Scott: Lighthouse Point hotel ready for reopening tomorrow

Things are geared up and ready to go ahead of tomorrow’s long-awaited reopening of the Lighthouse Point hotel at the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Michael Scott, QC, chairman of Lucayan Renewal Holdings – the government-owned special purpose vehicle that owns the resort – said yesterday that he doesn’t anticipate any further issues with opening the property, which closed shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of global travel restrictions.

Scott told Guardian Business yesterday, “We are primed and ready to go. We are putting our new recruits through orientation and as they say, we’re ready to rock and roll.”

Scott confirmed earlier this month that between 50 and 60 employees would be engaged for this first phase of reopening.

“That is what we anticipate we require in the first stages. As we get busier, naturally we will be taking on more staff,” he said.

Bookings are expected to be low, still, Scott said employees are preparing to welcome “some guests”.

The hotel is opening just days after Royal Caribbean International President Michael Bayley reaffirmed his company’s intention to move forward with plans to purchase and redevelop Grand Lucayan resort.

“I’m hopeful that a deal will come to fruition within the next couple of months because we’re anxious. Particularly as vaccinations pick up the stride, we are anxious to have a reopening in the tourism sector in Grand Bahama and Port Lucaya,” Scott said about RCI’s comments, made during a virtual press conference, which detailed its plan to begin sailing two of its cruise ships from The Bahamas this June.

“And obviously hand in hand with that is the completion of that big deal on the Grand Lucayan. I’ve seen their comments in the media, but I’ve not had the chance to catch up with my team because I’m just getting back to The Bahamas.”

The Minnis administration purchased the Grand Lucayan resort from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million and has plans to sell the property to Royal Caribbean and ITM for its redevelopment.

The government signed a heads of agreement (HOA) with RCI and the ITM group in March 2020 to redevelop the property and build a cruise port, however plans were delayed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic just days after the ceremonial signing of the HOA.

The Grand Lucayan is an all-inclusive resort with 740 rooms, covering more than 90,000 square feet and was the hub of tourist activity on the island before it shuttered after Hurricane Matthew.

The government revealed it spends in excess of $1 million a month maintaining the property while it tries to finalize its sale.