PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Just as Puerto Vallarta's hotels were
preparing for the start of the winter season, Hurricane Kenna
showed up and spoiled the party.
The hurricane, which side-swiped the destination Oct. 25, caused
little wind and rain damage, but at least 11 hotels were forced to
close due to damage caused by the storm surge and large waves that
accompanied the hurricane.
The hardest-hit areas were along Los Muertos Beach, the Malecon
(boardwalk promenade) and sections of the Hotel Zone, with little
damage in the marina, Nuevo Vallarta and the northern areas of
Bahia de Banderas.
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board reported that an estimated 10%
of Puerto Vallarta's resorts (about 1,600 rooms) suffered damage in
the storm, which inflicted an estimated $50 million in damages.
At least five of the resorts that were closed due to hurricane
damage have reopened, including Hotel Rosita, Costa Club Punta
Arena, El Pescador, Plaza Pelicanos and Getaway Sun Resort
(formerly Blue Bay Getaway).
Most of the damage to these hotels was due to flooding in the
lobby area, ground-floor rooms and public spaces, including
Dennis Whitelaw, president of the Puerto Vallarta Convention and
Visitors Bureau, said approximately 75% of the affected businesses,
including restaurants and bars, have reopened, with the rest
expected to be open by the start of the high season this month.
In addition, he said, crews are working to repair the damage to
the Malecon by Dec. 15, including implementing several improvements
that weren't scheduled until next year.
"We're beyond being up and running," said Whitelaw. "We
anticipate that there will be no ill effects from the storm
whatsoever by the start of the winter season."
Two resorts that are scheduled to reopen later this month are
the Buenaventura Hotel & Beach Club and the Premier Hotel &
Spa, which sustained about $3 million in damages combined.
Christian Larocque, director of sales and marketing for the two
privately owned resorts, said the 236-room Buenaventura took the
biggest hit, with an estimated $2.4 million in damage to the main
lobby, some first-floor rooms, the outdoor recreation area,
boutique and restaurants.
All affected areas are being refurbished, and the Buenaventura
is scheduled to reopen Dec. 21, Larocque said.
The 82-room Premier Hotel & Spa, which sustained about
$600,000 in damage, is scheduled to reopen Dec. 14 after undergoing
repairs to its lobby, restaurants and boutique. No guest rooms were
Larocque said that advance bookings for the holidays look
strong, with 85% occupancy projected for the week of Dec. 21 at the
"January looks good, as well, but it's hard to say beyond that
because the trend has been last-minute bookings," he said.
The other Puerto Vallarta hotels that are scheduled to reopen
later this month or in early January are the Continental Plaza,
Vista Club Playa de Oro, Sheraton Buganvilias and Las Palmas.
For more information about Puerto Vallarta, visit the Puerto
Vallarta Tourism Board's Web site at www.visitpuertovallarta.com.