ST. BARTS effectively will be closed to air
traffic next fall because of an airport renovation project. St.
Jean Airport, famous for its 900-foot runway sandwiched between a
mountain and the sea, will have its runway repaved and emergency
landing lights installed for use during inclement weather. The
runway will not be extended, however, and the airport will continue
to restrict night landings. Although ferry services will operate
from St. Maarten to St. Barts during the airport closure, expected
to last all of September and October at least, most hotels also
will close and renovate, repaint and redo, including the Hotel
Guanahani. However, the Eden Roc Hotel, St. Barts' oldest hotel,
will actually close its doors earlier, from March 31 to Nov. 1. The
hotel purchased the adjacent Filao Beach resort as well and will
convert Filao's 33 rooms into 14 beachfront suites, remove the
pool, enlarge the beach and expand the beachfront restaurant.
V.I. FAST FERRY will resume weekend operations
between St. Croix and St. Thomas Dec. 5, but passengers will pay a
$2 head tax in addition to the $60 roundtrip charge. Initially, the
V.I. Port Authority had planned to institute a $3 head tax, but
later agreed to the $2 rate. The ferry service, which lost money
last season and had threatened to cease operations if the tax was
set at $3, will offer daily crossings [except Tuesdays] from Dec.
22 to April.
• The 183-room Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay
opened its doors Nov. 24, the resort chain's first property in the
Bahamas. The Exuma property, 90 minutes by air from Miami, features
Bahamian Colonial-style architecture, an 18-hole golf course, a
full-service marina [set to open in 2004], a supervised children's
program and a spa. Nightly rack rates after Jan. 4 start at $625
per room, double; packages are available. For details, visit www.fourseasons.com.
• Starwood Hotels & Resorts will debut a luxury resort and
residential project called Temenos Anguilla on Rendezvous Bay,
Anguilla in 2006. The resort will feature 97 rooms, 20 estate homes
and 16 villas. The project is designed to be an extension of
Starwood's upscale St. Regis hotel brand.
• Donald Trump will enter the Caribbean with a 135-villa
development on Canouan Island in the Grenadines at the site of the
156-room Raffles Resort [formerly the Carenage Bay] slated to open
in mid-2004. Trump Hotels & Casinos will manage the Villa Monte
Carlo casino on the resort's property.
• The Paradisus Puerto Rico Beach & Golf Resort, a five-star
all-inclusive, hasn't even opened yet, but has been approved for
membership in the Leading Hotels of the World marketing
organization. The 500-suite resort, about 35 minutes east of San
Juan, was to have opened in December but recent heavy rains
hampered construction. Paradisus is now slated to open in
• A hotel opening on Montserrat? Yep, Cedric and Carol Osborne will
reopen their 12-cottage Vue Pointe Hotel Dec. 1 -- after carting
off 1,500 truckloads of volcanic ash. Although the eruption of the
Soufriere Hills Volcano in 1995 shuttered most hotels in the
southern half of the island, experts at the Montserrat Volcano
Observatory and elsewhere report that the dome stopped growing,
which prompted the Osbornes to reopen. For details, visit www.vuepointe.com.
• The St. Thomas-St. John Hotel & Tourism Association named
Brian Young acting president, replacing David Yamada in that role.
Young also is managing director of Caneel Bay on St. John
• The Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association tapped Alain
Tiphaine as new president. He took over the reins from hotelier
Rick Newman, who held the post for four years. Tiphaine also serves
as general manager of the 55-room Villa Montana Beach Resort in
Isabela on Puerto Rico's northwest coast.