Quickly becoming a luxury powerhouse in the region is Puerto Rico. So, we decided to hit up their booth first, chatting with representatives of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company about the destination’s new reputation.
Gabriel R. Emanuelli, director of sales and marketing for the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, and Yolanda Figueroa, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company's regional director/west coast and midwest region, spoke to us on the trade floor of the exhibit earlier this week and obviously focused on the destination's growing luxury product.
With the Ritz-Carlton Reserve still slated to open in December of 2012, Puerto Rico continues to attract big name luxury brands. And that's quickly earning Puerto Rico the reputation as a luxury resort powerhouse in the Caribbean.
"Obviously, it's something we are very proud of," says Emanuelli of Puerto Rico's robust luxury product, which is a Four Seasons shy of having just about every major luxury hotel brand on its island. "It really says a lot about what brands Puerto Rico chooses and it really says a lot about the quality of our infrastructure."
Meanwhile, a new luxury resort recently opened in Antigua. Dean Fenton, senior marketing/sales representative for the Antigua and Barbud Department of Tourism, told us all about the new Nonsuch Bay, which is comprised of fully-serviced apartments, beach cottages and waterfront and hilltop villas.
These are built in the West Indian Georgian Colonial style with pure symmetrical lines, whitewashed walls and wood shingle roofs. High ceilings and French windows encourage natural ventilation from the tropical breeze. Natural materials, such as beautiful hardwood, are used in abundance and traditional Caribbean finishes add an exotic touch.
Now, not all the luxury news coming out of the Caribbean has been positive. Earlier this month, The Daily Herald reported that Cap Juluca in Anguilla was facing auction of some of its assets. According to that report, the owner of the property, Adam Aron, had reportedly failed on his payment to the previous owner Charles Hickox at the end of July and still owes some $67 million.
While a long-running dispute among certain Cap Juluca stakeholders continues, financial restructuring at the luxury resort in Anguilla is currently being administered, a Cap Juluca spokesperson told Travel Agent last week.
During LTE, we chatted with Marie Walker, Anguilla's director of tourism for North America, about the recent financial struggles of Cap Juluca and found that she was optimistic about the future of the resort.
"I think everything will work out just fine," she told Travel Agent. "The resort is still doing very well and we there won't be any disruption with the hotel or guest services. The persons of interest who are involved in this situation know that it is in their best interest to make sure the hotel has no disruptions whatsoever.”
The Luxury Travel Expo took place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Next year's event is slated for November 27-29 at The Palazzo.