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Chris Issa to spend US$12.5m on Spanish Court Montego Bay

Published:Tuesday | May 3, 2016 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
Christopher Issa, head of the Crissa Group.

The Crissa Group, led by Christopher Issa, plans to spend US$12.5 million to redevelop the seaside Montego Bay hotel acquired last year, which will be rebranded as the Spanish Court Hotel.

Issa, a lawyer-turned-hotelier, disclosed the capital spend to Wednesday Business on Monday.

The retrofitting of the 120-room hotel, which formerly operated as Breezes, but had been shuttered for years while the pension funds that owned it sought a buyer, will begin this month and last for 14 months.

The hotel, which will be the second to sport the Spanish Court brand, will open for business in the summer of 2017.

Jamaica-born and award-winning designer Allison Antrobus of Antrobus Ramirez, a full-service luxury design firm, who helped design the public spaces at the 107-room Spanish Court Kingston hotel, will also design the Montego Bay resort property.

Her recent work includes the award-winning Ocean House Beach and the Palazz Del Sol, Fisher Island, said Issa. Spanish Court Montego Bay will feature two restaurants, a cafÈ, gym and a series of bars led by its rooftop pool bar with views of Doctor's Cave Beach and the surrounding waters.




Issa said the hotel will likely open as a four-star resort, but that he is aiming for five stars. It will cost around US$175 per night to book a standard room with breakfast, while all inclusive rates start at US$225 per person plus taxes," he said.

Issa plans to sell an 'explore Jamaica' package featuring four-night stay in Montego Bay and three nights at Spanish Court Kingston, "which with the opening of the new highway is just a two-hour plus drive away", he said.

Crissa Group acquired the Montego Bay hotel in October 2015 from sellers NCB Pension Fund and National Insurance Fund for US$7.8 million or about half the hotel's last known valuation. With the retrofitting costs, Issa's investment in the hotel rises above US$20 million.

The property built in 1995 had been up for sale since 2011, with Issa himself having previously backed away from an earlier deal to buy it in 2012.

Issa set up a new company called Spanish Court Montego Bay Limited, incorporated last September, for the purpose of operating the hotel. Its directors include Issa and Douglas Ewbank, with Imelda Chin as company secretary, according to Companies Office records. The company also received environmental permit approval to construct and retrofit the Montego Bay hotel, according to government approval documents issued in March.

The Montego Bay hotel puts Spanish Court in a new segment of the hospitality market - resorts - whereas the Kingston property is targeted at business clientele and the meeting market.