Widely considered one of the premier resort and residential developments in Providenciales, Grace Bay Club is a success story that brilliantly demonstrates the entrepreneurial acumen of a young, dynamic team made up of developers Mark Durliat and John Fair and hotelier Nikheel Advani.
In just five years since purchasing the property in 2001 this team has converted a US$14-million asset to a $200-million thriving resort property of the highest caliber, achieving real estate sales prices nearly double those of competitors and setting record prices for the region. The extraordinary success of this unbranded property, now uniquely positioned as a clear leader among the giant global brands competing in Turks & Caicos, is a David-and-Goliath epic that underscores the power of innovative entrepreneurship.
With a clear focus on creating value for shareholders and partners, the team developed a strategy built on relationship sales, both in the residential field and in the hospitality operations of the resort. Collectively Durliat & Fair set out to attract seasoned, corporate-trained hospitality stars who share a similar entrepreneurial spirit by looking within the brand giants to find key talent for this independent property. In 2004, Grace Bay Club appointed celebrated hotelier Nikheel Advani, an internationally respected hotelier known for the impeccable service level he maintained at Raffles and Ritz-Carlton. Advani quickly focused his attention on luring in other top-notch hospitality leaders from prominent companies like Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Raffles.
The company’s strength has been in attracting the best possible talent on all levels while growing the hospitality culture that exists within our development team, which itself has tremendous experience and depth. Durliat & Fair together were able to establish a remarkable resort real estate product; Advani brought the operational and hospitality pedigree and expertise which has completed the team. The company is small and agile, but with the talent depth of the huge hotel companies, which gives this property an edge.
The Grace Bay Club brand has become synonymous with high-end Caribbean travel, and is now matching—or even beating—rates of the industry giants.
Mark Durliat is driven by his desire to create a legacy of excellence and opportunity where none existed. His ability to identify talented individuals who share his vision has allowed him to achieve exceptional results.
A dynamic and inspiring leader, Mark’s distinct and compelling vision was built on his experiences gained around the world. Having graduated from USC with majors in Business and French, he seized his first opportunity to travel abroad. He initially moved to Paris, where a fortunate meeting with Gary Player forever changed his career path. From this encounter, he travelled to South Africa, where he began developing master-planned communities, as well as residential and hospitality properties.
Driven to create a distinctive destination in the Caribbean, Mark set off to find the right opportunity in the right location. After ten months of searching, he discovered a hidden gem called Turks and Caicos. Here, he found that rare combination of perfection and potential, and planted the seed for his vision. He purchased Grace Bay Club, when it was just a small, 20-plus-room hotel. Today calling Turks and Caicos his home, he continues to lead and inspire the growth and ongoing innovation of Grace Bay Resorts through his foresight and dedication to this location and its people.
Mark’s goal is to build the company into one that manages ten luxury resort and residential properties in Turks and Caicos and in the Caribbean region, with each resort and residence providing the customer-focused, handmade experiences that define the Grace Bay Resorts brand.
When Nikheel Advani arrived at Grace Bay Club in 2004, his vision was to elevate luxury service at the resort, and redefine exceptional service in the region.
Internationally acknowledged as one of the most distinguished hoteliers, he possesses an unwavering commitment to guest satisfaction — a focus that inspires each member of the Grace Bay Resorts team, and a sensibility that is palpable when on every property that carries the Grace Bay Resorts brand. Through his drive to deliver handmade luxury experiences to guests, Nikheel has transformed how Grace Bay Resorts delivers its elite level of handmade experiences. His vision and commitment to excellence has been extensively recognized, and in 2012, he was honored with the ‘Ultimate Hotelier of the Year’ award by Island Destinations, alongside Grace Bay Resorts CEO Mark Durliat.
As Chief Operating Officer, he has overseen Grace Bay Club’s successful and seamless expansion from a 21-room boutique hotel to a full-service luxury resort with 82 suites and The Estate residences; as well as expanded the brand with The Veranda Resort, West Bay Club, and the exclusive private beach residences, micro resort, The Collection. Today, in addition to the strategic oversight and growth Nikheel provides leadership to the dynamic and influential sales and marketing powerhouse team of Grace Bay Resorts branded properties.
Nikheel holds expertise and insight gained from decades at the helm of some of the most celebrated brands in the industry. He came to Grace Bay Club after serving as Hotel Manager of the renowned Raffles Hotel Singapore,where he also served as the Food and Beverage Champion for the entire Asia Pacific region. Prior to his time at Raffles, he held senior leadership roles in the opening of seven Ritz-Carlton properties, including New York, Singapore and Osaka.
When he’s not managing the operations of the properties, he’s teaching at Cornell University, speaking at Les Roches, and sitting on various boards including Leading Hotels of the World and The Bondhi Tree Foundation. Nikheel graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with an honors degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration, and successfully completed the General Manager Program at Harvard Business School.
Michael Brewster is the Chairman and Principal of Grace Bay Resorts. A founding partner of Denver-based SV Capital Partners, he was the initial lead investor in the development of Grace Bay Club.
Mike’s extensive expertise with boutique luxury resort properties provided him with the acumen to recognize the exceptional opportunity that was Grace Bay Club. His ability to identify and build remarkable resort destinations is fueled by his three decades of experience as an international developer and investor in real estate markets in Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and the US. He continues to provide his foresight and insight to the transactions and opportunities that define and determine the future of Grace Bay Resorts.
Earlier in his career, Mike was head of Capital Markets for Republic Financial Corporation, a diverse Investment-Acquisition-Leasing company, and prior to that he was Vice President-Finance at Leprino Food Company, a privately held, billion dollar food manufacturer. Mike received his B.Sc. in Accounting from the University of Evansville and upon graduation was employed with Arthur Andersen & Co.