Hotel To Close For Renovations, Staff Redundant

September 23, 2020 | 11 Comments

Fairmont Southampton announced today that the property will temporarily close to undergo a complete renovation, with hundreds of staff members to be made redundant.

A spokesperson said, “Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda announced today that effective October 23, 2020, the property will close to undergo a complete upgrade and renovation to elevate and reposition the resort property.

“Hotel Has Not Been Fully Operational Since March”

“The hotel has not been fully operational since March due to the global pandemic and closure of Bermuda’s airport. During the past few months ownership and property management have been monitoring the situation closely and taking the time to explore all viable options for the best outcome for the hotel’s future and all key stakeholders including staff.

“After careful consideration, a decision was made to use this time now when there is a downturn in tourism to look at starting the much-needed renovations to the iconic property, which has been a much-loved tourist destination and local events venue for almost 50 years.

Fairmont Southampton Bermuda September 2020

“The decision to temporarily close the hotel for an extended duration was made after careful review”, states Kiaran MacDonald, Regional Vice President and General Manager.

“Its Room Inventory Represents Approximately 25% Of All Hotel Guest Rooms”

“The resort’s relevance to the island of Bermuda cannot be understated as its room inventory represents approximately 25% of all hotel guest rooms and up to 30% of total air visitors to the island.

“The temporary closure is not only necessary given the current market disruption but also an opportunity to execute on the broader business plan such that its reopening is further aligned with forward market recovery coming out of the post-COVID pandemic.

“The reimagined resort will position the resort to thrive as an even greater contributor to Bermuda’s travel and tourism industry, which is central to the island’s long-term economic recovery,” says Kiaran MacDonald.

“Since acquiring the property in December 2019, the ownership group, along with hotel management, have undertaken pre-development activities for the renovation, including robust design efforts for all areas of the resort. The below renderings represent a glimpse of the exciting renovation plans. More details to follow.

“The ownership group is working alongside the Bermuda Government and Bermuda Industrial Union to support the affected employees.”

“Proposed Redevelopment Demonstrates Great Confidence In Bermuda”

Premier David Burt, the Minister responsible for tourism, said “This proposed redevelopment demonstrates great confidence in Bermuda and the next phase of our tourism. Today’s announcement is one that will signal to investors and our valued tourism stakeholders that Bermuda is determined to emerge stronger following this pandemic. We now have the prospect of a new addition to our tourism product, the opportunity for jobs in the construction phase and new opportunities for Bermudian tourism professionals in another signature hotel.”

Chris Furbert, President of the Bermuda Industrial Union, added his statement “The uncertainty of whether the Fairmont Southampton Hotel was going to re-open or close has left the BIU members who are employed there very frustrated about their future employment at the hotel.

“These concerns were highlighted by our members on August 12th 2020 when the Union met with them. The Union informed our members that we would arrange an urgent meeting with Management to address their concerns about the payment of redundancy.

“The Union had two meetings with the Hotel Management Team to express our concerns that the lack of communication is causing a lot of uncertainty and frustration among the BIU Members and staff. This cannot continue. The Union had said to the Management Team that the Owners have got to make some decisions about the future of the hotel over the next few weeks.

“The Union and the staff have now been informed by the Hotel Ownership that they have now made a decision to close the Hotel with a view to making major renovations and upgrades and the staff will be offered redundancy pay in accordance with the CBA.

“It Is Sad That The Hotel Is Closing As There Will Be Some 700+ People Now Unemployed”

“This is the largest redundancy to date in Bermuda whilst it is sad that the hotel is closing as there will be some 700 plus people now unemployed, the bright side is that the hotel will be fully renovated which will bring job opportunities for those in the construction industry. The Union is satisfied that the procedures in the CBA were followed and our members’ rights were protected.

“The Union is encouraged by the Hotel’s Ownership who is committed to significantly renovate the resort which will provide a brand-new hotel property once those renovations are completed.

“This should be very exciting for Bermuda’s hospitality industry because this hotel property is 50 years old so an upgrade is definitely needed. Once the hotel re-opens after the renovation period we look forward to those employment opportunities for Bermudians.”

After consultation with the Government of Bermuda and the Bermuda Industrial Union, the Bermuda Tourism Authority was briefed on the decision to close.

“Will Successfully Withstand This Extended Hotel Closure”

“We believe Bermuda’s tourism industry will successfully withstand this extended hotel closure and we look forward to a redeveloped hotel property that commands buzz and generates demand,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority Interim CEO, Glenn Jones.

“We will continue to stay in close communication to ensure that our community is informed, connected, and supported during the closure period” says Kiaran MacDonald.

Updates will be shared on the hotel website.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. Bulletin says:

    Wonder what the back bencher thinks.

  2. Toodle-oo says:

    In a demonstration of how worthless our money has become since the early 70′s the entire place from shore to shore cost about $20 mill to build.

    Feel sorry for the staff though with all the extended uncertainty since March , been through it 3 times already myself.

  3. Muriel Griffith says:

    Saddened by this news. my employment with the hotel in 1972.and ended in 1984. When I return home to Barbados.Great friendships formed during that period continue to this date.Roz Rawlins.Patrick ORiordan,and Nelda Simon’s were my bosses. Great times. Looking forward to updates on future developments

  4. Vortex says:

    Terrible and needless spin from Burt.

    This is only bad news, we are in a real mess.

    • Eight comment by Burt says:

      You have to reassure the staff, owner, vendors and tourists that it is a smart move. You want him to fight the inevitable and give the investor doubt. Give me a break. When your child falls do you spank him or reassure him everything is gonna be alright. Time to lose that dumb mind ser as simple as that. It is a move that shows confidence in Bermuda and its people. If it is not why bother invest. Others who are thinking would run away.

  5. Really says:

    Furbert’s comments are astonishing. Where is Hayward in all this?

    Well, at least the PLP can spin the selling of Ascendant next as another positive on the pre-election propaganda campaign. Put Famous front and center on that one since he works in the control rooms keeping an eye on the Canadian assets

    Another Billion debt for the party with no idea

  6. Are We Surprised? Seriously? says:

    So we shut down everything. Even restaurant take out and delivery which stayed open in every country in the world to minimize crowds in grocery stores and more unemployment and business failures. Then 2 months later we fling open our doors and wonder where the customers are? Everyone is petrified as fear has set in as that is what they have been told. Good luck rebuilding in the short term.
    Self inflicted disaster. Grocery shopping according to your last name?
    Exercise within half a mile? Emergency curfews?
    Now just open your doors and return to normal? Wow. Is that how business works?

  7. truthertz says:

    I noticed how the Premier didn’t show one bit of empathy towards the 700 odd affected workers. Instead he used it as a chance to try and make him and his Party look good.

    Shameful.

    • Ya bwoy bermberm says:

      He wouldn’t show such concern, as mentioned above he/party/hotel is fixated on profit. Feeling sorry or helping the less fortunate does need look profitable in the future. The reality is not goin change, politicians will put profit first, vote all u like.

  8. truthertz says:

    I noticed that the Premier did not show one bit of empathy towards the 700 odd affected workers. Shameful.

  9. Tom says:

    I hope they are going to pay contractors for any outstanding invoices !

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