Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Oct. 9, 2007

THE STARS AND FIREWORKS came out over Dickenson Bay in Antigua Oct. 4 to 7 for Sandals Resorts' official opening of its $70 million, 180-site Mediterranean Village expansion to the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa. The new complex, designed to complement the existing 193-room Caribbean Village, marked the launch of Sandals' Luxury Included Vacation concept, which will be followed by a collection of luxury suites now under renovation and construction in five of the 12 Sandals' resorts in Jamaica, St. Lucia and the Bahamas. Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman, described the opening of the Mediterranean Village as "a defining moment for Sandals. We have moved beyond the all-inclusive category and the often maligned all-inclusive connotation. This opening signifies and celebrates a new direction for our 26-year-old company. As our company has evolved, so too has the Sandals Resort customer." Targeted at the luxury leisure, honeymoon and bridal markets, the Mediterranean Village combines the architectural styles and colors of the region with Sandals' signature landmarks, including the Sandals pool tower, swim-up bar and whirlpool (both the pool and whirlpool reportedly are the largest in the eastern Caribbean); poolside cabanas with Wi-Fi access; six categories of oceanview suites with the top two categories offering Sandals' private butler service; four restaurants and three bars, including a Cricketers' Pub; a 3,200-square-foot shopping village; more than 10,000 feet of meetings space; and a private wedding gazebo. For details and rates, visit www.sandals.com.

THE HYATT REGENCY in Grand Cayman will no longer operate and manage the Rum Point beach attraction on North Sound, effective Nov. 1, according to Diego Concha, Hyatt general manager. The Hyatt has 20 staff members stationed at the Wreck Bar & Grill as chefs, servers and bartenders. Rum Point also has a beach facility with lounge chairs and hammocks, and a water sports concession operated by Red Sail Sports. Rum Point Investment Co., which owns the Rum Point property, is in discussions with several parties regarding the leasing of the property so that Rum Point can reopen for the winter season. Hyatt has run Rum Point since 1995. Following Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Rum Point's dinner restaurant never reopened nor did the ferry service across North Sound that connected the Hyatt with Rum Point. The Hyatt Regency resort, in fact, has not reopened since Ivan, although a separate 53-suite Hyatt Regency Beach Suites on Seven Mile Beach across from the main resort, did reopen.

ROLODEX

" Yvor Nassief, Dominica's minister of tourism, industry and private sector relations, resigned his post, effective Sept. 30. Nassief, who held the position for two years, indicated when he accepted the post in 2005 that he would give two years of service. A new minister has not been named; Loreen Bannis-Roberts is acting as tourism minister for the time being. Steve Bornn, formerly with the U.S. Virgin Islands Dept. of Tourism, was recently tapped to serve as the CEO and director of tourism for the Discover Dominica Authority.

" Bruce Golding, prime minister of Jamaica, appointed Edmund Bartlett as minister of tourism, following Jamaica's recent national elections that returned the Labour Party to power after an 18-year hiatus. Bartlett, a member of Parliament for 22 years, succeeds Aloun n'Dombet Assamba in the tourism post.

SINGAPORE-BASED BANYAN TREE HOLDINGS, a developer, designer and operator of top-tier resorts and spas worldwide, signed a management contract for the Angsana Resort & Spa Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. The 160-suite property will mark the debut of the Angsana brand in the Caribbean region. The brand was launched in 2000 and is the sister brand of Banyan Tree, which operates 23 resorts and hotels, 61 spas and two golf courses, primarily in Asia and the South Pacific. No timeline for opening has been announced.

Caribbean Editor: Gay Nagle Myers

Phone: (201) 902-1924

[email protected]

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