Following an announcement from Ralph Taylor, the CEO of Almonds Resorts, last week that the Almond Beach Village will be closing its doors, Sandals Resorts chairman, Butch Stewart, is said to be interested in the property.
The resort will be closing on 30th April, 2012 following financial difficulties, and tourists who have booked Barbados holidays past this date will be relocated to nearby hotels, the Almond Beach Club and Almond Casuarina Beach.
Mr Stewart currently operates luxury Caribbean hotels and resorts in St Lucia, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua and Turks and Caicos under three different brands and he said to be eyeing the 30-acre Almond property in St Peter, Barbados.
The Sandals owner spoke about the plans in an interview with Stabrock News last week.
“A number of architects, engineers, interior designers, and landscape people went down [to Barbados last week]. We are going to get the reports the middle of this week and I will go through the process of evaluation.”
If Sandals won the bid this would be the company’s debut into the market of Barbados hotels and they are keen to make it into a fantastic resort for family-friendly holidays in Barbados.
“If our bid is successful we would probably be doing a Beaches, not a Sandals, which would involve a lot more facilities, water park, kids games, Xbox [arcade]. So it is an ongoing process,” Mt Stewart added.
“The refurbishment is one thing, but we would have to go a lot further. Typically, a resort of that size [approximately 30 acres] should have ten or 12 restaurants. It should have a lot of other things.”
As well as rebranding and refurbishing the resort as a new property for holidays to Barbados, the takeover is expected to provide more jobs for people.
Mr Stewart concluded: “I think a lot more jobs would be assured because we would have to add rooms. The Beaches Resorts employ 2.2 people per bedroom and offer a lot of services. So I would imagine that it would probably be 30 per cent more people than currently employed.”
Barbados is a Caribbean island situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, north east of Venezuela, and is a hotspot for celebrities including Simon Cowell, Cliff Richards, and Michael Winner who have luxury residences on the island.
The beautiful island is home to some of the world’s most stunning pink sand beaches and during Barbados holidays tourists can play golf on world-class courses, go snorkelling and scuba diving in turquoise warm ocean waters, explore nature reserves such as the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, and take excursions to Holetown, Speightstown, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bridgetown.