Overwater bungalows planned for the Dominican Republic
Potentially exciting news for the many thousands of people who are interested in 5-star overwater bungalows in the most popular parts of the Caribbean, as at least one company has them in the planning stages. A resort called Las Canas on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic is intending to build 10 luxury units, to be opened in 2013.
This follows recent news of overwater bungalows nearly ready to open at the St. Lucia Grande Sandals Resort, so it's clear that hotel owners are responding to the massive demand for these rooms. In case you are new to the subject, nearly all of the world's rooms like these are concentrated in two places that are both very far from the eastern United States and western Europe.
Perhaps most famous are the Bora Bora overwater villas, and plenty more in that same area of the South Pacific, but in fact around two-thirds of them are known as water villas – located in the Maldives Islands, just southwest of India. Due to the distances involved most holiday-makers can't make it to those locations, so interest in the Caribbean water bungalows (which are mostly in Central America) is extremely high.
Las Canas Resort in Dominican Republic – will it happen?
Before we get too carried away by the plans, it's worth noting that the Las Canas is one of 6 resorts and hotels being planned in the Caribbean by the UK-based Harlequin Properties company. It appears that as of October, 2011, none are open yet, so they are all either being built or still being planned.
Another important detail is that these resorts seem to be planned as a sort of a timeshare hybrid, where individual units are actually up for sale before construction begins. The 10 water bungalows are being offered for around US$1.1 million each, and buyers evidently get one month per year of residency, along with 50% of the hotel revenue from when it's occupied during the rest of the year. It's hard not to be reminded of the Dellis Cay Resort in Turks and Caicos, which planned 7 overwater bungalows but remains only partially built after the developer was forced into receivership after running out of funds, however, the projects are in no way linked.
Still, we remain optimistic that resorts in the Caribbean will be built and come online in the years to come. There is such tremendous demand for these unique accommodations that resort owners know they'll be able to charge very high rates for them once built. The structural problems around being in potential hurricane zones seem to be solvable, based on the Sandals St. Lucia progress, so fingers crossed on many others like those being built soon.
Needless to say, we'll be updating this story with progress as we hear about it. Stay tuned.