Caribbean Specialists No Longer Optimistic About Baha Mar After Latest Delay

A rendering of Baha Mar

Can consumer confidence in The BahamasBaha Mar resort development ever be restored after the project has been delayed so many times?

Travel Agent spoke to some of our closest Caribbean specialists to find the answer to this question and to see whether there was still any optimism surrounding the $3.5 billion resort development in Nassau after news that Rosewood Baha Mar’s opening date was pushed back to spring of 2018.

“At this point, most of the general public has forgotten this project is even underway,” says Mitch Toren, manager of TripGuy.com. “There are too many other, more recent developments and openings to get excited by. As it relates to travel agents, I can't imagine any agent would make any advance reservations even once things got closer to creation."

Although Travel Agent and other media were recently told it would open by October or November of this year, it now looks like the Rosewood Baha Mar will instead officially open in 2018, according to an announcement made Wednesday by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. During our coverage of the the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) recent Caribbean Travel Marketplace at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, it was announced that the shuttered Baha Mar resort development on The Bahamas will officially open its first tower, representing 801 rooms, on April 21.

“The project has been full of empty promises that have yet to be delivered. After all of the events that have unfolded, I would be surprised if it does open next year,” says Alex Scipione of Alex's Adventures. “I think at this point it would take a lot more than they realize to rebrand and re-interest both agents and travelers in its potential.”

The originally planned flagship hotel of Baha Mar Casino & Hotel is now replaced with a second Grand Hyatt hotel. SLS LUX at Baha Mar and Melia Nassau Beach Resort (soon-to-be Melia at Baha Mar) are all still included in the project.

“My original thoughts on the Baha Mar opening were promising, but with yet another delay I’m not sure what to believe,” Kristen DeAngelo of Dream Excapes tells Travel Agent. “At this point, I will believe it when I see the resort open and logistics running in order. The project has lost my interest as well as clients who have been interested. It is ruining future guests' trust in the company, as well as the hope for the Bahamians and their economy with the opening date being pushed out further and further.”

But Tom Varghese of Travel Tom hasn’t entirely given up hope on the project and its potential with Caribbean clients.

“When the deal first fell apart, I think it negatively impacted the locals fairly heavily who were looking forward to the increase in jobs, infrastructure, etc.,” he says. “From a consumer perspective, it added a new luxury option to the destination. With the resurrection of the project, hopefully this will bring a renewed interest to the destination and will bring renewed hope to the locals.”

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on this story and be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.