i n t r o d u c i n g the st u nning ne w b ou tique hot e l
Newsletter September 2012
WE LCOME MESSA GE F R OM T HE CH AI RM AN I have just returned from Buccament Bay Resort which has enjoyed the second anniversary of the date it opened, 13th August 2010. I was looking at photos of the land when I first bought it from the Government of St Vincent & The Grenadines all those years ago and it made me sit back and realise what an achievement it has been to turn this resort into, without question, one of the best hotels in the Caribbean. It is important to remember that many of our property investors bought into the dream of what we were hoping to create, trusting that we would fulfil our promises, and that is what we are doing.
Buccament Bay Resort’s first guests, the Marshall family, at the opening in August 2010
A computer generated artist’s impression of H, Barbados
While at the resort, I met the Marshall family who purchased a Harlequin property in the early stages and were not only at the resort when it opened in 2010 but returned for both the first anniversary last year and again on this second anniversary. They have kindly written about their experiences during each stay in this newsletter and we would sincerely like to thank them for their continued support. I am impressed by the number of investors who have visited Buccament Bay Resort as this shows how committed they are and it is important that everyone understands the seriousness, commitment and passion that has been put into creating what Harlequin Hotels & Resorts is today. Buccament Bay before it was purchased by Harlequin
Our second hotel, blu St Lucia, is now open to guests and we are expecting H, Barbados to open next year and a further Harlequin hotel in Barbados to open within the next twelve months. As you will see within this Newsletter, work continues apace and millions of dollars are being invested in moving our developments forward towards completion, even during these difficult times. As we head into Autumn 2012, work continues at a pace; not only at Buccament Bay Resort, but The Merricks Resort, H, Barbados, The Marquis Estate, and, we hope to make a major announcement soon regarding a speedy start of works in the Dominican Republic. It is worth remembering that thousands of people have lost money buying foreign properties in places like Bulgaria, Cyprus and Spain in the hope that their money would be well invested and make considerable returns. I believe that Harlequin has proved that it is
Beachfront terrace at H Barbados
committed to ensuring that our property investors’ money is used wisely in order to fulfil our commitments and deliver the returns that are expected. Despite the world economy and financial institutions being in meltdown, we have continued to build when even countries themselves are having difficulty raising funding. Of course, this has made it far more difficult for us to raise funding and has caused delays in completing our projects on time. However, at this time I am pleased to confirm that we have a Letter of Intent from one financial institution that is offering to fund the cost of building a new hotel for Harlequin to operate, and another lender that is on the verge of offering us finance to build in the Dominican Republic. The important thing to take away from this is the fact that it is recognised that Harlequin has proved it can both build luxury resorts to five star standards and also operate hotels to that standard. Going forward, I am confident that this will enable us to receive the average room rate and level of occupancy for the hotels required to fulfil our promises of paying the property investors and the banks the returns they expect for their investment with us. I am also confident that more financial institutions will continue to invest in our resorts and that we will come through this current economic crisis stronger and continue to offer high capital growth and returns for our property investors. The pools at blu St Lucia
Harlequin now has two types of property investment. Firstly, there are longer term investments where properties are bought off plan at below market value, such as in projects like The Merricks Resort and Buccament Bay Resort, which are already worth considerably more than the original selling price. The second type of property investment is the opportunity to purchase a unit which will be provide a faster rental return, which I will elaborate on below. During the last two years it has become apparent that Harlequin’s brand associations with Liverpool Football Club, Pat Cash, Trader Vic’s, ESPA, etc. have had a tremendous impact in both attracting holidaymakers to Buccament Bay Resort and also adding value to this and the other resorts that are yet to open. This enables us to charge higher room rates, which benefits everyone. Adding these facilities and buying additional land obviously contributed to the delay in
although it has taken longer than anticipated, we are confident that Harlequin Air will be flying guests soon. We are still intending to open a resort in Brazil which is a notoriously difficult country to work in. In order to make things run smoothly we are looking to buy distressed hotels which do not require planning permission, environmental studies etc. which can take up a great deal of time. This will be refurbished so that we can meet our intended opening date of 2014 when the World Cup comes to Brazil.
Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool Football Club, invited me to Baltimore to watch the friendly pre-season match between Liverpool and Spurs. Whilst there I met former Liverpool players Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush, who is now Club Ambassador.
opening Buccament Bay Resort, but we considered this to be a small price to pay for the considerable increase in value of both its properties and the resort itself, which is something that will not have escaped the notice of those looking for long term capital growth. It is important to remember when investing in a property that it is the income on that room that ultimately covers the return on investment. The success of Buccament Bay Resort, for example, is due to the high average room rate we are achieving due to the quality of the resort and the facilities on offer. One only needs to compare Buccament Bay Resort with other resorts in the brochures to realise how much more is on offer, which translates into the returns that purchasers will receive. The room rates in some other resorts are far lower than those at Buccament Bay Resort, which means that the total income generated will be lower. I feel it is important to detail our second type of investment as it is new to some people. Now we have proved that we can build and manage five star resorts, we are being offered distressed hotels at knock down prices that enable us to invest in refurbishing them, which means that we can open these hotels much quicker and offer investors a quicker return on their money. These properties are obviously sold to purchasers at a higher price than those that are bought off plan, as people buying off plan are buying future capital growth, which offers a much higher return, whereas our refurbished hotels, like blu and H, etc., although offering a lower capital growth, can give returns much quicker.
Harlequin Air’s two 9 seater Piper Chieftains in their hangar
In the early days of selling property in the Caribbean, some people said that this was all too good to be true and that it wouldn’t happen. I feel that we have proved them wrong as we are now in the process of handing over legal title to the properties at Buccament Bay Resort, which is a significant step and completes the cycle that we promised all those years ago. We look forward to a great future for all our investors and I thank you for your continued support.
Kind regards Dave Ames CHAIRMAN, HARLEQUIN HOTELS & RESORTS
FOR DAILY UPDATES blog.harlequinhotelsandresorts.com
Another important point is that we have invested in Harlequin Developments (now hdstudio), headed by David Campion, and rebranded it as HD Studio. It now has its own team of architects, engineers, project managers and designers based in Barbados, and this will save us millions of dollars by giving us the capability to do all the design and architectural drawings in-house, enabling us to build more cost effectively and continue to offer such great value. We have been working for almost two years to establish Harlequin Air, the first new airline in the Caribbean for over 30 years. This has not been an easy process, however, we are nearly there and only waiting for the official licence. We already have our own hangar in Antigua and two planes ready to fly, our own maintenance and engineering department and our own pilots. Once we have the licence we will be able to fly guests between our resorts in the Caribbean, so,
Stunning view of Buccament Bay Resort’s pools and beach
Brochure for H, Barbados
HA R LE QUIN’ S BR A ND DE VELOPMEN T
Harlequin Hotels & Resorts has created a number of brands to identify its properties. In order to avoid saturating a market and confusing prospective customers, particularly where we will have multiple properties in the same country, it’s important to communicate and establish clear differences between the types of products we are creating. With one person’s idea of the perfect holiday different from the next, prospective customers must also be able to identify the option that best fits their desires and means.
Resorts A Resort property, like Buccament Bay Resort or The Merricks Resort currently under development, is all-inclusive with Harlequin’s 5 star standards of luxury and all of the in-house brands and external partners, such as Liverpool FC International Football Academy Soccer Schools, Pat Cash Tennis Club, ESPA, HQ, The Bay Beach Club, Trader Vic’s, Jack’s, etc. The resorts will have their own name and branding to reflect their individuality even though they share the unique range of activities and brand associations with the other resorts.
A great deal of thought is also devoted to which type of product works best for a given location. In order to ensure maximum occupancy on islands where we are developing multiple properties or estates, it is essential to consider the target market and the volumes achievable with travel in the region. As an example, the new international airport being developed on the beautiful island of St Vincent will have a profound effect on the island’s capacity and appeal as a tourist destination; simultaneously, a great deal of the island’s appeal will remain to be its status as an unspoilt gem in a gorgeous region.
Front entrance welcome sign at Buccament Bay Resort
H Collection H is the brand name of Harlequin’s luxury boutique hotel collection targeted at adults and defined by its limited number of rooms and exceptional ambience and décor punctuated by Harlequin’s unique style. H hotels offer bed and breakfast packages, a la carte menus in fine dining restaurants, outstanding bar spaces, and cutting edge technologies and luxuries.
The brand specification manuals are intrinsically detailed across dozens of pages, but please find below brief descriptions of key differences between the brands within the Harlequin Hotels & Resorts properties, both existing and under development:
Harlequin Hotels Harlequin Hotels will be a range of larger 5 star family hotels with luxury accommodation available on an all-inclusive or bed and breakfast basis. Although with fewer of the amenities available in a resort they will offer a choice of bars and restaurants, and will be situated beachfront to provide the best location for a family holiday.
Signage outside Little Harlequins Kids Club
blu This is our medium-sized class of property delivering the comfort of a 5 star accommodation for the 4 star market. Available on an all-inclusive or bed and breakfast basis, a blu-branded accommodation has fewer of the amenities available in a resort property and may not have a beachfront setting, but the location will be excellent whether guests wish to laze on the beach or explore and discover. The first member of the brand, blu St Lucia, opened in April of this year. Whilst the brands will come with varying expectations in terms of the amount of amenities or even the size of television in a room, they will share the same Harlequin brand of warm hospitability and excellent service with the bar-raising standard of style and comfort. Feedback tells us that the travel industry is as excited as we are to see these brands develop and grow, and this consolidates our belief that the public will share the excitement.
Buccament Bay Resort Stationery
Buccament Bay Resort’s new General Manager, Gianluca Cugnetto, came to the resort with an impressive CV that includes a range of successful experiences in quality hotels across the world. Gianluca and the resort team work tirelessly to ensure an exceptional resort experience, so we asked him to explain what he’s been working on lately. “I have been focusing my resources into strengthening the team at Buccament Bay Resort, which I felt was of primary importance in order to ensure the atmosphere and, most of all, the productivity to reach the desired level. Let’s not forget that we are still at an early stage; as a result, I am pleased to see associates more relaxed, motivated and enthusiastic, which is being reflected in the comment cards, Trip Advisor reviews and general feedback.
Harlequin’s flagship destination, Buccament Bay Resort, may already enjoy a fantastic reception from the travel industry and tourists, but it continues to evolve into an ever more exceptional resort; however, as reviews on Trip Advisor show, any works that take place are hidden away and have no impact at all on guest experience, which is obviously the main concern along with fulfilling our duty to our investors. The waterfront village at night
The team has been working to improve the guest experience and the results have been very well received. Gianluca Cugnetto, Buccament Bay Resorts General Manager
Fresh fruit bar at breakfast
We have completely changed the arrival and departure experience to make it much warmer, and we are still working on making this even more exciting. Some of the key facilities at any resort are the restaurants, so we have given that area a lot of attention lately. Improvements have been made to the breakfast experience in Bamboo; now it has a gorgeous fruit station where fruit is freshly prepared to order, together with lots of new ways of preparing and serving food and beverages. We recently launched a new menu at The Bay Beach Club, which contains more variety and exciting choices, including specialties from different cuisines. The Bay also serves a selection of sushi and sashimi throughout the day.
The water front village area is receiving its finishing aesthetic touches, with Trader Vic’s and Safran are having their exterior doors and windows stained, whilst its two ponds will soon receive lights and fish. Trader Vic’s roof is almost completely fitted with purlins, whilst Safran’s roof is 99% complete with shingles and semicomplete with purlins. Jack’s has had its sign fitted and The Bay Beach Club has been given additional fixed seating complete with upholstery. With the scaffolding removed several weeks ago, the finishing interior works on Block 2 - the first apartment building - have progressed to the top two floors, with floor tiling complete on the 4th floor and nearing completion on the 5th. As well as having LV and HV power installed, solar panels are being fitted to the roof to provide its own source of green energy. The air handling system has also been completed on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.
Jack’s Steak & Seafood restaurant now has an array of fresh bread that is cut and served “a la minute”. We’ve been careful to ensure that, as a fine dining restaurant, there service is more professional, whilst at the same time maintaining a friendly approach to reflect the resort’s identity as a truly Caribbean 5 star experience.
Christine Nelles, Resort Manager at Buccament Bay Resort
Development of a new wedding cabana is in progress, which will enhance the resort’s already accomplished wedding services. Buccament Bay Resort’s own full-size football pitch is complete; now work is focused on landscaping the perimeter, with a timber fence to be installed to enclose the pitch. We have a new General Manager, Gianluca Cugnetto, and Resort Manager, Christine Nelles, and together with the team at Buccament Bay Resort are continuing to deliver exceptional customer service and creating memorable guest experiences.
Jack’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant at night
F I RS T GU E S TS R E V IE W
Our dear Indian baby, Safran, has also had a face-lift. The menu is more extensive and Chef Umesh has adapted certain signature dishes that are in continuous demand. We have a better presence on the beach now and provide more treats during the day, like fruit skewers, smoothies and fresh coconuts.
The Marshall family at the opening of Buccament Bay Resort in August 2010
Bamboo is taking a huge step forward at the moment. The dining options are being expanded to offer a lavish buffet with more variety and gorgeous specialties. We will also have a food feast with Mojitos and other recipes together with live entertainment with a Caribbean flair. On an additional note, we have introduced a very interesting signature concept for all restaurants: our chefs will come out from the kitchen to serve “amuse bouche” to guests during the evening so that guests can sample some other delicious tastes. It’s a small touch but guests really like and appreciate it. I believe that if you’re not going forwards, you’re going backwards, so we will continue to work hard to improve the overall guest experience and ensure consistent exceptional service.”
Swimming pools at Buccament Bay Resort
The Marshall Family Review the resort 2 years on Our family were the very first Harlequin guests arriving at the brand new Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent on Friday 13th August 2010, which was then solely for property investors and agents. The resort is in a terrific location at the foot of a spectacular valley with a sparkling new beach. Facilities included the pool adjacent to the reception building, which was frequented by lots of children who always seem to prefer pools over a beach. Restaurants were Bay View just down the road from the resort entrance as well as a tented facility located on the beach. Despite limited facilities at this early stage, we enjoyed a wonderful holiday and could see the beginning of something special, although very much a ‘work in progress’. The staff were all wearing very smart uniforms throughout the resort and were charming, friendly and genuinely keen to ensure that all guests were having a good time. We enjoyed trips to Tobago Cays and Bequia as well several sunset cruises which were frequented by dolphins. The kids club was up and running and staff there did a great job entertaining the children. Our return trip was at the same time in August 2011 when we could see substantial progress had been achieved during the previous twelve months. There was now a Beach Village with two fabulous pools, The Bay Beach Club bar and restaurant as well as an HQ coffee shop and several boutiques. The beach was still as sumptuous although now with a beach bar, beach barbeque for lunches and Indigo Dive. Dining was now hugely extended to the new Bamboo restaurant together with the Safran Indian restaurant. The Bay Beach Club was a focal point for guests to dine and enjoy drinks now including an exotic array of cocktails. A nightly formal entertainment programme included top-class performances by West End and Broadway stars. The sporting aspect of the resort had also now been established including the Pat Cash Tennis Academy which offered master classes with Pat Cash himself, together with excellent coaching programmes for everyone of any tennis ability. The Liverpool Football Club Soccer School was also now in operation with specialist coaching by ex-professionals, which was Michael Thomas whilst we were there. Getting around the resort was now via very cool looking bikes as well as a fleet of guest buggies. The villas were truly gorgeous with a very high fit-out specification including plunge pool. The turn-down service was a nice touch to end the day. The prevailing comment from all guests was always about the comfort of beds similar to the previous year. The investors and
agents percentage of all guests had dropped down to about 30%. New external clients were noticeably astonished by the beauty of this new resort as they had never seen anything quite like this; albeit could also see that it was clearly in its infancy stages to finally becoming something rather unique and special.
The Marshall children having fun on the beach
We’ve now just returned from our third visit to Buccament Bay Resort, arriving on 7th August 2012. Immediate change compared to 2011 is that the guests are pretty much all non-investors and agents. It was very pleasing to hear the guests speak openly and positively about their feelings generally about their holiday experience at the resort. A true test and observation was to see the sadness with tears when guests finally had to depart. It was also nice to see families mixing at the pool and beach as well as dining together in groups. The resort has now become a smash-hit 5 star holiday destination with everyone openly having fun and enjoying the ambience that prevails. Jack’s restaurant is now open and brings dining to a totally new dimension. The quality of food was exceptional. Pat Cash was on resort and joined by Chris Wilkinson who also provided master-classes. One of the highlights was to see Pat Cash and his son, Jet, take on Chris Wilkinson and the resident coach, James Droy, in an exhibition match. Some sixty guests came along to see a closely fought encounter as well as seeing ‘Team GB’ emerge as winners after a tie-break. Lewis Moody was also on resort providing daily coaching lessons for the younger folks, which for most was their first introduction to the sporting world of rugby. Lewis also organised a game of beach tag-rugby for the adults which was a great spectacle. How can I ever forget feeding the ball back to the great Lewis Moody for him to burst through and score? On a further sporting note, this year we could see the new full-size football pitch, cricket nets and basketball court. Final summary of Buccament Bay Resort would be to convey that it slowly but surely, gently gets into guests minds. It is not in a tacky or materialistic way, but just simply being what it is. The resort now oozes gentle charm and genuine friendliness that we’ve never experienced anywhere else. It was not at all uncommon to see guests gazing around at the extreme natural beauty. We’ve been fortunate to see the resort open as a concept-in-the-making at its opening but now, two years on, we can witness real progress not just on a construction front, but also on the deep impact the resort is now having on new guests. I strongly believe that these guests will want to return as the overall Buccament Bay experience is something that cannot be put into words in a brochure. Buccament Bay Resort has come an extraordinarily long way since our first visit just two years ago when it comprised of a beach, some villas and not a lot else.
We are in the final stages of completing the purchase of a hotel located on the South Coast of Barbados, just 15 minutes from the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport and just a few minutes’ drive from the Barbados cruise port and Bridgetown. It is situated amongst 5 acres of lush, tropical gardens. It has a long, deep, white sandy, beach that has a protected swimming area created by an artificial reef which also prevents it from being eroded.
Traditional Barbados Hut
We will refurbish it to become Harlequin Barbados over three phases, the first of which will be completed in 2013. Harlequin Barbados will be a five star family hotel with some of the unique facilities from Harlequin Hotels & Resorts, including a spa with products and treatments by ESPA, fitness centre, watersports, Little Harlequins Kids Club, boutique, business lounge, The Bay Beach Club, Jack’s steak & seafood restaurant and an HQ coffee shop. We have chosen to develop another property in Barbados because, with its thriving tourist industry, it is the ideal destination to invest in a hotel property. An advantage for investors is that purchasing a property at Harlequin Barbados delivers a rental income far earlier than for a new build, although with less capital appreciation.
The Marshall Family in the evening sunset
On a very final note, I finally learnt how to sail a boat!
South Point Lighthouse
blu St Lucia Update blu St Lucia is closing for September 2012 to enable the completion of upgrades such as the integration of low energy, sustainable solutions to its operations.
Kevin Smith, Operations Director for blu Kevin Smith was recently promoted to operations director for blu following a successful stint as general manager at Buccament Bay Resort. We asked Kevin to tell us about the work he’s been doing with our first blu hotel in St Lucia. “The focus has been on bringing in more staff, training them to be multi-skilled, and ensuring the level of training is up to scratch so that instead of operating as separate departments, they all have similar synergies and work smoothly as a collective striving for the same goal: customer satisfaction.” “This team approach has already produced pleasing results with the mind-set clearly helping each department. As an example, we have held two wedding receptions in August – one for 200 people, the other for 50 people – and the team showed they can assist each other to be more than the sum of their parts and each contribute to providing an excellent overall customer experience.”
“We have put in place thorough processes for acquiring products for the hotel so we can be sure that everything we order and everywhere we order them from is of the best quality, the best value, and the best reliability, so that customer satisfaction is maximised.” “Our room service menus are changing to provide more options for snacks, drinks and meals. The updated menu remains friendly to general Western tastes whilst also presenting some choices with traditional Caribbean flavours.”
A junior suite at blu St Lucia
“Of course we ensure that room standards are maintained, and we recently reviewed the offering from suites to standard rooms to ensure the relative qualities and their places within the broader Harlequin standard of style and quality are well represented.” Sun loungers around the pool
“With the bathroom refurbishment on the horizon, communication with the team has involved significant preparation and organisation so they all know what is happening and when it is happening; this has also been important for planning when staff take their well-earned breaks with friends and family.” “In terms of sales, we are very focused on thinking outside the box to find creative ways to attract customers and emphasising utilisation of our conference and spa facilities. We’re also doing our best to ensure we maintain relationships with third parties associated with the hotel in its past life as you never know where opportunities will appear.”
Location of The Merricks Resort Show Village
M ASTE R PL AN OF THE ME RRIC KS RE S ORT
A computer generated artistâ€™s impression Entrance to The Merricks Resort show village
The villas are progressing at speed with internal and external renders being completed, floor tiles laid and the pickling of interior wood nearing completion on both properties. One villa is a show home whilst the second is being used as a design suite and offices for the architects and development teams for the main project build ahead. The master plan was submitted to Barbados Town and Country Planning on 14th May 2012. It has been confirmed that the application is being processed by the various agencies and governmental bodies; feedback from the Chief Town Planner is expected in September 2012.
Plan of show village at The Merricks Resort
The villas are a testament to our environmentally friendly build approach, having been designed to be self-sustaining from a power perspective with finalisation of the positioning of solar panels and similar green technologies now taking place. Their rooms have been designed to retain the cool air generated by the air conditioning units, which are themselves controlled by a building management system (BMS) ensuring optimum use and maximum energy efficiency. Landscape architects have been engaged on the garden designs and are working closely with lighting consultants, who are developing subtle yet stunning lighting plans for the exterior spaces, meanwhile interior design has been advanced by Jones Baker with the palettes for materials confirmed.
The improved villa designs being implemented offer airy spaces that enjoy plenty of light, large rear decks with walk in plunge pools â€“ which have been completed - and seating areas to take in the wonderful views over the turquoise sea. New bathroom designs also accommodate showers with closed external garden spaces, allowing for an inside/outside shower experience.
A computer generated artist’s impression
H is the brand name of Harlequin’s luxury boutique hotel collection targeted at adults and, is already creating a buzz in the travel industry, with some companies even publishing design images to whet the appetites of their customers before it opens in 2013. Work has progressed considerably with the recent completion of piling and micro piling on the site – “piling” being a form of strong, deep foundations required for a structure as large as a hotel – and static load tests. In Blocks A and C, the installation of infrastructure is well under way, whilst the concrete pour of foundations for Blocks A and E is complete. A pour has also been made to accommodate the foundations of the lift shaft that will service the hotel from the reception area. Bedroom concept at H Barbados
Jones Baker have presented their conceptual designs for the hotel’s interior fit out; this stage of planning and design is critical to achieving the feel and ultimately the atmosphere of H, Barbados, and the latter could be the single most important quality overall. For us, the atmosphere is the sum total of the physical facilities and all of the intangible qualities that comprise a memorable hotel experience: decor, ambience, personalised service, and the attitude of management and staff.
Contracts have already been awarded and work commenced on the pre-cast concrete portions, so over the next few months the main structures of the hotel will rise from the ground. Harlequin staff are finalising landscaping plans with contractors EDSA, who have been working on the project from the start, along with the lighting consultants. The collaborative creative effort has born some stunning planting schemes and lighting concepts that will really bring the inside and outside of H, Barbados to life and set the luscious tone for the guests. As always, environmental friendliness is foremost in our mind when developing a hotel, so great research and consideration is undertaken at each stage of development, such as the types of lights we should use and which manufacturers use components made from recycled materials.
A number of computer generated images have been created based upon directions from the design teams, and these capture perfectly the extraordinary attention to detail and exceptional quality of what we are sure will be an iconic boutique hotel. Mazu restaurant
A computer generated artist’s impression H, Barbados Site Plan
Architect’s drawing of The Marquis Estate
The Marquis Estate Operations Centre
The Marquis Estate Show Home and Operations Centre We are currently completing road works to the main access roads with contractors, CO Williams, and have cut a new road through the site leading up to the hillside plateau, which will house one of the main Harlequin Hotel receptions in Phase 2 or 3. During Phase 1 and the preparation period, A computer generated artist’s impression this will act as the area for the site office/design studios and Show Home site for the Estate. The road is now planned to be extended up the hill to connect with the ridge top road that runs alongside the Gary Player private lots. The show home and operations centre designs have been completed and planning approval has been given for establishing infrastructure to the site. This includes aqueduct systems and structural upgrades to the road networks. Planning for the operations centre and show unit is being passed between the relevant agencies prior to official lodging with the Development Control Authority. The Gary Player standard unit will be housed beneath the operations centre, hanging out on a cantilevered edge over the rainforest and complete with plunge pool.
The Marquis Estate The site master plan has been developed further by our architects HKS and now allows for best use of the available land to take advantage of all the natural vistas and terrain. The development now includes a number of hotel schemes and villages to provide the estate with a unique and self-sustaining environment for tourists. Special features of the plan include the old mill buildings, which are being converted into a small working rum factory where guests can watch the rum making process and make their own bottles to take home. Harlequin is working closely with government bodies to advance the project, with current efforts working towards the submission of detailed surveys and works, alongside the master plans and phase plans for the environmental impact assessment studies. The conclusion of these studies will allow us to proceed into applications for full planning and begin construction of the phases. It is hoped that we will have completed the survey works and submitted for Environmental Impact Assessment by the end of this year, meaning that we could commence construction and works in the early part of next year, subject to approvals. With the recent appointment of a new St Lucian government came changes to the boards and committees involved with planning and development projects in the country. We are pleased to say that good progress has been made with these new bodies and we have been assured that a new committee is in the process of being engaged specifically for fasttracking The Marquis Estate documentation.
Harlequin Hotel Conceptual design work of the Harlequin Hotel has been completed and offers an exciting new dimension to the designs seen to date. Drawing inspiration from South Asia, our designers have developed a concept which allows the rainforest to merge into the design and be a living part of the hotel. Some corridors will be created using the natural stone of the mountain face as the hotel cleverly hugs the hillside contours to create plunging views into rainforest, whilst a series of rooms will look down into rainforest courtyards.
New entrance road leading to The Marquis Estate being prepared
The pools and amenities, positioned at the front of the hotel, will cascade down the hillside, cantilevered over the canopy and affording views down over the golf course and out to the ocean, which is clearly visible form the knoll that forms a natural plateau for the site.
artist’s impression of the Harlequin Hotel
A double-loaded corridor design allows for an efficient use of space so the hotel can take maximum advantage of the excellent location afforded it: halfway down the estate and sitting some 45 metres above sea level. A generated artist’s impression
Gary Player Hotel and Signature Golf Course The Gary Player Hotel conceptual design is complete and next will be taken into the detailed design phase when interior architects will be appointed. The interior design will be heavily influenced by themes of Africa. Phase 1 of The Marquis Estate, will comprise the Gary Player Hotel – with 150 rooms and 20 villas – 50 private villa lots, an 18 hole Signature Championship Golf Course, Club House, practice facilities and the beach club.
Golf Course with Villas
Golf course construction specialists, Heritage Links, are working with Harlequin to create the Gary Player Signature Golf course. Harlequin got in touch with Jon O’Donnell, President of Heritage Links, to ask him a few questions about his work with Gary Player to create the golf course for The Marquis Estate. Jon O’Donnell has over 25 years of experience in the golf industry, including golf course construction, development services and golf course maintenance.
Ground survey works are currently being completed; the area comprising the private villas is complete, allowing us to begin staking out individual plots so that each investor can view where their property will be situated. The surveying team are moving along the ridge into the Gary Player Hotel site, working from the crest of the hill down to the ocean side. The main reception area for the Gary Player Hotel sits 95 metres above sea level, hanging out over the rainforest with stunning views over the ocean and down the golf course, which extends over 7,309 yards in length.
Jon O’Donnell, President of Heritage Links
Heritage Links are experts in the industry: they produce and manage many of today’s world-class golf courses, and have completed projects in the United States, Mexico, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, including courses that have won awards and been selected for the US Open. Since the early 80’s Gary Player Design has been a global leader in golf course design, employing a small team of seasoned and dedicated professionals with a combined 210 years in the golf course development industry. Through the years, Gary Player and Gary Player Design have executed a portfolio of over 300 projects in 35 countries on five continents.
Survey works are being commenced in line with the Environmental Impact Assessment studies required in the area surrounding the golf course. Last month, bird surveys were completed showing nesting sites and identifying various birds that we will protect within their environments.
Harlequin What would you say makes a great golf course?
Jon O’Donnell There are a few ways to answer that…
As a playing experience, a golf course that challenges the player’s skills is always fun and exciting, but it also has to be playable and fair for all levels of golfers and golf shots. Having played on other Gary Player-designed golf courses, I know he always achieves that balance.
River studies are due to start shortly to assess the extent of flood plains and calculate the run-off from the hillsides surrounding the golf site. The engineers have already developed a series of lakes in the designs to ensure water capture for eco-friendly golf course watering; this has added as a design feature of the golf course, allowing 14 of the 18 holes to run alongside or over water. Golf Player Villa
Meetings have recently taken place between HD Studio, engineers and golf course construction specialists, Heritage Links, to evaluate works and develop schedules. Further, Turf Grass Consultancy, agronomist experts based out of Ireland, have been retained to advise on the course planting, grow in and maintenance. As the bulk of the properties within the estate enjoy golf views, particular attention is being paid to ensure the correct landscaping and agronomy decisions are being made to ensure the most spectacular views.
As an investor or resort owner, breath-taking views are always nice to have sitting adjacent to a resort. In the case of Marquis Estate, the views leading into the golf course and actually on the course while playing will really be something special. There are many great golf courses to play, but I personally feel golf course maintenance also plays a key role in determining a great golf course. For instance, if a golf course is over-watered or too wet due to poor drainage, or has slow greens or bunker sand that is conducive to balls plugging, it is not as fun to play and seems to always linger in the minds of the golfer after the round. Essentially, a golf course that is well maintained, well-groomed and has green speeds that match the playability of the course will be memorable for the best reasons.
A computer generated artist’s impression
Q Harlequin Lastly, what work goes into developing a golf course like The Marquis Estate project from start to finish? What kind of timescale is involved? A Jon O’Donnell From the planning, construction, and grow-in side of the golf course, there is a huge amount that goes into it. In these remote parts of the world, such as where Marquis sits, almost all of the materials are being imported into the site to create the course and the infrastructure to support the golf course.
Essentially, the entire infrastructure has to be built, for both the golf course and the resort. The entry road, access to the resort, water, sewer, and electricity all has to be planned, designed, and executed. The development teams will work together when building the resort, clubhouse, and other support structures in conjunction with building the golf course. Many items will be grouped together so that they serve a number of functions. As an example, the lake will be used as an impressive visual feature, for storing irrigation water, and as a home to wild life and drainage for some areas of the resort. The irrigation system will be sized properly so that not only will it have the capacity to water the golf course, but it will also facilitate watering of the greens and landscaped areas of the resort. A nursery will be developed at the beginning of the project that will provide resources for the turf grass for the golf course, as well as the landscaping for the resort. The entire construction activity is a process that is eventually covered up with lush turf and landscaped plant material, which allows the maintenance departments to continue to groom these areas to their highest potential.
Drawings of full plans of golf course at The Marquis Estate Q Harlequin So what will make the Gary Player course at The Marquis Estate distinct from other top courses? A Jon O’Donnell Gary Player – by far – has seen and probably played more golf anywhere in the world than any other player on the planet. This experience is utilised each day when he is presented projects like The Marquis Estate.
There is not a single golf course in the world that is the same and The Marquis Estate course will be very unique. In reviewing the design that Gary and his team have created, I can see he has worked with the naturally gifted land for The Marquis Estate course. Probably the most unique element is the stream feature that impacts almost half of the course and eventually rolls into the Caribbean Sea, and the way that Gary and his team utilised this stream to lay the course in and amongst this feature. Gary and his team also utilised this relatively horizontal floor in the valley to create a challenging layout. Golf courses that are ranked in Top 100 lists have architectural elements that offer design rhythm and a variety of terrain and holes that will tests a player’s full arsenal of skills. The Marquis Estate’s course has all of these qualities.
The process of planning can take months because you have to be exactly sure that all designs, use of space, and the orientations of all items are correctly thought through prior to moving into the construction phase. Once you get to that point, hundreds of thousands of meters of material are moved, many hectares of turf are planted, almost a million linear meters of wire is utilised for the irrigation system, and thousands of meters of drain pipe are installed to assist in draining the site. Then when construction is completed, the grow-in of the golf course will start and take over until it is groomed to a level where it is ready for guests, which can take many months to complete. Ultimately, all the time and hard work will result in a spectacular playing experience and a stunning feature for the resort.
Gary Player stricking a ball at the top of The Marquis Estate
Masterplan of the Pat Cash Tennis Hotel
Pat Cash Tennis Hotel Following meetings in Miami with Pat Cash and the design team earlier this year, the Pat Cash Tennis Hotel is now complete in its conceptual design. Positioned privately over the Marquis river, the hotel enjoy some exquisite design features. Set against the backdrop of 240 acres of protected national forest land, the Pat Cash Tennis Hotel has been designed to blend into the natural landscape of the valley it will nestle in, affording stunning views over the Gary Player Signature Golf Course and to the ocean beyond. This 250-room, 50-villa hotel will be accessed through a sugar mill area that will be converted back into a small, working rum factory to provide guests with the experience of bottling their own Marquis Rum.
Artistâ€™s impression of the Pat Cash Tennis Hotel
A clever design by HKS, a leading international architecture firm, incorporates five levels into the site: the lower two are comprised of natural local stone, allowing it to disappear into the terrain; the top three tiers sit behind formal gardens with a clean, modern design and crisp architecture framing the stunning views. A specialty restaurant will be nestled in the hillside, surrounded by a limited number of small luxury 1 bedroom villas. White massing models have been completed, allowing for the buildings to be mapped alongside the actual contours of the site with detailed studies of positioning. The front pool (pictured below) will feature an infinity edge leading the eye to the golf course beyond, with a number of controlled bodies of water beneath falling down a series of waterfalls into the river below. Whether you are down on the course or up by the pools, the view will be equally breathtaking. A larger, lagoonstyle kidsâ€™ pool is also planned with slides and pools on different levels. As a Pat Cash hotel, one of its key attractions will be a centre court, court one, and around a dozen further courts that will mean the facilities can serve as a tournament venue (in order to be considered for tournaments, there must be a minimum of eight courts with the same playing surface). Additional and complimentary to the outstanding tennis facilities will be state of the art gym facilities with specialist biomechanics equipment and sports specific programs for trainers and professional coaches. Once all the hard work is out of the way, a beautiful spa and outside recreational areas will be waiting to help guests unwind, whilst controlled bodies of beach areas will allow for sunbathing and sports, such as volleyball.
Cross-section of the Pat Cash Tennis Hotel A generated artistâ€™s impression
HD Studio met with Escarfullery & Asociados recently and made a revision of the master plan layout following completion of survey works to establish setbacks and boundaries to the mangrove and river.
Las Canas Resort & The Hideaway Hotel: the new Harlequin Estate The Harlequin Estate will comprise of Las Canas Resort and The Hideaway, and incorporates plans to purchase more land to extend the resort to accommodate world class sporting facilities to provide all the activities and services that are part of the Harlequin Hotels & Resorts brand.
Masterplan of The Hideaway
With the required land within reach, this vision can now be realised to the great benefit of the Harlequin brand (i.e. greater product diversity expanding our reach and appeal to existing and burgeoning markets) future customers (i.e. a grander, richer, more cohesive experience), the country (i.e. creating an even greater attraction to the island and more jobs), the travel industry (i.e. an even more saleable destination that appeals to a broader market) and investors (i.e. a significantly more valuable property). Conceptual plans are currently being developed by Escarfullery & Asociados and HKS Design Studios and over the coming months, more detailed land planning and conceptual work will be undertaken, along with land use feasibility studies.
Four proposals were presented and revised during the visit. It was agreed for there to be a quantity of circa 200 Bali villas in the ocean front portion of the site, and 500 additional apartments and Pat Cash Tennis accommodations on the other side of the river. It was also agreed to work solely on the beach front portion of the site at the current time, as the rest of the project site will be defined if additional land is added to the property.
Overview of conceptual plans for Las Canas Resort
Both the wetland delimitation survey and topographic work have been completed; at the present time, Escarfullery & Asociados are continuing with development of the master plan and studies required for the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Ministry of Tourism Applications and procedures. These processes must be completed before we progress to planning for approval and holding discussions with government bodies regarding tax and concession packages. Beach Cabanas
It is important to note that any additional plans for The Harlequin Estate, whilst intended to complement the existing plans, will not affect the progress of Las Canas Resort and The Hideaway as individual developments.
The sporting facilities are the main focus of the improvements that would be facilitated by acquiring more land. These are intended to include: u
New plans for a golf course and clubhouse
New plans for a golf hotel
New plans for baseball facilities
New plans for an equestrian centre and polo field
Increased facilities for the Liverpool FC International Football Academy Soccer School
Increased facilities for Pat Cash Tennis A computer generated artistâ€™s impression
We have obtained the definitive no objection letter from the Ministry of Tourism to commence works. This came about following the submission of all documents, architectural plans, technical plans, and geotechnical studies for the approval of the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Escarfullery & Asociados have further developed the master plan to significantly improve its features and facilities. This new plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Tourism and awaits a letter of no objection to the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed changes from the old plan.
All of this information properly stamped will be used for the continuation of the revision by the authorities of the Ministry of Public Works, and to obtain the license for construction, which will take at least two months (should we require to begin the construction before this time, a provisional authorisation may be obtained).
A computer generated artist’s impression
Alaia Spa Villa
Master plan design development proposals by Escafullery & Asociados have been signed off by the HD Studio team.
In order to prepare the Environmental Impact Assessment, further survey works were undertaken, including updated hydrology and mangrove management studies. Environmental Impact Assessment inspectors have already visited the site and finished their review with the result pending completion of their own internal processes. With topographical survey work under review, HD Studio and Escarfullery & Asociados hope to make significant progress with the final stages of planning in the coming months. Once this complex planning process has been concluded, preparations are already in place to expedite the delivery of a show villa facility on the site to lead into the main construction.
Consultants have provided Escafullery & Asociados all of the designs, specifications and bill of quantities so they can finalise the general cost estimation of the full project, the design of which has been completed. HD Studio has been given instructions to proceed with the opening of the bid process. The process will start when construction dates are set and can be added to the bidding documents.
Procurement investigations have already started with HD Studio researching timber suppliers for the feature Bali villa roofs, including as far flung places as Jakarta, Indonesia.
Tender information is currently being modified to embrace Harlequin’s low energy, environmentally sensitive approach to delivering hotels and resorts living.
It is hoped that we will be in a position to setup operations onsite in early 2013. With works anticipated to begin on the main build of The Hideaway around that time, HD Studio will establish its site offices in Dominican Republic and, where possible, develop both sites, thus allowing for value engineering principles to be applied, which help with cost management.
HD Studio has also completed a cost analysis for implementing the ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) system vs. traditional construction systems. A detailed structural analysis of one of the buildings will be performed in August to complement the cost analysis. The Hideaway main pool area
The HD Studio team are currently looking into a delivery schedule for the project and planned phasing. This work will then inform a construction and delivery programme, allowing Harlequin Hotels & Resorts to set anticipated completion dates for each phase. 4 Bedroom Luxury Thai Villa
A computer generated artist’s impression
A computer generated artist’s impression
Based in St Lucia, Harlequin Air will provide an exclusive service for guests at Harlequin’s Caribbean hotels and resorts, delivering easy, swift and luxurious transfers between islands when arriving from or departing for transatlantic flights. Guests will also be able to utilise the fleet for excursions and visits to Harlequin’s other hotels and resorts as a two-centre holiday. Harlequin Air first plane with full livery on
Christ The Redeemer Statue, Rio
We are still intending to open a resort in Brazil, although we have experienced some delays in our negotiations as it is a notoriously difficult country to work in. We are looking to buy a distressed hotel that does not require planning permission, environmental studies etc., which we have realised takes up a great deal of time and can cause more problems than resolutions. We are actively looking at beachfront properties in the State of Bahia and we will take advantage of the amazing eco-environment that Brazil is renowned for to create a truly tropical paradise with Harlequin’s standards of service.
At the moment, the cost of transfers with other operators is included in the cost of a holiday at a Harlequin Hotels & Resorts destination, so Harlequin Air will also dramatically reduce the cost of transfers, which will drive more revenue to the rooms, thus improving profitability for both property investors and Harlequin. As you can imagine, setting up an airline from scratch is no small task, but our team’s excellent work has put Harlequin Air within a Piper Chieftain’s wing of full operation. Working in conjunction with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), we have progressed through the various phases of process to acquire our Air Operating Certificate; only the final phase before receiving full approval to hit the skies remains. We are working through this final phase now and anticipate the green light from ECCAA in the coming month. For now, we have a fully functioning temporary hanger located at the international airport in Antigua, although Harlequin Air is also working closely with the St Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) to finalise a lease of land at Hewanorra International Airport, where we propose to build a 40,000sqft hangar in support of the airline, as well as a fixed base operation (FBO) – a mini terminal to process guests whilst in transit.
We have selected Bahia as the location for Harlequin Brazil Resort as there is a huge demand for tourist accommodation because it is already an established tourist destination and the favourite place for Brazilians to holiday with its year round climate, pristine beaches, ecological aspect and excellent infrastructure already in place. Brazil will become even more popular as a tourist destination over the next few years as it has been chosen to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. We intend to open our Harlequin Brazil Resort in 2014.
To date, there are two Piper Chieftain planes, (with two more planned to join the fleet), three full time pilots and two full time engineers. As new planes arrive further Pilots will be employed to support the daily operations of the airline and the Engineering division will also grow in line with future acquisitions. Fully leather upholstered seats for a comfortable journey
Here are the flight times guests can expect:
Metropolitan Cathedral in Fortaleza Brazil
St Vincent to Barbados
St Vincent to St Lucia
Barbados to St Lucia
One of the many beautiful beaches in Brazil
HAR L EQ UIN’S BR A ND A S SOC IAT IONS
ESPA ESPA continue to open award-winning spas around the world, which can only bode extremely well for the development of our spas in H, Barbados and The Hideaway in Dominican Republic. Both are deep into the detailed design phase, with ESPA representatives having attended a number of design meetings with the HD Studio team in recent months to drive the projects forward with their considerable expertise.
We have teamed up with a number of world-renowned brands so that our hotels and resorts offer a unique range of top class amenities for all the family. These famous names add considerable quality, value and prestige to our hotels and resorts, as well as demonstrating and qualifying the company’s vision of redefining luxury in the Caribbean.
Trader Vic’s In July, Harlequin senior staff had meetings with Trader Vic’s’ owners in San Francisco to plan for the opening of Trader Vic’s’ restaurants in Buccament Bay Resort and blu St Lucia. Exterior building works for the Buccament Bay Resort branch are complete, whilst interior items to finish the restaurant are on site and due to be fitted in the coming months; additionally, Trader Vic’s interior designer, William Baker, has been busy finishing off their new property in Dubai between finalising conceptual layouts for Harlequin’s Trader Vic’s offerings. Trader Vic’s internationally famous signature style promises to be another culinary delight for guests and a major attraction for the travel market.
Liverpool Football Club Following another successful Liverpool FC Academy tour, in which LFC’s under18 stars defended the Harlequin Cup in St Vincent this May, plans are already underway for a more substantial tour next year, with current plans involving: games in both Barbados and St Vincent against the countries’ national teams; undertaking more coaching sessions with local schools; and inviting some British Liverpool FC fans to support the club’s next generation.
New Soccer pitch at Buccament Bay Resort
At the end of July, Dave Ames and Simon Taylor met senior executives from Fenway (the club’s owners) in the US, where Liverpool FC were on tour, to discuss future ventures that will benefit Harlequin’s market penetration in North America. It was also a great opportunity to mingle with Liverpool FC senior management and former players who support the club’s International Football Academy.
“Group training weeks run by former players are held at Buccament Bay’s Liverpool Football Club Soccer School, with coaches including Gareth Southgate (October 28 to November 4) and Andy Townsend (December 22-29). Other guest coaches include former Liverpool players Steve Staunton, Ronnie Whelan and Don Hutchinson. A week’s all-inclusive departing Gatwick on October 27 is from £2,129 (children from £499) with Tropical Sky (0844 3329349, tropicalsky.co.uk).” THE TIMES
Gary Player With studies progressing well on The Marquis Estate golf course site in St Lucia, Harlequin is looking forward to beginning further works with the Gary Player Design team and finalising all areas of the plans before construction begins. Soon, interior architects will be appointed to begin work on the “Africa-infused” hotel and we cannot wait to see the breathtaking design ideas delivered into reality.
“At the Buccament Bay Resort, Pat Cash promises to head up the coaching at his eponymous tennis academy three or four times a year for several week stretches at a time, although the courses are held continuously. A week’s all-inclusive costs from £1,899pp, including Virgin flights with DialAFlight (0844 5566060, dialaflight.com). An hour’s daily group coaching is complimentary for all guests.” THE TIMES
Pat Cash Pat has been back on resort throughout August to coach guests. Real excitement is growing around the conceptual development plans of the Pat Cash Hotels, which Pat was heavily involved in. Pat also helped to create the branding for the hotel, developing it into a broader and thus wider appealing concept of sports and wellness, as opposed to a singular devotion to tennis. Despite a very busy schedule, Pat, as always, remains in regular contact with James Droy, our head coach at Buccament Bay Resort. Having been involved with a number of initiatives in the Caribbean, they are currently working on developing a regular tennis programme for Vincentian children.
West Indies Cricket Board The West Indies have just finished a successful tour series against New Zealand and we are delighted to report that the WICB coaching programmes in St Vincent are also going from strength to strength. The Buccament Bay Resort Cricket Academy, provided in conjunction with the WICB, coaches guests five times a week at the nets we had built earlier this year; and we also work with the WICB to provide coaching to ten schools in St Vincent, which gives around 1,000 children the amazing opportunity of being taught by a WICB-accredited coach. So far, the resort has had the pleasure of hosting the Bangladesh A team, and the full Australian and West Indies squads during their Caribbean One Day International matches earlier this year. Both teams loved the resort and its facilities, with the Australian manager quoted as saying: “Buccament Bay Resort is easily one of the best places we have stayed anywhere in the world. The location and surroundings are simply stunning, the facilities are world class, and, more importantly, the people are incredibly professional, friendly and helpful. Buccament Bay Resort is definitely a place we’re hoping we get the chance to stay at again.” Meanwhile, the West Indies manager had the following to say: “Everyone is still talking about the resort and the great time we had there. We look forward to coming back next year!”
New Cricket training Nets at Buccament Bay Resort
T HE HARL E QU IN SPORTS A C A DE MY U PDAT E BY A ND Y TOW N SEN D
COR POR AT E S O CI A L R E S PON S IBI L I T Y
Welcome to my first update for the Harlequin newsletter. These will be a regular feature on the Harlequin Hotels & Resorts blog, so make sure you subscribe to hear all the latest from the Harlequin Sports Academy.
Harlequin is indefatigable in its mission to have a lasting positive impact in the Caribbean, and this is realised in a variety of ways. The most obvious example is the hundreds of local jobs already created where our hotels and resorts are being developed or operated; this includes over 300 jobs created by Buccament Bay Resort – and staff are trained regularly and thoroughly in order to promote career development and personal achievement - as well as the work that has been created amongst the 800+ local suppliers used by the resort. However, the main way in which Harlequin exerts its benevolent influence is through supporting causes and involvement in a number of initiatives.
It's been a fantastic year of sport at Buccament Bay Resort: whether it's football, rugby, tennis or cricket, we have had some of the biggest and best sporting personalities running master class sessions at the resort. As ever, they have all gone down really well with our guests and we shall continue to go the extra mile in order to make sure kids and adults alike have fun and love taking part.
Andy Townsend at Buccament Bay Resort
We take our sport seriously at Harlequin and try to give an experience that will encourage and educate all of those who get involved. From Pat Cash's brilliant tennis sessions that everyone can take part in, to Lewis Moody's very well received rugby sessions, Michael Vaughan and his very technical cricket skills, and of course the likes of Steve Staunton, Alan Curbishley, Phil Babb, Graham Stuart, Linvoy Primus, Ronnie Whelan, Don Hutchison, and Jan Molby from the world of football. I'm sure you will agree that's a pretty impressive list of top class former professionals who have loved their time on resort. For the October half term, England legend Gareth Southgate will be at Buccament Bay Resort and I am looking forward to seeing all our guests over the Christmas and New Year period for some coaching sessions. We are always striving to improve and bring the biggest and best names to the resort, and 2013 will be a bumper year of sport at Buccament Bay Resort. We hope to arrange a very exciting football match between a Liverpool XI and my own select team next year. It's not confirmed yet, but the plan is for it to coincide with the opening of our amazing 'H' boutique hotel in Barbados. Imagine how great it would be for anyone there to meet up with some of the most famous players the Premier League has ever produced! I will keep you updated on that and all of the personalities we are bringing to the resort next year and we will continue to push the boundaries, trying different sports when we can, to make our guests' stay that extra bit special. Right, time to go - I've got a team to pick!
Kind regards Andy Townsend
In May 2012, members of the Liverpool Football Club Under-18 squad and staff delighted schoolchildren in St Vincent when they visited four schools as part of a Harlequin Hotels & Resortsponsored tour of the country. After speaking to pupils, handing out autographs from the Liverpool FC first team and doing some signing themselves, around 80 children joined the players at a local field for coaching and fun mini games, before the players put on a dazzling show of their best tricks and skills.
Liverpool Football Club Under-18 team
Darren Bravo, West Indies Internationl Cricket Player
The main event of the tour was a match that was free for all to attend (and advertised as such in local press) between the young LFC stars and the SVG Under-20s national team at St Vincent’s Arnos Vale Ground. Buccament Bay Resort also invites children from local schools and football associations to use its Liverpool FC International Football Academy Soccer School facilities. In addition to building upon Harlequin’s already strong relationship with the country and its people, the aim is to promote education through sports, help improve the standard of football and give children opportunities with Liverpool FC. As you know, Buccament Bay Resort has a long list of football legends who visit resort to provide free coaching to guests; however, in March 2012, former Charlton Athletic FC and West Ham FC manager Alan Curbishley also generously provided training to the St Vincent & The Grenadines national team at the resort’s facilities. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and Harlequin signed a deal in February 2012 that sees children from 10 schools in St Vincent & The Grenadines receive free cricket coaching. The Secondary Schools Cricket Training Programme, which became part of the WICB Grassroots Cricket initiative, launched on 20th February and is conducted after school for 3 hours per week. WICB-accredited coaches provide
Buccament Bay Resorts New Cricket Nets
Australian Crcket Team at Buccament Bay Resort
items were provided directly to the youths’ homes, whilst some items were used for a public sale that raised significant funds for the charity and its work. In St Lucia in February 2012, Harlequin also made an initial donation of 60 rooms’ worth of furniture and equipment from a hotel on the island to two local charities, New Beginnings and Ciceron, that help homeless and abused children. The charities also work with the children’s families in the hope of rehabilitating them and facilitating the child or children’s return home. Lastly, Buccament Bay Resort was proud to support the St Vincent & The Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation’s “Don’t Drink & Drive” campaign, which was launched for the carnival season in June and July when the famous Vincy Mas took place. The bulk of the campaign was a series of features were broadcast on the country’s popular radio station Hitz 103.7.
the training, and all necessary equipment and kit is supplied by Harlequin. A highlight of the programme is a new annual Youth Cricket Tournament, hosted by Harlequin in St Vincent.
Harlequin has also held a variety of company fundraising events for charities in the Caribbean and the UK, such as raffles for St Luke’s Hospice, and a staff football match to raise money for animal welfare in St Vincent and multiple sclerosis in the UK.
Harlequin also negotiated with the WICB to ensure that international cricket returned to St Vincent and we have since hosted the Australian and WICB squads during a series of One Day Internationals in March 2012. The players and staff made glowing comments about their time on resort, which can be seen on the testimonials page of this newsletter.
Environmental Responsibility Equally present in Harlequin’s concerns is the company’s effect on the environment. Being environmentally responsible requires a great deal of expertise, research and planning; however, whilst eco-friendliness appeals greatly to our moral duty and ethics, the fact is, it also makes good business sense.
The Pat Cash Tennis Club at Buccament Bay Resort regularly provides coaching to local school children; however, in July 2012, head coach James Droy also hosted a local grassroots tennis initiative at the resort. The event, which provided top class coaching and opportunities to promising young players in St Vincent, is something that Pat Cash and James Droy are currently working on providing on a regular basis.
James Droy with the children of the Grassroots Tennis Initiative day
Every location of our existing and future hotels and resorts is unique with its own challenges and opportunities, so our development company, hdstudio ensures an eco-friendly design is tailored to each by collecting comprehensive data on its climate, composition and ecology.
In August 2012, England rugby legend Lewis Moody was at Buccament Bay Resort to host its first Rugby Academy; however, during his time there, he also very kindly agreed to coach the St Vincent & The Grenadines Men’s and Women’s national teams.
Here are some of the ways in which Harlequin does its bit for the environment and running cost:
Buccament Bay Resort provides work experience training placements to a number of educational institutions in St Vincent. This work with the local community is particularly important because many colleges struggle to find companies willing to take their students. In the Hospitality and Tourism department of the country’s largest college, there are many students who complete their studies without a single day of work experience. Last year, in spite of the resort having just opened, eight students attended the programme and two were employed as a result. In this, the resort’s second year of working with the educational institutions, there were 20 students on placement from SVG Community College, Campden Park Technical Institute and The Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Programme. Such is the strength of the company’s relationship with the SVG Community College that they have invited the resort’s Training Manager to help create the syllabus and content for a Spa Course due to be launched in 2013. In August of 2011, following the purchase of a hotel in Barbados that will become H, Barbados, the company donated 47 rooms’ worth of furniture and equipment to the St Philip South Foundation for Education in Barbados. This young charity supports the youth of the St Philip Parish, who may not have access to the basic resources that many take for granted. Numerous
Working with innovative construction technology companies to create luxurious, energy efficient architecture
Two such technologies are cutting wall and roof insulation products, which alone reduce the cost of air conditioning in a large villa by almost US$ 10,000 per year by fighting heat gain
Energy efficient air conditioning models (just for good measure!)
Wide use of Compact Florescent Lamps (CFL), also known as energy saving lamps, are the “no brainer” of energy saving technologies as they save 70% of energy over the equivalent incandescent type
Solar panels to heat water systems
5kw wind turbines to power construction machinery
Low flush toilets
Green operating agendas, such as recycling programmes and natural composting efforts at Buccament Bay Resort
Recycling rain water for irrigation
Lewis Moody Training at Buccament Bay Resort
M AR KETING TO T HE T R AV EL IND UST RY
Lastly, we undertook online campaigns and advertised in Caribbean press to promote Day & Stay the Night Passes at Buccament Bay Resort throughout Summer 2012, which was a huge success with almost 1,000 sold. Aimed at St Vincent patriots, customers of docking cruise ships and island-hopping travellers, Day Passes offer all of the inclusive features of the resort, whilst Stay the Night Passes provided a villa for the night.
Whilst 2011 was mainly about Harlequin Travel getting the brand name out to the travel industry, 2012 has primarily been about attracting trade. FOR DAILY UPDATES
We are now contracted with approximately 95% of UK operators and have pages in numerous brochures, but it was important to ensure we weren’t just sitting in the brochure: we had to be proactive in attracting customers and encouraging switching to our products.
There has been significant investment in shows and training. 2012 has seen us host a stand at a number of consumer shows, such as destinations shows, dive shows, and national wedding shows to get the word out to consumers looking for niche products. Harlequin Travel invested in a trade relations manager and trade relations executive to be purely out on the road reaching agents with training, events, incentives and shop visits, and approximately 7,000 travel agents across the UK attended Harlequin Travel training evenings and dinners.
A big focus for marketing in 2012 has been working with our unique selling points. No other competitor in the Caribbean can offer the facilities for sport that we have and therefore marketing this in the right way and to the right channels was crucial. We have worked alongside tour operators to help endorse Buccament Bay Resort by doing joint campaigns incorporating the academies and family value. We have also worked with key family titles to promote sports academies and other family activities in resort. These include Junior Magazine, both online/ offline, and National Geographic Families. Sports and fitness go hand-in-hand and we have seen the increased interest in fitness holidays following a marketing strategy that included promoting fitness retreats in key titles, online through advertising campaigns, plus working with tour operators who have affiliations with high end health clubs in the UK. Weddings and honeymoons is a big potential market for us, especially with the idyllic beaches and scenery of the Caribbean. We have worked with wedding shows promoting our products, and wedding planning websites, including Hitched and You and Your Wedding. We have also launched competitions in wedding magazines in return for complimentary exposure. With this additional marketing, we have launched three new packages for 2013 and further work is being carried out to establish new partnerships with wedding suppliers. We have also found that digital marketing is where we need to focus our marketing spend, as this has the best return on investment and approximately 72% of customers do their holiday research online. Some of our campaigns have included: u
Pay per click (PPC) advertising to boost traffic to the Buccament Bay Resort website
Google Display Network – a targeted banner advertising tool on various websites
Trip Advisor advertising with banners on pages for other islands to encourage customers to look at an alternative
REDEFINING LUXURY IN THE CARIBBEAN
UK Market Update 2012 has been a very good year for our relationships with the UK travel trade. We have been selling with them for a year now and confidence has really grown in our products, and can only continue to grow as time shows our absolute dedication to quality. Critically, our products are sold by 95% of the UK Trade, including the mainstream names in the industry and luxury tour operators, which is a great achievement in such a short space of time.
SPECIAL PRICES FOR INVESTORS AND AGENTS WITH HARLEQUIN PROPERTY FOR HOLIDAYS AT BUCCAMENT BAY RESORT
The beauty of Buccament Bay Resort from a sales perspective is that it can appeal to anyone; whilst that is reflected in our dynamic, multi-platform general marketing, we have also done various online and offline campaigns targeted at our niche markets (e.g. sports and fitness or weddings and honeymoons), To book call Harlequin Travel on 01268 24 24 63 thus exposing the brand to a wider range of prospective INDIGO customers. These campaigns have included mailshots, website takeovers, Google PPC adverts, Facebook, www.buccamentbay.com flash sales and printed/online advertorials. The result is that Buccament Bay Resort’s Save money flyer for Buccament Bay revenue for 2012 is double that of 2011, with the average daily rate also almost doubling to just under $600 a night. Andy Townsend Director of Sport
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Most mainstream tour operators now also sell blu St Lucia, which has enjoyed prominent exposure by big names in the industry. We have several marketing campaigns about to launch and with improvements to facilities coming all the time, blu St Lucia should be a big hit in 2013. Feedback from our recent Tourist Board travel agents’ FAM trip was extremely positive and there good potential business for 2013 with some UK schools looking to tour the Caribbean playing sport. There has also been great excitement from the travel industry about the launch of H, Barbados as there is a distinct lack of contemporary, luxury accommodation in the country, and with Harlequin’s unique 5 star standards of style and comfort taking it to the next level, this will really give the island something to shout about in 2013! Company Registration Number: W T-195924
Buccament Bay fact sheets
www.facebook.com/buccamentbayresort www.twitter.com/buccbayresort blog.harlequinhotelsandresorts.com
redefining luxury in the caribbean
It is a famously difficult market to launch in, so it will take two years before the full benefits of our efforts come to fruition; however, we are picking up momentum with good sales throughout 2012, many of them coming from online campaigns.
REDEFINING LUXURY IN THE CARIBBEAN
Buccament Bay Resort in HELLO! Magazine: Eastenders actress Patsy Palmer renews vows on resort
US Market Update Buccament Bay Resort was launched in the US at the end of 2011, so we are still in our first year of sales. We took on a US-based PR agency in order to tackle the market most effectively, and they have done a great job of spreading the news about Harlequin and its unique offering, which has seen us included in key publications like The New York Times, US Today and Fodors.com
Fabulous Family Holidays at To take advantage of our current special offers BOOK BY 20TH JULY 2012
Another important aspect to understand about the US market is that it is led more by travel agents than wholesalers, so a lot of time has been spent targeting that group, particularly agents who promote high end, luxury hotels, and we are striving to launch a series of travel agent FAM trips this autumn.
The April 2012 issue of Hello! Magazine 11 page feature of Patsy Palmer’s Wedding Vow Renewal at Buccament Bay Resort which showcased it as a Caribbean wedding destination. Hello has circulation of 373,226. You can see the article www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/201204237812/patsy-palmerwedding/
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY AT THE ALL INCLUSIVE CARIBBEAN RESORT Liverpool FC Academy Soccer School Be coached by former professional players Linvoy Primus 22nd–29th July Don Hutchison 29th July–5th August Graham Stuart 5th–12th August Play tennis with Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash 11th August– 2nd September*
Former British No1 Chris Wilkinson 13th–26th August
Paparazzi shots of Patsy paddle boarding just off the beach at Buccament Bay Resort were also used by the Mail Online, one of the biggest websites in the world with just under 100 million unique users.
Play rugby with World Cup Winner Lewis Moody 12th–21st August
Visit a Kuoni store or call
Practice your cricket with a WICB coach
Sing with West End & Broadway stars
CALL Be pampered at The Spa
OPEN 7 DAYS
Dive amongst pristine coral reefs & swim with the turtles
Monday to Friday 9am–8pm Saturday 9am–4pm Sunday 10am–4pm
*Dates subject to change. Pat Cash will hold coaching sessions on various dates in the stated period
We have now managed to gain access to Ensemble: an exclusive travel agency consortium. There are 850 travel agents in North America who are members of Ensemble to benefit from its buying power, marketing tools and support. For Harlequin, this means we have access to the database of travel agencies (who, for example, we can reach with targeted campaigns) and we can join their annual conference in December to network and present to all of the agents. We also have the Luxury Travel Show in Las Vegas in December, which is another travel agent show where we have the opportunity to present our products to thousands of travel agents from across the USA. Next up, it’s the wholesalers, who we are working with now with a view to using targeted marketing in the same way that has been proven to succeed in the UK. 2013 will be an exciting year for Harlequin in the US market, especially with the launch of H, Barbados, which will add great kudos to this exciting and rapidly growing new brand.
Buccament Bay is advertised in the Mail on Sunday, March & July 2012
Win 7 nights at Buccament Bay Resort for 4 people with ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent!
Win 7 nights at Bucc Bay with Swimwear365.co.uk!
a place on the Harlequin Hotels & Resorts and British Airways luxury FAM Trip 30th November – 5th December 2012
Part of the Travel Weekly insert Incentive for blu and Buccament Bay Resort
To WIN a place be one of the first 15 agents to book 5 holidays to either blu St Lucia or Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent, flying with British Airways, and submit your details at www.travelweekly.co.uk/harlequin
Closing date 12th October 2012 www.harlequinblu.com www.batraveltrade.com
The Sun newspaper features two stunners: Buccament Bay Resort & pop star Alexandra Burke!
Primetime ITV Show Britain's Got Talent featured a holiday for a family of four at Buccament Bay Resort as the prize giveaway. One of the highest profile programmes in the UK and on prime time Saturday night, it is watched by 10 million viewers giving Buccament Bay Resort huge exposure. It also is repeated a number of times on ITV channels and has a presence on the ITV website.
0808 168 4472
PR for Buccament Bay Resort During the last few months we have had some excellent national press coverage with some high profile brands, including The Times, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, The Independent, Conde Nast Traveller Cosmopolitan (see below).
2008 X factor winner Alexandra Burke visited Buccament Bay earlier in the year and was snapped by Paparazzi playing beach volleyball. The photos were featured in early April in The Sun on Sunday, which has a circulation of 2,189,924, and there was a full feature page on the Mail Online. A travel piece will be running in the Travel section of The Mail on Sunday in the autumn with her describing what a wonderful holiday she had at Buccament Bay Resort. Newly launched website, Swimwear365, backed by Grattons and Freeman catalogues, has a holiday at Buccament Bay Resort as the prize featured on its homepage throughout July and August. Swimwear365 is currently being promoted in national newspapers and targets consumers who are likely to be thinking about their holidays and has xxxxx hits per day.
A PLACE ON OUR LUXURY FAM TRIP TO ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES, ST LUCIA AND BARBADOS Courtesy of Harlequin Hotels & Resorts and British Airways To WIN a place be one of the first 15 agents to book 5 holidays to either blu St Lucia or Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent, flying with British Airways, and submit your details at www.travelweekly.co.uk/harlequin Closing date 12th October 2012 www.buccamentbay.com
www.harlequinblu.com BA seats are Club World priority, so subject to availability in Club World
Bucc Bay appearing on Channel 5’s “Heaven on Earth” travel show
Buccament Bay Resort currently featuring on Wedding TV in the UK
HARLEQ UIN T R AVE L AG E NTS R OA D SHOW S
Dave Ames on stage
Comments from attendees at the road shows
Independent travel agents in the UK are at the core of our business and remain a leading force in today’s travel market so working actively with them is crucial to Harlequin’s success. To create awareness and ensure that they understand the product offering and have the Harlequin hotels and resorts in the forefront of their minds when talking to their own clients we invested in holding a number of Harlequin Travel Agent road shows located in major key catchment areas across the UK, which were attended by more than 900 UK travel agents.
It was important to tell the agents as much key information about St Vincent as well as Buccament Bay Resort, including information on the most popular places to visit as well as culture and historic locations on the island. As Buccament Bay Resort only opened in April 2011 agents were impressed how the resort has developed and how both the facilities & amenities far exceeded their expectations. Agents were also keen to learn about Harlequin Air and how it will open different gateways for twin centre holidays to the Harlequin properties. With the opening of blu St Lucia, agents who previously knew the hotel were overwhelmed at the vast improvements undertaken by Harlequin and how Harlequin has implemented the standard of furniture & fixings seen at Buccament Bay Resort, making blu the most outstanding 4 star resort in the Rodney Bay area of St Lucia.
I never knew that St Vincent had so much to offer, it’s beautiful coastline and friendly people make it a fantastic island to visit. Clients can mix the natural rugged beauty of the island with the luxury of Buccament Bay Resort, a perfect combination. I will certainly recommend both the destination and the hotel to my clients” James Kerr, Kuoni
The evening was one of the very best agent events that I have attended. I have gained a great deal of knowledge on both the destinations and the Harlequin Hotels. All this was done in a fun & entertaining manner, a truly enjoyable evening!” Sue Pye, Traveleads
The road show held in the ballroom at The Dorchester was attended by over 600 people and they enjoyed entertainment from the Harlequin Performing Arts Academy, as well as hearing from Pat Cash, Jonathan Kane, Director of International Business Development and Steve Staunton, a former footballer from Liverpool FC and Paula Perkins, Director of Spa Development at ESPA.
I will certainly be recommending Buccament Bay Resort to my Caribbean clients. Once they have seen what the resort offers I am confident that they will book – it will be just the ideal holiday for them Janet Percy, Wedding and Caribbean Product Manager, Luxury Trips
The changes made at blu hotel in St Lucia is astounding, it is a completely new looking hotel. The information I got tonight on the Harlequin properties will ensure that I sell the hotels with confidence” Sheree Hassack, Personal Travel Advisor
Travel Agents meet for a drink and nibbles before going in
David Campion is the managing director of hdstudio, formerly known as Harlequin Developments. David took some time out from working on Harlequin’s projects to answer some questions about the company and its major part in the broader Harlequin brand.
What does the role of managing director for hdstudio entail?
A I play the role of connector; a facilitator of collaboration, assembling a team of diverse talent, encouraging collaboration at all levels, and wielding influence rather than authority to move things forward as and when required. Dave Campion, Managing Director
I have assembled a diverse team as I find such teams achieve better results, provided they are properly led. Bringing together professionals from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures and generations and benefiting from all they have to offer is one of my main objectives.
Expert employees of HD Studio Q
A To set development standards throughout the Caribbean. Successfully deliver its portfolio of hotels and resorts in a cost-conscious, environmentally appropriate manner achieving high quality architecture, influenced by its location, and ultimately delivering luxury living for its investors and guests.
I encourage vigorous debate within teams but ensure this is followed with clear decisions and immediate actions through clear leadership structures and responsibilities, as only then can the final decision-making be an efficient process. Q
What is hdstudios’ mission statement?
How do you plan to deliver on this mission statement?
A By employing industry experts to direct operations in-house from our Barbados headquarters, contracting a team of consultants with international experience for each project, and establishing direct contract arrangements with the industry through project and construction management structures.
What is hdstudio?
A hdstudio is a rebranding of Harlequin Developments, which was formed in June 2010 as a development platform to safeguard the journey Harlequin’s hotels and resorts take from concept through planning, tender, construction and on to delivery. The rebranding has been embarked upon to more accurately capture the scope of the development platform, with an emphasis on the collaborative studio environment.
How is the company structured?
The design studio is the heart of the operation and key to encouraging successful collaboration from hdstudio’s teams and departments. We have a project leader assigned to each of our projects who coordinates our various departments to drive the progress of their project. A
Our dynamic and diverse teams are formed from 30 staff members of mixed disciplines who are located in-office and throughout our sites. They come from a variety of backgrounds, which promotes a melting pot of ideas and encourages innovation. A byproduct of this multifaceted diversity is constructive conflict as perspectives clash, which leads us to richer, more innovative, and more valuable results. Q
What is hdstudio doing that’s different to other development companies?
It’s a number of things, to be honest…
The meticulous attention to detail throughout all stages of development and the high quality of the construction information, which is what ultimately determines the quality of the projects. The pursuit of low energy, sustainable development, which, as well as being an crucial ethical concern on Harlequin’s part, also simply makes sense in the Caribbean where energy prices are amongst the highest and there’s a good availability of solar energy and trade winds.
HD Studio team outside their office in Barbados
Photovoltaic field, grid tied. Currently being installed at The Merricks Resort
Our expertise in building in hot, composite climates, particularly concerning countering the influence of heat and minimize the effects of humidity. Itâ€™s also the way we apply that expertise with thorough analysis for all areas of a sustainable design approach, including: renewable energy; ecological value; passive strategies; whole life cost; transport strategies; health and wellness assessment; and the use of sustainable materials. Workforce at The Merricks Resort Show Village
Last but not least, our corporate social responsibility. 95% of our subcontractors are local to the developments, creating a strong bond between our projects and the community, and we work closely with the governments to ensure we preserve the natural beauty of the environments we develop in. Engaging with the community is very important to us, so we regularly participate in outreach programmes and sponsor charities, schools and sports clubs.