New in Caribbean Resort Renovations

Opening December 2020, the Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Resort & Spa will have 384 guestrooms, including 28 suites.

For your clients who are heading to the Caribbean islands this year, especially repeat visitors, here are some hotel renovations that you need to know about.

Closed since Hurricane Irma in 2017, Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Resort & Spa in the U.S. Virgin Islands will finally be opening this year. The $200 million renovation project also includes a new, adjacent resort under Marriott’s Autograph CollectionNoni Beach, a St. Thomas Resort.   

Prior to closing, the hotel was operated by Marriott Hotels under the name Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. Last year, owner DiamondRock Hospitality Company announced Aimbridge Hospitality would operate the hotel before switching back to Marriott. Upon reopening it will operate as Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Resort & Spa.

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The resort complex sits along the Caribbean Sea with a design by architects Kollin Altomare and designers Whitespace Interiors. The resorts will provide several distinct dining experiences, including new restaurant concepts by critically acclaimed chef and global restaurateur, Richard Sandoval. (These will be chef Sandoval’s second location in the Caribbean; his first outpost in the region was at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, where he operates four of its on-property venues.) 

Slated to open in December 2020, the Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Resort & Spa, perched atop a harborside cliff with fantastic views of Charlotte Amalie Harbor, will have 384 guestrooms, including 28 suites, three resort pools (including an infinity-edge pool with swim-up pool bar), a state-of-the-art spa, and 85,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

The big news, however, is the conversion of the Morning Star portion of the resort into the U.S.V.I.’s first Autograph Collection hotel. Noni Beach Resort comprises intimate, beach house-style villas containing 94 guestrooms, including two honeymoon suites. All accommodations here are set directly on the beach. 

A highlight of Noni Beach will be its private, beachfront infinity-edge pool with swim-up bar. Dining experiences include the Caribbean-casual Coco’s Beach Club, as well as a restaurant with an elevated, 180-degree panorama of the Caribbean Sea.

Some activities available to guests are daily catamaran excursions; kayaking, snorkeling and swimming with turtles; a fitness center with a custom class schedule and more.

The resort complex is just minutes from Charlotte Amalie and Cyril E. King Airport. Nearby attractions include Bluebeard’s Castle, the Coral World Underwater Observatory, Drake’s Seat, Fort Christian, Estate St. Peter Great House & Botanical Gardens, Magens Bay, Mountain Top, Paradise Point Aerial Tram and St. John National Park. Guests can also arrange excursions to nearby U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John and St. Croix, as well as the British Virgin Islands. 

Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino announced a $10 million renovation, starting with its 503 guestrooms, the lobby and bar areas.

In Puerto Rico, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino celebrated its 10th anniversary in December and announced a $10 million renovation, starting with its 503 guestrooms, the lobby and bar areas as well as an upgrade to the 35,000 square feet of meeting space.

The ownership group, Interlink Construction, will embark on a multimillion-dollar phased transformation and has developed a major renovation plan for the hotel that completely reimagines the public spaces and guestroom experience. In addition, the owners will work closely with the hotel team to enhance the existing guest touch points, such as the hotel’s beverage and culinary offerings, the Sheraton Club and more.

The new design is inspired by the natural landscape of the island, the urban environment surrounding the property and the social exchange of many cultures that blend throughout the history of Puerto Rico. The color palette is subtle with gray contrasts and wooden elements that combine altogether, while mid-century furniture accentuates the contemporary aesthetic of the design. 

The improvements are scheduled to be completed in the last quarter of 2020. Once transformed, the property will reflect the newly redesigned Sheraton brand look, becoming one of the first to do so in the Caribbean and Latin America.

As part of its 10-year anniversary, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino has welcomed Roberto Mosquera as its new general manager, responsible for the overall hotel performance and operations. Bringing more than two decades of experience in the hospitality sector, Roberto will continue to grow the hotel’s prominent position within the local and international markets.

The Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino completed a $12 million renovation. Shown here is the pool.

In January, the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino completed an enhancement project following a $12 million investment and extensive redesign. Included in the update was the lobby, 223 guestrooms, the on-property casino and Nautilus Restaurant. The revitalized Wind Creek Carnival Casino Curaçao has a new entrance, 250-plus gaming machines, 12 tables, a renewed rewards program for 2020 as well as a new Windcreek.com app to provide everything that guests may need.

For dining, travelers can now take advantage of a combo of international cuisine with local touches and flavors of Curaçao sprinkled throughout. The main restaurant, Nautilus, can seat up to 120 individuals both inside and outside buffet style. Blue Bar has also been enhanced to offer a variety of takes on the popular “Blue Curaçao” cocktail.

Set in the heart of Willemstad, Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino has 237 guestrooms and the Infinity Beach Club. Adjacent to the resort is the Rif Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Renaissance Mall, which has a host of upscale shopping and dining options. On-site conference and banquet facilities include a ballroom, coffee lounge and business center.

Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, a landmark waterfront hotel and dive resort in Dominica, will debut 60 new rooms, named the Fort Collection, in October. The brand-new Fort Rooms are part of Fort Young’s expansion and enhancement plan and are concurrent with the seaside resort’s 30th-anniversary celebration. Located in the newly restored historical Fort section of the property, the new rooms are available for booking now. The addition of these new accommodations will bring the hotel’s total room count to 100. 

Among the new room types are Fort Mountain View, 28 rooms that offer either two doubles or one king-sized bed, with balconies facing the mountains, and Fort Ocean View, 32 large and well-appointed rooms with either two double queen beds or one king-sized bed, and balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, a landmark waterfront hotel and dive resort in Dominica, will debut 60 new rooms, named the Fort Collection, in October.

The resort’s Fort section will also include a number of new enhancements and amenities. In addition to the new Fort Rooms, the hotel will open a fitness center with eco-friendly equipment, a business center, a new bar and lounge, a 200-seat conference room, a 250-seat sun deck for weddings and other events and three new meeting rooms. The hotel will also refresh its 40 existing Oceanfront Rooms with upgraded furnishings, bathrooms and amenities.

Following Hurricane Maria in 2017, Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort launched several property enhancements, including the addition of Jacko’s, a poolside bar; an expanded boardwalk with waterfront shops and Warner’s Bar; a relaunched Palisades Restaurant; and a new dive operation, Fort Young Dive, which runs daily dives departing directly from the hotel’s shores.

Situated on the waterfront, Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort is the island’s only downtown hotel, affording guests proximity to the island’s vibrant culture, cuisine, activities and top attractions like Trafalgar Falls, Middleham Falls, Freshwater Lake, segments of the Waitukubuli National Trail and diving.

In the Bahamas, Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas is in the process of renovating the accommodations on property, with one highlight being The Reef. Accommodations here are designed to offer guests the conveniences of home and the amenities of a luxury residential community. Guests can expect a new lobby and new guestrooms and suites; room types range from studios to three-bedroom suites with either a kitchenette or full kitchen. As part of the update, guestrooms and suites received new furniture (beds, couches, chairs and barstools, dining tables), artwork, carpeting, bedding, drapery, and lighting and fixtures. The Reef is on the white-sand beaches of Paradise Island. Up next is The Royal tower, which will take nearly two years to fully complete.

Accommodations at the Reef in Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas offer guests the conveniences of home and the amenities of a luxury residential community. 

Atlantis has also made several efforts to improve sustainability. The resort is now using paper straws, as well as biodegradable takeout cutlery, which is made of corn starch. The resort’s kitchens are also recycling their cooking oil into biodiesel fuel. 

Next on the agenda are single-use plastic water bottles. On each floor where there’s an ice machine, they have been putting in water bottle refill stations. Soon, instead of receiving bottles of water in your room, you will receive souvenir refill cups.

The resort has also been working with the government of the Bahamas on recycling. The resort has installed recycling bins for plastic and aluminum cans in front- and back-of-house locations. The resort is also running a test program to recycle its cardboard locally to aid in compost production.  

In terms of dining, Café Martinique has completely redone its menu to be more plant-forward, and to favor locally sourced ingredients. At the restaurant Fish by Chef Jose Andres, the celebrity chef has been hiring local fishermen to hunt for lionfish, an invasive species. Lionfish are now his signature dish at the restaurant. (Good to know: Over the past two years, Atlantis has opened five new restaurants.)

Margaritaville Beach Resort in Nassau will be opening this summer with 150 rooms.

The upgrades come at a time when Atlantis will be facing new competition nearby: Margaritaville Beach Resort at The Pointe in Nassau is opening this summer. Amongst its seven-acre establishment, this new resort will have an open-air shopping concourse, a movie theater, bowling alley, pool, spa and private beach. There will even be a waterpark and a cave aquarium, Blue Hole diving pool, water slide tower, infinity pool, private hot tub, surf simulator, beach entry pool and tropical island overlooking a lazy river. The complex will cost $250 million, and the hotel will have 150 rooms. 

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