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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?
W Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Delays / Starwood Hotels / Amsterdam Hotels / Milan Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
W giveth, W taketh away...
Opening date will be Monday, September 21, with a “Cozy Exchange” room (from 22 sq m / 237 sq ft) setting you back a clean €450 ($478) a night. Prepaying shaves just €10 ($12) off a night, which doesn’t really seem worth it for the flexibility you sacrifice. The “Exchange” reference we presume means the room is located in the 1903 Telephone Exchange building, as opposed to the former bank just across the street (go here for exterior shots of both).
From Cozy, the order is up to Wonderful and then Fabulous rooms, with Cool Corner, Studio, and Marvelous Suites before you get to Wow and Extreme Wow Suites – which we saw those renderings of. The Extreme Wow Suite gives 112 sq m (1,206 sq ft) of space and runs at €2,162 ($2,292) a night.
Actual photography of the rooms and suites is still to come, but we’re kind of surprised to read the intro text on the homepage of the hotel refer to the ability to “recharge with our W signature bed and a peek-a-boo shower”. Is that becoming an actual industry term now?
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.
Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked. But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of hotels that have opened or are opening this month (and a few that aren't going to make it.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!
· PARK HYATT ZANZIBAR: The newest Park Hyatt hotel will open in Zanzibar on Stone Beach on March 12. There are only 67 rooms and suites at this hotel, making for an intimate experience. As JasonD told you in November, the architecture combines “Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements”, with the hotel “reminiscent of an exclusive Omani residence.” Rooms are currently going for $300 a night.
· BACCARAT HOTEL NEW YORK: The first hotel concept built around the French crystal brand, Baccarat, was set to open earlier this week on W. 53rd St., but according to the hotel's website, rooms will now open on March 9 for $879 a night for a grand classic king in seriously subdued white, black and gray tones. The mini-bars, however, are expected to be Baccarat bright red and filled with Parisian goodies.
· 1 HOTEL SOUTH BEACH: The first eco-luxe 1 Hotel is set to open in South Beach in the last week of March with rooms starting at $664 a night. Rooms will have reclaimed wood on the walls, natural poured concrete in the floors, overstuffed pillow on the couches, and peekaboo bathrooms. Chef Tom Colicchio is opening his restaurant downstairs while upstairs is a pool deck with similarly eco-luxe style cabanas and seating. Guests will also get goodie bags on arrival and seed bags at departure.
· BAHA MAR: The resort wonderland in the Bahamas will open three of its resorts on March 27--The Baha Mar Resort & Casino, The SLS Lux and The Rosewood at Baha Mar. Here's an idea of what you can expect from the room rates. But regardless of what hotel you book (a Grand Hyatt is also opening later in the spring), there is still a $40 a night resort fee, per day, plus tax.
· AC DC NATIONAL HARBOR HOTEL: As we told you last month, after opening in New Orleans and Kansas City, AC Hotels by Marriott will hit DC for their next hotel. The website is currently saying, "MARCH 2015" for an opening but we've plugged in several dates in March and no rooms were available. So don't be too surprised if this gets pushed to April.
· JW MARRIOTT VENICE RESORT & SPA: Another Marriott expected to open this month is the JW Marriott on Isola delle Rose, with 230 rooms, a spa, two pools (including one on the rooftop), two restaurants, and event space constructed from the former church that used to be on site. There is also complimentary ferry service to and from the central island of Venice. We found rooms for 288 Euros a night on March 23 but that price will go way, way, way up this summer.
The beginning of March should have allowed us to cross the first of our five London hotel openings for 2015 off of our list, but it was not to be: the M by Montcalm Shoreditch has been delayed until mid-April.
Where reservations had been moved up to March 1 previously, we’re now looking at April 14 as the first day to stay at Montcalm’s “manifestation of glory”. Rates have crept up slightly with the six-week delay, starting at £187 ($289) a night rather than £170 ($262) before.
Room descriptions continue to ramble on about Deluxe Twin rooms that have “a super comfortable king size bed” (?), that “ooze personality”, and are designed with “oodles of luxury”. Two new photos have shown up, which we will say make those rooms look slightly more appealing than before.
Edition Hotels / Hotel Delays / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Openings / Manhattan Hotels / Ian Schrager / Hotel News / → All Tags
The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated New York Edition, inside the historic Clock Tower building at Madison Square Park, is going to need a little bit more time.
After reservations for Miami opened last fall, word was that the New York Edition would open in April, but looking at the hotel's website today, we found this:
JUNE. But don't put away your Platinum Amex card just yet.
Master hotelier and Edition visionary, Ian Schrager has told HotelChatter that the hotel will actually open on May 11, with a grand opening on May 12. He promises this will NOT be a soft opening but that the hotel will be "totally ready." Even better, Schrager said there will be a "three-month festival of events to celebrate. This completes the trilogy of three hotels originally owned by Marriott: Miami, London and NY." (These hotels are actually being sold off now.)
Sad as we are about even a slight delay, this is probably a smarter time to open. I mean, have you seen New York lately? With the kind of winter they are having, it's better to wait it out. So May will be the perfect spring awakening. The days will be longer, the skirts will be shorter, the sweaters will be thinner, and most importantly, the moods will be happier. But you better hope your wallets are thicker.
Rates for a 265-sq.ft. superior room at the New York Edition will start at $725 a night, which is actually in line with many high-end luxury properties in NYC. A gorgeous-looking Loft Suite is going for $1,000 a night and has views of Madison Park. Whatever the room, all guests will get free WiFi, bottled water and no doubt, a crazy cool curated minibar.
Hotel Delays / Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Hype / Ho Chi Minh City Hotels / Saigon Hotels / → All Tags
Last time we checked in on the Reverie Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City’s forthcoming hotel that’s so luxurious it will make you wilt, the website was showing availability from 1 February, and we got all optimistic.
A little too optimistic, as it turns out, as the opening has now been pushed back to May/June. But forget about silly opening dates, and let youtself be dazzled. Here’s a new picture, bringing new meaning to the word “peacocking”. No wonder it dares to call itself “the boldest expression of opulence to debut in Vietnam, ever”. Not even sure it needs to qualify itself with “Vietnam”.
Miami Hotel Mambo / Miami Hotels / Miami Beach Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Hype / Hotel Openings / Hotel Delays / → All Tags
These beach chairs won't be empty for long.
It is officially high season in Miami, not just for visitors but for new hotels.
We are only weeks away from the start of several major hotels opening in Miami such as 1 Hotels (now opening March 13), Element Miami Doral (March 5), Aloft South Beach (which has been delayed until April 16), AC Hotels by Marriott (April), Hyatt South Beach, the Washington Park Hotel and Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel.
But there are even more hotels coming to Miami (in fact, Miami has the 4th highest number of hotel rooms under construction, according to the a recent occupancy report.) We've heard that a Generators Hotel/Hostel concept will be announced soon in Miami.
Meanwhile, an NY-based developer, Sonny Bazbaz, who had a hand in developing The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, is hoping to open a mixed-used project in the Wynwood Arts District that will have 79 hotel rooms.
Hotel Delays / Mama Shelter / Hotel Openings / Mama Shelter Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hollywood Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The site, a block south of the happening Hollywood Boulevard, looked very much like it did in August, except there was some serious filming going on (maybe TV, possibly a movie.) Upon getting closer to the building we could see that significant work has been done on the facade and that serious construction is continuing on the inside.
So progress is indeed happening, but a February opening is laughable. This mama is going to be late! Which is typical of Hollywood stars. Ugh.
However, Mama is looking for some Mama's helpers as evidenced by this jobs posting. Looks like they still need a sales manager and an F&B director. Interested?
You can read more about what this Mama Shelter will be about here.
Hotel Delays / Hotel Openings / Aloft Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / New York Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The newest Aloft Hotel for Manhattan--the Aloft New York Financial District--was set to debut this week (according to our Master List of Hotel Openings) but now the fun, select service hotel from Starwood Hotels will open instead on March 5. This is a bummer but not surprising given Starwood's regular delays.
If the March 5 opening date still holds, then guests can expect all the usual Aloft accoutrements like funky but comfortable rooms; the w xyz bar and lounge; the re: charge gym; the re: fuel 24-hour pantry for quick bites; free WiFi; and a slightly north of Wall Street location, across from a Pace University campus and about a 15-minute walk to the September 11 Memorial and Museum.
However, we wouldn't put all our money into booking a room just yet. The website says the hotel will open on March 5, with reservations being taken for June 5. Eep. In the meantime, there's always the new Residence Inn. Or you know, one of the many other Starwood properties in Manhattan.
Remember when we told you Kempinski Hotels sat down for 60 days with 60 designers from around the world to come up with the above, the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, meant to resemble the rising sun as well as a scallop (no, really)?
At the time, opening was scheduled for mid-November, which obviously didn’t happen – then just before the weekend, we got excited by some actual photography from inside the hotel on its website, as well as a ticker that showed only two days left to go. Checking back in today, ready for a cheerful “Now Open!” in its place, we’re faced with the setback of opening another ten days away. Boo… We’ll make do with those photos for now then.
It never fails. We compile a Master List of Hotel Openings and despite our "clear eyes full hearts can't lose" game day approach to the year ahead, we know there will inevitably some tough breaks. Like this one regarding CitizenM Hotels trio of London hotels--Shoreditch, Tower Hill and Holborn (pictured, under very minimal construction.)
We already knew a 2015 opening for any of the three hotels would be tough. But now a tipster has received word from a Citizen at CitizenM that the hotels won't open before 2016. Gutted. Oh well, strike this one from the list and carry it over to 2016's draft.
[Photo: JasonD for HotelChatter]