Two major meeting resorts on Bermuda were forced to close for repairs due to damage sustained by Hurricane Fabian, which slammed Bermuda last Friday, September 4, with 120 mph winds.

The Fairmont Southampton Resort in Bermuda will be closed until November 1 as hotel officials look to repair the damage left by the hurricane, which was the most powerful to hit the British territory in roughly 50 years. No one was injured at the resort, and engineers are currently assessing the extent of the damage to the hotel, said Emma Thompson, Fairmont spokeswoman.

Resort officials have moved quickly to take care of guests and groups that were scheduled to stay at the resort over the next two months. Liz Erikson, Fairmont’s regional director of sales and marketing for eastern U.S. and Bermuda, said all of the groups have been contacted about a contingency plan. About 60% will move their meetings to other Fairmont properties on their regularly scheduled meeting dates. Many of the smaller, local groups have agreed to hold their meetings at the Fairmont’s other resort on the island, the Hamilton Princess, while some will move their meetings to other Fairmont properties. About 40% have their have decided to rebook their meetings at other locations, mainly due to scheduling conflicts.

“It was a pretty seamless operation," said Erikson.

The Sonesta Beach Resort Bermuda will be closed until May 1, 2004 due to damage caused by the hurricane, said Deborah Roker, Sonesta spokeswoman. The hotel, which is located on the waterfront, suffered extensive damage as part of a roof was blown off and windows were shattered. Officials flew down this week to assess the impact of the storm. “We’re just pleased that everyone got out safely,” Roker said.

Plans were already underway to renovate and upgrade the facility, which is managed by Sonesta but recently came under new ownership. Following the hurricane, plans will most likely be redrafted, said Roker. “At least we hadn’t already completed a renovation.”

All groups that were scheduled to have meetings over the next seven and a half months have been contacted. Sonesta officials are helping them either book another hotel on Bermuda or relocate them to another Sonesta resort, said Roker.