Chief executive officer of the Sandals International group, Adam Stewart, said yesterday that US$2.5 million was spent on revamping restaurants and undertaking other upgrading work at the Veranda Resort Hotel in the Turks and Caicos islands, which was acquired from a private company.
The property will be annexed to Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages & Spa. The Veranda and other Sandals properties in the island will be renamed the Key West Luxury Village, beginning December 17.
With the acquisition of the hotel, formerly owned by British multimillionaire André Serruys, Stewart said total key count on expansion will be around 600, including the 168 keys from the Veranda. Actual room count at the Veranda is 241, as the property includes suites.
The acquisition followed Sandals' purchase of LaSource Resort in Grenada last month for US$100 million, another project which includes upgrades.
11,000 carib nationals employed
Between La Source and the new Key West, Sandals will be adding some 900 staff, bringing total number of Caribbean nationals employed by the chain to 11,000.
Stewart declined to disclose the specific offer made to the Veranda's owner. However, he disclosed that they will be spending another US$5 million for the addition of an ice-skating rink and water park on 23 acres of land on the newly branded Sandals Key West Luxury Village in the new year.
The Key West Village will feature studios, multi-bedroom suites and villas.
Stewart said that Sandals Resorts International is on a growth path, with one more hotel being contemplated for addition "somewhere in the middle of Caribbean".
Earlier this year, regional newspapers reported the resort chain's interest in Almond Resort in St James, Barbados, but no updates have been forthcoming from the hotel group.