|Travel Agent's Joe Pike and Karen Whitt, general manager of The Palms Turks and Caicos.|
After eight years of successfully operating as The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos, the hotel is returning to its boutique roots.
As of September 1, the 72-suite resort and spa, located on famed Grace Bay Beach, will once again be The Palms Turks and Caicos. The hotel will once again operate as independent property under The Hartling Group.
The resort, a Virtuoso member, will continue under the leadership of Karen Whitt. Whitt joined the property as general manager nearly five years ago, and was named General Manager of the Year by Luxury Travel Advisor (Travel Agent magazine's sister publication) in 2014.
On Thursday, Travel Agent had an opportunity to chat with Whitt about the reason for the change. Whitt says the two parties began to go their separate ways in 2012 when The Palms downgraded its partnership with Regent from a managerial agreement to a licensing agreement.
That decision, says Whitt, was due in large part to Regent's "shift and change to its business model," which hasn't focused very much on the North American market that The Palms relies upon.
"At the end of the day, we don't expect this to have any impact on business," she told us. "I will say that it's very rare when you have a transition go this nicely. It was a very amicable, very peaceful split. We loved Regent and they loved us."
The transition back to The Palms coincides with a $3.5 million renovation and refresh that was unveiled this summer as part of the beachfront resort’s 10th anniversary celebration, including room updates and the addition of several new dining experiences.
Stan Hartling, CEO of The Hartling Group and owner of The Palms, developed and opened The Palms in 2005, and now is completing construction of his third beachfront resort on the island - The Shore Club on Long Bay, which will open in summer 2016. Hartling also developed and opened one of the first condominium hotels on Providenciales, The Sands on Grace Bay, roughly 20 years ago.