Many Out Island properties start new year with a new look

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NEW YORK -- Many hotels in the Out Islands are entering 2000 with a fresh look.

The Out Islands, and in particular, Abaco and Eleuthera, were the hardest hit by Hurricane Floyd in September. Many properties closed because of storm damage and used that time for renovation projects.

A house in Abaco in the Bahamas. According to Barbara Coch, the general manager for the Out Islands Promotion Board, the majority of the hotels are open and operational.

The biggest problem has been the telephone system, she said. It takes repeated attempts to get through to Abaco because of busy signals, and Coch said it gives people a false impression about the state of the island. Coch is asking callers to be patient and to keep trying.

Don Cornish, the new area manager for the Abaco Tourism Office, said that "based on what I've seen, the product is better than before."

Cornish said the essential services are up and running and that tourists are returning. He also said most restaurants and shops are open for business.

Mangoes, a restaurant popular with both locals and tourists, remains closed for a refit. He said the expanded eatery should reopen in the spring.

The Abaco Inn reopened Thanksgiving, and all 22 units are available. The roof on the main building, the pool and the gazebo are new, the dining room has been expanded, and the harbor and oceanside rooms were given a face-lift.

New bathrooms were added to the oceanside units; the harborside units will be finished by Jan. 15.

The Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour is scheduled to reopen Feb. 1 with additional units.

Abaco Town by the Sea is undergoing an extensive renovation, according to Cornish, and set an April 1 reopening date.

Sea Spray Resort, which lost two villas, is looking at a summer reopening. The Banyan Beach Club, which experienced water damage, reopened Nov. 1.

Treasure Cay Hotel came back on line Dec. 20. Improvements were made to hotel rooms and the Spinnaker restaurant. Tile floors replaced carpeting in the guest rooms, and the resort's golf course suffered no damage from Floyd.

"The Club is Back -- Even Better Than Ever" is the slogan the Green Turtle Club & Marina used to celebrate its Christmas reopening.

The Cove in Eleuthera reopened Dec. 27 in time to welcome a full house for the millennium. The property closed because of Floyd and used that time to repair and renovate. "There is a brand-new dining room that overlooks the water," said general manager George Mullin.

Rooms received new soft goods. The clubhouse was rebuilt and air conditioning was added. He said a new guest lounge and gift shop are scheduled to open this month.

Club Med in Eleuthera is closed and has not set a firm reopening date. The resort did have some damage from Floyd but is also undergoing an extensive renovation project.

The Guana Beach Resort, Tree Houses, Oeisha's Resort, the Tangelo Hotel and the Inn at Spanish Cay remain closed.

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