Aruba Sonesta to be reflagged Renaissance

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ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- When the Renaissance flag replaces the Sonesta flag along Aruba's Palm Beach at the Sonesta Beach Resort April 30, the transition "should be seamless," according to an official with Marriott & Renaissance Offshore Resorts.

Ownership of what will be the Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort & Casino will remain the same as under Sonesta, according to Matt Shackel, director of sales and marketing for Marriott & Renaissance Offshore Resorts.

Renaissance will honor Sonesta's rates, reservations and commission structure of 10%. Renaissance room rates are $140 to $220 per night, single/double. One bedroom suites rates range from $200 to $220 per night single or double.

The 556-unit property will join the 10 resorts in Aruba, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Kitts and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, (as well as Mexico's Cancun and Puerto Vallarta) that are on the roster of Marriott & Renaissance Offshore Resorts.

Marriott also has other hotels along Palm Beach -- the 218-suite Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club, a Marriott Vacation Club and the 413-unit Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.

While under the Sonesta flag, the soon-to-be Renaissance property completed a $25 million expansion and renovation a year ago, which included the construction of a water canal, waterfalls and greenery at a water-shuttle dock in the lobby area.

The shuttle will continue to ferry guests to a private, 40-acre island eight minutes away by boat.

However, Renaissance said it is planning some improvements of its own, including a redo of soft goods in the guest rooms as well upgrades to the lobby, landscaping and pool decks by the end of 2003.

The hotel's business ratio is 60% leisure and 40% meetings and corporate, but Shackel said there's room for growth on the meetings side.

"We see great potential for attracting groups since the hotel has the most extensive meetings space on the island," Shackel said. "We can host 400 people on the resort's private island. It's an incredible venue for theme events, as well."

In addition, the adjacent Seaport Conference Center offers banquet space for up to 1,600 people.

The complex also consists of the Beach Tower with 271 suites and the Marina Tower with 285 units. Other facilities include 15 restaurants, two casinos, several beaches (including the private island) and 130 shops. The lobby is the site of a nightly water and light show

For booking before April 29, agents should call Sonesta at (800) SONESTA. Following that date, bookings should be made with Renaissance at (800) 223-6388.

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