Radisson Name A Better Fit For Our Lucaya

Only months after the announcement it would part ways with Starwood and its 'Sheraton' and 'Westin' brands, Our Lucaya has now picked up the more-budget conscious Radisson name.

On Wednesday, Radisson Hotels & Resorts announced the addition of the newly minted 'Radisson Our Lucaya Resort, Grand Bahama Island,' to its global family of properties, generally occupying a slightly lower place on the totem pole than the Starwood names the GB resort leaves behind.

The conversion reintroduces the Radisson brand to the Bahamian market. Ironically its one-time flagship in this country, the Cable Beach resort, now sports the Sheraton badge.

The details of the agreement, including financial ones, were not released Wednesday.

The news follows speculation about whether it was Our Lucaya or Starwood that did the dumping, with the pullout date having been set for June 30, 2009.

David Johnson, deputy director general of Tourism, told The Guardian that was, in fact, Our Lucaya who penned the Dear John letter.

"What is happening is the owners are considering changing their flags to other flags, they're in negotiations with both Starwood as well as with a prospective group," Johnson said in an earlier interview.

He also suggested the Starwood brands haven't worked for the troubled property, grappling with double digit declines in occupancy levels and mass layoffs.

"In a franchise arrangement there are costs and benefits associated with it," he said. "They (Our Lucaya) have lived with it for four or more years so they've had the ability to assess whether this has performed for them sufficiently to justify the investment or it hasn't. They're costs associated with that and I believe they are reviewing it because they have reasons to reconsider.

"They're other quality options out there as well."

Radisson appears to be bullish about the future of the 740-room GB resort, yesterday billing it as a high-end addition to its mid-range group.

Still the move down market may benefit Freeport's premiere hotel as well as owner Hutchison-Whampoa: Radisson's cheaper and more cheerful family-friendly name — to say nothing of its customer lists — will likely win Our Lucaya the kind of budget traveler the island itself has targeted.

Perhaps emblematic of that change in focus was Wednesday's announcement of a "special $139 per night rate (plus taxes and fees)" deal, replete with paid green fees for either of the full-service resort's golf courses.

It's the kind of reduced price point Grand Bahama Chamber head Gregory Moss has long advocated, charging the island needs to make a name for itself as an uber-rich — in terms of amenities — but nonetheless budget-conscious destination.

Source: The Nassau Guardian