There are some signature stops for those who love the Caribbean; some sought-after places that are more than just hotels.
Since 1974, the beloved, family-run Bolongo Bay has been just that — from the iconic Iggie’s Beach Bar to the weekly “Snorkel Booze Hunt,” it’s been one of the region’s capitals of easygoing fun — and an exemplar for the authentic Caribbean hospitality experience.
And now, following the US Virgin Islands‘ reopening of tourism last month, the resort is open again.
The 75-room beachfront resort reopened its doors last week, with new health and safety protocols but the same fun-loving spirit.
“If anybody can make this fun and goofy and happy, it’s Bolongo,” owner Richared Doumeng told Caribbean Journal.
And a huge part of that has been the response by the staff to the new realities of travel in the COVID age, he said.
“The staff has been unbelievable,” Doumeng told Caribbean Journal. “I realized from the get go that we had to make it as good for the people we work with as possible, and it’s working. If you make it worth it for your co-workers and you do a good job protecting them, eventually it works with the guests.”
And Bolongo’s layout is a natural fit for the kinds of socially-distanced, outdoor experience travelers are looking for right now, Doumeng said.
“I am so happy we are an open-air facility,” he said. “The hallway is open-air, we have individual air conditioner — at dinner, at the pool, we are naturally spread out — we have a 900-foot beach with 75 rooms.”
While the hotel’s facilities are still closed to non-guests, on-property guests have access to all of the Bolongo signatures, including aforementioned “Snorkel Booze Hunt,” which sees staff hide bottles of rum out in the bay for guests to snorkel and find.
The relaunch of Bolongo is a significant step for the US Virgin Islands’ tourism sector, which officially reopened for travelers at the beginning of last month.
And as the hotel reopens, Doumeng said the formula remains the same — the reason why the resort has become such a popular spot in the USVI.
“People care about us because we care about them, and it really does work,” he said. “We’ve gotten so much kindness back and we know it’s paid off — it really is the human part of the deal, it’s the people.”
For more, visit Bolongo Bay.