SESAME STREET'S Elmo, Zoe, Cookie Monster and
Grover will appear at Beaches Resorts' four Caribbean properties
this fall as part of a year-long agreement in which Beaches becomes
the first resort company to underwrite the legendary Sesame Street
children's program, effective April 4, with a prime-time special
celebrating the show's 35th anniversary. Family packages and theme
weeks in the fall will feature character breakfasts, story time,
live shows and welcome gifts. Beaches Resorts also will be the
show's on-air sponsor for a year, featuring kid-friendly,
family-vacation, 15-second billboard-type commercials before and
after each TV show. "It's a real departure for us in terms of the
type of advertising message delivered," a Beaches spokesman said.
The target market is the five-and-under set and their much-more
affluent parents "who grew up on Sesame Street and now have their
own kids," the spokesman said.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG, Sandals and Beaches Resorts
rolled out its Travelers Collection by Samsonite, a set of up to
five pieces of luggage with a retail value of $350 -- but free to
clients who book stays of five nights or more between April 1 and
Oct. 31 for travel between Aug. 15 and Dec. 19. The luggage will be
delivered to clients prior to their departure date. Those who stay
at a Sandals property receive the three-piece black set (a
Samsonite tote, a 22-inch carryon and a 26-inch upright). The
Beaches' set includes two blue backpacks for kids, complete with
computer slots and Game Boy pockets. Concierge-level bookings
include a "big" suitcase, said Kevin Froemming, president of Unique
Vacations, Sandals in-house tour operator. The luggage is equipped
with in-line skate wheels, is made from 1,800-count durable
polyester fabric and embroidered with the Sandals and Beaches
logos. The sets also will be available for sale on the resort
chains' Web site and through the res centers. In addition, up to
500 "of our best agents" will get a luggage set for display in
their offices, Froemming added.
• Joining the 20-room Coco Kreole, which opened last fall in St.
Lucia's Rodney Bay area, is a $6 million Coco Palm project on the
grounds of Coco Kreole. The plan calls for a 74-room, 12-suite
hotel with conference and boardrooms, a small spa, a pool area,
Jacuzzis, a restaurant and a cafe. Coco Kreole's owner and managing
director Allen Chastanet, formerly with Air Jamaica, said the new
property will increase the presence of Coco Resorts in Rodney Bay
Village, where hoteliers and restaurant owners have banded together
to rebrand the area in a collective marketing package. For details,
• San Juan's hip Water Club now has a manager of desires and two
agents of desires -- or concierges in standard hotel parlance.
Arlyz Morales, manager of desires, said that she and her staff
assist with dinner reservations and island travel, "but we
encourage our guests not to limit themselves. We want to make their
stay memorable." Memo boards for guests' desires are on the walls
of each guest room, so that guests can request additional items
such as more towels or shampoo. For details, visit www.waterclubsanjuan.com.
• The former Negril Cabins Resort in Negril, Jamaica, is operating
under its new name, Sunset at the Palms. A rebranding program, a
Web site at [www.sunsetatthepalms.com] and new logo also have been
developed. The all-inclusive 85-room, treehouse-style resort is the
sister property to Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay,
• Bookings must be made by April 30 to take advantage of St.
Thomas' Bolongo Bay Beach Club's wedding and honeymoon savings
promotion, available to guests who marry at the resort and stay
seven or more nights between May 1 and June 30. The resort, which
is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, offers a 30%
discount on the wedding portion plus a $30 nightly credit for
accommodations. To book, call (800) 624-0113 or e-mail [email protected].
• New York-based Tishman Realty & Construction will invest $7
million to upgrade the 240-room Wyndham Old San Juan Hotel &
Casino, which it co-purchased in February with Old San Juan
Associates. The property will be rebranded as a Starwood Hotels
& Resorts' Sheraton, marking the entry of Sheraton into Puerto
TOURIST OFFICE TIDBITS
• West Coast travel agents who visit Puerto Rico in May are
eligible for discounted rates on air, car rentals and hotel
accommodations as well as free admission to the Puerto Rico Art
Museum in San Juan. Details can be found in the travel agent
section of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Web site at www.gotopuertorico.com.
• The Cayman Islands appointed Pilar Bush, former deputy director
of tourism, to the post of acting director of tourism. Bush is
filling the post vacated by Lania Rittenhouse, who joined Norwegian
Cruise Lines. A selection committee plans to pick a permanent
director by July 1.
• The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board launched a program
targeting small hotels, inns and villas in a move to more
aggressively market and promote the destination's 70 small
properties to the North American market, according to Russell
Harrigan, board chairman. Later this year, a toll-free number and
Web site will be launched for contact information on air and land
packages sold via operators.
The new general manager of Hilton Barbados, which opens late this
year, is Marilyn Soper. We apologize for the name misspelling in
the March 18 Caribbean E-letter.