INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Whether already opened or in development, here’s what’s new in the Caribbean.
Mandarin Oriental Resort Approved by Central Planning Authority
The Grand Cayman Central Planning Authority (CPA) has approved the Mandarin Oriental Grand Cayman Resort after the development team promptly submitted a refined design and improved infrastructure plan for the project in response to CPA and community input. The development team, led by Melkonian Capital Management (MCM) and RAL Development Services, also released updated renderings today that further clarify the modifications to design and layout, providing better insight into the vision for the property.
“The development team is extremely pleased to secure this critical approval, which is the culmination of a process that enabled us to respond to the concerns of the local community. We are determined to be a good neighbors as we build, preserving the Cayman lifestyle that current residents treasure while building a welcoming new destination for local Caymanians and further enhancing tourism opportunities on the island,” said Spencer Levine, president of RAL Development Services. “Our revised plans, now approved, we’re the direct result of the inclusive planning process, incorporating public comments from other property owners. We appreciated the thoughtful feedback we received from the CPA and we look forward to continuing to work with the community as we build and operate this one-of-a-kind resort.”
Among other things, the updated plans and renderings provide for greatly improved public beach access for all residents through both new and expanded pathways, the consolidation and relocation of back-of-house functions into the main hotel building, and a reorganized and more comprehensive parking design, responding to direct feedback from the CPA. In addition, the developers again addressed water treatment with the incorporation of new, more effective, environmentally sensitive systems located in centralized locations, further mitigating community concerns regarding proximity to the surrounding areas. The revised and approved plans also emphasize Mandarin and the developer’s commitment to healthy living and environmentally friendly development with the inclusion of many sustainability-driven design, engineering and operational practices.
The new luxury resort will be the first five-star hotel built away from Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach, according to the company. Located close to the airport, the Mandarin Oriental Grand Cayman will be a 100-room beachfront resort situated at St. James Point, on the southern shore of the island. The site benefits from an elevated position overlooking white-sand beaches.
Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda is Now Open
Club Med officially opened Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, its first-ever Exclusive Collection resort in the Americas. Located in Miches, Dominican Republic, this 93-acre resort is the first major site to open within the region, according to the company.
With a recently opened highway connecting Punta Cana to Miches directly, the tourism industry is expected to grow in the area substantially over the next few years, providing an economic boost to the area and new career opportunities for the residents, the company reports.
“The opening of Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda marks a huge milestone in Club Med’s history,” said Carolyne Doyon, president and CEO of Club Med North America, who was also one of the first on-site to welcome the resort’s inaugural guests. “This new resort embodies the strong trailblazing spirit at the heart of Club Med. We open our doors to travelers from all over the world in hopes that they too can experience what first drew us to Miches: the rich culture, the pristine and untouched beaches, the beautifully lush landscapes, and the welcoming, lively spirit that abounds in the Dominican Republic.”
SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana Opens its Doors in Cuba
Accor’s fastest growing luxury hotel brand arrives just in time to honor Havana’s 500th anniversary.
Accor has opened SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana in Cuba. Designed by French architect Michel Regembal, the hotel also features the creative signature of celebrated Spanish fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, from the hotel’s emblem to the staff’s stylish uniforms. With 250 guestrooms on nine floors, including eight suites, the decor of each room is infused with the spirit of one of three dance styles—Classical Ballet, Salsa or Son Cubano—balanced with floor-to-ceiling views of the sea, the neighboring Malecón, Paseo del Prado and the hotel’s patio.
SO/ Paseo del Prado La Habana is located at the intersection of Paseo del Prado and Malecón, close to Habana Vieja (Old Havana), a World Heritage Site filled with ancient monuments, forts, churches and palaces; Central Park and the Gran Teatro de la Habana; and the El Vedado district.
Amenities include Cosecha Restaurant; the SO/ SPA; SO/ FIT gym and the infinity pool with a signature pool bar; the hotel’s Chocolate Shop, Origen; and lobby bar MIXO.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Margaritaville Holdings Break Ground in Domincan Republic
Margaritaville and Karisma Hotels & Resorts have broken ground on Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma Cap Cana, which will open in 2021. Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma Cap Cana, an inclusive resort, marks the introduction of Margaritaville to the Dominican Republic and expands upon Karisma’s presence in the region. A $150-million development, the new property is expected to create 1,100 jobs in the Dominican Republic.
Located beachfront on Juanillo Beach along the Caribbean Sea, Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma Cap Cana will feature 228 rooms and suites, seven restaurants and three bars, Sky Weddings and a Parakeets Kid’s Club with supervised daily activities for children 4-12 years old.
Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma Cap Cana will be the fourth property in the Island Reserve collection, representing the partnership between Karisma and Margaritaville. The new inclusive resort will follow confirmed Island Reserve properties in Mexico’s Riviera Cancun and Riviera Maya, and Jamaica—all opening in 2020—among other destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean.