‘We are seeing a reinvestment in existing product and interest from investors.’ — Cherie Whitter, director, Bermuda Department of Tourism
Luxury developments leading Bermuda resort bonanza
By Harvey Chipkin
Bermuda is undergoing one of the most dramatic
changes to its lodging product in history, with $1.6
billion already committed to hotel investments and
possibly a lot more to come.
Some of the best-known names family of actor Michael Douglas.
in hospitality are either commit- The development will include 10
ted to, or looking at, Bermuda. buildings, with 60 two- and three-These include Ritz-Carlton, Hil- bedroom suites.
ton and Jumeirah, and investors Fractional ownership develop-are seeking to lure other well- ment Newstead Belmont Hills is
known brands to the island. undergoing renovation, with 100
Cherie Whitter, director of the rooms operational by next year.
Bermuda Department of Tourism, According to Whitter, Ritz-Carl-
said that most resort investment is ton is in the “early stages” of devel-
on the high end because it hap- oping a business hotel in Hamilton.
pens to be a good time to invest. And in a recent speech, Ewart
“We have … arrested what we Brown, who resigned last week as
believed was a decline; we had lost minister of tourism to run for preinventory as well as air arrivals,” mier of Bermuda, said other luxu-she said. “But now we are seeing ry brands, including Four Seasons,
a reinvestment in existing product St. Regis and Regent, are in various
and … interest from investors.” stages of talks and deals.
Bermuda’s hotel inventory has Whitter also said representatives
slipped to 6,000 rooms, but cur- of Dubai luxury developer Jumei-rent projects might build that rah met with her recently to discuss
number to 10,000 in a few years, acquiring an existing property.
according to Whitter. While most new development
She noted that existing prop- will be on the luxury end, travel-erties that had not previously in- ers who prefer to pay less will have
vested or reinvested are now doing many options at more affordable
so. One reason, she said, is that the cottage colonies and small hotels.
island’s recently amended Hotels “We have and will maintain
Concession Act provides tax ad- substantial inventory in the mid-vantages to properties spending range,” Whitter said.
The $100 million Tucker’s Point
Hotel and Spa, pictured here in a
rendering, is slated to open in early
2008 as Bermuda’s first new luxury
property in more than 35 years.
$1 million or more on upgrades.
In the most recent news, a group
of investors has taken over the
Wyndham Bermuda Resort & Spa.
It will close Oct. 31 for a massive
renovation, to reopen as the five-star Southampton Beach Resort.
Like other new properties, it
will offer a combination of luxury
hotel, condo-hotel and fractional
Another luxury resort, Tucker’s
Point Hotel and Spa, will be a $100
million, 103-unit “hybrid hotel”
involving unit ownership. Built
around the former Castle Harbour
Hotel, it is slated to open early in
2008. Whitter said Tucker’s Point
will be Bermuda’s first new luxury
hotel in more than 35 years.
The resort will set rates of $600
to $2,000 a night for guest units,
40% of which will be suites.
Hilton Grand Vacation Club
is building a $170 million vacation ownership resort at the
Ariel Sands resort, owned by the
The challenge is to maintain or
even grow arrivals while inventory
goes offline for redevelopment.
The Wyndham closing will temporarily remove 400 rooms from
the island’s count. “We hope some
of those go to the smaller properties as we add rooms,” said Whitter. “It will be a balancing act.”