BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 15TH 2014 (CUOPM) – Complete renovation of the Royal St. Kitts Hotel, formerly Jack Tar is continuing.
John Zuliani, speaking to the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister during a tour of the facility Thursday by Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said when completed by January 2015, the new four-star resort will comprise of 224 suites.
“We we have taken an approach of renovating the entire property to a four-star quality. The first phase began in January 2013 and we have 62 completed units as part of that Phase 1. We completed 40 units as part of Phase 2, so that’s about 50 percent of the overall property completed,” Zuliani told CUOPM in an exclusive interview.
He disclosed that another 72 units are scheduled to be completed by August 31st this year and 50 more units by January 2015.
“We have our work cut out for us, but it’s good to bring back the good Jack Tar days with a new spirit,” said Zuliani.
He said the overall cost is around US$20 million. “We have spent over US$10 million so far in construction, with another US$10 million to be spent.”
“You know it’s giving the old lady a face lift. The property was old. It was getting outdated and we had to renovate. We are not trying to be a five-star property. We are trying to be a four-star resort that is clean, affordable and target that middle market,” said Zuliani.
He said the 224 suites will be a combination of luxurious studios and one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
Zuliani said while the resort will accommodate medical students, the property will also take hotel guests for overnights.
“If they call directly we will start to work with Expedia and other hotel tour operators as well,” he said.
“Work is also continuing in landscaping the property in the areas completed so that we can be operating as a hotel, but while we have all the construction going on we continue to accommodate the medical students,” said Zuliani.
When completed the new Royal St. Kitts will have several amenities.
“We are building a new gym. We have an Indian restaurant ‘Copper Chimney’ located on property. We will be opening another Indian Restaurant in the near future although we haven’t set a date yet for it but there will be quite a few. We will also have two pools,” Zuliani said.
“Of course, that has been what we’ve done. My family has done for over 30 years of service to this country in the hospitality industry. We had a period where we were closed. We had to renovate the property and accommodate whether it is long term tenants or overnight visitors. We have to cater for all and then there is our goal to keep the staff employed and keep the operation going,” he said.
He said during construction, the workforce ranges from 50 up to 150.
“We currently are at about 50 construction workers with 75 hotel staff, but that also increases during different phases of the construction period. When all the phases are completed, we will be about 100 staff between administration and working in the hotels for maintenance, housekeeping, security etc, etc,” said Zuliani.