I worked in the luxury hotel and resort field for more than a decade. Hotels change flags ALL the time! Ownership changes on a regular basis. This isn't something new. When booking a trip, you do due diligence on where you're going. Even if a resort gives full disclosure (lease vs ownership...which they are under NO obligation to do), there's no guarantee someone else won't buy it before your stay.
I worked for one company for just over two years. During that time, I worked for three different companies!
People are making it sound as if this was the first time a resort ever changed hands! PS....it's not!! Couples is, and will always be....first-class in every way.
From what I read, Couples got reimbersed for the costs of improving the property. I read that "Superclubs", once a huge name in Jamaica and run by one of the ISSA family had sold out because of good prices they were offered for them. Now I don't know if they were in financial stress or not, but if busness trends are improving (they seem to be in the tourism trade) and property value increasing with existing properties selling at higher multiples, then perhaps it justifies why Sandals paid up were couples (who had right of first refusal) did not.
I can't say I admire COuples for sticking to their model or not as we are not privy to their financials but it seems its self serving to keep the brand strong by offering a gracious transfer incentive. At the same time I would explore the sandals offer to stay, and perhaps gain an upgrade. I doubt in November they will embark on an ambitious renovation schedule for some time especially after couples did a lot of work. With their staff already in place, I'd be confident a good trip would be completed. Of course, couples with the $500 makes switching easier if the flights and costs are comparable (within $500!)
I have never stayed at a Sandals but friends that have were pleased. Mrs and I prefer very quiet low key places. Not sure Sandals is that.
Glad to hear that Couples got reimbursed for their improvements. Maybe they just decided now wasn't the right time to expand especially with the improvements they are making at both properties in Negril.
We just returned from CB and felt the property was not large enough for a Couples Resort. The property is beautiful, the food was pretty good but we feel it is better in Jamaica. There were a few issues we ran into that we have never experienced at Couples in Jamaica. Examples would be we had a hard time getting clean beach towels, we had difficulty finding 2 vacant chairs on the beach. The first day we got chairs in the morning and at lunch time we left our towels attached to the chairs with our Boca Clips. When we came back from lunch our chairs were taken, our Boca Clips stolen and our beach towels were laying in the sand. Was not a good way to start our vacation. We had to stand in line at the beach party buffet for about 45 minutes to get our food and our last night at dinner at Dover the hostess would not let us sit at a table we requested saying it was reserved. But it was not reserved at all because friends we had met came in after us and asked her if they could sit at that table, which was next to us, and she put them right there. So I don't know what that was all about. For the most part, we had a really nice week, did some fun tours and we are happy we were able to experience Couples in Barbados. We have been to Couples in Jamaica 9X and we are booked for CSA in December 2014. We are so looking forward to going back home to Jamaica. I would really love to see Couples purchase a property in St. Lucia. I have heard St. Lucia is absolutely beautiful and want to see it so much. My husband says he'll go only if it's a Couples Resort. Help me Couples. LOL
OK, Suzi.....I absolutely agree with your post. We have been to CN four times and went to CB this August.
I think that what some people might find confusing is that, although Couples made it quite clear that they had CB under a lease, I think the average man in the street thinks that a lease is for a set period of time and so were surprised that someone else could buy CB.
We had a wonderful time....Barbados was great. Don't think we shall go to Sandals there, but am looking at other options. If it were still CB, we would go back in a heartbeat! So, I have to thank Couples for introducing us to Barbados .......we both preferred it to Jamaica. CN will always hold a special place in my heart....but by going to CB, it has made me realise that there are other places.
I am upset that I will not be staying at a Couples Barbados in December, my dates were just not working with the air fare and schedules to make the change and I could not change my vacation dates, so I choose to stay with Sandals. I have been to all 4 Couples with Swept Away being our favorite(11 x). I am going to make the best of it, hey it is a vacation, there will be the beautiful aqua waters, sand, sun and rum!! I am sad when I come here and realize it just won't be the same. Hopefully I will be able to return home in the spring.