The 1,000-room Baha Mar Casino & Hotel in the Bahamas, which was to have celebrated its grand opening May 1, will now not open until September at the earliest.
The $3.5 billion complex, reportedly the most lavish and costly development in the islands’ history, also includes a 300-room SLS hotel and a 200-room Rosewood hotel. Both have pushed back accepting room reservations until at least September 8, reports Travel Weekly. The 707-room Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar is accepting reservations from June 16, according to its website, but guests cannot check in until October 1.
No reasons have been given for the delay, the fourth setback for a project that broke ground in early 2011. The latest announcement has raised the ire of prospective travelers and travel agencies that planned to visit the new resort, which is backed by the Chinese Export-Import Bank and is being built by China State Construction Engineering Corp.
Media reports say Malaysian casino giant Genting Group is considering acquiring the project from its original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian’s Baha Mar Resorts Ltd. Earlier this year, Izmirlian blasted both its Chinese state-owned construction firm and the Bahamian government for the delays in the resort’s opening.
Last month, a government source told local media outlet The Tribune that Baha Mar “does not have the cash to finish the project or pay the contractor.” A tabloid report said Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie had struck a deal that would see Genting acquire a 51 percent stake in the project. Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of government affairs, subsequently said there is “absolutely no truth to the story, and I categorically deny it.”
Last year, Baha Mar pushed back a planned late 2014 opening to this spring, saying, “The contractor has not completed the work with an attention to detail consistent with Baha Mar standards of excellence.”
Sources tell GGB that China State is refusing to complete the work until Baha Mar pays it for work already completed. And, according to the sources, Baha Mar disputes the cost and quality of the work completed, leading to the current impasse.