ONCE BARBADOS’ biggest all-inclusive hotel, the now closed Almond Beach Village is but a shadow of its former self.However, it still presents a pretty sight –at least from the front – and hope is not lost that a buyer will be found.Shareholders in Almond Resorts Inc, which operates as a subsidiary of hotel owners Neal & Massy Holdings Limited, are scheduled to meet on the property tomorrow to get the latest reportson the situation.Almond Beach Village, located near Speightstown, St Peter, closed its doors at the end of April last year.
Former president and chief executive Ralph Taylor was quoted as saying it was due to the deteriorating qualityof the product as the 395-room resort, which had ten pools and five restaurants, had been struggling to maintain profitable occupancy levels.
The closure had put more than 500 employees out of work.Employees had taken voluntary salary cuts in an effort to save the troubled resort but the financial troubles were too large for such measures to solve as Almond Resorts Inc was buckling under more than US$50 million in accumulated debt.In recent times, offers from the Sandals Group of Jamaica, The Crane Resort and the Jada Group were being considered although reports indicated none of them have been found acceptable.
In April, Almond Resorts held a massive auction, which attracted hundreds of people, on the property where most of the hotel’s equipment was sold. Hoteliers walked off with most of the water sport equipment, spending thousands of dollars while individuals looked for smaller items for the household.
In May, Almond Resorts Inc released its six-month consolidated financial statement for the period ended March 31, and chairman Arthur Lok Jack and deputy Gervase Warner said net losses for the period were $2.93 million.The DAILY NATION visited the property yesterday and spoke to a manager, who did not wish to be identified. He said there was no change in relation to the property and it remained closed although a small staff was retained to maintain the grounds and structures.
Security at the front gate deterred both curious visitors and the media.However, no such measures were in place on the beach side of the property, where most of the examples of decay could be seen.Dirty, empty swimming pools and abandoned bar areas told the tale that the resort was no longer in use. (CA)