Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Jamaica Launch
The new Montego Bay Convention Center opened in January to host the Caribbean Marketplace. The venue offers 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.


Puerto Rico
The 139-room St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort opened last fall in Rio Grande. The hotel offers an 18-hole golf course, a Remede Spa and 16 meeting rooms.

The 222-room boutique Verdanza Hotel, formerly the Holiday Inn San Juan, opened last year in San Juan. The property has more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as three restaurants.

W Retreat & SpaThe 157-room W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, opened last spring. The resort features three indoor meeting rooms and four outdoor event spaces.

The Caribe Hilton Hotel has completed its expansion of accommodations. With the addition of 96 new villas, the property has a total of 910 guest rooms.
Restoration of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel will be completed this spring. The property has 312 guest rooms, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and four restaurants.
La Concha, a Renaissance Resort, recently completed the addition of a 253-suite tower, for a total guest-room count of 483.

The 300-room Marriott Courtyard Convention District in San Juan is scheduled to open in late 2012.
The 371-room JW Marriott Hotel & Resort at Coco Beach is slated to open in January 2013. The property will have approximately 21,000 square feet of meeting space, a 36-hole Tom Kite-designed golf course and a spa and fitness center, as well as a casino.

The 130-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach Resort & Spa is slated to debut in November 2012.  

The Mayagüez Resort & Casino will unveil a new 60-room tower (for a total room count of 200) this spring. The property has 12,144 square feet of meeting space and a 9,200-square-foot convention center.
The 503-room Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino celebrated its grand opening last year. The property, adjacent to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, features approximately 35,000 square feet of meeting space and a 57,000-square-foot pool deck that can be used for outdoor events. Other highlights include a 7,000-square-foot spa.

A $22 million casino has opened at the Embassy Suites Dorado Del Mar Beach & Golf Resort in Dorado. The property has 174 guest rooms.

Fast Facts
More than 7,000 islands, reefs and cays are in the Caribbean region.

High season typically runs from mid-December to mid-April.


A region of the Dominican Republic

In 2010, the Dominican Republic had more arrivals from the United States than any other destination in the region, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the umbrella organization for various tourism boards representing the area.

Meeting Hotels
Properties in Old San Juan include the 240-room Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel and 68-room Hotel El Convento.

The Convention Center District has the 503-room Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino.

Between Old San Juan and Condado is the 910-room Caribe Hilton.

In Condado are the 570-room Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, 525-room San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and 248-room La Concha, a Renais­sance Hotel.

For more detailed information, including the hotels and resorts of Isla Verde and in the island's northeast region, visit the facility search at mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Puerto Rico Conven­tion Center; exhibit space, approximately 152,700 square feet; ballroom, 39,500 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 15 (divisible into 28 rooms); (800) 875-4765

Time Zone
Puerto Rico observes Atlantic Standard Time, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (except during Daylight Savings Time).

Airport Transit
Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, about seven miles from downtown San Juan. Transfer cost by taxi, $15 to $20

Room tax, 11% at casino hotels, 9% at noncasino hotels; sales tax, 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.5% or 14.5%

Group Venue
Trendy Aguaviva specializes in seafood and ceviches. An open kitchen lets diners watch the preparation of dishes such as calamari filled with shredded beef, and dorado served with lightly grilled bell peppers. Groups of up to 60 are hosted. (787) 722-0665

Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, (800) 875-4765


Dominican Debut

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Punta Cana

The 1,800-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Punta Cana, opened in January. The all-inclusive property, formerly the Moon Palace, Punta Cana, features 65,000 square feet of meeting space.


U.S. Virgin Islands
Last April, the 300-room Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa became an all-inclusive resort. The property has 14 meeting rooms.

Meeting Hotels
Properties on St. Thomas include the 460-room Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, 294-room Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa and 180-room Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas.

On St. John are the 321-room Westin St. John Resort & Villas and 166-room Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort.

St. Croix offers the 157-room Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa and 138-room Buccaneer Hotel.

Airport Transit
St. Thomas: Cyril E. King Airport, about two miles from Charlotte Amalie. Transfer cost by taxi starts at $6. Transfer cost to St. John by ferry from Charlotte Amalie, $12 plus $2.50 per bag

St. Croix: Alexander Hamilton Airport, seven miles from Christiansted. Transfer cost by taxi to Christiansted, from $9

Room tax, 8%; sales tax, none; total tax on hotel rooms, 8%

U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, (800) 372-8784

Update: Bahamas
Baha Mar Ltd., developers of the Baha Mar hotel/convention/casino complex in the Cable Beach area of Nassau, has signed three firms to operate several properties under development. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts will manage a 200-room luxury property, Morgans Hotel Group will manage and operate a 300-room lifestyle hotel, and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts will run the 700-room Grand Hyatt. Completion dates for the properties have not been announced, but they will join two hotels already in business: the 694-room Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort (with 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space) and the 550-room Wyndham Nassau Resort (with 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space). A fourth property -- a 1,000-room casino resort -- also is planned for the mega resort; at press time, an operator had not been named. For more information: (215) 246-3402; bahamas.com


> Ports of call: The Bahamas, followed by the U.S. Virgin Islands, saw the most Caribbean-cruise passenger arrivals in 2010.