“Year of the Travel Agent” at Cable Beach
By Denise Mattia
The flight to New Providence Island left on time, the extra room between seats made for a comfortable ride and in three hours JAXFAX was in the heart of the Bahamas. Jet Blue shares top honors in the 2008 Airline Quality Rating, making their fiasco of 2007 a distant memory. Now agents can deliver the kind of service their clients expect when they book a destination. Visit www.jetblue.com.
At Nassau International Airport, journalists and travel professionals were met and transferred to the all-new Sheraton Cable Beach Resort for the grand opening celebration. Owned by Baha Mar Resorts Ltd. and managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort, an $80 million renovation of the former Radisson Hotel, includes 700 guest rooms and suites, three freshwater pools, replete with waterfalls and swim-up bars, and oversized Jacuzzis on seven acres of land in front of the 1,000-foot stretch of Nassau’s Cable Beach.
Beach-inspired patterns throughout the guestrooms – all featuring balconies – lounges and restaurants add to the inviting atmosphere of the property. Participants sampled a variety of island specialties and international cuisine served at each of the six on-site restaurants.
The resort also houses 25,000 square feet of new indoor and outdoor function space, which can accommodate meetings and events of up to 1,200 attendees. The grand opening celebration – a gala affair that included executives from Starwood, Sheraton and Baha Mar, and tourism officials from the Bahamian government – was held in the largest facility – a 12,500-square-foot ballroom. Four additional breakout rooms for meetings and banquets, as well as pre-function areas for group registration, cocktail receptions and meeting breaks complement the space. All meeting facilities are equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment and high-speed Internet access. A full-service business center is also available to guests.
The Sheraton Cable Beach Resort is currently offering special “Grand Opening” all-inclusive rates for groups interested in hosting meetings or organizing events in the resort’s meetings facilities. Rates start at $349 per room per night (single occupancy) and $509 per room per night (double occupancy). Prices include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as gratuities, taxes and fees.
In addition to the special all-inclusive rate, groups booking ten rooms or more during peak nights can choose from a variety of value-added amenities ranging from food and beverage discounts and complimentary room category upgrades, to complimentary meeting space usage and private group check-in service. Options are based on group size and the number of room nights chosen. Meeting planners must book by December 21, 2008, for travel through December 21, 2008.
Travel agents are welcomed to discover this landmark resort during the all-new Sheraton Cable Beach Resort’s “Year of the Travel Agent” promotion. Agents can stay for $79 per night and receive a “buy one get one free” round of golf. The offer is valid through December 18, 2008. Visit www.sheraton.com/cablebeachresort
Sharing Cable Beach with the Sheraton is the recently renovated Wyndham and Crystal Palace and Casino, where one evening the odds had been in favor of everyone in the group having fun. Visit www.CableBeachResorts.com
Caribbean’s Largest Resort to Come
In January, 2007, Baha Mar (www.bahamar.com) signed a joint venture agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (www.starwoodhotels.com) and Harrah’s (www.harrahs.com), the renowned gaming and hospitality company, to develop what will become the Caribbean’s largest single destination resort.
With a completion date expected in 2012, the Harrah’s new Caesars Resort Hotel will offer more than 1,000 guest rooms and a nearly 100,000-square foot casino – the largest in the Caribbean. An additional 2,000 guestrooms will be offered at the 1,000-acre mega resort that will include W Baha Mar, St. Regis Baha Mar, Westin Baha Mar and the recently completed Sheraton Cable Beach Resort.
During the final phase of development, a variety of residential spaces will be available. Also scheduled for completion at that time is a 200,000 square-foot meeting space, a second 18-hole championship golf course, 3,000 feet of continuous beachfront, a mega spa and a retail village with upscale shopping, chef-branded restaurants, and entertainment venues. The seascapes below are as exciting as Nassau’s topside appeal. The reefs are studded with sunken ships (the Bahamas sit squarely in the Bermuda Triangle), which are a favorite haunt of sharks. Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas offers guests the opportunity to snorkel and dive with these denizens of the deep.
At Shark Alley, JAXFAX was among several divers who knelt in a semi-circle on ginger-colored sand at 40 feet with hands tucked into armpits, while the divemaster, clad in a chain-mail suit, repeatedly speared fish parts from a large box and swirled them above his head.
The ensuing scene was a tornado of several dozen large reef sharks, mouths agape, colliding with each other and the kneeling divers in an attempt to snap at the proffered meals. When the feed was over, the sharks vanished, the sand settled, and the divers searched for souvenirs – teeth shed during the fray. Visit www.stuartcove.com