How do existing properties compete and keep up with newer properties in terms of guest amenities and resort facilities?
In the Caribbean, which boasts more than 91,000 rooms across 36 island destinations, the cycle of upgrades, refurbishments and innovations is a never-ending (and expensive) facet of managing a property.
Here’s what Starwood Hotels & Resorts is doing with four of its top properties on St. John and in Puerto Rico.
At the Westin St. John Resort & Villas, $50 million is the price tag for a resort overhaul that includes the refurbishment of its 96 guestrooms, the addition of a 4,000-square-foot pool deck, upgrades to the meeting space and the addition of indoor, air-conditioned seating to its beach cafe.
“The brown shingle exterior on Westin’s main building has been replaced with a lighter, synthetic shingle that wears better in the tropical weather,” said Dawn Parisi, area director of sales and marketing for Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts.
“Guests will like the new look,” she said.
All renovations will be completed by June except for the 54 new villas that are being added to the 146 Starwood Vacation Ownership villas. They will be ready for occupancy next January. All the villas will be placed in the rental pool when not owner-occupied.
The W Retreat & Spa on Vieques, eight miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico, has added new treatments to its 6,000-square-foot Away Spa and maintains a lounge at the Vieques airport for its guests.
“The resort is sponsoring a local organic farmer on the island who will eventually supply 90% of the produce for the resort’s restaurants,” Parisi said.
Farm tours will be available for hotel guests in the future.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is set on the grounds of a former coconut plantation in the foothills of Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Rainforest.
Its 10,000-square-foot Remede Spa now offers “a spa without walls,” which means that guests can have treatments anywhere on the property, including sites near the rainforest.
The Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, adjacent to the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, is rolling out a “retail therapist” who will provide guests with shopping information, maps of Old San Juan and tips on where to dine and sightsee.
The property boasts the largest casino in San Juan and is the first LEED-certified hotel in the Caribbean.