Atlantis is heading somewhere else


Editor-in-chief of the Tribune

Atlantis unveiled a partnership yesterday that will see part of the iconic property, the Beach Towers, rebranded under a different name for the first time in its 27-year history.

The Paradise Island resort has teamed up with Grammy-winning musician and producer Pharrell Williams and his business partner David Grutman in a deal hailed by the Deputy Prime Minister as creating “another star for the Bahamas tourism product.

The duo will transform the now closed Beach Towers into a 400-room property called Somewhere Else, which is set to open in January 2024 after undergoing extensive renovations. Tribune Business asked for details on the level of investment involved, as well as the number of construction and full-time jobs that will be created, and other details, but no response was received before time. of going to press.

“Teaming up with David Grutman and Pharrell to further evolve the station is something we are extremely proud to embark on this year,” said Audrey Oswell, president and CEO of Atlantis, in a statement.

“We look forward to sharing the Somewhere Else experience with new and returning guests, who will be amplified by the culture and warm Bahamian hospitality found only at Atlantis, Paradise Island.”

“Somewhere Else is going to be a one-of-a-kind resort,” said Mr. Grutman, founder of Groot Hospitality. “Not only will this provide a major extension of the unforgettable, high-energy experiences we offer with Groot Hospitality, but also, a clear focus on nature and the restorative elements.

“We’ll have something for everyone, but Pharrell and I are making sure Somewhere Else is like no other.” Messrs. Williams and Grutman, who are already partners of Swan, a Miami-based restaurant, and The Goodtime Hotel, a Miami Beach-based boutique property, will retain 100% rights to the Somewhere Else name.

Few details were provided on what a rebranded Beach Towers will ultimately look like, though restaurants and bungalows with recording studios are part of the project. And Somewhere Else will be priced somewhere between the most affordable and high end luxury in the hotel market.

Shawn Sullivan, of global architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, is the project’s lead designer, and he was quoted in a CNN report yesterday as saying, “What we’ve done as an approach is to remove a lot of volume from the architecture.

“We open the book on the landscape and on the sea. Hot seaside resorts also often have many natural elements, but they are generally very controlled. We are delighted to let nature take over the space.

The Somewhere Else tie-up marks somewhat of a change in strategy and focus for Atlantis as it is the first time since its opening in December 1994 that the portion of the property that will be branded with a name that is not not his. Its mega-rival Cable Beach, Baha Mar, is the one that, to date, has adopted the strategy of having multiple resort brands.

Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Investments and Aviation, hailed the Somewhere Else partnership as a sign of growing investor confidence in the Bahamas post-COVID and an affirmation of the strength of the tourism product. .

“The redevelopment of what was the Beach Towers at Atlantis into a brand new property, Somewhere Else, further reaffirms the strength of the viability of the Bahamas tourism product, overall investor confidence and the government’s commitment to support stakeholders in the tourism,” Cooper said. .

“This new resort, inspired by world-renowned musician Pharrell Williams, the artistic sensibilities and David Grutman’s well-established reputation for luxury and hospitality, will be another star among Paradise Island’s many stellar offerings.

“The redeveloped resort is expected to open in 2024 and will create more direct employment for hoteliers, entertainers and culinary professionals, and will also serve as essential business support for countless others indirectly employed in the hospitality industry. “, he added.

“It’s a signal to the world that the Bahamas is not only ‘open for business,’ but remains the region’s premier tourist destination.”

Darrin Woods, president of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU), told Tribune Business that the Somewhere Else partnership was “definitely something to watch” from the union’s perspective.

He added that Atlantis management “contacted” union leaders to inform them of the plans before the announcement was made public, although few concrete details were provided. “They’ll probably try to bring that [Miami] concept to spruce up the Beach Towers because the Beach Towers are old,” Mr. Woods said of MM. Williams and Grutman.

“That’s where they laid off the 700 people last year because they weren’t ready to open the Beach Towers like they were. They didn’t want to keep those people on leave and had to anyway do all the renovations.

“If they are able to attract more people and drive business, that should be a very good move. They haven’t said how many people will be needed, but depending on the number of rooms, they will have to bring the number of people back if capacity comes back.