Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Nov. 25, 2004

RAFFLES RESORT CANOUAN ISLAND celebrated its official grand opening Nov. 20, marking Singapore-based Raffles International's first venture in the Caribbean. Louis Sailer, general manager of the 156-villa-style accommodations property - formerly Carenage Bay Resort - set on 1,200 acres on the Grenadine island of Canouan, said the deluxe property had "strong holiday bookings and positive forecasts for our first winter season." Facilities include the RafflesAmrita Spa with nine individual treatment rooms set on a hillside overlooking one of the resort's two beaches; two over-the-water palapas, which were damaged by recent hurricanes, will open in February; the 18-hole Jim Fazio-designed Trump International Golf Club, and Trump Club Privee, a European-style gaming casino; four restaurants, the Sugar Palm Club kids program, and a fitness center and boxing ring. For details, visit www.raffles-canouanisland.com or call (877) CANOUAN.

ANGUILLA AND ST. BARTS are the first two islands profiled on a new cable TV series launched by Caribbean Escapes Cooperative Marketing, which markets high-end travel to 25 destinations and 100 resorts throughout the region. The 15-episode series focuses on two islands per 30-minute program. Coming up next are Antigua and the U.S.V.I. Broadcast schedules are posted on www.caribbeanescapes.com.

TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURES on Dominica and Guadeloupe escaped damage from an earthquake Nov. 21, although Le Poisson Volant Hotel and Restaurant on Guadeloupe's Les Saintes was damaged and is closed. No reopening date has been set.

THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND approved $4.4 million in emergency loans for Grenada to help the island government deal with the effects of Hurricane Ivan. The IMF said Grenada's economy is projected to contract more than 3% this year, whereas 4% growth had been forecast before the hurricane flattened the island in September. Also, proceeds generated from the recent Caribbean Hotel Foundation St. Lucia Fundraising Golf Tournament will be donated to the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association. The sum of $10,000 will be distributed to local hospitality employees who were severely affected by the loss of their homes or jobs due to the temporary closing of some hotels.

LODGEPODGE

" Great Bay Beach Hotel & Casino on St. Maarten will reopen as a four-star property on Jan. 22, following a $10 million renovation that will add a new lobby bar, a third infinity pool, a total of five restaurants and a redo of all 210 rooms and 50 suites. An introductory promotion will feature a 15% discount on rack rates through April. To book, call (800) 223-0757 or visit www.greatbayhotel.com.

" The 236-room Tamarijn Aruba's all-inclusive family package for 2005 allows one or two kids up to age 18 to stay, eat and play for free year round when sharing a room with two paying adults. Parents also can purchase a second, separate room at a discounted rate as an add-on option. The package also includes a children's camp for kids between 5 and 12 years of age. Other optional amenities include the Sea Spa and the new nine-hole Links at Divi Aruba, which opened last month. For details, call (800) 554-2008.

OOPS!!

" The correct toll-free number for Seaborne Airlines is (888) FLY-TOUR. It was incorrectly listed in the 11/18 Caribbean E-letter.

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