I want to open a hotel on STX
Just thought I would get some opinions from some locals on my idea. Im looking to open a 50-60 room hotel on the water. I have found some various locations around the island but am not sure what the "good" parts of the island are. Again just looking for some opinions from anyone that knows the hotel business.
If you are planning to purchase an existing hotel or starting from scratch do your due diligence and then do it again.
If you are looking at an existing property try to find out it's history. There's probably a good reason the property is for sale. Businesses that make a good profit are rarely for sale and those that do make money cost "BIG BUCKS".
If you plan on building a new hotel you are probably going to be in for sticker shock when it comes to the cost of beach front property. What property there is available is outlandishly expensive and building costs are very high.
As Skys said bring lots of money. There's an old adage that goes like this: Question - How do you make $1 million in the Caribbean? Answer - Start with $2 million.
Follow Skys advice and come down to the island for an up close and personal look. Use the time to check out prices for properties and/or hotels that are for sale to see if they are within your price range, talk to local architects and builders to get some ideas of the costs for design, construction, renovation and repairs.
Since you are "just looking for some opinions from anyone that knows the hotel business" it seems plausable that you do not have any real hotel experience. If that's the case, you'd be wise to spend some time (at least a couple of years) working in the industry, preferably at a resort in the Caribbean so you can learn all the pitfalls. Do your homework, before making any commitments. And by homework I don't mean relying on information you get from a relocation forum. You need first hand knowledge about the business, about the location, about the island. Consult with your attorney, accountant, and trusted business advisors. You have to become an expert in the hotel business and that takes time and experience.
Good luck following your dream.
Start by reading "Don't Stop The Carnival"....it'll give you an idea of some of the pitfalls that can happen with a hotel in the caribbean - and give you a few laughs!
Took the words right out of my mouth! 🙂 Along with lots of money, bring lots of patience. Obviously, it can be done, since there are successful hotels here, but it doesn't appear to be easy. Looks like you're starting off on the right foot by collecting information rather than diving in head first. Good luck!
There are so many questions one could ask before venturing into answers for you. Just a couple that come to mind, up front. First, do you have hotel experience? I don't mean front desk clerk. At the very least, comptroller, and better yet, Operations Manager/GM, with accounting background. Are you alone or part of an investment consortium? How well do you know the island? Is this a new idea of yours or one you have been developing for a while?
Who is your target market? Actually that question may be the most important to answer you original question about location.
I apologize. I realize the above sounds a bit condescending, assuming you are a greenhorn...for all I know, your last name could be Hilton. In that case, come on down! :@)
Seriously, we all love to give info and advice. Just give us a little to go on, and watch the posts fly in!
If the hotel business doesn't work out for you, want to buy and apartment complex?;) I'm NOT kidding!
Matt, I have been coming to STX since 03. I am a 35 year experienced developer and high end contractor that has researched this island thoroughly, I would be happy to share my insight and knowledge as it relates to location, island and construction costs. There are some older properties that have potential that I have knowledge.
It would be wise to seek all opinions and then make a informed decision. If interested send a PM. I am not a Realtor/Broker and have no financial interest in sharing my knowledge. Good luck.
Thank you everyone this has been very helpful and I am very happy to know there are so many nice and helpful people here. Just so everyone knows I do not have hotel experience..I do have rental property experience and no thank you juanita on the apt complex 🙂 I am looking for work in the hotel industry now to get a little more knowledge. It would be ideal to find a bored retired hotel GM in STX that wants a low paying posistion at a small hotel(any takers) This may be something that doesn't happen for some years down the road but I'm just trying to gather some knowledge on the subject and figure out if its the right decision for me and my family. So again thank you again everyone and keep to post coming I appreciate all of them!!
Hophead -- A poissibiltiy for purchase might be the Cane Bay Reef Club where Bogies restaurant/bar is. They have their own web site. I'm not positive but I feel the current owner would sell if an appropriate offer came their way. It is a 8 room (?) efficiency apartment type hotel facing the water close to Cane Bay on the North Shore. A bar/restuarant is located below the rental rooms.That place needs a lot of money put into it to rennovate. The property also includes a house (renting out both upstairs & downtstairs).
I've manage large hotels stateside. And I've got to say honestly you would be absolutely crazy to open a 60 room hotel here with no experience in the business. The only ones that fall into that size are in downtown c'sted and one in f'sted. They are all old and falling apart except for kings alley which is govt owned and most likely will never be for sale because it is. To get one built you are looking at at least 5 to 10 years just to get the approval if not much longer. Hotels here are a money pit. Stx does not have the tourism to support all the ones that we do have. Many barely squeak by or are in the hole. At best I would suggest buying one of the 10 to 20 room hotels, sink some serious money into it to improve the quality (so you can raise rate and improve occupancy) and get a great sales person and a decent gm or office manager type person. In the beginning and really period, sales is always the most important thing in a hotel. To become a GM in any major hotel chain you must be a director of sales first. With a place that size you will be able to keep your labor costs lower (which is crucial here), because maintenance is always going to be an issue.
i, too, lived there during the 70's and early 80's...everything was lively then...st. croix always had a minimum on how many cruise ships came in...but the minimum was always dependable...every week like clockwork...tourists were there but they were not overwhelming...although town was always bustling...there were jobs if you wanted one or did not mind working two...everything was different than what i read about it now...except for government and wapa vibes...some things never change...
this is just my humble opinion because i do not live there anymore...but unless you are a multimillionaire, i would hold off on a hotel venture in this time...the economy is so strapped and the island is kinda out of sync in some ways what with the lack of stability in some areas...although if your hotel was large enough perhaps you could offer a portion of the jobs to youth on an incentive, that being stay in school and keep a certain gpa...i dunno, i would be hesitant mainly because of the economy and the price of airfare...and a big question from me would be...would you be aware of and highly respectful of the delicate ecological systems of "my" belov-ed island, inclusive of but not limited to, flora, fauna, reefs and beaches...when planning the design and the building of your structure?