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@Work: Chenay Bay Beach Resort

July 6, 2008 — Island One Resorts purchased Chenay Bay Beach Resort a year and a half ago, and with the new owners came upwards of $1 million in changes and improvements that haven't stopped yet.
"We are bringing the resort to our standards," said Victor Barrios, general manager at Chenay. "Little by little we are changing the reputation one guest at a time."
Island One Resorts, headquartered in Orlando, Fla., has ten properties throughout Florida with Chenay the first in the Virgin Islands. With a construction and hospitality background, Barrios came from Orlando where he had been the chief engineer at the Liki Tiki, the company flagship.
The company, headed by CEO Deborah Linden, has completely remodeled the pool making it an infinity-edged pool with fountains. The open-air beach bar has been expanded and outfitted with mahogany stools. The restaurant has also been remodeled and refurnished with heavy mahogany chairs and tables.
One cottage was torn down and is being rebuilt from the ground up. The parking lot, pathways and driveways are no longer gravel. They have been paved. The front lobby has been totally renovated and redecorated. It used to be a closed room, now it is open air and spacious.
New furniture and flat screen TVs for several rooms have been ordered and are on the way. Granite countertops and floors will also be added to some cottages.
"We hire local tradesmen to do the renovations," Barrios said. In all the resort employees 40 people including, restaurant and bar staff, maintenance, housekeeping, front desk clerks and beach attendants.
The resort has 50 West Indian style cottages sitting on a hillside nestled in lush tropical garden settings, some with ocean views. The cottages are pastel colored stucco or wood, each with a front porch and comfy rocking chairs. All of the units have full kitchens and some have separate living rooms and bedrooms. Heavy, carved, dark-brown mahogany furniture gives the rooms the traditional West Indian look with tile floors.
Seventeen of the cottages are vacation ownership units, which had previously been called time-shares.
"Since Island One Resorts bought Chenay we have increased occupancy rates of the cottages from 30 percent to an average of 70 percent," Barrios said.
Chenay is situated on 30 tranquil acres at the east end of St. Croix on East End Road, Route 82.
On the front part of the property facing the road, Island One Resort has begun development of a 29-home subdivision. Electric and water lines have been put in place and they will break ground for the first home in three months. The homeowners will have use of all the amenities at the resort including gated-security and tennis.
Condos being built in the future are also a possibility, said Barrios.
The Shores at Chenay Bay is a full service restaurant on the grounds serving locals and guests. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with specials such as all you can eat fish on Fridays and Saturday is $15 steak night. Entertainment is provided nightly except Tuesday.
"There is no better place to work," said Damon Yates, bartender. "This is perfect – it's the dream of a lifetime working here."
The resort also has a wedding, reunion and event planner on staff.
"We have a great amenities staff here such as the planner and beach attendants, who help our guests with complimentary water sports activities," Barrios said.
Getting in touch with nature in this natural environment on the grounds or along the mile long beach is great for the senses Barrio said.
Angel Torres, deputy chief of operations for the V.I. Fire Service, and his family are staying at Chenay at least a week while his home is being remodeled.
"This is a nice getaway spot — with your own little space," Torres said.
For more about the resort and rates go to www.chenaybay.com or call 800-548-4457 and locally 773-2918.
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