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An exclusive HotelChatter Long Read by John Buchanan
Shortly after that, Baha Mar insiders told us the resort would actually open on March 27. Progress! Except after three months of non-stop marketing and advertising hype about the new "Bahamian Riviera", across traditional and digital media--along with a special Grand Opening offer that included a $100 resort credit--Baha Mar delayed its opening again to May in a most spectacular way--by announcing the delay on Facebook two days before the scheduled opening.
Would-be guests flooded the Bahamian megaresort’s Facebook page with questions about their existing room reservations and plane tickets. A few even said they had no idea about the delay until they saw the Facebook post. Several seriously unlucky folks had less than 48-hours notice before leaving for the Bahamas.
We’ve not seen a mob mentality rage of this kind toward a hotel before. Indeed, angry customers are still leaving comments on the resort’s Facebook page, asking about their upcoming reservations for May.
After canceling its official grand opening weekend for May 5-7, and moving its general opening date yet again, Baha Mar is now accepting reservations for July 1-3, seven months after the initial December opening date. (And no, there was no official update on social media from the resort about the May opening being moved as well.)
To be fair, delays are to be expected when building new hotels, especially one as big as the $3.5 billion, China-funded Baha Mar resort which will have a flagship hotel and casino, two luxury hotels (Rosewood and SLS Lux) and a Grand Hyatt. But it is one thing to delay your hotel’s opening date before you’ve begun accepting reservations. It is another thing entirely to delay your opening just two days before the expected date without notifying your existing reservation holders.
One can only wonder--Will Baha Mar ever recover from this very public embarrassing setback? Will guests want to take a chance on booking a room for July? Will travel media, travel agents, meeting and events planners and other businesses believe Baha Mar when they announce their next opening date?
Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / One and Only Resorts / One and Only Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
No rest for the wicked though, as things are continuing on in the Bahamas – more specifically, renovations at One&Only Ocean Club (perhaps you recall certain scenes from the movie Casino Royale being set here). Target for the renovations is the Hartford Wing of the resort, where rooms will get new furniture, while being expanded by 110 sq ft so that each includes a terrace or balcony.
Baha Mar might not be open in the Bahamas next month, but this hotel will be.
With only 30 rooms and in the upscale Lyford Cay on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, The Island House is shaping up for a spectacular debut next month. The rooms are generously sized, inside and out, at around 500 sq.ft., with a 120-sq.ft. balcony. Two cottages are also available with over 1,000-sq.ft. of space and a nearly 600-sq.ft. foot porch. Still not enough space for you? The Island House will also have six two- and three-bedroom apartments.
There will be a resort communal area equipped with WiFiand work stations, a coffee bar, the Bamford Spa and a "movement studio" that will offer Pilates, anti-gravity yoga and other classes. Perhaps the most unique aspect is its 48-seat on site cinema that promises to show feature films as well as artsy flicks.
As for dining on-property, guests can hit up the Mahogany House, which has been in operation since 2010.
Rates start at $650.
[Photos: The Island House]
Hotel Fail / Hotel News / Hotel Delays / Baha Mar Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Hotel Opening Fail / → All Tags
This is surprising and yet not surprising from the hotel we awarded with the Worst Hotel Hype of 2014.
The Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas, a vacation destination that is to include a Rosewood Hotel, an SLS Lux property, a Grand Hyatt and the centerpiece Baha Mar Resort & Casino, has now pushed its opening back to May.
Originally, the resort complex was set to open in December, but missed that date and hoped for a May opening instead. But starting in January, Baha Mar began hyping up a March 27 opening, accepting reservations and promoting several opening day packages. Then, last week, just two days before it was due to open Baha Mar posted the above note to Facebook about the delay, leaving guests who booked non-refundable flights in the lurch during a popular Spring Break travel week.
According to the Miami Herald, Baha Mar places the blame for the second delay on the Chinese construction for not finishing the work in time. Whatever the reason for the delay, Baha Mar is now scrambling to deal with the fall-out. But they will have a very tough time saving face.
All you need to do is read through the barrage of Facebook comments on this post. Many of the guests were told they could be relocated to nearby Atlantis, only to find out that resort was booked during their dates. Other guests with reservations in April had no idea the delay was even happening until they saw the update in their Facebook feed. And many more are worried that the resort won't be open in May, which we think is a very real concern.
Here are just a few of the more than 600 comments on the Baha Mar Facebook page.
We're just a few weeks away from the first opening phase of the long-awaited Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas. We've already told you what to expect rate-wise as well as given you the heads-up on the opening deal.
Now today, we're peeking at the public spaces of the SLS Lux at Baha Mar.
Here are a few renderings of the lobby, the pool and the pool terrace. This might be our favorite SLS yet. It's not too dark, it's not too weird or ornate, and it's not crowded, yet. We also love how the Bahamian pink gets incorporated here. (The entire exterior is swathed in this color.)
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / SLS Lux Hotels / SLS Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Baha Mar Hotels / → All Tags
We've already told you what to expect room rate-wise at the upcoming Baha Mar Resorts, the first of which will open on March 27, but today we have a closer look at, and a deal for the SLS Lux at Baha Mar.
In case you weren't sure, SLS Lux is what it is says--a luxer version of the usual, SLS Hotels. A room at the SLS Lux at Baha Mar starts at 358-sq.ft. and includes the "Sleep Lying Still" signature beds, 48-inch flat-screen TVs, Ciel spa toiletries and a Juliette balcony, among other amenities. But judging by this new rendering of the rooms, SLS Lux actually looks more simpler than the average SLS Hotel room. We do like that rug, though.
And these are rather small rooms for being "Lux" but the good news is that the opening rate on March 27 has dropped from $715 a night to $450 a night, with a $100 resort credit. There is still a $40 per night, plus tax resort fee to add-on.
Naturally we had to do a room rate check. Here's what you can expect to pay on March 27. Break out the dollar bills!
Baha Mar Resort & Casino: At the main resort on site, you can expect to pay $350 a night for a seriously stylish deluxe king room with ESPA toiletries, a 48-inch flat screen TV, a Nespresso coffee make and a full or step-out balcony. The special opening offer also throws in a $100 in resort credit, which helps make the $40 resort fee plus 17.5 % tax per day a little more bearable. (But not really.) That resort fee includes: In-room Internet access, In-room Coffee, In-room Bottled Water, Unlimited Local calls, Health Club Access (2 per day), Non-motorized beach equipment.
Sorry the resort credit cannot be applied to the resort fee.
Hotel Hype / Hotel Openings / Hotel Delays / Baha Mar Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
UPDATE 1.8.15: The Baha Mar Resort will open on MARCH 27 with reservations being accepted right now for the Baha Mar Resort and Casino, The Rosewood and the SLS Lux at Baha Mar. The Grand Hyatt should open shortly after that.
Well, that was fast. Just after we gave the Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas our year-end award for Worst Hotel Hype, we learn there's a chance that the resort wonderland, which will have a Rosewood Hotel, an SLS Lux Hotel, a Grand Hyatt and a Baha Mar Hotel and Casino on property, may actually open in March. Break out the steel drums!
But don't start swilling the rum just yet.
While there are signs that part of the resort could open in March (like this one we found on the SLS Hotel's website, which says SLS Lux Hotel, March 2015), the Baha Mar website still is only accepting reservations for June 1 and beyond. The Grand Hyatt also posted on Facebook recently that they too were accepting reservations for June 1 and beyond.
Still, since Baha Mar was expected to open in December before delaying the opening until May, there's a very good chance, they could split the difference and open in March. We'll keep our fingers crossed.
[Photo: Baha Mar]
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Hotel Hype / Hotel Delays / Bahamas Hotels / Baha Mar Hotels / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
Usually, the Worst Hotel Hype award is given to a hotel or hotel brand who is constantly bragging about their upcoming property yet who consistently fails to deliver on the opening date.
For most of this year, we were convinced that Virgin Hotels would win this dubious award, what with their announcements of new Virgin locations but no description (not even a rendering!) on what a Virgin Hotel will be about. That all changed in October when an opening date for Virgin Hotel Chicago was announced (January 15) along with detailed information (an animated video, actually) on the design and amenities of a Virgin Hotel. With Virgin out of the running, we had to turn elsewhere.
Like The Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas.
While it looks like the Meliá Nassau at the Baha Mar resort complex in the Bahamas will still be opening in November, the Baha Mar resort as a whole will not actually open until May 2015. Previously, the resort, which is being billed as "The Bahamaian Riviera" was to open in December.
Indeed, a recent Facebook giveaway for the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar hotel says the 5-day hotel stay awarded to the winner is only bookable after May 1, 2015. So that's probably a good idea of the actual opening date for the resort as a whole. Meanwhile, the Grand Hyatt's website says the property will open in Spring 2015. Maybe we can hope for an April opening? Interestingly, the Rosewood at Baha Mar's website still says 2014 but that might change.
Either way, your plans for spending the holidays in the Bahamas at a new resort may have to be changed.
The multi-billion dollar resort wonderland that is Baha Mar in the Bahamas, is not scheduled to open until December but already there's so much to get excited about. We've shown you a sneak peek at the luxury Rosewood Resort and we've dished out the details on the forthcoming SLS Resort and now we've got some insight to the only upscale all-inclusive resort set to open at Baha Mar--The Meliá Nassau Beach.
Already, $19 million worth of renovations are underway on the former Sheraton resort. While the resort is actually open during the renovations, these should be complete by November and that's when the hotel will officially open as a Meliá.
Autograph Collection Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Loyalty Program News / Hotel News / → All Tags
This fall, the sprawling Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas will become a part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott. That means all of the resort's 3,400 rooms (including the super-luxe Cove rooms), 40 restaurants and bars and the 141-acre water park will now be bookable using Marriott Rewards points. Of course, you'll also be able to earn points with your stay too. (And hopefully, the resort will extend free WiFi to Marriott Rewards elite members.)
Atlantis will operate under a long-term franchise agreement with Marriott, who also provided a $100 million mezzanine loan to the resort. So this is a serious deal, not a "we'll try it out for a bit" situation.
And the partnership could not have come at a better time, or maybe it was orchestrated that way, since the nearby Baha Mar Resort & Casino and its resort wonderland is opening later this year and will surely draw folks away from Atlantis. But if you're a Marriott Rewards member with status, it may not make sense to go somewhere else.