DALLAS -- Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will debut its newest Caribbean property Dec. 15 with the reopening of the 39-room Jumby Bay resort, located on the 300-acre Jumby Bay Island off the north coast of Antigua. The reopening follows a $5.6 million, four-month redo.

The island's Home-owners Association acquired the resort from hotelier Heinz Simonitsch in April and immediately tapped Rosewood to manage the upscale property.

Simonitsch and his partners had purchased Jumby Bay in November 1999 from Rockresorts, which took over the operation in December 1998 after a two-year closure due to hurricane damage in late 1995.

Raymond Jacobi, Rosewood's chief operating officer, said the reopening signals the "repositioning and renewal of Jumby Bay with new facilities and landscaping, a new restaurant, a new look to the guest rooms, a new fitness center and treatment rooms, upgraded food and beverage operations and new bicycles for the guests."

In fact, there is little that Rosewood did not tweak or replace during the renovation.

Jumby Bay resort on Antigua, now managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, will reopen Dec. 15 following a four-month property-wide renovation. Above, the beach at Jumby Bay. Guest room interiors, including floors, window coverings, soft goods, lighting and furnishings were redone; bathrooms were gutted and a pedestal soaking tub and an outdoor garden shower added to each suite.

Guests will experience a new outdoor dining venue at the Beach Pavilion, which supplements both the Verandah and the Estate House, Jumby Bay's signature restaurant located in a 230-year-old English plantation manor.

Jumby Bay will continue to be an inclusive resort, at least for its first season, Jacobi said.

However, two ferry boats will offer frequent 10-minute trips between the island and the mainland to enable guests to go ashore for dining, shopping or sightseeing.

Jacobi said the "guest experience will be enhanced from arrival to departure," including escorts for guests from the airport to the resort and beach amenities such as chilled towels, beverages, fresh fruit and sorbets.

Eleven villas on the island will be in the resort's rental pool this winter; the units will be equipped with golf carts for guest use during their stay.

Peter Bowling is the managing director at Jumby Bay.

Rosewood's other two Caribbean properties -- Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, and Caneel Bay on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands -- also tout new features for the winter season.

All three properties welcome children and offer specialized programs and activities in designated play centers separate from adult areas.

Commission is 10% at the three resorts. A rundown of the other two properties follows:

Caneel Bay. Jacobi said the 166-room resort is undergoing a soft goods renovation, "which will not include the addition of telephones or televisions in the rooms, as per Caneel's custom."

The resort's Self Centre facility moved to a permanent home in January on a bluff overlooking Honeymoon beach. The center offers self-improvement classes in yoga, meditation, lifestyle counseling and water aerobics.

Wedding business, a lucrative market for the resort, "had growth this year,"according to Jacobi. "We did not lose market share or business in that segment." Executive retreat bookings also grew in 2002, he said.

Brian Young is managing director of Caneel Bay.

Little Dix Bay. The resort's new managing director is David Flack, formerly general manager at the Cerulean Villa Resort on Anguilla.

The 98-room property will launch its full-service Spa at Little Dix on Dec. 15, complete with nine treatment cottages set on a cliffside.

Spa treatments will utilize natural ingredients from Virgin Gorda and nearby islands, said Karen Shawn, spa director.

The debut will coincide with the opening of the resort's two residential-style beachfront villas, both with private plunge pools, situated on the west end of Little Dix's crescent beach.

For additional information on all of the resorts, visit the Web at www.rosewoodhotels.com.

Occupancies on the rise

By Gay Nagle Myers

Dallas -- A Return To "Normal" Business Levels Is What Raymond Jacobi, chief operating officer of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, said he is beginning to see.

Occupancies this year at both Caneel Bay on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Little Dix on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, are higher year-to-date over last year.

"Business is coming back. Our guest rooms and villas are sold out for the holiday season at our three Caribbean resorts," Jacobi said. "The call volume for the winter season has definitely picked up, although the buying and booking patterns remain close in as they have for the past year." Even the European market is "starting to loosen up," Jacobi said.

Air travel, or the business of getting to the resorts, is a frequent gripe of clients.

"Air travel is no longer pleasant. It is something we all have to endure, which is why we have tried to make the arrival process at the resorts as seamless and as pleasant as possible," Jacobi said.

He said Rosewood is "stronger than ever."

The firm's current roster includes seven hotels and six resorts, with three more properties opening in the next three years. Further expansion in the Caribbean is a possibility, according to Jacobi.

"We are poised for acquisition and on the lookout for one or two more hotels in strategic locations in the Caribbean," he said.

Destinations under consideration include Anguilla and Turks and Caicos.

Rosewood did not join the rate-discounting fray as many other Caribbean properties did this year, but instead "offered a small number of rooms at each resort at a 'hook' rate, which is our lowest rate. We also lengthened the off-season by offering the hook rate beginning in March rather than in May," he said.

Jacobi described the travel market this past summer as "suspect."

"Although we have not been swayed by customer perceptions, we had to steal market share by accelerating the length of time we traditionally offer lower rates," he said.

Rosewood's 2003 peak rates for its Caribbean properties do not reflect an increase over 2002 prices.

The firm's schedule of fam trips next year is "strong," Jacobi said. In addition, the firm's Collection Preview series this fall targeted top-producing agents and corporate accounts in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.

Book it: Rosewood's Caribbean resorts

Caneel Bay, St. John
Rates: From $450 per room, per night, EP, Jan. 3 to March 31.
Jumby Bay, Antigua
Rates: From $1,050, double, inclusive
Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda
Rates: From $450, double, EP
Commission: 10%
Reservations: (888) 767-3966
Web:www.rosewoodhotels.com

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