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Holiday Inn is back

Cheryl Harewood

Holiday Inn is back

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BARBADOS’ CRITICAL TOURISM SECTOR is getting an important boost, with the return of a big brand name.
The United States chain Holiday Inn Resort will re-open its doors in Barbados in March.
 It had ceased doing business here at the beginning of 1986, after 16 years of operation.
The popular hotel brand is returning to the former independent Grand Barbados Beach Resort, now operating under the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
The relaunch programme is set to create a more contemporary brand image as part of the drive to increase quality and consistency across Holiday Inn’s global portfolio.
News of the new opening was disclosed by Michael Herrmann, regional director of operations, Caribbean IHG, during last week’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace  in The Bahamas.
He told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that the 124-room hotel, together with the 382-room Holiday Inn Resort Aruba are the first Holiday Inn Resort properties to open in the Caribbean, offering a new hotel option for travellers in and to the region.
The seven-storey property will feature five luxurious pier suites overlooking the private 260-foot Victorian Pier at Bay Street.
The resort will be marketed as an ideal location for couples, singles and families. A special children’s area and activity rooms as well as a full-service spa and a full array of water sports are part of the offering.
True to the Holiday Inn’s heritage, the resort will also offer a Teen Zone with shuffle board and several board games for youngsters to unwind and entertain themselves. There will also be a KIDSSPREE Vacation Club component with an array of activities where younger children can have fun under the watch of professional care takers. The hotel brand’s signature Kids Stay and Eat Free feature is expected to attract both local and overseas business.
Herrmann, who described Barbados as “an extraordinary, popular destination for leisure and business travellers”, said this refurbished property on which millions of dollars will be spent “showcases new IHG resort options in the Caribbean”.
IHG’s first presence in the region dates back to the early 1960s with the opening of the InterContinental Ponce in Puerto Rico. Today there are 10 IHG-branded hotels in the Caribbean. IHG also has a total of almost 200 hotels in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The return of the Holiday Inn brand is expected to help with the promotion of Barbados, which has been moving to get the Four Seasons Villas and Hotel project going at Paradise, Black Rock while the country has also in recent times attracted Marriotts Courtyard brand.
Executive vice president of the Barbados Hotel
and Tourism Association (BHTA) Sue Springer welcomed the return of the Holiday Inn brand, telling BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY: “We are obviously delighted to have another brand
because it always adds more marketing clout to the destination, especially as Barbados is not really as well known as we think it is, especially in the American market.”
Springer hailed the return as a “positive development”, and pointed to the opportunity for human resource development as well as the advantage of marketing exposure afforded across the world through the chain’s network of international brands.
“This allows advertising of Barbados to go on-line across the world,” Springer said.