Aggie Grey’s closes, counts flood costs

The country’s most iconic hotel has been forced to temporarily shut its doors as it counts the cost of the flash floods over a fortnight ago that inundated Apia’s town area. 

Despite the existence of the newly-constructed Vaisigano seawall adjacent to its premises, a strong current still flooded the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalow premises on December 18.  

According to the hotel’s Director of Operation, Frank Lu, the management will continue to monitor the impact of the deluge caused by heavy rainfall over Samoa in recent days. 

Mr. Lu said that the safety and security of their guests and staff was a top priority when they decided to temporarily close. 

“The decision has been made for the hotel to be temporarily closed to the public until further notice,” he said. “[That was] based on the current evaluation on the status of the hotel in the impacted areas conducted by our hotel management teams.

“We will continue to host some functions and events booked prior to the flooding along with some long staying guests, however, will not be accepting any new reservations at this stage.”

The Director of Operations did not specify the cost or extent of the damage caused by the flooding. But he did acknowledge the efforts of Government agencies such as the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.), the Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A.), and emergency first responders who rose to the challenge of helping the community. 

A drone shot of the hotel and photos shared online showed that the hotel compound had been flooded extensively. The flood damage came on the back of a fire at the hotel earlier this month, which resulted in the hotel losing one of its standby generators. 

In the past the hotel has borne the brunt of extreme weather events in Samoa and was the worst affected tourism operator during the cyclone season. The hotel sustained major damage during the 2012 Tropical Cyclone Evan, leading to the evacuation of the hotel and several staff being made redundant.

And it was just after the hotel began to recover from that natural disaster when a flash flood led to the Vaisigano River burst its banks in 2017, to again impact on the operations of the hotel.

The flood at that time had been triggered by continuous rainfall triggered by Tropical Cyclone Gita that year.

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