With many Long Islanders forced to evacuate their homes after Hurricane Sandy, hotel rooms across the Island are hard to come by.
In Rockville Centre, the major hotels have been overbooked since the storm hit and will remain that way for the next couple of weeks.
“We’ve been completely sold out and over sold from Oct. 29, when it started, until Nov. 25,” Best Western Mill River Manor general manager Alan Chan said.
Luckily, the hotels were equipped with backup generators, allowing them to stay open and supply Long Islanders with a safe place to stay.
The Ramada Inn & Suites on Sunrise Highway lost power during the storm and did not have it restored until Saturday night. However, a backup generator kept their lobby computer and phone systems alive, allowing them to still give desperate Nassau residents a temporary home.
“We had someone that was here Monday night/early morning who was rescued by boat,” Ramada Inn & Suites general manager Rajen Shah said. “It was a family of four from Oceanside and she didn’t have any money but I gave her the room for the night because she was crying and in a state of shock.”
The Best Western had better luck, as they only lost power for 20 minutes the night of the storm before the generator was able to get them up and going.
"Rockville Centre actually has a nice backup generator system, so we only lost power for about 20 minutes and then we were on,” Chan said.
“The only thing that we did lose was Internet and phone capability during the storm, but that’s up and running right now,” Chan added.
Both general managers agreed that the gas shortage has presented the biggest challenge for operating since the storm.
“It was difficult getting gasoline to generate power for the generator but we were able to attain that,” Shah said.
“Today we had a problem with our laundry coming in, but it wasn’t because of the storm, it was because of the gas,” Chan said.
The hotels have had no problems supplying food or services, as guests were able to take advantage of the free continental breakfasts that the hotels offer.
“We give a free breakfast in the morning so we had the coffee through the generator, danishes, muffins and bagels,” Shah said. “Even though we couldn’t heat them up, people were happy.”
“We’re still holding banquets and catering parties,” Chan said. “This past Friday, we had a 150 person party right up here and that was fully staffed too.”
Even with recovery efforts underway, the demand for rooms is still high and looks like it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
“As power comes back on, a lot of people leave, but we still have 50 people coming in everyday asking for rooms,” Chan said.