Asian hotelier Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is betting big on the Caribbean. First, it announced plans last month to develop a new luxury resort in the Cayman Islands: the 100-room Mandarin Oriental, Grand Cayman, which is scheduled to open in 2021. And now, it has officially opened its first-ever property in the region -- Mandarin Oriental, Canouan, in St. Vincent and The Grenadines.
A small island in the Grenadines archipelago -- which is seeing a flurry of development thanks to fresh airlift from its new airport, the recently-completed Argyle International Airport -- Canouan for years has been a popular destination for high-net-worth travelers. So much so that locals often call it the place "where billionaires go to get away from millionaires." In 2016, it welcomed the $120 million Pink Sands Club, which previously was managed independently by The Leading Hotels of the World. Mandarin Oriental assumed management of the property last fall and officially rebranded it this week after implementing new Mandarin Oriental service standards, systems and processes, as well as several new design and branding elements.
Located on Godahl Beach, which is protected by the Caribbean's largest natural living coral reef, Mandarin Oriental, Canouan offers 26 ocean-facing one- and two-bedroom suites; and seven brand-new three- or four-bedroom "Patio Villas" that have private pools and outdoor patios. There also are four restaurants, a Fazio-designed golf course that is the only 18-hole golf course in St. Vincent and The Grenadines, and a spa with a fitness center and seven hillside treatment suites.
The entire resort is available for buyouts.
"Our debut in the Caribbean is an exciting opportunity to introduce Mandarin Oriental's gracious hospitality to this beautiful part of the world," said Jan Goessing, executive vice president, operations director, The Americas, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. "Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is a showcase of the best of what our brand represents, from the resort's residential inspired décor to world-class spa facilities and exciting culinary offerings."
Mandarin Oriental isn't the only company bullish about the Caribbean. Across the region, hoteliers continue to invest in it with new properties that will be ideal for groups. Here are three coming attractions worth considering for future incentives:
• The Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real (Dominican Republic): In December 2018, Spanish hotelier Meliá Hotels International will open The Grand Reserve a new resort located within Paradisus Palma Real, its all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. The $110 million property -- which is designed in the shape of a circle, which according to Meliá is the universal symbol of wholeness and perfection -- will offer 288 one- and two-bedroom suite-style accommodations, including several swim-up suites with direct access to an exclusive pool, lush garden areas and a solarium; seven restaurants and bars; a full-service spa; a beach club, a family-friendly kids club and waterpark; and a fitness facility. Groups also will have access to all the services and amenities available at Paradisus Palma Real, which boasts 12 restaurants, a theater, a golf course, five pools, two spas and an 18,000-square-foot convention center.
• Six Senses St. Kitts (St. Kitts and Nevis): Six Senses Hotels Reports Spas will open its first Caribbean resort, Six Senses St. Kitts in 2021. Located on St. Kitts -- the larger of the two-island country of St. Kitts and Nevis -- the beachfront resort will boast 70 villas, each of which will have a private plunge pool. Amenities will include a food-and-beverage "plaza" with numerous dining choices, an onsite spa, a main pool with a swim-up bar, a teen center and kids' club, a dedicated yoga pavilion, a gym, and a certified dive center offering underwater excursions.
• Rosewood Half Moon Bay Antigua (Antigua): Rosewood Hotels and Resorts will open Rosewood Half Moon Bay Antigua in 2021. Occupying 132 oceanfront acres along Half Moon Bay in the Caribbean West Indies, the resort will have 47 suites, each of which will offer ocean views, private infinity plunge pools, hammocks, open-air baths and showers, and live orchid walls in the bathrooms. Amenities will include several food-and-beverage outlets, including a cliff bar and lounge overlooking the Caribbean Sea; an onsite organic farm that will provide ingredients year-round; a spa with six treatment rooms; two pools; a fitness center; tennis courts; and biking and walking trails.