SANDALS launched its Best Price Guarantee, an
initiative Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman and CEO of Sandals and
Beaches Resorts, said is designed "to give agents peace of mind
that their price can no longer be undersold." Stewart, who
announced the guarantee at Sandals Montego Bay Jan. 23, said that
retailers threatened with losing a sale to a lower price now can
call Sandals' toll-free number [(800) SANDALS] and be guaranteed
the lower price will be matched. Agents will be required to produce
documentation for competing price quotes. The guarantee, which took
effect Jan. 23, is valid year round, applies to all agents selling
Sandals and Beaches products and is not limited to Sandals
Certified Specialists or Preferred Sandals Specialists, a program
that launched last month. The explosion of price-cutting by
discounters, Web sites and a variety of distribution systems has
been watched closely by Sandals, Stewart said, and led to the
decision to implement the guarantee.
THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION for the
first time will conduct a major conference -- the sixth annual
Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development -- in Cuba.
Cuba is a CTO member and the country has hosted CTO board meetings
and training programs, but the April 27 to 30 conference in the
Habana Libre Hotel in Havana ratchets up the relationship. The
confab will focus on "the impact of land and sea-based activities
on the sustainability of coastal areas and the resources necessary
for sustainable tourism development," according to Jean Holder,
CTO's secretary general.
• Beaches Negril Resort & Spa in Jamaica, formerly Beaches
Negril, opens its 6,000-square-foot Ultra Spa Feb. 1. The spa will
be the second to open in Jamaica within months: Sandals Montego Bay
opened its specialty spa in October. Sandals and Beaches now offer
10 Signature spas throughout the Caribbean. The Negril resort also
will add a $1.5 million pirate-themed water park with slides, a
splash deck, a lazy river and a large Jacuzzi. The park is slated
to open in May.
• The four-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot Roaring Pavilion Villa &
Spa in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, now offers an EP rate in addition to
its all-inclusive pricing plan. The daily EP rate for eight guests,
including the use of staff and house vehicle, through April 15 is
$2,500; the rate drops to $2,100 per day from April 16 to Dec. 14.
The all-inclusive rate is $5,000 per night through April 15 and
$4,500 from April 16 to Dec. 14. Prices are commissionable at 10%
and can be booked through LaCure, a meetings and incentives villa
rental and yacht charter company, at (800) 387-2726.
• St. Kitts Marriott reopened the front nine holes of its golf
club, under renovation since spring 2002. A new clubhouse features
a restaurant, bar and lounge, locker rooms and a pro shop. The back
nine holes will reopen later this year. The resort also opened its
Emerald Mist Spa that includes a health club, fitness classes,
eight treatment rooms, plunge pools, a sauna, Jacuzzis and Roman
• The 111-room Hawksbill Beach Resort Antigua converted to an
all-inclusive property, upgraded its facilities, and introduced new
yoga and massage programs. The new general manager is Richard
Michelin. Hawksbill has four private beaches, including -- or
should we say, excluding -- one of the only clothing-optional
beaches in Antigua. Nightly rates through mid-April start at $300
per room, double.
• The Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico,
opened Ajili-Mojili, its eighth on-property restaurant.
Ajili-Mojili serves Puerto Rican cuisine and takes its name from a
sauce originally used to flavor meats and fish.
• Radisson Cable Beach & Golf Resort in Nassau offers Sweet
Supersaver inclusive rates for travel from Feb. 12 through April
17, starting at $200 per person, per night, double, which
represents a 20% discount. Room-only rates are $200, double, during
the same time period. Free golf greens fees are part of its
PENCIL IT IN
• Lelolai cultural program, Feb. 24, March 30, April 27 and May 25,
San Cristobal Fort in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. For details, call
• Astronomy Nights, March 13 to 20, Ladera Resort, St. Lucia. This
is a package plan that includes guided viewings of the
constellations by Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer and Fels
Planetarium director at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in
Philadelphia. For details, call (800) 917-0766.
• U.S. Virgin Islands Destination Symposium, March 26 to 29,
Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, St. Thomas.
• Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), April 28 to30, Puerto
Plata, Dominican Republic.