Wuhloss! Sandals Barbados serves no Bajan rum!!! WTF???

ESAF Barbados Rum

“As the birthplace of rum, not a single Barbadian produced brand was available at any Sandals outlet!”

Loveridge: Sandals generally a good experience and positive for Barbados, but there are concerns…

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Just over a week ago, my wife and I experienced a staycation at Sandals Casuarina.  An enormous amount of discussion has taken place concerning the extraordinary concessions granted to the Sandals companies and as I was not personally familiar with the product, thought it was only rationale, that I tasted what is often referred to as the Sandals ‘WOW’ factor, first hand.

Despite the website at the time showing that the hotel was fully booked until the middle of March 2014, I managed to reserve a room online for the dates of my choice and pay in full at published rates by credit card. Bookings are processed by yet another company – Unique Vacations Inc. based in Florida, and an email confirmation was sent.

Noticeably absent were any taxes or corporate information, including office address or contact details.

Having a few queries prior to our stay, I emailed Adam Stewart, the CEO of Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and within minutes he responded personally, apologising that because he was currently traveling, he had passed my concerns over to the General Manager (GM) of the hotel. Still within one hour, Josef Zellner, the new GM not only answered my initial questions but went on to monitor our reservation and ensure a seamless check-in.

Over our four day stay, it soon became apparent that Joe was a hands-on manager, frequently seen in every area of the property from as early as 6am, until late at night. Frankly, when so many senior personnel appear to find the comfort of air conditioned offices more attractive, it was a refreshing change. At this stage I think it is very important to point out that I have only stayed in two all-inclusive hotels in my entire life, the Montego Bay Sunspree Holiday Inn and the Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua, so any observations made, has to in fairness, reflect this.

Clearly, even after four weeks re-branding from Couples, there is still a lot of work necessary to fully ‘Sandalise’ the hotel, but you get the feeling that it is progressing as planned. The vast majority of the staff are friendly and helpful. When I brought up the subject of a three months probationary work period, a Barbadian waitress we talked to could not have explained it any better; She said that during the current challenging trading times that this was not at all unusual and by no means limited to the hospitality industry.

There were a number of surprises, especially the current very limited use of locally available products. These included Banks Beer (draft and cans), Pine Hill milk, BICO ice cream, BBC bottled water and some soft drinks.

As the birthplace of Rum, not a single Barbadian produced brand was available at any outlet!   

I really hope that considering the tremendous commercial advantages Sandals has been given, that Government can exert some gentle pressure to ensure a higher percentage of consumables are sourced here. It was however, commendable that local craft vendors have been allowed to establish a presence on the property to sell their wares.

On check-out we asked for a receipted bill, but as all bookings are processed offshore, one was not available. Apparently only incidental items including extra charges are payable locally and that again raises the question of VAT and ensuring a level playing field with the remaining tourism sector on Barbados.

Would it therefore be unreasonable for the taxpayer to be told the net foreign exchange contribution to Barbados the company (SRI) will be making, after each trading year?


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

26 responses to “Wuhloss! Sandals Barbados serves no Bajan rum!!! WTF???


    Your leader can make great deals for others and never for the people of Barbados , Had to be some side cash paid out or off , or just fools

  2. Party Animal

    No VAT a concession ???????????????????????? So Mr. Loveridge you paid with your Credit Card in US funds of course, another way to drain our foreign exchange, along with all the imports paid out of Barbados Funds ???
    Why can’t we Bajans see further than the end of our nose or should I say that Politian’s can’t see further than the end of their nose, another way to fool us, I take it ?

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    Party Animal,

    I was not given a choice of which currency I could pay in. That is my point. Exactly what percentage of Sandals revenue will actually come to Barbados?

  4. Party Animal

    Just read Barbados Today. Is this man (Minister for real) Minister Donville Inniss is asking other Hoteliers to stop begging for hand outs, does he live in Barbados ? does he know what this Government is doing for Sandals ? is it fair to other hotels to compete with Sandals ? Is this a Joke ?
    Politicians should out brain in gear before engaging mouth.


    Party Animal
    December 17, 2013 at 10:45 am @ we posted on BT we will see who remove it . We have a UNITY government already, its called the DBLP , Both in this fraud , Until People tell the truth nothing can be fixed , The IMF and World Bank are not fool for this MAdoff and Standford PONZI .
    No one will lend or give loans based on good titles of fraud making ,
    B= Jack and D= ASS so there we go , Jack & Ass working to cover up, thinking that we are also jackass for them,

  6. Party Animal

    I often ask the question, are we 300.00 fools or is it only 30 fools in this Country. Will someone clarify this for me.
    I will like to see the day there is a reduction in the number to 15, this would satisfy the IMF alone.

  7. just want to know

    Barbados is too small an island to have 30 sitting MP’s, & all the talk it is really sickening; & beside 30 elected persons & they have others brought in whom the electorate rejected, so tell me how many are now feeding at the trough?

  8. Transperency

    Listen, our greatest problem is that, we don’t have control over our currency. There is a need to start educating Barbadians on a State owned issued interest free currency backed something of value. The Central Bank is being controlled by Private Bankers, who control all but three Countries Central Banks. Running around here fighting these people on the battle field set by them, is almost suicide. Setting our own Monetary policies amicable to rest of the world, is where we should be heading.


    The A Bomb was made by the US of A < So they feel they rule the rights
    The USofA first man on the Moon and plant a Flag to say they own it?
    The Swiss Banking made up banking the way we know it ,so they hold rights
    We put Gold to back our FUNDS to the US Dollar debt NOTE
    When Emmanuel was born they gave him Gold , when they betray his they used Silver. That is what worth and Value is ,not 65%linen and 35% cotton aka paper Federal Reserve Notes.
    From a Child it has been 1.98 to the BDS to one USD , America notes are worth less ,,so maybe the USofA and their BANKERS are to be adjusted BDS funds in the way to the U.S. DOLLAR. US debt out grew Barbados debt much faster . In trillions of Dollars , and who will let Barbados or any other CC Nation have a strong Dollar, no more clues for now.

    If Not for the massive land fraud,we would be standing on our own ,but not for the DBLP government with their greed and PONZI fraud against Violet Beckles, and her Aunt Beatrice Henry Two Queens of Barbados.

  10. Tax Advisor

    So long as a taxable supply is being enjoyed in Barbados, it is VAtable in Barbados. The rooms are probably being sold wholesale to the intermediary company that processed the credit cards, and they are likely being billed retrospectively at the end of a period (month?) after occupancy has been determined.

    This will likely be the invoice that carries the VAT. As the intermediary company is not a Barbados incorporated entity, and is not doing business in Barbados (they are only selling a product in Barbados, but not managing the delivery thereof), they should not required to register for or charge VAT on their sales.

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    Tax Advisor, it must just be me. So is the guest (consumer) of the service paying any element of VAT or not?

  12. Tax Advisor


    Likely not. If I were structuring this, the rooms would be sold at a discounted wholesale rate to the intermediary. On that perhaps heavily discounted amount is what the VAT will be levied on, and therefore significantly reduced than if it were levied on published rates.

    When the consumer pays the (higher) published rates to the non-Barbadian entity, no VAT will be due. So, indirectly, the consumer will only suffer the burden of a fraction of the VAT that would have been paid by “Unique Vacations” (who cannot claim back the VAT) with respect to their booking.

    Some numbers may actually be clarifying:

    VAT if sold direct:
    Published Rate of $100 sold directly to consumer = ($100/107.5*7.5) = $6.98 per $100 or accomodations delivered.

    VAT via Unique Vacations, assuming 40% discount rate:
    Published Rate $100, sold wholesale at $60 = ($60/107.5*7.5) = $4.19 per $100 of guest accomodations delivered.

    What this means in effect, is that the consumer will pay only 4.5% VAT instead of 7.5%. ((4.19/6.98)*7.5%).

    These numbers are of course dependent on the discount rate negotiated with Unique Vacations… But that’s how I’d do it. take a big fat cut off the top number for management fees, and card processing fees, and marketing fees, and put it in a room guarantee that shows the foreign company baring most of the risk… That discount rate can be manipulated to as high or low as needed to show a break even in Barbados, or minimal losses even.

    The only tax they have to pay is the VAT, and its not even their burden, and they don’t even sell we rum, and they not even pulling they own pocket for the expense of the hotel we building them. That’s how the rich get richer.

  13. Adrian Loveridge

    Tax Advisor,

    Thank you. WOW! Do you think that our Government would have taken this all into account before granting the extraordinary concessions and how does the rest of the tourism industry on Barbados compete with this?

  14. Party Animal

    Sounds like all local Hoteliers should register their ownership overseas to enable the same benefits.

  15. Party Animal

    “Just want to know” ::: Why do we need more than one rep. per Parish
    I say Eleven MP’s, WOW ! how much money the Government could save, this alone could save us from Devaluation.

  16. Adrian Loveridge

    Party Animal,
    I think that unless the same Sandals concessions are given to other tourism operators, that this will be inevitable.
    It has become almost impossible to get due VAT/NIS refunds from Government, so they will leave us will no alternative but to keep as much FX
    offshore as possible. That will result in less VAT, corporation and income tax collection and an increasingly ageing plant. Politics aside, we need an urgent meeting of tourism stakeholders to devise a marketing plan for 2014 before it is too late.

  17. Party Animal

    If this Government does not have a clue of what they are doing, like run a Government, you can’t expect them to think out of the box.

  18. Rastaman

    @Adrian loveridge: Who is the “US ” that will have no alternative but to keep as much FX offshore as possible? Not the ordinary citizens of Barbados.

  19. Adrian Loveridge

    Rastaman, the ‘US’ is any tourism entity that has to try and compete with Sandals.

  20. Party Animal

    Are we talking about Scandals

  21. Pingback: Sandals Resort Bombardier Challenger jet burns duty-free fuel… Minister Inniss tells hotel industry to shut up about Sandals Resort concessions | Barbados Free Press


    Adrian Loveridge@ you all in the same business need to open a company side of Barbados , and wait for another deal to open and take over as an outsider with Agents, Group your FUNDS together and get the same deal on an already open hotel,DO the same , Monkey see monkey do,You all then can have shares and be paid also.

  24. Nomad

    Other Hoteliers ought not to expect the government to adapt a universal tax regime but rather a more strategic targeted approach. In other words, hotels have to qualify for special tax concessions based on what they bring to the table of the Barbados economy. It needs to be based on management efficiencies and sustainability of the enterprise.

    The special concessions that the government has extended to sandals are not new. it does not require a tremendous amount of research to discover that Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada and other islands have all adjusted or announced plans to adjust their Tourism Incentive or Development legislation.

    The very slow recovery of the world economy dictates that these concessions be made to attract NEW investment. If some of our current hoteliers are already benefiting from the Tourism Development Act and have not been able to establish their businesses by now, then it raises questions about their capacity to stay afloat. Therefore I am not sure tat the solution may be more government relief, it might well be more innovation and imagination.

  25. Nickie Trench

    Adrian Not true about there not being any Bajan rum at Sandals. The place has more Mount Gay more than you and your friends can drink. Lets have the facts please.

  26. Anonymous

    @nickie Obviously Sandals have listed to Adrian and others since he stayed there a month or so ago, and are now stocking Mount Gay. No good for me , I’m a Cockspur guy!