THE ARUBA SONESTA
Beach Resort in Oranjestad,
Aruba will become the Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort & Casino
on April 30, giving Marriott Int'l its third hotel brand and fourth
hotel on the island. Management will remain the same; Sonesta rates
will be honored until new Marriott rates are introduced.
Renovations on the 556-room property will include new soft goods in
the rooms and an upgrade to the lobby, landscaping and pool decks.
The new booking number for the property is (800) 223-6388.
HUGH RILEY, new director of marketing,
Americas, for the Caribbean Tourism Organization, said that initial
proposals and recommendations for CTO's new 10-year Caribbean
Tourism Strategic Plan will be presented to CARICOM (Caribbean
Community) heads of government at their annual summit July 2 to 5.
Caribbean consultant Victor Curtin has been retained by CTO to
assist with the plan's preparation.
CHANGING TIMES: When Daylight Savings Time
takes effect April 7 in the U.S. from April through October, most
of the Caribbean is on the same time as the East Coast of the U.S.
Of course, there are exceptions. Jamaica and the Cayman Islands
observe Eastern Standard Time year-round, so they are an hour
behind the rest of the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast from April
through October. It may just be easier to listen for the cockpit
announcement as your plane lands. Depending on the time of year and
the destination, you will or will not have to set your watches
ahead or back one hour.
AMERICAN AIRLINES will add direct, daily
service from New York (JFK) to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic four
times a week and to the business destination of Santiago, also in
the D.R., from JFK and Miami, effective June 15.
US AIRWAYS VACATIONS extended its Caribbean
Sale dates for bookings through April 12. The sale offers discounts
up to 35% on vacation packages to Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica and
St. Lucia for travel from April 15 through Aug. 31.
IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts, with five
resorts in the Dominican Republic and five in Mexico's Riviera Maya
region in the Yucatan, continues to pay commissions ranging from
10% to 15% on its air-and-land vacation packages. For information,
visit the Web site at www.iberostarcaribe.com.
• Sheraton Curacao Resort will introduce a kids-eat-free meal
program from a special childrens' menu for the 12-and-under set
from May 1 to Sept. 30. Throughout the year, kids stay free which
sharing a room with parents (up to two kids per room).
• When Curtain Bluff in Antigua reopens Oct. 26 after its annual
summer closing, it will offer a new, air-conditioned meeting room,
which will accommodate up to 60 people. The room will convert to a
children's playroom during the three weeks a year that kiddies
invade the scene (Christmas and spring break).
• Jaguar Reef Lodge in southern coastal Belize offers the seventh
night free when six are booked. The resort, at the edge of the
jungle where the Maya Mountains meet the Caribbean, offers both
reef and rainforest activities, including guided treks to the
Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary to view jaguars in their native
surroundings. For information, call (800) 289-5756.
• Blue Moon Cafe at Secret Harbour Beach Resort in St. Thomas took
top honors in a Virgin Islands' survey as having the most romantic
setting for dining as well as the best bartender. Visit the Web
site at www.bluemooncafevi.com.
• The 128-room Beaches Sandy Bay in Negril, Jamaica, has extended
its Ultra Sale dates on room rates. The discounted rates, which
start at $119 per person, per night, double, are in effect from
April 27 to June 13 and from Aug. 23 to Dec. 20.
• Chenay Bay Beach Resort in St. Croix relaunched its Travel Agent
Loyalty program that pays 20% agent commission year round on new
bookings made directly through the resort. In addition, the agent
discount from April 1 to Dec. 20 is 50%, while the peak-season
discount for agents visiting the resort from Dec. 21 to April 14,
2003 is 20%.
CLUB MED has eliminated its one-time, $30
initiation fee and will introduce an open bar bracelet program for
$250 per week at its adults-only villages in Cancun and Turks and
Caicos. Commission on air and land remains steady at 10%.
PENCIL IT IN
• Sixth annual American Airlines Caribbean TrAAvel Exchange, Hyatt
Regency Cerromar Resort, Puerto Rico, May 8 to 10.
• Upcoming races at Indian Castle Race Track in Nevis are set for
May 5 and 19, June 23, Aug. 4, Sept. 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 24 and Dec.
26. For info, contact the Nevis Tourism Authority at
• The seventh annual Carib News Multi-National Business Conference
in St. Maarten Nov. 7 to 10.
• Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, April 18 to 25 and Antigua Sailing
Week, April 28 to May 5.