Island gems: What's happening in the Caribbean

Wimco, the luxury-villa rental firm, added six renovated properties and 15 villas to its St. Barts inventory. Four spruced-up hotels also have been added. They are:

• Eden Rock, a Relais & Chateaux property, added a suite, renovated two cottages and opened its spa to the public.

• Fialao Beach upgraded its guest rooms.

• Carl Gustav refurbished all units with new furniture and air conditioning.

• Francois Plantation expanded its wine selection, opened a fitness area and introduced a new chef. For more information, call (800) 449-1553 or visit www.wimco.com.

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The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board relaunched its Web site, at www.turksandcaicostourism.com. The revamped site has details on special deals, an interactive map and a calendar of events. Web surfers also can send an e-postcard from the site.

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US Airways launched nonstop service between New York's LaGuardia and Freeport, Bahamas, on Dec. 1. Flights operate Thursdays through Sundays until Feb. 1, at which time the frequency will increase to daily.

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Wyndham International expanded into the Cayman Islands with the launch of its Summerfield Suites brand. The 130-suite hotel, called the Sunshine Suites Resort -- a Summerfield Suites by Wyndham, is in the Seven Mile Beach area. Rates for Sunshine Suites Resort are in the CRSs and on Wyndham's Web site, at www.wyndham.com.

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Lionstone Hotels & Resorts opened a sales and reservations office in Miami for the Sheraton Curacao Resort and the Bushiri Beach Resort in Aruba. For information, call (866) 974-LION or (305) 534-9989. Reservations can be sent via e-mail to [email protected] or [email protected].

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Effective Jan. 1, Sandals Antigua Resort & Spa will launch 24-hour room service in its suites and beach cottages. For more information, call (800) SANDALS or visit www.sandals.com.

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The $40 million Avalon Reef Resort is under construction on Ambergris Cay, off the north coast of Belize. The resort, previously the 32-room Casa Caribe, will have 242 units when completed in mid-2003 and will be the largest hotel in Belize. The Avalon Resorts Group, which owns Avalon Reef, also has properties in Panama and in Mexico.

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