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Developers and Hoteliers Behind the Grace Bay Club
in Turks and Caicos Planning to Expand Brand

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos- - November 3, 2008 - Celebrated developers and hoteliers behind the renowned Grace Bay Club in Turks and Caicos recently announced plans to expand the award-winning brand with the launch of Grace Bay Resorts. The expansion will move Grace Bay Resorts into other Caribbean destinations and Latin America with the ultimate goal of developing 10 additional properties within the next decade. 

“Grace Bay Club is a super luxury handmade brand. It was created from the ground up through the efforts of a world class team dedicated to creating world class residential ownership opportunities while redefining the hotel experience with personal service,” says Mark Durliat, CEO and developer for Grace Bay Club located on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. “We plan to duplicate this same hands-on approach with Grace Bay Resorts, maintaining an entrepreneurial mindset as we expand into other regions. While we plan on getting larger as a collection, we feel it is imperative that we never lose the feel of an intimate and personalized resort company that listens to and understands the needs and wants of our guests and residential buyers.” 

Under the umbrella of Grace Bay Resorts, Mark Durliat and Nikheel Advani, longtime partner and group Chief Operating Officer, plan on duplicating the existing Grace Bay Club model that has been so successful in the Caribbean into other regions including the Eastern Caribbean, Latin America and further expansion in the Turks & Caicos. To date, Grace Bay Resorts has entered into a Letter of Intent for two new Grace Bay Resorts branded properties in these regions and is currently reviewing other locations in the Caribbean and Latin America. 

Mark Durliat - CEO/Developer

Mark has been a resident of the Turks & Caicos Islands for over 6 years and has more than 15 years of experience in development and management of hotels, condominium hotels, golf resorts and condominiums.  Born & raised in Colorado, Mark has had an international real estate career, developing in the Turks & Caicos, France, Belgium and South Africa.

Mark serves the role of Chief Executive Officer and co-owner of Providenciales’ luxury Grace Bay Club and its associated residential developments.  In 2001, together with partner John Fair and a consortium of private international investors, Mark negotiated the acquisition of the original resort property.  The team subsequently embarked on an aggressive and highly sophisticated expansion that has increased the resort’s value from its original level of $14M to more than $200M.   Grace Bay Club, through its affiliated residential projects, surpassed all records on Turks & Caicos in average sales price per unit, sales absorption pace and sales price per square foot. 

Durliat oversees all resort development activities as well as residential sales and real estate marketing.  In addition, Mark implemented and launched Grace Bay Club’s own private label branded rental management program, absorbing all condo units into the hospitality operations as managed by the five-star resort.  Durliat also co-owns with John Fair the hotel management company under which the Grace Bay Club operations are managed.  Grace Bay Club is considered one of the premier resort and residential developments in the Caribbean.  It is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and has been listed among the “World’s Best” by Travel & Leisure Magazine, “Top 5” by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, “Resort of the Year 2006” by Island Destinations, “Most Excellent Resort 2006” by Condé Nast/Johansens and “Best of the Best” by Robb Report.

Durliat was personally appointed to the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board in 2005 by the Premier of the Turks & Caicos and actively speaks on behalf of the TCI Government at regional and international marketing seminars and the Caribbean Investment Conference circuit.  He is an Honorary Member of the Turks & Caicos Aids Awareness Foundation. He also has a residential project under development in the Turks & Caicos which will include the construction of some 60 middle income homes over the next 5 years.

At the age of 27 Durliat founded and operated a boutique development company in Cape Town after an introduction to South Africa by the legendary golfer Gary Player, with whom he had previously worked for several years. Between 1995 and 1999, Durliat’s best-known success was the 126-room Cape Suites Hotel, a condominium hotel development project involving the sale of all condominium units under a structured management program and the securing of an international hotel management brand. This property became one of the best performing business hotels in the destination, earning Durliat respect as an authority in the city’s burgeoning condo-hotel industry. 

He additionally developed multiple luxury condominium projects and intimate guest houses in South Africa, and spearheaded several feasibility studies for golf course and residential projects involving Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Prior to moving to South Africa, Mark worked in collaboration with Gary Player in the development of a $30-million golf, hotel and residential project in Belgium, for which Durliat managed all sales and marketing to neighboring European countries plus development of the golf course and residential subdivision. 

Mark holds a BS in Business (Entrepreneur Program) from the University of Southern California with a minor in French.  He divides his time between his residences in Miami and Providenciales and also owns a home in Cape Town, South Africa, where he visits regularly.

Nikheel Advani - Managing Director, Grace Bay Club

Nikheel Advani, Managing Director of Grace Bay Club, joined the resort in 2004, initially as general manager. He has now expanded his role at Grace Bay Club and serves as managing director responsible for a variety of guest- and owner-related services plus resort development. Nikheel Advani’s energy, entrepreneurial spirit and extensive background in the hospitality industry is put to full use at Grace Bay Club as it evolves from a 21-room luxury suite resort to a full-service resort with 59 villas and suites, three restaurants, water and land sports, a bar and lounge, a new spa and fitness center, a new Hotel School, and a new children’s program.

Advani’s background is well-suited for his position at Grace Bay Club, a resort that has been named to Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” since 1995. Not only does he bring substantial hotel management and food and beverage expertise to the resort from his previous positions at Raffles Hotel in Singapore and The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, but he has also personally dabbled in a variety of hospitality-related areas. A personal invitation to his home will afford a private glimpse into how superb hospitality should evolve: Nikheel is the consummate host, chef and wine connoisseur.

Advani wasn’t always headed for the hospitality industry. His original, post-collegiate career in engineering proved less-than-exciting for him, and he instead began his rapid ascent in the hospitality world as a server and dish washer, where he experienced from the ground up what it takes to make any customer a happy, returning client. He fondly remembers his earlier experiences as a teenager in Singapore waiting and bartending in the homes of embassy officials, where he was introduced to the protocol of superior hospitality and detail.

Mr. Advani was most recently Hotel Manager at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Prior to joining Raffles in 2002, Mr. Advani navigated the food and beverage world with Ritz-Carlton for seven years. Rising through the ranks, Mr. Advani began his career at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Millenia Singapore as a banquet operations manager. He was subsequently responsible for the food and beverage openings of Ritz-Carlton properties in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Sarasota, and New York-Battery Park. A priority across all of these positions for Nikheel has been the mentoring and training of staff to develop “peak performance teams.”

Born in Nigeria, raised in Singapore and educated in the United States, Mr. Advani's rich cultural background and work experience in more than 10 cities in three continents has molded him into a “renaissance man” of the hospitality industry. A chameleon in his versatility to handle a variety of positions simultaneously, he became a darling of the media in 2001 when he introduced the world’s first Water Sommelier at 2 West, the upscale restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. He also made his mark on the hotel’s cuisine with the introduction of “bento box” lunches at the restaurant and food tiers and tumbler drinks at the hotel’s bar, Rise.

Mr. Advani graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with an honors degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration. He also successfully completed the General Manager Program at Harvard Business School. A Singapore national, Mr. Advani is fluent in English and Mandarin and proficient in French and Hindi. In addition to his thirst for visiting new countries and absorbing new cultural influences, Nikheel is an accomplished scuba diver, a fan of motor cross, and an active participant in the Big Brother Mentor program.

In addition to duplicating the Grace Bay Club model, Durliat and Advani will introduce a new 5-star contemporary lifestyle resort brand, CAYA. CAYA, a design-driven modern luxury resort and residential experience, will provide guests with a vibrant mix of concept dining, entertainment venues, a signature rooftop bar and luxury shopping. Designed by award-winning architect Chad Oppenheim, the first CAYA property is scheduled to open in 2011. The 150-key resort will be located on a six acre site in Turks and Caicos adjacent to the existing Grace Bay Club on the island of Providenciales. 

“Our goal with CAYA is to create an evocative, sophisticated hospitality and residential concept where high design, contemporary styling and exciting dining, shopping and entertaining are blended together to create an innovative lifestyle resort community,” says Durliat. “In addition to the modern look and feel of the property, we have designed the residences to be environmentally sensitive and attractively priced to fill a growing void in the popular second home marketplace and hotel product of Providenciales. We believe CAYA is a concept which will further propel Providenciales as one of the leading elite international resort destinations.” 

About Grace Bay Club 

Grace Bay Club
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, 
British West Indies

Perched on 11 acres of immaculate beachfront, Grace Bay Club was the first luxury hotel built in Turks and Caicos and has since set the benchmark for luxury development in the region. Founded in 1993, the storied 21-suite boutique resort was purchased in 2001 by a partnership group led by Mark Durliat. Following an extensive $250 million renovation in 2006, Grace Bay Club was reintroduced into the luxury market earning top acclaim including the award for #1 Hotel in Turks and Caicos from Travel + Leisure in 2007 and continuing its place on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List for more than 10 years. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, Grace Bay Club offers guests a uniquely hands-on travel experience with a focus on luxury and service. A quiet haven for uninterrupted relaxation, the 82-suite resort is divided into two separate sections for discerning travelers of all tastes including: the adults-only Hotel at Grace Bay Club area with private restaurant, bars and swimming pool in addition to the family-friendly Villas at Grace Bay Club with their own restaurant, bar and pool. In 2007, Grace Bay Club introduced the award-winning Infiniti Bar and a collection of contemporary refinements to beachfront eateries Anacaona and Grill Rouge, elevating the dining experience in Turks and Caicos. Additional guest amenities include an expansive 5,000 square foot Anani Spa and Fitness Center and innovative Kid’s Town activities for families. Grace Bay Club will introduce The Estate, a collection of 22 custom-designed ultra-elegant suites, in February 2009. 

About Grace Bay Resorts 
Founded in early 2008 by Mark Durliat, Nikheel Advani, the celebrated hoteliers behind the renowned Grace Bay Club in Turks and Caicos, and Denver-based financial partner SV Capital, Grace Bay Resorts will expand the award-winning brand into other Caribbean destinations and Latin America, with a target of 10 additional properties in the next decade. Grace Bay Resorts will expand into other Caribbean destinations and Latin America. In addition, Grace Bay Resorts will introduce a new 5-star contemporary residential and resort brand CAYA, a design-driven luxury resort and residential experience, blended with a vibrant mix of concept dining, entertainment venues and branded luxury shopping. Award-winning architect Chad Oppenheim will design the first property, set to open under the Caya brand in 2011. The resort will be located on a six acre site in Turks and Caicos adjacent to the existing Grace Bay Club on the island of Providenciales.


Caitlin Austin

Also See: St. Lucia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands Leading the Caribbean Trend for Mixed Use Resort Development - Projects Containing Timeshare Units, Villas and Traditional Hotel Rooms / September 2006
Dr Cem Kinay and Oguz Serim Sign the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to Manage its Flagship Development in Dellis Cay, a Private Island in the Turks and Caicos / November 2006

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