Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: February 2, 2006

SPICE ISLAND BEACH RESORT in Grenada celebrated its formal reopening Jan. 29 with fireworks, dining and dancing for several hundred tourism executives, government officials and hotel guests. The 64-room resort, severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and shuttered for more than a year, came back on line in mid-December following a $12 million refurbishment program. Owner Royston Hopkin said that property upgrades included new landscaping and water features, the 3,500-square-foot Janissas Spa, a new childrens activity center and new furnishings throughout. Spice Island also reduced its room count by two units to expand the footprint of its top category rooms. Bookings through March are very strong, according to resort manager Brian Hardy.

SPIRIT AIRLINES launched its 11th Airbus A319 aircraft, naming the 138-seat airplane the Spirit of St. Thomas. The carrier will take delivery of 14 more A319s this year and is committed to being an all-Airbus fleet by December, according to airline officials. By mid-February, Spirit will offer 22 nonstops from Fort Lauderdale, including 12 daily nonstops to the Caribbean. Coming up this month is the launch on Feb. 9 of daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman, followed on Feb. 16 by daily service to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, and twice-weekly flights on Wednesdays and Sundays, beginning Feb. 19, to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. With the rise in flights, Spirit Vacations packages to the Caribbean also will increase. For schedules and fares, visit www.spiritair.com.

LODGEPODGE

" Sun Village Resorts will open its $25 million, 120-suite Residence at Sun Village Resort & Spa-Cofresi condo-hotel in December next to the 305-room Sun Village Resort & Spa and the neighboring Ocean World Adventure Park and Marina. The Residence will offer one- and two-bedroom suites with en suite baths and Jacuzzis, an open-air terrace, a dining and living area, and full kitchen with a breakfast bar. The resorts 5,000-square-foot spa will debut this spring with 25 indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, gardens, a spa-only pool and a sundeck. Sun Village Resorts second property, the Sun Village-Juan Dolio, is slated to open later this year and also will feature an in-house spa. For details, visit www.sunvillageresorts.com.

" The 307-room Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is back in full operation, following a $15 million renovation project to repair damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. All rooms now have high-speed wireless Internet, balconies and marble bathrooms; the La Mer Spa added 1,500 square feet; and meetings facilities were expanded by 4,500 square feet. For rates and details, visit www.marriott.com/gcmgc.

PENCIL IT IN

" Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), April 5 to 7, Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. For details, visit www.drdate.net.

" 13th annual USVI Destination Symposium, May 19 to 23, Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino, St. Croix (with visits to St. Thomas and St. John). For information, visit www.virgin-islands-hotels.com.

OOPS!!

" Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Caribbean portfolio includes its resorts in Aruba, Nassau, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Meanwhile, Viva Wyndham has five resorts in the Dominican Republic, one on Grand Bahama Island and two in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The Jan. 26 Caribbean E-letter had incorrect numbers for Viva Wyndham.

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