Jamaica property development busy in 2001

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NEW YORK -- Jamaica ushered in 2001 with one new resort and several others sporting multimillion-dollar renovations.

Several of the spruced-up properties are being operated by new (but familiar) names.

The following is a rundown of some of the biggest developments.

Negril and the south coast

  • Jake's, the boutique hotel at Treasure Beach on Jamaica's south coast, unveiled its latest two-bedroom cottage, Sweet Lip, in November.
  • Like Jake's five other cottages, Sweet Lip is furnished with an eclectic mix of furnishings and Jamaican antiques; local art, and modern amenities, such as CD players.

    Remaining true to Jamaican simplicity, Sweet Lip does not have a phone, television or air conditioning -- ocean breezes and ceiling fans provide natural cooling.

    For information or reservations, call (800) OUTPOST or visit the Web site at www.islandoutpost.com.

  • The 134-room Swept Away Negril announced a $15 million expansion that will add another 150 rooms by the end of next year.
  • Spread out over 20 acres, Swept Away is popular among active guests for its 10-acre sports complex and spa. There's also a freshwater swimming pool with a poolside bar, and land and water sports.

    To accommodate the extra guests, the resort will build another restaurant, a swim-up pool bar, a cafe and additional meetings facilities.

    For information or reservations, call (800) 545-7937 or visit the resort's Web site at www.sweptaway.com.

  • Spanish hotel company RIU Hotels will open its first Jamaican hotel in the Bloody Bay area of Negril in March.
  • The 396-room Tropical Bay Resort will operate as an inclusive property and feature several indoor and outdoor restaurants and bars; a disco; two pools; a complimentary children's program; motorized and nonmotorized water sports; a fitness center, and tennis courts.

    For more information or reservations, call (305) 604-3336 or visit the company's Web site at www.riu-hotels.com.

  • Ground has not been broken yet, but the operators of the proposed Almond Beach Village Negril on Bloody Bay said "the blueprints are ready."
  • "We're just waiting for the financing to be approved," said Barbados-based Almond Resorts.

    The $38 million, 235-suite resort will be built by Almond Resorts and private investors.

    Tropical Bay will be built around a village square concept and feature conference center facilities, four restaurants and four swimming pools.

    It also will feature a cooking school highlighting Jamaican and Caribbean specialties.

    Montego Bay

  • Last August marked the opening of the $137 million, 430-room Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, one of the most anticipated new hotels in Jamaica in recent years and only the fourth Ritz-Carlton in the Caribbean.
  • One of the resort's main selling points is the White Witch, an 18-hole, tournament-caliber golf course -- the first golf course managed by Ritz-Carlton.

    Course managers are guaranteeing favorable tee-times for hotel guests. Sixteen of the resort's 18 holes have views of the ocean.

    The resort also includes an 8,000-square-foot spa; 17,000 square feet of meetings and banquet facilities, and six food and beverage outlets.

    In keeping with the Ritz-Carlton cache, guests are treated to the hotel's private fleet of 11 custom-made buses and 10 Lincoln Town Cars to shuttle them between the airport in Montego Bay and the hotel.

    For information or reservations, call (800) 241-3333 or visit the resort's Web site at www.ritzcarlton.com.

  • SuperClubs took over the management of the Ironshore Golf and Country Club and renamed it the SuperClubs Golf Club Montego Bay at Ironshore.
  • The 18-hole, 72-par golf course was designed by Canadian Robert Moote, and offers golf afficionados yet another option for golfing in Jamaica.

    In fact, with the opening of the Ritz-Carlton's White Witch golf course, Montego Bay alone boasts five championship caliber golf courses, including the Half Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club course, the Wyndham Rose Hall Resort and Country Club course; the Tryall course, and the SuperClubs Golf Club Montego Bay at Ironshore.

  • The former SeaCastles Beach Resort reopened in December under the management of Canada's Cameleon Hotels. The resort's new name is the Cameleon SeaCastles Beach Resort.
  • The 150-room resort features three restaurants and an outdoor amphitheater with a dance floor. A supervised Kids Klub offers free activities for youngsters ages 12 and under.

    For information or reservations, call SeaCastles at (876) 953-3250.

    Ocho Rios and Runaway Bay

  • The Beaches Grande Sport at Ciboney, the former Ciboney Ocho Rios, opened Dec. 15 after the first phase of a $10 million renovation.
  • A member of Sandals Resorts' Beaches brand, Beaches Grande Sport is aimed at adult couples and singles.

    The 300-room resort offers a myriad of activities, including the usual water sports -- snorkeling, sailing, scuba diving -- and some more unusual pastimes, such as rock climbing, trampoline and kick boxing.

    When guests aren't exercising, they can pamper themselves at the spa, which offers a full range of a la carte services for an additional fee.

    In other Sandals news, Beaches Royal Plantation, formerly Plantation Inn, will re-open Feb. 1 after a $10 million renovation.

    The resort will feature 80 suites and private villas and cater to an adult market, including couples, singles and families with older children. (The minimum age is 16 years.)

    It also will feature a spa, and guests will have exchange privileges with the nine other Sandals and Beaches resorts in Jamaica.

    Sandals will market the resort as an upscale boutique property, and as such will offer "imperial beach service," which means guests can have their meals brought to them at their beach chairs.

    For information or reservations, call (800) BEACHES or visit the resort's Web site at www.beaches.com.

    Port Antonio

    Port Antonio Villas and Charters, an investment group, is negotiating to buy Navy Island, the former playground of movie legend Errol Flynn, for $2.75 million.

    According to Frank Lawrence, one of three investors and the general manager of Frenchman's Cove in Port Antonio, the group plans to create an upscale villa-style resort with a spa, an expanded yacht marina, restaurants and other leisure facilities.

    Lawrence said the group expects to close the sale, which is being negotiated with Jamaica's Financial Sector Adjustment Company, in early February.

    He also said the plan calls for the entire development to be completed by February 2002.

    Kingston

  • Le Meridien Jamaica Pegasus Hotel is modernizing its 300 rooms with data ports for computers.
  • The hotel also added The Columbus, an Italian restaurant, and expanded the menu in Cafe Pegasus.

    For information or reservations, call (876) 926-3690 or visit www.meridienjamaica.com.

  • Terra Nova Hotel added a business center and gym.
  • The business center features e-mail- and Internet-ready computers, as well as fax and copying services.

    For information or reservations, call (876) 926-2211 or visit www.terranovahotel.com.

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