Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: April 3, 2003

SUPERCLUBS' management contract with the 146-room Grand Lido Sans Souci in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, will be terminated by the property's owners, effective April 30. Owners British American Tobacco placed the property up for sale, according to John Issa, SuperClubs' executive chairman who said that 11 years remained on SuperClubs' contract and the company "will seek arbitration" to resolve the issue. Interim management is scheduled to be in place May 1, and the resort, which had been under SuperClubs' Grand Lido brand since 1994, will be renamed Sans Souci Resort & Spa until it is sold. Bookings and commissions are protected through April 30. Agents holding bookings from May 1 onwards will be notified by SuperClubs of the management change. The Grand Lido brand will continue to be represented by the Grand Lido Negril and Grand Lido Braco resorts, both in Jamaica. A Grand Lido resort is under construction in Cuba and another is planned for St. Kitts, although development was halted following 9/11.

LODGEPODGE
• Puerto Rico's hotel inventory fell by 100 rooms with the recent foreclosure of the Candelero Resort at Palmas del Mar in Humacao on the island's southeast coast. The hotel was part of Palmas del Mar, which includes residential units and rental villas, still in operation. Rick Newman, president of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Assn., said that guests who held reservations when the hotel closed were relocated to other properties. "Several groups have expressed interest in acquiring and reopening the hotel once the financial matters are resolved," Newman said.
• Aruba's first One Cool Summer promotion, which covers honeymoon and family vacation packages, is valid for travel of four or more nights between May 1 (blackout dates are May 21-26) and Dec. 15. Incentives include the fifth night free at 17 participating resorts and use of the One Cool Value Card, which offers more than $800 in savings and discounts. For details, www.aruba.com.
• The 150-room Carambola Beach Resort on St. Croix's north coast, purchased in August by a Baltimore, Md., investment group, now pays 20% agent commission and has discontinued the timeshare operation in effect under former owner Sunterra Corp. Suite rates start at $225 per night, double. Ocean Hospitalities, a New Hampshire-based management firm retained by the new owners, plans to upgrade the resort "to bring the property to its fullest potential," according to Scott Rosenthal, director of sales and marketing. Carambola was briefly under the Westin flag in the late 1980s.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS added a travel advisory page to its agent Web site at www.pleasantagent.com. The page includes the operator's cancellation policies and travel protection plans; airline phone numbers; and links to airports, the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

CAYMAN AIRWAYS will launch 737 service six days a week (never on Wednesdays) between Fort Lauderdale and Grand Cayman, effective April 6. Departure from FLL is 11 a.m. except on Saturdays when takeoff is set for 7 p.m. The introductory roundtrip fare of $169 is valid through April 30.

RATES AND DATES
• Several Curacao hotels and American Airlines unveiled special agent rates and packages for travel May 1 to 31. The $99 rate includes roundtrip air from American's U.S. gateways to Curacao and a hotel stay of three or more nights. The fare for a companion accompanying an agent is $199. To book, agents should contact American's San Juan Reservations Dept. at (787) 791-3939 and refer to Starfile Curacao 03.
• Viva Resorts' six inclusive properties in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexico offer agent rates from $42 per person, per night, double from April 20 to Aug. 20. Agents must present a valid IATAN or ARC number at time of booking. Viva continues to pay 12% commission to agents on bookings made through the reservations number at (800) 898-9968 or via e-mail at [email protected].

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