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The Ritz-Carlton Closes MoBay: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is certainly making big moves these days. First vacating Palm Beach and Dublin, and today after nearly 13 years in operation, the corporation ceased management of the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica. The 427-room Montego Bay hotel, one of the region’s most famous, was originally rumored to be sold to Playa Resorts. However, in May, the company issued a statement saying the information was premature.
Word on the street is the hotel will open in the 2013-2014 winter season as a Park Hyatt, the first Hyatt brand in Jamaica and renovations will include adding more than 100 suites. However, at this time there is no mention of the property or this news on the Hyatt website. It appears this is as much of a mystery as the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall, a famous Jamaican ghost story.
Assuming you have no objection to flying in private jets or riding in helicopters, we are pretty sure this week's Fantasy Friday post will have you seriously contemplating cashing in your savings. Island Outpost Resorts we have learned, has partnered up with Magellan Jets to offer a package worthy of 007 himself, minus the flying bullets and explosions.
Forking out the big bucks will send you flying via private jet to Jamaica, where guests will stay at two different resorts over a five day stretch (although we are certain if you would like to stay longer the resorts would be happy to take your money).
Hotel Sales / Sexy Hotels / Hotel Sex / Adults-Only Hotels / All-Inclusive Hotels / Jamaica Hotels / Negril Hotels / → All Tags
SuperClubs has removed the clothing-optional, adults-only Hedonism II Jamaican resort from its dossier of all-inclusive properties. This comes after it unloaded unprofitable sister resort Hedonism III in 2011 and in earlier 2012 sold Breezes Trelawny to a Canadian tour company called Sunwing. Breezes Montego Bay was also let go in 2009.
The company recently announced that the sale of the Negril hotel has finally been completed to an investment group named Marshmallow Ltd., headed by financier Harry Lange, and made up of partners Jon Gross of UnWind Travel (aka Fluffernutters), some of SuperClubs' own chairman's family members, and Kevin Levee, the hotel's current general manager.
The sale will not change Hedonism’s name, however, a $10 million room renovation is planned, which will certainly be welcome for the 30-year old hotel.
More importantly, what will remain the same will be the resort’s day-to-day operations, which include saucy, devil-may-care fun that its patrons, often repeat guests, relish.
[Photo: Ack Ook's Flickr]
What Is This? / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Snapshots / Secrets Hotels / Hotel Design / Jamaica Hotels / Nicki Minaj / → All Tags
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This? is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
When we were shown around the suites at the all-inclusive Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay, we knew the dark square on the wall was some sort of door. But it was too small to be a closet, and because it was just behind the front door, that wouldn’t have made sense anyway. Unable to stand the curiosity any longer, we flung open the door and found…nothing. Nothing but a big empty space. We had to investigate further.
Celebrity Scoop / Secrets Resorts / Jamaica Hotels / Nicki Minaj / All-Inclusive Resorts / → All Tags
Jamaica has been on fiyah more than usual, that’s because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the island's independence from Britain. Official Jubilee celebrations started this week, but will be absolutely bananas this weekend until to Emancipation Day on August 6th. Last month, the antics were warmed up with Reggaefest and many celebs came to jam, including headliner Nicki Minaj.
We thought she would have stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Rose Hall or the tony Half Moon Bay, but no, she went the all-inclusive route and made the all-suite, adults-only Secrets Wild Orchid Resort her home. Sure, she stayed in the Preferred Club’s Presidential Suite, but we kind of dig she picked this accessible-to-the-people, two-year old resort.
Minaj and her entourage were seen being escorted to the luxury suite via golf cart, were she looked pretty tame in a demure floral outfit (but with some crazy orange wedges).
Sure we love big name hotels with glam names and cache behind them—they’re crazy exciting. But there’s something about those hidden places. They don't get a lot of fanfare, but are worthy of being celebrated. And while we hesitate to reveal them for fear they'll blow up and start smelling themselves (aka get big heads), we think you should check them out the next time you're in their neck of the woods.
1. Villas Sur Mer, Negril, Jamaica
While everyone exclaims about the big three resorts in Negril's West End (namely Rockhouse, The Caves, and Tensing Pen) the Villas Sur Mer is an 18-room hideaway that's one-to-watch as the others have started to rest on their laurels. Each villa here is made up of huge one-to-three bedroom units with kitchenettes, sitting rooms, free WiFi (and free calls to the U.S. and Canada!) and even patios with cute wooden porch swings made from rich greenheart wood. There's a deep sense of privacy here thanks to the jungle-like thicket of palm and ackee trees surrounding the property. Plus, each home is spread apart, none more than the stand-alone six-bedroom seaside villa, popular with families and wedding guests.
This is the West End, so there's no beach. But the hotel's lagoon-like pool and oversized hot tub is quite nice and Seven-Mile Beach is just 10 minutes away. Two of the coolest things about VSM is the onsite underground tunnel to Negril's famous cliffs and a ladder that leads right into the Caribbean sea for amazing snorkeling.
Rates begin at $200 per night with a 3-night minimum
There's travel talk everywhere about how expensive it'll be to fly and drive this summer, so there has to be some savings somewhere, yes? The most obvious place will be in hotel rates, and so our gift to you this week will be one hotel a day that comes in under $100 a night. Now, we're not saying every place will be of Ritz quality, because then it would be...well, the bloody Ritz. But the places will be nice enough for you to sleep at night.
Now another luxury beach resort is joining the style ranks--but forget swimwear. Goldeneye is so glamorous that it's inspired a range of vintage and rock-inspired pieces by Haute Hippie.
So far we've only seen this one sneak peek sketch from the 'All Things Gold' Resort 2012 collection--but it's clear that the line will go beyond simple coverups for lounging by the pool.
When it debuts this fall (in time for 'resort season,' in fashion-speak), the Goldeneye-inspired looks will be available at Haute Hippie stores, at GoldenEye and at its sister property Strawberry Hill Hotel, Spa & Gardens, which overlooks Kingston.
Not that we have anything against nudity. Nor do we disapprove of unconventional wedding ceremonies. It's just, well, after all the Fashion Week madness here in New York, it's kind of refreshing to see guests who just don't give a darn.
Over 100 couples sent in detailed reasons as to why they should be picked for the clothes-optional getaway. And we're guessing the reasons had to be something other than "to save money on a wedding gown." Once they arrived, each couple was treated to a four-night stay at the resort, in exchange for agreeing to be filmed for an upcoming documentary. Which means they get to save money on a wedding photographer too. Good deal!
Hotel Design / Jamaica Hotels / Island Hopping / Resorts / Hotel Furniture / Cool Hotel Jobs / → All Tags
Here at HotelChatter, we read about hotel furniture on a (far) too-regular basis—mostly in press releases about newly-renovated hotels, or the occasional hotel furniture sale. A lot of it goes in one ear and out the other. But when we learned of a resort in Jamaica that was making its own furniture, we decided it was worth a closer look.
Husband-and-wife team Braxton and Debbie Moncure stumbled upon the un-developed land of Bluefields Bay in 1981 (at the suggestion of a local friend), and quickly set about converting the property into one of Jamaica's most coveted all-inclusive luxury resorts. Now, with the help of their two kids, Houston and Rachel—plus a team of 50 locally-employed staffers—the family continues to grow Bluefields into a diverse, artistic, sustainable hotel community, whose six villas just so happen to boast some killer seafront views.
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Since you all seemed to enjoy our photos of Goldeneye in Jamaica, we thought we'd do you one better and post this video, taken inside one of the Beach Cottages. That hammock is possibly the most inviting one we've ever seen, and the cottage's spitting-distance proximity to the beach doesn't hurt either!
Here's a little eye candy for your mid-week slump: a gallery of photos from inside one of the brand new Beach Cottages at Jamaica's Goldeneye, former home of Ian Fleming and preferred getaway of Jay-Z & Beyonce, Bono, and anyone else with a one-word name.
We were lucky enough to spend a few nights here earlier in the summer and loved the mix of high and low. High, being the beauty and top-of-the-line materials used in the decor, and low simply being the laidback vibe that lilts through the place like a warm Jamaican breeze or slice of reggae --which is, of course, available in abundance on your in-room Squeezebox music player.