Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vacation Savings: Bridgetown Travel

Sandals Acquires Yet Another Property in Turks & Caicos

This man certainly goes for what he wants. Sandals just this past month acquired LaSource in Grenada, and now an adjacent property to the existing Beaches Turks & Caicos in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. 

This new property will be called Key West Luxury Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos.
Butch Stewart
Sat, Dec 01, 2012
After almost two years of negotiations, Jamaican hotel magnate Gordon “Butch” Stewart has finally bought The Veranda Resort & Residences, a five-star fully-inclusive property located on Grace Bay beach. The multi-million dollar sale to Sandals Resorts International by Faez Limited will become official on December 17th, 2012, officials told The SUN.

Mark Durliat, Chief Executive Officer, Grace Bay Resorts, said: “While the sale of this magnificent property was not anticipated so early in its establishment, we feel proud to have been the operators who established it as among the top five-star fully-inclusives in the Caribbean.

Our team will work hand-in-hand with Sandals Resorts International to provide a wonderful experience for all during the transition, and we remain grateful and indebted to our staff, without whom the success of The Veranda and its rapid growth over the past three years would not have been possible.”

Grace Bay Resorts, the developer and owner of the world-renowned Grace Bay Club, has managed The Veranda for the past three years since its opening in 2010, and will cease direct management and supervision of all operations, effective with the close of the sale.

The Veranda will be transitioned to 
Sandals Resorts International as an expansion of the award-winning Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa and will honor all previous bookings. Officials said Grace Bay Resorts will work closely with the Sandals Resorts International staff at The Veranda over the next several weeks to ensure a seamless and successful transition during the holiday season.

Beaches Turks & Caicos
The Veranda, which is an $80million, five star fully-inclusive 123-room residence-style resort, is located right next to Beaches Resort and Spa, with only a beach access separating the two properties. Sitting on 11 acres and boasting 800 feet of beachfront, The Veranda is made up of one, two, three and four-bedroom cottages and 40 studios and has a total of 168 keys. It is built in the Key West/Caribbean style.

Earlier this year, The SUN broke the story that Stewart and Veranda owner Andre Serruys of Britain, held several meetings about the multi-million sale which would make Stewart the largest single owner of beachfront property in Providenciales and increase his majority percentage of hotel rooms in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Veranda is an $80 million investment, but it was reportedly sold for around $100million.

With the integration of The Veranda into 
Beaches Resort, the Butch Stewart resort will have a total of 875 keys and over 1,100 bedrooms, mainly suites, making it the largest hotel on the Turks & Caicos Islands. 

Beaches Turks & Caicos employs around 1, 400 people and with the acquisition of The Veranda, that figure would go up to about 1,800 employees. It has one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and the third-rated barrier reef for scuba diving in the world. The hotel also boasts the largest water park in the Caribbean and with 16 restaurants, it has more restaurants than any resort in the Caribbean.

When Stewart first established operations in the Turks & Caicos he took over a small hotel of just 150 rooms with limited facilities. At that time, American Airlines was offering one flight a day from Miami. In order to expand, Stewart chartered five airplanes from Continental Airlines to help create additional airlift. These aircraft serviced key sites namely Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Atlanta and had the effect of putting the Turks & Caicos on the map as a top Caribbean destination.

Earlier this month, Butch Stewart’s 
Sandals Resorts International bought a four-star hotel that recently closed in the eastern Caribbean nation of Grenada.

Stewart says he will invest $100 million to convert the former La Source property of 100 rooms into a 265-room complex. It will be renamed Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa and it is scheduled to open in early 2013 and become the 14th 
Sandals resort in the Caribbean.

The resort is located on Pink Gin Beach and is currently closed. It was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and didn't reopen until February 2008.

Source: The Sun

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012 this Corner!

The fight for Almond Beach Village is on! And the winner is....

Will it be Barbados businessman, Bjorn Bjerkhamn of Jada Construction, Paul Doyle of The Crane hotel, or Butch Stewart of Sandals Resorts? We shall soon see.

According to local news, Bjorn Bjerkhamn of Jada Construction pulled out the "nationality card". Oh, no, he didn't! Oh, yes! He did. :) I think all Bajans would be proud if the hotel can be bought by a Barbadian. But, as someone said, we'd love them to do something really special with it, and not make it just another hotel.
THE FIGHT FOR OWNERSHIP of Almond Beach Village is heating up.
Yesterday, construction magnate Bjorn Bjerkhamn of Jada Construction Limited pulled out the nationality card as he openly declared his strong interest in taking over the St Peter hotel.

“We are Bajans; we are not Jamaicans nor are we Canadians,” Bjerkhamn told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday, in an obvious reference to two of the main bidders – Jamaican hotelier Gordon “Butch” Stewart of the Sandals all-inclusive hotel group and Canadian-born Paul Doyle, owner of the Crane Resort.
“We have the experience, we have the expertise and we have the money,” he added.
Source: Nation News

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sandals Looking at Purchasing Almond Resorts Barbados

Almond Resorts has been in financial crisis for a long while. They sold off their St. Lucia properties, and last week there was talk of Almond Resorts employees taking pay cuts or purchasing more shares in the company.

However, Butch Stewart, of the famed Jamaica-based Sandals Resorts, has just announced an interested in purchasing Almond Beach Village, located in the northern parish of St. Peter, Barbados, 40 minutes from Grantley Adams International Airport. Sandals has been trying to get into Barbados for years, and actually bought the old Paradise property here some years ago. However, for whatever reason, and people go back and forth between a few different reasons, that deal fell through. Sandals did announce last year that they were looking into purchasing property here and in Grenada, as I posted earlier. 

It is reported that Sandals' engineers are to be on property today at Almond Beach Village to do an evaluation of the property, while Almond Resorts execs will also meet this morning to discuss the fate of all three properties (Almond Beach Village - in St. Peter on the Northwest Coast; Almond Casuarina Beach - in Christ Church on the South Coast; and Almond Beach Club - in St. James on the famed West Coast, also called the Platinum Coast).

I do like the tranquility of Almond Beach Village, and being there is really like being on a quiet vacation, with a lovely beach as the icing on the cake. But if the property is for sale, why not a thriving company like Sandals Resorts or Beaches Resorts? From what I know about Sandals, it would definitely be transformed into a top notch 4-1/2 - 5-star resort. And from what I know about Butch, the man has a keen sense of business acumen and has transformed his company into a thriving enterprise. Also, Almond Resorts is a Trinidadian-owned company, so it would still not be a locally owned property if Sandals were to make that purchase. I do wish that there were a group of Barbadian businessmen with the wherewithal (and I know there are a good few) could get together and keep these properties, that are already on Barbados soil, Barbadian-owned. That does not look like it will happen.

Let's wait and see how things evolve after today's meetings.

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