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Baha Mar plans for 550 room closure if market looks bad

A contingency plan to temporarily take 550 rooms out of inventory is on the table for Baha Mar, should conditions warrant it once the project approaches completion.

Calling any reports of 3500″new”rooms to be added to the market”misleading,”Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of governmental and external affairs toldGuardian Businesswhat the company has planned if the market is down ahead of the 5-month phase-in of the new rooms, scheduled to begin in late 2014.

“If 12 months prior to substantial completion of the new rooms are constructed and the economic circumstances warrant, we will keep the Wyndham resort open,”Sands said.”If economic circumstances warrant such that we are not seeing an improvement in the market conditions, then we will temporarily close the Wyndham for refurbishment.”

The resort currently plans a 5-month phase-in of the new properties for late 2014. Tom Dunlap, executive vice president of development and construction at Baha Mar toldGuardian Businessthat the company plans to open the new casino hotel first, adding 1000 rooms, then the convention hotel, adding 700 rooms, the lifestyle hotel will add another 300 rooms, ending with the luxury hotel for another 200 rooms.

Sands said that this brings a total of 2200 new rooms to add to the 1250 room inventory currently under the Sheraton and Wyndham flags. If economic conditions are bad, the net effect would be 1650 additional rooms with Wyndham’s 550 temporarily out of the equation, according to Sands.

While the option to temporarily close the Wyndham is on the table, Sands said that he does not believe the plan will have to be activated.

“We’re talking 2014.”Sands said.”You have a fairly good indication of what economic growth forecasts are based on both World Bank and the government of The Bahamas, and we’re slowly climbing out of the recession. There is no significant investment in new tourism infrastructure or development, certainly in the Caribbean, and none on the horizon to the magnitude of our project, which puts us in a very strong position.”

“Finally,”said Sands,”[there is]the whole issue of the quality brands that we have to play as part of the management of our hospitality operations, in addition to a world class gaming partner that we will also have to identify, so we are very satisfied that we will be able to meet our projections.”

Baha Mar has identified the branding for the hotels as the Grand Hyatt for the conference hotel, the Morgan Group for the lifestyle hotel, and Rosewood for the luxury hotel.

“From the very first hotel to the last will be a 5-month window,”Dunlap said.

Branding for the casino hotel will be determined some time after construction starts, he said.

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