Celebrating its 25th year, the China Fleet Country Club is busy undergoing a massive multi-million pound upgrade to their estate. The upscale country club offers a golf course, pool, spa and dining choices but is busy installing new attractions and upgrading all of their existing facilities and accommodation
Based in Saltash, Cornwall the leisure and golf club has decided to invest a significant amount of money due to their evolving customer base, a generation that expects more for their money and a high level of luxury and service.
The most recent renovation is the Club’s Upper Deck Bistro, a 35-cover fine dining experience that has seen £10,000 investment and a new three-course menu, is to establish it’s own identity from the Club’s popular 120-cover Brasserie.
“We needed to do something to exceed customer expectations,” said Managing Director Dean Bennett, “The Upper Deck is fine dining, the Brasserie is traditional meals, fashionable but mass dining.”
The restaurant is the latest in a series of on-going developments. Mr Bennett explained that a strategic decision was taken more than four years ago to heavily invest in their facilities due to the competitive TripAdvisor generation.
The Club has already undergone £1 million converting their old badminton courts into conference rooms: “Customer expectations are high,” continued Mr Bennett. “They are constantly looking for new experiences and we have to follow the trends.”
“Customers have more power now because of TripAdvisor. Their expectations are very high and we have to exceed those expectations wherever possible.”
In early 2014 a £450,000 Aqua Spa was opened: “ This has done fantastically well for us, “ Mr Bennett said, “And since then we have invested a further £1.5 million into the club.”
The Lounge Bar, a £20,000 investment, and the Brasserie were ungraded in late 2015. Now this year, November 2016, work will begin again this time to refresh China Fleet’s second bar that is attached to the Brasserie. St Austell Brewery are in partnership with the Club for the development, which sees a £8,000 project that will include local ales and spirits on offer, as well as an ice-cream parlour for children.
“It’s going to be exciting and innovative, we are looking at different bar concepts,” said Mr Bennett, “We’ll have guest ales that will change regularly.”
The reception areas for both the leisure and accommodation side of the Club will also undergo a complete reconfiguration, costing £60,000. But the major spend is being made on the accommodation with £750,000 going into upgrading 41 one-bedroom Tamar apartments, four Lynher two-bed apartments, and two cottages.
11 apartments have already been upgraded at a cost of £25,000 each, and another four will be revamped within the next month. Each will take six weeks to upgrade. The two cottages will be modernised this year too.
The plan is that by 2018 all accommodation will have been upgraded, “Our accommodation is currently three-star but is said to exceed expectations,” explained Mr Bennett.
Cash has also been spent behind the scenes including £250,000 on a new irrigation system for the gold course, £150,000 on new air conditioning systems for the swimming pool and £60,000 on an energy efficient boiler. In addition £200,000 was spent on the changing room facilities.
Looking ahead to 2017 a further £50,000 will be spent on refurbishment of the pool that boasts a children’s pool, with water slide, as well as the main pool.
The main stream of money used for the on-going refurbishment programme comes from reinvested income from the Country Club. The business that has strong military connects, has received donations from the Armed Forces Covenant (LIBOR) Fund. They have also received £100,000 from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
Mr Bennett explained: “We’ve grown through being busy,” the Club has seen an annual turnover of £4.5 million.