Beaches project still running behind – Stewart
It could be another three years before Barbados welcomes its much-anticipated Beaches hotel property.
Adam Stewart, the chief executive officer and deputy chairman of Sandals Resorts International said Thursday that while the St Peter hotel remains on the cards, the decision on development of the property, which was formerly home to Almond Beach Village Resorts, comes down to financing and strategic business planning.
“We are a company that is not a hotel management company. We raise our own debt, we pay our own debt, we never faulted on a debt service payment,” he explained.
“By virtue of that, the opportunity to buy the land beside Sandals Barbados, the Dover Estate, took priority over Beaches to get an existing property and get it to scale that would be a world class resort, second to none anywhere in the region.
“Beaches will come behind that but it has put a year’s delay in the Beaches plan putting it to probably 2019 officially.”
In November 2013, Sandals Resorts International opened its first resort here –– Sandals Barbados –– and announced plans to build a Beaches Resort in the island in 2014.
“We bought 280 rooms, we Sandalized it under a $65 million renovation which is known as Sandals Barbados Phase 1. We are adding 222 new rooms . . . so we will be 522 rooms in that property,” Stewart said, adding that the second phase of the Sandals property should be ready by next November.
“Barbados is going to be immensely proud of the product, it’s going to be one of the jewels of the Sandals Brand. We’ve had a great start here in Barbados,” he said following his keynote address at the first session of SOTIC Thursday morning in which he said the macro outlook for the Caribbean remains strong, despite threats posed by Zika, Brexit, Canadian stagnation, the United States presidential election and the recent loss of the travel dollar to the Rio Olympic Games.
Nonetheless, he has warned the region that there is no place for complacency. Instead, he has issued a call on Caribbean governments to take steps to arrest the crime scourge plaguing several countries.
“We can go nowhere if citizens don’t feel safe before our visitors. Priority must be given to addressing the real issue of crime that haunts too many of our countries. Law and order is paramount,” the Sandals CEO said.