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Chinese bank funding rehab of Sam Lord’s Castle hotel

Published:Tuesday | November 24, 2015 | 12:16 PM
Freundel Stuart, prime minister of Barbados.

Barbados has acquired a US$170-million loan from China Exim Bank for the redevelopment of the Sam Lord's Castle hotel, which is to be operated under the Wyndham brand.

"There is renewed interest in Barbados from a tourism perspective, and the Wyndham brand, sitting on the site of the former Sam Lord's Castle, will add to the growing list of branded properties setting up business in Barbados," said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart at the signing of the loan agreement.

The development covers the former Castle and Cliffside restaurant buildings; the construction of a new upscale resort hotel comprising 350 rooms; 100 vacation ownership units; a destination spa and a conference centre.

"There are many benefits to be gained from this new

development. It has been targeted to cater to couples as well as to have a special appeal to families, as this group

usually travels in the summer," said Stuart.

Barbados currently has five internationally branded hotels, representing 805 rooms or 14 per cent of the total inventory.

Wyndham Resort

The new hotel will operate as Wyndham Grand Resort.

"The addition of this brand will assist the island, since international brands are known for their significant marketing pull," he said, pointing out that Barbados has not only been focusing on developing its "hard" product such as hotels, restaurants, attractions and other facilities, but also on the "soft" product as a clean, friendly, safe and secure destination.

The overall cost of the project is BDS$450 million (US$225m), including the cost of the land.

China's ambassador to Barbados, Wang Ke, said the Exim loan would finance the rehabilitation of the Sam Lord's Castle hotel.

"With the loan agreement signed today, it is finally ready for the project to be put into operation. This makes China the only country that offers large-scale preferential loans to finance infrastructure projects in Barbados," the ambassador said at the signing ceremony last Friday.

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the project on Monday, Stuart said the hotel would employ more than 1,000 persons after completion, and is also expected to generate some 2,000 additional jobs in other sectors of the economy.

"Foreign exchange earnings to be made by the property are estimated at over US$70 million a year, with a direct contribution to the GDP of US$35 million," the prime minister said.

Construction will start in 2016 and finalised in 2018. The contractor for the project is China National Complete Plant Import & Export Corporation.