Beacon Island Resort celebrates 50 golden years

Beacon Island Resort is Southern Sun’s landmark Plettenberg Bay hotel and overlooks the Indian Ocean and the Robberg beach in the Garden Route region of the Western Cape.

The hotel first opened in December 1972, introducing holiday makers to a new resort experience that brought a wealth of business and job creation opportunities to the then-small seaside town, and placing Plettenberg Bay on the vacation destination map over the last fifty years.

The Beacon Isle Hotel, as it was first known, was the brainchild of visionary hotelier, Sol Kerzner, who recognised the potential of the site where the hotel is built – a natural outcrop of land between Plettenberg Bay’s Main Beach and Robberg Beach, giving it the impression of being an island.

The site has a distinctive history having been a whaling station at the turn of the twentieth century, which later became the location of a small hotel in 1940. In 1972, this was demolished and replaced with the six-storey Beacon Isle Hotel developed by the Brian Stocks Group and designed by architect, André Hoffe.

Today, the Beacon Island Resort commands one of the finest positions in Plettenberg Bay and attracts travellers from around the globe by offering escapism, picturesque beauty and a range of fine facilities with a magnificent location in one of the world’s most spectacular timeshare destinations.

A Pioneering Timeshare Resort

Beacon Island Resort was among the first resorts established during the early 1980’s which proved highly successful and triggered an accelerated period of expansion of timeshare in South Africa over the following decade.

We chatted with the General Manager of the Resort, Barend Olivier.

Q: Was Beacon Island originally built as a timeshare resort?

No, Beacon Island was a hotel before it was converted to timeshare around 1984. Southern Sun launched uMhlanga Sands Resort as its first timeshare property in 1982. The successful launch of this concept resulted in the conversion of both Cabana Beach Resort and Beacon Island Resort from hotels to timeshare in close succession. Today, it is still exclusively timeshare.

Q: How many timeshare weeks does the Resort offer?

There are currently 10 000 weeks within the share block. All these weeks are owned, with no weeks unsold. The resort operates at an occupancy of around 90% all year-round, with a high owner occupancy. If our owners are unable to take their holiday, they have a number of options on what they can do with their week – or weeks – such as banking, renting or placing it in the rental pool.

Q: Interestingly, the Resort does not offer the conventional self-catering unit – tell us more about that.

Beacon Island is unique within the timeshare world when you look at what timeshare products the world over offer – being family style, self-catering units. All of Beacon Island Resorts’ units are hotel rooms with no self-catering facilities at all. Umhlanga Sands Resort is also an anomaly in that it only offers a partial self-catering option. Both these resorts however have a number of restaurants on site which are very popular with guests, and they are also closely situated to a multitude of other restaurant options.

Q: In your opinion, what do owners love most about the timeshare experience at Beacon Island Resort?

The location is, in itself, the greatest attraction. The resort sits on its own private peninsula surrounded by azure ocean – a setting that is unique in South Africa. The panoramic views of either the ocean or lagoon from the rooms/suites are also spectacular. In addition, there’s multitude of on-site facilities which include a state of the art gym, day spa and salon, indoor and outdoor pools and restaurants. The area also offers a host of nearby attractions such as golf, the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary and boat trips for dolphin and whale watching, amongst others.

Multi-Award Winning Resort

Over the years, Southern Sun’s commitment to excellence in hospitality has seen Beacon Island receive a wide range of awards which recognise the resort’s exceptional offerings as well as its role in the environment where it is situated.

These awards include Travellers’ Choice and TripAdvisor Awards, GNEX – Perspective Magazine Awards, Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards and FEDHASA Hospitality Awards.

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