Guests booked at a Central Florida resort were forced to pack their bags and leave with little warning after the property sold earlier this month.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, Champions World Resort in Kissimmee had its sale finalized on April 1, and a last-minute attempt to extend insurance for the hotel fell through, prompting the new owners to swiftly evict almost 100 guests in the middle of the busy spring break travel period.
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“Havoc just broke loose. Everyone just started coming outside. Everyone’s packing their bags and stuff,” Victoria Oquendo, who was vacationing with her family from Rhode Island, told WESH 2 News. “The manager said he’s been working for 18 years in management and he’s never heard of such a thing happening. They didn’t give notice or anything. That’s not right.”
“We had contracted to take over the property in a vacant status. There was never any intention of running the business,” said South Florida developer Carlos Balzola, who bought the 435-room hotel for $16.4 million with the plan of turning it into apartments, the Sentinel reported.
According to his attorney Lawrence Patterson, the resort’s owner Rob Jarvis plans to give all of his former employees two weeks’ worth of pay and said that every affected guest has either already received a refund or will receive it on the credit card they used to pay. “It was just a bad situation for everyone,” Patterson told the Sentinel. “No one wanted this.”
— Sentinel Business (@OSentinelBiz) April 6, 2021
Interessant Hotels Group president Jan Gautam offered to take in the impacted guests at his seven area hotels, even offering free rooms for some. Gautam also promised the entire Champions World Resort staff a job and told the Sentinel that several managers from the staff had already been placed in new roles.
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