Last updated: 10:42 AM ET, Thu July 30 2015

Baha Mar Resort Opening Delay Extends To At Least September

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | May 07, 2015

Baha Mar Resort Opening Delay Extends To At Least September

PHOTO: The Baha Mar resort was originally scheduled to open in December of 2014. (Courtesy of Baha Mar)

It’s another month, another delay for the $3.5 billion Baha Mar mega-resort project. The websites for the Nassau, Bahamas property’s four hotels are not accepting reservations before September, and company officials have not provided a confirmed opening date for the vast property.

The earliest date available for room reservations is Sept. 8 according to the websites of the 1,000-room Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the 300-room SLS Lux at Baha Mar, the 200-room Rosewood at Baha Mar, and the 707-room Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar.

The date is months beyond the most recent opening schedule provided by Baha Mar officials, who in April said the flagship Baha Mar Casino & Hotel would open in May, with all rooms in all of the resort’s four hotels completed later in June.

In addition, Baha Mar’s Facebook page is peppered with posts from consumers who are concerned about summer bookings that now appear to be invalid.

“When is the resort opening?” asks Kelly Collins in a May 7 post. “I am booked to arrive July 13th and have non-refundable airline tickets for my family. This will really ruin our summer vacation. No one at Baha Mar is giving us any reassurance!” The Baha Mar Facebook page’s administrators asked Collins to message them directly “so we can reach out to you in person to talk about your upcoming stay.”

Other posts complain that the prospective guests have received emails telling them their late June reservations have been canceled. Lindsey Wessel Mericle says that with a notice of cancellation of her June 27 stay, Baha Mar “offered to put us up in a hotel ‘comparable to our Baha Mar rate’ and two free nights in the future OR pay for our airline fees and two free nights in the future.”

A Baha Mar spokesperson contacted by declined to comment on the most recent delays. “I have no information I can provide you at this moment,” the spokesperson said.

The Baha Mar project has been plagued by delays. At the project’s launch in 2011, company officials said the resort would open in December 2014. Since then, Baha Mar officials have announced at least three subsequent launch dates.

Other problems have emerged in the meantime. In April Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar’s chairman, complained that “a less-than-ideal business climate” in the Bahamas had caused many of the project’s delays.

In local media reports Izmirlian said factors ranging from costly and unreliable electrical power to government-run education and training programs that were “promised but have not been provided,” had hampered the project.  

Izmirlian has also run into difficulties with its partner in the project, China’s state-run Export-Import Bank and the contractor, the China State Construction Engineering Corp., at one point claiming the contractor “has not completed the work with an attention to detail consistent with Baha Mar standards of excellence.”

There has also been a dispute over land use with officials at SuperClubs, who own land on Cable Beach that is designated to be included in the project. In addition, Baha Mar officials have dealt with labor disputes at the project’s fifth hotel and lone pre-existing property, the Melia Nassau Beach, which remains open as it completes its renovations. The 694-room hotel is scheduled to reopen as the Melia at Baha Mar early next year.

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