We were in Curacao this December and had been deciding between staying at the Marriott or the Hyatt (Marriott trip report coming soon). We ended up at the Marriott, though it turns out a Hyatt stay would have actually become a stay at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, the new name for the property after property owners abruptly ousted Hyatt management. The resort has been struggling for some time and the resort’s owners sent in a new management team early one December morning to take over control. Hyatt’s attorneys claim that Hyatt had a 25 year contract to manage the two year old property and that their rights have been violated by the termination of the contract.
As per the WSJ:
In a letter sent to Hyatt, the resort’s owners allege that, since the property opened in 2010 on Curaçao…it fell short of Hyatt’s budgeted revenue goals by $25.1 million and registered net operating losses of more than $13.6 million. The owners, Santa Barbara Hospitality NV, have named Houston-based Benchmark Hospitality International as the resort’s new manager and renamed the property the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. Hyatt claims that “the owner has elected to take this precipitous action rather than acting as set forth in the management agreement to resolve matters in arbitration,” Hyatt “will be taking action to protect its rights under the agreement and expects to have control of the resort restored.”
At the Curaçao resort, average occupancy was 44% last year and in the 50% range this year, said Bill Brewer, partner at the Dallas law firm Bickel & Brewer, which represents the property’s owners. The resort’s average rate last year was $193.66. This year, it is $182.65. Mr. Brewer called the situation an “extraordinary” one that went beyond the typical challenging and expensive conditions of operating a Caribbean resort. “Hyatt seemed incapable of not only correcting their own failures but of even predicting the size of the losses from week to week, much less month to month,” Mr. Brewer said Saturday.
In the meantime, the new resort is honoring all previous reservations including Hyatt Gold Passport redemptions. However, Hyatt is allowing changes to any reservation without penalty for guests no longer wanting to stay at the resort.