World-class luxury hotel brand Ritz-Carlton is in advanced negotiations to operate a multi-storey hotel and condominium project in Turks and Caicos Islands, (#turksandcaicos) replacing the much-vaunted JW Marriott hotel and casino development which was earmarked for Grace Bay, on the island of Providenciales.

Impeccable sources told The SUN that the Desarrollos Hotelco Turks and Caicos already has indicated to Government officials that they intend to switch from the JW Marriott brand to Ritz-Carlton, in a move that will delay construction of what will be the most significant and expensive hotel development in the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

When the SUN contacted Ms. Parool K. Shah, Ritz-Carlton Regional Director of Public Relations for the Americas for more details about the project, she stated: “I am delighted to confirm that The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will indeed open a resort in beautiful Turks and Caicos’ Grace Bay as part of the global development pipeline, sometime after 2016.”

According to sources, the new owners of West Caicos have ditched plans to have Ritz-Carlton manage and operate their property, thus paving the way for the Venezuela-based Desarrollos group to capitalise on the high-end brand.

“It is true to say that there will be a delay in what was supposed to be a JW Marriott Hotel and Casino in Grace Bay, but I also have to stress that it will be a very positive delay because the entire scope, scale and cost of the project will increase and this will be of tremendous benefit to the entire Turks and Caicos Islands,” said the source who requested anonymity.

The official revealed that architects are in the process of re-designing plans for the high-end tourism development to bring the project in line with Ritz-Carlton standards.

“Let me put it like this. JW Marriott would have been a huge deal for the Turks and Caicos Islands, but Ritz-Carlton is definitely bigger and better,” the official added. “It will require much more detailed drawings and a whole new redesign. It will be one of the finest hotels in the world.”

Meantime, the source told The SUN that the Desarrollos Hotelco Turks and Caicos Ltd “would hardly want to build a 14-storey hotel”, although Government is about to have a public consultation on this contentious topic.

“I think it’s safe to say that they will stick with the nine-storey concept to avoid any further delays,” the source added.

Earlier this year, Walter Stipa, the majority investor of Desarrollos Hotelco Turks and Caicos Ltd., announced plans to open a new 380-room JW Marriott Hotel and Casino which will include 16 residential condos.

The nine-story hotel which will be built on a11-acre site, was scheduled to open in early 2016.

The billionaire Stipa is also the majority shareholder of the 269-room JW Marriott Hotel Caracas, the 207-room Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande and the 212-room Renaissance La Castellana Caracas. Additionally, he owns the 320-room Ritz-Carlton Aruba.

In the Caribbean, Ritz-Carlton has hotels in the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

In addition to 380 guest rooms and suites, the original plan for the JW Marriott was to feature a gourmet specialty restaurant, a three-meal-a-day restaurant, a lobby bar and lounge and a pool bar & grill, some 1,300 square meters of meeting space, including a ballroom; as well as a 962 square meter spa and fitness center, a kids/teen club, three swimming pools and a 901 square meter casino.

The primary architect for the project is Robert M. Coleman & Partners, whose also designed the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, the Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club timeshare resort, the recently-opened Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino and the Ritz-Carlton Aruba.

By Hayden Boyce, Editor-in-Chief • Thu, Jun 26, 2014 •  Turks & Caicos SUN Newspaper

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