A U.S. hotel and leisure company announced plans Monday to build a luxury hotel in Bermuda, where the vital tourism sector has been hit hard by the global economic crisis.
The St. Regis Bermuda, a project of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., would be the first major luxury hotel to open in the territory's seaside capital in more than 50 years. The White Plains, New York-based company expects the high-end hotel to open in downtown Hamilton in 2013.
Plans by a Bermuda-based architectural firm call for the hotel to feature 140 rooms and suites, 80 luxury residences, a spa, two restaurants, a wine bar, a library and a rooftop conservatory.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company also declined to say when construction was expected to begin.
The announcement is welcome news for this wealthy British Atlantic territory, which saw tourism drop 17 percent in 2008, compared to the previous year.
Premier Ewart Brown said the "St. Regis reputation is right on target with the type of destination we are trying to create."
Last year's total of 550,000 visitors was the fewest since 2005. Bermudian officials said arrivals by air and cruise ship were both down by double digits in the fourth quarter, and visitor spending fell 22 percent to $344 million.
The St. Regis hotel in Hamilton would be owned by Par La Ville Hotel and Residences Ltd., a partnership between Virginia-based Unified Resorts Ltd. and New York-based Sagewood Investments LLC.