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Graycliff opens two new airport lounges, starts construction on third

Plans for expansion of hotel property placed on back burner
  • The Graycliff lounge in the Lynden Pindling International Airport. The company, based on West Hill Street, Nassau, recently opened two new lounges in Cincinnati and Bermuda.

Guardian Business Editor

Published: Oct 16, 2013

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Graycliff is forging ahead with the expansion of its brand in airport lounges in the Caribbean and the U.S., having opened venues in Cincinnati and Bermuda last month and started construction on a new airport lounge in the Orlando International Airport which is set to open by the end of the year.

The new airport lounge venues come on top of the two lounge offerings the company already owns and operates in Nashville, and its Lynden Pindling International Airport site.

In Cincinnati, Graycliff operates a smoking-only lounge, where customers must be 18 or older to enter, and pay a fixed price to get a drink and unlimited Wi-Fi internet access.

Bermuda’s lounge provides customers with a non-smoking environment where they can pay $35 to enter and have access to a full bar, continental breakfast and snacks throughout the day, and Wi-Fi.

Roberta Gazaroli, spokesperson for Graycliff, whose original hotel property is located on West Hill Street, said that airport lounges is not the only area in which the Graycliff brand is seeking to make in-roads abroad.

“The Graycliff Chocolatier has just received FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval so we can export (chocolates) to the U.S.,” said Gazaroli, adding that the company has been pleased with the response to the chocolate making/store experience that is on-site at its main property since it opened in 2012.

“They’re doing pretty good, they are selling at Solomon’s Fresh Market, and we’ve been talking to some other places and some of the hotels as well about using chocolates for their turn down service.”

Meanwhile, the company is continuing work on its “Heritage Village”, which involves renovations at Mountbatten House and the former convent building opposite the main Graycliff property.

However, Gazaroli revealed that earlier announced intentions to add between 50 to 75 new hotel rooms following the completion of the village phase have been placed on the back burner for now, in light of economic conditions.

“We’re slowly making progress there,” said Gazaroli of the village concept, adding that the company continues to be hampered by some challenges with additional financing to complete the project.

Plans have shifted slightly since the village was initially envisaged.  While the company had originally intended to house the company’s chocolate and coffee-related offerings in the newly-refurbished buildings, it has now decided the characterful buildings will house Bahamian fabric maker Androsia and a candle-making company, along with a selection of artists studios where local artisans can rent space to produce and sell locally-made arts and crafts.

“It would just be pure Bahamian products; they can’t buy something and resell it,” she explained.

Once the heritage village is complete, Gazaroli said the company still plans to push ahead with the closure of West Hill Street as the “final piece of the puzzle”.

“Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham had given us permission to close the street down so it would become a pedestrian walk.  So we will do that as soon as we can get the refurbishment done.”

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