Point Grace hopes airlift boosts occupancies

PROVIDENCIALES -- At Point Grace resort here, general manager Andre Niederhauser keeps his eyes trained on the skies.

He's looking for the airplanes that make him "feel more positive" about this winter season.

As 90% of the resort's guests come from the U.S., air service levels are important, Niederhauser said. In the past, sufficient lift was a problem.

Now, weekly service from American Airlines out of Boston, which started in June, and four weekly US Airways flights from Charlotte, N.C., set to start in November, should help bolster business, he said.

Packages for the 32-suite, four-villa resort can be booked through US Airways Vacations as well as Gogo Worldwide Vacations, Classic Custom Vacations, Island Destinations and Mark Travel.

Forecasting occupancy remains a challenge, Niederhauser said, noting that 30% to 40% of Point Grace's business continues to be booked within two weeks of arrival, a post-Sept. 11 trend affecting many destinations.

Agents generate 22% of Point Grace's winter business. That number is slightly higher during the summer.

The resort pays 10% on accommodations, which start at $395 per night for a one-bedroom cottage suite through Dec. 17. From Dec. 18 to April 8, the rate jumps to $525.

Rates include transfers, early evening drinks and snacks, a weekly cocktail party, selected water sports, a 30-minute spa treatment and use of the business center.

In other news, the property introduced seven-night spa and culinary packages, also commissionable at 10%.

The Thalasso Spa program includes cottage suite accommodations; transfers; tennis; four one-hour lessons on Thalasso beauty treatments; six one-hour spa treatments; and three seminars on Caribbean nutrition.

The plan costs $2,975 per person, double, and is offered Sept. 14 to 21 and Dec. 8 to 15.

The Exotic Culinary Journey plan involves day trips by boat and plane to Dallas Cay and Salt Key. It also offers instructions and classes in Caribbean ingredients and spices.

The package is open to guests of any cooking level and includes interisland travel, classes, a graduation dinner, a chef's jacket and a gift set of knives.

Rates are $2,740 per person, double, for a limited culinary program and $3,075 for the full package. This plan is offered Oct. 13 to 20 and Dec. 15 to 21.

For information and reservations, call (866) 92-GRACE. The Web site is located at www.pointgrace.com.

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