CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas -- The Renaissance Grand Beach Resort in St. Thomas changed hands for the fourth time since the 290-room resort on the island's east end opened in 1984.

Mexico-based Palace Resorts, with six all-inclusive properties in and around Cancun, Mexico, purchased the former Renaissance property for $9.75 million from local owners, ending six years of Marriott International's management of the property.

Although the sale cuts Marriott's room inventory on St. Thomas by about 21%, the firm still manages Marriott's Frenchman Reef and Morning Star Beach Resorts and owns and manages the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas.

The resort will likely become an all-inclusive, joining Wyndham Sugar Bay Beach Club & Resort and Bolongo Bay Beach Club & Villas in that category on the island.

Plans also call for a new spa, another restaurant and room renovations. The Renaissance opened in 1984 as the Wyndham Virgin Grand Beach Resort; switched to Stouffers in 1993 and to the Renaissance in 1996.

Hurricane Hugo battered the beachfront resort in 1989, closing it for nine months; Hurricane Marilyn closed it for a year in 1995.

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

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