BRANSON, founder of the Virgin Group of companies, which
includes Virgin Atlantic airline and Virgin Galactic, bought his
second Caribbean island in the British Virgin Islands for $13.2
million and plans to turn it into a luxury eco-friendly,
environmentally-savvy resort. The 124-acre Mosquito Island, named
after an Indian tribe and not the annoying insect, will join the
Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of select properties owned or
partially owned by Branson. The island sits in North Sound and is
about a mile from the 74-acre Necker Island, also part of VLE and
which Branson bought in 1976 for $171,000.
ISLAND, which can be reached by boat from Virgin Gorda,
was the site of the well-known Drake's Anchorage Resort, which
opened in the 1960s under Bert Kilbride who spent more than 40
years searching for underwater treasure near the island. Drake's
closed in 1997, reopened briefly in 2000 and then closed
permanently shortly thereafter. Although Branson has not released
specifics or a timetable for opening Mosquito Island, the resort is
expected to be powered by wind, wave or solar power, according to a
Virgin spokesman. Balinese-style guest buildings will be built from
sustainable materials; electric buggies will supply the
transportation needs. For Virgin Limited Edition details, visit www.virginlimitededition.co.uk. For British Virgin
Islands information, visit www.bvitourism.com.
" With the Cricket
World Cup on tap in the Caribbean region from March 5 through April
28 and hotel rooms at a premium on some islands, Air Jamaica has
rescheduled several flights to enable cricket fans to fly to and
from a cricket match on the same day. Revised schedules include
flights from Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica, on March 13, 19
and 23 and April 24. Special flights also are on tap from Barbados
to Jamaica on April 24 and from Jamaica to Barbados on April 28.
Packages, including match tickets, also can be obtained from Island
Vacations at (888) 622-1658. For flight schedules, contact Air
Jamaica at www.airjamaica.com.
" Spirit Airlines
will launch seasonal nonstop service between Atlantic City and San
Juan on May 3 and from Tampa to San Juan, effective May 4. The
Atlantic City-San Juan flight will operate Thursdays through
Sundays to Aug. 12 while the Tampa-San Juan flight will operate
four days a week, on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, to
June 13, and five days a week (including Thursdays) to Aug. 12. In
addition, the carrier will launch service from Fort Lauderdale to
Port of Spain, Trinidad, on or about May 1, pending government
approval. For information, visit www.spiritair.com.
" Sol Melia Hotels
& Resorts will debut its Gran Melia brand in Puerto Rico on May
1 when it reflags its all-inclusive 486-suite Paradisus Puerto
Rico, located in Rio Grande approximately an hour east of San Juan.
The Gran Melia Puerto Rico, which will be a European Plan property
(no meals included) will join the Gran Melia Cancun (Mexico) as the
Caribbean's second Gran Melia resort. Enhancements will include The
Level, a customized service for top-paying guests that will offer
exclusive pool and beach areas, a personal concierge and other
services. The resort also will open the Yhi Spa, Sol Melia's new
spa brand. The 11,000-square-foot facility will offer health and
wellness treatments. For details, visit www.solmelia.com.
" The latest
Caribbean development venture for The Donald (Trump) also is one of
the largest in the Caribbean. While Trump already has his name on
the golf course and casino at the Raffles Resort on Canouan in the
Grenadines, the Trump at Cap Cana project in the Dominican Republic
will clock in at 30,000 acres and a mere $2 billion. The
development, when completed, will feature more than 5,000
residential units, four luxury hotels, three Jack Nicklaus-designed
golf courses and a marina with 1,000 slips for yachts up to 150
feet long. The marina's first phase is set to open this spring. For
details, visit www.capcana.com. For destination information, visit www.godominicanrepublic.com.
Editor: Gay Nagle Myers
Phone: (201) 902-1924
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].