The Adrian Loveridge Column – Attracting Top Class Hotel Brands Without Concessions

Adrian Loveridge

Even for those who have spent years in the tourism industry, the name Belmond, may not at first, mean anything at all. In July 2014 their name was changed from Orient Express Hotels Ltd, which was originally founded in 1976 after buying the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, to Belmond Ltd which now has its headquarters in London and is a publicly listed company.

Navigating to their website, it’s difficult not to be impressed by the site itself- all aspects of the presentation that goes with it. In their own words ‘The ultimate travel curator and connoisseur, Belmond creates exceptional experiences worldwide, a global collection of 46 iconic hotels, trains and river cruises in 22 countries brings together some of the world’s most thrilling journeys and destinations’.

Included in this truly luxurious property portfolio are two current hotels within the Caribbean, namely La Samanna on nearby St. Martin (FWI) and Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa located at the Riviera Maya in Mexico, plus their latest acquisition on Anguilla, Cap Juluca.

According to various news sources the current 96 rooms will be increased by the addition of 25 beachfront villas or suites over the next two years. Estimated cost of the Cap Juluca purchase, planned renovations and expansion will cost US$121 million or almost exactly averaging US$1 million per room, suite or villa. Cap Juluca was beautifully designed by renown Los Angeles based architect, H.G. Oscar Falmer with its Greek Moorish white washed villas, set among courtyards, turrets and arches spread across 179 acres of beachfront land.

Among its media information the company ‘is committed to doubling the size of its portfolio by 2020’, which in any terms, can only be described as a massive and undoubtedly ambitious undertaking, with already such a list of illustrious hotels that Belmont either own or manage.

And unless I have missed it somewhere, this huge investment into a tiny island in the Caribbean has been done without any significant Government hand-outs, tax avoidance and other huge extraordinary concessions that have been granted to albeit a tiny select few elsewhere.

So what is Belmond’s secret or magical formula?

Clearly, they have positioned their offerings at the very top of the market, while at the same time appealing to just about every age group with experiences that many aspire to and which I seriously doubt, would disappoint many. Is there some way that Barbados can attract this kind of investment to enhance our current luxury options like Sandy Lane?

Yes!

I obviously know about the proposed Hyatt and Westin but Belmond is clearly on an elevated level and I suspect many of their clients would not trade down to a lower type of accommodation and experience offering. Despite its tiny size of just 35 square miles, Anguilla can not only boast a Belmond, but a Four Seasons and the Reef at CuisinArt, despite only having very limited airlift and restricted runway length, prohibiting larger jets to land there.

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13 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Attracting Top Class Hotel Brands Without Concessions”

  1. Vincent Haynes May 29, 2017 at 12:28 PM #

    We need to move away from thinking about brand name hotels,we need to concentrate on promoting community based tourist accommodation and show the rest of the Caribbean a new way forward on a national scale as other islands do pursue as well.

    One of the positives is to save govt monies by closing down the various tourism entities.

    Like

  2. lawson May 29, 2017 at 2:07 PM #

    cut the crime, or the way forward around the big hotel chains will be barbed wire

    Like

  3. Artax May 29, 2017 at 2:08 PM #

    @ Adrian Loveridge

    Excellent article!!!

    Anguilla’s Cap Juluca is a top of the line hotel that has already made a name for itself. I’m sure its association with the Belmond brand would obviously it increase its popularity and improve ratings.

    @ Vincent

    Despite the establishment of the various government owned tourism organizations, after all these years, Barbados is still struggling with tourism.

    Visitors from cruise liners visit Bridgetown on Sundays to find Broad and Swan Streets with an atmosphere similar to that of a ghost town.

    St. Barthelemey is an 8 square mile French island in the northern Lesser Antilles that can also boast of having at least seven (5) star hotels. They offer a “high end” tourism product, hence an abundance of luxury villas and hotels.

    Like

  4. David May 29, 2017 at 2:50 PM #

    Those of us that have travelled to Bahamas, Bermuda and a few others are able to distinguish the difference in the product offerings.

    Like

  5. Hants May 29, 2017 at 3:35 PM #

    What is the benefit of having (5) star hotels and luxury villas in Barbados.

    Has a study been done to show the real dollars and cents ?

    Like

  6. David May 29, 2017 at 3:57 PM #

    @Hants

    The BTA was organized to manage the business better with marketing and product arms. Have we done an evaluation since the change?

    Like

  7. Vincent Haynes May 29, 2017 at 4:17 PM #

    Hants

    Excellent question.

    The days of Brand name hotels has become old hat and not worth the input,especially with no effective control on the revenues received,hence my suggestion of being pioneers in developing community tourism on a national scale.

    We always wittering on about enfranchising the poor man,well here is a golden opportunity for govt to divest itself from a machinery that has become to costly to run,let the poor man use the age old tools of marketing.i.e. word of mouth by family&friends coupled with the new tool of the internet and we can become pioneers in a new national endeavour.

    Why have we become follow pattern as opposed to the leaders we once were?

    Like

  8. David May 29, 2017 at 4:27 PM #

    @Vincent

    Arre you sure?

    A large segment of the travelling public search for brands to determine choice of accommodation.

    Like

  9. Vincent Haynes May 29, 2017 at 4:45 PM #

    David

    Do we need that segment with so many tourists around the world now.

    Community tourism on a national scale can be whatever we want it to be with govt giving the ok and acting as the regulator,then staying far from it.

    Like

  10. Shontelle R. Brathwaite May 29, 2017 at 5:39 PM #

    Nobody cares that Derek Walcott, and Edmund Bayley Jr. penis’s are salmon pink color, not even white, nobody said they aren’t enjoyable. I believe they are both capable of satisfying somebody…it’s ridiculous…some people are just attracted to horse riding.

    I still don’t care about white…DW and EBJ have the same bloodline and lineage as me, get over it.

    Like

  11. David May 30, 2017 at 3:57 AM #

    The Chinese are here.

    Like

  12. Due Diligence May 30, 2017 at 4:28 PM #

    And according to the MOT, Chinese tourists will be flocking to Barbados great numbers, presumably to fill Sir Sams.

    Like

  13. Due Diligence May 30, 2017 at 4:32 PM #

    OOPS Wrong linl

    And according to the MOT, Chinese tourists will be flocking to Barbados great numbers, presumably to fill Sir Sams.

    Like

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