Last week, I did something I’ve never done before: I booked a few nights at a brand-new hotel that is not even open yet. The hotel is the Now Natura Riviera Maya, an all-inclusive resort south of Cancun. I hemmed and hawed a bit before hitting the button. Is booking a hotel that isn’t open yet too big of a risk?
Risks of Booking a Brand-New Hotel
Delayed Opening Date: The biggest risk in booking a hotel that isn’t open yet is that the construction won’t be completed on time and the opening date is pushed back. This is a common occurrence, and we all saw it with the delayed openings of Park Hyatt St. Kitts and Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. If the Now Natura isn’t completed in time for our trip, we would have to move to a different hotel in the same brand or cancel the trip.
Incomplete Amenities: While the hotel may be open, some amenities may not be complete. For example, the spa or a restaurant or two may still be under construction.
New Staff: Any time a new hotel, restaurant or cruise ship opens, it takes a while to train the staff to make the operation run smoothly. Since the staff will be new, we could experience some hiccups in service.
No Reviews: Since the hotel isn’t open, there are no reviews on TripAdvisor or anywhere else. I regularly rely on reviews before I book every hotel.
Advantages of Booking a Brand-New Hotel
New Theming/Amenities: Often, new hotels have different amenities and themes not found elsewhere. For example, the hotel we booked advertises a Rollglider on-site, a lazy river and a grotto spa.
Facilities Are in Top Condition: When a hotel is new, everything looks clean and undisturbed. There hasn’t been time to accumulate mold or cracks in the pavement.
Opening Price Breaks: New hotels often have special promotions and discounts before they are officially open. Whether these promotions have real value or are equal to other company promotions is debatable.
Why Did I Book It?
When I saw that a new Now resort was opening near Cancun, it caught my attention. There are already a few Now resorts in that area, but the lazy river and Rollglider at Now Natura are unique.
Our stay is a few months after the opening date, so my hope is that a small delay won’t affect our vacation. I’ve seen construction photos that appear to be moving along, and I’ve seen a recent confirmation from hotel management that the opening date is still on target.
Since we enjoyed our stay at a Now all-inclusive so much, and other existing Now resorts have decent reviews on TripAdvisor, I figure there’s a good chance that Now Natura will also get positive reviews when it opens.
The cost of Now Natura is also considerably less than the Hyatt Ziva. Since we are using miles and points for flights but paying cash for the hotel, price matters.
In addition, I’ve always wanted to stay in a swim-up room, and Now Natura has these. Unlike the Hyatt Ziva, which doesn’t allow kids 12 and under in a swim-up room, the Now Natura makes these rooms available to families with younger kids.
Did I take too big of a risk by booking a brand-new hotel? Time will tell. It doesn’t feel very risky to me right now. I wouldn’t book a new hotel in its first month open, but I think a few months after opening is fair game.
Have you ever booked a brand-new hotel with no reviews yet? What has been your experience?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.