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Hotel bosses support rental minicars plan

John Bush, of Clearwater Development, with Minister Michael Fahy and Premier Michael Dunkley (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Two prominent hotel bosses have thrown their support behind plans to bring rental minicars to Bermuda.

Allan Federer, general manager of the Hamilton Princess, said he was “very, very excited” by the initiative, while John Bush, president of Clearwater Development, which is leading the renovation of the old Surf Side Beach Club, insisted the scheme could have a “huge benefit” for visitors.

Legislation paving the way for introducing vehicles, which have to be no more than 60 inches wide and 115 inches in length, is expected to be debated next week in the House of Assembly.

Mr Federer and Mr Bush were part of a five-strong panel of hoteliers and developers speaking at yesterday’s Tourism Summit and providing updates on construction and renovation projects at their hotels.

Mr Federer told an audience of more than 100 stakeholders that renovation of the Hamilton Princess was 85 per cent complete, while further expansion work was planned for the Beach Club in 2017 and the marina in Hamilton for the America’s Cup.

Meanwhile, Mr Bush said a major project to strengthen the foreshore of the Azura Boutique Hotel and Residences is expected to begin in the next week or two and be completed in February or March. The construction of a pool and restaurant area as well as extensive landscaping has already started.

The initial rooms inventory is expected to be completed next summer but given the ongoing construction work the hotel will not be able to welcome hotel guests in any significant number until the fourth quarter 2017 or first quarter 2018.

Alessandro Colantonio, vice-president of acquisitions for GenCom, revealed the asset management firm was just “days or weeks” away from a formal announcement on closing the acquisition of Tucker’s Point.

He also outlined plans to upgrade the hotel for the America’s Cup as well as an extensive renovation project for the end of 2017 and 2018.

“We will be revisiting all aspects of the resort; rooms, public spaces, food and beverages, new concepts and adding one of two new venues,” Mr Colantonio said. “We will also be looking at low-density development.”

Craig Christensen, Morgan’s Point Ltd chief executive officer, announced his firm had accelerated the marina phase of the Caroline Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort in time for the America’s Cup.

“The marina is being created right now in Finland and will be here in 11 days,” he said. “We can take maybe 40 megaboats at our location.”

Mr Christen said the marina should be completed by next March.

Miguel Purroy, from Hotelco, the owner and developer of the St Regis development in St George’s, pledged to preserve the historic aspects of town during the project. Mr Purroy was quick to praise the efforts of the BTA in helping to move the project forward, but he expressed concerns about the lack of power and water infrastructure in the East End.