A hotel development surge
By Guy Britton
MONTEGO BAY — Jamaica is undergoing a hotel development boom.
The Caribbean tourism giant will see 1,600 new hotel rooms break ground this year alone, according to Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill.
The construction jump comes as a number of new brands have also made their first entries into the Jamaican market.
“Our local partners, Sagicor, has invested in a new property,” McNeill told attendees at the JAPEX tourism exchange in Montego Bay this week. “Sandals is doing a series of renovations on its rooms; and new properties are coming on stream.”
As of this week, Jamaica has one project with 850 rooms in the planning stages, with another 130 rooms already under construction, according to data provided to Caribbean Journal by STR.
Several other properties have already launched in Jamaica this year, most notably Palace Resorts’ Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, which opened after a $50 million enhancement with more than 700 rooms.
Hilton also debuted its new Curio brand at two resorts: the the former Jewel Paradise Cove and the Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort and Spa, both in greater Ocho Rios.
And Spanish hotel firm Melia will soon be opening its 266-room Melia Braco Village resort.
Just this week, AMResorts announced that it would be opening its first-ever Zoëtry-branded boutique luxury hotel in Montego Bay, set for debut late next year.
That follows Hyatt’s launch of its Ziva and Zilara all-inclusive resorts at the former Ritz-Carlton in Montego Bay at the end of 2014.
“What is happening is that Jamaica is evolving,” McNeill said. “We are seeing investments in the product.”