Plenty of places to stay in the 'no-problem' land

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MONTEGO BAY -- Jamaica will usher in 2002 with several new and renovated resorts and a number of new attractions. A rundown follows:

The Tryall Golf, Tennis & Beach Club in Montego Bay renovated 56 of its privately owned villas. • Tryall Golf, Tennis & Beach Club in Montego Bay refurbished 56 of its privately owned villas. The projects included everything from new roofs and kitchens to bathrooms, swimming pools and furnishings. For information or reservations, call (800) 238-5290 or visit the Web at www.tryallclub.com.

• Half Moon Golf, Tennis & Beach Club in Montego Bay opened the Half Moon Chapel, an open-air, gazebo-style structure with a covered roof for religious ceremonies and weddings. It can accommodate 30 people. For information or reservations, call (876) 953-2211.

• Beaches Resorts is poised to open another inclusive property for families -- Beaches Resort and Golf Club, scheduled to open Feb. 1 near Ocho Rios. The 230-room resort will offer many amenities and facilities for grown-ups, including a 2,000-square-foot fitness center, an oversized pool with swim-up bar, five restaurants, six bars, a water-sports center and nightly entertainment.

For kids and teen-agers, there will be a video game center, a disco and a Kids Kamp with supervised activities for infants, toddlers and teens. For information or reservations, call (800) BEACHES or visit the Web at www.beaches.com.

• The Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay completed a refurbishment that added a poolside bar, a lobby bar and a meeting room for business travelers. Also for business travelers, the Wexford created executive-category rooms and apartments with large work desks, Internet access and cell phones. For information or reservations, call (876) 952-2854.

• The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay said it expects to finish renovating its 120 garden-level rooms by the start of the winter season. The rooms will sport new furniture and upgraded bathrooms. In addition, the hotel completed work on a "cyber center" with computers equipped with Internet and e-mail access. For information or reservations, call (876) 979-8070 or visit the Web at www.sunsetbeachresortspa.com.

• The Reading Reef Club Hotel near Montego Bay is giving its spa a face-lift and revamping its water-sports operation in time for the high season. One of the hotel's selling points is its Island Retreat Spa, which specializes in natural spa treatments using herbs grown on the estate. For information or reservations, call (876) 952-5909.

• SuperClubs will open the 350-room Starfish Trelawny Beach & Fun Resort in Falmouth on Dec. 11. It will be the first of a new brand of inclusive resorts targeting clients who are on a budget. The 90-room Starfish Ocho Rios will open next spring. Both resorts will be managed by SuperClubs but will be marketed separately from its more upscale resorts. SuperClubs said the Starfish brand is aimed at "budget-minded" singles, couples and families.

Opening rates will be $69 per person, per night, double. To qualify, bookings must be made by Nov. 30 for travel Dec. 11 to Feb. 14, with a blackout period from Dec. 21 to 31. Rates include accommodations, meals, drinks, use of land and nonmotorized water sports, entertainment and taxes. No tipping is allowed. Starfish Trelawny is the former Trelawny Beach & Fun Resort; Starfish Ocho Rios is the former Club Jamaica Ocho Rios. For information or reservations, call (800) GO SUPER or visit the Web at www.superclubs.com.

• Couples Resorts is wrapping up renovations at Couples Ocho Rios. The hotel plans to convert 13 rooms into six suites. In addition, 80 bathrooms in the resort's mountainview and oceanview rooms are being fitted with new tile and fixtures. The new suites will include oversize Jacuzzis. For information or reservations, call (800) COUPLES or visit the Web at www.couples.com.

• The upscale Strawberry Hill resort has a new chef, Aris LaTham, in its restaurant overlooking the city of Kingston. LaTham created a menu featuring "spa cuisine" and "sunfire cuisine," which includes a selection of raw foods. For information or reservations, call (800) OUTPOST or visit the Web at www.islandoutpost.com.

• Jake's, the small hotel located in the small fishing village of Treasure Beach on Jamaica's south coast, will add two cottages this winter, Cockles and Seapuss 2. Cockles, located in a private garden setting, has two double bedrooms, each with its own private entrance. The cottage features wood and tile floors, queen-size four-poster beds and shaded private verandas.

Seapuss 2 features a queen-size bed, a small refrigerator, a work area with a desk, a deck and an open-air shower. Both new cottages were to be ready by Thanksgiving. For information or reservations, call (800) OUTPOST or visit the Web at www.islandoutpost.com.

• Coco La Palm in Negril added five beachfront suites and 25 gardenview rooms for the budget-minded traveler. Coco also opened a bakery. For information or reservations, call (876) 957-4227.

• Beaches Resorts broke ground on Beaches Whitehouse, which will be located on 40 acres of wooded land in Westmoreland on the island's south coast. It is scheduled to open in time for the 2002-03 winter season. Beaches Whitehouse will cater to families (children ages 16 and older), singles and couples. It will feature 360 rooms, including 24 suites, 48 junior suites and 288 standard rooms.

Rooms will be designed in a Jamaican motif. The resort will include five restaurants serving Japanese food, seafood, "Tex-Mex" and Jamaican cuisine. There also will be a conference facility with room for 300 people. For information, call (800) BEACHES or visit the Web site at www.beaches.com.

• The 48-room Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios lowered the minimum age requirement for vacationing children and completed upgrades and renovations. All rooms and public areas were redecorated, and rooms now feature direct-dial phones and dataport connections. Jamaica Inn lowered the minimum age for guests from 16 to 12. In addition, its toll-free reservations line now rings at the resort.

Responding to demand, the resort launched a three-night "minihoneymoon" package for busy couples who might not have the time for a longer getaway. The package includes accommodations in an oceanfront room with a large veranda; daily breakfast and dinner for two; airport transfers in a private car; unlimited tennis and croquet, and admission to Dolphin Cove for a Dolphin Encounter session. The package costs $850 per person, double. A six-night package costs $1,365 per person, double. For more information or reservations call (800) 837-4608 or visit www.jamaicainn.com.

• The Ruins at the Falls in Ocho Rios is turning into a hot spot for locals and visitors alike. Formerly a restaurant and special events facility, the venue was recently renovated and features two restaurants and a cafe centered around a 40-foot limestone waterfall surrounded by gardens. The main restaurant, Cascades, serves up healthy dishes in a room filled with music and soft lighting, while the Roadside Diner features Jamaican and Asian in a casual and colorful setting.

Future plans call for the construction of 30 hilltop guest rooms with balconies overlooking gardens, and a spa (with a gym) offering traditional services as well as tai chi and yoga. Half of the 30 rooms are scheduled for completion by mid-December, and the entire project is set to open early next year. For more information, call (876) 974-4729 or visit the Web at www.jamaicaruins.com.

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