After almost six months of extensive renovations, the Coco Reef Resort
has opened it’s doors as scheduled. The new property, owned by John Jefferis, has transformed the site of the former Stonington Beach Hotel into a Mediterranean-style resort that seeks to exploit its beachfront location to attract upscale tourists.
“We have invested significantly in the renovation and refurbishing of the property to make Coco Reef a world-class hotel,” said Mr. Jefferis. “No expense has been spared in achieving that objective.”
The total cost of the redevelopment is expected to top $10 million. Major new features include a dramatic 6,000-square-foot atrium lobby, an upscale restaurant, an expanded pool terrace, antique furniture, and a wide collection of Caribbean art.
There are also plans for a new beach bar and grill which will be added to the property next year.
“All 64 rooms have been totally refurbished and feature custom-made wicker furniture and an original fabric design, specially commissioned for Coco Reef, that reflects Bermuda’s traditional pastel colour palette,” said Mr. Jefferis.
The rooms will also feature new amenities such as high-speed Internet access and “movies-on-demand”.
A group of European tour operators that cater to the upscale type of visitor that the Bermuda Department of Tourism is trying to attract with its revised marketing strategy was shown around the new property last week.
Paul Samuda, commercial director for London-based tour operator Caribbean Hotels said: “The Stonington was a good four-star property, no bells or whistles, but a good location and standard.
“But, with Coco Reef, John has really raised the standard. As soon as you walk into the lobby area, it’s just fantastic.”
Mr. Samuda also sells vacations to the Bermuda resort’s sister property, Coco Reef in Tobago. He said the size of the Bermuda hotel was right for the UK tourist market.
“They prefer this type of property, that has a more intimate feel but with a high-end environment and service. We’re excited about it and are looking forward to having it on our books,” he said.
John Dixon, president of leading UK tour operator Prestige Holidays, who has been selling Bermuda as a destination for about 30 years, agreed.
“There is the beginning of a totally different feeling here,” he said. “The public areas knit together much better. The beachfront area is better. It’s all very positive. From our perspective, Bermuda is com
The entry lobby features exotic statues and fountains in addition to the soaring 50-foot atrium with crystal skylight and intricately patterned marble floors.
The re-styled signature restaurant - Juan’s - is named for Juan de Bermudez, the Spanish explorer who discovered Bermuda.
The restaurant’s promotions promise to reach “a new level of resort hotel dining”.
The renovations were carried out by a crew of technical workmen from Bermuda, Tobago and Canada.
Guests have already arrived at the hotel and, according to Mr. Jefferis, bookings are on track for 100 percent occupancy for May and are looking very strong for the following months.
“Our projections for the summer are excellent,” said Mr. Jefferis. “In fact many former Stonington regulars are coming back. They love the location and want to see the new property.”
The Coco Reef hotel in Tobago, winner of the 2003 World Travel Awards ‘Best Resort in the Caribbean’, has already had a record start to 2004, with occupancy levels in the high 90 percentile for the first three months.
“We’re excited by this Bermuda acquisition and the reception we’re getting in the market and looking forward to a good season,” Mr. Jefferis added.