LONG-DELAYED OPENING of the $500 million, 365-room
Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands will take place in
three stages: on Dec. 15, the property will open 40 rooms, two
restaurants, the Silver Palm Lounge and a pool bar; another 173
rooms will follow on Dec. 22, and the remainder will open on Jan.
7. In addition, the La Prairie Spa and the Ambassadors of the
Environment childrens program will be operational during the
holiday season. A nine-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course will
open in February. The Ritz-Carlton, which broke ground in September
1999 on a 144-acre site that stretches from North Sound to Seven
Mile Beach, originally was scheduled to open in December 2004 but
its opening was pushed back a year due to damage brought by
Hurricane Ivan in the fall of 2004.
RATES start at $929 per night, double, for oceanfront
rooms but drop to $699 per night, double, in the waterway rooms,
which open Jan. 7. Jean Cohn, vice president and general manager,
said the hotel is sold out through Jan. 2 and advance bookings
indicate a very strong first quarter. The hotel will host its first
large group Jan. 8 and its first wedding will be held on-property
on Dec. 17 (rumor has it, the nuptials of Tom Cruise and his
expectant bride-to-be, Katie Holmes, could be the first couple to
tie the knot at the resort.). More than 750 employees, selected
from a pool of 14,000 applicants, will staff the hotel. For
reservations and information, call (800) 241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com.
LINES will launch daily nonstop 737 service from Atlanta
to Belize Dec. 15, an expansion of its weekly Saturday service
which began a year ago. The flight will depart Atlanta at 11:40
a.m. and arrive in Belize at 1:50 p.m. The return flight will leave
Belize at 3 p.m. and arrive in Atlanta at 6:53 p.m.
Resort Canouan Island in the Grenadines launched its
Flight Concierge program and private Raffles jet service to ease
the transfer from Barbados or St. Lucia to Canouan. A member of
Raffles' flight concierge team greets guests at the airport in
Barbados or St. Lucia and escorts them to a private charter plane
for the flight to Canouan Island, which takes about 45 minutes from
Barbados or about 30 minutes from St. Lucia. The price is $375 per
person and includes roundtrip air fare from Barbados or St. Lucia
and ground transportation to the resort. In addition, the 156-room
Raffles Resort also offers its own private, seven-seater Cessna
Citation II jet to transfer guests to Canouan from as far as Miami
or other points in the Caribbean. Rates vary depending on the
location.For details, visit www.raffles-canouanisland.com.
Aruba Resort & Casino broke ground on its $5.2
million, 15,000-square-foot oceanfront spa, which will feature two
Swiss shower rooms, one couples suite, three treatment rooms and
two facial rooms, as well as a fitness center, a salon and private
lounges with a sauna, a steam room and plunge pool. The spa is on
schedule to be completed next November.
Grenada Sailing Festival, Jan. 27 to 31, Grenada. For
details, visit www.grenadasailingfestival.com.
" St. Kitts
10th annual Music Festival 2006, June 29 to July 2,
island-wide celebration. The festival is being held a week later
than originally planned in order to accommodate the Cricket Test
Match between the West Indies and India, to be held on St. Kitts
June 22 to 26. The cricket match is one of several scheduled
between now and 2007 leading up to the Cricket World Cup event,
which will feature St. Kitts as one of the host venues. For details
on the festival and the cricket competition, visit the Events
Calendar on www.stkittstourism.kn.