|One of Choice Hotels’ nine existing Caribbean properties is the Comfort Suites Paradise Island, Bahamas.|
How serious is Choice Hotels International (CHI) about its plans to become a major player in the competitive Caribbean hotel market? Pretty serious, we’d say: The company already has nine hotels in the region, is preparing to open an affordable luxury boutique in the otherwise expensive Anguilla and was not deterred by last year’s massive earthquake to expand its operations in Haiti.
Here’s the skinny on Choice’s present and future in the region:
Ascending in Anguilla
It was around a year ago when members of the Anguilla Tourist Board told Travel Agent the island would be offering new affordable products. The anticipated March opening of Choice Hotel’s Royale Caribbean Resort & Spa is a good indicator that it wasn’t mere talk.
“We are always looking for ways to make our destination fit into the budgets of people who wouldn’t normally visit Anguilla,” Haydn Hughes, parliamentary secretary of Anguilla, told us during Caribbean Marketplace in Jamaica back in January. “The new Choice resort is a good example of a resort that will be more affordable but will still offer the same quality of luxury Anguilla is known for.”
The Royale Caribbean Resort & Spa, a high-end boutique hotel and a member of the Ascend Collection, will open in Little Harbor on the island’s southern coast. The Ascend Collection comprises hotels that are independently run but affiliated with CHI.
All 80 rooms at this resort will have views of the Caribbean Sea, the mountains and coastline of neighboring St. Maarten. It will include three restaurants, a 10,000-square-foot spa and Caribbean-inspired conch-shaped pool. For the weddings and business market, the resort has two banquet rooms, meeting rooms and boardrooms, accommodating up to 1,600 people.
Still Committed to Haiti
During Caribbean Marketplace, Choice announced that the its plans to develop two properties in Haiti remain unchanged despite the widespread destruction caused by the earthquake. One property, a 100-room hotel that will be part of the Ascend Collection, sustained serious damage but was not destroyed. That hotel was originally slated to be open by January. Construction of the second property, a 40-room Comfort Inn, was originally scheduled to begin around now. New timelines for the two properties have not been announced.
For booking inquiries and other questions on all Choice hotels in the Caribbean, contact Sal Icaza (443-624-5590, [email protected]), CHI’s director of emerging markets and Caribbean franchise development.
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