NEW YORK -- With Bonnie and Danielle stirring up trouble and future
storms just a few gathering clouds away, some Caribbean resorts
continue to guarantee agents that their vacationing clients will
not be financially soaked if a hurricane hits.
Through Nov. 30, Sandals Resorts International, SuperClubs and
hoteliers in the Bahamas again are offering versions of hurricane
The Four Seasons Resort on Nevis has a similar vacation
guarantee in effect during September.
Sandals' Blue Chip Ultra Hurricane Guarantee, first introduced
in May 1997, replaces a vacation for free if a hurricane ruins or
interrupts a guest's stay at one of its resorts. The replacement
trip, which includes air fare, is valid for the same duration as
the original stay and in the same room category as the original,
regardless of how many days were disrupted by a storm. Replacement
trips are on a space-available basis, subject to certain blackout
dates, and must be taken within one year of the date of the
SuperClubs' No Hurricane Guarantee, first offered two years ago,
reimburses guests for the disrupted nights if a hurricane strikes
the resort. In addition, a voucher for a future stay for the same
number of disrupted nights is valid during the same month the
following year, excluding air fare.
Hoteliers in the Bahamas adopted a policy in October 1996 that
permits vacationers to use their deposit or payment at a hotel for
a future stay in the event of a hurricane.
Also, guests who cannot get to the Bahamas because of bad
weather get a full refund on their deposit. "We cannot control
Mother Nature, but we can make sure there is no confusion about
what travelers can expect in terms of a refund," said Vincent
Vanderpool-Wallace, director general of the Ministry of
The hurricane guarantees have yet to be put to the test. The
past two years have been relatively storm free on islands where
Sandals and SuperClubs have properties. However, Danielle, the
fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is posing a
threat in the Caribbean.
The Atlantic Basin typically has nine tropical storms each year,
with six of them classified as hurricanes and two of them intense
(with winds of over 115 mph). In 1997, there were seven named
storms, three hurricanes and one intense hurricane.