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As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it, “Everything changes, nothing stays still.”
Given the opening of Cuba to the U.S. market, the Caribbean is currently in a unique state of change. Some Caribbean destinations may choose a wait-and-see attitude for the future. But from all appearances, this isn’t the case in Jamaica, where a flurry of hotel and resort announcements are signaling a belief in a bright tourism picture.
The Cliff HotelThe Cliff Hotel opened last December as a major rethink and redo of the former Moon Dance Cliffs. Situated on 5 acres in Negril, The Cliff has 33 suites and villas, as well as four cottages with one, four, and five bedrooms, in addition to a swimming pool and a spa. Fine dining in the property’s Zest Restaurant is overseen by Delius Shirley, the son of well-known Jamaican chef and restaurateur Norma Shirley. A unique feature of the hotel is the option to do some cliff jumping into the sea. The beach is within easy reach, since the hotel provides special access to a beach club 10 minutes away on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach.
Karisma Hotels & ResortsProbably the most dramatic announcement comes from Karisma Hotels & Resorts. Long a major player in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Karisma entered the Caribbean market several years ago with the opening of Azul Senasatori Jamaica by Karisma in Negril. The company plans to add 5,000 new rooms in the destination by opening 10 new Karisma resorts over the next 10 years. The first of these resorts is named Sugarcane and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018. Sugarcane will be on Jamaica’s northern coast, about a 40 minute drive east of Montego Bay’s international airport.
Melia Braco VillageEarlier this year, Melia Braco Village opened in Trelawny, on Jamaica’s north coast, about 35 miles east of Montego Bay. The 225-room resort represents Spanish-hotel company Melia Hotels International’s entry into the Jamaica market. Formerly Grand Lido Braco, the new all-inclusive resort has opened after a $23 million renovation, with plans to add an additional 250 rooms. Guests can enjoy two swimming pools, five restaurants, a spa, a kids’ club and free Wi-Fi access.
Royalton Blue Waters Montego BayRoyalton Luxury Resorts is another comparative newcomer to Jamaica, opening Royalton White Sands Montego Bay in 2013. Royalton has announced the November opening of Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay on the northern shore of the island in White Bay. The 228-room all-inclusive resort will have a supervised kids’ clubs, a spa, multiple pools with private poolside cabanas and 11 restaurants, as well as the signature C/X Culinary Experience chef’s table. Rooms will have an in-suite double-headed rain shower and Jacuzzi, a choice of balcony views of the ocean or swim-out pools, unlimited free long-distance calls to North America and complimentary Wi-Fi access resortwide. Guests can kick things up a notch by booking accommodations in the Diamond Club, where they’ll receive perks such as access to an exclusive lounge, an exclusive section of the beach and butler service.
Spanish Court Hotel, Montego BayThe Breezes brand has undergone a lot of changes over the last several years. This continues with Breezes Montego Bay rebranding into the new Spanish Court Hotel, Montego Bay. Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston has made a name for itself as one of the most popular and hippest hotels in Kingston. The new Montego Bay property, which will have 120 rooms, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017 after a $12.5 million renovation.