Grand Hyatt Baha Mar deal sealed
Senior Business Reporter
Published: Jan 24, 2017
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) last week finalized a definitive agreement to have Grand Hyatt operate its casino and convention hotels, Baha Mar President Graeme Davis said yesterday, adding that Baha Mar will become the Hyatt's flagship property in the Americas.
Davis, speaking at the annual Bahamas Business Outlook, said the resort hopes to attract its first guests from along the southeastern and northeastern United States in the lead-up to the property’s April 21 soft opening. When Hyatt opens its booking window, which is not yet active, it hopes to fill 1,000 rooms, Davis said.
And the 1,800 rooms the company is set to manage, will mean The Bahamas will house Grand Hyatt's flagship operation of its properties across the U.S., Latin American, the Caribbean and Canada, according to Davis.
Davis added that CTFE has already sunk around $100 million in restarting operations and construction on the property. While he could not say definitively what the finishing price tag will be, it has been suggested that the project will have jumped from the initial $3.8 billion price tag to around $4.2 billion. Baha Mar is the largest resort project in the region, and, according to data revealed by Davis, is expected to create economic outputs of almost $1 billion and annual taxes for the government of $100 million after fully opened.
With less than 90 days until the opening of the property to its first guests, Davis said a limited public relations and marketing campaign is soon to begin. However, a more aggressive marketing campaign will begin after the April 21 soft opening in hopes of building attraction for the summer months.
"To sit here and spend money today in January when our business is short-term for April, we don’t think is a wise investment,” said Davis.
He added that as the other Baha Mar towers come on stream during the phased opening, CTFE will begin to leverage its already established properties across the world to fully expose the Baha Mar brand. Davis said Baha Mar fits perfectly into CTFE's growth strategy, which includes billions in development projects worldwide.
Baha Mar’s mega resort campus will eventually comprise rooms managed by Grand Hyatt, SLS, Rosewood and Melia. While Melia is already in operation, and the ink is drying on Grand Hyatt’s contract, CTFE continues to work to formalize contracts with SLS and Rosewood - though Rosewood is owned by CTFE.
Davis said CTFE is committed to reinvesting in the Melia property at some time in the future, and he offered a teaser on what the former Crystal Palace property could become. He said architects out of New York have been engaged to possibly turn the property into a water park.
According to statistics presented by Davis, the full opening of the Baha Mar mega-resort will bring New Providence’s luxury room inventory to 41 percent, a growth in the luxury complement on the island of almost 50 percent.
Baha Mar began its career recruitment in earnest last week, receiving more than 5,000 applications for positions at the property. Davis revealed that many of those who applied for casino jobs under the resort property’s first developer have expressed interest once again.
While not giving too many specific details on the company’s plans to develop Long Cay, Davis said the offshore island aspect of the Baha Mar project will be an important fixture when the resort project is complete.