Thursday, January 26, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
It’s “business as usual” at Atlantis Paradise Island, with the hotel expecting a 12 per cent increase in business year on year, according to George Markantonis, president and managing director of Kerzner International Bahamas.
Atlantis on Paradise Island is the flagship resort of Kerzner International, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury hotels.
In November, news broke that Kerzner International would transfer its ownership of the Atlantis Resort and Paradise Island properties to Brookfield Asset Management as a part of a broad $2.5-billion debt restructuring.
If the $175-million debt for equity swap had gone through, Kerzner would go from owner operator to a resort management company in The Bahamas. However, bigger lenders filed a lawsuit blocking the deal.
Although Atlantis fate remains up in the air, Markantonis says that hasn’t prevented the resort from moving ahead with a major capital investment programme.
“We are up to about $60 million to $65 million a year, which means that’s what we are re-investing into our properties,” he said. “We are keeping what we have fresh, and secondly we are adding new and exciting features, primarily activities, entertainment and new accommodations.”
Markantonis comments came during a press conference held on day two of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism’s Association’s Caribbean Marketplace conference at Atlantis held January 22-24.
In keeping with its regular maintenance cycle, the hotel is expected to renovate about 600-700 rooms in 2012. The resort is also eyeing the possibility of introducing new casino games.
The unique, ocean-themed destination boasts a variety of accommodations, all built around a 141-acre waterscape, comprised of over 20 million gallons of fresh water and saltwater lagoons, pools and habitat, including the largest open-air marine habitat in the world with over 50,000 marine animals.
“For us, 2012 is going to be very expensive in development of the product,” said Markantonis, who noted that increased demand for water features from cruise ship passengers has the resort giving serious consideration to expanding.
“We want to make sure the slides never have a very long wait,” he said.
As good as 2011 looked, Markantonis said 2012 looks better.
“Our bookings here are ahead, certainly for the winter period. We are looking forward to a very strong winter,” he said. “Our group bookings, as is typical across North America, is also considerably ahead from last year.”
The hotel is expected to do about 12 per cent better than last year. Last year was 35 per cent better than 2010.
“That’s a good omen,” Markantonis said.