An announcement from Sandals Resorts was made on Wednesday, May 25th stating that the company will be installing carbon monoxide detectors in all of its properties in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. The decision comes after the death of three guests who were staying at the company’s property in The Bahamas, the Emerald Bay Resort. Earlier this month, autopsies confirmed that the guests died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Ensuring the safety and well-being of our guests and team members is and will always be paramount. It is for this reason that we have taken additional measures such as engaging environmental safety experts for a comprehensive review of all systems across the resort,” Sandals said. “In addition, CO detectors have now been placed in all guest rooms at Sandals Emerald Bay and although not mandated in any Caribbean destination where we operate, detectors will be installed in all guest rooms throughout the portfolio.”
Sandals has extended their sympathies to the families of the deceased and have said they remain devastated by the event. Two of the deceased were members of Sandals’ own travel advisor community. The deceased include Robbie and Michael Phillips, a husband and wife from Tennessee, and Vincent Paul Chiarella. The wife of Vincent Chiarella, Donnis, survived the incident and is in recovery after being airlifted to Florida. Both couples were visiting The Bahamas for an anniversary celebration.
The couples were not traveling together, but all of them went to a clinic after informing the hotel staff that they were not feeling well and were nauseous. After visiting the clinic, the couples returned to their villas, where they were found the next day. Bahamian authorities found that the cause was an isolated case and occurred in a structure separated from other areas. The structure contained only the two guest rooms affected and was not linked to the air conditioning system of the resort. No foul play is suspected, and no other resort areas are affected.
Austin Chiarella, son of Vincent and Donnis Chiarella, was phoned by the U.S. Embassy with the news of the incident and was able to talk with his mother. “She woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor, and she couldn’t move,” he said. “Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door,” Austin said. “I am just so heartbroken right now; my dad was everything to me.”
Recent reviews on TripAdvisor have not been the best reflection on Sandals Emerald Bay. A recent review from Michael T. talks of a vast shift in the resort’s service and appearance between his previous stay last year and his most recent stay earlier this month. “What we experienced is a resort in a state of disrepair and drastically understaffed. Air conditioning, plumbing, no towels, employees that were new and poorly trained, and staff that seemed to be over worked. Tragically we had to experience the death of three guests and injury of a fourth. It was very difficult to relax to say the least under these circumstances,” Michael T. wrote.
While the above review doesn’t paint the best picture of Emerald Bay, every traveler should consider the glowing reviews and the bad reviews when deciding whether to stay with any resort. Sandals is doing what they can to make sure nothing like this unfortunate loss ever happens again. For Jamaica, this means the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in each of its properties. Jamaican Sandals resorts include Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Negril, Sandals Ochi, Sandals South Coast, and Sandals Royal Plantation.
While the resorts in Jamaica have not had any issues with carbon monoxide, the news of untimely deaths during a vacation at any Sandals resort is enough to make travelers uncomfortable. With Sandals’ plan to roll out carbon monoxide detectors to all its locations, guests can rest easier knowing they will be alerted to any future problems.
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