“The Resort Group does two things brilliantly: build resorts and throw parties.” So said the company’s managing director, Charlie King, after a three-day celebration of the opening of their new Dunas resort, in Cape Verde. It was hard to argue with him.
Meliá Dunas, The Resort Group (TRG)’s second all-inclusive luxury resort on Sal Island, opened its doors to selected partners, investors, agents, IFAs, journalists and celebrities over the weekend to precede its official opening on 1 November. The five-star project, developed in partnership with Meliá Hotels International, follows TRG’s successful Tortuga resort (opened in 2011) which lies just a little way down the coast. Dunas boasts 1,251 units, a mix of hotel rooms, apartments and villas, a big boost on Tortuga’s 378. It’s also got 14 bars, 5 restaurants, a gym, a spa and – all told – about an acre’s worth of pool space.
The new resort secured most of its funding (around 70%) through pension schemes, moving away from Tortuga’s majority of cash buyers. This presented challenges in England as the FCA tightened its hold on regulated investments, but the project is now mostly sold out to investors from all over Europe.
Speakers including Jose Maria Neves, the Cape Verdean Prime Minister, and Rob Jarrett, Chairman of TRG, took to the stage at the official ceremony on Saturday 25 October. Mr Jarrett said, “Dunas Beach is the biggest accomplishment we have made as a group and the pre-opening launch event gives us the opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work and determination. We are pleased to have been able to manufacture something as superb as Dunas Beach, and that we have given it to Cape Verde.” He went onto thank Cape Verdean officials for their support of the project and heaped praise on partner Meliá.
After the speeches the party began down at the beach with a Mardis Gras parade, hula hoop girls, magicians, musicians and gallons of free booze. The event’s line-up included headline acts Tinie Tempah, Miss Dynamite, Artful Dodger, Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.Ap, Britain’s Got Talent’s violinist Lettice Rowbotham (who, a fellow guest told OPP, jumped fully clothed into the pool later in the evening) and cappella group The Magnets. It was a little surreal to see crowds jumping up and down on the sand, festival style, only to pause to grab another glass of champagne from a passing staff member’s tray.
Not taking the stage but adding to the resort’s celebrity count were Kerry Katona, Danielle Lloyd and Jude Cisse, who kept fans updated with bikini pics and excited strings of hashtags.
Sunday saw the kids’ areas of the resort opening with performances from local schoolchildren and entertainers keeping both young and old laughing. The kids’ pool and play area is part of TRG’s plans to make Dunas more of a family destination than Tortuga.
The Resort Group is due to complete a third resort on Sal Island, Llana, in coming months – then they’re starting construction on the first of their planned resorts in neighbouring island Boa Vista, a project called White Sands on Santa Monica beach.
“We’re delighted with how the launch event went,” Charlie King, managing director of The Resort Group, told OPP. “It’s been a long time coming. So many people have put so much time and energy into this project – it’s a real proud moment for us.”
“And Tinie Tempah was the man.”
By Francine Carrel, international property reporter, OPP