Hyatt ousted as operator of Curacao resort

By Gay Nagle Myers
Santa Barbara Beach Golf Curacao poolThe owner of the Hyatt Regency Curacao ousted Hyatt as the resort's brand and operator on Dec. 15, citing cost overruns, high operating losses and missed revenue projections in 2011 and 2012.

The owner, Santa Barbara Hospitality, appointed Benchmark Hospitality to operate the 350-room resort, which opened in April 2010, and renamed it the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao.

Santa Barbara Hospitality said it took control of the resort at midnight on Dec. 15 “in order to avoid any inconvenience to guests or employees.”

In a statement, Hyatt said, “Representatives of Santa Barbara Hospitality came to the resort late Friday night and informed the manager on duty that it was taking immediate action to remove Hyatt … as manager.”

Hyatt denied that the owner had the legal right to remove it as operator, claiming the management agreement required a resolution in arbitration, which has been ongoing since November.

"The owner, however, has elected to take this precipitous action rather than acting as set forth in the management agreement to resolve matters in the arbitration," Hyatt said.

Hyatt plans to take legal action "and expects to have control of the resort restored," Hyatt said.

Although Hyatt does not believe the owner acted properly, "until Hyatt has an opportunity to obtain appropriate relief from legal authorities, Hyatt is not in a position to take reservations for the property or to respond to questions about existing reservations."

According to Benchmark Hospitality, all current reservations and event bookings will be honored without change.

Information about current or new reservations is available by calling (855) 590-2266 or visiting www.santabarbararesortcuracao.com.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 
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