Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: March 14, 2002

GUANA BEACH RESORT on Great Guana Cay near Abaco in the Bahamas goes on the auction block May 13 to the highest bidder. The eight-suite beachfront hotel has a restaurant and bar and 24-slip marina. The owners, who have run the resort for 10 years, are packing it in and heading to the Smoky Mountains to open another property. Guana Beach will remain open through May; nightly rates start at $195 double. For details, visit the Web site at www.guanabeach.com.

THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM Organization released the eighth edition of the Caribbean Vacation Planner, a free 128-page guide covering its member countries. Destination information includes facts, figures and Web site addresses. General articles highlight family vacations, sports, festivals and island activities. New this year, countries are segmented by language, cultural heritage and geography instead of alphabetically. All travel agencies will automatically receive one copy of the planner; agents can request additional copies by logging onto www.doitcaribbean.com.

LODGEPODGE
• Sheraton Curacao Resort celebrates the fine art of parenthood with five-night packages for Mother's Day and Father's Day that include spa services for mom or a round of golf for dad and plenty of R 'n R for both. Rates start at $899 per couple and are valid through Dec. 17. To book, call (866) 974-5466.
• Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Resorts and Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, St. Thomas, extended their Bonus Bucks package through May. The package includes a $100 resort credit for use during the current stay and a $200 Bonus Bucks credit for a future stay. Nightly rates start at $329 double; a four-night minimum is required. For Marriott info, call (800) 223-6388; for Renaissance, call (800) 421-8188.
• Bimini Big Game Resort & Marina on Bimini in the Bahamas reopens May 15 under new management and ownership, following a $2 million restoration. The 55-year-old property has 51 rooms, an 81-slip marina, the Gulfstream Restaurant and Calcutta Bar, an art gallery and craft center, a pool and water sports that range from diving to boat rentals and fishing. The resort can be viewed at www.biminibiggame.com.
• The Body Holiday at LeSport, St. Lucia has added a dietician to its staff to help guests improve well being through changes in eating and lifestyle habits.
• Sonesta Beach Resort & Villas Anguilla reflagged its former Ici Restaurant as Il Mare. The beachfront restaurant specializes in rustic Italian cuisine at lunch and dinner.
• Peter Island Resort offers early spring savings. Bookings for room nights between March 31 and April 7 now qualify for the reduced rate traditionally offered after April 7. Rates start at $615 per night, double, versus the winter starting rate of $800 per night. Rates include all meals and unlimited use of island facilities. Call (800) 346-4451 for details.
• Wyndham Hotels launched a dedicated Web site for those planning a wedding. The site, at www.destinationweddingsbywyndham.com, lets couples -- or their travel agents -- research all aspects of a destination wedding, from the type of ceremony to the style of reception to the wedding and honeymoon location (as long as it is at one of the 20 participating Wyndham resort.

AIR BYTES
• Air Jamaica is offering discount fares from the U.S. to Bonaire this spring for clients booking by March 31 and traveling by May 19. Sample round-trip fares include $281 from Miami, $421 from New York/Newark, $490 from Chicago and $602 from Los Angeles.
• Caribbean Star signed on as a sponsor of the St. Lucia Jazz Festival May 3 to 12.

DOMINICA, known as the Nature Isle, plays host to the World Eco-Tourism Conference & Nature Fest May 31-June 9. The island is home to the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Caribbean -- the Morne Trois Pitons National Park -- as well as one of the last remaining communities of Carib Indians from whom the region got its name. For information on conference events, contact [email protected].

INTER-ISLAND Tours will pay 13% commission on its packages to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in conjunction with American Airlines' new nonstop service from New York (Kennedy) to Punta Cana beginning June 15. Visit www.interislandtours.com for more details.

USAIRWAYS VACATIONS created a new program whereby agents can extend a $100 discount per reservation to clients who prepay by March 31. Travel must be completed through June 30 at any of the 14 inclusive Sandals and Beaches resorts in the Caribbean. To qualify, agents must book electronically through their CRSs or through VAX Vacation Access.

GOGO WORLDWIDE VACATIONS introduced a Caribbean vacation sale designed to bolster its six-night spring and summer tours. The deal offers up to a 35% Spring and Summer Sale savings on stays between April 15 and Aug. 31. To be eligible for the deal, plans must include air via American Airlines Coupled with that deal is a credit of up to $300 per couple to return in the fall (Sept. 15 to Dec. 15) for four nights or longer. To qualify, travelers agree to stay at one of more than 80 participating properties and to prepay in full within seven days of booking, but not later than March 31. Fall bookings and prepayment must be made by July 14. The $300 rebate is transferable. For information, visit www.gogowwv.com.

LET'S HEAR IT for Nisbet Plantation Beach Club in Nevis, which was awarded AAA's Four-Diamond rating for the sixth consecutive year.

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