Monday, August 13, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Interest is growing in Exuma’s Grand Isle Resort & Spa thanks to increased marketing efforts and a new team at the helm.
According to the resort’s executive director, Grant Castle, the number of visitors to the exclusive getaway has doubled year on year.
He says that through the downturn staff members have been working hard and now he is “seeing some bright lights and optimism.”
Grand Isle’s 78 villas and penthouses were completed in 2008, but shortly afterwards the developers, EGI Ltd, went into receivership and it seemed as if the property, located on Emerald Bay, would be forced to close its doors. Those who had bought homes at the site stepped in, forming a board of directors and hiring US resort management firm DCM Hospitality to help draw up a long-term development plan for the resort.
Although the units are individually owned, the resort operates as a hotel with the owners renting out their properties most of the year. A range of services and activities are available for visitors including a spa, golf course, snorkelling trips, diving excursions and fishing charters.
In May 2012, the resort stepped out of the shadow cast by EGI’s bankruptcy when it announced that Canadian Peter Nicholson had bought the final 31 units, meaning it had transitioned to 100 per cent home-ownership.
Nicholson has sold six of his units in six months and says there is a lot of interest in the remaining properties. “Word is starting to spread that this is a really wonderful place,” he says.
The financier, who is president of Canadian financial services firm WCPD Foundation, has been conducting a “grassroots campaign” since buying the properties—inviting his high-end clients down to Exuma to see the island for themselves.
“That has been the number one marketing tool,” he says. “They love it. [Grand Isle] is remote, quiet, relaxing and safe.”
Another bonus, he says, is that businessmen can connect with their office directly from the island, thanks to the high-speed Internet service recently upgraded by Bahamas Telecommunications Co. (BTC).
“I can run my Canadian business from my villa,” says Nicholson. “I can email and skype from the poolside.”
Nicholson’s properties range from $490,000 for a one-bedroom 1,400 sq ft villa, to $2.9 million for a 5,400 sq ft four-bedroom penthouse.