Caribbean Connection: CheapCaribbean extends 15% commission through December

CheapCaribbean.com extended its 15% commission structure through December. The 15% level was launched in January. Commission is paid on the entire booking, not just the land portion.

 

Agents now account for more than 5% of CheapCaribbeans sales to Bermuda, the Caribbean and Mexico since the companys launch in early 2006.

CheapCaribbean, headquartered in Doylestown, Pa., uses its Boston office strictly for travel agent bookings.

Sandals to unveil River Suites

In Jamaica, new River Suites will be unveiled at Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa and Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island in Montego Bay this summer. The new suites will open onto a lazy river and pool area at both properties.

At Sandals Regency St. Lucia, seven Sunset one-bedroom villa suites with private pools will debut late this year as part of the resorts ocean bluff complex.

Martineau Bay to close Aug. 5

The closing date for Martineau Bay Resort & Spa on Vieques, the former Wyndham property that in 2008 will be transformed into Starwoods first W in the Caribbean, has been pushed back to Aug. 5.

A $65 million renovation will include the 156 guest rooms and villas, two restaurants, an 8,000-square-foot spa, a 3,000-square-foot bar, two tennis courts and an entertainment salon with billiards, backgammon and other games.

Raffles to open St. Lucia resort

The 200-roomRaffles St. Lucia will open in 2010 on the northern end of the island and will include 275 residential villas, casitas, condominiums, 75 estate lots, several restaurants, five pools, a 10,000-square-foot RafflesAmrita Spa, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, tennis courts and three beach clubs.

The St. Lucia project will be Raffles second foray in the Caribbean. It already manages and operates the Raffles Resort Canouan Island.

SuperClubs extends passport promo

SuperClubs extended its Passport Included promotion though May 31.

The promotion deducts the price of a passport renewal or application, up to $97 per person, from the price of an all-inclusive vacation of four nights or longer, if booked by May 31. Guests must fax a copy of the information page of the new passport and receipt to SuperClubs at (954) 925-0334 at least 30 days prior to travel.

The passport deal applies to bookings at any of SuperClubs nine resorts in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Curacao and the Dominican Republic.

Smoking a no-no in B.V.I.

The British Virgin Islands destination-wide smoking ban will go into effect on May 31. The B.V.I.s Legislative Council passed theTobacco Control Act on Nov. 14.

The B.V.I. joined Puerto Rico and Bermuda in passing anti-smoking legislation. Soon to follow will be the Cayman Islands, whose Tobacco Bill currently is making its way through various hearings.

Operator expands bonus deal

Luxury tour operator Island Destinations expanded its Referral Rewards program, which pays a cash bonus of $100 each to agents who refer a first-time agent to Island Destinations.

The cash bonus also now applies to the new agent who books with the operator.

The reward will be issued once the clients travel is completed. The offer is valid on bookings of three or more nights through Aug. 31 and carries no restrictions on the number of times an agent can collect an award.

For details on the referral and bonus program, call (800) 942-5899.

New dive shop on Eleuthera

Ocean Fox at Cotton Bay is the first full-service dive shop to open on Eleuthera, Bahamas, in more than 30 years.

The facility is located at Cotton Bay Estates & Villas, Starwoods first Luxury Collection property in the Bahamas.

The first phase of the 1,500-acre development project will open next fall with 73 guest rooms in one-, two- and three-bedroom villas.

Gran Melia to open May 1

Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts will open the Gran Melia Puerto Rico in Rio Grande on May 1. The property, about an hours drive from San Juan, is the former Paradisus Puerto Rico.

The Gran Melia will be a European Plan property (no meals included). Enhancements to the resort under the Gran Melia banner include the introduction of the Level, a service for top-paying guests that will offer exclusive pool and beach areas and a personal concierge.

The resort will open a Yhi Spa, Sol Melias new spa brand. The 11,000-square-foot facility will offer health and wellness treatments.

Delta adds Bahamas routes

Delta on June 16 will add nonstop flights from Atlanta to two destinations in the Bahamas: George Town, on Exuma, and North Eleuthera.

The flights will be operated by Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines. The George Town flight will operate four days a week, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing Atlanta at 11 a.m. and arriving at 1:26 p.m.

The North Eleuthera flight will operate three days a week, on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, departing Atlanta at 11:15 a.m. and arriving at 1:26 p.m.

Sustainable tourism show upcoming

The impact of health and wellness issues on the economies, environments and communities of the Caribbean will be examined at the Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development at the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa on Grand Cayman from May 21 to 24. Eric Light, president of the International Medical Spa Association, will deliver the keynote address on the growth of health tourism.

For more information on the conference, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

Festivals, festivals, festivals

Upcoming Caribbean festivals include Dominicas Dive Fest, July 6 to 15 (www.discoverdominica.com); the Cayman Classic, an epicurean event held from May 10 to 13 at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort (www.caymanislands.ky/promotions); and the Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival, May 16 to 20 (www.bonairejazz.com).

Gay Nagle Myers is Travel Weekly's Caribbean editor. E-mail her at [email protected].

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