“When storms hit and fishermen cannot go out to the sea, they are in port, mending their nets,” author and artist Nabil Sabio Azadi said some years ago.
His quote mirrors what many Caribbean hoteliers did in 2020 during their downtime brought about by Covid.
Instead of fishing nets, they renovated, repaired, refurbished, redid and upgraded their properties.
Now, the peak winter season is upon us, heralded by a slew of new and redone properties whose welcome mats stand ready to greet arriving guests.
Openings of new properties continue into 2022 and beyond, as well, upping inventory primarily in the luxury category. Here’s a sampling:
Altamer Resort’s Blue Diamond Villa, the largest of the resort’s four villas at 13,000 square feet, five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, reopened Nov. 1, following extensive renovations.
Rates start at $4,500 per night through Dec. 17 and $14,000 per night Dec. 18 through Jan. 6, with a minimum 15-night stay requirement. Commission ranges from 13% to 15%.
Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club on Rendezvous Bay opens Dec. 1 with 178 suites, seven restaurants and bars, an 18-hole golf course, a hydroponic farm and a culinary team headed by executive chef Abram Bissell, formerly of Eleven Madison Park in New York.
New at Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel that reopened in late October, is Peruvian restaurant Uchu and new guest experiences that include casting a yo-yo reel with Anguillian fisherman Shawn Romney and exploring the island’s 33 beaches in a vintage Volkswagen van with gourmet picnic lunch and a Polaroid camera.
And to make it easier to get to the island, American Airlines will launch twice-weekly, nonstop service between Miami and Clayton J. Lloyd Airport on Dec. 11, the first nonstop flights between the destinations. A third weekly flight will be added on Jan. 5.
Oceans Hotel Group debuted the 130-room O2 Beach Club & Spa in St. Lawrence Gap on the island’s south coast on Nov. 1. The all-inclusive resort is named O2 in a nod to oxygen, signifying breathing new life into vacations.
Amenities include three pools, including one of the only rooftop pools on the island, six dining experiences, seven bars, the 5,600-square-foot Acqua Spa, a teen lounge, an adults-only river pool and daily “how-to” classes featuring topics such as how to play a steelpan drum or play dominoes like a local.
The all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace reopened last month in La Romana following extensive renovations to the lobby and the Pueblito shopping center. Renovations to the resort include new lobby decor and a coffee shop in the Pueblito shopping center. The Papaya area near the main pool has a new bar and a new snack bar. Natural wood and stone from local builders has been used in renovations to the main public areas. Decorative accessories are from local artisans.
Guests have access to the amenities of sister property Dominicus Beach for a total of 12 restaurants, nine bars, a nightclub and five pools, including one for kids.
Aimbridge Hospitality entered the D.R. as well as the all-inclusive resort segment with the opening of the Radisson Blu Resort & Residence Punta Cana. It features 163 suites, six restaurant and bar experiences, a kids’ club and a lagoon-style pool.
The adults-only Royalton Chic Punta Cana on Uvero Alto Beach reopened Nov. 1 with 320 updated luxury suites, themed pool parties, the new Indian restaurant Taj, the Genesis Casino and the Chic Mansion private villa with six suites for group bookings.
Finest Punta Cana, part of the Excellence Collection, celebrated its grand opening in October with 455 suites that include two-story, rooftop terrace suites with private plunge pools, swim-up suites, family suites and honeymoon suites. The all-inclusive resort caters to guests of all ages, offering different areas for families and adults and three adults-only restaurants out of 10 dining options.
Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana opened Nov. 1 with 228 suites, 40 villas, an Entertainment Village, 10 food and beverage venues and the St. Somewhere Spa. It’s the second property under the Island Reserve brand, which combines Karisma Hotels & Resorts with Margaritaville’s signature lifestyle of fun and escapism.
Le Sereno St. Barth reopened Oct. 29 with a new cocktail menu and culinary offerings at Ristorante Al Mare and new Bungalow Piscine suites as well as a main pool, three villas, an expansive waterfront area and a spa.
The resort added a number of environmental features during the Covid lockdown, such as solar panels, new windows and lighting, new water systems and insulation.
New to the Christopher, which reopened in mid-October, is Rivyera, a restaurant overseen by Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Faye and inspired by the French Riviera. Dishes include seared tuna with grilled avocado, tomatoes and basil and baby sprouts and a local lobster linguine. The resort offers 23 rooms, 19 suites and three villas as well as the Sisley Spa.
Turks and Caicos
In the development pipeline for Turks and Caicos are several new luxury properties, set to debut in 2022 and beyond. These include Rock House, a Grace Bay resort on Providenciales’ secluded north shore slated to open in the spring with 42 private cottages, a 100-foot infinity pool, a European-style beach club, cave lounge and jogging trails.
The Bight Hotel will rise 45 feet high in elevated, boutique-style suites with views of Grace Bay Beach. Facilities will include an infinity pool, yoga studio, distillery and rum bar and a garden-to-table restaurant with fresh food from the property’s vegetable garden and ecofarm. Construction begins in June.
South Bank Turks & Caicos on Long Bay Beach, a residential resort and marina property, will open in December 2022 followed by the Andaz Turks & Caicos Residences at Grace Bay with 60 rooms and suites and 74 residences in 2023.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The Lovango Resort & Beach Club, a private-island resort located 10 minutes by boat off the coast of St. John and the first newbuild resort in the USVI in more than 30 years, opens on Dec. 20 with accommodations that include six luxury glamping tents and five treehouses, a three-bedroom villa, two beaches, a tequila and raw bar and other dining options.
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