Beaches Boscobel reinvents itself for families

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OCHO RIOS, Jamaica -- If only these walls could talk. The property that opened in 1959 as the Playboy Club debuted earlier this month as the 224-room Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club.

And now, that property is courting families at the place where Playboy founder Hugh Hefner played and Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher honeymooned.

Hefner's 10th-floor suite now is a one-bedroom suite, and the game center once was the two-bedroom cottage where Taylor and Fisher spent their first married days following their notorious affair and Fisher's divorce from Hollywood's sweetheart, Debbie Reynolds.

Beaches Boscobel, located 10 miles east of Ocho Rios, "will surprise former guests," according to Jeff McKitty, general manager.

McKitty, who previously managed Beaches Negril, said that expansions and renovations at Beaches Boscobel totaling more than $18 million "transformed" the resort. And its clientele.

"We cater to children from 6 months old, and we expect a lot of grandparents and single parents," McKitty said. Boscobel's children's center, open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., has separate facilities and staffs for kids, depending upon their ages. Groups include those up to age 4, ages 4 to 7, 8 to 12 and 13 and older.

The teen center is "like a nonalcoholic sports bar with karaoke, movies and music," McKitty said. Two of the resort's four tennis courts are reserved for kids. Golf and instruction also are available for them at Sandals Golf & Country Club, located 15 minutes away.

Animals, such as donkeys, rabbits, goats and birds, can be observed in a supervised mini-zoo and aviary at the resort. In addition, children have their own dining section and chef at Boscobel's Bayside buffet restaurant, while the resort's Caribbean-themed restaurant is adults-only at dinner.

Boscobel's introductory rates start at $285 per person, per night, double, through Aug. 22. Beaches pays 13% commission.

For information, call (888) BEACHES or visit the Web site at www.beaches.com.

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