The Latest Hotel Renovations, Offerings in the Caribbean

Les Ilets de la Plage // Photo by Gérald Tessier

There's always plenty going on in the Caribbean, whether hotels are still amid the process of renovating and reopening following the hurricanes in September 2017 or celebrating anniversaries. Here are just a few resorts that should be on your radar.

For those looking for an affordable way to vacation on St. Barths, consider the intimate and family-owned beach resort Les Ilets de la Plage. The resort has just 11 private villas with direct access to the beach.

Following the hurricane season, Les Ilets de la Plage was the first property on the island to reopen, and it took the opportunity to improve and upgrade resort-wide. They rewired the entire property, installed a new satellite TV system with U.S. and French channels, set up a new Internet system, installed new air conditioning units, new kitchens and new appliances, as well as all new furniture for the beach villas. All villas also have daily maid service and a daily delivery of fresh breads and pastries right to the door. As for the beach area, it was re-leveled, re-sanded and received new parasols and sun-loungers. New trees and bushes were also planted throughout the property.

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New for 2018: Les Ilets de la Plage is adding a brand new “studio apartment” with a living room, fully equipped kitchen, dining area, bedroom with en-suite bathroom and a balcony with sea view. It’s slated for completion in the fall of 2018.

In Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts will renovate Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue, a 528-suite oceanfront hotel. It’s scheduled for completion in November 2018.  

One of the top new features at the hotel will be swim-up suites, allowing guests to dip into one of the hotel’s pools right from their room. Also new: Outside each suite balcony, guests will have a private plunge pool surrounded by the property’s gardens. The extensive renovation will also enhance the hotel’s interiors, which will receive a sleek yet subdued color scheme, and a new coffee shop will serve freshly baked goods and refreshing drinks. 

Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar will also debut three refurbished restaurants: an Italian restaurant, a gourmet restaurant and a garden grill. The updated gourmet restaurant will have a contemporary interior design with a pentagon-shaped gold bar set at the restaurant’s entrance. 

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts will also be rebranding and reclassifying its portfolio in four categories and distinct experiences. The Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Blue will fall under its Luxury brand and Escape experience.

Bahia Principe’s Bavaro complex will also be receiving some upgrades of its own, for use by guests of all luxury properties, including a sports bar and fitness center. The new sports bar will have ample indoor and outdoor seating, multiple LED flat screens and an extended beverage menu. At the complex’s fitness center, guests can expect a new look with floor-to-ceiling windows and modern workout machines.

Celebrating 60 years of hospitality is the Jamaica Inn. It will be introducing new additions and updates on property, including three new beach bungalows, a Saltwater Sea Bath, the White River Fish Sanctuary and the Jamaica Inn Land of Films tour.

The three private beachfront bungalows will be located on a cove on the eastern end of the property adjacent to the Ocean Spa. These bungalows are each one-bedroom (sleeping two) units and include their own sitting room, kitchenette and outdoor verandah space. Each bungalow is being offered at special introductory rates.

The award-winning Ocean Spa has added a saltwater sea bath treatment to its array of spa offerings. Sea water has been shown to have many healing and restorative benefits, such as improving circulation, soothing irritated skin, reducing inflammation of joints and muscles and even improving immune system function. Additionally, Jamaica Inn is hosting its sixth annual yoga and wellness retreat September 11 – 16, 2018, hosted by international toga teacher, Erin Ward. Travelers and the health-conscious will be given the opportunity to connect with themselves with the restorative healing and therapeutic elements offered in this retreat.

Guests looking to learn more about the Jamaica Inn Foundation and its Fish Sanctuary off the coast of the property can take the new Glass Bottom Boat Tour, allowing guests to experience Caribbean Sea life up close. They can learn more about how they can support Foundation efforts by engaging in a Foundation review held during tea time every Wednesday in the library. The sanctuary encompasses a zone that encourages a healthy marine population in order to rehabilitate the coral reef system and create a healthy ecosystem.

This winter, movie fans can meet at Jamaica Inn for a behind-the-scenes tour, provided by Jamaica Land of Film, to see the film locations of their favorite movies, as well as learn some memorable movie trivia.

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