Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Dec. 4, 2003

CORAL BY HILTON, a partnership between Hilton Caribbean and Coral Hotels & Resorts, launched a 10 Points of Improvement program, which is aimed at increasing the resorts' appeal to U.S. visitors, said Simon Suarez, executive vice president, Coral Hotels & Resorts. Enhancements at Coral by Hilton's four inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic include beverage-stocked mini refrigerators; coffee machines and alarm clocks in guest rooms; kids' menus in a la carte restaurants; tropical juice bars and breakfast buffets; upgrades to the Coralin Kidz Paradise program; and international liquor brands in resort bars. "The 10 Points program will bring us closer to our goal of creating new standards in the all-inclusive market," said Danny Hughes, vice president of operations, Hilton Caribbean. For resort details, visit www.coralbyhilton.com.

ST. BARTS, as reported last week, is closing up next fall while its airport runway is repaved and emergency landing lights installed. However, not all the island's hotels are shutting their doors and putting away the keys in September and October. Five hotels will remain open for guests, according to the Hotels Association. The hotels are: Tropical; Village St. Jean; Carl Gustaf; Manapany; and Tom Beach. In addition to ferry services from St. Maarten/Martin during the airport closure, other inter-island connections are under discussion, such as helicopters and speedboats. For more information on the island, log onto www.st-barths.com.

AIR BYTES
• Spirit Airlines added a second daily nonstop flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to San Juan and reinstituted its Washington (National)-Fort Lauderdale-San Juan route that it dropped after 9/11.
• Caribbean Sun Airlines, based in Fort Lauderdale, will launch daily service from San Juan to St. Thomas and St. Croix Dec. 11. The one-year-old carrier is the sister airline to three-year-old Caribbean Star, based in Antigua. For details, visit www.flycsa.com.
• American Airlines will begin nonstop Saturday service from New York (Kennedy) to the Cayman Islands Dec. 20. In addition, American will boost its St. Thomas schedule Dec. 15 with the addition of a second flight from Kennedy five days a week, a Boston flight five times a week and a second daily flight from Miami.
• Airbus 321s will replace the Airbus 320 on Air Jamaica's Boston-Montego Bay, Jamaica, daily service, effective Dec. 12. The larger aircraft will add 38 more seats per flight, per day. Hot meal service remains a fixture on these flights.
• Continental's new nonstop service four times a week to Barbados from Newark begins Dec. 18. Daily service on Continental Express between Newark and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island goes into effect Dec. 17.

DATEBOOK
• Seventh Annual Abaco Art Festival, Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas. A three-night land package is $477 per person, double; to book, call (800) 468-4799.
• St. Lucia Jazz Festival, May 7 to 16, St. Lucia. For details, visit www.stluciajazz.com.
• 8th Annual Bonaire Dive Festival, June 5 to 19, Bonaire. The festival has expanded from one week to two weeks; admission fees have been dropped. Hotel packages will be available. Visit www.bonairedivefestival.com or www.infobonaire.com.

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