The year so far has not been kind to Caribbean resorts, but that has not stopped the pace of hotel openings in the region. Here are Travel Agent’s picks for your clients heading to the Islands—some already open, others on the horizon, reflagged or rebuilt from scratch.
Unique to Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, is an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
Great Exuma, the Bahamas
Opens January 22, 2010.
Whom to Pitch to: As with all Sandals Resorts, Sandals Emerald Bay is meant for two people in love—whether they’re celebrating their wedding with a signature “Weddingmoon”; enjoying their honeymoon; renewing their vows; or simply heading off for a romantic getaway.
Best Rooms: All 190 suites are impressive, but go with the Beachfront Villas because of the space they offer. But if space doesn’t figure in your priorities, any room will do. Every room has oceanfront views and all are serviced by butlers trained by Sandals Resorts through the company’s exclusive partnership with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
Worth Mentioning: Sandals Resorts International announced the purchase of the shuttered Four Seasons Great Exuma a few months ago. While the 500-acre property already has a championship Greg Norman golf course and world-class marina, a new pool complex and additional dining establishments are in the offing.
Contact: The new general manager at the resort is Teresa Alfonso. Visit www.sandals.com or call 1-800-SANDALS for more information.
Viceroy Anguilla villa living room
Viceroy Anguilla Resort & Residences
Property slated to be completed by November.
Whom to Pitch to: Anguilla was made for couples, but this resort makes for a great family vacation as well. There are certain areas of the hotel that are meant for adults while others welcome children. The resort’s Kids Center will supervise all their activities, such as kite making/flying and sailing, sandcastle-building and pottery, safe-snorkeling and aqua Olympics and Caribbean-style bonfires.
Best Rooms: Travel Agent was told that the best accommodations are one of the four- or five-bedroom Bluff Top Villas, which have a 180-degree view of the sunrise and the sunset. All other rooms are sunset-only.
Worth Mentioning: Viceroy Anguilla has been developed along 3,200 feet of beachfront and bluff-tops on Meads and Barnes bays, both prime beaches on the coveted northwest shore of Anguilla. Deep waters and coral shelves are found close to the shore, and beaches line the 35-acre resort community. Poised at the water’s edge, the 8,000-square-foot Spa at Viceroy Anguilla is based on three founding principles: Balance, Breath and Beauty. Addressing the health of a person holistically, the spa offers a collection of wellness rituals, including massages, body polishes, wraps, facials, manicures and pedicures as well as an array of specialized excursions, classes and experiences. Spa rituals will be available in-room and beachside while the spa facility is being finalized.
Contact: Agents should e-mail Director of Sales and Marketing, Virgil Napier, at [email protected].
Junior Suite at the new Spanish Court Hotel
Spanish Court Hotel
Opened June 14, 2009.
Whom to Pitch to: Although the property caters to everyone, its primary clientele is the business community. Its rooms have complimentary wired and wireless Internet and other up-to-date technology—from 42-inch TVs to alarm clock radios with iPod docking stations to direct-dial VOIP telephones with voicemail—to ensure a smooth business trip.
Best Rooms: The Deluxe and Junior Suites on the third floor have excellent views of Kingston and the property’s infinity-edge lap pool that rises three feet out of the second-floor Sky Terrace.
Worth Mentioning: The 50-foot-long infinity-edge lap pool is mosaic-tiled with iridescent glass. A sundeck with chaise lounges and a limited-service bar complete the setting.
Contact: Agents should contact General Manager Lee-Ann Godfrey (011-876-926-0000, [email protected]).
The family-friendly pool at San Juan’s Verdanza Hotel
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Opens December 4, 2009.
Whom to Pitch to: Although the property suits everyone, it is ideal as a home base for families. All three restaurants are child-friendly and, of course, kids gravitate immediately toward the spray park in the pool area (although adults have been known to indulge in the fun as well). Plus, thanks to the location, families are within walking distance of conveniences such as a drugstore, supermarket and lots of dining options.
Best Rooms: The most popular rooms are the ones on the third floor because of the large balconies. There are 24 rooms with balconies—18 with two double beds and six with a king bed. These are preferred even over rooms on higher floors with ocean and lagoon views.
Worth Mentioning: This was formerly the Holiday Inn San Juan. With its launch, Verdanza Hotel will become the only independent full-service hotel in the San Juan metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. Only steps away from the beach in the Isla Verde tourism district, the property has 222 rooms (20 of them suites), three restaurants, a pastry shop and more than 15,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space.
Contact: Agents should contact Reservations Manager Ángel Marrero (787-253-9000, ext. 3140, [email protected]).
Top deck of the penthouse at Balcones Del Atlantico, A RockResort
Balcones Del Atlantico, A RockResort
Las Terrenas, Samana, Dominican Republic
Opens in January 2010.
Whom to Pitch to: The primary clientele should be couples and families looking for high-end, unique vacation retreats. All units are multiroom, which are also ideal for multigenerational vacations.
Best Rooms: The best rooms will be the Penthouse Villas. Each of these has been built on the top floor of the buildings, with three bedrooms, extended terraces and additional living room. They are unique for their rooftop second floors, which are covered open-air venues with private jetted plunge pools, and have a commanding view of the resort grounds, pools and beach.
Worth Mentioning: This property will be equipped with all the amenities suited for the affluent traveler—from luxury ground transfers to personal butler and chef services. The RockResorts Spa with four private treatment cabanas and the three-meal restaurant with fine dinners will also boast some of the most breathtaking views of the region. Other amenities include two pools with a swim-up bar, a beach bar and grill, fitness center and gourmet deli.
Contact: Agents should contact Area Director of Sales and Marketing John MacMullen (305-396-4082, [email protected]).
The pool at the new three-bedroom villa, Frenchman’s Paradise, in Tortola
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
The property officially opened in January 2009
Whom to Pitch to: This is a three-bedroom villa perfect for a family. It can easily accommodate six people. It is also ideal for couples traveling together.
Best Rooms: All the rooms are more or less equal in size (two kings and one twin-bedded room) and have great views. The largest is the Master Suite, but it is not much bigger than the others. The views of the sea and both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands are its biggest selling point.
Worth Mentioning: The Frenchmans Lookout right next door provides deluxe services like spa treatments, full staff and rental of its 35-foot luxury power boat with captain.
Contact: Agents should contact Reservations Manager Mary Elizabeth Wheelis (011-866-940-0200, [email protected]).
Guestroom with an ocean view at Radisson Our Lucaya Resort
Radisson Our Lucaya Resort
Freeport, the Bahamas
Re-flagged and debuted as a Radisson in July 2009.
Whom to Pitch to: Radisson Our Lucaya is perfect for weddings and couples, due to the expanse of the property and variety of accommodations.
Best Rooms: The best ocean views and views of the marina are in guestrooms on floors 7-10. Room numbers beginning with 12-50 also have particularly nice sunrise/sunset views. A few corner rooms like the 03 and 05 overlook both ocean and land. The 25 Lanai Suites offer exceptional privacy.
Worth Mentioning: The resort has a 7.5-acre beach and 25,000-square-foot spa with a variety of couples’ treatments. In terms of accommodations, guests can customize their experience to be in the middle of the action (522 rooms and suites at Breakers Cay), or they can enjoy a quieter retreat (193 at Lighthouse Pointe, 25 Lanai Suites).
Contact: Agents can contact on-property Revenue Manager Deborah Simor’ne (866-870-7148, [email protected]).
Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa
Opened April 17, 2009.
Whom to Pitch to: As the most luxurious property to open in Bermuda in nearly 40 years, the hotel has attracted elite travelers from across the globe.
Best Rooms: The 1,650-square-foot Walsingham Suite, designed by Paul Duesing, is the most luxurious on property with its own entrance from the Palm Court and 340-square-foot balcony. It is ideal for in-room entertainment with its separate service entrance and space for 50 guests.
Worth Mentioning: Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa has a 12,000-square-foot spa with eight treatment rooms, a SilverTag hydrotherapy suite (one of only three in the spa world), 1,900-square-foot Fitness Centre and an elevated yoga and tai chi lawn.
Contact: Agents should contact Director of Sales and Marketing Wendy Zapach (781-779-1700, [email protected]).
One-Bedroom Suite at Seven Stars
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Opened in 2008, new management took charge in May 2009.
Whom to Pitch to: The property is perfect for families and multigenerational travel.
Best Rooms: The One-Bedroom Oceanfront Suites have magnificent views and offer great value because they are truly apartments with plenty of living space, furnished wraparound balconies for outdoor living and can sleep up to four (two adults and two small children comfortably).
Worth Mentioning: A new Kids Club will be in place by November and its services will range from babysitting to supervised activities for children up to 12 years. A Kids Scuba program is offered to eight- to 10-year-olds under supervision of PADI instructors.
Contact: Agents should contact Director of Sales and Marketing Joanne Hogg at [email protected].
NH Royal Beach
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Opening Date: The NH Royal Beach will open in time for the winter season.
Whom to Pitch to: Like all NH properties, we recommend booking this for couples because of its romantic setting.
Best Rooms: Of the 373 rooms, we learned the best will be the Royal Suites.
Worth Mentioning: This will be NH’s second hotel in the Punta Cana area. The NH Royal Beach will open next door to the chain’s NH Real Arena, both centrally located in Bavaro.
Contact: Agents in the U.S. and Canada should call 1-800-232-9860 for more information.