Newstead Belmont Hills In Receivership

January 17, 2011

1newstead[Updated] Bernews unofficially understands the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa was placed into receivership by the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd. this morning [Jan. 17].

Further details are expected to be announced later today.

The old Belmont Hotel — shuttered in 1998 — was purchased by Belmont Hills Property Ltd. in 2001 which intended to use the former Trust House Forte resort and golf course for a residential development.

When ground was broken on the project later that year, $10 million alone was invested in redeveloping the golf course into a world class 18-hole facility, the design supervised by veteran California architect Algie M. Pulley, Jr.

The residential redevelopment included 41 apartments within the fully refurbished Belmont Hotel building, 18 1,400-square feet Belmont Hills Golf Course Villas accessed off Middle Road and 17 Belmont Hills Harbour Road Villas of 2,400 square feet.

In 2004 Belmont Hills Property Ltd. bought the Newstead Hotel on Harbour Road and unveiled ambitious plans to incorporate a tourism component into the original concept — redeveloping the boutique waterfront property into a new luxury resort.

Developers said the overall intent of the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa was to create a fully-serviced resort with a wide range of facilities and amenities provided in a unique partnership between two properties just minutes apart on Harbour Road.

The combined resort would have the benefit of two different but complementary Bermuda locations — the Belmont having access to and views of a newly refurbished golf course while Newstead offered more intimate views and direct access straight across the harbour to the City of Hamilton.

In addition to the golf course, golf academy, swimming pool and restaurant at the Belmont, the refurbished Newstead included a first-class restaurant, a spa with multiple treatment rooms, a fitness room, hair and beauty salon and a new infinity pool and whirlpool on the waterfront along with two tennis courts.

While the Belmont Hills was geared towards Bermudian ownership, the Newstead property included fractional ownership units. Both properties were serviced by a private ferry, which operated on a triangular route between Newstead, the Belmont dock and the City of Hamilton.

Opened in 2008, Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa was Bermuda’s first all-suite hotel — and the first large-scale new guest property built on the island in more than 30 years.

The Newstead Belmont Hills Resort featured 45 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and studios, each with a private balcony featuring views from the garden to the infinity pool to Hamilton Harbour.

At the time of the hotel’s opening, developer Kevin Petty said he was optimistic Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa would usher in a new era in the Bermudian hospitality sector:  “I do believe this is a tourism renaissance, this is the start of something. If you dare to dream and have conviction, with the help of many, you can build a new fresh, exciting place like this.”

Update 2:00pm: Bernews has been made to understand that the facility will not close, and will likely undergo some form of reorganization.

Update 4:30pm: Officials confirm it, saying that Ernst & Young Ltd., Bermuda have been appointed Receivers and Managers. Full details here.

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Comments (45)

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  1. Sarah says:

    Very, very bad news.

    • Cleancut says:

      yes, very bad news. lets hope the receivers are able to run the Hotel efficiently, without further loss, for the sake of the staff!

  2. Truth is killin' me says:

    It’s bad decisions like lending money to these losers in the first place that put the Bank in the sh*t!

    • Bermy says:

      Umm, no, it was the Bank’s massive investments in US CMOs and derivatives that hurt them. They tried to do the right thing for Bermuda by investing in the tourism redevelopments … the international investors have been very wary to put money into the *cough* platinum dream.

  3. itwasn't me says:

    Since NTB were bailed out with tax payers assistance I’m hoping Gov’t will use their Trump card to save this one from going down.

    • Bermy says:

      Good luck with that. With the guarantee, you could argue that Government would want the Bank to act aggressively to protect its interests. I think Argus was also in this deal … I wonder if there’s a knock on effect with them?

  4. openmind says:

    @ Truth is killin’ me… If you were at all clued in to own current economic situation you would have some knowledge as to why this has happened. It is not because the bank lent money to ‘losers’ it is because people aren’t travelling, which in turn means occupancy rates are at rock bottom right now. Any person with common sense (unlike yourself apparently) will realize many more hotels are struggling, and in turn may face the same consequences in the near future!

    • Truth is killin' me says:

      @ openmind Before all the money was lent to these losers they would have had to give the bank a plan of monetay payback derived by occupancy levels/sales for the mortgage to be even signed on it’s risk/reward ratio? You need to use your common sense fool!

      • openmind says:

        why do you keep referring to them as ‘losers’? do you have something against people who are only trying to do better for our country? or should I just assume that you are a typical ignorant Bermudian who loves to point the finger and blame everyone else besides themselves?
        while yes they would have had to give the bank a business plan, things don’t always go as planned, that is what you would call the ‘risk/reward’ ratio as you refereed to it as.

        • Truth is killin' me says:

          @ openmind Better for their own fat wallets. Not better for our country. This is what greed does when it rears it’s ugly head. See how many people even speak to Kevin Petty in the street now that this has gone down. I bet a lot of people look the other way when they see him coming. He over leveraged and he lost at the roulette table. That’s life!

          • openmind says:

            @ truth is killin me… Quite frankly it is those people who choose to ignore him that I would hope he would never associate himself with because they are in fact the ‘losers’ and the ones this island doesn’t need! In life you miss a 100% of the shots you don’t take, and it’s easy to point fingers when people fail, but the only real failure in life is the failure to try.

            As for your “better for their own fat wallets, not better for the country” comment: are you saying all of the people who developed the Bermudiana Hotel, Waterloo House, Horizons, Ariel Sands, Lantana, White Sands Hotel, Marriot Castle Harbor Hotel, Buena Vista, Coral Island Hotel, Palmetto Bay, Inverurie Hotel and Sherwood Manor Hotel were greedy investors? While they were investors a lot of Bermudians made a good living working at those properties, and furthermore they were the pillars of the Bermuda economy for a long time (when tourism was at a high). I would think that Kevin Petty will get more people speaking to him and encouraging him on the street as he strives to put the puzzle back together again. Have faith in the Bermuda product.

            Don’t forget that it is your own government which has put Bermuda in its current economic situation. It seems like you have a personal vendetta against Kevin Petty and what he has tried to do for tourism in Bermuda. Look at the big picture though, and what hotels and increased rates of tourism could bring to Bermuda…

  5. The 411 says:

    So true Openmind…

    The unfortunate reality is that we have major developments such as Tuckers Point, and the Reefs which may not be too far behind. I know why Butterfield had to close in on this..but make no mistake…this is devastating news…

  6. The 411 says:

    Several of those units were sold to independent local and overseas purchasers so I am not sure what the implications are for them…

  7. spittin in the wind says:

    So what exactly does this mean for the employees and the property itself? Will it continue to operate but under new mgmt? I dont get what happens now.

  8. S Brown says:

    I wonder how this is going to affect the other hotel developments that plan to break ground in the near future.

  9. Triangle Drifter says:

    Another piece of ‘Brown’ stuff hitting the fan. Take cover. More is incoming. It has been 12 years in the making. Bermuda was warned time after time about killing the golden goose.

    Didn’t think it could happen did you?

    • The 411 says:

      Not sure how this was of Brown’s making – despite his best efforts and his own opinion of his supernatural abilities – he had no way of causing the global economic slump precipated by the bursting of the housing bubble post the subprime debacle…how was he responsible for that? Tourism’s issues cannot be placed at the feet of any one person or occurrence…

    • S Brown says:

      Explain your comment.. Both projects were underway before the former premier was in power. Furthermore many of these units were intended to be sold as fractional units… If people overseas are not buying who is at fault? Perhaps our real estate market is so over inflated that people do not look at purchasing fractional units at the price they are asking as a sound investment.

      Who knows, but I do know that that I’m pretty sure that more properties will be available on the market real soon.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        You & 411 keep slurping up that Kool Aid. Both Belmont & Newstead got underway after much delay. I guess Bermuda is lucky that they did not become another Club Med, Sonesta or Lantana. Seen anything other than land clearing happening at any of those sites?

        Maybe the developers were gambling on Bermuda voters coming to their senses & throwing the incompetants out at the last election & wanted to be ready for what would have been a return of confidence in Bermuda.

        It did not happen. The business climate for tourism has gotten worse, far worse.

        Keep slurping up that ‘world recesson’ excuse. Like pigs, it just does not fly. Our competitors are doing far better. In the US recreation spending is on the rise. I was looking at a cruise over the weekend. Booked solid 6 months out. Accomodation at a National Park. Booked solid for the entire month of July already.

        Keep drinking that PLP Kool Aid. Eventually you will choke on it.

  10. More Kool aid , please says:


    It’s just more media induced lies and hate …



  11. Sara says:

    Would Bermuda’s hoteliers rather see their doors closed than to lower their prices significantly? Do the hotels pay duty on goods they bring in?

    • what's next? says:

      and how would lowering Hotel/golf rates be better when they don’t even have the visitors to fill the hotels or play a round of golf? Secondly, What goods are you talking about? Food & Liquor? They buy that whole sale from places like Butterfield & Vallis and liquor from Burrows & Lightbourn etc. And even if they did bring it in, yes, they would have to pay duty on it as does everyone else.

      • Sara says:

        Hi what’s next.

        People are still traveling all over the world. People are still going to Jamaica and Bahamas for seven days at half the price of Bermuda. Can you honestly sit here and say that more middle class people wouldn’t fly to Bermuda if the hotels were half the price? I know MY relatives would come and visit more frequently.
        I asked the question about duty because I was told by someone that hotels did not have to pay duty and wanted to find out if that was true. Obviously it is not and thank you for answering that.

        • Eco 101 says:

          Hey Sara,
          Can I pay my staff what they’re paid in Jamaica?

          • Sara says:

            Well no, but do you want to shut your doors? Or create business?

            • Watching says:

              Well said Echo! People are losing the plot here! It costs money to operate regardless if you charge full or half price. Labor costs here are high and that dictates the price you have to sell your product! This is not the Dominican Republic where you can go to an all inclusive. Dollar value there is 33 to 1. Keep it up Bermuda we are heading in the same direction.

              • Sara says:

                NOBODY is expecting to pay Dominican Republic prices, stop being so dramatic! Why do Bermuda’s hoteliers and retailers refuse to do what the rest of the world HAS to do when people are not spending! People are taking 20% pay cuts, overtime no longer exists for many, hours cut, ext. and not just here but in the U.S. So HOW do you expect things to change if you don’t TRY something different?

        • what's next? says:

          I understand where you’re coming from – but my thing is the room rates haven’t changed from last year to this and occupancy was higher this time last year so it just sounds like they are unfortunately yet another victim of the economic down turn.

          You’re welcome by they way. :)

          • Sara says:

            I think the room rates here are WAY overpriced. I understand they will be more than other countries, but come on let’s be just a little honest with ourselves here. Many retailers and hoteliers just don’t want to hear it when you say you have to lower prices. And they don’t have to lower them, but be prepared for the consequences.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          It sure would be nice to wave that magic wand & simply lower prices. It does not work that way. A business cannot lower prices unless the costs of doing business are lowered.

          Who wants to be first to take a salary cut?…I didn’t think so.

          There is power, advertising, maintenance, food & beverages etc. etc. to pay for. Oh…& how about some of the highest labour rates in the world to pay for a workforce notorious for poor performance?

          Bill Marriott (of Marriott Hotels) was once asked if he would do anything different if he had his life to relive. “I would not invest in Bermuda” was the answer. That was pre PLP Government BTW. Attitudes towards work have not improved since…but they will.

          Tough times ahead. Rentals are already down. Those who bought homes & investment property 20 years ago can afford to drop rents & survive. Those with recent mortgages still have pay. The banks really don’t want to foreclose on a mortgage but they have lenders to answer to as well.

          Having a job, any job, will be seen as something to protect, not something that is a right to have.

          Welcome to the real world.

          • Sara says:

            Um, LOTS of people are already taking salary cuts, how about the companies to a profit cut so they can drum up so new business!

  12. Sara says:

    Would all of Bermuda’s golf courses rather shut down than to lower prices?

  13. in the know says:

    THE 411 is spot on. Tucker’s Point and the Reef’s might be $2 away from the exact same fate. Do not be swindeled – there will be NO new hotels in Bermda in the nex five years….a hotel in bermuda is a bottomless pit

  14. Persia Monet says:

    Newstead Belmont Hills got sucked into that false belief of a PLATINUM PERIOD and thought guests would flock to them. The simply failed to market their property effectively to the leisure market rather more relying on the corporate market. Such a flop as the economic crisis crippled the corporate market. There was no reason for that property not to have filled it’s rooms, particularly as a new property. Perhaps they should have saved grace….broke away with the Newstead Belmont Hills Name and gone under the umbrella of an identifiable hotel brand such as Marriott Suites. They would have had access to a global database of loyal leisure and corporate guest…..and a full support network.

    Oh well……

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      I think that Kevin Petty & Co took a gamble & thought that the Bermuda voter would come to their senses & vote the incompetents out at the last election which would of generated a whole new era of confidence in Bermuda. They built on that gamble & lost.

      Instead, with the Brown regime, tourism went from bad to worse.

      The new tourism board may be a tiny step in the right direction but too little too late. We have a political tourism Minister with no background in tourism, no background in selling anything.

      Just when you think it can’t get worse there is Cuba just over the horizon. See what happens when Cuba opens to Americans again. Disaster for Bermuda & everywhere else.

  15. 16v says:

    Sad news. We stayed at the Newstead in November and were planning on returning next Fall.

    • Out fishin' says:

      I don’t think you need to change your plans. Isn’t the hotel just under new management?

  16. We told you so says:

    I think a lot of people in Bermuda don’t know what’s coming. Yes there was an economic downturn but do you think we would have weathered the downturn a lot better if we didn’t have negative press from Dr Brown’s antics, corruption, people getting shot from violence we’ve let run rampant, pressure on work permits, pressure on Bermudian’s married to non-Bermudians, increase in employment tax and simply showing disregard to international business among a million other reasons?

    No – we had a cash cow in Bermuda for years and no one listened when everyone said to be careful how you treat the cash cow….and come the effects while other domiciles are advertising their stable goverments and economies along with great schools.

    PLP has killed our cash cow – they need to fix it quick otherwise it’s going to get more painful than this.


  17. It Is What It Is says:

    At the end of the day the “Gravy Chain” is over…We have outpriced ourselves many moons ago..nothing short of greed in SOME case!!!I agree with Sara..why can’t rates be lowered? would you rather “half a loaf” than no loaf at all? @ Eco and Watching..if the cost of living in Bermuda wasn’t so high maybe employers could afford to pay less…During this time Only the Strong will survive..Who’s helping whom really? The banks are not easing people up on their loan payments, rents are still at a all time high!!! I have seen many apartments vacant..but will a landlord take 1800 as opposed to 2500 that they were receiving? NO they won’t as they may have obligations to the bank but, again the half loaf no loaf applies!!!
    Nothing seems to be coming down..groceries are exspensive..than you get certain store owners that charge what they like for products..for instance I went whole sale shopping on establishment had Special K (large 2 pack) for $17 and I decided not to get it..Thank God I didn’t because another wholesale business had the exact same product for $ can you justify this if the products come from one company…Groceries don’t have to be that exspensive but because thay know that people have to eat they charge what they like…Money is the root of all evil!!! and “Greedy killed puppy!”

    Bermuda is just way to exspensive!! If I lived overseas I would not come here on vacation..the average “Joe Blow” could not afford to vacation here!!!! It’s sad to know that there are many more tales of sorrow to follow..As more businesses fold the unemployment gap gets wider and wider..It’s no use pointing fingers and lay blame on this Party or that Party the damage is done…statements of, this should have been done and that should have been done, or what if we would have done this…no longer apply..we can’t get back what was done incorrectly in the past, it’s part of history just like whatever you were doing 5 minutes ago it is in the past…The burning question now is WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD?

    People are struggling..who can they turn to for help? the more businesses fold the greater the competetion is to secure employment elsewhere..

    People have saved for a rainy day..but it has been pouring!!! the rainy day funds are shot …. With my fingers crossed I can say that I am still employed…but for how job is not not guaranteed..we may be hearing of even more job loses as I know of a company that is meeting with their staff tomorrow..and the tone of the meeting will not be positive so they’ve been told…

    Does anybody know of alternative plans for when people are down to zero dollars? where do they go for assistance when the well runs dry?

    I don’t know about you all but I am nervous as hell!

    • Watching says:

      Well I do not disagree with you in the last part of your message please understand that Newstead was in fact offering low rates as was other hotels. One particular package offers 3 nights, 3 rounds of golf (PR, RB & BH) for only 599pp. Includes breakfast and rental clubs. That is a great deal on offer to the Golf Tour Operators but the economy has played a major factor in the demise. Belmont/Newstead were easy to work with and flexible. I bet you did not know that they offered room sharing. Unlike other hotels Newstead allowed up to four people in room sharing one rate. You cannot beat that.
      Belmont built on the hope the hope that 2008 results would continue. In the end a lot of money invested and unfortunately the recession. I also know for a fact that golf rounds are down dramatically from 2008 as even locals are not playing as much. Unfortunately there are other contributors to the cost of living being so high and we are all suffering because of it. I think in hind site, Newstead could have waited but I would have also taken the risk to be honest. In the end, this is terrible for our Industry and I am looking forward to a response from Tourism. And for those that are blaming Dr. Brown, well I hate to disappoint you but Belmont and Newstead were in production and at the planning stage when Renee Webb was Tourism Minister. The vision was always there. I wish all of them luck and hope that more DO NOT follow.

    • Sara says:

      Seems the half of loaf is better than none only applies to the little guys!!!!!
      It is obvious when you suggest to businesses half a loaf is better than none, THEY don’t want to hear it!! If your business is doing great, then I understand not lowering prices, BUT if your profits are dipping month after month, then what else you gonna do? Close up shop I guess.

  18. Sara says:

    Just to make a point, I did a room rate search on one of the more popular and larger hotels on the island. I put in travel dates for February 2-15. Now remember this is OFF SEASON to people looking at this. Guess what the cheapest room rate was? $379.00 per night! Now come on, the weather can be extremely terrible that time of year and occupancy is very low this year. Why would you be charging $379 per night? My middle class parents would not dare pay that price!

    • BDAgirl says:

      Well then Sara, your parents can stay with you.

      • Sara says:

        Exactly, in my 500 square foot matchbox apartment with my husband and dog. Yeah that would just be the great Bermuda experience now wouldn’t it? Unbelievable, it is so obvious how in denial some are!

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