Resorts in the Caribbean have been opening faster than morning glories in July. Here are some updates.
British Virgin Islands
Shondra Maduro of BVI Tourism described Oil Nut Bay as another new boutique property with large-resort amenities. Occupying a private island, Oil Nut Bay offers fishing, non-motorized water sports, tennis, hiking, cycling, a kids club and nature center, a spa, and contemporary 1- to 6-guestroom suites and villas with huge windows, stone accents, and earth-tone decor. Rates start at $1,250 until 13th, when they start at $950.
The first-ever overseas Kimpton Resort will open in November, said Cayman Islands sales representative Michael Foley. The 266-room and suite Seafire Resort & Spa will also be the first new development on Seven Mile Beach in ten years. Expect it to be stylish, offer excellent service, and reap sky-high customer satisfaction ratings. Introductory room rates and packages should be available by spring. Also visit the site for agents.
Although no major hotel openings are imminent, Tourist Board Manager Andre Rojer won a lot of travel agents’ love for his presentation at the Focus on the Caribbean workshop. “We don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes, but we’re Dutch. We’re the part of The Netherlands that can dance,” he said. And, of the islands eponymous blue liqueur,”It is made out of oranges; it is our vitamin C.” This reporter can attest to that.
Two years ago American Airlines resumed nonstop flights to Guadeloupe via Miami; more recently Norwegian began flying from JFK, BOS, and BWI—a game-changer for this archipelago that had been beloved by Americans before airlift evaporated 20 years ago. At the travel show, Sandra Venite, USA director for the Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board, was also so excited about the renovations at La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa that she immediately sent me photos. Wow! Now, La Creole doesn’t just have a great location; it has joie de vivre. For the agent portal, click here. Recommend also has Guadeloupe Specialist Program—visit edu.recommend.com/courses/16/guadeloupe-islands-specialist for more information.
Every time you blinked in 2015 you missed a new resort opening in Jamaica, most recently Melia Braco Village, Melia Hotels International’s first property in that country. Stay tuned for more on this 226-room all-inclusive in the March issue of Recommend.
Several hotels have been upgrading, explained Valerie Vulcain, deputy director for the Americas at Martinique Promotion Bureau-CMT Americas, because demand has soared with the addition of Norwegian Air’s new nonstops from JFK, BWI, and BOS, “making this the first time in 20 years Martinique has been directly accessible from the Northeast.” Add American Airlines’ nonstops, and Martinique is back as a force in Caribbean tourism. P.S. It’s also winning awards left and right. For more on Martinique, don’t miss Recommend’s Martinique Specialist Program— edu.recommend.com/courses/19/martinique-specialist-program.
Narcisco Moreno, senior sales manager at Puerto Rico Tourism Company, wanted agents to know that in 2017 Nayara Hotels will open a 24-casita, Costa Rica-style wellness-adventure complex in the rain forest. Meanwhile, beachfront El San Juan Resort & Casino is getting an extensive, floor-by-floor renovation to reinforce its iconic status. Rachel Mecca, area director of leisure sales, promises that the decorators “won’t mess with the famous bar in the lobby.” Also see Hilton’s travel agents portal.
Regional marketing manager Lorine Charles St. Jules is delighted with all the new nonstops, including flights from as far away as Houston and Chicago, and events such as the August Chocolate Festival, the September Love Elevated Weddings Symposium, the November Health & Wellness Retreats and—this will be particularly big—the 25th(!) Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. If you’re interested on learning more about St. Lucia, don’t miss Recommend’s St. Lucia Specialist Program—edu.recommend.com/courses/3/saint-lucia.
Coming soon: another update from The New York Times Travel Show.