By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
A NEW Bahamian-owned boutique hotel in western New Providence can become a fine example to other local businessmen of what can happen when they invest in their country, Prime Minister Perry Christie said.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the future Mahogany Hill Hotel just outside Lyford Cay, Mr Christie called for more Bahamian investment of this kind.
Mr praised the new hotel, saying it will become an “oasis” from city life and offer a unique and relaxing experience. It will also create more than 40 jobs, he said.
“A Bahamian is now being seen to invest in the hotel industry, in the tourism industry,” Mr Christie said, referring to the development’s owner, Mark Holowesko.
“We have been urging many Bahamians to invest in the country. My government has been diligently encouraging Bahamian entrepreneurship – particularly in the hotel sector.
“We have also been promoting the idea of the boutique hotel as an alternative to much larger, mega hotels. They have something different to offer; I have always believed that boutique hotels are necessary to grow and diversify our tourism product and provide guests with a much more intimate experience and intimate exposure of our country.
“Much like his restaurant (Mahogany House), the hotel will be a fine example to other Bahamians of what can happen when you invest in your country. When you invest in your country, you can provide much-needed jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for fellow Bahamians.”
According to Mr Holowesko, the Mahogany Hill Hotel will take 18 months to complete at a cost of around $30 million.
It will have 33 rooms for guests – as well as a spa, pool, theatre, and restaurant – and is planned to employ 45 to 50 persons.
An average 100 persons are being employed for the hotel’s construction, according to the prime minister.
Mr Christie also noted the hotel will be “a place for and in support of Bahamian arts.”
It will become a “cultural hub” for the western end of the island, hosting art exhibitions, festivals, and theatre events, he said.
“It will bring a much needed dose of cultural entertainment to this end of the island for both locals and tourists, it will boast a collection of Bahamian artwork only on display throughout the hotel,” said the prime minister.
Mr Holowesko said he decided to invest in a hotel to help fill an obvious and important gap.
“We have a lot of great hotels on the island but they are all very similar in terms of they’re large, they have big casinos and conference centres,” he said.
“This is a much more small, intimate space. We want the community around here to almost think of it as their guest-house, a place where they can put guests if they don’t want them to stay with them. I just think it’s something that’s very needed and as a result, I’m happy to invest in it.”