SAN JUAN --- Puerto Rico Tourism Co. launched a new initiative, in conjunction with Virtuoso, aimed at marketing small, independently owned deluxe properties in distinctive settings and locations on the island.

The Unique Collection--Luxury Hotels of Puerto Rico is a group of eight hotels and resorts, each with 100 rooms or less.

The properties include: Copamarina Beach Resort, Guanica; El Convento, and the Water Club, both in San Juan; Horned Dorset Primavera, and Rincon Beach Resort, both in Rincon; Hix's Island House, and Inn on the Blue Horizon, both in Vieques; and Villa Montana, Isabela.

Jose M. Suarez, PRTC's executive director, said the properties were selected by PRTC and a committee of island hoteliers.

To be included in the collection, hotels must meet "certain criteria and standards. Virtuoso's marketing strengths guarantee promotional exposure for these hotels, some of which did not have the funds for marketing and promotion before this."

Suarez said the launch of the new collection, which takes effect in March, "lends creditability to independent hotels and helps position Puerto Rico in the luxury market."

Agents can book the properties through Virtuoso or through the individual hotel.

Further details are available at www.gotopuertorico.com.

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