Archive for the ‘Caribbean’ Category

Marriott Opens First Resort in Belize: Alaia Belize Offers Four Diamond Luxury on Amergris Caye

May 23, 2021
Set among the beautiful and culturally rich southern part of the island of Ambergris Caye in Belize, Alaia debuted as the first Marriott International Autograph Collection hotel in Belize.

AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE– For those with a zeal to discover the outdoors and live with purpose, owner and developer Andrew Ashcroft, in partnership with Autograph Collection Hotels, announces the grand opening of boutique resort Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection. Spanning over 20+ acres and the first in San Pedro Town to sit on more than 1,000 feet of beachfront access, Alaia Belize is a 155-unit complex operating as the first true four diamond resort on Ambergris Caye. The eco-luxury development is the first-ever Marriott International property in the country and evokes the founder’s passion, thoughtfulness of design, inherent craft and connection with the locale.

“With deep family roots in Belize and the hidden gem being my home for over 20 years, I wanted to ensure that Alaia Belize captured the lively spirit, genuine hospitality and friendliness of the destination and locals. My team and I worked closely with the Marriott International team to bring it all to fruition and allow our future guests and owners an opportunity to immerse themselves into the Belizean culture,” said Andrew Ashcroft. “No detail went unnoticed as we wanted to ensure that our travelers will be able to experience a new level of luxury on one of the world’s most photogenic yet untapped destinations. We are now ready to show the world all that Alaia Belize has to offer and take the country to new heights.”

Eco-Luxury Aesthetics 

Situated in the historic town of San Pedro – dubbed La Isla Bonita after the 1987 Madonna’s song about the island – Alaia Belize enables hotel guests and residential owners to intimately connect with their surroundings as it was designed to stimulate all five senses. With interiors curated by renowned Brazilian designer Debora Aguiar, the boutique resort is meant to invite guests to touch, stay and feel connected to Mother Nature, from the warm and harmonious ambiance, woven textures, natural fibers and touches of greenery. The design-forward hotel features 155 guest rooms and suites, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, with a natural color scheme to complement the stunning oceanfront views. Seamlessly blending the indoor and outdoor settings, the rooms offer an average of 1,200 square feet indoors and almost 900 square feet in open air, per unit. 

On the residential end, Alaia Belize is comprised of 71 stylish studios, two- and three-bedroom condominiums and eight oceanfront villas. Owners who don’t live full-time in Belize can put their condominiums or villas into a rental program booked through Marriott International’s reservation system and allow guests to live with a backdrop of deep blue waters. With exterior designs led by International Environments, the branded development features vertical green walls, specialty textured walls and crystal-clear glass windows to not interrupt any views of the tranquil Caribbean Sea and wild tropical foliage.

Autograph Collection Hotels advocates for the original, championing the individuality of each of its 200+ independent hotels located in the most desirable destinations across more than 30 countries and territories. Each hotel is a product of passion and a personal realization of its individual founder’s vision, making each hotel singular and special:  Exactly LikeNothing Else. Hand-selected for their inherent craft and distinct perspectives on design and hospitality, Autograph Collection hotels offer rich immersive moments that leave a lasting imprint. 

First of its Kind Experiences

Raising the luxury bar in Belize, hotel guests and owners have full access to first-of-its-kind amenities in the country, including Belize’s first-ever suspended rooftop pool and lounge with 360-degree views, the only luxury resort in Belize with a dive shop that also allows guests to receive a PADI certification onsite, K’in Spa & Wellness Center, a piano bar with a self-playing baby grand piano, kids’ club, adventure concierge, swimming pools with live DJs, branded golf carts and bicycles, and a live art gallery with local weavers, woodworkers and pottery makers to create custom handicrafts for guests to take a piece of Belize home with them.  

Catering to foodie travelers, Alaia Belize has endless dining and bar options with five different concepts. Sea Salt is the crown jewel of the property with fresh catches of the day, high-quality seafood and meat with a Belizean twist. For those looking to enjoy the tropical weather and gorgeous 360-degree views of the Caribbean Sea, Alaia has a Vista Rooftop restaurant concept with small plate offerings, such as sushi, poke bowls and conch for lunch, dinner and late nights. The beachfront hotel also has The Deck and Beach Bar restaurant for those looking for an open-air beachside lunch or dinner with local favorite dishes, such as tacos, ceviche, burgers, fish sandwiches, wraps, salads, pizza and classic cocktails. Alaia Belize also has a Piano Bar to offer an upscale lounge setting for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night with small pastries, cocktail snacks and high-end wine and cocktails offerings from Alaia’s very own mixologist. Lastly there is the The Terrace Bar for lunch and dinner with flavorful items, such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, ceviche and more. In true Belizean celebratory fashion, this area of the hotel has a lively spirit with DJs and in-pools cabanas for a VIP experience.

Un-Belize-Able Destination

“My team and I had a chance to visit with Andrew Ashcroft at the Alaia Belize earlier this year, while the property was still under construction. I am pleased that the day has finally come to open the doors of this beautiful four-diamond resort on the island of Ambergris Caye. It is a great milestone for the team and the country, as it is a testament of our growth to see high-end brands like Autograph Collection from Marriott International migrating into Belize, elevating our travel scene,” said Hon. Anthony Mahler, Belize’s Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations. “The government is fully supportive of hotel developments and legacy projects such as Alaia Belize, and we are incredibly proud of all the positive steps the Belize tourism industry is making to restore the confidence in travel among our international visitors.”

In October 2020, Belize officially reopened Philip Goldson International Airport to international visitors for leisure travel. As of January 2021, Belize moved on to Phase 4 of its reopening plan with the full reopening of the overnight tourism sector and allowing visitors to move around the country freely. In December 2020, Belize received a Safe Travel Stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of the country’s enhanced health and safety protocols. To uphold the certification, the Belize Tourism Board created the Tourism Gold Standard program to ensure that all hotels, restaurants and tour operators adapt and maintain health and safety policies, including sanitation practices, social interactions and standard operating procedures while ensuring minimal impact on the guest experience.

Known as the hidden gem of Central America and Caribbean, Belize’s clear blue waters and Caribbean culture is home to endless historic offerings, a variety of adventures and a melting pot of cultures. Just moments away from Alaia, owners and visitors can experience more than 200 caves filled with several preserved Mayan Temples, including Xunantunich (the second tallest ruin in the country), lush jungles, rainforest canopies, and archaeological sites including the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. For those looking to take a deeper dive and explore the beauty of Belize’s natural underwater locations, Alaia is 600 meters away from the world’s second largest barrier reef and a few minutes away from the ultimate world-class and unrivaled destination – The Great Blue Hole.

Ambergris Caye and Alaia Belize can be reached via Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City. Then, travelers have to take a short 10-minute flight to San Pedro Airport or book tickets for a water taxi. Alaia Belize’s hotel concierge is available to help all guests book travel arrangements. A location for every traveler and every generation, Alaia Belize is offering an Un-Belize-Able Offer with special rates on a Vista Studio King Room, starting at $299.

For more information about Alaia Belize and/or to book your reservation, visit www.alaiabelize.com. For information on Marriott International’s Autograph Collection Hotels, visit www.autographhotels.com.

Autograph Collection participates in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com

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New Developments to Entice Travelers to the Caribbean this Season

December 8, 2019

St Barth-The Christopher e2

This season, The Christopher on St. Barth will open three new villas designed by French interior designer Olivia Putman.

Here are some of the new developments to entice travelers to the Caribbean this season:

The Christopher, St. Barth

This season, The Christopher will open three new villas designed by French interior designer Olivia Putman. Two of the four-bedroom villas will open in December, with the third following in 2020. The new villas allow guests all the space of a private home that is completely open to the sea and all the amenities of a luxury resort. Guests can dine onsite at Christo and Mango Beach Bar restaurants, enjoy Sisley Spa with its open-air treatment rooms, or simply relax and order room service.

What else is cool?

The Christopher has partnered with Artireef to help rebuild the reef of Pointe Milou, the peninsula on which the hotel sits, by creating marine cement that is three times denser than concrete. The growth rate of coral there is three- to five-times that of natural coral. In addition to creating a barrier to the shore, the reef will be more resistant to high water temperatures and pollution.

 

Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla

Sisters Nadia and Katia Narain, Kate Moss’s health gurus and authors of Self Care for the Real World and Rituals for Every Day, will bring their life philosophy to Belmond Cap Juluca for a wellness retreat from July 5–9, 2020. The duo preaches the value of taking time to care for one’s body and mind to open oneself to fully embrace life and maintain balance. The four-night retreat will leave guests feeling refreshed, with sunrise yoga and meditation, snorkeling with sea turtles, self-care workshops in the sand, nighttime kayaking, Taino (indigenous Caribbean) healing salt spa treatments, and sunset cruises through the Caribbean Sea.

What else is cool?

Travelers can seamlessly experience two Leeward Islands in one trip with Belmond’s ‘Island to Island’ package, including accommodations in both Anguilla and St. Martin – and a smooth connection via a 25-minute Caribbean boat ride. Complete with $100 resort credit and daily breakfast per stay at both Belmond Cap Juluca and Belmond La Samanna, the trip offers a taste of both St. Martin’s cosmopolitan buzz and Anguilla’s world-famous, crystal clear beaches.

 

Belmond La Samanna, St. Martin

Set on the glamorous French side of this northeastern Caribbean Island, Belmond La Samanna reopened for the season on November 7 with a fresh new look. Redesigned by London-based interior design firm Muza Lab, the property’s 83 rooms and public spaces, including the new L’Oursin restaurant and Laplaj Beach Bar, have a new pastel-chic flair. With a color scheme of light blues, greens, pinks and peaches, the design was inspired by the natural tones of the Caribbean Sea. Accents of shells and corals are featured alongside botanical-printed fabrics, artworks, lighting and mirrors.

What else is cool?

Guests of Belmond La Samanna can take a Caribbean impressionist painting class inside a French Créole townhouse. The home overlooks early eighteenth-century French soldier barracks, floral gardens, and two centuries of antique architecture. Guests can hone their artistic skills alongside Sir Roland Richardson, one of St. Martin’s most celebrated painters, as he guides them through the study of light and color on living subjects through the technique of ‘Plein Air’ painting.

 

GoldenEye, Jamaica

The FieldSpa at GoldenEye is built into the jungle-like landscape on the edge of the crystal-clear blue lagoon, allowing guests to swim or kayak to their spa appointment. As part of a one-year expansion, two new standalone spa huts will open in mid-December 2019, along with a new yoga deck. A selection of elixirs, juice, and healthy bites incorporating fresh ingredients from Pantrepant, the private farm of music executive Chris Blackwell, and a new therapy menu will be introduced. This expansion will provide direct access to the new spa cove, a crescent of sand nestled along the property’s signature lagoon. GoldenEye will also unveil three new accommodations – a three-bedroom lagoon villa and two lagoon cottages in summer 2020. Additionally, a new dive shop, available to guests and the community, opened on neighboring, James Bond Beach in November 2019. The shop offers scuba certification and excursions, boat tours of the Bay and coral planting opportunities in the underwater coral nursery. All profits of the dive shop will go to the Oracabessa Foundation, which is responsible for improving marine life in the Bay.

What else is cool?

The 25th James Bond movie, No Time to Die, which will mark Daniel Craig’s final appearance as 007, is heading back to Jamaica. In celebration of the April 8, 2020 release, movie buffs can retrace the island life of Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming. The author was a former British intelligence officer and discovered Jamaica during a WWII mission in 1942. Four years later, he purchased 15 acres of under-developed tropical land and named it GoldenEye to pay homage to his naval operation that first brought him to the island. He resided at GoldenEye every January and February for more than two decades and wrote a new Bond novel each winter for a total of 14 books. His beachfront bungalow, which is now called The Fleming Villa with five bedrooms, is part of the 52-acre GoldenEye resort. Fleming’s writing desk and sunken garden, where he would entertain the likes of Noël Coward and Katherine Hepburn, are available for guests to enjoy.

 

PONANT, Caribbean Sea

During the 2019-2020 season, the recently launched PONANT EXPLORER ships, Le Champlain and Le Dumont-d’Urville, are offering 29 sailings with seven new itineraries, including the eight-day ‘Pearls of the Caribbean’ journey roundtrip from Fort-de-France. With an experienced diving instructor on board throughout the duration of the cruise, guests will enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters as the ship island-hops from Guadalupe to Saint Lucia to Grenada. Other highlights include a spot at the private Mayreau Island, the smallest in the Grenadine archipelago. PONANT guests can enjoy a beach barbeque and an optional excursion to pilot a Zodiac along Grenada’s coast before jumping into the water to explore the world’s first underwater sculpture park.

What else is cool?

Back on board, PONANT guests will be able to see the Caribbean like never before onboard two of its new PONANT EXPLORER ships, each featuring an industry-first underwater lounge. Located eight feet below water, the unprecedented views from the Blue Eye lounge offer a peek into underwater life through the whale-eye shaped portholes; as well as project images of the sea onto screens in real time. For a completely immersive experience, the lounge also brings the sounds of the sea inside.

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St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet Lauded as Top Luxury Resorts

February 22, 2019

St Lucia-Jade Mountain e2

Jade Mountain’s high-rise vistas of The Pitons are breathtaking.

Naming St. Lucia’s iconic Jade Mountain the number one “Best Hotel in the Caribbean”, U.S. News & World Report rhapsodized about the resort’s high-rise vistas of The Pitons, with architecture that draws on St. Lucia’s natural beauty, and referenced the varied list of island sports, including snorkeling in its sister resort, Anse Chastanet’s clear waters, sunset sailing on the resort yacht and scuba diving with experts from the on-site PADI dive center.

With its rankings based on analyses of industry awards, hotel star and user ratings, U.S. News & World Report praised the resort’s ambiance: “As the site of the finale of the 14th season of ‘The Bachelor’, Jade Mountain knows how to create a romantic atmosphere. Couples can arrange for an in-room massage with the Kai en Ciel Spa or a private dinner on the Celestial Terrace. For other meals, there’s the Jade Mountain Club helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser.”

Turning to Jade Mountain’s sister resort, U.S. News & World Report reported that Anse Chastanet, spread across 600 tropical acres, is flanked by two sandy beaches. The resort’s 49 rooms are either perched on the verdant hillside or nestled beach level within a tropical garden.” The resort was rated number 49 in the world.

St Lucia-AnseChastenet_1157e2 (c) Laini Miranda

Both Jade Mountain and its sister resort Anse Chastanet on St. Lucia have been lauded as top luxury resorts © Laini Miranda/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The media outlet reported recent guests loved the relaxing, natural setting and their access to a host of activities, from yoga to jungle biking, and scuba diving in a marine reserve offshore. “To round out this nature-inspired retreat, travelers have their pick of five dining options, including one inside a treehouse,” they noted.

Meanwhile, Islands magazine declared Jade Mountain winner of its Readers’ Choice in its list of the top luxury all-inclusive resorts of the world, while Big 7 Travel, the global travel site, listed the resort among the world’s “50 Most Romantic Hotels in the World.” Big 7’s Top 50 list positioned Jade Mountain as number six in the world.

Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director of both properties, was delighted by the latest of many accolades bestowed on her two resorts: “It’s heartening to see how these media houses noted the complementality of the adjoining sister resorts because that is precisely the sort of harmony with nature and each other which my husband Nick Troubetzkoy (the owner/architect) was aiming for.”

Islands magazine wrote about Jade Mountain: “There’s nothing quite like it. Even though there are other resorts with a similar concept – a nonexistent fourth wall, so your room is open to the sea and sky – we can honestly say that Jade Mountain guarantees you a one-of-a-kind luxury experience.”

Noting its editors and writers scoured the globe to find the best all-inclusive resorts based on “standout offerings, from top-notch dining options and cool bars to over-the-top suites and white-glove butler service,” Islands magazine reported on the “mesmerizing” rooms, called sanctuaries, “designed in a stunning blend of wood and stone elements. They’re massive (1,400 to 2,000 square feet) and layered atop each other, each with its own equally large (450 to 900 square feet) infinity pool offering unobstructed views of St. Lucia’s twin Piton peaks and the sapphire-blue sea.”

Troubetzkoy credited resort staff for their commitment to the sustainable aspects of the sister resorts: “We could not have achieved such mixing of luxury and conservation without the priceless contributions of our dedicated staff and their deep knowledge of the area.”

With only 78 rooms in total between the two sister resorts, the company employs more than 550 team members, 97 percent of whom are from the surrounding communities.

Anse Chastanet is set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia’s twin Pitons mountains, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amidst St. Lucia’s lush tropical beauty, activities range from jungle biking, hiking and bird watching to snorkeling on the reef within swimming distance of the beach. The environmentally friendly, award-winning resort comprises 49 individually designed rooms, 37 of which are scattered about a lush hillside, and 12 that are nestled within a tropical garden at beach level. It offers innovative menus, one entirely vegetarian, in four different locations and features fresh produce served up from the resort’s organic farm. Guests can take in interactive chocolate-making classes in the resort’s chocolate laboratory and a variety of water sports are also on offer. For more information, visit www.ansechastanet.com.

Rising majestically above the 600-acre beachfront resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating St. Lucia’s stunning scenic beauty. Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature in his creation of Jade Mountain St. Lucia. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences. For more information, visit www.jademountain.com.

See: Honeymoon in Paradise: Anse Chastanet in Saint Lucia

 

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CLIA Highlights Cruise Destinations in Americas, Caribbean: ‘Cruise Ports in the Caribbean are Welcoming Travelers’

October 21, 2017

St Kitts

St. Kitts is receiving many of the cruise ships which had their Caribbean itineraries impacted by recent hurricanes. Explore 17th and 18th century military architecture and hike into lush rainforests. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

October is Plan a Cruise Month and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is highlighting cruise destinations in the Americas and the Caribbean. While areas in the Caribbean were recently impacted by hurricanes, the industry is reporting that close to 50 destinations are still welcoming cruise travelers. Additionally, there are several other cruise embarkation ports and destinations throughout the Americas.

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to those impacted by the hurricanes; they have been a cherished part of our cruise family for over 40 years,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA.  “Fortunately, the vast majority of ports in the Caribbean are welcoming guests, having sustained minimal or no direct damage from the storms. The Caribbean islands and destinations throughout the Americas rely on tourism and the cruise industry is dedicated to continuing to bring vacationers to these beautiful areas. I’m proud to see how many CLIA Cruise Line Members joined in the relief efforts, providing more than $30 million in financial resources, transporting families and pets as well as a variety of supplies to people in need.”

Highlights of Cruising through the Americas and the Caribbean

Diverse Destinations: From treks down the Mississippi to paddling the Panama Canal, there’s something for every type of traveler in the Americas and Caribbean.

  • Sitka, Alaska: Alaska’s “most exotic” cruise port is full of storied history that includes being home to Tlingit Native Americans and formerly acting as a major pulp mill town. Travelers can visit the totem pole park or walk along Katlian Street on the Sitka Channel waterfront, full of sights of colorful fishing boats and harbor town houses.
  • Montevideo, Uruguay: This South American port city is a hidden gem full of old and new sights to see and architecture to take in, and offers a great spot to relax during a full itinerary with monuments, restaurants, and beaches. Travelers can walk the ultra-modern Plaza Independencia main square or take in afternoon tea in historical Ciudad Vieja.
  • Quebec City, Quebec: This mostly French-speaking Canadian province offers travelers an unexpected taste of Europe with bistro and boutique-lined cobblestone streets. Adventure seekers and nature lovers can indulge in biking tours along famous waterfalls like the Montmorecny Falls, while history lovers can enjoy famed sites like the Basilique Cathedrale.
  • Bonaire, Caribbean: The B in ABC islands, Bonaire is the original leader in ecology and eco-tourism, with bustling sanctuary colonies of flamingos, wild donkeys, and sea horses. Travelers to this island off the coast of Venezuela can participate in windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding or “diver’s paradise” activities like diving and snorkeling.
  • St. Kitts, Caribbean: This West Indies isle, originally discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, offers travelers a peek into preserved history with its 17th and 18th century military architecture. The island also offers lush rainforests, with more than a quarter of its land protected as a National Park.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures: Travelers looking to kayak through glacier water or snorkel along exotic reefs can find a variety of special activities and excursions on a cruise through the Americas or Caribbean.

  • Ride the River: Vacationers yearning to experience U.S. history have a chance of following in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark while viewing classic Americana with a trip down the Columbia/Snake River, complete with trips through Hells Canyon and views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood.
  • Photos in Peggy’s Cove: Peggy’s Cove in Halifax is home to smooth boulders that have buoyed waves for 450 million years, in addition to perhaps the most photographed lighthouse in the world—a must-see and must-photograph spot for photo enthusiasts.
  • Roatan Rum: Rum and sweets-loving cruise travelers can take part in authentic culture with Mayan chocolate and rum cake tastings in Roatan.
  • High on the Haleakala: Nature lovers and photo buffs alike should experience the Haleakala Volcano in Maui, which rises 10,023 feet above sea level and offers some of the most beautiful volcanic sights in the world. Thrill seekers can even bike down the sides. To make the trip a once-in-a-lifetime event, travelers can also see the ahinahina plant, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Any vacation takes planning, and cruising is no different. CLIA has outlined tips for how to take the stress out of cruising in any waters, including the Americas or the Caribbean.

CLIA Travel Tips when Cruising the Americas or the Caribbean

  • Strike a Balance: Cruisers can benefit from striking a fine balance between scheduled excursions or entertainment and leaving time to relax. Travelers should be careful not to overbook their schedules on the ship or in port in order to leave room to enjoy the ship’s many amenities or sight see. Whether it b whale watching or a helicopter ride over active volcanoes, book two to three activities or excursions at most per day, with some downtime in between, when possible, to avoid travel fatigue.
  • Ask the Question: Travelers should never hesitate to stop and ask questions when in doubt. Whether questions are directed at a cruise-certified travel agent while booking a cruise, or to the ship’s staff while aboard – there are knowledgeable resources to help provide answers to any question that arises.
  • Rest Assured while Aboard: Travelers that take advantage of booking with cruise-certified travel agents can rest assured while resting up on any cruise, as a professional travel agent can help if things go wrong while cruising.

October is Plan a Cruise Month – a worldwide campaign, created by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to learn more about cruising and how to plan and take a cruise vacation. CLIA offers insight on the best cruise destinations, special cruise line deals and promotions as well as experts to help navigate the many cruise vacation options available for every travel style and budget. Travelers can find a CLIA-certified cruise specialist at https://www.cruising.org/cruise-vacationer/cruise-travel-guide/clia-agent-finder.

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AccuWeather Gathers Supplies for Remote Village in Puerto Rico in ‘Rays of Hope’ Initiative

October 18, 2017

Accuweather-PR ray of hope

AccuWeather, a major source of weather forecasts and warnings, is responding to the extraordinary 2017 hurricane season with a companywide effort to help people impacted by Hurricane Maria/ The company has made arrangements to adopt Patillas, Puerto Rico, a remote town located in the southern part of the island, as part of a Rays of Hope community service initiative.

Patillas was one of the first towns affected when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. Because Patillas has no port access, it has been largely cut off from relief efforts and shipments of supplies, putting its more than 20,000 residents in a desperate situation with a scarcity of clean water, power, cell service, food staples and other essentials.

“AccuWeather is dedicated to saving lives and keeping people out of harm’s way by providing the most accurate weather forecasts and warnings,” said Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather’s Founder, President and Chairman. “We warned the people in the area and around the world about the impending hurricanes and their expected impacts, which we know saved thousands of lives, and we are very proud of that. Still it is heartbreaking to know what the people of Puerto Rico are going through now, and, as a company that understands the effects of severe weather perhaps better than anyone, we wanted to help provide relief.”

As part of its Rays of Hope community service initiative, AccuWeather is collecting life-saving staples and goods in a shipping container. The company, based in State College, Pennsylvania, is asking employees, neighbors, businesses and residents of the surrounding Centre County community to donate needed items. Once filled, the container will be shipped directly to Puerto Rico and delivered to the people of Patillas.

Norberto Soto Figueroa, the Mayor of Patillas has provided AccuWeather with a list of items needed to help the people of his community endure this crisis and begin to rebuild their lives. These supplies will help families stay clean and healthy, and protect them from diseases and other ailments that can occur after the loss of equipment, infrastructure, fresh food and access to safe water.

“The people I am proud to represent in the town of Patillas are so grateful to AccuWeather,” said Mayor Figueroa. “We are suffering, but it is a relief to know that help is on its way and that people understand and care about our catastrophic and heartbreaking situation.”

NEMF New England Motor Freight and TOTE Shipping are partnering with AccuWeather to provide and ship the container of supplies to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The supplies will be trucked across the island to the Patillas community. From there, the goods will be distributed directly to those in need by a team that includes several employees sent by AccuWeather to help.

Local residents are encouraged to participate in this relief effort by purchasing and bringing any of the items on the collection list by October 24. The container will be located in the parking lot of AccuWeather’s Global Weather Center, 385 Science Park Road, State College, through Wednesday, October 25. AccuWeather employees are volunteering to collect and package the items for shipment.  Collection hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Friday, and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. on weekends.

Financial contributions, which will be used to supplement needed items on the collection list, can be made to Centre Foundation online at centre-foundation.org. Donors should click on the Fund menu and select Heath and Social Services to access the Rays of Hope Fund.  Checks can be mailed to: Centre Foundation, 1377 Ridge Master Drive, State College, PA 16801. Centre Foundation requests that donors write Rays of Hope Fund on the memo line of their checks.

“This AccuWeather Rays of Hope project showcases the great character and concern of our employees. They care about making a difference not just here at home, but across the U.S. and our territories,” said Elizabeth Soroka, Vice President, Human Resources at AccuWeather. “We are very proud of our staff and their excitement about jumping in to show compassion and help the people of Puerto Rico. It is not surprising that such a talented, entrepreneurial group is taking this initiative to contribute time and resources to help those in need. Ultimately, we hope the great work we are doing inspires more volunteerism.”

Visit AccuWeather.com for a flyer that includes the full item collection list and additional information.

 

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Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada Re-Opening Sept. 29 with Resort Enhancements

September 29, 2017

Spice Island e

Spice Island Beach Resort spa’s Yoga Pavilion overlooking the Grand Anse Beach, Grenada, is a tranquil relaxation area

GRAND ANSE BEACH, Grenada (Sept. 28, 2017) – Grenada’s premier all-inclusive luxury resort, Spice Island Beach Resort is reopening Friday, Sept. 29 with several resort enhancements including the addition of an open-air Yoga Pavilion overlooking the idyllic Grand Anse Beach, which will be fully operational by the end of October. The AAA Five Diamond award-winning property’s planned closure throughout the month of September was not impacted by recent hurricanes that affected the Leeward Islands.

“While Grenada has remained untouched, those suffering in the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricanes are in our hearts and prayers,” said Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, chairman and managing director of Spice Island Beach Resort, who will encourage guests interested in contributing to relief efforts to support the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund via Tourism Cares.

The award-winning Spice Island Beach Resort features 64 elegantly-appointed suites, the full-service Janissa’s Spa, a Cybex® fitness center, Oliver’s beachside gourmet restaurant, the Sea & Surf Terrace for light lunches, the Sea & Surf Bar for refreshing cocktails throughout the day, a central swimming pool with swim-up whirlpool, an Omnicourt® tennis court, the Nutmeg Pod children’s activity center, the Gatsby Boutique and more.

Spice Island Beach Resort is a recipient of the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and was ranked the # 1 property in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor according to traveler reviews in 2013. The resort has also received Virgin Holidays’ Gold Award as the #1 property in its exclusive worldwide Platinum Collection for 10 consecutive years from 2006-2015.

Spice Island Beach Resort is a  member of the esteemed Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) collection, recipient of the 2016 Condé Nast Johansens “Best for Service” award and the first resort in Grenada to be featured in the exclusive Virtuoso network’s Hotels & Resorts Program.

For more information, contact Spice Island Beach Resort toll-free at 1-800-501-8603, tel: 473-444-4258, fax: 473-444-4807, e-mail: reservations@spicebeachresort.com, or visit www.SpiceIslandBeachResort.com.

 

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Verdanza Hotel, Puerto Rico, Reports No Major Damage from Maria, Plans to Reopen Oct. 15

September 29, 2017

Isla Verde, Puerto Rico (September 25, 2017) – The Management of Verdanza Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Lifestyle Collection, reports that the property suffered no significant structural damage as a result of the passing of Hurricane Maria, with the impact mainly limited to water and landscaping damage and plans to reopen October 15.

Although utilities are down and in the process of being restored across the island, the property has not lost water service at any time, while an electricity generator provides power for all hotel operations both in guestrooms and common areas. Meanwhile, guests and staff are safe.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the passing of Hurricane Maria,” said Ricky Newman, general manager. Newman explained that Verdanza Hotel is operational; however, the property is currently serving as a home base for first responders and representatives from the local and federal agencies working on recovery efforts. “As always, we stand in solidarity with our community, committed to once again play a part in the recuperation and rebuilding of Puerto Rico,” he added.

Verdanza Hotel is scheduled to open its doors to welcome visitors starting Sunday, October 15, 2017.

The property’s Hurricane Policy is now in place for those whose vacation at Verdanza has been disrupted by the hurricane. Reservations for stays before October 15th may be rescheduled or cancelled without penalty.

We will provide a more comprehensive update as soon as our telecommunications system is restored.

For online updates from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, please visit www.puertoriconow.seepuertorico.com.

Set just steps from the golden sands of Puerto Rico’s popular Isla Verde Beach, the Verdanza Hotel offers a blend of boutique-style service and the conveniences of a full-service hotel.

  • Privileged location within walking distance of restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment
  • 222 comfortable guestrooms
  • Free wireless Internet access
  • Expansive pool area with jacuzzi, children’s spray water park, food & beverage service, and poolside spa services upon request
  • Two restaurants, a deli café, and a wine & tapas bar
  • Complimentary fitness room
  • Pet friendly program and pet park
  • Corporate travel program
  • Full services for meetings and social events: 16,000+ square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space; unique Muse Creative Room designed to promote creative corporate meetings.

For more information and reservations, visit  www.verdanzahotel.com or email at feelthevibe@verdanzahotel.com, phone: 800-625-0312, 787-626-9025.

 

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St. Kitts Welcomes Tourists as Airport, Cruise Port and Tourism Providers Resume Operations Unscathed by Hurricane Irma

September 16, 2017

St Kitts Marriott Resort

The beachfront at the Marriott on St. Kitts. The island was relatively unscathed by Hurricane Irma and is back welcoming tourists to its airports, cruise ports and hotels. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 15, 2017) – St. Kitts’ tourism authority reports that the island’s airport, cruise port and all tourism providers are open and resuming normal operations, as it was fortunate to be virtually unscathed by Hurricane Irma.

American Airlines’ daily non-stop flights to St. Kitts’ Robert L, Bradshaw International Airport from Miami have resumed today with the Saturday JFK non-stop scheduled to resume on tomorrow. Seaborne Airlines’ daily non-stop flights to St. Kitts from San Juan have also resumed tomorrow. All hotels and resorts are fully operational and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts remains on schedule to debut November 1.

“We are thrilled to get back to business as usual and ready to welcome visitors,” said Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “For those who planning to travel to island, we look forward to providing a world-class experience and all the warm Kittitian hospitality for which we have become known.”

Cruise lines have resumed scheduled port calls to St. Kitts, with passengers from The Carnival Fascination enjoying the island’s various attractions and activities last Friday. Over the course of the next week, a total of four vessels are scheduled to dock at Port Zante, including Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas on September 21. With the arrival of the Carnival Magic on September 20, St. Kitts expects to welcome its one millionth passenger this year. A historic first for the island, the occasion also raises St. Kitts to marquee port status.

“At this time, we continue to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone who has been affected by the storm, particularly to those in need of emergency relief.” For anyone wishing to donate to the recovery efforts of those islands most severely impacted by the hurricane, two official Caribbean Relief Funds are:

The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund at www.tourismcares.org/caribbean

The Caribbean Tourism Association Hurricane Relief Fund at www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto

For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

 

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‘St. Kitts is Open for Business,’ Tourism Authority Says After Hurricane Irma

September 13, 2017

St Kitts

From a promontory on St. Kitts, you can see the rolling waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the left and the calm Caribbean Sea on the right. St. Kitts was relatively unscathed by Hurricane Irma’s wrath and is welcoming tourists © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Basseterre, St. Kitts  – St. Kitts Tourism authorities are reporting that the Federation is virtually unscathed following the passage of Hurricane Irma. “Considering the minimal damage that was sustained, the islands’ tourism providers are in the process of reopening. Hotels are returning to business as usual and guests are continuing to enjoy their stays.  Our restaurants, attractions and shops including the many popular retail outlets at Port Zante are now open, with The Carnival Fascination confirmed to visit St. Kitts as planned,” the tourism authority stated.

“Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has kept St. Kitts & Nevis in thoughts and prayers while we awaited the passage of the storm,” said Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant.  While we are beginning to resume normal operations, please join me in continuing to send thoughts and prayers to those who have been more seriously impacted.”

St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB) is open and accepting flights.  However, due to the impact of Hurricane Jose, many airlines may have canceled flights. It is highly recommended to check with your airline for schedule and service changes.

St. Kitts is open for business. For more information about the island, visit www.stkittstourism.kn

 

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Jade Mountain Club Named One of World’s Most Romantic Destinations

February 10, 2017

jade-mtn-e4

Jade Mountain Club, Saint Lucia

The new National Geographic Society book, The World’s Most Romantic Destinations, names Jade Mountain as the recommended hotel for the island of Saint Lucia, one of the 50 featured locales.

“We are thrilled to be part of this definitive new travel guide,” said co-owner Karolin Troubetzkoy of the gorgeous coffee-table book, an inspirational planner for romantic trips such as weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries. “The very essence of Jade Mountain is the celebration of life and love, and our goal has always been to provide the utmost level in service and privacy for special occasions such as weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries.”

The resort is known for its intimate weddings, and its Celestial Terrace, one of the most popular locations, was used twice as the Final Red Rose Proposal in ABC’s The Bachelor. The hotel even employs a Romance Concierge to help with proposals, surprise gifts and other memorable moments during honeymoons and anniversaries.

Jade Mountain is set on a lush, scenic 600-acre estate overlooking the Gros and Petit Pitons, 2,500-foot twin volcanoes that have come to symbolize St. Lucia and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort’s cuisine, which the book deemed “exquisite,” is overseen by the highly acclaimed chef Allen Susser, who conceived the groundbreaking Miami restaurant Chef Allen’s and has won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Southeast Chef award.

Architect and owner Nick Troubetzkoy’s story began in the 1970s, when he opened Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain’s sister property, as a pioneering eco-conscious hotel. In 2007, after many years of planning and construction, Troubetzkoy opened his labor of love: Jade Mountain, an intimate, luxurious resort at the top half of the property.

Troubetzkoy’s bold architectural vision helped bring to life extraordinary details like dramatically suspended bridge walkways (instead of hallways) and extravagant suites called “sanctuaries,” each missing a fourth wall. The book specifically called out the “aptly” named sanctuaries saying, “there’s nothing between you and your Pitons panorama … Marvel at the scene from the sumptuous, mosquito-netted bed, elegant sun loungers or private infinity pool.”

With their incredible panoramas, massive infinity pools that seem to float over the Caribbean and handcrafted furnishings sourced from local materials, each room is a majestic, sweeping space that’s a true work of art. These sanctuaries provide an unforgettable stage set for the wedding, honeymoon or anniversary of a lifetime.

Jade Mountain has received numerous other accolades, including several Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and placement on Travel + Leisure’s T+L 500 and World’s Best Awards lists, the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, American Express Travel’s Top 25 List and BRIDES magazine’s rundown, “The 10 Best Honeymoon Resorts in the Caribbean.”

For reservations, call 800-223-1108 or contact Jade Mountain at 1-758-459-7000, e-mail jademountain@ansechastanet.com, www.jademountain.com.

 

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