In Jamaica, the Rose Hall Area Blossoms with More Resorts

The Rose Hall enclave on Jamaica's northwestern coast last month received its latest inventory boost with a Phase II property at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach & Spa Resort complex, and more is on the way. Set to open this month is Iberostar's Phase III property, and in March 2009, hotelier Horst Schulze, of Ritz-Carlton fame, will debut his new resort brand at Rose Hall—already the location of a 427-room Ritz-Carlton resort with 25,000 sf of meeting space.

Solis Hotels & Resorts, Schulze's high-end brand, will debut in North America with Solis the Palmyra Resort & Spa, which will comprise three luxury-suite towers on 16 oceanfront acres of a Rose Hall plantation. On deck are 23,000 sf of indoor and outdoor meeting space, five F&B options, and a 30,000-sf Espa spa with 14 treatment rooms.

The 299 accommodations will be a mix of one- to four-bedroom suites, penthouses, and 645- to 2,600-sf private villas with terraces. Leading the indoor meeting spaces will be a 5,500-sf ballroom; outside, it will be a 10,000-sf lawn and a gazebo that stretches 300 feet into Montego Bay.

The Palmyra will give guests access to golf courses in the Rose Hall area, including the White Witch, Cinnamon Hill, and Half Moon courses. The resort is expected to challenge the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, which renovated all of its meeting spaces in 2007 and guest rooms this year.

While Solis works on completing its premier Caribbean resort, already operating since Oct. 1 is the 319-suite Iberostar Rose Hall Suites. It is the second property in the brand's resort complex, following the 366-room Rose Hall Beach hotel, which opened in May 2007. Now on the way is the third property, the upscale, 293-suite Grand Hotel Rose Hall.

Although the three all-inclusive properties have small meeting rooms, they all share a conference facility at the resort.

Meanwhile, the 398-room Half Moon resort is not standing idle, recently refurbishing its 14-seat boardroom, plus the Montego, St. James, and Rose Hall meeting suites. At the forefront of its AV upgrades is a globally capable videoconferencing system for groups to communicate with three offices simultaneously.

All of the resort developments coincide with American Airlines' capacity increase to Sangster International Airport (MBJ).

Beginning on Dec. 18,American will operate daily service from Dallas/Fort Worth. In Miami, it will add a third daily flight to MBJ. On Jan. 31,American will launch a morning flight from Chicago O'Hare five times a week. The MBJ outbound to O'Hare takes off in the afternoon.

Originally published Nov. 10, 2008