Crane owner looking forward to the new Sam Lord’s
The owner of the Crane luxury resort in St Philip, Paul Doyle, says he is looking forward to the development of Sam Lord’s Castle in the same parish.
Doyle, who said he always had an interest in operating the Sam Lord’s Castle, expressed the view that once Government’s plan to refurbish the property comes to fruition, it should bring more life to the quickly developing parish.
“Having a luxury resort there is a good idea . . . I think, in a perfect world, the same thing that happened at Sandals will happen there where private sector will step in and take over. I am a believer that the private sector is the best to do private sector things but if it needs Government to push it along to get it going, and they have the financing in place, that could be good for the country,” he told reporters yesterday.
The $200 million project, which will be funded through the government of China, is expected to generate at least 1,000 jobs, including 400 in the construction phase of a new 450-room/suite hotel and restoration of the nine-bedroom castle.
That work is expected to begin by the middle of next year, with a targeted completion date of early 2018.
Last month Barbados TODAY reported that operators of the Wyndham brand, which is one of the world’s largest and most diverse hotel companies, were tipped to operate the 58-acre property.
“Heaven knows we need the luxury rooms and we need the jobs. To have something at Sam Lord’s will really bring this coast back. I think we all miss Sam Lord’s,” Doyle said.
“There are a number of projects that are talked about now that would be really nice to see going. My sense is that it has got to be kept up-market. As a destination we have obvious advantages with the educated population, but along with that comes a higher price, so you can’t try to then compete [with cheaper destinations]; they will always have the advantage at that lower price,” he added.
In the meantime, Doyle has not ruled out the possibility of taking his luxury brand into other markets, but said it was not in the immediate plan.
Doyle, who is currently focused on constructing 96 long-term living residences, said the possibility of having the brand in other markets was something he had thought about “but it is not a front burner [issue] because there is enough to do right here”.
“The easiest thing for us at present – and in business you have to look at what makes sense – is to look in Barbados, and really in St Philip there [are] our beach houses between Skeete’s Bay and Culpepper Island and we have room to grow here. This business has been around now for more than 130 years,” he said.
“So if you take the [long-term] view, I would think that yes, we should take the brand and go other places. But in the medium term we have our work cut out right here. Every business has to think about growing but you should grow where it makes the most sense first; build your business,” explained Doyle.