The above mentioned lease agreement included terms that allowed the Lessors to sell the property and in October 2013, they accepted an offer of purchase from a third party, Sandals Resorts Ltd. This means that Couples, despite its plans to continue for the foreseeable future as the operator of Couples Barbados, is required to cease operations as of November 6, to facilitate the transition to the new owner/operator.
All I can say is WOW....after all of the heartache of the seemingly tough opening and all of the flack that Couples took (from what I read on TripAdvisor), and to finally have the resort aligned with the Couples quality standards....only to have it sold to Sandals!
Hopefully Couples can recoup some of their investment, and I truly applaud management for offering so many options to "make it right" for their guests.
We love CSA, and after having read Randymon's thread, I have renewed respect for the Couples brand.
A smart business owner knows when to cut his losses. The Issa family is full of very smart businessmen and this is proof of it. The simple fact of the matter is that Couples is a Jamaican resort with Jamaican ideology; moving it to another island is a wonderful idea, but there has to be synchronicity. The differences between Barbados and Jamaica are far too vast to make it work.
If you take things like the beach, nudity, the food, the relaxed vibe, and the various agricultural products into consideration, Barbados is either lacking or dissimilar. The easy part is putting together a Couples staff. The hard part is putting together a Couples resort that is comparable to any of the four in Jamaica.
I'm sure the property is up to par, the service most excellent, and for someone who's never been to a Couples resort, it would be a wonderful vacation. From what I've read in the past few months, there were many Repeaters who gave CB a try. And again, from what I've read, few were as enthusiastic about it as they are about their regular Couples vacations. As Randymon has posted, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of their business comes from Repeaters. If you build it and they do indeed come, you have to ensure that they'll return.
There are lots of other islands in the Caribbean matching the Jamaican experience. Puerto Rico, the Caymans, Eluethra in the Bahamas, perhaps the Issa clan will or has investigated them. Perhaps there is another location in Jamaica to be considered. Or perhaps they'll just invest more in their existing properties to make them even better than they are now - that would be challenge!
We also hope Couples can branch out to another island as they have Jamaica and the ultimate all inclusive experience all locked up there. We were quick to jump onboard in booking CB and so disappointed it will no longer have the familiar Couples feel. This was such a shame for this first step off island but we are glad to see Couples trying so hard to make everything right for all their loyal and trusted guests. Couples does all inclusive right! Ya mon.