This year, attendees flew to this June event from Florida, Canada, and California, not to mention far-flung corners of the Caribbean like Trinidad and Tobago, to meet up with friends and colleagues, sit in on forums dealing with the tourism issues of the day, and catch up on some news. What follows are a few highlights of that news and some hotel updates from 15 island tourism agencies:
In keeping with the growth industry in villas with resort amenities, Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection, will now manage the 5- and 6-bedroom, ultra-luxurious Kishti Villas. Expect more growth from Malliouhana, too. Also on Mead’s Bay, the 15-condo Tranquility Beach will open Dec. 21, 2019. Hashtag FamilyTravel. And luxury. For more information, visit ivisitanguilla.com.
Antigua and Barbuda
We covered Elegant Resorts’ new Hodges Bay Resort & Spa in the June issue of Recommend; now Elite Resorts’ Hammock Cove, an upmarket adults-only all-inclusive, has announced a Dec. 1 opening. Also, the new Royalton Antigua is about to debut the island’s only overwater suites. For more information, visit visitantiguabarbuda.com.
The Islands of the Bahamas
This fall, the Reef at Atlantis, one of the best hotels at this megaresort because of its condos with space and (money-saving) kitchen facilities, will unveil a substantial redesign, from lobby to hallways to rooms. Note that the new Margaritaville Resort in Nassau, which had aimed for a 2019 opening, has pushed it back to 2020. Fro more information, visit bahamas.com and nassauparadiseisland.com.
“In a few months Sands Worthing Beach will open with 175 accommodations,” said Tourism Minister Kerrie D. Symmonds in a private interview with Recommend. Three big-picture developments he mentioned should also be on your radar screen: (1) In the future you will see casinos in Barbados. (2) The height limit for buildings has been raised from 7 to 15 stories. (3) Barbados is moving toward being a fully accessible country. For more information, visit visitbarbados.org.
Your clients can now stay in a Relaix & Chateaux on the main island, Rosedon Hotel and Huckleberry Restaurant. (And no matter where they stay, you should also know about two new alternatives to scooters and to Current Vehicles’ Renault Twizy microcars: Local Motion is offering Bermi’s with bluetooth, and Oleander Cycles will rent out Tazzari’s. All these 2-seaters are electric and air-conditioned.) For more information, visit gotobermuda.com.
British Virgin Islands
The flagship resort of the BVI, Rosewood Little Dix Bay, is aiming for a late 2019 reopening. Failing that, they should reappear in early 2020. Also in late 2019 the Bitter End Yacht Club, the world’s best water sports resort, will launch (ha!) a new marina and water sports center; hotel rooms should open in late 2020. Peter Island Resort & Spa also plans to reopen in 2020. For more information, visit bvitourism.com.
“This is the best year to date that we’ve had in the history of the Cayman Islands,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell in a private interview. That includes new luxury hotels, attractions, flights, the works. In fact, so much is going on that Recommend magazine will devote a story to this special island group in the August issue. For more information, visit visitcaymanislands.com.
The Royalton Grenada, formerly the Grenadian by Rex, will open in 2020 with 261 renovated suites, four restaurants, a spa, and a kids’ club. Mount Cinnamon Resort will add six luxury Cinnamon suites by Christmas. Kimpton Kawana Bay, an all-suite beach resort, will debut in 2020. For more information, visit grenadagrenadines.com.
On the heels of the extended-stay R Hotel’s debut in Kingston, the much-anticipated AC Hotel Kingston has just opened. This sleek, 220-room venture by Marriott International and Sandals Resorts International is an important piece of Jamaica’s recent promotion of Kingston as a cultural destination. For more information, visit visitjamaica.com.
Caribbean Tourism Organization chair Dominic Fedee is the tourism minister of a different island—Saint Lucia—but he made sure to point out that Puerto Rico’s arrivals were up 52.3 percent in the first quarter of 2019 over 2018. Now, that’s a comeback. For more information, visit discoverpuertorico.com.
St. Kitts and Nevis
After two years of thorough renovations, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, with 89 rooms and suites and 50-plus villas, will reopen this fall with redesigned accommodations, restaurants and other common spaces, and experiences. For more information, visit nevisisland.com.
So much is happening on Saint Lucia, including village tourism and hotel, airport, and cruise port expansion in the south, but the latest news is from the island’s north end, where a Ben Crenshaw golf course—Cabot Saint Lucia—will open in 2021 followed by a 50-room hotel and villas. For more information, visit stlucia.org.
About 75 percent of the hotels have reopened, most recently, La Playa Orient Bay. Blue Bay Beach Hotel, also in Orient Bay, reopens in December. Note that the December opening of the adults-only Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa has been pushed back to March. For more information, visit st-maarten.com and stmartinis-land.org.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Not much expansion there; only the 317-unit Ritz-Carlton Residences, The Turks Cay Resort & Marina, Royal Reef North Caicos (219 units), South Bank by Grace Bay Resorts, The Bight Hotel, and in 2021, uber-luxurious Andaz Turks & Caicos at Grace Bay. For more information visit turksandcaicostourism.com.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas will reopen in November and Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in early 2020. St. Croix’s Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino will reopen in December after a complete renovation and the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa reopens in late 2019 or early 2020. For more information, visit visitusvi.com.
For the big picture on Caribbean tourism, be sure to check out this story about the strong growth in visits to the region.