For holiday vacation this year, I went to Bermuda and stayed at Horizons, as I have done every year since 1996 (except 1999 when deployed to the Middle East).
Horizons closed this week permanently, slated for redevelopment with a neighboring property, the Coral Beach Club. Redevelopment is long overdue. The rumor is that it will become a Four Seasons (the rumor status appears to come from Four Seasons policy to ensure standards are met prior to agreeing to use the FS name).
What I won't miss: the tennis courts amazing state of disrepair, the erratic lunch service, opaque billing, unresponsive management (they even ran out of tennis balls).
What I will miss: the loyal, amazing, and long-serving staff, an outstanding multi-course dinner from a unique menu every night, the community of people who visited every year at the same time, clotted cream at afternoon tea, the ability to play par 3 golf on a walk-on basis starting and ending on any vacant hole, the cottage format with public spaces and balconies and breakfast served in cottage (we miss you Blanche).
I grew up going somewhere different every year and every vacation. Except the beach, because we got a really good deal from my aunt. But only because of the deal. We went all sorts of places, but nowhere twice. Every hotel, every attraction was always new. I'd sit in the backseat reading the AAA guide. Some detours (Canyon de Chelly) were amazing, some less than that. My father could never understand why someone would go on vacation every year to the same place for almost 25 years. Why not try Jamaica? or the Bahamas? or....
I now understand. For all the faults and flaws of Horizon's management, they were always outweighed by a community of people. To have true friends at the bar that you look forward to seeing again the first night of every trip. If you can successfully incorporate community into a business model, it will carry a business over many hurdles.
How to leverage the modern toolset to bolt community on existing or planned destinations? Not clear. Though the opportunity appears massive.