August 23, 2013 – by The Anguillian, CeBlue, a luxury boutique hotel at picturesque Crocus Hill in Anguilla, is attracting a new type of clientele with repeated visits in just one year of its opening, and is a unique addition to the upmarket properties on the island.
Though already built and operating, the principals of the resort have just entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Anguilla Government to operate as a fractional ownership resort – and for further development. The documents were signed on Wednesday, August 7.
Director and Partner, Tom Montvel-Cohen, in a telephone interview, spoke to the newspaper on behalf of the New York group of owners. He reported that the Crocus Bay Development Company, operating CeBlue for the time being, had established a good working relationship with Inspirato, a destination club in Denver, Colorado, which has a younger family clientele visiting Anguilla.
“Inspirato has brought a great deal of visitors to Anguilla and I would say 95% are first time visitors,” he estimated. “This is very gratifying because we had several of them coming back for a second and third visit in less than a year. If you think about it, that’s incredible. They are really enjoying themselves.” He disclosed that there was an arrangement with the nearby five-star DaVida Restaurant, down at the bayside, where visitors sign for their meals which were paid for by CeBlue, thus relieving them of that responsibility. “It gives them the feeling of a resort amenity which is a perfect thing – and they like that very much,” he stated.
The attractive cluster of condominium villas, nestled in the hillside, affords guests a magnificent view of the ocean. There are eight five-bedroom villas complete with kitchen, dining room, outdoor and indoor bathrooms, living space and pool as well as a club house providing a game room, a gym, front desk, offices and other facilities.
Speaking about the design of the property, Tom told The Anguillian: “It combines elements of a traditional hotel, a condominium complex and a shared ownership model. It is designed that way to broaden the market, as much as possible, and to make sure that it is as full as it can be. We want the people to participate in the rental operation.”
He hoped that the property would attract a new type of investor to Anguilla. “The idea is to have a person who wants to own something but doesn’t want to take on the burden of maintaining it – and for the management company to do so instead,” Tom explained. It has been arranged for an investor to occupy a purchased condominium for up to ninety days at any time of the year, and for it to be placed in the rental pool when that person is not in Anguilla.
Tom observed that he and his partners had achieved what they wanted in building the property with a design that was both new and attractive. It is to identify Anguilla and Crocus Bay as a desirable destination and a desirable location respectively, he added. He was pleased to report that basically, the workers are 100% Anguillian and that he and his colleagues did not have to bring in a General Manager from outside the island. The Guest Services Manager is Ms Shelder Lewis. The only outside person is Peter Langaigne, the Engineer/Operations Manager who was involved in the construction of the project from its inception.
Tom was grateful to the present Government of Anguilla for facilitating the company to move forward with the project by granting duty-free concessions, allowing it to function as a shared and fractional ownership property and for entering into the recent MOU.
Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Investment, Commerce and Tourism, Hubert Hughes, commented: “As far as I know, CeBlue was the first project that was ever built in Anguilla without a Memorandum of Understanding. The owners have never applied for duty-free concessionsduring the construction phrase, and they occupy a piece of land that is very picturesque. It is in the vicinity of DaVida’s Restaurant so they are now complementary to DaVida. That restaurant is now doing some very good business from CeBlue. It is something I am very happy about. The developers have upgraded the bathroom facilities down on Crocus Bay. CeBlue is a unique little project and apparently it is well sold in the tourism industry. It provides some needed jobs for Anguillians. I am very happy with the way they employ people. There is no prejudice like at some of the bigger projects on the island. I think it is making a unique contribution to Anguilla and to the tourism product generally.”
Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Haydn Hughes, had this to say: “The MOU paves the way for the further development of the project. It also solidifies the agreement between the Government of Anguilla and the developers of CeBlue. It is a condominium project but it is a little different in that in the normal case, of such a project, the developers would build and then persons would buy. This is a fully-built project. It is operational as a hotel, but it is really a condominium project for sale and then to be put back in the rental pool. It is a hundred percent Anguillian employed project.”
CeBlue sits on almost four acres of land overlooking Crocus Bay. The land was owned by the late CecileGumbs alias “Little Mary”. Her son, Michael Baseen, whose father is an American, is one of the Directors/Partners of Crocus Bay Development Company and CeBLue.