Caribbean Connections: Occidental to unveil redone Aruba resort

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The all-inclusive Occidental Grand Aruba Resort will open May 1 on Palm Beach, following a $24 million renovation and upgrade. The former Allegro-branded resort will offer 391 deluxe rooms and suites, reduced from 402; seven restaurants; a spa; a casino; a shopping arcade; a Kids Club; tennis; nearby golf; and water sports.

Visit www.occidentalhotels.com for rates and packages.

Carnival time in U.S.V.I.

The 54th Annual Virgin Islands Carnival kicks off April 9 and will run through April 29, with celebrations highlighting the theme of Glamor and Glitz in 2006.

Parades, costumes, music and competitions, the crowning of a Carnival king and queen; and a cultural food fair at Emancipation Garden in St. Thomas are scheduled.

For details, visit www.vicarnival.com.

St. Kitts airlift

American Airlines will continue serving St. Kitts with five flights per week via Miami through Sept. 4, a move Richard Ricky Skerritt, the islands minister of tourism, sports and culture, said will give visitors more flexibility in planning trips to St. Kitts, especially for special events.

Americans flights drop to three a week -- Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays -from Sept. 5 through Oct. 28, and resume the five-a-week schedule, adding Thursday and Saturday flights, from Oct. 29 through the next winter season.

Upcoming events include a cricket match on May 24, a cricket tournament from June 21 to 26 and the St. Kitts Music Festival from June 29 to July 2.

For island information, visit www.stkitts-tourism.com.

Welcome back, Marriott

The 307-room Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is back in operation, following a $15 million renovation to repair damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

All rooms have high-speed, wireless Internet; balconies; and marble bathrooms. La Mer Spa added 1,500 square feet, and meetings facilities grew by 4,500 square feet.

For rates and details, visit www.marriott.com/gcmgc.

CTC-29 returns to the Bahamas

The 29th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference will take place in the Bahamas from Oct. 22 to 26; the specific location has not been confirmed.

The Bahamas was the venue for CTC-25 in 2002 at Our Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. The CTO and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism expect to host more than 600 tourism industry officials.

This years conference again will include the awarding of continuing-education credits for MasterClasses taken at the conference. For more details, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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