CARIBBEAN ESCAPES COOPERATIVE MARKETING (CECM)
launched at World Travel Market this week in London by Glenn
Harris, former American Express marketing director for the
Caribbean and Latin America, targeting the luxury travel niche
through its Caribbean Escapes Collection, a by-invitation-only
select list of 100 deluxe properties (as well as restaurants, spas,
golf courses and boutique shops) on 25 Caribbean islands.
Collection components include a glossy, 400-page annual book, which
will debut next July, featuring property descriptions and photos
and will be placed in resort guest rooms, will be available on
CECM's Web site [www.caribbeanescapes.com] and sold through bookstores
nationwide. A 30-minute cable TV show will air four times a week
starting in April to showcase the collection's destinations and
resorts as well; at press time, company officials said the show
would appear in two cities but declined to name them. Benefits to
agents include immediate access to updated material on the
Caribbean's luxury travel market; online booking capability at
CECM's Web site, with 10% commission paid; and heightened awareness
of agent role in the mind of the consumer through the TV shows,
OCCIDENTAL HOTELS & RESORTS' new travel
agent rewards' program enables agents to earn $30 per new booking
at its all-inclusive resorts in Aruba, Antigua, the Dominican
Republic, Costa Rica and Mexico. The most business booked to Puerto
Plata, Dominican Republic, Cozumel or Xcaret in Mexico earns the
winner a first place prize of $10,000. The agent who accumulates
the most overall bookings through April 30 for travel through June
30 will take home a Mercedes SLK 230 roadster convertible, valued
at $40,000. Agents can log onto www.occidentalhotels.info to download instructions and
• Opening date for the 88-suite Carlisle Bay resort on Antigua's
south coast is Nov. 29. General manager Alistair Forrest reported
"a near sellout" for the Christmas-New Year period. Opening rates
start at $595 per night, double, with breakfast and afternoon tea;
rates from Jan. 5 to May 15 start at $850. Owner Gordon Campbell
Gray, who also created and owns One Aldwych Hotel in London, plans
to expand further in the Caribbean with a resort in Tobago. To
book, call (800) 628-8929 or visit www.carlisle-bay.com.
• Grand Bay Palace is the new name of the former Renaissance Grand
Beach Resort in St. Thomas. The 290-room property changed
management last week from Marriott International to Mexico-based
Palace Resorts. Roberto Chapur, president of Palace Resorts,
confirmed that the renamed resort has gone the all-inclusive route.
The new general manager is Luis Entrala, who replaced David Yamada,
the former general manager of the Renaissance.
• The new management team at Compass Point in Nassau is adding air
conditioning to the resort's 19 cottage units. Chris Blackwell,
Island Outpost founder, leased Compass Point to Bryan and Jennifer
Hew in September, but the resort remains part of the Island Outpost
group. For details, visit www.islandoutpost.com.
• Sandals Antigua Resort & Spa on Dickinson Bay broke ground on
its $25 million Mediterranean Village, which will include 90 junior
suites, 10 executive suites, 14 plunge-pool suites, a new Italian
restaurant and a London-style pub.
• The 430-room inclusive Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego
Bay, Jamaica, completed a $2.6 million guest room renovation that
features a new paint scheme, bathroom vanities, furniture and soft
goods. Rates from Jan. 1 through April 12 start at $250 per room,
per night, double. To book, visit www.sunsetbeachjamaica.com.
• Apple Vacations Winter Supersale, valid for bookings through Nov.
22, features seven-night air and hotel packages from Apple's
gateway cities to several Caribbean destinations, including Aruba,
the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St. Lucia. For details, visit
www.applevacations.com or call (800) 365-2775.
• Luxury tour operator Island Destinations' 2004 Travelers
Collection includes two new destinations, Bermuda and Costa Rica,
and seven new properties among its offerings of 50 resorts and
hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico, French Polynesia and Fiji. The
collection also features 30 villa properties on St. Barts, which
marks the firm's entry into agent-only villa inventory on the
island. For reservations and information, visit www.islanddestinations.com.
• Happy Vacations has been added to the list of tour operators
authorized to sell Royal Plantation Spa & Golf Resort in
Jamaica in 2004, joining Gogo Worldwide Vacations, Travel
Impressions, Air Jamaica Vacations, Mark Travel, Classic Custom
Vacations and Pleasant Holidays.
PUERTO RICO'S new Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
de Puerto Rico opened its doors in the historic Rafael M. Labra
building in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan. More than 700
works from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America form the
island's largest permanent collection of contemporary art. Museum
hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5
p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for students,
free for children and seniors. For information, call (787) 977-6277
or visit www.museocontemporaneopr.org.