Foreign operator for Sam Lord’s
As early as next month Barbadians should know which international hotel chain brand will operate the hotel to be constructed on the former Sam Lord’s Castle property in St Philip.
And according to chief executive officer of the Barbados Investment Inc. (BTI) Stuart Layne, construction of the new hotel on the 58 acres of land should begin by June next year with a targeted completion date of late 2017 or early 2018.
Speaking to members of the media following a walk through of the property today, Layne said when the project commences it should provide jobs for at least 500 Barbadians in the initial phase and up to 1,000 over time. He said over 1,000 “permanent jobs” are expected to be created once the property
goes into operation.
Layne said the plan was to restore the nine-bedroom castle and construct a 450-room hotel. A part of the plan is “to get it up and running before 2020”, which will be the 200th anniversary of the once popular hotel, he added.
“Right now we have many options in terms of a brand because we will not manage this on our own and Government will not manage it on its own as a matter of policy. So right now we are in discussions with a number of brands and in the very near future you will hear an announcement in relation to that matter,” said Layne, adding that there are more than four brands that have expressed interest.
The funding for the US$200 million construction project will be done through the government of China. Meanwhile, the settlement of obligation in terms of the purchase price for the property is being addressed through the Ministry of Housing and Lands.
Layne said that ministry was in discussion with owners of the property on a settlement for the acquisition.
“We are very keen on restoring the castle and we have fortunately been able to find the dimensions for all the rooms and literally rebuild the castle as it was,” said Layne, adding that it would be “modern” while keeping in mind the historic nature of the location and the needs of guests.
“The first thing is that this property will be built as a summer product and basically it will sell in the winter . . . This entire area is known for very clean air. So we want to build on that in terms of some sort of health and wellness component. Also there is a conference, meeting and incentives component built into the property as well. We will be attempting to address various market segments that will truly make this a year round property,” said Layne.
Meanwhile, owner of the property Thomas Grant said he felt “bad” that it had run down over the years. However, he said the decision to redevelop the property was good news, adding that he believed it would enhance the quality of the tourism product here.