Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort hotel refurbished in record time

The Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort hotel,Plettenberg Bay,Western Cape, has been refurbished in 77 days after the decision was taken to close the hotel following complaints by guests about the noise of construction work. The resort is now open for business.

The building design reflects some features of the work of internationally famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The architecture of the building has got remarkable links with the design of the Guggenheim Museum, New York by Wright. 

Graham Wood, MD of Southern Sun said: “The Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort has had a long useful life and has been well-maintained over the years. It is a remarkable example of the architecture of the 1960s and is a significant part ofSouth Africa’s architectural heritage.” 

The hotel replaced all the plumbing and electrical wiring on the ground-floor level and the cascades area, the indoor pool was completely re-done and complemented by a dome skylight above the centre of the pool. The shops and spa have been refurbished and modernised with maple wood finishes and bright coral colours to brighten up the resort. The foyer has been transformed into an open-plan area incorporating two palm trees, which accentuate the volume of the centre of the building. 

Fresh, modern and relaxed atmosphere 

“The resort now has a fantastic, fresh, modern and relaxed atmosphere throughout the public areas. The sewerage, plumbing and electricity infrastructure, as well as the layout in the bedrooms were in need of an upgrade to reflect the same modern feel,” said Jacques Moolman, GM of the Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort. 

The first plan was to refurbish the bedrooms over a five-year period during the resort’s usual maintenance weeks. Ian Falconer from Falconer Designs drafted the first plans for what now are the new rooms of theBeaconIsland. The designs created great excitement for all involved, from the board of directors, to Southern Sun, the Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort team and timeshare owners. After some planning the first mock-up rooms were completed in March 2010. 

The noise levels were unbearable 

The mock-up room came at a cost. Not a financial cost but at a guest-satisfaction cost. The noise levels were unbearable and the dust created by the refurbishment caused some complaints. A serious decision had to be made in regards to the original five-year plan. After careful consideration the decision was made that the resort would close down on 16 July 2011, for the start of the refurbishment and re-open on 1 October 2011. This gave the team a total of 77 days to refurbish the resort. 

Project team “crazy” 

A project management team was employed to assist with the project management, construction management and cost control of the refurbishment process. Integrated Solutions were left with the then almost-impossible-seeming task of refurbishing 200 bedrooms in 77 days. Tenders went out for contractors to price. Upon learning that they only had 77 days the majority walked out and called the team “crazy”. After months the project team finally pinned down the contractors with the capacity and willingness to complete the task in time and budget. 

When the last guest checked out on 16 July the resort turned into a complete construction site. Everything in the bedrooms, from the tiles, to the ceiling, bathrooms and windows all was demolished; nothing was left. 

No free-standing showers beforehand 

Before the refurbishment the bathrooms did not have free-standing showers. The project kicked off with the coring of the new shower outlets and revised toilet-waste positions. The chasing to concrete walls for the new TV cabling, light switches, power cables and telephone lines was also one of the big tasks to hand. The “new” units were completed with a new bathroom, new electronic doors and a new bedroom layout and finishes. 

The new bedroom has got light-coloured walls to reflect the colour of the sky, the subtle sandy colour carpets mirrors the golden beaches that surrounds the resort. Bright splashes of coral colours are incorporated into the new sleeper coach, occasional chairs and scatter cushions. 

The room contains the latest television technology and Wi-Fi was added to all the bedrooms for the business traveller. 

Full occupancy on day one 

Wood added: “The Beacon Island Lifestyle Resort went from 0 percent occupancy on the last day of the refurbishment to 100 percent occupancy on the day of opening. Management believes this to be a first-ever achievement.” 

Through the entire refurbishment the designers and project managers were focused on the environment – ensuring that the design always kept the saving of water resources and electrical energy in mind. The heat pumps were upgraded to save electricity. All bedroom light fittings were replaced with LED lamps, which now save up to 50 percent of the previous energy used. The new showers and taps were fitted with water-saving mechanisms to ensure that the resort does its bit to save water. Many more initiatives were put in place to ensure that the resort is environmentally friendly.

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