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Torres offers direct flights to Eleuthera

U.S. developer behind $30M Cove Eleuthera enlists two private planes for guests and places final touches ahead of launch in March
  • The all-villa resort currently employs 150 people and has a monthly payroll of $500,000. When it opens, the payroll will be reduced to around $200,000 per month and up to 120 people should receive employment. LEE MATTHEWS

Guardian Business Editor

Published: Jan 10, 2013

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A New Orleans developer in the Family Islands will offer daily service from Florida to Eleuthera shortly after his $30 million labor of love is completed in March.

Sidney Torres IV, owner of the Cove Eleuthera Resort, has set aside a Hawker 800 XP and Falcon 50 as part of a special amenity package for guests. The planes' interior and exterior are now undergoing a refurbishment and should be put into service as of March 15.

Enlisting private aircraft for guests is indeed an innovative move by the hospitality veteran.

While the pristine beauty of the Family Islands is undisputed, driving airlift to these lesser-known destinations has been an ongoing challenge for both the private and public sector.

Torres believes he not only has an innovative solution for Cove Eleuthera, but also for the development of his brand across The Bahamas.

"The flights will leave from Fort Lauderdale and we're going to make it affordable," he told Guardian Business. "We had to do this. I decided to do this because we're also looking to do other resorts in Family Islands. I want to duplicate this model."

Torres had already established the brand Caribbean Boutique Hotels for this purpose.

The daily flights, exclusively for guests at the hotel who purchase the amenity package, leave from the Executive Airport in Fort Lauderdale and land at the White Crown terminal in North Eleuthera.

Guests will travel by limousine to the airport in Fort Lauderdale, fly to the island on the private plane and be transported to the resort in a Range Rover. Hors d'oeuvres and champagne is served upon arrival.

The package costs $1,200 per person, while a night at Cove Eleuthera will range from $195 per night to $7,000 per night for a villa with a private beach and pool.

The announcement comes on the heels of Cove Eleuthera's soft launch on March 1.

Torres said that the property's transformation is nearly complete, with half of the 120 new rooms at the resort coming online at this time. Executives are keen to gain momentum slowly while waiting for extensive furnishings for the remaining rooms, which are all being crafted locally.

Construction has indeed made a noticeable impact on the Eleuthera economy.

The resort employs 150 people and has a monthly payroll of $500,000. When it opens, the payroll will be reduced to around $200,000 per month and up to 120 people should receive employment.

The all-villas resort boasts three restaurants, 24-hour room service, gift shop, organic farm and movie theater.

The developer has even invested in 500 pallets of cashmere Zoysia grass, similar to the feel of a golf-course fairway, providing a "natural carpet" for guests.

Prime Minister Perry Christie and his government has shown a strong interest in the development since its inception. Back in October, Christie visited the Eleuthera project and insisted that it has his government's support.

"He had created something that I would call exotic," he explained.

"It's different and something that my government has committed to support because it's an interesting model that he is putting in place that could work. So we want to make this a success given the investment he is making."

The Cove Eleuthera has been described as having a Far East feel, similar to Bali, while also evoking a Bahamian spirit.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2013 20:07

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