9 Beaches struggling to stay afloat

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Less than four months after opening their doors and pristine beaches to visitors and locals, 9 Beaches Resort in Somerset is reportedly struggling.

The resort?s general manager Marcus Jones, last night told The Royal Gazette that despite a significant renovation and massive marketing effort costing nearly $8 million in the first year, the resort is challenged like the rest of the tourism industry in Bermuda.


Less than four months after opening their doors and pristine beaches to visitors and locals, 9 Beaches Resort in Somerset is reportedly struggling.

The resort?s general manager Marcus Jones, last night told The Royal Gazette that despite a significant renovation and massive marketing effort costing nearly $8 million in the first year, the resort is challenged like the rest of the tourism industry in Bermuda.

He said summer occupancy rates were under 50 percent, while Autumn occupancies are 30-40 percent ? well below projections.

?But we continue to work hard to build on the reputation that we have, and the owners are committed to making the property work,? he said.

The owners are working to re-capitalise the resort so that they can continue their mission to create a very different, viable tourism product for Bermuda, he said.

In the meantime, he said, the resort is tightening its financial belt and working through acceptable arrangements with vendors.

?They understand how difficult start-ups are and have been very good to work with,? Mr. Jones said.

Arrangements have been made with essential vendors which affect their employees, he added.

But he admitted that over the past few days there had been a miscommunication with their health insurer ? BF&M. This has now been rectified, he said.

?As of now, all of our employees are fully covered and are able to use the full benefits of the plan,? he said.

Mr. Jones asked the public to continue to support the resort during its first year and to continue to patronise their ?wonderful cabanas and restaurants?.

David Dodwell, a principal in Island Resort Collection (IRC) which owns 9 Beaches, and a UBP Shadow Minister, was unavailable for comment last night.

9 Beaches staff contacted the newspaper this week claiming they had found out they were longer covered by medical insurance ? even though the money had been deducted from their salaries.

One of the staff members, who refused to be identified, said she panicked because she felt if the company was no longer paying her contribution to medical, then they probably were not paying her contributions towards social insurance and pension.

She said her medical, social insurance and pension deductions total about $400 a month.

?I called BF&M and was told that 9 Beaches owed them money and staff needed to talk to the directors about this,? she said.

The distraught employee went on to say that hotel management recently cut back on the amount of time they work ? an indication to staff that something was seriously wrong.

?We usually have two days a week off, they now we have three,? she said.

?They sent a letter to everyone informing us that they were spending too much money on fuel for the shuttle which collects staff everyday so they were reducing our hours.

?We are all worried about pensions and social insurance because, should the resort close, we won?t be able to get any money.?

She also said that since July, the resort had stopped paying them for working through their lunch breaks.

Another woman who receives child support from an employee at the resort said she had not received any child support in weeks.

She said the resort paid the child support agency directly, but when she called to find out why she had not received child support, the agency told her they had not received the money from the resort and could not pay her.

?Before then it?s always been late. This has been going on for about five weeks now,? she said.

l 9 Beaches is situated on 18 acres of real estate on the western-most part of Bermuda in Sandys Parish with 84 rooms.

The site on which the resort is located was previously home of the Canadian Naval Base and the site of the former Daniel?s Head Village, a resort that closed shortly after the events of September 11, 2001.


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