THE YACHT HAVEN HOTEL-
an eyesore near the cruise
pier in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, since Hurricane Marilyn
slammed the U.S. Virgin Islands' property in 1995 -- got a step
closer to the wrecking ball when Gov. Charles Turnbull signed a
bill ratifying a lease agreement and permit for development of the
property. The owners plan to build a new hotel and marina, retail
facilities, a yacht club and esplanade walkway, although no
timetable has been set. Turnbull said the removal of the current
structure is "of immeasurable value in terms of our image and
appearance for the 1.7 million cruise passengers" who visit the
destination each year.
ALSO IN THE U.S.V.I. is a new off-season
promotion called the Summer Bucket of Savings, which offers a fifth
night free on a four-night booking, a $100 American Express Gift
Cheque per booking and coupon savings worth more than $1,000 at
restaurants, attractions and shops. The promotion is valid for
travel June 15 to Sept. 30 on bookings made by July 15 through 12
participating tour operators. Room rates start at $89 per night,
double; up to two children under 18 stay for free in the same room
with parents. Participating properties include 15 on St. Thomas, 11
on St. Croix and two resorts and a villa rental company on St.
John. For more info, call (800) 372-USVI.
• US Airways Vacations extended the booking date on its Free Free
Free Caribbean promotion to June 20. The deal, which pays
commissions up to 16%, includes a free hotel night, tour and gift.
A Samsonite three-piece luggage set also is included when clients
pay by MasterCard. For details, call (800) 455-0123.
• Grand Bahama Vacations will launch nonstop service from Tampa,
Fla., to Grand Bahama Island June 13. The operator's three-, four-
and seven-night packages will include roundtrip air, transfers,
accommodations at a choice of 12 hotels, taxes and tips. For
details, visit www.gbvac.com.
• The Westin St. John Resort & Villas' new Ultimate Agent
Getaway includes agent rates of $99 per night through Oct. 31 and a
reward program of a free air-inclusive, five-night stay in 2004 to
the top five agents who book the most room nights by Dec. 31 for
client travel any time. Winners also will receive a $200 resort
credit for use during the winning stay. For details on the
property, log onto www.westinresortstjohn.com.
• Congratulations to the 32-room Oualie Beach Resort on Nevis,
which was awarded the Pelican Award for Hotel of the Year in 2003
by the St. Kitts-Nevis Hotel & Tourism Association.
• The Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino in Puerto Rico
is under new ownership, following endorsement in U.S. Bankruptcy
Court in Florida for RECP San Juan Investors LLC to become the
resort's owner. RECP is a subsidiary of Donaldson, Lufkin &
Jenrette Real Estate Capital Partners and a subsidiary of Credit
Suisse First Boston. Mark Stevenson, general manager of the
416-room Ritz-Carlton in the Isla Verde section of San Juan, said
renovations and design changes, which had been scaled back by
former owner Green Isle Partners, will now move forward. Terms of
the new purchase were not immediately available;
PricewaterhouseCoopers appraised the property at $87 million.
• US Airways will reduce service to the U.S. Virgin Islands,
primarily to St. Croix, effective Sept. 5, when the current
schedule of six weekly flights (Sundays through Fridays) from
Philadelphia to St. Thomas continuing on to St. Croix will cease.
With the change, the Philadelphia-St. Thomas flight will operate
Saturdays only until Oct. 26 when it will revert back to six days a
week. The Saturday flight from Charlotte, N.C., to St. Croix and
the daily roundtrip between Charlotte and St. Thomas will continue
"into the fall," the company said. A spokesperson said economic
problems as well as seasonal adjustments are the reasons behind the
• The Nassau-Paradise Island Express -- which was canceled in
mid-February after 15 years -- is back in business. This time the
operator is selling bulk seats on a scheduled Continental flight,
rather than chartering the whole flight, as it did previously. In
addition, the company is starting luxury jet charters to the
Bahamas from Newark and Palm Beach, Fla., using 727s configured for
48 first-class sleeper seats instead of the normal configuration of
140 or more seats.
• US Airways and San Juan-based Caribbean Sun will enter into a
code-share agreement, effective June 15, on Caribbean Sun flights
between San Juan and Antigua; St. Kitts; St. Maarten; and Tortola,
British Virgin Islands. The flights will link US Airways' service
at San Juan to and from Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Philadelphia; and
Pittsburgh. US Airways Dividend Miles members can earn and redeem
miles on Caribbean Sun.