Area resorts boast new offerings

OCHO RIOS, Jamaica -- Down the road at Royal Plantation Golf Resort and Spa by Beaches, Mario Machado, general manager, said the 10-week winter forecast "certainly looks very positive for us."

Occupancy at the resort, which has 77 oceanview suites, was 78% in mid-October. Winter rates start from $410 per person, per night.

As for the winter, Machado said, "I think I'm going to run out of rooms, which is a nice problem to have."

Machado seems to be constantly tweaking the menu as well as the property's romantic ambience. He plans to add beachside dining by January.

"It's just so gorgeous [on the beach]," he said. "We'll probably have about eight or 10 tables and serve 40 to 50 couples a night down there."

Meanwhile, at Sandals Dunn's River Falls, Louis Grant, general manager, said occupancy was running unusually high, roughly at 90% in October, with back-to-back corporate groups.

In contrast to the quiet, private and intimate Royal Plantation, Dunn's River has a distinctly sociable, party feel. "The way it was built enables people to get together," Grant said.

Everything is in that area, north of the buildings, along with the beach and the pool.

"That's the whole idea, to bring people together," he said. "The southern side is just the spa, which you want to be quiet anyway, and the pitch and putt course."

Grant said he'd like to add a port cochere entrance to the resort this winter, "so people can get into and out of the motorcoaches easily without getting wet." -- P.F.

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