Caribbean Hotel Report: The Latest Reopenings

Jumby Bay reopened in October after a two-month renovation that touched upon all 40 accommodations, 
the restaurants, spa and public areas.

There’s good news coming from the Caribbean: Bookings are on the increase, thanks to buzz around several grand openings. Then there are the tried and true favorite resorts coming back on the market better than ever, following planned and forced closures over the past year. Here’s a roundup of what you need to know now:

Jumby Bay Island in Antigua reopened in October after a two-plus-month renovation, which included all 40 guestrooms and suites, restaurants, the spa and public areas. Currently, only the pool area remains closed. Best of all, we hear the vibe is  “still very ‘Jumby Bay.’”

The Jumby Bay Spa got a real refresh; it has a new relaxation area, wet and dry saunas, a plunge pool and five new treatment rooms. 

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For dining, Jumby Bay Veranda is now an Italian trattoria with a revamped bar and a display kitchen.

Since the reopening, the most requested premium rooms are the Pool and Estate Suites, although the villa and home accommodations are very popular, as well, we’re told. 

Pool Suites (1,346 square feet) have a grand room with a vaulted ceiling, living area, a separate master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, a private outdoor garden with rain shower and tub, and a private pool. The Estate Suite is one-bedroom accommodation offering a courtyard with fountain and entry vestibule, which leads to a living room; beyond that, there is a private master bedroom, an infinity-edge pool and an outdoor garden. The Estate Suite also offers the option of one or two additional connecting suites. Private villas and estate homes range from one to nine rooms; facilities may include a private staff, beachfront access, tennis or basketball courts, a golf putting green, a spa suite, a private boat (at an additional charge) and more. 

For bookings or enquries, reach out to Ashley Smith ([email protected]), associate director, sales and marketing.

Coming up, Jumby Bay will debut its Sailing Academy, which will facilitate guest and residence community interaction and will provide accredited instructional training for all ages.

BodyHoliday’s open-air Deli (top) is on a seaside terrace and is popular for light fare. 

In Saint Lucia, BodyHoliday, also closed for two months, reopened this fall. Bookings have been strong from both repeat and new guests, we’re told, and that winter “is looking very positive.” Among the most-talked-about updates are the new wellness dining offerings. TAO and Deli have been the subject of a plethora of positive comments. The new menus across the resort, with an even wider range of vegan and vegetarian cuisine, have also been very well received. The introduction of farm-to-table I-Tal is reported as being a unique dining experience. BodyHoliday describes I-Tal as “a journey of wellness and West Indian culture,” where guests will learn about Rastafarian culture, clean eating and more — all from an open kitchen in the heart of an organic farm.

In addition to TAO and Deli, 100 guestrooms have been renovated. We suggest an oceanfront room, the top option being the Penthouse. It occupies its own floor and has a private entry, a large living area, a wet bar and a master bedroom with views of Cariblue Bay. Tip: The suite also has its own Kinesis gym, and includes exclusive butler service.

Two new Pavilion Villas — Villa Aurora and Villa Calypso — are due to open in early March. These are luxury two-bedroom villas located next to the spa with walking access to the beach.

Advisors can contact Andrew Barnard ([email protected]), deputy managing director.

Belmond Cap Juluca (above), which underwent a $121 million renovation, now has 108 rooms, of which 42 are suites.

Belmond Cap Juluca will accept guests starting on December 15, after a closure that began in August 2017 — and a lot has us excited. 

The resort has been completely renovated and redesigned as part of a $121 million project. There are new villas that offer interconnecting rooms for families or bigger parties (they can be rented as a single unit or broken up into individual rooms). As part of the renovation, the room count will rise from 98 (of which 18 were suites) to 108 (of which 42 are suites). We’re told that bookings, so far, have been pacing ahead of plans. 

The dining offerings have also been revamped. These comprise the newly designed Pimms restaurant, an elegant beachfront dining experience with local produce; CIP’s by Cipriani, Belmond’s legacy Italian restaurant; Maundays Lounge, a Peruvian tapas bar that draws inspiration from Belmond’s Peruvian portfolio; and The Cap Shack, a beachfront seafood BBQ restaurant and bar. Newly appointed Executive Chef, Andrew Gaskin, also designed a prix-fixe Chef’s Table menu with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, sustainable ingredients. We hear Gaskin will introduce every course and, at the end of the meal, will join the diners. Across the hotel, Gaskin has designed his new menus with one-quarter of the offerings now being vegan-friendly.

All 108 accommodations have sea views with either a balcony or a terrace and direct access to the white-sand beach. The pièces de résistance, however, are the private pool villas. In addition to their own swimming pools, these villas have double tubs and marble showers, nightly turndown service, Molton Brown bath amenities, a minibar and more. 

At the spa, guests will have access to three treatment rooms, a swimming pool and relaxation area, two beach cabanas, a fully equipped fitness studio and treatments that are “freshly sourced from Mother Nature,” including the exfoliating polishes, aromatherapy wraps and body massages. 

For questions, feel free to reach out to Daniel Pasquali ([email protected]), area director, sales and marketing for Belmond Cap Juluca and Belmond La Samanna. 

Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort, which overlooks Meads Bay and Turtle Cove, will reopen on December 15. Shown above is the two-tiered infinity-edge pool.

Also in Anguilla, Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection will reopen its doors, overlooking Meads Bay and Turtle Cove, on December 15. Nearly a year in the works, the renovations restored and enhanced with the glamour and relaxed sophistication.

All 46 oceanfront rooms and suites have been restored  and redesigned; think British Colonial furnishings with splashes of color. What we love: Malliouhana’s collection of animated jungle scenes depicting the Garden of Eden have been fully restored. 

We hear the two-tiered infinity-edge pools have sexy, new cabanas for a true VIP experience. The instantly recognizable and much-Instagrammed yellow- and white-striped umbrellas and color scheme are returning, while the existing pool deck has been expanded outwards toward the cliff edge. Tip: The deck, overlooking the Caribbean, is great for weddings and other special events.

The Restaurant at Malliouhana has a buzzing, new bar set in the heart of the restaurant, creating a welcoming new social hub. The famous Sunset Bar also unveiled a fresh new vibe with vaulted ceilings, long, Turkish banquettes and lit birdcages placed throughout. A “toes-in-the-sand” beach bar experience is set to serve locally inspired snacks and meals, along with a selection of regional beers, rum and cocktails.

New Auberge Adventures will also be unveiled prior to the winter season, once again inviting guests to seek out and explore Anguilla’s hidden treasures. 

On the horizon in early 2019, Malliouhana will unveil 11 new beachfront suites, four garden suites and a two-bedroom beachfront villa, along with a completely new Auberge Spa and gathering spaces. 

The new two-bedroom beachfront villa on Turtle Cove Beach is expected to become the most requested accommodation. It will have a lushly landscaped portico, a garden patio, a private plunge pool and an indoor / outdoor bathroom with a freestanding tub. 

The Auberge Spa will get six new treatment rooms and a new pool. Contact Deanna Cabrera ([email protected]), guest services manager, for VIP enquiries.

Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, BVI’s (here) Mariner House is a three-bedroom villa, which has sweeping views of the Caribbean and surrounding islands.

Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, BVI reopened in October after a closure due to Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The experience begins on the resort’s new ferry from Beef Island.

Guests now have access to 26 rooms and suites in Marina Village, including suites complete with gourmet kitchens, spacious living areas and expansive balconies. The entire inventory of 52 guestrooms and suites will be available at the end of December. Scrub Island also offers nine villas, all of which have a gourmet kitchen, a separate dining and living room, and balconies off all bedrooms and living spaces. For couples, we say go for a one-bedroom suite. General Manager Scott McArdle says he is “delighted” with the booking pace and that the resort is nearly full for the holidays, with strong group bookings for 2019 and beyond. 

Bonus: Scrub Island reopened as an Autograph Collection hotel, which allows Marriott Rewards to guests to both earn and redeem their loyalty points during their stay.

In addition to major interior and exterior improvements to guestrooms, suites and villas, the resort upgraded and rebranded its dining options, Caravela, Tierra! Tierra!, Donovan’s Reef Marina Bar & Grill and Cardamom & Co. The Ixora Spa, which was housed in The Passage House villa, was moved to a dramatic perch above the sea. Tip: Be sure to check out the yoga terrace overlooking the Caribbean. 

At the resort, guests can also enjoy the 24-hour fitness room, a newly upgraded Wi-Fi network that offers coverage throughout the resort, a newly resurfaced, multi-tiered infinity pool and pool bar, and the recently expanded North Beach, which offers plenty of privacy. Boatiers will appreciate the fully renovated 55-slip marina with brand-new pedestals, providing access to power and water, as well as new lighting, including underwater illumination.

Scrub Island is offering Dive BVI excursions to explore the surrounding British Virgin Islands, including The Baths in Virgin Gorda, historic wrecks for diving, Norman Island and the famous watering holes of Jost van Dyke and Willy T’s. Offshore Sailing is also open and offering a broad range of sailing lessons and boating courses. Contact Nancy Williams ([email protected]), the director of sales.

Here’s a quick list of other properties that have reopened recently or have announced their reopening dates:

St. Barth’s: The Christopher (reopened on October 17); Eden Rock (opening November 2019); Cheval Blanc Isle de France (opens December 17); Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa (reopened October 28); Hotel Le Toiny (reopened on October 15); Le Sereno (reopening December 1); Le Guanahani (scheduled to open in late 2019); CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa (reopened November 1) 

Puerto Rico: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (opened on October 1) 

St. Martin: Belmond La Samanna (opening December 10) 

British Virgin Islands: Necker Island (reopened October 1); Rosewood Little Dix Bay (scheduled to reopen toward end of 2019); Oil Nut Bay (reopened in December 2017) 

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