CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas -- Things are rockin' in America's
Caribbean, and it's not just johnnycakes (local pastries), jazz (at
Estate Whim on St. Croix) and Mocko Jumbys (dancers on stilts).
Hotels are renovating, expanding and building; restaurants and
art galleries are opening; and tourists are coming -- lured by
incentives, discounts and deals.
Here is an island-by-island rundown of developments:
The $160 million Robin Bay development, planned for the island's
south shore, calls for a 1,500-room hotel and condominium complex,
a golf course and casino.
The first stage, planned to open in late 2004, includes a
five-star, 300-room hotel and two smaller properties.
Gov. Charles Turnbull described the private sector mega-project
as one "that will bring St. Croix to public attention and help give
the island its own image."
The Golden Gaming project, also on the south shore, will include
a large hotel and casino when it opens, although no dates have been
Meanwhile, the terminal and runway projects at Henry Rohlsen
Airport are nearly complete. The expanded 10,000-foot runway will
be capable of handling nonstop flights from Europe.
Divi Carina Bay Casino grew by 5,400 square feet to accommodate
91 more slot machines, seven gaming tables and more parking
facilities. The Anchor Inn, a small downtown property, closed
earlier this year.
New restaurants on St. Croix include Cafe Chris-tine in the
historical Apothe-cary Hall complex on Company St. in
Christiansted; the Avocado Pitt, also in downtown; and the Cultured
Pelican on the island's east end near Coakley Bay.
Self-improvement courses are the focus at Caneel Bay's new
Self-Centre, located on a cliff above the resort's Honeymoon Beach.
Breath walks, water aerobics, lifestyle counseling, meditation and
yoga are available.
The revised opening date for the new $1.5 million Journeys Spa
at Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa is now mid-June, according to
Rik Blyth, general manager.
"The demand for spa vacations increases each year," Blyth said.
"The spa will help position Sugar Bay as a leading resort
The spa's opening caps a $7 million, 18-month renovation project
at the inclusive, 300-room property.
H. Wein Dimetros, general manager of the 151-room Holiday Inn
St. Thomas, reported the downtown waterfront property opened a new
business center, exercise room, car rental facility and
The first phase of the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas expansion
project, which includes 48 new rooms and suites, a lounge, a beach
restaurant, a spa and the first of four Ritz-Carlton Club
buildings, is slated for completion this summer.
New restaurants in downtown Charlotte Amalie include Sinclair's
Caribbean Cave and LeLoLay Puertorican Cuisine & Cafe.
U.S. Virgin Islands contacts, by the
• St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association
Phone: (800) 524-2026
• St. Thomas/St. John Hotel & Tourism Association
Phone: (340) 77-HOTEL
• U.S. Virgin Islands tourism
Phone: (800) 372-USVI