PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Kerzner International broke ground Sept. 10 on the first phase of a $600 million expansion on Paradise Island, the Bahamas.

Three new luxury villas at One&Only Ocean Club are scheduled to debut late next year as part of the rollout of Kerzner's new luxury One&Only resort branding initiative.

The One&Only Ocean Club expansion will bring accommodations at the resort to 109 new or renovated units, including beachfront suites, rooms and garden cottages, all with butler service.

The Ocean Club will join other One&Only resorts that include Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, opening in February after an $80 million rebuild and expansion; two resorts in Mauritius; and one each in the Maldives and Dubai, according to Butch Kernzer, president and CEO of One&Only.

The $600 million Paradise Island project includes additions to the 2,317-room Atlantis resort, where Kerzner plans new meetings and functions space, restaurants, retail space, water-themed attractions and a new golf course on nearby Athol Island.

The completion in 2006 will bring Kerzner's total investment on Paradise Island to $1.7 billion since the opening of Atlantis in 1994.

Sol Kerzner, chairman and CEO, said the project "reflects our commitment to supporting luxury tourism facilities for the Bahamas."

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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