The Adrian Loveridge Column – Boutique is the Solution

Adrian Loveridge

While I can see all the merits of attracting big brand named hotels, I still feel the destiny for us and at least partially differentiating Barbados as a destination lies with our smaller boutique hotels. Of course I will be the first to admit being biased, but as my personal time as an hotelier is almost up, I think I am able to maintain reasonably objectivity. And certainly the TripAdvisor hotel ratings which are posted by guests, who have stayed, certainly support that conclusion with this part of the sub sector getting as close to right in delivering the best possible level of satisfaction and highest product delivery possible.

To demonstrate these findings, please study for yourself, as these are the current top ten rated properties. 1) Little Arches; 2) Beach View; 3) Yellow Bird Hotel; 4) The House; 5) Inchcape Seaside Villas; 6) Sandy Lane; 7) Sugar Cane Club; 8) Fairmont Royal Pavilion; 9) Crystal Cove and 10) Sugar Bay.

Only four of the hotels mentioned exceed the official definition of a ‘small hotel’ which is classified as 75 rooms or more and in the case of Royal Pavilion by one room (76) and Crystal Cove by 13 (88 rooms) with Sugar Bay (138) and Sandy Lane at 112 rooms.

Ironically, newer kids on the block, even with all their unique concessionary advantages which could also have been used for training or upgrading service standards, plus despite all the associated hype, with over 2,087 guest reviews since acquiring and upgrading the property, have actually fallen in their rating when compared with the previous operators, from #16 to currently #18.

While many hotels have received various awards, accolades and recognition from trade bodies, travel agents and tour operators, the final say that counts the most has to be the actual opinion and rating of the guest who has actually stayed.

Of course a lot has happened in our accommodation offerings over the last ten years. It was interesting to read in Terra Caribbean’s famous Red Book, according to data provided by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) that between 2011 and 2016 villa occupancy had increased by an average 22 per cent monthly during this five year period. Then, what only can be described as an explosion in alternative accommodation, notably Airbnb, HomeAway, Flip Key, VRBO, Tripping and the many others has helped transform our overall lodging offerings.

As the Red Book points out, ‘The Barbados Tourism Product Authority has begun to recognise this shift in the importance of non-hotel accommodation, and is moving to put a benchmark for standards in this sector. This will not only allow visitors to evaluate options on the basis of a universal standard but is also a valuable step in ensuring that the villa sector has a seat on the table going forward when discussion of our tourism product takes place’.

In my humble opinion, this only makes sense and could possibly take us a step closer to anything that could be conceived as a level playing field, even if this sometimes appears, an impossible goal.

42 thoughts on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Boutique is the Solution

  1. Yellow bird lol they were renting it out for cropover and the paint on the walls was still wet, There must be something more to it if that is one of the best rated properties. Can trip advisor be manipulated to achieve results that may be skewed

  2. If we are to believe the recent mouthings of the government a decision was made to relocate government offices from the ministerial building on Bay Street and to build a conference centre at Needam’s Point.

    Tourism Potential

    Submitted by Adrian Loveridge

    Barbados Hilton

    While I fully understand all the fiscal restraints Government currently has and the historical and possibly political desire to complete the recently re-named Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre, I would like to propose a second option.

    There is no doubt that Trinidad and Tobago stole a march on the Southern Caribbean by constructing a new conference facility and an adjacent first class hotel. It’s no secret that most people attending conferences, for all sorts of reasons, want to stay close to where the event is taking place.

    The very last thing is they wish to endure is to spend indeterminate amounts of time fighting with rush hour traffic to reach where the function is taking place. For whatever reason, ‘we’ missed a golden opportunity with the construction of the Hilton. 354 rooms, but not one large enough space to host major exhibitors and trade or consumer shows.

    In hindsight it would have been so easy to have incorporated a single meeting area on one level of at least 10,000 square feet. Whether it was rooftop, basement or even formed part of the car park!

    It’s not too late!

    Needham Point still offers one of the most desirable locations for further development and if we seriously want to maintain and attract further airlift year round, this is our chance, even during a recession.The former refinery land could be used and the barracks together with other buildings currently used by the Royal Barbados Defence Force be tastefully incorporated while protecting their architectural heritage.

    Even the derelict pier could be transformed to provide a spectacular waters edge restaurant. Much discussion has taken place over the years about the proposed Pierhead development, and I am still in full support of this project to help revitalise historic Bridgetown. Not only would it to attractive to long stay visitors but also within easy walking distance of the quoted 700,000 cruise ship passengers entering the port each year.

    I believe that the development of Needham Point into a major conference and event centre would provide the catalyst to ensure that Pierhead becomes a viable project. Restaurants, shops and other facilities generating valuable foreign currency!

    The chairman of one of our major construction and development companies recently stated that it was time to put back. Could his company together with others in partnership with Government make a world class conference facility a reality?

    Very few of the above are new ideas. Many have been voiced before. But now is perhaps the time to turn the concept into reinforcing the viability of our entire tourism industry.


    • “Artax

      We have been making inquires to find out a breakdown of monies allocated to subsidize airlines. So far without any success.

  3. Adrian
    Get Peach and Quiet back in operation. Talk about the perfect Boutique hotel. Tourists need you-what’s the hold back? You could fill the place at a heart beat.

  4. Randy, working very hard on that. We are hoping to have some wonderful news very shortly. We really could not contemplate selling off to Butch Stewart for the sake of our past guests and friends.

  5. I readily agree with Adrian on these matters. The building of high rise “brand name” hotels will ruin Barbados as a tourist destination, for the very reasons that Adrian has outlined. A Bay Street waterfront lined with high rise towers will not differentiate Barbados from the mass tourism destinations such as Cancun, Puerto Rico, and even Miami Beach, other than it will be more expensive to get to. Throw in more Burger Kings, a couple of Starbucks and a few more KFC’s, and the transformation will be complete. It won’t work. Sure, use Needham’s Point for a small cluster of high rise hotels, and a conference centre, and leave the rest of the coastline as low rise boutique hotels. Then our tourism future will be assured.

  6. Have any of you guys been in a relationship with a woman over a number of years then traded her in for a younger model? Be honest!

    Our tourist industry has become unsustainable. We can continue to line our beaches with as many exclusive hotels as we can squeeze in; and we can continue to skew our whole economy towards tourism. However when our customers become jaded with us (Barbados) they will desert us in there droves. Barbados will never match the beauty of a St Lucia, a Grenada, a Costa Rica, a Jamaica, do i need to continue?

    Do a thorough international research of the tourism market. Some of us fail to understand that the revenue that we may have received from tourism has already peaked and that it is on a downward curve. There is a country (island) called Cape Verde – an ex-Portugal – economy which appears to drawing in huge numbers of British tourists at present. It is beautiful, relatively unspoiled, with bags of charm. Take Iceland, an exceptional country that is attracting huge numbers. You guys need to remove yourself of the island and check out what’s happening in the real world.

    There is a country in the Middle East whose economy has been built exclusively on oil: Saudi Arabia. Yet, even in this country they have recognised for sometime that they would need to diversify their economy. They have started to take giant steps to put in place measures that will wean them of the very industry that has brought their people prosperity.

    Oh if only we had people of vision who resided in Barbados!

    @ Artax March 27, 2017 at 12:41 PM

    If your above comment is correct then things must be real bleak. It’s the equivalent of a prostitute paying a client to do business with them!

  7. @ARTAX. Quite a few governments in the region subsidise airline seats to increase airlift. They charged it to a special tourism enhancement fund.

  8. fortyacresandamule March 27, 2017 at 5:45 PM #

    “@ARTAX. Quite a few governments in the region subsidise airline seats to increase airlift. They charged it to a special tourism enhancement fund.”

    @ fortyacresandamule

    I am aware of that some regional governments “subsidize airline seats to increase airlift.” However, if what I heard, relative to government “paying Delta Airlines US$7M to fly Sandals’ guests to Barbados,” is true, then what benefits Barbados has been able to gain from such arrangements, especially taking into consideration that:

    a) Sandals has been granted 40 years of generous tax concessions;

    b) The claim of increased tourist arrivals by tourism officials does not correlate with actual tourist spend;

    c) Bookings agents for Sandals Resorts may not originate in Barbados, hence they will not be required to pay taxes such as VAT;

  9. Exclaimer, Barbados has never been as naturally attractive as the places you mention, but physical attraction of the island is nowhere near the only thing that attracts tourists. Barbados has been a tourist destination for over 50 years, and despite all the new area that have opened up to tourism in the world, they.keep.on.coming. We are the jaded ones, we who live here, but I have very rarely met any visitor who did not have a great time here and many of them return. If you really want to chase them away, then make Barbados look like Cancun, or Puerto Rico, with tower blocks lining the beach and taking the sun for half the day, and spring breakers puking all over the sidewalks day and night. Small, expensive hotels offering great service will take the win in the tropics any time over tower blocks. Do we need to diversify the economy? Of course we do, but to enhance tourism, not replace it. If we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, we don’t deserve to progress.

  10. Peltdownman March 28, 2017 at 3:41 PM #

    We have been in the tourism business for over 100 years with places like the Crane in St.Philip,a hotel in Batsheba that was washed away and Windsor Hotel where Lanterns mall is now were the 3 first bespoke hotels.

    50 years ago Capt. Peter Morgan an english chapy,EWBs good friend undertook with Paul Foster and a few others the task of creating brand Bim and selling it to the world….the rest is history.

    The brand is still saleable but could do with some tweaking and I agree with you that we do not want a cancun or PR look.

  11. @ Peltdownman,

    Your government has already decided that Tower blocks are the way forward. This is what they have been told by those who would like to “invest” on the island. The bribe money has been placed on the table. It remains to be seen whether or not the charlatans running the government can resist the temptation.

  12. Vincent,

    It was Ronald Tree, the former owner of the Colony Club, who started the modern tourism industry in Barbados.

  13. Good news, the Sam Lords now Whyndam is slated to start next week. After receiving the news that RUBIS has gained a temporary injunction against the sale of BNTCL this is good news for the tourism sector.

  14. @ David

    Although it is ironic that these projects are coming on stream as the 2018 election draws near, I also believe the Sam Lord’s Castle project is good for the economy.

    However, it is very unfortunate and disappointing the court granted an injunction to halt the sale of BNTCL to SOL. Despite what the naysayers are advancing, I do not have any problem with government’s decision to sell the oil company to a Barbadian owned company.

    The BLP and DLP sold Barbados National Bank to the Trinidadian owned Republic Bank.

    Allan Fields and the greedy shareholders allowed Barbados’ LARGEST BUSINESS CONGLOMERATE, BS&T, to be “taken over” by Neal &Massy Group of Companies, which resulted in that Trinidadian company controlling our wholesale and retail sector, as well as having a stake in our insurance and real estate sectors. Subsequently, Massy has either CLOSED or DOWNSIZED a number of the subsidiary companies, such as BS&T Motors, DaCosta/Manning’s and Knight’s Pharmacies, for example, RESULTING in the RETRENCHMENT of many Barbadians. They are currently in the process of negotiating further layoffs from those remaining companies.

    Barbados’ Mount Gay Rum, which has been described as the “oldest existing brand of rum in the world,” is owned by the PARIS, FRANCE based company Rémy Cointreau; while greedy Barbadian shareholders sold Banks Holdings to BRAZIL’S AmBev, resulting in the Brazilians controlling our beer production.

    MEXICAN owned Arawak Cement has been selling over-priced cement to Barbadians for years. Like him or not, Mark Maloney, through his company Rock Hard Cement, has been able to penetrate the cement market in Barbados and various Caribbean islands, resulting in the offering of cheaper cement. Arawak has done everything possible to “stifle” and prevent Maloney from entering the market they “monopolized” for over 30 years. In October 2016, Cemex Limited of Mexico (who now owns Arawak) blocked Rock Hard’s access to the Portuguese market.

    Barbadians REMAINED SILENT.

    I’m sure many of them bought into Arawak’s propaganda and will continue to purchase cement from that T&T company.

    The BNTCL naysayers do not have a problem with the Trinidadian company Massy Real Estate selling Barbadian land and repatriating the profits to T&T, but they have a problem with government selling the oil company to a BARBADIAN.

    • @Artax

      The issue with BNTCL is about concentration of owner, unfair competition and read fair market competition.

  15. @ Artax
    An enlightened position with the BNTCL sale, would be to sell it to the highest bidder – who agrees to place 49% of the shares on the local stock market for immediate sale to Bajans at the same rate which they pay in their bid.

    Where any unsold shares remain after 18 months, these would then be purchased by the NIS, and held for future possible sale to local interest at the then value.

    There needs to be a national vision of enfranchisement (even if the brass bowl people don’t get it) rather than this parasitic money-grab that continues to drive the national ethos.

    • @Bush Tea

      You suggestion although a good one would run counter to the government’s strategy to position savings bonds as the investment of choice for Bajans after jumping in bed with the banks to remove the minimum interest rate on savings.

  16. @ David

    And that is why the Fair Trading Commission has been requested to address those concerns.

    But should RUBIS, whose headquarters is located in France, be allowed to dictate to whom a government, elected by the people of Barbados, sell a public entity?

    It seems RUBIS is asking the court to force government into accepting their offer to purchase the oil company.

    However, it would be interesting to know if government had decided to sell 100% to RUBIS, if that company would have requested government or be willing to allow SOL or any other similar establishment to partake in the purchase agreement.

    • @Artax

      RUBIS is a legit player in the market with a right to protect its investment. Agree, let us see how the court rules.

  17. Hal Austin March 28, 2017 at 6:08 PM #

    You are incorrect…..Tree assisted……Paul Foster can truly be deemed the father of modern day Bim tourism going back to the 50s.

    Mr Foster initially worked for BWIA which was a subsidiary of British South American Airways who took it over in 1947 and whose parent company was British Overseas Airways Corporation.

  18. Bush Tea March 29, 2017 at 8:19 AM #

    “An enlightened position with the BNTCL sale, would be to sell it to the highest bidder – who agrees to place 49% of the shares on the local stock market for immediate sale to Bajans at the same rate which they pay in their bid.”

    @ Bushie

    An excellent suggestion.

  19. Isn’t a bit merceneryistic to hear the Tourism boss openly speaking of “making the tourists spend more.”
    I would hate to be a visitor to this country , where everyone seems to be hell bent on jucking their hands in my pockets.
    He could take a few pointers from the ladies on Bush Hill, at least their opening line of invitation, is to come and have a good time.

  20. No time for prophets of doom and gloom
    Added by Neville Clarke on March 30, 2017. (Barbados Today)

    “Government Senator Patrick Todd has no time for prophets of doom and gloom.

    In fact, he prefers to listen to those whose vision is for a Barbados that is a bountiful country where unemployment will fall to single digit levels with the construction of additional accommodation along the Needham’s Point Peninsula/Carlisle Bay beachfront.

    Todd gave this upbeat prediction Wednesday in the Senate while throwing his support behind a Government guarantee of a loan of $17.625 million for Barbados Conference Services Ltd from The First Citizens Bank, (Barbados) Ltd.

    While dismissing suggestions that a renovated Government Headquarters should be transformed into a hotel, the former Member of Parliament for The City expects many spin off tourism benefits from the planned development of the Needham’s Point Peninsula/Carlisle Bay area, stretching right down to Brandons, St Michael.

    “The Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy would have said that his ministry is actively looking at the possibility of constructing a massive conference facility in this area,” said Todd, while acknowledging that meetings, incentives, conferences and events constituted a lucrative aspect of the tourism industry worldwide.

    “I remember just a few years ago attending a conference at one of Disney Hotels in Orlando, Florida, where there was a corridor of nearly 70 metres long and on either side of that corridor were conference facilities. The conferences were fully subscribed. The conference centres were holding 2,500 delegates comfortably,” Todd said, adding that with facilities of this size Barbados would be in a better position to attract business.

    He also spoke of the Government’s tourism development plans for the area saying, “What we are looking at are thousands of jobs being created as hundreds of hotel rooms are built along this area and other parts of the island. There will be jobs in the construction phase and also to facilitate the day to day running of the hotel plants,” said Todd, who envisages thousands of visitors participating in guided tours, patronizing bars, rum shops and the village shops in Nelson Street, Baxter’s Road, Tudor Street, the Bayland and other areas in the City centre.

    “It will be a win-win situation. There will be a trickle down effect where much more money will be circulating in the country and therefore I do not have room for the prophets of doom and gloom.

    “I see a bountiful Barbados, a Barbados where unemployment will go to single digit levels as we seek to really propel the economy forward,” Todd explained.”

    • One can only wonder if these people believe the nonsense they utter on a daily basis. This is Todd.

      McClean and Sinckler was -investors still want to come to Barbados. Doesn’t Sinckler review the central bank report under the foreign investment for the last five years?

      Who can forget Jepter assurance that Barbados is still able to borrow despite the multiplicity of downgrades. Can somebody tell him how much the two recent downgrades added interest to the Credit Suisse loan?

      Then there is the PM who according to media report is preaching about good governance. This as the Anti Corruption Bill and the FOIA is sstillborn after being promised in 2007/8.

  21. And hear Donville Inniss on CBC News tonight, “Do not buy Apps made by other people. Develop your own………. and sell to the world.” Yeah, right!

  22. @ Colonel
    Develop your own………. and sell to the world.
    Easily said with respect to porn….
    Software takes brains …and hard work…. not just taking clothes off and bending over….

  23. Vincent,

    Of course you are right, as you are about everything. But that came from an official report. Don’t make up history as you go along.

  24. Hal

    What rubbish are you talking about making up history I joined BOAC in the early 70s and knew Paul.

    Their two things I have a hands on knowledge of the Travel Industry and Agriculture.

    When I am sure of my facts I stick to them contrary to some others on here.

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