Baha Mar To House Multiple Brands

BAHA Mar's 1,000-acre resort campus will no longer house only Starwood properties but multiple brands, it was revealed yesterday, following the announcement that the deal to move the project forward had been signed in Miami with Chinese investors. The $2.6 billion redevelopment is expected to create 2.3 million new visitor nights.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice-president of external affairs, said that building a multiple-brand complex will create competitive marketing and facilitate the targeting of niche markets in the tourism industry. The decision to have multiple brands could produce wider exposure of the Baha Mar property and appeal to a diverse spread of traveler.

Mr Sands said Baha Mar will house a five-star property, a conference property, a boutique-style hotel, and a casino property. The Sheraton property is slated to stay, and the Wyndham is to lose two of its towers to accommodate the boutique hotel.

Mr Sands said that while a casino operator has not yet been found, they are continuing to source possible vendors, though the economic climate was an impediment to that process. Baha Mar, he added, was open to working with a casino partner, having previously said it might look to develop its own brand.

"We announced previously that all of our brand partners would be Starwood, and we would have different levels of Starwood. We will now have multiple brands With minor tweaking, the plan remains the same," said Mr Sands. "The one element that has changed is the multiple brands within the complex."

In January, Starwood confirmed to Tribune Business at the 2010 Caribbean Marketplace in Puerto Rico its commitment to moving forward with the Baha Mar project. They had committed their prestigious collection of St Regis, W and Westin resort brands to the project.

However, Mr Sands said Baha Mar changed its position and will now go with multiple brands, three of which have yet to be named.

"This one of a kind project is a God send for the Bahamas," he said. "It could not have happened at a better time and will go a long way to jump start the Bahamian economy."

The $2.5 billion project is expected to include 3,000 rooms, a 100,000 square foot casino, two signature spas and a third world-class destination spa, an 18 hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, 200,000 square feet of meeting space, 3,000 feet of continuous beach front, a 20 acre beach and pool experience and a 35,000 square foot retail village with upscale shopping, chef-branded restaurants and entertainment venues.

President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Khaalis Rolle, said the signing of the deal to build the long-awaited project could create confidence in the economy once again.

"Economic recoveries need a good catalyst, and Baha Mar could be that for the Bahamas," said Mr Rolle.

Mr Sands said that instead of a competitor to the Atlantis property, Baha Mar will simply add more value to the Nassau/Paradise Island experience.

"Baha Mar will be a major player in the tourism industry going forward," he said.

Source: The Tribune