The new and soon-to-open hotels worth checking out this year
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
We aren’t holding our breath for the opening of the Bahamas’ troubled Baha Mar project next year, but we are getting excited about the slew of new resorts that have recently come on stream or are about to debut across the Caribbean. Check out some of the places we’re looking forward to checking into in 2016.
Amanera, Dominican Republic Understated elegance is the hallmark of Aman’s second Caribbean resort, which opened in November and is spread over 2,000 acres of coastline on Playa Grande. Highlights include the adjoining 7,085-yard, Robert Trent Jones-designed Playa Grande Golf Course and an Aman Spa offering therapies that incorporate traditional shamanic healing techniques.
Bayside Boutique Hotel, Curacao Opened this summer, less than 10 minutes from Willemstad and steps from Blue Bay beach, Bayside has 36 rooms and suites; Pictures, a Mediterranean restaurant and bar; a fitness center; infinity pool; two tennis courts; and offers free golf on the 18-hole Blue Bay course.
The Cliff, Jamaica Veteran hotelier Mary Phillips and restaurateurs Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley have combined forces to create this five-acre Negril West End hideaway which opened in December and features 33 suites and villas; four cottages; and a cliff’s edge spa.
Courtyard by Marriott, Jamaica Kingston welcomed its first new hotel in three decades in December with the opening of this 129-room business-and leisure-focused hotel, which is also the first LEED-certified building on the island and features a fitness center, pool, and 1,900 feet of meeting space.
Hotel Simon, Martinique In downtown Fort-de-France, this 94-room roost opposite the cruise terminal is ideal for passenger’ pre- and post-cruise stays or for land-based visitors enticed by new and increased flights to the island from the U.S.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Mexico What was Dreams Cancun is now, after an $85 million expansion, a 547-suite all-inclusive that opened in November with nine restaurants; six bars (including its own microbrewery); a spa; and a kids’ club. Check out the top Cancun hotels here.
Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands November 2016 is the scheduled opening date for Kimpton’s first resort outside the U.S. and the first in the Caribbean, a plush, 266-room “playful and sophisticated escape” on Grand Cayman’s prized Seven Mile Beach.
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, Jamaica Originally scheduled to open last April, this Ocho Rios mega-resort had a soft opening in fall 2015, touting 700 rooms; six bars; five restaurants; four pools; and all-inclusive perks that include 24-hour room service, free WI-FI and complimentary international phone calls.
Now Garden Punta Cana, Dominican Republic At press time this 180-room newbie was scheduled to open its doors this month. But does Punta Cana really need yet another all-inclusive resort? We’ll soon find out!
Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa, Haiti Haiti’s first all-inclusive resort in decades, this is a 480-room spread on the Cote des Arcadins that boasts three restaurants and two pools, and opened in December.
Thompson Playa Del Carmen, Mexico This new downtown Playa hotel promises double the fun with two separate locations: a 92-room main hotel on bustling Fifth Avenue (which opened in November), and The Beach House, a 27-suite oceanfront a few blocks away that’s scheduled for a February 2016 debut.
TRYP by Wyndham, San Juan, Puerto Rico This 109-room Isla Verde hotel, which opened in November, has a location convenient for both business and leisure travelers, just minutes from the restaurants of Old San Juan; shopping at the new Mall of San Juan; and the airport.
Zemi Beach, Anguilla Its opening is set for February, but we’re hoping that this Shoal Bay hotel/condo hybrid with 55 ocean-view hotel rooms and 28 condo suites will be worth the wait.