With the approach of Hurricane Florence looming, hotels and resorts in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia are closing due to mandatory evacuations. While the direct path of the storm is still unclear, it’s a potentially catastrophic Category 4, bringing winds of up to 130 miles of hour to the area and flooding of up to 35 inches when it hits.
The Governor of South Carolina ordered a mandatory evacuation of the whole of the coastal area of the state Tuesday, Sept. 11, in anticipation of the storm’s arrival. About 1.7 million people in North and South Carolina and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast as of Tuesday.
Many South Carolina residents are expected to evacuate to Atlanta, where there is also a state of emergency. A spokesperson for the Atlanta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau told WSB-TV Atlanta that plenty of hotel rooms are still available in Cobb and Gwinnett counties and around the airport.
As the storm approaches, many hotels and resorts in the storm’s path are waiving change and cancellation fees.
Marriott International issued a statement ahead of the storm: “Our hotels in the predicted path of the storm have implemented storm preparation protocols… Plans are in place to evacuate and close our hotels as local authorities or conditions require such action.”
The company said hotels in the impacted area are waiving cancellation and change fees but details will vary depending on the hotel.
Hilton will also be waiving change and cancellation fees for stays with arrivals from Sept. 11 to Monday, Sept. 17. Hilton properties located in mandatory evacuation zones in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have begun evacuation procedures that will meet local requirements.
InterContinental Hotels Group is allowing guests to cancel or make changes to any reservations made at hotels in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington D.C. ahead of Hurricane Florence. The hotel group, which includes brands like Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Crown Plaza Hotels and Resorts, is also allowing pets to stay free of charge during Florence.
Other properties within the storm’s projected path remain open and operational, and have implemented their emergency preparedness plans, though some still remain open.
Myrtle Beach area may be one of the hardest hit areas.
Marina Inn at Grande Dunes is closed and will resume as soon as possible following the storm.
Ocean Dunes and Sand Dunes will be closed as of Noon, Tuesday, Sept. 11th through Saturday, Sept. 15th, due to South Carolina State of Emergency.
The Belmond Charleston Place have asked guests to make preparations for their evacuation in accordance with the official instructions for leaving.
“All guests who were due to arrive at the property on Tuesday the 11th through Sunday the 16th have been advised and their booking on these dates cancelled. Any guests or travel partners requiring further information should contact us on 1-888-635-2350 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance,” the property said in a statement.
The Dewberry will temporarily close its doors today at 12 pm in order to prepare for Hurricane Florence. The safety and security of our guests and team members is our highest priority and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
According to the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette, which covers the Lowcountry of South Carolina, there hasn’t been much traffic leaving Hilton Head and Beaufort County after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted a mandatory evacuation order for the area on Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, the area isn’t necessarily in the path of the storm, though things could change once Florence makes landfall.
Disney’s Hilton Head Resort will be closed through Monday Sept. 17 in preparation. Anyone with reservations impacted can cancel or reschedule their stay without penalty.
The Beach House Resort in Hilton Head is open all week, according to a statement on its Facebook page.
Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is open and accepting reservations after the evacuation order was lifted by the governor.
The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa is currently closed due to Florence and no reopening date has been set.
In preparation for Hurricane Florence, Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort is currently closed and not accepting new reservations. “The safety of our guests and associates is the utmost priority for us,” Omni said in a statement to TMR.
Shell Island Resort in Wilmington shut down in preparation for the storm on Tuesday. It will update on its Facebook when it has a reopening date.
Blockade Runner Resort is cancelling all reservations and events through Sept. 14. Updates will be posted on its website.
A Charleston landmark, The Francis Marion Hotel closed Tuesday, Sept. 11, until further notice.
Diamond Resorts is cancelling all reservations at all of its Virginia Beach properties, including Beach Quarters, Oceanaire Resort, Turtle Cay, and Boardwalk Resorts, through Sept. 13 and is not accepting any new reservations.
The Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach is staying open and is equipped with backup generators should the power go out. According to a statement, it has limited staff for housekeeping and food service as a lot of its staff has already been evacuated.
The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center is open but will have limited services, including housekeeping, laundry, valet, and food service. The hotel is asking for any cancellations to be completed as soon as possible so it is able to accommodate its emergency service and recovery teams.