years ago—echoes Douglas’s sentimentality for Bermuda.
“I’m a sailor and I’ve always loved the island, and I looked at opportunities over the years as I had increasing experience and success with
my real estate business—things that I could do—but I never found a
project that I thought was as exciting and as meaningful as redeveloping Ariel Sands,” he says.
Between the pair of them, they have a firm grip on the troubles
facing the island. As businessmen, their primary goal is to create a suc-
cessful hotel. But imbedded
within that is a determina-
tion to help Bermuda and
the tourism industry in the
“I think now that the attention has sort of changed from
everything being focussed
on reinsurers and offshore
financing; tourism has to be
a larger part of Bermuda’s
income,” Douglas notes.
“What [we’re] really hoping
to do is to set a blueprint for
the future and to encourage
other people in the tourism
business to come forward.
[Bermuda] desperately needs
hotel rooms, and if we can help this, with the
support of government, so much the better.”
For Weinstein, the potential for competition
in the industry only sweetens the deal.
“I’m never concerned about competition
because I always believe that I’m going to pro-
duce absolutely the best product,” he says. “So in
comparison we’re always going to be better.”
“On the other hand, I don’t see competition
as being anything but synergistic because I don’t
ever believe that life or business is a zero sum
game. I believe that the world is structured, and
business is structured, that if you have the right
approach and right attitude, everybody can win.”
The “right approach” for the Ariel Sands
development, they say, leans heavily on sustain-
ability and maintaining a small carbon footprint. In terms of maximis-
ing the potential of the property, Douglas and Weinstein have “worked
diligently to find a balance that did not overpower the size of the land.”
The idea, says Douglas, is to create a fiscally sound business without
attempting to wring as much money out of the land as possible—“It’s
still going to be financially successful, but you don’t have to pig out,
Weinstein puts it in more tangible terms.
“What we are going to do here is produce an environmentally
friendly, low- impact project. We’re bringing in the best thinking from
around the world on sustainable energy, [and] both active and passive
‘green’ practices, which I’ve been doing for most of my career.
ership and management of commercial real estate.” He also happens
to love Bermuda.
Sitting down in the refurbished cottage that day in November, six
years after Ariel Sands was shuttered, Weinstein and Douglas discussed
their plans for the property, as well as their desire to help an island for
which they both have a deep affinity.
For Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bermuda
is as close to a permanent home as it gets. Outside of their house in
Warwick—which they currently lease out—the pair own
apartments in New York and
Los Angeles, a country estate
in New York, a ski house in
Colorado, a villa in Majorca,
a house in Zeta-Jones’s native
Wales, and a beachfront abode
in Turks and Caicos. That
they’ve raised and educated
their two children, Dylan
and Carys, in Bermuda is a
testament to their long-term
commitment to the island.
It’s been a long time since
Douglas was a young Bermu-
dian enjoying the trappings of
College Weeks and island life.
The son of legendary actor Kirk Douglas and Bermudian actress Diana Dill, his career has rarely
wavered from its upward arch since winning his
first Academy Award as producer for the 1975
Best Picture winner, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s
Nest. Four Golden Globes, an Emmy, a successful
battle against throat cancer, and another Academy Award later—this time for his portrayal of
Gordon Gecko in Wall Street—Douglas says that
throughout it all, his thoughts have inevitably returned to Bermuda, his home, and his childhood.
“I’m basically a gypsy,” he tells me matter-of-factly, his trademark wispy, white hair as unruly
as ever. “My work takes me all around the world,
and you kind of reach a certain age where you’re
looking for your roots.
“I had these memories, all these memories—of Ariel, of the family
coming around, of my Uncle Lawrence who played the piano every
night, hallway sing-alongs, other ‘encounters’ as a college kid…” He
trails off momentarily, lost in an apparent moment of nostalgia.
“As hard as it may be to remember, but like Cancun this place rocked
all through the ’50s and ’60s as a kind of college hangout.”
Douglas, like the rest of us, wonders where it all went wrong.
“It’s one of those things everybody kind of scratches their heads
over,” he says. “Why is tourism not working now when it worked so
well all into the ’70s?”
Seated in the garden chair next to him, Weinstein—who has been in
love with the island since stepping off a sailboat in St. George’s some 45
Douglas’ business partner, Seth
Weinstein, principal at Olympic
Property Partners LLC.
Artistic rendering of the proposed beach terrace.