November 26, 2003 -- Though the northern half remained safe, tourism to Montserrat ground to a halt when the Caribbean island's volcano erupted in 1997 effectively burning through the southern region. Recently, the government -- backed by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and expert volcanologists from around the world -- has determined that the southern area is again safe -- well, at least for the next three years and, "since the volcano's dome has not begun to grow again, it may be safe indefinitely." Good news for those who love the island's otherwise gentle nature.
In concordance with that announcement, the Vue Pointe Hotel, closed at the time of the tragedy, will reopen on December 1, 2003. This is a cottage-style property, each unit with ceiling fan, phone and cable TV. Cottages with kitchenettes cost $100 per night for single or double occupancy; those without are $90. Add 10% hotel tax and a 10% service charge to get your final figure.
The hotel is sited on a scenic hillside above Old Road Bay, with its mile-long black sandy beach considered ideal for swimming, snorkeling, walking and jogging. The hotel itself has been completely refurbished, as have the swimming pool, shuffleboard court, library and gift/grocery store. Breakfast and lunch are served daily, dinner is available at several restaurants nearby. Each room has a view of the steaming volcano, and you can take tours up to the observatory and to damaged areas of the island. You can read more on the island from the Frommer's Caribbean 2004 guide by clicking here.
Since the airport was destroyed by the eruption, the only way to reach Montserrat currently is by the air-conditioned ferries that run out of nearby Antigua. American, Continental, US Airways and Air Jamaica all fly non-stop to Antigua out of several US gateways.
To contact the hotel, visit www.vuepointe.com or phone 664/491-5210 or e-mail email@example.com.