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Jamaica’s Resort Renaissance

A travel trade show reveals the new guards of Jamaica’s top vacation properties

Stay at one of these newly turned-over Jamaica properties promises revamped digs and get more for your money.
While travel trade shows aren’t usually on the radar of travelers looking to book a trip, what transpires there is of relevant interest. At JAPEX, Jamaica’s top show of this kind, the tourism leaders of the area mingle with members of the European and American travel trade. The headlining news of 2013’s show was just how many of Jamaica’s iconic resorts have undergone management changes.

The Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ owned 128-room, all-inclusive Seashore Bay Beach Resort in Negril (which was formerly the Sandy Bay Beach Resort) will reopen under the Azul Sensatori umbrella – a brand well known in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Two of Jamaica’s SuperClubs – namely Breezes Negril Grand Resort & Spa and Breezes Starfish Trelawny – have been taken over by Blue Diamond Hotels and Resorts with names to reflect the change of hands. It was Aimbridge Hospitality that rebranded (and continue to manage) the Hotel Royal Decameron Club Caribbean in St. Ann’s as Jewel Paradise Cove Resort & Spa – a highly-exclusive adults-only resort with 225 colonial contemporary rooms and suites.

One of the more chattered about sales was that of Ritz-Carlton’s renowned Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay to Playa Hotels and Resorts – a well-known player in the Dominican Republic and in Mexico. Park Hyatt was chosen to manage the resort and plans to add some 100 suites. Another behemoth on the horizon is Baha Mar: The Bahamian Riviera, thanks to a $3.5 billion investment from the Chinese.

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