January 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline

newsline.gif (8042 bytes)INTERNATIONAL FOCUS
Ritz-Carlton is developing the 205-room Ritz-Carlton Pelican Island resort a half-mile off the coast of Antigua on Pelican Island. The resort will occupy approximately half of the island’s 32 acres; guests will be transported to and from via ferry.

The Bahamas
Grand Bahama Island’s 1,350-room Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort, completed last April, features 40,000 square feet of indoor space, which includes the Grand Ballroom, a business center and 16 meeting rooms with new audiovisual capabilities, along with 50,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space. The resort also offers two 18-hole golf courses and the Butch Harmon School of Golf.

The government announced in October a US$15.9 million “intervention package,” with $4.8 million earmarked for a new tourism marketing campaign and $1.2 million to enhance airport security.

Elegant Hotels Group’s 96-room Colony Club reopened Nov. 15, 2001, following an extensive $7 million refurbishment that included the addition of a library and an upgrade to the pool terrace.

The Curaçao Tourist Office closed its Miami and New York offices in October. Inquiries will be handled by Tourism Solutions, a sales and marketing firm. Curaçao Tourism’s toll-free number, (800)3-CURACAO, and Web site,, will continue to provide service.

Dominican Republic
The 1,956-room Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort complex officially inaugurated its new $19 million namesake convention center in late October in Bávaro-Punta Cana on the eastern part of the island. The facility contains meeting space for 3,000, along with more than 20 breakout rooms. Grupo del Caribe recently announced plans to develop Cap Cana, a multibillion-dollar project comprising two dozen luxury hotels and what will be the Caribbean’s largest marina, complete with customs offices. The project will encompass 30,000 acres, including five miles of oceanfront property. The marina and three Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2003.

In Negril, the 130-room Beaches Sandy Bay, formerly the Beaches Inn Resort, reopened in November following renovations.

Puerto Rico
Groundbreaking was scheduled to begin this month just outside of San Juan on the long-anticipated 580,000-square-foot Puerto Rico Convention Center, which is slated to open in the fall of 2004. The 174-suite Embassy Suites Hotel Dorado del Mar Beach & Golf Resort opened in September, featuring a lagoon pool with a bar and grill, an 18-hole, par-72 golf course designed by the legendary Chi Chi Rodriguez and various water activities. The resort also includes the 100-seat Paradise Cafe and 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including six meeting rooms.

St. Kitts
The Royal St. Kitts Golf Course in Frigate Bay, designed by former PGA champion Peter Thompson, is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, due for completion this November.

St. Maarten
Sapphire Beach Club resort has now been officially branded the Wyndham Sapphire Beach Club. The property is on the Dutch third of the island, minutes away from the French border.

Compiled by Eric Enright

Last spring, the 360-room Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino opened Café Japengo, a new 47-seat Japanese restaurant and lounge, which has turned into something of a nighttime hot spot. The café serves traditional sushi rolls and nigri sushi, as well as standard Western fish dishes for less adventurous palates. The bar features Japanese beer and Asian-inspired mixed drinks, as well as a wide array of sakes. This is the fourth Café Japengo restaurant, with sister eateries in Las Vegas, Miami and San Diego.

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