesman for the St.
Martin Tourist Office in New York.
The 94-room, deluxe property has been closed since it was
damaged in 1995 by Hurricane Luis, and Guadeloupe-based Anchorage
Inc. took over the management of the hotel in February.
The new manager is Alain Touchou, who also runs the 96-unit Anse
As for La Belle Creole, management remained reluctant to set a
reopening date for the 166-room hotel as labor negotiations
"The matter is in court, and the hotel will have to remain
closed until either we negotiate with the second union or we come
to terms in court," said Roger White, vice president of
Ontario-based Winfair Group, the hotel's management company.
White said a "long legal battle is anticipated," and as a
result, the hotel will remain closed for some time because striking
workers have threatened to shut the hotel down if the legal action
is not first resolved.
La Belle Creole, one of the island's major resorts, briefly
reopened in January with 70 of its rooms in operation, and later
was seized by striking workers and shut down on Jan. 21.
La Belle Creole, which had been closed since it suffered grave
damage from Hurricane Luis in September 1995, was in the process of
being renovated at a cost of more than $20 million.
Union workers protested when all staff was not rehired for the
property's partial reopening, he said.
"One union seems quite amicable, but the second wants to
progress with negotiations in court and will not allow the hotel to
open until they achieve their ends," he said.
White said an initial judgment may be made by the end of March,
but it remains to be seen whether the labor union involved will
accept the terms of the deal.
He said the hotel likely will lose more than $1 million during
the month of March, one of the peak months during high season.
"Now is the time to make profits, and [the strike] really killed
Displaced guests have been reaccommodated at other resorts or
have been given a refund, he said.