Home The Big Stories Billionaire Calvin Ayre set to create Nikki Beach property on Jolly Beach 

Billionaire Calvin Ayre set to create Nikki Beach property on Jolly Beach 

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It marks the latest investment for the technology guru

By Carlena Knight

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Ambassador Calvin Ayre has been tipped as the investor who will purchase a portion of the Jolly Beach Resort to transform it into a US$250 million Nikki Beach and residences property.

This week’s Cabinet notes revealed that plans are in the works to sell a portion of the hotel but did not name the prospective buyer.

But, during Thursday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst made the revelation.

“The other section is likely to be Nikki Beach. It’s a very high cost hotel, much like a Blue Waters. I think we have already made an arrangement with Calvin Ayre,” Hurst said.

Last week during the budget speech, Prime Minister Gaston Browne had announced that Ayre would be constructing a Nikki Beach property sometime this year but there were no further details on where it would be located.

According to PM Browne, the property will feature 90 rooms, 70 branded residences, 10 villas, two restaurants, a beach club, spa and gym.

Billed as the world’s first and original luxury beach club, the Nikki Beach brand is known for its signature entertainment and music, and chic styling. It currently has beach clubs in 11 locations including its flagship Miami Beach spot.

This new investment will follow Ayre’s construction of a US$40 million conference retreat centre on the southern side of Antigua, which has already started.

Ayre’s involvement in Jolly Beach, according to Hurst, will not interfere in the agreement between government and Elite Islands Resort.

Elite is reportedly ploughing US$6 million into refurbishing and reopening the Jolly Beach Hotel.

In exchange, the company headed by Rob Barrett will manage and market the resort for up to five years, and share the profits with the government.

Elite Island Resorts is expected to refurbish “about 386 rooms” of the former 464-room property that spans 30 acres of land.

“Subtract 78 of them from the 464 and that’s about how many the Elite group will develop. [Calvin Ayre] won’t build 78 rooms but the way this wing is arranged it has 78 rooms,” Hurst explained.

Work to refurbish the once-bustling resort property commenced last year, after the Covid pandemic forced the hotel to close in 2020.

It is said to still be in need of significant upgrades, despite the US$2.2 million already spent to refurbish it. So far more than 160 rooms have been brought back into operation, according to this week’s post-Cabinet report.

Two business managers employed by the hotel – which currently has 132 employees – met with the Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the work required to ramp up the restoration.

They reported that a number of upgrades must take place, including the addition of a 250,000-gallon water-storage tank, and a reverse osmosis plant that produces 65,000 gallons per day.

An upgrade is also said to be needed to the electrical system, along with the installation of new air conditioning systems and perimeter fencing.

While the report didn’t reveal an estimated cost for the remainder of the work, the aforementioned business managers announced that many plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other tradesmen are set to be recruited.