No More Off-season: Hotel and Villa Bookings Up for Summer 2007

Coming and Going: Carnival is over but tourists continue to arrive steadily at the Loredon L. Boynes Sr. Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay at the start of what is projected to be a busy “off” season. Photo by Tom Oat

The lazy days of summer can no longer be found in Love City, where the traditional tourist off-season is becoming a thing of the past.
The island’s resorts and villa management companies all reported strong occupancy rates for June and July with August looking better than last year as well.

While the Westin Resort and Villas continues converting 108 former hotel rooms into timeshare units, they enjoyed almost full occupancy in June, explained Graeme Davis, Starwood’s vice president of operations for South Florida and the Caribbean.

“Occupancies for June were in the mid 90s,” said Davis. “July and August will be in the high 80s and possibly reach 90 percent. Rates are still very strong.”

The occupancy rate is about the same over at Gallows Point Resort, according to general manager Akhil Deshwal.

Last Minute Booking
“June was really busy for us — better than last year,” Deshwal said. “July and the beginning of August are looking busy too. Compared to last year, July is looking about the same and we still expect August to fill up with last minute bookings.”

St. John Inn reported a busier summer so far as well.

“June was surprisingly good for us and we were booked up for Carnival as usual,” said Sarah Close, St. John Inn owner. “June was really encouraging and July looks fine. We’re hoping August will fill up too.”

Don’t try getting a room at the Inn at Tamarind Court until July 9, when they have space to offer again.

“We’re all booked up through until July 9,” said Tamarind Court owner Stephanie King. “This is a longer Carnival week than normal. We also have a lot of four-day weekends booked through the summer.”

“It’s looking like the summer will be better than last year,” King added.

Caneel Bay Resort is having a fine summer as well, according to resort manager Nikolay Hotze.

“What I can say is that we are doing great,” said Hotze.

“Eco” Resorts Popular
The island’s “eco” accommodations are experiencing strong occupancy rates as well, according to Maho Bay Campground and Concordia Eco-Resort marketing manager Melody Smith.

“This year we’ve been way ahead of last year,” said Smith about Maho Bay Camps. “A lot of families come for the fourth of July and we’ve had an incredible June. The numbers look really good for July too, especially in the first half of the month.”

“We have the new cafe at Concordia and with that added publicity we’ve had an overwhelming response,” Smith continued. “People have come to check out the new cafe and then decided to stay there.”

On the villa and condominium rental side, bookings are up for the Summer 2007 season as well.

Catered To Vacation Homes, which manages 39 villas, is full through July, according to general manager Tyler Anderson.
“The summer is looking fine,” said Anderson. “We’re booked through the beginning of August.”

Bookings Year Round
Caribbean Villas is enjoying an almost 30 percent increase over last year’s occupancy rates, according to owner Diane Jannelle.

“We’re very full for the summer and we have people booked year round,” said Jannelle, whose company handles about 100 villas. “June, July and August are all ahead of last year’s rates. We’re already getting bookings for next year.”

“Summer is looking more and more promising,” Jannelle added.

Book-It V.I., which markets 50 villas and manages four, is looking pretty full for August, according to owner Christie Dove.

“I’m quite pleased with this summer’s rentals,” said Dove. “July is booked solid and August is filling up. It’s going to be as good and probably better than last year.”

“Each year we keep getting more and more bookings and pending we have a good hurricane season, we’ll have another great year next year,” Dove continued.

Ultimate Villas is looking booked up all through Summer and early Autumn, according to owner Kristen Cox.

Tourist Season Is Getting Longer
“This Summer things are good,” said Cox, who manages seven villas. “We’re full this summer. I have bookings in August, September, October — it’s amazing.”

“It seems to me that a lot more people who can’t afford to come down in the Winter time are coming down in the Summer and our season is getting longer and longer,” Cox added.

Destination St. John, which handles about 40 villas and condos, is having a better Summer than normal as well, according to owner Lori Piety.

“Our schedules are this year are so much more full than last year — we can’t believe it,” said Piety. “We’re definitely noticing a rise this year. Basically we’re good until about close to the end of August but then we have bookings in the second week of September too.”

Out in Coral Bay, Windspree Vacation Homes, which manages 24 villas, is also enjoying a banner year, according to office manager Kay Raimundi.

“We’re doing pretty good,” said Raimundi. “June was very busy and July is very busy too. We’re booked until about the middle of August when things start to slow down.”

A number of local accommodations are offering special Summer rates for residents of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Call the hotel or management company for additional information.