Sarah and Bryan Baeumler took the chance of a lifetime when they decided to buy a decrepit resort in the Bahamas. After purchasing the property, the Renovation Island couple packed up their four kids, moved to South Andros Island, and set about turning the abandoned hotel into a luxurious, eco-friendly vacation spot. The Baeumlers’ ambitious project is chronicled in their HGTV series (which already aired in their native Canada under the name Island of Bryan). As viewers have seen, getting the resort in shape for visitors has been quite an undertaking.
The Baeumlers spent $2 million on their ‘Renovation Island’ resort
Buying an entire resort would be a big deal for most people, but the Baeumlers didn’t sweat over the decision. Bryan and Sarah spent about 5 minutes touring the former Emerald Palms Hotel before decided they wanted to make it theirs, they said in an article published at Yahoo! Entertainment.
The couple spent about $2 million on the oceanfront property, which has 18 rooms and 22 villas, as well as a restaurant, spa, pool, and bar. But that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to expenses. The property was in such disrepair that it would take millions of dollars of investment before it was ready to welcome guests.
They’ve invested more than $10 million in the property
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The Baeumlers knew fixing up the hotel wouldn’t be easy or cheap. Supplies had to be brought in by plane or ship, which required weeks of advance planning. If something essential was missing, getting it there could be very expensive. And the property itself was in pretty bad shape.
“It was originally built in the 1960s and had been sitting empty for a decade,” Sarah said. “The salt in the air had corroded everything land crabs were in the basement and kitchen, termites were everywhere in the hotel block and main building. It definitely had the beautiful location and lots of potential, but that’s about it. We definitely underestimated the challenges.”
They also underestimated the cost of the renovation, the couple admitted in an interview with The Wrap. Initially, they expected to spend about $4 million on updates. They “more than doubled that before we opened the doors,” Bryan said. Their total investment ended up being over $10 million.
The challenges didn’t end with the renovation
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Excited that @caerulamar made the Condé Nast @cntraveler 2020 Hotlist of the Best Hotels in the World, as well as the list of Best New Beach Hotels!! The hotlist features only 76 of the World’s most incredible new properties. We can’t wait to get back to business when it’s safe to do so, and for people to experience Caerula Mar and all that the Bahamas has to offer. Check link in bio!! https://www.cntraveler.com/hotels/bahamas/caerula-mar-club #CaerulaMar #SouthAndros #Bahamas #CondeNast
On Renovation Island, the Baeumlers are still knee-deep in the process of fixing up their investment property. In real life, they did manage to complete the project, but they’ve faced some unexpected challenges along the way.
In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas. While South Andros Island was spared the worst of the disaster, many of their Bahamian employees had family and friends affected by the crisis. The Baeumlers “immediately went into action to provide any help or resources that our family could,” Bryan told The Wrap.
In March 2020, the family faced another disaster. Just six weeks after they finally opened their resort, which they christened Caerula Mar Club, the world was rocked by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The resort shut down and remains closed, though they hope to open again in October. Despite the setback, the Baeumlers — who own 100% of the resort — say they’re coping as best they can.
“In our financials, we had planned that the first year, generally, you’re not gonna run at a profit, so we’ve had protections in place and we talked to our staff there,” Bryan explained to The Wrap. “We obviously had to pare down staff a little bit but continue on some of the renovations and the work that we’re doing on the islands and kind of rotate staff so everybody has still got a little something coming in.”
Renovation Island airs Sundays at 8/7c on HGTV.
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