Beachside vendors help breathe new life into 9 Beaches
The public is being asked to ensure the idyllic waterside setting of 9 Beaches doesn’t go to waste while the resort awaits redevelopment.
Several beachside vendors have set up businesses to try to breathe new life into the resort at Daniel’s Head, Somerset.
And tourists and locals are now being encouraged to put the resort’s main beach, which previously could only be used by guests, to good use.
Beach-goers can rent chairs and umbrellas, buy food and drinks, get their hair braided and even enjoy a massage at the ‘Sandy Bottom Beach Park.’ A children’s summer camp is also being run on site.
The businesses are the brainchild of entrepreneur Dean Grant who convinced resort bosses to throw the beach open to the public for the summer.
The resort is also currently renting some of its accommodation to ensure “people are always buzzing around.”
The idea is to transform the resort into a hive of activity until its proposed $80 million redevelopment is given the go-ahead. It is hoped that building work will start by the end of the year.
Carol Jackson, who is a teacher at the Basic Learning Centre, is running the ‘Summer on the Beach’ children’s camp for ten children aged eight to 14. She teaches them math, English and science in the morning then goes swimming with them in the afternoon. The camp, which started this week, will continue at 9 Beaches until the end of August.
Along with her business partner, Mrs Jackson also offers massages and hair braiding in a curtained off private area at the water’s edge. Mrs Jackson, who lives in Somerset, said she remembers standing at the fence admiring the beach when locals were only allowed to use the smaller adjoining beach.
She said: “I’m excited that so much is happening, we are all working together to utilise the beach. We’re here every day and we’re bringing new energy. This is a great thing for Somerset.
“It’s a really beautiful beach, it’s a great place to come and relax.”
Mrs Jackson has been promoting the new beach venue at the Royal Naval Nights at Dockyard. She said cruise ship passengers had visited wanting “a nice beach with amenities” without travelling as far as Horseshoe Bay.
A concessions stand rents towels, chairs, umbrellas and inflatables, and sells drinks, ice creams and hot food. Nearby another food outlet sells snow cones and popcorn.
The woman who runs the concessions stand, who did not want to be named, is on-site seven days a week serving “a mixture of locals and tourists.”
She said: “We are trying new things as we want this place to be once again full of life.
“People are just starting to hear about us being here. It’s now a public beach so we’d encourage all to use it.”
Plans are also in place to use the site “to its maximum” by holding Friday night buffets, football tournaments and maybe even car boot sales.
Robin Gilbert, general manager of 9 Beaches, said the beach businesses were a private enterprise, which would not profit the resort.
He said: “Several people had said to us that we have this beautiful beach on site that was going to waste.
“We agreed that it was a pity that it was being unused so we agreed that it could be put to good use.”
Resort bosses are however renting out a handful of its cabanas and also a couple of apartments in ‘The Barracks’ former staff accommodation building.
Most of the tenants are expatriate workers who work in the hospitality industry in the West End.
Tenants told The Royal Gazette they had moved in at the end of May and expect to stay for about six months. They can however be served their one month’s notice at any time “depending on the progress of development.”
Victor Rosales from Mexico, who works for Dive Bermuda at the Fairmont Southampton Resort, pays $900 for a one-bedroom apartment with a sea-view. He has even set up his own vegetable patch where he is growing melons, peppers, tomatoes and radishes.
The Royal Gazette was unable to contact Mr Grant yesterday.