Plans to make La Grande Mare into a multi-leisure facility
THE hotel Peter Vermeulen built – La Grande Mare – could soon be no more.
Stephen Lansdown’s plans to develop a high-class golf resort and events, business and social centre, renders the 40-year-old original build obsolete and should all go to plan, Guernsey will have a new leisure facility to be proud of by the summer of 2023.
The billionaire businessman owns both Bristol City football club and Bristol Bears rugby union side, was made a CBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to business and the community in Bristol.
Mr Lansdown wants to give similar attention to the island where he lives and at La Grande Mare he has found a spot where he believes a centre can be developed to make Guernsey proud.
Attracting visitors to Guernsey and to a new-look La Grande Mare with no hotel but a series of lodges, is key to the project, as is providing islanders with a high-class events, business and social centre.
The new build, which will be no higher than the current one and occupy a similar total footprint to what is there now, would be multi-functional and able to cater from anything from weddings to art exhibitions.
‘We want to make Guernsey proud of this, we want the people of Guernsey when they are out there talking as what Guernsey has got to offer, La Grande Mare is at the top of that list,’ said the owner at the first unveiling of his plans to staff and golf members,’ he said.
‘We want a country club rather than a hotel where we can provide a better standard of accommodation [in lodges], attracting people in for golfing holidays, people who want to just self-accommodate or for those who want to come over for holidays or business events.’
The main building will include a major area for functions, promotions and exhibitions, a terrace and 100-seat terrace restaurant taking in the views of the bay.
Mr Lansdown said with the fluid design it would have the capability of becoming ‘the Guggenheim of Guernsey’.
In a separate area, a new health and spa facility will include a gymnasium and 25m swimming pool that could even stage competitions.
La Grande Mare was bought for an undisclosed sum on New Year’s Eve 2018 by Pula Investments.
It was announced in May that La Grande Mare would not be reopening in its previous format once lockdown restrictions were lifted as plans to redevelop it were fast-tracked. The hotel and restaurants remain closed, while The Golf Course and Club and The Health and Leisure Club are fully operational.