Couples Barbados closes unexpectedly, Sold to Sandals Resorts.

Sandals bought it out from under Couples Resorts after a major renovation.

Click here – For Couples response to customer questions

This article from Travel Pulse explains:

Couples Resorts Closes Couples Barbados to Bookings After Sale to Sandals
By Brian Major
October 18, 2013 4:15 PM
Couples Resorts has closed its Couples Barbados resort to new reservations effectively immediately following the sale of the property to Sandals Resorts, according to Couples CEO Glenn Lawrence in a surprise move on Friday, Oct. 18. The adults-only all inclusive brand had operated Barbados’ former Casuarina Beach Resort since June after reaching an agreement to lease the property in January.

Couples will stop operating the resort on Nov. 6 to “facilitate the transition to the new owner/operator,” Lawrence said. Sandals officials confirmed that the company will re-open the 10-acre Couples Barbados property as a Sandals resort and honor “all existing commitments with guests who had booked to stay at Couples up until November.” Sandals also said it will build a new Beaches Resort on the site of the former Almond Beach Resort in Barbados’ St. Peter parish.

Couples’ January agreement to lease the Barbados property included “terms that allowed the lessors to sell the property and in October 2013, they accepted an offer of purchase” from Sandals, said Lawrence. As a result, Couples will cease operating the resort despite “plans to continue for the foreseeable future as the operator of Couples Barbados,” he said.

“We are of course terribly disappointed at this development,” said Randy Russell, Couples’ senior vice president and chief romance officer. “We anticipated running the resort for years into the future. But business is business and that is not to be. Nevertheless our brand will continue to be strong going forward. “

Russell said bookings made via tour operators must be negotiated directly between the tour operator and Couples officials. Couples is offering a dedicated email address (Barbados@couples.com) that travel professionals can use for Barbados inquiries.

Couples also is offering guests with fully paid bookings or deposits three options. First, they can stay at the hotel under Sandals Resorts’ management or second, they can opt to transfer their reservations to any of Couples’ four Jamaica resorts. Transfers will be subject to availability at the selected resort for the dates booked. Once the resort is confirmed, Couples Resorts will provide guests with a $500 discount.

In addition, if the Jamaica rate in a similar room category is lower than the Barbados rate, Couples will refund the difference in the form of an additional discount, said Lawrence. If the rate in a similar room category is higher in Jamaica, Couples will provide guests with the lower Barbados rate. Guests who re-book at a Couples resort in Jamaica will be responsible for contacting their travel agent or tour operator for any accompanying airline ticket changes. Under the third option, booked guests can opt to cancel their bookings and receive a full refund of the hotel-only portion of the stay.

Meanwhile, Sandals clearly is pleased to have acquired its first Barbados property and its plans to develop another. “We are delighted to announce the opening of not one, but two of our first ever resorts in Barbados,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Sandals’ chairman. “We have been in discussions to bring our brands to this country for some time. In the former Couples Resort, I strongly believe that we have acquired one of the most beautiful properties in the entire island.”