Media officials tour H Hotel in Barbados
November 23, 2012
Media officials tour H Hotel in Barbados

Developers at Harlequin Hotels and Resorts (HHR) are trying to create a South Beach, Miami vibe, with the construction of their latest enterprise ‘The H Hotel’ in Christ Church, Barbados.{{more}}

And they say most of the groundwork came from their experiences in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the development of the Buccament Bay Resort.

In fact, the construction arm of HHR was created out of the company’s need to finish the Buccament Bay Project, following the unceremonious departure of subcontractors hired to build the luxury resort located on this country’s Leeward coast.

Garrett Ronan, Harlequin’s vice-president of Hotel and Resort Development, pointed out to a number of Vincentian journalists, a few weeks ago, that the developers learnt from mistakes that were made, as well as innovations used at the Buccament Bay Resort to improve on the product, when constructing the H Hotel.

The journalists, (Jimmy Prince, Junior Jarvis, Zhinga Greaves and Abigail Haynes), were at the construction site of the H, formerly the Allamanda Beach Hotel, where Ronan pointed out some areas where the developers aimed to improve on since the completion of Buccament Bay about two years ago.

“In St Vincent … there were some things we learnt from. We didn’t do everything perfectly, but you learn as you go and you make sure that you do things with the best intentions,” Garrett said.

“All these processes are a process of learning, so you take the best of what you’ve developed, and incorporate some of the technologies, so when we’re looking at the solar panelling, we learnt some things from Buccament that we’re going to apply here.”

Ronan indicated that some of the same persons who invested in the Buccament Bay Resort, have also thrown their weight behind the H Hotel, based on the confidence in what is currently taking place in St Vincent.

“We were in Buccament now for five years, so it’s not like we are a newcomer, and we have over 350 people employed at the resort alone and that’s great for employment and great interaction for the economy.”

Ronan used computer-generated images to highlight some of the new features that will be found at the hotel. These include the top brand luxury spa ESPA, high-end restaurants, penthouses, guest rooms and cabanas.

A boardwalk separating the beach from the hotel is a feature that Ronan said would make for a great beach experience for guests.

“There will be a quite modern bronze effect finish on the front,” he added.

“The real inspiration behind the concept is if you know Miami South Beach; it’s really that south beach vibe, that modern look is what we want to bring to this site…

“It is a place where people will want to be, and want to be seen,” Ronan added.

Another Vincentian flavour that the new hotel has going for it is the man who is overseeing the project, from construction to the handover of the finished product.

Christopher John, the son of former St Vincent Grammar School headmaster Lennox John and his wife Gillian John, is the project manager and works directly with the project architect, the Harlequin director of development and also with Ronan.

John gave a technical overview of the project, which he said was initially a four-storey building, but now with its upgrades is five stories tall, with a reinforced foundation.

“We spent a lot of months on the foundation, to make sure that we were getting it right…”

John also pointed out that some of the walls of the building were precast, constructed at a different location, then brought to the construction site to be installed.

There were approximately 150 persons employed directly and through subcontractors on the 78-room project.

This was expected to be followed by between 100 and 120 persons to be employed as hotel staff when the project is completed in September 2013.

The H is one of five hotel and resorts owned by Harlequin in the region.

Construction on the Merricks is expected to begin soon. There are also the Blue, and the Marquis Estate, in St Lucia.