NEW YORK — After the holidays and with winter arriving, who doesn’t dream of an island getaway? That is what Atlantis Paradise Island and Saks Fifth Avenue are banking on.
The two companies have teamed up to make visions of an island escape a reality for shoppers and passersby in and around the retailer’s flagship. Starting Friday, Saks has swapped its holiday windows for glimpses of the sprawling Bahamas resort, which will decorate six windows on the store’s Fifth Avenue and East 49th Street sides. There will also be in-store events with Bahamian bartenders, musicians and the Atlantis’ resident ice cream maker chef Wayne Moncur Jan. 10 to 12. The collaboration marks the first time Saks has linked up with a hotel or resort for window displays.
Executives at Saks’ parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., were unavailable to comment Thursday, a company spokeswoman said.
Asked if Hudson’s Bay Co. will be investing in the Atlantis in any way, Atlantis president and managing director Audrey Oswell said, “This is strictly a marketing partnership.”
“We felt that Saks was a good fit for us. They have been an innovator in fashion. We are an innovator in resort destinations. They appeal to global travelers just as we do,” she said. “We felt it was a good opportunity for us to share with the public a lot of the changes that have taken place here in a non-typical way. We are using art and fashion to really talk about the evolution of the resort and share that with people who haven’t had the opportunity to experience it firsthand in a manner that isn’t typical.”
There will not be any co-branded merchandise with Saks and that is not being explored at this time, Oswell said. As for any plans for Saks to have any tie-ins to the Atlantis’ retail operations, she said, “Nothing that we can talk about now. It doesn’t mean that it might not happen down the road, but nothing right now.”
With 3,963 rooms, the Atlantis welcomes its share of visitors from one day to the next. Occupancy rates fluctuate from month to month but it generally runs between 70 and 80 percent, according to Oswell.
Last year, 65.1 million visitors were expected to come to New York City — a 3.7 percent gain compared to 2017, according to NYC & Company’s forecast.
For Saks’ “The Archipelago” window, more than 150 conch shells — a favorite memento with visitors to the Bahamas — were flown in for the display. The second window will spotlight “The Cove,” where Lulu DK redesigned the 20 pool-front cabanas with surfboard art and her fabric designs. Some of the vibrant surfboards that she created with Nusa Indah Surfboards’ Jada McNeil will add to the summery decor.
In another store window, Midtown pedestrians can catch a glimpse of the Atlantis’ Aquaventure, a 141-acre playground with such attractions as 11 swimming pools and 18 slides, including the nearly 60-foot Leap of Faith that drops one from the top of a Mayan temple-looking structure through a clear acrylic tunnel in a shark-filled lagoon. All the Atlantis imagery of the massive Bahamian resort may remind some of the Daniel Craig film “Casino Royale,” which featured scenes there.
Some of the brands that are featured in Saks’ windows may overlap with designer boutiques at Atlantis. Saint Laurent, Versace, Michael Kors and Tory Burch are among the companies that have stores at the resort, Oswell said. In terms of measuring the success of the partnership with Saks, in-store turnout will be one indicator, as well as tracking the number of visitors who mention it, Oswell said.
“This is really an opportunity to share more of a story with the world, especially since New York City at this time of year has so many international travelers. Just the exposure to all these people who may not have had the opportunity to visit us firsthand or recently is success enough,” she said.
As for reports that a sale or major cash injection is imminent for the Atlantis, Oswell said, “There is no comment on that.” She later noted she had not seen any such reports and deferred comment to the parent company, Brookfield Asset Management.
A Brookfield spokesman declined to comment.
As for whether the alliance will continue, Oswell said, “This is the first thing that we’re doing together. I hope that it will be ongoing, but there is nothing definite firmed up at this point.”