Word on the street is that Almond Beach Village at Heywoods in St. Peter, the flagship resort of the Almonds Resorts group of all-inclusive hotels will be closing for six months next year for a much needed overhaul and refurbishment. This comes as news has begun to surface that the captain of the ship, Ralph Taylor, will also be leaving the group to concentrate more fully on the duties assigned to him earlier this year by the new government as the Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority. Presumably, the closing will occur after the coming tourist season ends mid-April next year. It will be the 400-room hotel’s first total closing since Mr. Taylor came onboard at sprawling St. Peter resort. Indeed, many are wondering if this latest development isn’t reflective of the new management style of the Trinidadian conglomerate, Neal & Massey, which merged last year with Almond’s primary owner , Barbados Shipping & Trading.
Mr. Taylor had carried out several refurbishments in the past but never totally closed the complex by taking advantage to the campus-like layout of the resort’s inter-connected “blocks.” Guests who have been complaining recently that the hotel looked “tired” will no doubt love this move to totally overhaul the resort in one fell swoop but staff members with mortgages and car payments to meet will be of a different persuasion if as expected Almond’s two smaller properties in Barbados cannot absorb all of them during the overhaul. Also, given the inordinate delays in the opening of the Almond Casuarina Resort recently it is not totally out of the question that staff members could be out of work for a year or more during what is looking like recessionary times ahead globally.