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Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Official ...

... Port Ferdinand of Arrogance on the way:

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Merricks Gets More Bad Press

Barbados TravelAdvisor • View topic - Caribbean property investors fear for their deposits

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King Ferdinand Of Arrogance Finds A Port In Barbados At Last

Work in progress on the Port Ferdinand Marina at Retreat, St. Peter, Barbados

It has been several months since this blog visited the subject of the Six Mens/Retreat marina, but that's not because a lot has not gone or is going on with that project. Quietly a few months ago work started on the project but as the old Bajan proverb goes - "You can hide and by land but you can't hide and work it" - sure enough, word of the billion dollar St. Peter residential marina project has started leaking in the local media a few weeks ago and already a firestorm has been gathering. You know, for example, that there is a big environmental concern when the daily paper through which the government speaks to the country yesterday had to carry an article trumpeting the environmental procedures that were followed in getting the project off the ground. The article glossed over the fact that the last mangrove on the west coast has already been destroyed by this project, but that may only be the first of several controversies this new marina next door to the still controversial Port St. Charles may generate before it opens for business hopefully in 2012.

Port Ferdinand Marina Master Plan

The master plan calls for just 96 luxury condos to be constructed on the 13-acre site around a lagoon with the capability for berthing 120 yachts. It also involves the construction of a roundabout and a swing bridge to facilitate vehicular and boating traffic, and beach improvements in the area will be carried out.

No word yet on whether this latest west coast monstrosity is in fact named in honor of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile.


Club Bimshire: Protect historic sites!

Mullins Bay Blog: "This Is Monaco: Is This What We Want For Barbados?"

"Barbados in the year 2050 – The vision of some…" « Barbados Free Press

"Should Barbados Be The Next Monaco?" « Barbados Underground
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Barbados Continues To Suffer From Poor Tourism Advertising

Potential visitors react to photo used to sell Barbados as a tourist destination.

Barbados TravelAdvisor • View topic - Barbados Tourism

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Rumblings In Merricks

"During a public meeting at Bayley's Primary School Tuesday evening, St Philip residents received retails about the project and got a chance to air concerns about water distribution and access to the nearby beach.
Documents which the developer Harlequin Hotels & Resorts released at the three-hour meeting showed that more than 750 people would be employed during the construction phase and 1 500 will be needed to operate the complex that includes a five-star hotel.
In a presentation to the estimated 150 people, David Senior of architects Robertson Ward Associates Limited said the development would put a total of 1 242 beds on the market.
The tourist complex includes three hotel blocks, eight apartment blocks, 18 "plantation" houses, 42 one-bedroom cabanas, a 500-seat conference room, restaurants, shops and a spa village.
In an interview afterwards, Chairman of Harlequin, Dave Ames, told the DAILY NATION that the company is expected to spend between US$300 million and US$400 million on the Merricks project."

Click here for entire NationNews.com article
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Merricks Back On CBC Radar

"Plans are well on stream for what is being described as the largest hotel resort in Barbados.
The project has been in the works for some time but is now nearer to reality.
The new billion dollar resort is to be built on 70 acres of oceanfront land in the area around Peat Bay.
The United Kingdom based developers, Harlequin Property, say it will comprise nearly one thousand hotel rooms including suites, apartments, custom homes and cabanas.
Merricks Barbados five star luxury spa resort will be made up of a five star hotel, about 10 villas and 600 apartments with over 12 hundred bedrooms..."

Click here for entire article.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

What Happened To The Lakes?

Click image to enlarge

It is amazing what a change of government and a recession can do to some of the "big" tourism related developments around the island.  Ever wondered what happened to "The Lakes?"  Remember those huge billboards along the highways and byways a few years ago advertising what was to become a huge 500-villa health and wellness community in Mt. Brevitor, St. Peter?  Well, it seems they sold a lot fewer than 77 villas and apartments so they have downsized and changed the name from The Lakes to "VueMont."  "The Lakes" probably was too confusing to potential buyers who wouldn't know the development was supposed to sit on 180 acres of two former sugar plantations - Mt. Brevitor and Lakes.  They have also dropped the health and wellness/retirement theme and are going after anybody with at least US$400K who cannot find and/or afford beachfront property and don't mind a view from a hill mount.  Get it - VueMont?  
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

End Of The World: Lessons for those who would "Dubaify" Barbados

Proposed island north of Bridgetown Port

"England is deserted, Australia and New Zealand have merged, and the man who bought Ireland has killed himself.
They were designed to make Dubai the envy of the world: a series of paradise islands inhabited by celebrities and the super-rich reclaimed from the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf and shaped like a map of the Earth. It was called The World.
As millions of tonnes of rock were dumped into the sea for the foundations, timely leaks suggested that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were to buy Ethiopia, Sir Richard Branson was tipped to occupy England, while Rod Stewart would border him in Scotland.
Instead it has become the world’s most expensive shipping hazard, guarded by private security in fast boats and ringed by warning buoys to keep the curious away. A development that was meant to send Dubai’s star into the firmament of First World cities has been left to the mercy of the waves and the baking winds..."

Click here for entire Times Online article.

Meanwhile, we learned this week from The Nation:

"PRIME MINISTER DAVID THOMPSON is expected to take a four-nation trip shortly to meet with investors on several projects here that have been stalled.
Speaking at a Press conference at his Ilaro Court residence yesterday, Thompson said he would visit the Britain, Canada, United States and China.
He said there were more than 12 projects that had to be discussed, and he intended to sit down and see what concerns the investors had and what issues could be resolved.
Among those to be discussed are Four Seasons, Sam Lord's Castle, "some on the West Coast and one at Merricks in St Philips, some of which have groundwork to be done and some of which are almost ready and can proceed at a moments notice..."
- NationNews.com 9/16/09
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

CLICO Fiasco Leaves Government Guessing What To Do About Sam Lords

"PM wants joint effort to restore Sam Lord's


PRIME MINISTER DAVID THOMPSON yesterday called for a joint venture or full private arrangement to redevelop Sam Lord's Castle that now lies in ruin.

The Prime Minister and several ministers and Government officials toured a number of St Philip sites yesterday,

"We don't want to have to use significant taxpayers resources except in facilitating some sort of joint-venture arrangement or alternatively a full private sector arrangement that protects the interests of Barbadians and delivers on what we want - beach access, protection of the Castle and perhaps mixed-use of other tourism development in an area of Barbados that needs to have further development."

He told the Press: "Let me make it clear, Sam Lord's Castle is a building of historic interest in Barbados. There was intended on that site a tourism development which would have seen a significant broadening of the product that Barbados offers, also in an area where it is critical for us to provide jobs and to have new economic infrastructure."

He added: "We are determined to see that particular project or one like it proceed. We are not interested in owning Sam Lord's Castle . . . . We are interested in seeing it developed in the interest of Barbadians.

"That is part of reasons why we feel that Sam Lord's Castle is important to be acquired at this time.

"We expect that as soon as we can complete our analysis of what can be done with the property . . . we will work with other persons to ensure that it is developed."

Source: http://www.nationnews.com/news/local/story-1-sam-lord-s-castle-copy-for-web
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Barbados: This Earth, This Realm, This Little England (Conde Nast reviews Barbados)

"Barbados, once the British Empire's most important colony, is still, with its historic riches and great houses galore, a temperamentally English enclave. Some parts of this Caribbean country even look like Devon and Somerset. But, says Isabel Fonseca, there is definitely another side..."

Click here for entire Conde Nast Traveler article.
Click here to join our forum discussion of this article.
Click here or below to leave a comment.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rosewood & Six Mens Marina Still On Stream

"MINISTER OF TOURISM Richard Sealy says Government has identifed the north-west corridor of the island, as an area for greater tourism development.

Sealy is confident tourism projects planned for the island's north coast will increase the economic and tourism activity in that "northern corridor" .

Speaking to the media during last Friday's official opening of Sugar Cane Club Hotel and Spa in Maynards, St Peter, Sealy pointed to a number of private/public sector tourism projects on stream in the north, among them a marina at Six Mens Bay, and a major tourism project at Harrison's Point where Rosewood Hotels and Resorts is scheduled to build a five-star resort on 82 acres.

The mixed-use property will comprise condominiums, a hotel, shops and other resort-related facilities. It is a Government-private sector venture.

Though Sealy said that the project was "not moving as fast as we would like" because of the current global economic conditions, he pointed out it was still on stream.

In addition,he said the marina at Six Mens Bay was supposed to start later this year.

Sealy said Sugar Cane Club Hotel and Spa fitted in well with the Government's plans for the north, and he welcomed the inland hotel which he said should meet the new visitor need for a "different holiday experience".

While regretting the demise of Villa Nova Hotel in St John, the minister maintained there was still scope for inland hotels.

"I think it (Sugar Cane Club Hotel and Spa) is a remarkable and welcome addition to the hotel plant in Barbados", he said, adding that the whole concept of taking a vacation and basing it merely on a beach experience had "expired".

The former 23-room Sugar Cane Club has been renovated at a cost of $12 million. There are now 41 suites, a penthouse and two private villas, as well as a host of art and sporting facilities.

Owner Bernie Weatherhead said the hotel was now a boutique hotel with a personable atmosphere, designed to attract a different type of clientele. (GC)

"Tourism is changing, trends are changing, people are no longer travelling merely for sun, sand and sea. Today's traveller is looking for an experience," Weatherhead said. (GC)"

Source: NationNews.com
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Toy-Boat Racing Gets On The Way This Weekend

Are they serious? Give me a break! If they were not saying it with a straight face, we would probably all be laughing at the Ministry of Tourism and its claim that this coming week of toy-boat racing in Carlisle Bay "was worthwhile and an important tool for bringing visitors from all parts of the world." Come on, who do they think they are kidding? Are they going to publish hotel occupancy numbers after this event?

Ever since St. Lucia stole the ARC Race two decades ago Barbados has been floundering looking for its niche in yachting and boating in the Caribbean. The only serious effort on this front has been the establishment of the Port St. Charles Marina a decade ago which basically is a gated "luxury" condo community built around a small lagoon. Condo sales and re-sales there have been good but the project has done precious little to put Barbados on the yachting map. If plans come to fruition they should be seeking to correct some of what went wrong with PSC with a controversial expansion just north starting construction in the fall.

Meanwhile, as we await PSC2 and the overdue "Tourism Masterplan" we may as well try to "bigup," if I may borrow a current colloquialism, the toy-boat racing this weekend. Come on, Senator Gilkes, you are no longer sailing coconut shells on the salt pond in Speightstown - these are the big leagues we are playing in right now. Look around and see what our competitors in St. Lucia and Grenada are doing and get with the program!
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Monday, June 15, 2009

The Saga At Merricks Continues...

After several years of fits and starts maybe things are finally getting on the way at the Merricks resort in St. Philip. According to their most recent newsletter permission has been granted for and construction begun on three show homes at the site and signage erected. They are claiming that full planning permission is/was being held up by a water supply problem in the area. Looking at their plans and what is currently being built on neighboring St. Vincent it probably wouldn't surprise anyone in Barbados that the Government may be dragging its feet and/or hoping the current recession would bring new developers to this prime strip of coastline.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Expansion on cards for Barbados Hilton

click image to enlarge
According to a report in the Sunday Sun last Sunday May 31 (click image above to read),  the “new” Barbados Hilton is shortly to undergo a major redo including an addition to its 350 rooms and expansion of  its conference facilities.   Also, on the cards is another hotel on the peninsula (Conrad or Waldrof perhaps? – since Barbados wants to focus on luxury brands) where the Hilton now sits.

However, don’t look for any of this anytime soon as the recession has shuttered nearly all the major tourism construction on the island including the much sought after Four Seasons Barbados on the site of the former Paradise Beach Club in Black Rock/Freshwater Bay.  Also, the current Tourism Minister is developing quite a reputation for talking boldly about “masterplans” that never seem to materialize.  We are still waiting for his “Tourism Masterplan” for the entire island which was supposedly due to be made public last December.

Save Mullins Bay
Road View, St. Peter


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

More Line Noise On The Northern Cruise Port

“PLANS ARE AFOOT for the construction of a small Port in Speightstown, St Peter.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said yesterday that basic adjustments would be made to the jetty in Speightstown to accommodate small vessels.
"Given the structure of the area, large cruise vessels will not be able to berth there, but officials are looking at the potential economic benefits of having another port," he said.
Although he could not say how soon vessels would start berthing, or what would be the overall cost of the project, Sealy said having a port in Speightstown would mean that visitors to the island coming in at that end would bring more life to the area and hopefully more revenue.
The minister made the comments while speaking at the launch of the Bajan Pride Expositions at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill.
In an interview later Pierre Spenard, owner of Mangoes By The Sea Restaurant in Speightstown, said while he had heard of the plans, the whole town was "just sitting on a fence waiting to see what will happen".
He said a port in Speightstown would help restore the town to its historic stature, and would offer a chance to promote better community tourism.
"It would be nice to see Speightstown retain its character. It used to be the capital of this great country, and it's rich in heritage tradition and history."
He said a look at Arlington House Museum across the street would show the full life of the town. Spenard has been in that location for 14 years and said the town hadn't moved much, outside of Arlington House Museum and Archer's Hall.
Owner of Fisherman Pub and Beach Bar, Clement Armstrong, said he too had heard of the plan, even under the previous government, and although he would welcome the initiative, the question was when would it happen?
"I have welcomed the idea since 14 years ago, but I am still waiting to hear when it will start. We had trial runs one year and when the people came, the first thing they asked was 'where is Holetown?'
"Nobody knows about Speightstown; it is a black business place. But it's 20 minutes away from the Wildlife Reserve, Farley Hill, Bathsheba and Animal Flower Cave, so it would take a load off the traffic in Bridgetown and may bring good business," he said.”

Source: NationNews.com

Church Street, Speightstown, Barbados 2009
Click image to enlarge

See also: Northern Cruie Port
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Friday, May 1, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mounted Police To Patrol New South Coast Boardwalk

In the wake of the recent attacks on two Canadian visitors to the island on Long Beach, Christ Church and the subsequent death of one of them, police in Barbados have stepped up their patrols in areas frequented by tourists and purchased at least two Segway motorized personal transporters to patrol the new south coast boardwalk in Hastings, Christ Church which area has also seen an uptick in violence against visitors since its recent unofficial opening.  According to police quoted in the Barbados Advocate similar units will also be deployed in other parts of the island.   Attention is also being given to the question of lighting the boardwalk after dark. 
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lobby Group Calls For End To Mega-Resorts

"Mega-resorts are destroying communities and are environmentally unsustainable and lead to widespread alienation and displacement of people from their land, according to a new report from lobby group Tourism Concern.

Poor communities in developing countries, which depend heavily upon their natural resources for their livelihoods, are the hardest hit.

Huge tracts of public and privately owned land are being "grabbed" and sold off to real estate developers by governments keen to expand tourism in pursuit of economic growth. In reality, little of the profit from internationally managed resorts stays in the local economy.

The trickle down of tourism revenue to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods is minimal, particularly in the face of rising living costs associated with an influx of tourists and owners of expensive second homes. Cheap migrant labour is often drafted in from abroad to work on the developments, while opportunities for employment in the exclusive five-star resorts are limited to the most menial, poorly paid roles..."

Click here for entire article.
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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Champers Makes Sir Gary's Barbados Top Ten

"This restaurant in Christ Church is my favourite on the island. I sometimes eat there twice a week and have come to know the owners very well. Excellent food and service, good location overlooking the sea and it has a lively bar. There are big portions of fish like blackened snapper and coconut shrimp."

Click here for entire Times article.
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Is There Anyone Left In England?

So, I went to Kensington Oval yesterday attending the opening day of the 4th. cricket test match in the current series between England and the West Indies. England completely dominated this first day's play and I saw some very entertaining cricket. Who can forget that big six Strauss lofted over the stands (losing the ball in the process) to reach his magnificent century? He played every stroke in the book and then some. It was even more entertaining for the thousands of English fans cheering their team them along. The the stands were so packed with them that were it not for the blue skies and 80-something degree weather you would have thought you were at Lords or some other famous cricket ground in England. The little video below which I made with a point-and-shoot camera captured some of the atmosphere from the Greenidge and Haynes stand. The player closest to the stand is Barbados/West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards. He laboured all day and got a ton of runs knocked off him for no wickets, although he did suffer at least one spectacular dropped catch.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dubaification Of Barbados Picks Up Steam

We now have a sketch and we can put a name and a face on at least one of the "significant local and foreign investors of good repute and business success..." (according to last year's Budget Speech by the Prime Minister). CBC News is reporting:

"A major realtor is proposing the creation of an island north of the Bridgetown harbour exclusively for tourism.

Director of Altman Realty, Paul Altman says this will cushion Barbados' against any negative impact from the current global economic crisis.

He believes the project would absorb all of Barbados' unemployment as well as provide a much needed economic boost, in the wake of the world economic crisis.

He made the comments at the first luncheon of the year for the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers at the Barbados Yacht Club."

Click here for entire article.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Has Paul Doyle Taken Over Culpepper Club/Whitehaven

You know how it is in Barbados - you learn what's happening on the island by reading the overseas media (usually the British press).  A blurb in a recent article in The Independent seems to indicate that Paul Doyle, the re-developer of the Crane Hotel in St. Philip, has taken over all or part of the financially strapped Culpepper/Whitehaven project at Bushy Park (at least the Whitehaven part):   

"Canadian Paul Doyle has made the Crane into one of the best hotels on the island, recently completing the Crane Village, a series of colonial-style buildings including an art gallery, a cinema, a fitness centre and a bookshop. He is planning a new project, Anani (named after the Amerindian word for flower), further north, opposite Culpepper Island. Doyle's design will make the most of the stream and ponds that are features of the site and each room will have its own infinity pool and views of the ocean."
Click here for entire article. 
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Quiet On The East Coast

"Not much happens round here. The Sea Side Bar rum shop has but a couple of patrons. A short distance from the Soup Bowl, Robert LaMare is idling in a hammock on the porch of his Island Craft shop, which doesn't seem to sell a great deal except hammocks – which are currently out of stock. LaMare decamped to Barbados from upstate New York some 15 years ago and hasn't gone back. "I get two deliveries of post a month; the water bill and the lighting bill. I don't have a television or a cellphone. But I don't want or need anything.""
Click here fore entire article and discussion.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Trader Vic's Coming

If The Merricks ever gets built, and that's a big "IF" given all the shenanigans that have gone on for the last several years over the luxury resort slated for Palmetto Bay on Barbados' southeast coast, it may include a trendy world class restaurant - Trader Vic's - in its ensemble. Word of this development came in a recent press release announcing that Harlequin Hotels & Resorts - the developer of The Merricks - has signed an agreement with Trader Vic's to bring its restaurant brand to Harlequin's Caribbean resorts planned and/or under development in Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic.

Click here for details.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gaurdain Mixes Up Bahamas And Barbados

"A Hollywood celebrity, a teenage death in a bathroom and the Church of Scientology is a toxic brew for global gossipmongers and, sure enough, the death of John Travolta's 16-year-old son, Jett, has triggered an orgy of internet chatter. Some of the speculation is being driven in an organised way by critics of the Church of Scientology ("Co$" in internet parlance).

According to the Travolta family, Jett suffered from regular seizures (around one a week) and had been diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome, a rare childhood condition with some life-threatening symptoms but rarely fatal. Details of Jett's death, in the bathroom of Travolta's holiday home in Barbados after a reported seizure, are sketchy. The postmortem results will almost certainly be kept private by Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston..."

Click here for entire article.
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