Faces of Mahogany Bay Village: Meet Dennis Connolly

Director of Resort Opening, Dennis Connolly, pictured here at Mahogany Bay Village in 2017.

Director of Resort Opening, Dennis Connolly, pictured here at Mahogany Bay Village in 2017.

Dennis Connolly brings to Mahogany Bay Village over 30 years of experience in commercial development and project management. In his diverse career, Dennis has been responsible for managing the development of major retail centers, office buildings, residential, and hotel properties in the United States and abroad.

His responsibility at Mahogany Bay Village is in the procurement of all village FF&E — fixtures, furnishings, and equipment — as well as to leading the teams from both construction and operations to a successful hotel opening. 

For nine years, Dennis served as Vice President of The Rouse Company, a publicly held American shopping mall and community developer founded in 1939. From there, he went on to join The Walt Disney Company as General Manager, where he managed the planning, design, construction, and commencement operations for hotel, retail/entertainment complexes, and the headquarter buildings at Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida, and Paris, France.

In his seven years with The Mills Corporation, an American real estate investment trust responsible for development of several major regional shopping malls, Dennis served as Vice President and Senior Development Director. There, he developed over five million square feet of retail and mixed-use space throughout the United States. 

 Dennis Connolly (fourth from right, mustache) aboard the USS Kitty Hawk off North Vietnam on a rare day off. 

Dennis at flight school in Pensacola, Florida. 

The leadership skills demonstrated in accomplishing his impressive list of projects had their genesis in Dennis’s time as a carrier aviator in the United States Navy from 1964 to 1972.

Dennis holds a BS in Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, and an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland. 

Q. What influenced your decision to join the inaugural team at Mahogany Bay Village? 

A. I didn’t believe there were any more exciting projects left for me, so when the opportunity to be a part of Mahogany Bay Resort presented itself, I needed no time to make my decision. Although MBV may be the most unique and challenging project I have ever worked on, the real excitement is that once again I get to work with supremely talented colleagues that I have worked with for over twenty years. There are not many things more exciting than seeing a project come together from beginning to end. MBV has been especially exciting and rewarding for me because of the special nature of the resort: A Curio Collection by Hilton, first branded hotel in Belize; the talented Belizean workforce; the quality of the workmanship; and the unique product itself.

Q. What do you enjoy doing with your free time when you aren't working in Belize?

A. I love to play golf, build wooden model boats, and read — especially history. Actually, now that I think of it, I'm pretty boring.

We beg to differ, Mr. Connolly! Dennis is known around the Mahogany Bay Village property for his resourcefulness, positive attitude, and kind smile. We're lucky to have such an asset as part of our founding executive team. 

Here is Dennis pictured in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Mahogany Bay Village's principal developer & CEO, Beth Clifford.

Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow; Kim Simplis-Barrow; Beth Clifford; Dennis Connolly at The Inspiration Celebration charity event at Mahogany Bay Village in 2016. Beth sums up this picture best: "one of these things is not like the other . . ."

Laura Balis