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Azura project moves to second phase

Final phase: a drone photograph of the Azura resort on the site of the former Surf Side guest house on South Shore, Warwick (Photograph supplied)

The first visitors will be welcomed to the Azura Boutique Hotel and Residences early next year.

Work on the second phase of the project at the former Surf Side Beach Club in Warwick has now begun.

John Bush, the president of Clearwater Development, said three quarters of the first phase units have already sold, even while the last of the units are under construction.

Mr Bush told The Royal Gazette: “The initial core of the resort is 15 residences around our pool and bistro bar area, which comprise up to 29 hotel keys. That will be fully completed in the next 90 days.

“Right now, we have resident owners who are using it. We have a couple of owners who live here full time while making part of their residence available for hotel rooms, so we are an active open hospitality property.

“We are just on the turning point from development to operations, and we are ramping up the operations side.”

He added: “We will start our full hotel occupancy in the first quarter of 2020, but possibly the fourth quarter of 2019. Our website has the hotel booking engine up and operating right now.”

He said the bar at the site could be open for private functions this summer and to the public later in the year.

A new spa and gym facility has the goal of opening before the end of the year and the developer is in discussions with restaurant operators over a small poolside restaurant, whose infrastructure is in place.

Bermudians, non-Bermudians, permanent resident’s certificate holders and work-permit holders can purchase units, which can then be put into the hotel’s stock either in whole or in part.

Mr Bush said only four of the 15 units in the first phase remain unsold, and three of them have interested buyers.

He said: “We’re confident that this summer we will be 100 per cent sold out in this phase.

“We have already started construction on the second phase, which is a seven-unit building on the clifftops and we already have one of those units sold.

“It has really been gratifying.”

Mr Bush said the project’s business model and early success mean it will be debt free by the time the first phase is complete.

He said: “We have extremely low bank debt right now — we have a great lender at Clarien Bank. By the time this phase is finished, the bank loan will be entirely paid back.

“We will have an operating hotel property with zero debt on it, a committed base of clients and owners who will come down and support the economics of the hotel staff, the beach and the spa.

“Then we will get all the guests that we get from the normal hotel channel as well.”

Reflecting on competition in Bermuda’s hotel market, Mr Bush said: “We want the Loren to be successful, we want Morgan’s Point to be successful, we want Ariel Sands to be developed and successful, we want the project in St George’s to be successful.

“We all win by having more exposure, more marketing dollars out there, more airlift.”

He added: “We are the biggest cheerleaders for our competing products, but we have found a niche with a small product in a unique price zone in Bermuda for whole-ownership real estate that can be owned by Bermudians, non-Bermudians or work permit holders and those people can use it and garner income from it.”