All-inclusive resort planned for western Nunavut

“An amazing opportunity for Cambridge Bay”


There's lots of room to build on Sandy Beach near the western Nunavut community of Cambridge Bay which features many kilometres of untouched sand. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

There’s lots of room to build on Sandy Beach near the western Nunavut community of Cambridge Bay which features many kilometres of untouched sand. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Sandals Resorts International plans to establish an all-inclusive resort near the western Nunavut community of Cambridge Bay by 2025.

Called “Arctic Beaches,” this luxury 200-room resort would be a spin-off hybrid of the Sandals’ “Beaches” chain of resorts located in the Caribbean—and the first of a chain of similar all-inclusive Arctic resorts planned for promising circumpolar spots.

News of this unprecedented Arctic tourism development plan came to Nunatsiaq News from a reliable source, close to the management of Sandals, who asked not to be named for the purposes of this story, but called it “an amazing opportunity for Cambridge Bay.”

The proposal, already in the works and slated to be submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board by early in 2019, calls for an all-inclusive resort located on Sandy Beach on the Arctic Ocean, close to the Kitikmeot community of about 1,700.

The site eyed for potential development features a wide, long stretch of sand— a “plus” according to the Nunatsiaq News source, who compared this undeveloped Arctic beach to some of the finest in the Caribbean.

The move into the Arctic is prompted by Sandals’ desire to penetrate the Arctic market before other tourism developers: climate change is predicted to increase the region’s annual temperature by at least 12 C and eliminate seasonal Arctic ice, some predict as early as 2030.

The Sandals proposal would see the construction of about 200 rooms, with concierge and butler-level suites, including the brand’s signature Rondovals, designed for the Arctic with an igloo-inspired flare, Millionaire Butler Suites and Skypool (sheltered) Suites.

Weather permitting, a private Rolls Royce would provide transfers for resort patrons to and from the airport.

The resort would include an indoor Crystal Lagoon Pool Complex, featuring heated Arctic Ocean water.

Several bars would offer unlimited premium spirits and dining establishments would include North American, French, Chinese-Japanese Fusion, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines.

The resort would also debut a conference facility equipped with meeting aids such as a projector screen, microphone with stand, basic Internet and more.

For children and the “young at heart,” there would be a waterpark along an Arctic theme, including sliding down “icebergs.”

During the long days of summer, the resort would offer activities, such as fishing and hiking, on a 24-7 basis, while, in winter, the focus would change to romantic spa treatments, unique country foods dining experiences and northern lights watching.

The holiday season would bring in Santa Claus and other themed events.

Sandals-Arctic Beaches would also like to work with the Canadian High Arctic Research Station to collaborate on scientific learning adventures.

As well, Sandals-Arctic Beaches would aim to make the resort “green,” despite the absence of vegetation, by powering the off-grid resort complex with solar energy in the summer and with recycled refuse during the dark months of the year.

Cambridge Bay could stand to see several hundred jobs from the development’s construction and operation phases. Among other benefits for residents of Cambridge Bay, the resort would also lead to the construction of a paved two-lane road from the airport to Sandy Beach.

However, the project, located on Inuit-owned lands, would require approval from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, along with an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement, to move ahead, and would be likely subject to a full environmental review from the NIRB.

Its estimated construction cost: about $375 million.

Nunatsiaq News was unable to reach anyone from Sandals or the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay for comment.

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