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Almond dry run by locals


Yvette Best

Almond dry run by locals

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A SMALL GROUP of locals will be at Almond Beach Resort this weekend to test the systems for paying customers when the hotel officially reopens next week Thursday.
General manager of the St Peter property, Craig Smith, told the DAILY NATION yesterday the group would check into about 20 of the finished rooms on Block 7 tomorrow, and would have the full run of the buildings and facilities that were to be used until Sunday.
“Locals are just coming to make sure that the hot water is working, and that the TV. . . . Actually get the food and beverage services reopened and test our lunch, breakfast and dinner menus,” he explained.
Come next Thursday an overseas contingent, many of whom are from the United Kingdom, is expected to check into 50 rooms on Block 7, which is the newest on the Almond plant. The guests will be staying for a week to ten days.
Smith said most of the rooms were ready and workers were just doing the “final snagging” that included painting.
Guests will have the use of three pools, The Reef restaurant with its new deck and the kids’ area.
Between 30 and 40 staffers in the various departments would be on the job for the reopening, and Smith said the complement would rise as bookings increased. Members of staff include former workers at Almond Beach Village, who were put on the breadline when the property closed 18 months ago.
Smith said he expected about 120 people to be employed to service 135 rooms when the property was fully operational. He said interviews had already been done and individuals shortlisted.
“We’ve seen tremendous pickup in the bookings [from] when I first started . . . Initially where we were getting 20 rooms, we’re up 30 and 40 rooms and every day we are getting more bookings and enquiries, especially from the people who used to come to Almond Resort. They want to come back,” Smith explained.     
Tourists are already strolling through the property as they make their way to the beach. Smith explained that they were from sister property Sugar Cane Club in Maynards, St Peter, which has a reciprocal arrangement with Almond Beach Resorts.
The two properties share executive chef David Yarde and guests are free to patronize the restaurants at either location for alternative dining options.
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