Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dramatic New Development At Royal Westmoreland

John Morphet is making his mark on Royal Westmoreland and it is a big one. It has just been announced that he is spending ½ billion US dollars to expand the exclusive luxury golf resort. That expansion includes an additional 250 homes on an additional 250 acres being acquired from the neighboring Lancaster Plantation. It also includes a brand new 18 hole golf course on the new acreage bringing the resort's total to 36 holes on approximately 750 acres. In Barbados only Sandy Lane which has 45 holes and approximately 1000 acres will be larger resort when the buildout at Royal Westmoreland is completed. Presumably, this new course also means that they are probably not proceeding with the plan for the 9-hole expansion of the original course. Also, since the new course will be going up at Lancaster, the same property neighboring Sugar Hill had earmarked for its own golf offering, it probably also means that project is now dead.

Indeed, Sugar Hills seems to have also unloaded the Suga Suga Spa and Mannie‘s Beach Bar & Restaurant at Mullins Beach on Royal Westmoreland. The beach facilities are currently nearing completion of a total renovation to re-open soon as the Royal Westmoreland Beach Club exclusively for owners and guests of the resort. So, finally after a dozen years of promises to its owners land-locked Royal Westmoreland has its own beach. It will be interesting to watch how Royal Westmoreland’s “private” and “exclusive” and "gated-community" mindset fits in at Mullins given the popularity of Mullins Beach with tourists and locals alike, and the fact that all beaches in Barbados are public. Renovations on the spa across the street are already completed so the resort now boasts two spas under the Indulgence Spa brand - at Mullins Beach and at the original resort estate.

Ten acres of the new purchase at Lancaster are being reserved for a luxury retail development and a five-star luxury hotel. Diamonds International, a leading local luxury retailer is already promising to talk to Morphet about opening an outlet at Royal Westmoreland’s new mall. Presumably, this mall will be located somewhere along or close to the Ronald Mapp Highway (Rt. 2) to take advantage of the inland traffic from the other luxury golfing and sporting resorts in the area - Sugar Hill (tennis), Apes Hill (golf and polo), Banyan Tree/Black Bess (golf) all to the north, and probably also Sandy Lane (golf) to the south. Those decisions are being left up to the master planning of the American firm Tunnell-Spangler Walsh Associates who designed the original resort a dozen years ago. And, that spirit of continuity is also reflected in the hiring of Rees Jones, the brother of Robert Trent Jones, Jr. who designed the original 18/27 holes, to design the new course.

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