Monday, September 7, 2015
200 Acre Milk River Hotel & Spa Developement - How Future Plans for Milk River Residents means South Coast Developement coming
“Once the word gets out, we will get back clients who have stopped coming. We could perhaps double the number of visitors”
General Manager of the Milk River Hotel & Spa, Diane Sommerville commenting on the upgrading work beings done on the Milk River Hotel & Spa by C&D Construction and Engineering Company Limited
The Milk River Hotel & Spa is going to become a Villa, basically a country house made up of residential building and a farm built around a courtyard.
This as it appears that the 200 acres surrounding the Milk River Hotel & Spa is slated for developement as laid out in the article “Villas One Option For Milk River Property”, published Sunday September 6, 2015 by Avia Collinder, The Jamaica Gleaner.
Currently to C&D Construction and Engineering Company Limited had been awarded a $50-million contract for the rehabilitation of the West Wing of the Milk River Hotel & Spa on Wednesday September 2nd 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “Milk River Bath and Spa Hotel Renovation in September 2015 - How Milk River marks prosperity for South West Clarendon”.
But that rehabilitation work, funded by the TEF (Tourism Enhancement Fund), is slated to begin on Monday September 7th 2015 and completed in three (3) months time by Monday December 7th, 2015. This rehabilitation work does not include the rest of the Milk River Hotel & Spa or the surrounding lands.
Rather, according to General Manager of the Milk River Hotel & Spa, Diane Sommerville, an Enterprise Team from the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment had been formed in July to seek out partnerships to develope the underdeveloped land around the Milk River Spa, quote: “Expansion would be on the lands surrounding, whether it is villas or whatever it might be”.
Spa chairman Dr Guyan Arscott supports this claim as well, making many Milk River residents in Rest Square, where I live, Scott District and Duncans excited at the prospect of tourists travelling to and from the proposed Villas on the Milk River Hotel and Spa Property.
But how is this to be done? And is this another pipe dreams election promise by the Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill or is it the real deal?
It might be very real, at least I hope so.
200 acre Milk River Hotel & Spa Developement – Future Plans for South Coast Developement
The Milk River Hotel & Spa property has been in Government hands since 1974.
It has seen better days, but has remained undeveloped as the focus of tourism has decidedly been focused on the North Coast and the typical White American tourist who likes to lounge around in the sun on white sand beaches in Negril or Ocho Rios.
Now a new type of tourists has come along, seeking not only Sun, sand and frolic but also to experience the resort of the island, including its wellness centers and famous historical attractions. Milk River, due to its slave history past as part of a plantation owned by slave master and plantation owned, Jonathan Ludford, is a historical heritage site.
It once had a level of prominence and can be that great again, once the Milk River Hotel & Spa is developed properly and the roads leading to and from the property are also fixed.
The plan by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is to repair the Milk River Hotel & Spa in a series of five (5) Phases, with the renovation of the West Wing being part of Phase 1.
Phase 2 and onwards to Phase 5 would focus on the repair and renovation of the twenty (20) rooms, nine (9) mineral baths and a mineral pool, of which only thirteen (13) of the rooms are operable. It would also address the possible relocation of the spa to allow them to offer services such as massages and facials, hence the idea that villas may be coming in these next five (5) phases.
Apparently the other four phases will be funded by the TEF, but the value of the expansion work haven’t been ironed out and neither have contractors been found. So this lies in the distant future beyond the end of Phase 1 in three (3) months time by Monday December 7th, 2015.
But why exactly are they suddenly interested in Milk River Hotel & Spa after all this time? And will this benefit the entire South Coast area, including Farquhar Beach and Rocky Point?
How a Villa and better Roads means increased traffic and revenues for Milk River Residents
Apparently, ever since the Milk River roads had been partially repaired five (5) years ago, there has been a gradual improvement in traffic and consequently revenue at the Milk River Hotel & Spa property according to Spa chairman Dr Guyan Arscott.
According to the latest figures, the Milk River Bath and Spa made JA$27 million from fees for the fiscal year ending March 2015.
Currently the fees are as follows:
1. JA$600 per adult for 15 minutes in the mineral bath
2. JA$2,400 per adult for one full hour in the mineral bath
General Manager of the Milk River Hotel & Spa, Diane Sommerville expects the traffic to improve by 25% to 50% as currently the Milk River Hotel & Spa has the following annual traffic stats:
1. 20,000 bathers
2. 2,000 guests
The coming renovation along with the future plans for the Milk River Hotel & Spa to bring it up to a global standard, means that fees for the current 20 rooms will be going up significantly and so too will the tourist arrivals. Finally, it seems the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment realizes that they've been sitting on a Tourism goldmine that they can build upon.
Hopefully this developement will take place and result in even more tourist arrival and thus benefits to the communities on the way to the Milk River Bath and Spa, giving my parents who have done business in Rest Square, Milk River for the past twenty (20) years an added revenue boost.
Folk, we may be bearing witness to South Coast Development from Milk River to Farquhar Beach and Rocky Point as the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment goes for more revenue, benefitting Milk River residents via increase Tourist traffic!
Here's the link: