Cape Fear Comeback: Shell Island Resort set to reopen Friday after suffering extensive hurricane damage

Published: Feb. 27, 2019 at 5:40 AM EST
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - It’s been a staple in Wrightsville Beach since 1986.

Shell Island Resort is a favorite for tourists coming to take in the sun and sand along our coast.

“We are excited to be back," general manager Dara Newberry said. "We hope everyone coming in enjoys our new look.”

The hotel has been closed since Sept. 11, 2018, days before Hurricane Florence blew through.

“When we initially responded, the front part of the building looked great," Newberry said. "Then we came around the back and our storefront window system was compromised.”

The first floor of the resort suffered extensive water damage, and 150 of the 169 hotel rooms experienced water intrusion.

“We also lost our life saving system so our fire system, which was huge, as well as our elevators,” Newberry said.

Nearly six months later, the hotel will officially re-open its doors March 1.

“Positive working relationships with our team, staff, contractors and vendors were vital in getting back on our feet,” Newberry said.

Having lost out on holiday business, Newberry said hotel management set an aggressive deadline to reopen by the spring season.

“March 1 in a tourist industry and hospitality is a game changer," she said. "We had earlier deadlines but the storm damage continued to grow and we had to bump back our timeline a few times internally with water damage as it’s a sneaky thing.”

Newberry says she appreciates the patience of their regular guests and newcomers ready to vacation on Wrightsville Beach.

“We have a large return clientele, and again, we treat our customers like family," Newberry said. "Everyone is eager to come back. We have that rapport with our clients, which keeps them coming back.”

The hotel is doing a soft opening Tuesday and Wednesday with full capacity expected by the weekend.

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