THE SIX-MONTH Atlantic Basin hurricane season,
which ends tomorrow, wasn't so bad after all. The National
Hurricane Center originally forecast 12 named tropical storms,
seven of which could become hurricanes and three of which could be
intense. The 2001 season produced 15 named storms, beginning with
tropical storm Allison on June 5, which drenched the Gulf Coast,
and is ending with Olga, which currently is meandering near Bermuda
but is expected to drift out over the open ocean. Of the seven
hurricanes, Erin dumped rain near Bermuda, Felix stayed in the
Azores, Iris drenched Belize and Yucatan, Karen spun out near
Bermuda and Noel floundered in Newfoundland. Earlier this month
Michelle caused the most damage of the season, especially in Cuba
and Nicaragua. Today's Caribbean forecast: Sunny throughout the
CIRCLE FEB. 4 TO 6 on your calendar if you plan
to head for the rescheduled Caribbean Tourism Conference at Our
Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island, the Bahamas. CTC-25, which
celebrates the silver anniversary of the conference and the 50th
anniversary of CTO, was postponed from October after the terrorist
US AIRWAYS will resume daily nonstop service
between Charlotte, N.C., and St. Thomas Jan. 5. The Saturday flight
departs Charlotte at 8:30 a.m., arriving St. Thomas at 1:17 p.m.
The return flight departs at 2 p.m., arriving Charlotte at 6:20
p.m. with an intermediate stop in San Juan. On Sundays through
Fridays, the daily flight departs Charlotte at 11:15 a.m., arriving
St. Thomas at 3:45 p.m.
CAP JULUCA in Anguilla extended its early
booking bonus to Dec. 31. All bookings made and paid by that date
for stays between Jan. 5 and April 5 receive 15% off the daily
rates, which range from $635 for a superior room to $5,400 for a
five-bedroom villa with private pool.
GRENADA properties stepped up to the plate with
peak-season discounts and incentives. Allamanda Beach Resort and
Blue Horizons Cottage Hotel offer deep discounts through April 15;
Flamboyant Hotel and True Blue Bay Resort offer free nights on
five-, six- or 11-night bookings, and Grand View Inn extended its
summer rates to April 15.
EFFECTIVE JAN. 1, the 405-room Sandals Royal
Bahamian in Nassau will offer all guests concierge services, which
include complimentary limousine transfers, 24-hour room service,
stocked in-room minibars and his and hers robes. On the same date,
Sandals Antigua Resort & Spa will launch 24-hour room service
in its honeymoon suites and beach cottages. For information, visit
the Web site at www.sandals.com.
VILLA HAPPENINGS on St. Barts include six
renovated properties and 15 new additions to the inventory of
Wimco, a luxury villa rental firm at www.wimco.com. Four hotels have been gussied up
for 2002: Eden Roc, a Relais & Chateaux property, has added a
new suite, renovated two cottages and opened its spa to the public;
Fialao Beach, which redid its guest rooms, ranked first in the
French Caribbean and ninth in the Caribbean in Travel &
Leisure's World's Best Awards 2001; Carl Gustav spruced up its
guest rooms with new furniture and air conditioning, and Francois
Plantation added a fitness area, expanded its wine selection and
introduced a new chef.
AVALON REEF CLUB is under construction on
Ambergris Caye off the north coast of Belize. The first phase is
set to open in mid-December with 40 one- and two-bedroom villas, a
dive academy, a restaurant and two bars. The second phase, opening
next fall, will include 210 more villas, two more restaurants,
eco-trails, a yacht club and marina. Winter rates range from $240
to $285 per night. Avalon Resorts Group, which owns Avalon Reef
Club, also has properties in Panama and in Mexico in Cancun and
ISLAND DESTINATIONS' Caribbean offerings for
2002 include two new resort additions and the debut of a villa
category. The resorts are Pink Sands on Harbour Island in the
Bahamas and Las Casitas in Puerto Rico. Villas include Altamer in
Anguilla and seven new two- to four-bedroom units at Four Seasons
Resort in Nevis. To view the 2002 brochure, visit www.islanddestinations.com.
TRAVEL AGENTS polled by Island Destinations
selected their top resorts from the operator's offerings of 35
hotels, resorts and villas in the Caribbean, Mexico, Fiji and
French Polynesia. Caribbean properties won in five of the six
• Most Outstanding Resort: Cap Juluca, Anguilla.
• Most Guest-Focused Resort: Guanahani, St. Barts.
• Best Spa Resort: Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos.
• Best Overall Facilities: Four Seasons Resort Nevis.
• Most Suitable for Families: Casa de Campo, Dominican
THE TURKS AND CAICOS Tourist Board relaunched
its Web site at www.turksandcaicostourism.com. The site now
features details on the latest specials, an interactive map and a
calendar of events. Surfers also can send an e-postcard from the
AGENTS can earn an $8 per night bonus on rack
rates by booking any of four Elegant Hotels properties in Barbados
by Dec. 11. Travel must be completed by Dec. 18. The participating
hotels are Colony Club, Tamarind Cove, Crystal Cove and Turtle
Beach. For details, call (800) 326-6898.