Jungle Bay owner/developer, Sam Raphael, has informed DNO that his company plans to rebuild the well known resort on a new site near the original property.
Raphael stated that he looked at potential sites all over the island and decided to rebuild close to the original site primarily because of the strong relationship that exists between the resort and the people of the area.
He indicated that has found a large coastal parcel that is ideally suited for hotel development. He is currently working out final details with the landowner and hopes to make a formal announcement around the end of the year.
Raphael indicated that he plans to rebuild Jungle Bay “bigger and better” in keeping with the national reconstruction theme.
“We had 35 cottages however we plan to build 50 luxury eco-villas which will enable us to accommodate more guests and more employees than before. We are currently working on preliminary architectural plans to submit to the relevant government agencies,” he said. “We hope to be able to start construction as early as the first quarter of 2016 and to be ready to open an initial phase of the property to guests by the end of 2017. When we reopen we plan to introduce a new line of Jungle Bay branded products including organic herbal teas natural body products. We expect to employ close to 100 persons full time when we reopen.”
Raphael indicated that he has received tremendous encouragement and support from past Jungle Bay guests and from the people and Government of Dominica.
He stated that he has been in close communication with both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism and that the government has been extremely supportive and encouraging.
“They want to put people back to work and we want to be able to re-employ our staff and host our guests, so we are all on the same page,” he stated.
Before Hurricane Erika destroyed the resort, Jungle Bay was ranked as the third best hotel in the entire Caribbean and the top hotel in Dominica by Tripadvisor. The resort employed a staff of 65 persons and hosted thousands of repeat guests every year.
Jungle bay was also known for its community initiatives like WEL, a youth entrepreneurship mentoring program and “Open Books Open Minds” a school based literacy program.
Raphael was in the early stages of developing a similar resort called Mystic Bay on the island of Barbuda when Hurricane Erika struck. He indicated that his number one priority is to get Jungle Bay, Dominica back on track.