Club Med Hotel Bermuda
In 1973, Holiday Inn Hotel opened in St George's on a hill top at a picturesque location close to the St. Catherine's Fort
and overlooking the St. Catherine's Beach
. But after eight years of operation, in 1981 it was sold out to the Loews Hotels group of New York. In 1985, it was sold again to the Club Med group and it re-opened as a 630-room grand hotel called St George's Cove. But further ill fate was awaiting the hotel.
Two years later, the hotel was badly damaged by Hurricane Emily. The next year, the Club Med group finally decided to close down the hotel. Since then, it was lying in derelict condition for 20 years till 2008. Many attempts to resurrect the hotel failed despite mediation from the Bermuda Government. In 2007, Bazarian International was named as the developer for the property. They tied up with Hyatt Group to build a new Hotel - The Park Hyatt by early 2012.
Derelict Club Med Hotel from St Catherine's Fort
In August 2008, the hotel was demolished through implosion by dynamite. Over 70 pounds of dynamite were used. Take a look at the video of this Implosion. The button was pressed by the then Premier of Bermuda Ewart Brown.
Implosion - CluB Med Hotel Bermuda
This is the first building implosion in Bermuda's history. At 10 a.m. on Aug. 25, 2008, the explosives were set off and this huge landmark hotel weighing some 28,000 pounds of concrete began to tumble, and came down in just seven seconds to huge cheers from hundreds of spectators. The implosion left huge amount of debris on the grounds.
However since the implosion took place, there had been many controversies around the Club Med site including cancellation of contracts, change in plans and awarding of contract to new builders and groups. The following section is a brief chronological account of such activities including the current status of the hotel development.
Update: October 24, 2010
Park Hyatt has declared that they are now official equity stakeholder in this $300M project. They had so far offered only to coordinate and facilitate the project. With the group formally joining hands, the project now seems to be a reality. However, no construction work has yet started. It is estimated that it would take 24 to 30 months to complete the project once the work starts. The work is expected to begin soon.
Update: January 2013
The contract with Bazarian/Park Hyatt was terminated in October 2012. Prior to the general election in the island held in December 2012, a letter was issued by the Tourism Department of the previous government (PLP) terminating the contract of Bazarian/Park Hyatt group. Although the real reason is unknown, it seems the Tourism Department had given one month notice to the group in September 2012 asking them to restore the beach. Since the group failed to do so, another letter was issues in October 2012 terminating the resort development contract. Now that the new government OBA has taken over, it lies in total confusion and the fate of the new resort is unknown.
Update August 2014
Desarrollos Hotelco Group has been selected to redevelop the earlier Club Med/Holiday Inn property. The proposed plan includes a 238-room luxury hotel and renovation of St George's Golf Course. The hotel will have golf villas, estate residences, swimming pools, casino, spa & fitness center etc amongst other things. Currently the entire property is under 120 days of due diligence which is scheduled to end by October 8, 2014.
Update December 2014
Minister of Tourism & Transport mentioned that the budget for redevelopment of the hotel is $120 million and in the first phase 122 rooms with eight residences will be developed. The development work to begin in mid-2015.
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Visitors' Reviews & Comments
Biff Thomas (October 2014)
I stayed at the then Holiday Inn with my family in 1977. The place was remote, but it had everything from a disco and bars for my parents and older siblings to great pools and games for the younger lot. It had one broad beach suitable for sunning and a narrower one by the fort that was great for snorkling. My parents bought a timeshare next door at the St George Club and I got to visit numerous times and wandered around the grounds in the 90s and 00s as the hotel lay in waste. Terrible shame.
Van Bricker (November 2013)
My wife and I stayed at the Holiday Inn (1972-three months) while we waited for our furniture to arrive from the US. I was stationed at the Naval Air Station Public Works.It was quite the hotel, I hated to see it go away.. a lot of memories.
Just in the interest of accuracy, the Holiday Inn opened in St. George's in 1971 not 1973. I was hired as part of the food and beverage night audit staff and my interview for that job was in December of 1970. The opening was delayed because of dock strikes in South Florida interfering with materials for construction and furnishing. I arrived in Bermuda in late March of 1971 and left in November of 1971. The first guests at the hotel arrived in June but the official opening was not until later in the year. I met my husband there as he was a part of the construction staff (onsite financial comptroller) for Savage Construction.