01 March, 2009

Expect more

Heartbreak Hotel. So, we hear that Sterling Hotels is going to buy the resort. Sterling is run by a friend of Sillerman, and Sillerman has shares in the company. Sterling is international, "affordable," and has no properties in the Caribbean. Madonna sang about it, "Like a virgin, touched for the very first time."

But, Sterling, we hear, does not want the golf course. They only want Sillerman’s Heartbreak Hotel and associated structures. So, the AXA government is in the process of buying or leasing the right to operate the golf course and its associated club house and restaurant. The running cost of the golf course alone is US$6,000.00 per day. They have worked out that in order to cover annual running costs of the course alone there would need to be a minimum of 30 golfers per day, every day, every year, each paying $200.00. There is some question of who will manage the course and how, since the club house belongs to Flag, the golf carts were never paid for, and the golf cart company is reclaiming them, the ancillary costs will be met. None of this calculation even begins to factor in the cost of buying or leasing the golf course from Flag. That figure is not even being talked about.

My take on it is that US$6,000.00 a day is nothing. That's only $180,000.00 a month. Or, $2,160,000.00 per year. Perhaps, if we closed down one or two of the primary schools, there would be enough savings to cover the total cost?

And, we might even be able to almost break even on the golf course. Let people use it for $200.00 and, if it does well in the winter, the revenue will just pour in. An average of 7.5 foursomes per day should bring that amount in. That is 30 paying golfers per day, every day, all year long. Perhaps, all members of the Anguilla Golf Association will be obliged to play once per week. Perhaps, the hotels will oblige by advertising themselves as exclusively golfing resorts. We might even pressure them into taking shares. It all appears quite feasible?

The ancillary benefits for the hotels, restaurants, the Sunshine Shack, and the entire tourism sector, would be very big. The benefits of putting construction workers back to work would be enormous. Or, will they all be Chinee?

But, they better get out there and figure out the advanced watering system TODAY before the grass dies!

This would be an election winner for the United Front, if they can pull it off!


  1. The last company allowed to purchase in Anguilla with little credible experience running a Caribbean resort ran the venerable Cinnamon Reef into the ground in less than 2 seasons. History repeating itself?

  2. So this means that the government run golf course will be in direct competition with the Fairmont golf course? Oh boy, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when this discussion ensues between the government of Anguilla and the Fairmont representatives!

    Sillerman has made and continues to make the government officials look like a bunch of fools.

    However, I think that the golf course is going to be the least of Anguilla's worries. There's actually talk about tourists selling "jewelry and other household items they no longer need" in order to get money to visit the island.


    One poster actually calls the idea "a ray of hope".

    I think the first action the government should make after the take over of the golf course is to lower the greens fees waaaaaaaaay down.

  3. You are incorrect about Sterling Hotels being in discussion with Flag. The company in discussions to take over the hotel portion of the project is SH Group,owned by Starwood Capital. I beleive Starwood Capital is owned by Barry Sternlicht, who among other things, owns Bacarrat Crystal, and the Crillion Hotel in Paris.

  4. Imagine being a fly on the wall some 30 years ago when a Question was raised regarding "if and when Anguilla ever shall host a golf course ...." and The Honourable Speaker at that time squelching such a rash comment with the words "we shall, never, I am certain, see such a blight upon our fair land!" And now we have two ... my goodness, how times does fly past.

  5. We already have hapless visitors bringing their golf clubs to Anguilla, thanks to the incompetents in Tourism. Let's not spread any further misinformation. We have one golf course, it's been closed for months, we hope it might be open again soon and we don't know when.

    Two other golf courses have been proposed, at Junks Hole and The Forest, both of which have made questionable claims to being under construction.

  6. Barrry Sternlicht, who does indeed run/"own" Starwood Capital was also the CEO of Starwood Hotels when the Temenos project started. Starwood Hotels is the parent company behind St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, W and others. It seems as if we will have more of the same. Why is all of this happening on their terms? Can't government call Sillerman to the table and make him talk to the people? Like the rest of the world, Anguilla is hurting and it won't be fixed quickly. There will be no fairmont. Let the golf course fail and stand as a message to others that they should have their act together before coming in to rip-off tourists with overpriced, "exclusive," homes. This is the most poorly managed project that has ever come to Anguilla and the GOA continues to allow them to call the shots? Stop spending tax money to support a failed project. Sillerman has the cash to reach into his own pocket and water his own golf course. He is the only one who has actually played the course since it has been closed!

  7. We Anguillians are so simpleminded. Sillerman doesn't own Flag. He has partners. He has already put in way more than his share.

    The idea that the project should be allowed to fail because this is Sillerman's problem and we all hate him is childish.

    The suggestion that government can force Sillerman to talk to the people is stupid.

    This is an extremely complex matter. There are shareholders, chages, leins and hapless homebuyers. All of them are unhappy. All of them have certain rights, especially Credit Suisse. To think that government can just walk in and tell them all what to do is rubbish. Opposition rubbish, to be more precise.

    What tax money is being spent to support this project?

  8. New word is Starwood Capital will buy out Flag and complete the hotel portion of the project. The Bacarrat Hotel will be back. Sillerman will complete the residential portion. No word on who will manage the golf course. Things are looking up people!

  9. Some information about the SH Group: http://www.passionsofazealot.com/2009/02/05/starwood-capitals-sh-group/#comments


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