Skeldon Heritage Resort promoting family time, cohesiveness in the community
By Nafeeza Yahya
SITTING on the far eastern end of East Berbice-Corentyne, a stone’s throw from the Corentyne River and overlooking the 100 plus years of sugarcane plantation history sits the picturesque Skeldon Heritage Resort (SHR), formerly the managers’ compound of the Skeldon Estate. The compound now under the control of NICIL has become the hottest spot on the Corentyne for relaxation, entertainment and family fun. The resort sits on 48 acres of pristine greenery and with its cool, fresh Atlantic breeze, persons are destined to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Skeldon Sugar Estate is located approximately 74 kilometres east of New Amsterdam. With
24, three-bedroom bungalows, the Great House, a guest house with eight self-contained rooms, dining hall, a training facility that is perfect for seminars, benabs, a swimming pool, recreational facilities for, cricket, basketball, volleyball, lawn tennis and other sports, the resort is perfect for any family fun, corporate retreat or educational tour and offers a “unique escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.” On a typical Sunday, the facilities have an average of 500 adults and children who visit to make use of the pool and other amenities.
Among the exquisite beauty to explore at the SHR, is the ‘Great House or what is now called the ‘Grand house’; the two-storey, suspended timber and shingle structure was built in 1910. While rehabilitation work was done over the years, the historical building was able to retain its original features. The name speaks for itself with the first floor so ‘huge’ and spacious it would take some time to explore; the level offers dining and the living area while the second level contains the bedrooms. Over the years the structures have retained most of their original features such as the regal vintage look, covered verandahs and wide overhangs. The building was used as the official residence of the estate manager; it also offers the most pleasing scenery as well as a swing on the ground floor. In front of the building contains a cannon, while around the house are numerous fruit trees, flowers and a kitchen garden.
The management of the facility is looking to add a few more amenities such as a restaurant and sports bar to encourage even more visitors and guests, while maintaining the rich cultural and historical heritage of the sugar industry in Guyana.
“This was an estate setting and we want people to have an appreciation of how the managers used to live, so they can come and rent the houses. We want to encourage people to come down, spend a weekend. We want to create an all-inclusive package where persons can come to the resort, be at peace and at the same time experience nature at its best, with expeditions to the back dams and fishing trips,” said Manager of the facility, Linden Murray.
The compound has been under control of NICIL since April 2018 and has also served as the go-to spot for entertainment-starved residents for the past year and with the plans in store, the manager told the Pepperpot Magazine that they may soon run out of space.
The former senior staff club building has been converted into an executive bar; there will be more benabs and Gazebos added to the resort and a spanking new sports bar will be constructed.
Because of the layout of the place with its well-kept lush green lawns and trees that provide shade, it is the ideal area for picnics or camping and with security service 24/7, patrons are safe around the clock.
But the management of the resort is simply not content to sit and wait for customers to walk through the door and make use of the pool and other facilities. They are planning to organise exhibitions, safari trips, beauty pageants, weekend bar-b-ques, karaoke, sports events and other events.
According to Murray, the team while trying to provide entertainment, is also looking to educate and promote social cohesion. For this August holiday, plans are afoot to have a mixture of education and fun for everyone, with literacy classes coupled with aquatic and track and field classes. The holiday will culminate with the Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort Pageant on August 31. The pageant will see a bevy of beauties vying for the inaugural crown which the organisers plan to make an annual event. It is open to females on the Corentyne between the ages of 17-25. It will feature a swimsuit segment, evening gown segment and intelligence segment. Leading up to the event will also be a day of sports with live entertainment by local artistes and a popular stereo system.
Further, the team at the resort is also looking to have an exclusive kids area with all safety measures in place, so that the children can have clean fun away from the adults while being safe.
According to Murray, the transformation of the compound into a resort was the best thing to happen on the Corentyne, as patrons are giving rave reviews and keep asking for more activities beyond the 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs operating period.
“We are encouraging sober family entertainment, quality time with their families. The only place you can have this is at Skeldon Heritage Resort. You should come down if you want to have clean fun; this is the best thing to happen in Corentyne.”
With a rich history in sugar, the estate spans 34 square miles. The factory and machinery that remain serve as a reminder of this history. The SHR intends to preserve some of that history as they hope to share it with the world.