When the economy lapsed into recession in late 2008, Massachusett’s Cape Cod’s luxury resorts were hit hard, reports the Boston Globe. This spring, however, a long-awaited revival may be underway. Bookings are up and room rates are pushing higher, according to managers.
“Last year, our [room] rates fell 9 percent, which actually wasn’t as bad as some of our competitors,” said Robert Newman, general manager of the Cape’s largest luxury complex, Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club in Brewster (see “The New Wave of Ideas at Ocean Edge Resort,” Nov. 2005). This year, he said, they are up 17 percent. “We’re finally up higher than what we lost,” Newman said.
Having weathered the worst economic times in a generation, resort managers say they are looking forward to a busy summer.
“It has changed in a very favorable manner,” said Mark Novota, managing partner of the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Chatham. “Bookings are up 7 percent for the year. We expected a much more sluggish recovery.”
Another sign of the health of the market came earlier this month, when an important new player arrived on the scene, says the Globe. Longwood Events founder Jim Apeteker and partners bought the private Wychmere Harbor Club in Harwichport for $24 million, and said they would renovate and reposition the property to host more private and corporate events.
As the corporate and leisure business dropped off last year, Cape resorts shifted more of their focus to weddings and family events. Ocean Edge, which was in the midst of a $30 million-plus renovation and expansion when the recession began, capitalized on a new ballroom and terrace to attract smaller celebrations.
Last year, it hosted about 60 weddings, double the number from the year before. In 2010, the number should double again to about 120, according to Newman.