Surprise! One of Hyatt’s all-inclusive Caribbean resorts won’t open on time

Oct 31, 2019

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Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana will not open on time, a spokesperson has confirmed, surprising, well, no one who has ever waited anxiously for a resort to open.

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There’s nothing more exciting than booking a stay at a hot new hotel right when it opens — untouched linens, brand-new furnishings, crowd-free pools and restaurants. But when things don’t open on time (as is so often the case), it can be a real headache for travelers.

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of Hyatt’s all-inclusive Ziva (family-friendly) and Zilara (adults-only) properties in the Dominican Republic since the project was announced in 2017. In fact, the resorts made our list of the most-anticipated hotels of the year. And the twin complexes are now, supposedly, just days away from their much-publicized debut.

But according to travelers with reservations at the forthcoming resorts, things are not running according to schedule — an admission that isn’t really shocking.

Photo taken in August, courtesy of Darla Morton/Facebook.

After all, we’ve watched countless hotels — including many Hyatt properties — push back grand opening dates again and again, from the Andaz Maui at Wailea to the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour and the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, another of the brand’s all-inclusive outposts.

Emails thanking guests for their loyalty have just begun hitting the inbox of travelers who have, by all accounts, been packing their suitcases and checking their flight confirmations for an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic.

“In preparation to welcome you and your family at our brand new Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana,” one email reads, “we would like to inform you that you will be receiving a cancellation of your booking at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana ….”

Wait, what?

The email continued, explaining that travelers will be rebooked at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. “This has no impact [on] your original reservation, since we will be operating as an all-ages resort during your stay, providing you with all services and amenities of the resort you booked.”

The Points Guy reached out to a spokesperson for the Cap Cana properties, who confirmed (sort of) that, “The construction and operations teams are working towards the final stages of completion. While the property will open as scheduled, they are a few days behind final completion on the Ziva side. This delay will only affect guests arriving during the month of November.”

Photo taken on Oct. 21, courtesy of Darla Morton/Facebook.
Photo taken on Oct. 21, courtesy of Darla Morton/Facebook.

What’s happening at Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana

It seems that travelers are being notified in stages, as those holding reservations from Nov. 2 and onwards (one day after the slated Nov. 1 opening) still haven’t heard so much as a whisper from Hyatt that their reservation may be cancelled and automatically rebooked. In fact, one traveler who reached out to the Hyatt on social media was even reassured that, not only was everything on schedule, but that the Hyatt Ziva was already open “and ready for [her] arrival.”

What this means for travelers who are already booked  

If you booked a room at the family-friendly Hyatt Ziva during the first few weeks of operation, you’ll actually be staying at the adults-only Hyatt Zilara instead. Which is, undoubtedly, not an ideal situation for travelers who specifically booked a kid-free vacation in the Dominican Republic at the Zilara.

For that reason, Hyatt Zilara guests are being given the option to relocate to the adults-only Sanctuary Cap Cana, another all-inclusive property on the eastern edge of the Caribbean nation.

The spokesperson assured us that “all rooms will be of equal or greater value” but it is not clear how travelers who booked with points — or expected to earn them — will be reimbursed or compensated.

No matter what, don’t cancel your reservation yet. Give the hotel the opportunity to reach out first so that you can be given something in the way of compensation.

Related: What to do if your hotel doesn’t open in time

What travelers can expect upon arrival  

The Cap Cana property’s waterpark, we’re told, will be fully open and operational starting Nov. 1. But for travelers who were counting on the onsite kid’s club, there’s some bad news.

While the physical structure of the kid’s club will not be complete on Nov. 1, the spokesperson told TPG, “our younger guests will have the ability to enjoy activities taking place around the resort during their stay.”

It’s unclear whether that means you can still drop the kids off for some supervised fun as you would in a kid’s club, or if it simply means there will be things for them to do while you stick around.

In addition to everything on the Ziva side of the property, other resort amenities still under construction include the theater and the spa.

Update: Despite statements as recently as last week that it would be open, the water park is not yet open as of Nov. 3.

Photo taken in August, courtesy of Darla Morton/Facebook.
Photo taken in August, courtesy of Darla Morton/Facebook.

What we still don’t know

Frustratingly, we really only have more questions than answers at this time. What compensation — if any — is being provided to travelers who ultimately decide to cancel their trips? And what happens to your points if you used them to redeem your stay at one of the two Hyatt all-inclusives?

Will all the onsite restaurants be up and running? The spokesperson told us “all restaurants at Hyatt Zilara will be open and on a rotating schedule” but that likely does not include the Hyatt Ziva restaurants, such as the rum bar, seafood grill, international buffet, Italian restaurant, and a Mongolian-Asian restaurant (among others).

Bottom line

Situations like these are why we always caution travelers against booking a hotel right when it’s scheduled to open, and even in the weeks and months following, when a property is still figuring out the finer details. But hopefully, Hyatt will find a way to rectify the situation with travelers who are just days away from a Dominican Republic vacation. We will update this story as additional details become available.

Feature photo taken on Oct. 21, courtesy of Darla Morton/Facebook.

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