Harlequin Resorts Poised to be Major Luxury Player in Caribbean, Latin America's Next

Valley Church Beach, Antigua

Travel Agent was on hand Tuesday for a media luncheon hosted by Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, which celebrated the official launch of its first hotel and shared news about future developments in both the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Buccament Bay Resort, the first luxury resort on the island of St. Vincent, is the company’s flag ship property. Although it had a soft opening in April, Harlequin officially launched the hotel to the U.S. market this week.

Mark Sawkins, vice president of operations for Harlequin, also told Travel Agent the company is looking beyond the Caribbean and is scouting several destinations throughout Central and South America.

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In fact, the company is hopefully planning to start construction on a new hotel in Brazil next year while Peru continues to be at the top of the company’s wish list.

“The plan is to work on these Caribbean projects first, to build the brand and then we can begin to look at other destinations around the world,” Sawkins says. “There are many destinations we are looking into. Peru is one of them.”

As far as the current projects go, Buccament Bay Resort is located 90 miles west of Barbados. St. Vincent is an unspoiled tropical haven that provides visitors with an opportunity to explore an island less traveled, yet still gives its guests an authentic Caribbean experience. This all-inclusive five-star resort includes 95 villas. Situated among the lush tropical gardens or directly on the pristine beach are a selection of one-, two- and four-bedroom villas, equipped with spacious living rooms and sophisticated décor.

Earlier this year, during our ongoing coverage of the 2011 Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (D.A.T.E.), Travel Agent got the skinny about a new resort in Las Canas, Dominican Republic, just outside of Puerto Plata and 30 minutes from the nearest airport.

The 200-room The Hideaway resort will be ready by 2013 and it is being positioned as a couple retreat, although it will not be an adults-only resort, says Sawkins.

Construction will begin next year for resorts in St. Lucia and Barbados, says Sawkins. He also says the company is looking to build a resort in Jamaica, but no time table set yet for an opening since the acquisition of 3,000 acres of land was just finalized in April.

Visit www.harlequinhotelsandresorts.com

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