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Newsletter: Caribbean, 5/21/08

Wyndham Looking to Operate Hilton Tobago


After news surfaced earlier this month that Hilton Hotels Corporation abruptly terminated its lease agreement of the Hilton Tobago Golf & Spa resort effective May 16, Travel Agent learned Thursday that Wyndham Hotel Group has entered “initial discussions with the government of Tobago” to operate the facility, according to Richard Roberts, Wyndham Hotel Group’s vice president of communications.

“We would be very pleased to have this hotel become part of the Wyndham group,” Roberts said.

According to a statement issued to us from Karla Visconti, Hilton’s director of communications for the Caribbean and Latin America, “The ownership group has decided to invest in the property and undertake this effort. However, it is not feasible to maintain the Hilton refurbishment campaign.” Hilton also confirmed that it is, in fact, selling its share to the government of Tobago, which is seeking a major hotel brand to take over the establishment. We also learned that the government has also reached out to SuperClubs Resorts, in addition to Wyndham. SuperClubs, however, declined to comment.

Club Med Punta Cana to Close for Refurbishments in August


Club Med Punta Cana announced this week the completion of the early stages of a $34 million renovation project, which included a new spa, suites and facilities for children. The next stages, however, will force the popular Dominican Republic resort to shut its doors for nearly two months.

From August 31 to October 24, Club Med Punta Cana will not have any guests to make upgrades to the restaurant, the main bar and the remaining guest rooms. We were told by a Club Med spokeswoman that the closure has been programmed in Club Med’s booking system for more than 11 months and as a result, the resort did not have any bookings for that time period.  And as far as getting the word out to agents, Club Med sales team visits agents on a regular basis to keep them updated on all changes. In addition, regular blasts are sent to over 75,000 travel agents with updates on Punta Cana and other resort renovations. Club Med is  also in the process of planning a series of regional fam trips in November and a larger FAM in December to Punta.


Dominican Republic Reports First Quarter Increase


A recent report issued by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism says travel to the destination in the first quarter of 2008 spiked by 8 percent from January to March of last year.

About 1.3 million people traveled to the Dominican Republic in that time, according to the report. The number of visitors to the Dominican Republic from the U.S. increased by 9 percent, and Canadian visitors increased by 7.4 percent over the same period in 2007. Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Felix Jimenez, who Travel Agent had the privilege of chatting with during the recent Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) in Punta Cana, says he expects five million total annual visitors a year by 2012. Visit

Grenada Resort Offers Online Tours


Can’t take a site inspection of Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada but still want to view the property? Well, the Spice Island Beach Resort is the latest property to enhance its website by adding virtual tours that offer everything from views of the waterfront property to the view of the interior of the resort’s suites.

Click on to explore this property through 19 tours. In addition, guests can virtually visit Oliver’s Restaurant, Janissa’s Spa, the Residents Lounge and the main pool area.

New Turks & Caicos Resort Offers Up to 15 Percent Commission


The new Seven Stars Resort on Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, offers a great deal for both clients and agents. For the entire summer, the resorts is offering discounts as high as 60 percent off and commission as high as 15 percent. The offer is valid through November 15. The 60 percent discount is applicable for all four- and some three-bedroom suites with Grand Salons. Daily rates, now $960-$1,560, normally range from $2,400-$3,900 depending on type of suite and date of stay. Guests booking the other three-bedroom suites, all two-bedroom suites and beachfront one-bedroom accommodations, receive 50-percent off with rates from $365-$1,300, usually $730-$2,600. Garden or Ocean View one-bedroom studios and suites are 25 percent off with daily rates ranging from $273.75-$832.50, ordinarily $365-$1110. Agents only receive a 15 percent commission for the 60 percent off deal.


Grenada Resort Offers Romance and Gourmet Packages


The Calabash Hotel in Grenada is offering both the “Romantic Escape” package and a “Total Gourmet” package, valid now through December 16. The “Romantic Escape” package includes seven nights in a suite with breakfast and dinner daily, tax, services and transfers from $1,195 per person, based on double occupancy.  The “Total Gourmet” package includes a seven night stay and all the features of the “Romantic Escape” package, plus a $700 food & beverage credit ($100 per room, per day).  Rates start at $1,395 per person, based on double occupancy.


Become an Atlantic Romantic in St. Lucia


Couples begin their Coconut Bay experience with a champagne arrival reception and end their first evening with the exclusive champagne turndown service, “Bubbles in Bed.” But the romantic getaway is not just about the bubbly, it is about rekindling romance.

Lovebirds can enjoy a half-hour Couples Massage at the full-service Kai Mer Spa with the Gentle Sentimental Package. For those seeking adventure, the package also includes an introductory kite surfing and windsurfing class, and round of paintball at “The Zone,” the only paintball facility in St. Lucia.

Couples can upgrade their package to the Atlantic Romantic Package and enjoy this tropical paradise with the perfect meal for two – a peaceful beach picnic. A packed picnic basket, blanket, fine wine and gourmet cheeses are included for Atlantic Romantic guests to take anywhere on the resort’s 85 oceanfront acres.  The Atlantic Romantic Package incorporates all of the above plus daily in-room breakfast service in a premium ocean-view room, stocked in-room bar, preferred dinner reservations at specialty hotel restaurants and a framed photo of the couple.

Rates are valid now through June 30, 2008 and August 16 through September 30, 2008.  Travelers are encouraged to book quickly since the offer expires on May 31, 2008.

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