MoBay hotel selling rooms to raise cash
Dionne Rose, Business Reporter
Constantine Hinds, owner of the Vista Ambassador Resort Spa, one of several Montego Bay hotel properties shuttered within the last decade, is making another bid to raise cash to rehabilitate the business by offering about half of the 110 rooms for sale.
Hinds, a hotelier for some 20 years, told the Financial Gleaner that he is investing US$3 million, or roughly J$270 million, to rehabilitate and reposition the resort, formerly called the Miranda Hill and later Lifestyle Resorts, located on Gloucester Avenue in the western city.
The hotel was closed for seven years, Hinds said, prior to its transformation and repositioning.
It is expected that the studios will be sold in time for a planned reopening in May.
The businessman did not say how the initial US$3-million capital had been raised or whether the refurbishment and May opening would be dependent on cash from the sale of the rooms.
He, however, said the units were being marketed to Jamaican investors and represented a viable alternative to other forms of investment, given the lower investment yields as a result of the Government-imposed debt-exchange programme.
"This makes what we doing now, the repositioning, more important because when you have your money and you now put it in the bank, what they give you after withholding tax (is) less than seven per cent," said Hinds.
"What we are doing now is breaking ground, repositioningand giving more involvement to Jamaicans."
The self-contained apartments are being sold for between US$135,000 (J$12.1 million) and US$150,000 (J$13.4 million).
The units with kitchen facilities are already furnished and include air-conditioning.
Purchasers will have the option of leasing back the units to the resort's operators at a fixed guaranteed rental of US$500 monthly with the hotel paying the maintenance and utilities costs.
The units can also be put into a rental pool under an arrangement that would see owners shouldering a monthly maintenance fee of US$250.
Occupants of the units sold will have access to the property's spa, restaurant, bars, swimming pools, basketball court, tennis court and gift shops.
"Other products of this nature offer the purchaser just a unit, they really don't have the amenities and facilities," said Hinds, suggesting his approach was groundbreaking in the hospitality industry.
Vista Ambassador, like the still-shuttered 119-room Fantasy Resort and the 100-room Sea Gardens hotel, all located on the Gloucester Avenue 'Hip Strip', had been closed since the 1990s, when several resort properties ran into financial difficulties.