The unfinished $3.5b Baha Mar Casino & Hotel in the Bahamas has indirectly confirmed that it won’t open for at least another four months.
Three of the properties’ five hotels have pushed back their start date for online room reservations until Sept. 6, while a fourth isn’t showing availability until Oct. 1. The fifth hotel, the pre-existing Melia Nassau Beach property, remains open while it undergoes conversion.
A spokesperson for developer Baha Mar Ltd. told TravelWeekly that the hotel had not been “delayed indefinitely. We are just still in discussions with our contractor, so we have not announced an exact grand opening date.” Meanwhile, travel websites are filling up with angry comments from would-be Baha Mar guests who are having difficulty getting refunds for their cancelled bookings.
The troubled Baha Mar project was supposed to open last December, and financial squabbles between Baha Mar and its Chinese bankers/contractors led to last week’s rumors that (a) Baha Mar Ltd. was out of money and (b) Malaysian casino operator Genting had been asked to take a majority stake in the project.
On Monday, the Bahamas Tribune reported that “a Bahamian businessman with an impeccable reputation” had told them that Baha Mar Ltd. owed his firm “a significant amount of money.” When the businessman’s representatives went to Baha Mar offices to collect, they were told “do not show up here anymore, don’t make any contact. The only way we make contact is by email.”
Also on Monday, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe declared the Baha Mar project “too big to fail” and said Prime Minister Perry Christie was “trying to get everyone to the table to understand what’s at stake. I think there is some movement, but I don’t know the details.” Sounding more desperate than optimistic, Wilchcombe added that Baha Mar “can’t sit there idle. It must eventually open.”