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In the 1950s, Budge and Cynthia O’Hara set sail for Barbados from England, spending their honeymoon on a passenger cargo ship. Their plan was to spend 3 years in Barbados where Budge was to be the general manager of Coral Reef Club, a fledgling hotel property that was being slowly developed on 12 acres of beachfront property, with cottages and small coralstone buildings housing the charming accommodation.
Cynthia soon became involved also, ensuring that the gardens changed from sandy scrub-like vegetation to mature gardens with lots of trees and beautiful flowering shrubs. She then arranged for every arrival to have fresh flowers in the room and flowers abounded in the public areas. The interiors soon had a more stylish touch and so began a very happy union, both between Budge and Cynthia, and the O’Haras and Barbados, that has spanned many decades now.
They had 2 sons, Patrick and Mark, and a daughter, Karen, who spent happy childhood years growing up in these beautiful surroundings and more time in the water than out! All went on to the UK to be educated and all have returned not only to the island, but to the family business, with their spouses. Patrick’s wife is Sharon, Mark’s is Maria, and Karen’s husband is Wayne, who runs the sister hotel built in 1970 by Budge and Cynthia, The Sandpiper. There are 8 grandchildren who are growing up quickly.
Sadly Budge died in 1995, before the tremendous upgrades that were carried out in the late 1990s and in the new century. The younger generation have taken on the challenge of bringing Coral Reef Club into the 21st century whilst still maintaining the personal service and family atmosphere that their parents created. Having inherited an incredibly high rate of repeat guests, they are maintaining this high rate with a whole new generation of repeat guests.