Miami-area hotels escape Irma with little damage

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The pool area at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne after Hurricane Irma.
The pool area at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne after Hurricane Irma. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

MIAMI -- Waterfront resorts in the Miami area remained closed Monday after Hurricane Irma brushed the city, but they appeared to have escaped substantial damage.

"Most of the hotels I've been to never even lost electric," said Steve Boucher, owner of the contracting company Boucher Brothers, which runs beach concession operations for the city of Miami Beach as well as many of the hotels there. "I think we'll be ready to go by Tuesday or Wednesday."

The Mandarin Oriental Miami looked to be in good shape.
The Mandarin Oriental Miami looked to be in good shape. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

Boucher said that the waters from Irma never even made it to the dunes that buffer Miami Beach's famed Ocean Drive from the sea.

The beach itself, he said, also fared well. Some sand had shifted around, but work crews should have most areas of the beach back in shape by midweek. Erosion was more significant in a few areas where the beach narrows, such as behind the famed Fontainebleau Hotel, Boucher said.

Miami Beach will remain closed for reentry until noon Tuesday as workers clean roads from trees and power lines. Residents will be the first people let in.

Debris blocks the entry to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.
Debris blocks the entry to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

Though causeways to Miami Beach were closed Monday afternoon, the Rickenbacker Causeway that extends from Miami to Key Biscayne was open.

At the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, which sits just off the beach, the dimly lit lobby, where power was still out, did not appear to have sustained any flooding. The resort has mild ornamental damage, to outdoor signs and lamp posts. The pool, meanwhile, had taken on a muddy shade, likely due to beach sand blown in by the wind.

The beach on Key Biscayne, near the Ritz-Carlton.
The beach on Key Biscayne, near the Ritz-Carlton. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

On Brickell Key, just off of downtown Miami, the waterfront Mandarin Oriental remained closed Monday, but also did not appear to have taken on any water.

Just up the street, but inland a couple blocks, the ultra-modern East Miami Hotel reopened Monday morning.

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