Inspite of the supposed economic chaos afflicting the Caribbean with the after-shocks of the 2008/2009 financial meltdown still being felt the region showed it resilience by opening no less than 14 new hotels opened across the region representing 2,214 new rooms. However in essence there are only two types of product represented being Luxury Boutique resorts and all inclusive hotels in mass market destinations.
Highlights of these include:
Amanera, Dominican Republic (25 rooms – Boutique Luxury) Aman’s second Caribbean resort, following Amanyara in Turks & Caicos soft opened November 2015. It is spread over more than 2,000 acres of coastline on Playa Grande on the north coast of the DR. Accommodations included 25 casa’s and casitas the highlight being the adjoining 7,085-yard, Robert Trent Jones-designed Playa Grande Golf Course. As befits an Aman Resort the Spa offers therapies that incorporate traditional shamanic healing techniques. Pricing start at $1650 high season, $1100 low season.
Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands (266 rooms – Boutique Luxury) Opened in November 2016 the Seafire is Kimpton’s first resort outside the U.S. Another will open in Amsterdam during 2017. With 266-rooms the descriptive as Cayman Islands first “boutique” hotel seems somewhat poetic but the location on Seven Mile Beach (voted best beach in the world by US News) is outstanding. The property (along with Zemi Beach (below)) was included in Forbes most anticipated hotel openings in the world 2016.
Zemi Beach, Shoal Bay Anguilla (129 rooms – Boutique Luxury) This privately owned property opened in February 2016 as the first hotel to open on Shoal Bay for many years. The property is a hotel/condo hybrid with 55 ocean-view hotel rooms and 50 condo suites. The highlight is the Zemi Thai House spa, the building being transported from Thailand to Anguilla in the 1980’s. The spa recently won Best New Spa of the Year in the World Spa Awards. Rates range from $499 – $7000.
The Cliff, Negril, Jamaica (33 rooms – Boutique Luxury) Veteran hotelier Mary Phillips and restaurateurs Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley have combined forces to create this five-acre Negril West End hideaway which soft opened in December 2015 and features 33 suites and villas.
strong>The Reef by CuisinArt, Rendevous Bay, Anguilla (80 rooms – Boutique Luxury). Salvaged from the wreckage of the “Temenos’ development and sibling to the renowned CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa this property opened in November 2016. It features 25 ‘Golf’ Suites, 25 ‘Seaview’ suites and 30 Junior Suites. Guests have full access to the sister property.
Bayside Boutique Hotel, Curacao (36 rooms – Boutique) This curious 36 room and suite hotel opened in July. It is than 10 minutes from Willemstad and located on Blue Bay beach. By Caribbean standards the rooms and suites are small ranging from 30m2 to 60m2 for suites. The resort offers free golf on the nearby 18-hole Blue Bay course. Room rates start from$120.
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, Chos Rios, Jamaica (705 rooms – all inclusive) Originally built in 1974 the proeprty closed in 2013 for extensive renovations and fully reopened in early 2016. This Ocho Rios mega-resort touts over all inclusive 700 rooms, six bars, five restaurants and four pools.
Decameron Cornwall Beach Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica. (146 rooms – all inclusive) This 146 rooms all inclusive hotel oepned in Montego in mid 2016.
Courtyard by Marriott, Kingston, Jamaica (129 rooms – Business) Kingston welcomed its first new hotel in three decades with the opening of this 129-room business focused hotel, which is also the first LEED-certified building on the island and features a fitness center, pool, and 1,900 feet of meeting space.
Now Garden Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (180 rooms – all inclusive) Yet another all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana this 180-room opened its doors mid 2016.
Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa, Haiti(480 rooms – all inclusive) Good to see a Haitian addition to the new hotels list. Another all-inclusive resort this is a 480-room is spread along the Cote des Arcadins and boasts three restaurants and two pools.
Thompson Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (129 rooms – all inclusive) This new downtown Playa hotel promises double the fun with two separate locations: a 92-room main hotel on bustling Fifth Avenue (which opened in November), and The Beach House, a 27-suite oceanfront a few blocks away that’s scheduled for a February 2016 debut.
TRYP by Wyndham, San Juan, Puerto Rico (109 rooms – Business/Leisure) This 109-room Isla Verde hotel, which opened in November, has a location convenient for both business and leisure travelers, just minutes from the restaurants of Old San Juan; shopping at the new Mall of San Juan; and the airport.