AT GRAND LIDO BRACO in Jamaica, all 226 rooms and suites have new soft furnishings. All suites have been upgraded with wet bars and stocked mini-fridges. And all of Grand Lido's Jamaica properties (there are six) have undergone extensive post-hurricane upgrades, including exterior painting. And speaking of hurricanes, all SuperClubs resorts provide the “No Hurricane Guarantee” year-round. Should a hurricane happen to strike, the resort will issue a voucher for the same number of disrupted nights for use for a stay during the same month of the following year. Ditto for its “Jamaica Sunshine Guarantee” should one encounter a sunless day — a rare occurrence in Jamaica. www.superclubs.com/brand_grandlido/resort_braco/
Club Med plans to debut its first upscale boutique resort in the Americas this summer with Columbus Isle. Thanks to a $5 million upgrade, the resort, located on the secluded island of San Salvador in The Bahamas, will join the two other Club Meds in its upscale boutique group: Le Riad in Marrakech, Morocco, and Cherating Beach, in Malaysia. Columbus Isle stretches across 80 oceanfront acres. All public areas have been redesigned, and all guest rooms have upgraded amenities. Oceanfront and Deluxe Oceanfront rooms offer luxury linens and pillow-top beds with duvet covers on king-size beds. These rooms overlook the beach and are equipped with large flat-screen TVs and high-end CD player/radios. Turndown service and priority luggage service are also included. Three new dining options include Berimbau, serving Brazilian barbecue-style food; Watlings, a Bahamian fish grill; and the beach bar and grill, Bar Azul. Beginning on May 7, Spirit Airlines is providing direct service from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with connections through New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Atlantic City, N.J., and Providence, R.I.
One of the first resorts on the Caribbean's Turks and Caicos when it was built in 1984, Club Med Turkoise will complete a $6 million refurbishment and upgrade this summer. Sited on 70 oceanfront acres, the adults-only, all-inclusive resort will have newly designed, open-air, wood-beamed public areas; upgraded and redesigned guest rooms decorated with natural woods and vibrant oranges, reds, and fuchsias; and a new beach lounge with colorful oversized sofas. A Crunch gym debuted in April. Snorkeling, scuba diving, tennis, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, and even flying trapeze are all part of the all-inclusive price. www.clubmed.com
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort near Cancun now has 48 two-bedroom presidential golf suites and 24 junior golf suites, located around the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The Golf Club at Moon Palace, which has been renamed Moon Spa & Golf Club, is no longer an 18-hole course: Nine additional holes have been added, creating three 9-hole courses. www.palaceresorts.com
Palace Resorts purchased the former Hotel Sierra Cancun last year and is transforming it into the all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort, to open in winter 2005. In the heart of Cancun's hotel zone, the resort will offer guest suites with Jacuzzis, a spa, meeting facilities, and three specialty restaurants. Guests can dine by candlelight on the resort's own private lake, which is connected to Cancun's Nichupté Lagoon. The hotel takes its name from its décor: all walls, ceilings, and furniture are white. www.leblancsparesort.com
More Palace news: In April 2004 Palace Resorts purchased several hotels in Mexico, which it will renovate and reopen under the Palace brand. In the Yucatán, The Playacar Palace, previously Hotel Continental Plaza Playacar, has 220 rooms and is steps from the Palace's Robert Von Hagge's Golf Course at Playacar and near the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Cancun. The lobby, pool, and common areas will be renovated and Jacuzzis added to all rooms. Planned opening date is September 1, 2005. Cozumel Palace, formerly Hotel Plaza Las Glorias Cozumel, will reopen June 15, offering snorkeling and diving right off its beach. The 174-room resort will have a renovated lobby, pool, and common areas, and a Jacuzzi in every room. On Mexico's West Coast, Vallarta Palace will reopen July 1 with 348 rooms. Located on Banderas Bay in the heart of Nuevo Vallarta, the hotel was formerly called Hotel Sierra Nuevo Vallarta. Its meeting facilities will be expanded and all the oceanview rooms will feature a double Jacuzzi. www.palaceresorts.com