August 18, 2016
Massage therapist: ‘Excited, going to the gem of the earth’
Sixty Sandals Royal Bahamian staff members gathered today for a briefing before heading for Exuma Sunday on board a charter flight to take up positions at Sandals Emerald Bay.
The staffers opted for transfer when the luxury all-inclusive announced it would have to close the Cable Beach property August 15 for up to 10 weeks to effect extensive repairs. Sandals CEO Adam Stewart said engineers informed them they had no choice but to close the hotel and relocate guests in order to make repairs ranging from jackhammering up pool decks and repairing two pools to replacing decades-old rusty, leaking plumbing that runs for thousands of linear feet under the 70-year-old hotel.
While heavy equipment and portable concrete mixers pounded outside, the atmosphere inside the ballroom where Sandals staff met was lively and enthusiastic.
“I’m going home,” said Ashton Bodie, a steward who had come to Nassau to find work. “I’m from there, from Barreterre, so it’s good.”
Aerial photo of Sandals Emerald Bay where 60 staff members will work while repairs are underway at Sandals Royal Bahamian on Cable Beach. Relocation of guests who were booked for Nassau is expected to boost occupancy at the Exuma golf, tennis and spa resort by 20% and Nassau workers who will help with the increase in numbers will be flown by charter on Sunday and housing will be provided during their two months on the island in the Central Bahamas.
George Clarke, a chef who has been with Sandals for more than six years, said he was “ecstatic” about going to Sandals Emerald Bay.
And Rachel Cartwright, a massage therapist, said when she heard there was a chance of being transferred to the golf, tennis and spa property she “grabbed the opportunity. I always wanted to go to Exuma. I’m so excited to see the jewel of the earth,” she said, referring to astronaut Scott Kelly’s social media post that The Bahamas was the most beautiful place on the planet from space. “He was over Exuma,” Cartwright said.
Rachel Cartwright, massage therapist, is among 60 Sandals Royal Bahamian staff members who are being transferred to Exuma. Cartwright said she is “ecstatic” about “going to the jewel of the earth.” (Photo by Donald Knowles)
Sandals Royal Bahamian is aiming for a mid-October grand re-opening following repairs and renovations, including an overhaul of the ballroom where people met today, staffers likely the last to have a seat in the room where so much of Nassau history has been recorded.
60 Sandals Royal Bahamian staff applaud and cheer during a briefing session preparing them for their positions at Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma, where they will work while the Cable Beach property undergoes extensive repairs. (Photo by Donald Knowles)