4 Caribbean hotel developments to watch for 2017 and beyond

Baha Mar in the Bahamas
Baha Mar

The Caribbean has plenty of hotel projects in the works, but several announcements in recent weeks are worth noting. With major brands planning new projects and islands leveraging upcoming hotels as keys to future growth, the Caribbean is still a major draw for visitors and investors alike. 

Just last week, we reported that IHG's Kimpton Hotels had signed a deal to open the company's second property in the Caribbean. The Kimpton Kawana Bay Grenada Resort, owned and developed by True Blue Development, a division of the Tau Capital Group of Companies, is slated to open in early 2019. The 146-room hotel will be developed as a partial adaptive reuse with a new-build expansion. 

Here are some other upcoming Caribbean hotels to keep an eye on in 2017 and beyond.

Is 2017 Baha Mar's Year?

If everything goes according to plan, the long-delayed Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas will finally open this year after multiple challenges. (Catch up on the history of the project HEREHERE and HERE.) In December, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, whose subsidiary is Rosewood Hotels & Resorts,  signed an agreement to acquire Baha Mar from Perfect Luck Assets, an affiliate of Export-Import Bank of China, the project's largest lender. CTFE is also planning to operate the property when it opens in April.

The opening will bring some much-needed good news to the Bahamas, which got a significant economic downgrade from Standard & Poor just before Christmas. In December, Arawak Homes and Sunshine Holdings chairman Sir Franklyn Wilson said that the downgrade showed the country was "failing to tackle long-standing structural weaknesses in its economy" that would make investors wary.

These weaknesses, according to the Tribune, include the Bahamas’ "extremely high" cost base, especially for energy and labor (and inconsistent or poor qualities of each); the high levels of bureaucracy and red tape encountered by businesses in dealing with the government (the Bahamas received a ‘D-’ grade average achieved by BGCSE exam candidates); entrepreneurial access to credit; and an "ever-increasing taxation burden."

Park Hyatt to St. Kitts

Later this year, Hyatt is slated to open the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, the first-ever Park Hyatt property in the Caribbean. The 126-guestroom hotel will be located in the Christophe Harbour development. Spanish firm Arcadia Design Architects has been overseeing the construction, while London-based G.A. Design from London is handling the interior work. 

The opening comes as St. Kitts is looking to boost visitor numbers. “We have been flat over the last five years at about 125,000 passengers,” Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant told the St. Kitts Nevis Observer. “We need to move that needle upwards and my aim before I leave the office is to grow that by at least 50 percent.”

The Park Hyatt, the Minister added, would help bring in more big spenders as well as members of Hyatt's loyalty program, and would promote the island for future developments.

Park Hyatt St. Kitts

Wyndham Heads to Nevis

Looking farther ahead, Wyndham Hotel Group has announced plans to open the first Wyndham Grand resort on the island of Nevis. The Wyndham Grand Nevis will be located within the Northern Pointe Resort, a new 30-acre luxury real estate development being built along Long Haul Bay in the Parish of Saint James. When completed in 2019, the Wyndham Grand will have 170 suites, condos and villas. The property is owned by Northern Pointe Development LTD and will be managed by Wyndham Hotel Group.
 
“Nevis is known around the world as one of the most desirable yet exclusive vacation spots in the Caribbean, and as more travelers discover this tranquil paradise the demand for more upscale accommodations will grow,” Paulo Pena, president and managing director, Latin America and the Caribbean for Wyndham Hotel Group, said in a statement, noting that travel to Nevis has increased every year since 2013.

Wyndham already has a solid presence in the Caribbean, with 13 properties already open throughout the region. Late last year, Wyndham opened Puerto Rico’s first Tryp in San Juan and announced plans to manage the five-star Sam Lord’s Castle Barbados, A Wyndham Grand Resort.