Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: March 20, 2003

THE LIST of revised cancellation policies offered by hotels in the Caribbean and by airlines and operators serving the region rolls out as fast as the U.S. military rolls across the Iraqi border. Policies and dates differ slightly, but the basic premise is the same: no fees to change, cancel or reschedule air, hotel or package reservations in the next 90 days. Check with the individual property, carrier or operator as well as the Caribbean Tourism Organization's Web site at http://www.onecaribbean.org for specifics. The latest additions include: BWIA; US Airways Vacations; Air Jamaica and Air Jamaica Vacations; Club Med; Pleasant Holidays; Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Club Caravelle, Club Comanche, Cormorant Beach Club and Hotel, innparadise, Sugar Beach Condo Resort, St. Croix; Gallows Point Resort, Inn at Tamarind Court, St. John Properties, Vacation Vistas, St. John; Galleon House Hotel, Danish Chalet Inn, Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina, Secret Harbor Beach Resort, St. Thomas; Sandals Resorts International; Divi Resorts; Round Hill, Montego Bay, Jamaica; Gogo Worldwide Vacations, and Viva Resorts.

AS A RESULT of continuing fallout from the 25% increase in landing and passenger fees imposed by the Virgin Islands Port Authority Feb. 1, American will close its ground operations April 15 in St. Croix and contract out its Miami-St. Croix daily flight to American Eagle. Meanwhile, American Eagle will discontinue its four daily weekday flights and two daily weekend flights between St. Thomas and St. Croix May 1. Travelers can still fly from San Juan to St. Croix and St. Thomas and between St. Croix and St. Thomas by connecting through San Juan. The good news: Seaborne Airlines will link Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas with Frederiksted, St. Croix within the next four months. The new flights will supplement Seaborne's existing service between Charlotte Amalie and Christiansted, St. Croix.

LODGEPODGE
• The Hilton flag flies again on Curacao with the recent rebranding of the former Sheraton Curacao Resort as the Hilton Curacao. The 196-room beachfront property was under Hilton management from 1968 to 1985. A $5 million renovation will add 34 Executive Floor guest rooms, a new spa, a Kids' Club and 6,000 square feet of meetings space. The Curacao resort is Hilton's 13th Caribbean property; two more are under development in Barbados and Haiti.
• Bel Air Plantation Resort opens next month on the southeast coast of Grenada. The first phase will offer 11 one- and two-bedroom villas and cottages, two restaurants, gardens and an aviary. When the second phase is completed next year, the resort will feature 24 villas, shops, an art gallery, three pools and a four-acre butterfly park. For rates, visit www.belairplantation.com.

The new name of Sandals St. Lucia Golf Resort & Spa is Sandals St. Lucian Regency Golf Resort & Spa at La Toc.

PENCIL IT IN
• Spice Laugh Festival, April 11-13, Grenada
• Carnival 2003, April 27 to May 3, St. Thomas
• 36th Annual Sailing Week, April 27 to May 3, Curtain Bluff Resort, Antigua
• American Airlines Caribbean TrAAvel Exchange, May 7-9, Wyndham El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa, Puerto Rico. www.caribbeantravelexchange.com
• Seventh Annual Bonaire Dive Festival, June 14-21, Bonaire

IN THE NEWS
• Two Wyndham appointments include William Ben Tutt, general manager of the new Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and Craig Martin, general manager at Wyndham El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa. Martin replaced Rob Gunthner, who left the company.
• David Yamada, general manager of Renaissance Grand Beach Resort on St. Thomas, has been elected president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Assn. for a two-year term.
• Hans Rohrbein is the new general manger of the Renaissance Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

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