End of summer groundbreaking for 9 Beaches redevelopment

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  • Photo by Akil Simmons 9 Beaches July 5,2011

    Photo by Akil Simmons 9 Beaches July 5,2011

Work on the $80 million redevelopment of 9 Beaches is expected to start by the end of the summer as the resort eagerly awaits the return of guests.

The “expansion, upgrade and redevelopment” of the resort at Daniel’s Head, Sandys, is now a step closer to reality as architects put the finishing touches to plans.

It is hoped that groundbreaking will take place in early September with an opening date pencilled in for the end of 2012.

As a boost to Bermuda’s struggling tourism industry the new-look resort plans to remain open all year rather than closing for the winter as it previously did.

9 Beaches already has a waiting list of about 200 previous guests who have expressed an interest in returning to try out the new resort.

The plans, which are yet to be submitted to Government, are tipped to safeguard the resort’s future as well as boost the West End economy.

General manager Robin Gilbert said it was “all systems go” as architects prepared the plans for the Department of Planning.

He said: “It’s looking very positive and I’m hoping we can get going as soon as possible.

“We are hoping to break ground around Labour Day.

“These are exciting times and we are very much looking forward to welcoming guests again.

“We haven’t even started any work yet, but we already have people eager to come and see what we look like. We have a waiting list of about 200 previous guests.

“We keep our guests updated with a newsletter and we will let them know when we are opening.”

This is the first major upgrade for the 17-acre resort, which opened in 2000 calling itself Bermuda’s only true casual hotel experience.

It has remained closed since May 2010 with work being delayed because of complications with a sub-lease agreement. In February this year Senators agreed on plans to lease the public land at Daniel’s Head to developers IRC Sandys for 240 years.

Up to 60 of the resort’s current waterside cabanas look set be kept as part of the new development. The framework of the 11-year-old cabanas will remain and they will look the same from the outside, but internally they will be made into “more solid constructions”.

The cabanas will be given solid walls and air-conditioning will be added in response to guests’ concerns about “the heat being an issue”. The cabanas will also be kitted out with new furniture.

An additional 60 hotel rooms look set to be added in purpose-built cottage buildings “which fit in with the rest of the resort”. The hillside buildings are expected to be “low key and low profile”.

The biggest difference to the resort is that all the resort’s out-dated military buildings will be demolished. These buildings include the staff quarters known as The Barracks, the administrative offices and the main reception/restaurant building.

Mr Gilbert said: “Those military buildings have served their purpose, they will hopefully soon be part of history.

“Anything that is solid is going to be knocked down, the buildings just don’t fit into the design of the resort.”

A purpose-built fine dining restaurant and lounge will be built on the dock next to the beach with a large outdoor patio area. This will be where the Dark ‘n’ Stormy beach bar currently stands.

The reception area will be given “a hillside setting” in a new building that takes advantage of the water views.

Even the resort’s swimming pool looks set to be moved from its current location to a “more suitable spot” in between the beach and tennis courts. For the first time the resort will also have a spa and a state-of-the-art gym.

Mr Gilbert said: “Everything is subject to Planning approval but we have such a fantastic location and we want to put the space we have to good use.

“We are surrounded by water, close to the ferries, close to Dockyard and it’s a great spot for watersports.”

Construction work is expected to take about a year. If everything goes according to plan this could result in a ‘soft opening’ at the end of 2012 before the resort’s grand opening at the start of the 2013 summer season.

Mr Gilbert said the resort’s new year-round opening would “benefit everyone.”

He said: “We will no longer be a seasonal resort where we close for three or four months of the year. We will be open all year round and this will really make a big difference.

“This will definitely have an impact, it will boost the economy in the West End.”

Mr Gilbert, who continues to be employed on site, said they had helped the resort’s staff to find new jobs. However, he said with additional job vacancies being created they hoped to welcome back old and new staff.

The Royal Gazette reported last week that the main beach at 9 Beaches had reopened to ensure the idyllic waterside setting doesn’t go to waste while the resort awaits redevelopment.

For the next couple of months beachside vendors have set up businesses such as a concessions stand and hair braiding at the now public beach known as ‘Sandy Bottom Beach Park.’

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Published Jul 13, 2011 at 8:35 am (Updated Jul 13, 2011 at 8:35 am)

End of summer groundbreaking for 9 Beaches redevelopment

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