St George’s Club shuts after 25 years
The St George’s Club shut its doors yesterday after a quarter of a century in business.
Sally-Anne Kyle, the president and chief executive of the club on Rose Hill Street in the Olde Towne, said yesterday that staff at the hotel had been made redundant and the company would hand back its lease to the Bermuda Government.
The club declined to say how many staff were affected, but it is understood it could be up to 25.
But Ms Kyle added: “The news is not all bad as Hotelco Bermuda SGC Ltd, who are part of the group developing the nearby property to open as a St Regis Hotel, will take over the St George’s Club.
“They will reopen the club after a period of much needed refurbishment and update.”
Ms Kyle added: “We wish to thank all our very loyal staff for their efforts over the years and our remaining members who have been supportive of the club.”
She blamed the closure of the St George’s golf course, increased costs, the recession and members defaulting on their contracts as reasons for the closure, along with the problem of operation as a timeshare with “changing legislation”.
Ms Kyle added that all current timeshare memberships would be honoured.
Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said closure of any tourism business was a concern, but that he was optimistic about the future of the club.
He added: “Not only do we possibly lose a tourism product but, of course, one has to think about the Bermudian workers who are out of a job.
“The good thing is that I do know that something is happening with regard to the club and I’m really hopeful that some positive news will come soon.”
Kevin Dallas, the CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “While our thoughts are with staff impacted in the short run by this move, we are delighted the St George’s Club will now receive the investment it needs.
“We thank Hotelco for its deep commitment to Bermuda’s tourism future and we look forward to working with its team to continue to revitalise the East End.”
The 71-cottage St George’s Club was said to be close to a sale in 2016.
Members at the club were told that the potential buyer had promised to invest in renovations and improvements — but the club would have to pay off $3.5 million of debt first.
Management at the club said they would focus their attention on turning the property into a cottage hotel when the deal failed to materialise.
The club said at the time that the property was already operating “more than 50 per cent” as a hotel.
The club also offered a “buy-out” to members, but not all accepted the offer.
Remaining members complained in 2017 that their fees had jumped, but Ms Kyle said the increases were needed to cover operational costs.
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