Harlequin Hotels & Resorts meets St Lucians on commencement of The Marquis Estate Operations Showcase!
St Lucian farmers and residents of their Babonneau community met Tuesday 22nd November 2011 with Mr. Dave Ames, Chairman of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, and his team who own and are developing the eagerly anticipated Marquis Estate project.
Mr. Ames and his team were welcomed by a community representative of Babonneau. The gathering was also addressed by the local Constituency Representative, the Honorable Minister Ezekiel Joseph, at a “Town Hall” meeting at the Boguis Primary School grounds on Tuesday afternoon. The event was an opportunity for the team from Harlequin Hotels & Resorts and Harlequin Developments to meet and discuss with local residents details of the recently commenced works at The Marquis Estate site.
Harlequin have already started the initial works along with the build out of a custom designed, site sensitive operations showcase center, which will boast the first Gary Player Show Villa and Visitor Reception, along with an architecture and construction design studio, which will house the local offices for Harlequin Developments.
Mr. Ames thanked Hon. Minister Ezekiel Joseph and the community for welcoming him and for all the support over the past 3 years, which has resulted in Harlequin Developments being able to commence initial works. He said, “It is fantastic to have this opportunity to meet with you and talk about the creation of local employment and how local community and businesses will benefit.”
Mr. Ames added, “This initial phase will immediately create up to 100 local construction jobs and has already resulted in 5 contracts being awarded to local construction and related companies. The total projected spend on the Operations Showcase is US$1m. This center will allow us to complete all the remaining surveys and site analysis needed for final approvals of Phase One, the overall master plan and all information required for the completion of the EIA. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with you in the community as we go forward to complete the whole resort over the next 5 years, in what will ultimately be a US$500M investment to the country, creating in excess of 1,000 local jobs.
Other Harlequin Hotels & Resorts Representatives, Simon Taylor (Chief Operating Officer) and Garrett Ronan (Vice President of Hotel and Resort Development) along with David Campion (Development Director) of Harlequin Developments were on hand to answer questions and gave more details of the current works and upcoming plans.
They spoke about their focus on stimulating and supporting the diversification of the agricultural sector by working with the farming community and developing alliances through local co-ops to define quality requirements for fresh produce. Harlequin Hotels & Resorts implemented similar programs at their first property, Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent & The Grenadines, with the establishment of a local co-op and by working with local fishermen to provide and showcase the best of what is locally available and produced. The importance of excellence within everything they strive to do comes from their mission of “Redefining Luxury in the Caribbean”.
The company is very cognizant of the natural rural beauty of this special location on St Lucia, and so critical attention and emphasis is being placed on an environmentally sensitive approach to design and build. This involves the establishment of safe construction methods, protection of the wildlife within the area, respect of the ecological system at all times where possible, and preservation of the natural landscape of this magnificent site.
Harlequin Hotels & Resorts, along with Liverpool Football Club Soccer School at Buccament Bay Resort, have implemented fantastic football development programs and tournaments with local schools in St Vincent & The Grenadines, and recently started a pilot scheme with schools in St Philip, Barbados. This is another example of how Harlequin are successfully investing in local communities and teaching skills to the future generations, which is planned for St Lucia in the coming months.
The Masterplan for the resort requires it to be built in phases, with the first phase scheduled to begin in 2012. This will include the Gary Player Signature 18 Hole Championship Golf Course, and the world’s first Gary Player Luxury Golf Hotel.
Members of the Executive Team of Harlequin Hotels & Resorts also spoke about the establishment of the upcoming “H St Lucia”, one of the first destinations in their luxury boutique hotel collection, which will be located in the Rodney Bay area. Details of those plans will be announced in the New Year. Harlequin also confirmed they are poised to launch their St Lucia-based Harlequin Air service once they receive final approvals. This is due to commence service in early 2012. Harlequin Air will provide a private luxury shuttle experience for their guests after they arrive at the various Caribbean International Airports. They will then be transported to their final Harlequin Hotels & Resorts destination. The first plane arrived in St Lucia last week and is going through local certifications.
The Harlequin Hotel & Resorts team are very excited to have started their first development in St. Lucia and look forward to the many years of continued future growth within St Lucia and the region. Their vision to enhance and support the lives of the local people and their environment works hand-in-hand with their vision of ensuring the Caribbean can be the number one destination in the world.