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.
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.
" 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.
" 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.
" 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.