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Luxury Curacao Resort Renamed Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao; Hyatt Terminated as Property Manager

NIEUWPOORT, Curacao, Dec. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Santa Barbara Hospitality, N.V., a hotel investment group, today announced that the former Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina is under new management and will operate under a new name.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121215/DA29769)

The owner terminated its management agreement with Hyatt Corporation and Hyatt Curacao, N.V. ("Hyatt") on November 21, 2012, and today installed Benchmark Hospitality International ("Benchmark") to operate the luxury Curacao resort. The resort has been renamed as the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao.

According to the owner, owner representatives assumed control of the resort at approximately 12 midnight local time – in order to avoid any inconvenience to guests or employees. The owner informed Hyatt of its plans, and assumed operational and financial control of the 350-room property.

Employees were notified of the change in management. Benchmark plans to offer employment to most current hotel staff members, who will maintain their current rate of pay, original start date and accrued vacation. All current reservations and event bookings will be honored without change. Guests may call + 5999-8401234 from any international location, 1-855-590-2266 from the U.S., or 8401234 locally regarding existing or new reservations. Visit santabarbararesortcuracao.com.

"This is an exciting development for the resort, its employees, and the thousands of international guests we soon expect to welcome," says David Maxfield, a representative of Santa Barbara Hospitality, N.V., owner of the hotel. "We believe this property is now poised to become one of the world's premier luxury destinations."

The owner announced that it terminated Hyatt amid allegations that the hotel management company violated the terms of a management agreement, dated March 16, 2005. According to correspondence sent from the owner to Hyatt, dated December 15, 2012, "... via letter, dated November 21, 2012, Owner terminated the Management Agreement and asked Hyatt to contact Owner to immediately discuss interim management and other transition-related matters, to ensure a smooth handover of Resort operations. Hyatt has not complied with Owner's request."

"The owner believes that Hyatt failed in discharging its responsibilities to the owner of this resort," says William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel & Brewer and counsel for Santa Barbara Hospitality, N.V. "Owner, therefore, exercised its right to terminate Hyatt and install new management. This has been an orderly and peaceable management transition – designed to ease any disruption to employees or guests."

The owner claims that under Hyatt's management, the resort missed revenue projections by almost $12 million in 2011, and occupancy rates that year were approximately 22 percent lower than expected. Both revenue and occupancy are also lower than projected in 2012, according to the owner. The owner alleges that Hyatt failed in its duties and responsibilities with regard to the service, training and supervision of the resort's personnel, budgeting and forecasting, and sales and marketing of the resort.

"This property is committed to serving the needs of customers across the globe and making every guest experience memorable," says Tom Garcia, interim manager of the resort. "We look forward to working with the local community and delivering a level of service that is beyond comparison anywhere in the Caribbean."

The Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao is a luxurious beachfront resort located in the Santa Barbara Plantation area of Curacao. The resort offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, three pools, a private spa, tennis courts, two marinas, and an 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course. It is a unique luxury resort destination on Curacao, an island in the southern Caribbean Sea situated off the Venezuelan Coast. The island is recognized as one of the "best kept secrets in the Caribbean," featuring acclaimed diving, outdoor activities, fine dining, and many cultural attractions.

About Benchmark Hospitality International:    
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM. The independent company, launched in 1980, is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations. Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston. Benchmark Hospitality is also a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers. The company's eastern regional office is in New Jersey, western regional office is in Washington, with international offices in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. Visit benchmarkhospitality.com.

About Bickel & Brewer:       
Founded in 1984, Bickel & Brewer has earned a reputation as one of the most successful law firms in the United States practicing exclusively in the field of complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution. With offices in New York and Dallas, Bickel & Brewer represents a wide spectrum of industry leaders – from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 corporations – facing the most challenging of legal issues. Visit Bickel & Brewer at bickelbrewer.com.

SOURCE Santa Barbara Hospitality, N.V.

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