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Dominica Post Hurricane Maria Update

Dominica Post Hurricane Maria Update

ROSEAU, DOMINICA (October 18, 2017) — Dominica was severely impacted by category 5 Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017. Assessment of the country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and sites and attractions continues.  Updated information from daily press briefings are accessible at http://www.opm.gov.dm/. Following is an update on island services:

Current Status
Dominica has classified this new period post Maria as one of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  The positive news is that many areas, communities and families are now moving from the relief phase to recovery. Restoration and repair of some services has begun. The Government led rebuilding phase will focus on incorporating best practices that ensure Dominica will be better able to withstand future acts of nature.

– Main roadways have been cleared and damage is still being assessed.
– Over 275 tons of food and 45,000 gallons of water have been distributed to over 93 communities.
– All banks, some businesses and government offices are now open for business in the city.
– The Ministry of Education is working to have 23 schools reopened by October 17, 2017. Many schools will reopen in in their original buildings, while others will operate on a shift system or in an alternate location.

Travel
– Most roads are safe for driving and motorists are advised to proceed with caution in certain areas.
– LIAT Airlines and Seaborne have resumed commercial flights to Dominica and are operating at a limited capacity.
– Seaborne Airlines began commercial flights to/from Dominica on October 11, 2017. Flights depart San Juan, Puerto Rico at 12:45 pm and depart Dominica 3:00 pm daily. For additional details, visithttps://www.seaborneairlines.com/
– LIAT Airlines will operate commercial flights as follows:

  • Return flight to Antigua (LI624) will operate on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday departing Antigua  at 11:30am and  Dominica at 1:10pm;
  • Return flight to Barbados (LI601) will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departing Barbados at 10am and Dominica at noon.

This schedule will run until November 7th when the airline will update its schedule.

For additional details, visit http://www.liat.com/ or call the Call Centre at 1-888-844-5428

– L’Express des Iles ferry service is operating to Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia from the Roseau Ferry Terminal.  The ferry travels the Martinique /St Lucia route on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays departing Dominica at 10:30 am and on Saturdays at 3 pm.  Service to Guadeloupe from Dominica is at 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and at 09:15 am on Saturdays.  For additional information, please visit http://www.express-des-iles.com/index.cfm?lng=en.

Accommodation
– Prior to Hurricane Maria, Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) had on record of seventy-three (73) properties / nine hundred and nine (909) guest rooms. As of October 17, 2017, sixty-four (64) of these properties have been reassessed for hurricane damage.  Assessments show that thirty-two (32) properties are moderately damaged and able to operate now or in the near future.
– Twenty seven (27) properties have been severely damaged or destroyed, with serious to total destruction of structures including roofs, electrical and plumbing. Wi-Fi  is not available in most cases.

  • The properties that suffered moderate damage account for fifty one percent (51.4%) of the total room stock or four hundred and sixty-seven (467) guestrooms.

Tourist Activity
– Most natural sites have been assessed.  Access roads to these sites have been damaged and consequently tourist sites and natural attractions are currently closed until repair work is complete.
– Overall 35% of reefs at dive sites were damaged, particularly  sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs.  Kindly check in with your dive shop for more details.

Utilities
– The Dominica Water and Sewage Company (DOWASCO) has restored drinking water supply to 55% of its network and work is ongoing to restore pipe borne water to other communities.
– The Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC) has restored electricity to parts of the capital city Roseau, Portsmouth and are continuing restoration of electricity to other communities.
– Mobile phone service providers FLOW and Digicel have restored access to their mobile networks to a number of communities.  FLOW has restored 21 of its 49 mobile sites and land line phone service has been restored to parts of Roseau, Canefield, St. Joseph, Portsmouth, Morne Daniel, Mahaut and Pond Cassee.  Digicel has restored mobile service to communities in the north, south and west as well as Roseau, Portsmouth and environs.

Relief Operations
– Relief efforts are being coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister through the Emergency Organizing Committee.

Detailed information on relief operations can be found at www.opm.gov.dm.

While some of our accommodations and sites have been damaged by hurricane Maria, our welcoming spirit has not been deterred. Many within the hospitality sector have regrouped and welcome voluntourism visitors.  If you are interested in such a visit to Dominica kindly contact our office.

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Exploring Sint Maarten with kids.

Traveling to Caribbean Sint Maarten, always was an expensive adventure, especially traveling with kids.

Calculating expenses, we found out that airflight takes half of budget.

Knowing that usually prices drop in October/November, then first week of January, and after April 15th, trips could become affordable with  Westjet, Sunwing, or Transat… We use mostly www.travelation.com or selloffvacations.com, or direct websites from airlines www.westjet.com, or aircanada.com, aa.com

Marigot Harbour in Saint Martin
Marigot Harbour Saint Martin

Last year our family stayed in villa on French side in Concordia district in Marigot.

Marigot
Marigot, Saint Martin , French West Indies

It was good immersion into local life, and good practice of French for kids.  We hiked on Fort Louis in Marigot, Tree Top Trekked at Loterie Farm, took windsurfing lessons on Galleon Beach (nearby is Butterfly Farm), fine dined in Grand Case, snorkelled and sun bathed on Friars Bay. The shopping we did in “U” supermarket, and fresh bread in local boulangeries. Few times we visited Grand Case for a nice evening stroll, beach comb and fancy dinner combination.

Saint Martin
Marketplace in Marigot, Saint Martin

From nearby Marigot Sea Port we took day trips to Anguilla and St.Barth. One day we spent in LoterieFarm. It’s a place to spend a whole day, first to go on Fly Zone (like Tree Top trek), and then soak and rest in the pool. We noticed many local families spent time on weekends here. I think our favourite beach in St.Martin is still on Happy Bay, and the runner up will be Friars Bay Beach.

Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Philipsburg- the capital of Dutch side in Sint Maarten.

The choice and variety of hotels is also great in Dutch St.Maartten, from casino hotels, down to small boutique inns. We chose Joshua Rose guest house this time, cause of the good balance, price , location, and facilities.

Guest house located in the heart of Philipsburg, with easy access to transportation, beaches grocery stores and good restaurants. For dinner our favorite was “Green House” restaurant, with it’s great service, good variety and price combination. One evening we visited acclaimed “L’Escargot” with classy service and beautiful ambiance. Yes, it’s pricey, but you pay what you get, once for the trip is great. For lunch there are good places to eat like “GUSTO”, and few Chinese restaurants nearby.
I should mention the trip to “The Carousel” ice cream shop it’s well worth after lunch, and explore sophistication in ice cream variety. (Actually I tried once “Heineken Ice Cream”. It tasted good!). There are lots of photographs on display with famous people eating ice cream. Our kids, 8 and11, are too big for the Carousel to sit on, but they still enjoy the rides.

On the property of DIVI Resort, there are ruins of Fort Amsterdam, from there is a nice view of Philipsburg and Point Blanche Cruise Ship Terminal,. We spent hours there watching pelicans catch fish in blue waters down the cliff.

Sint Maarten
3D view of Maho Beach in Sint Maarten

Yes, we have to mention famous “Maho Beach”. The best time is after 1pm, when KLM / Airfrance jumbo jet is landing. It is really spectacular moment, quick and scary. Expect to see lots of tourists with cameras there.

 

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PADI Open Water Certification in St.Lucia

Dive in Saint Lucia

Ah…beautiful St.Lucia…

Pitons from Anse Chastanet
Beautiful Saint Lucia. View from Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our son, after receiveing PADI  E-learning Diving Certificate wanted to get an Open Water Diver Licence.

Dive Saint Lucia
Dive Saint Lucia

We planned to visit St.Lucia in November, and found it will be a good option to combine vacation with 3 day practice diving course with DIVE SAINT LUCIA. We booked Bay Gardens Inn. It’s in walking distance to Dive St.Lucia facilities, where our son for three days was training to pass Deep Water Diver Licence. This state-of-the-art facilities with modern pool, and own moorings, offered good price for licencing. Actually it’s also fun for the day trip with divers..

YYZ_6703SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_6810SLU www- YYZ_6922SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7447ASLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7696SLU www-On the last day of practicing, we booked a diving trip for the whole family. This was a good treat for all. We enjoyed the speedboat trip down to Soufriere, snorkelled and suntanned while our son was diving. Actually I did one dive with my son and instructor at the foot of Petite Piton. Lots of coral reefs and fish. The other dive was at Anse Chastanet, and my son had a chance to encounter with two turtles. The views of Pitons from the boat as much spectacular as from nearby expensive resorts. YYZ_7705SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7733SLU DIVE-SLU www-

 

 

For the second half of our vacation we moved to South East, Praslin Area, where Mamiku Gardens and Piece-of-Paradise , to our family favourite Fox Grove Inn, our home-from-home. This time we got two bedroom apartment ( for the price of one room in Bay Gardens Inn). It was our special treat… We spent time in the pool (which is double size than in Bay Gardens Inn ) ,or playing ping pong, billiards, chess and puzzles , or hiked the road to beautiful vistas.

The owners, Esther and Franz as usual were sweet and helpful at any our request. If traveling as a couple , or alone, the best option will be to have a room with breakfast, and have optional lunch and dinners, but if traveling with children, especially for longer period, we prefer to book two-bedroom apartment, and have full independence, having equipped kitchen.

Fox Grove Inn
Fox Grove Inn

At Fox Grove Inn we usually enjoy hiking into tropical forest, while birdwatching, find and photograph some exotic flora.

 

 

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Virgin Gorda: A $2,000 Gift for Modern Families at Villa Aquamare

Modern Families at Villa Aquamare
A Private Villa Compound for Extended Families Offers a $2,000 Credit

October 13, 2015. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands – While today’s Modern Family may not be identical to the one starring in ABC’s sitcom, it can come awfully close. Thankfully, Villa Aquamare, the exclusive three-villa compound on a sandy beach on Virgin Gorda, BVI, is the ideal place for a Modern Family to unwind and enjoy togetherness or absolute privacy.

There’s plenty of room, since each one of Villa Aquamare’s 8,000 square foot villas can sleep up to 12 guests, thanks to five suites boasting ensuite marble bathrooms and alfresco rain showers. The villas also have room to spread out, thanks to expansive living rooms, a dining room, a gourmet kitchen, multiple terraces and an infinity pool, as well as a private Beach Park.

This winter, Villa Aquamare celebrates the diversity of today’s family life with a Modern Family Package. When a guest reserves seven nights in one of Villa Aquamare’s luxury villas before November 30, 2015 for a stay between January 10 and April 31, 2016, they will get a $2,000.00 resort credit which may be applied to one or a combination of the following: private chefs, spa treatments, archipelago day trips in motor or sail boat or a gourmet picnic on a private beach. It can also be applied to the rental rate. *

Modern Family Package
•7 nights in one of Villa Aquamare’s 8,000 square foot five-bedroom villas. The villa boasts a spacious living room and dining room area, gourmet kitchen, multiple terraces, and a private infinity pool.

•$2,000 Resort Credit

•Meet & Greet at airport or Spanish Town Marina.

•Land transfers to the villa.

•Daily maid service.

•Local concierge services.

•Use of the Beach Park, with kayaks and snorkeling equipment to explore the reef that lies just offshore.

•For a maximum occupancy of 12 guests, the price is $27,025 per villa, based on a seven-night stay. 7% Taxes and 12% service charges are extra.

•Offer good from October 15 to November 30 2015.

•*Chef services do not include beverages or alcohol.

•For reservations or more information, visit www.villaaquamare.com or call (787)-461-2638.

Villa Aquamare, set on the scenic Western coast of Virgin Gorda at Mahoe Bay along half a mile of pristine beach frontage, consists of three 8,000 square‑foot private villas. Designed and constructed specifically as elite villa vacation homes, with multiple ensuite master bedrooms, spacious living areas and professional‑grade kitchens, Aquamare is the new benchmark for luxury villa rentals on one of the B.V.I.’s quietest and most exclusive islands. For reservations or more information, visit www.villaaquamare.com or call (787) 461‑2638

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St Lucia: Cap Maison's Wine Experiences. Fall 2015 News

Cap Maison’s Dynamic Wine Experiences Receive
Third Wine Spectator Award
September 2, 2015 – Cap Estate, Saint Lucia – Cap Maison, the popular five-star resort on Saint Lucia that’s been ranked as one of the top in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards, has been named a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award Winner for the third consecutive year. The resort’s restaurant, The Cliff at Cap, was singled out for a cellar strong in both French and California offerings.
Cap Maison’s wine is housed in the 2,000 plus bottle temperature controlled Cellar Maison, a dark and welcoming cave that also serves as an elegant private dining room for Cellar Maison Wine Pairing Dinners and daily Tastings. There are hand-picked wines from nearly a dozen countries, from enjoyable and unpretentious grape varietals from the new world to high end wines that have been only modestly marked up so that more guests can enjoy them. Many of Cap Maison’s wines are available by the glass and the wine list includes rare champagnes, grand cru Bordeaux, fine Burgundies, orange wines and a notable selection of natural and biodynamic wines, most of them made in small quantities by family wineries in France. These organic wines are distinguished by low intervention and they are distinguished by being both low in sulphur and not having any added yeast.
“These are not just drinking wines, they are meant to be paired with food,” explains Jasper Kok, the executive assistant manager who is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and oversees Cap Maison’s ambitious beverage program. “They are beautiful wines and often display dramatic year-to-year differences.”
In Cellar Maison, a cozy lair with beamed ceiling, brick floor and wooden wine shelves and bins surrounding a tasting table and chairs, guests can enjoy Wine Tastings during the week with flights of unique wines, paired with a delectable assortment of amuse-bouche and interactive discussions guided by the Sommelier, Robinson George. The Cap Maison wine team can also send a favorite bottle of bubbly via the resort’s Champagne Zip line straight from the bar to the private dining venue, Rock Maison. For added drama, they willingly demonstrate the Napoleonic tradition of sabering a bottle of champagne using the blade of a knife.
Cap Maison’s Wine Program
Wine Pairing Dinner
Join the Sommelier for an evening of delicious food and fine wine with special pairings and blind tastings. This is a relaxed and sociable events for six to 11 guests, during which Chef Craig Jones of Cliff at Cap serves an artisanal menu to go along with the chosen wines. Reservations are required and the cost is $150 per person.
Deli and Wine Pairing Dinner
Ever Friday evening between 6:30 and 8:30pm, guests have the opportunity to learn a little about the art of pairing artisanal food with wine in the relaxed and informal atmosphere of Cellar Maison.
The cost is $95 per person.
Cellar Maison’s Casual Tutored Wine Tastings
This is a fun learning experience that allows guests to taste both Old World and New World Wines. Offered daily, reservations are required and the cost is $75 per person.

Cellar Maison’s Fine Wine Tastings
Prepared and conducted by Sommelier Robinson George daily. Reservations are required and the cost is $100 per person.
Visit Cap Maison for more information on the resort’s wine programs.
Cap Maison debuted on Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards with an impressive ranking of #2 in the Caribbean. A member of Virtuoso and Preferred Boutique Hotels, and a Fodor’s 100 World’s Best Hotels 2014, Cap Maison is set on a dramatic four-acre cliff just north of popular Rodney Bay and features 50 artfully appointed suites and guest rooms. Cliff at Cap, the resort’s signature restaurant with breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean, holds 3 consecutive Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. Under the direction of Executive Chef Craig Jones, the white table cloth, oceanfront restaurant serves a French West Indian-inspired contemporary menu. The resort’s newest dining venue is The Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill. The resort features a serene 2,000 square foot spa and a private 46-foot luxury yacht, Cap Maison 1. For bookings and more information, guests may call Reservations toll free at 1-888-765-4985 or send an email to reservations@capmaison.com, or visit the website at www.capmaison.com.
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News From St.Kitts . August 2015 issue

St. Kitts Tourism Updates 

What’s New and Noteworthy on Island

Basseterre, St. Kitts –– The St. Kitts Tourism Authority summarizes the most recent tourism-related news, events and developments from the island, as follows-

Visitor Arrivals:

A proactive approach to building and supporting airlift services from key source markets continues to produce positive results.  Full year 2014 year-to-date scheduled arrivals posted a 6.5% year-over-year gain as compared to full year 2013.  From North America, total arrivals also continue to register strong growth, posting a 7.1% year-over-year increase.  For the first six months of 2015, system-wide scheduled arrivals posted a 6.7% increase over the same period in 2014.  From North America, total arrivals posted a 6.4% year-over-year increase.  Contributing to the continued growth are the capacity increases from the second Miami weekend flights, Seaborne and the additional April operations of Air Canada and Delta.  Delta is once again operating non-stop flights to St. Kitts from ATL year-round, plus the flight will be returning early from its fall hiatus with operations resuming as of November 7, 2015; American Airlines provided double daily flights during the holiday period from December 18, 2014 through January 12, 2015.  American Airlines also added Sunday non-stop flights from JFK operating June 21 through August 16, 2015, which complement the carrier’s Saturday non-stop JFK-SKB flights. In May 2015, St. Kitts welcomed new 3x weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) non-stop flights from Barbados on Liat, complementing the carrier’s daily service to island from Antigua and St. Maarten. Further, Seaborne Airlines and JetBlue Airways, which is the largest carrier flying into San Juan, have finalized terms to begin a codeshare marketing relationship, expanding upon the carriers’ successful interline agreement in place since 2013, making St. Kitts will a JetBlue destination, with JetBlue flights from the US via San Juan to St. Kitts available for booking.  On August 10, it was announced that United Airlines is launching inaugural non-stop service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts. Starting December 19, 2015, the flights will operate weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.

Private Jet Terminal:

Construction is complete on the new private jet terminal, which opened in June 2014. The private jet terminal is a world-class facility at St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport located west of the main airport parking apron.  It consists of world class YU Lounge arrival and departure lounges, a dedicated crew lounge, a business center and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard.  YU Lounge services include greeting on the runway and transportation in a luxury vehicle to the facility, baggage handling, seamless customs and immigration processing, mouth-watering finger foods and complimentary beverages. Available to guests arriving by private jet or commercial aircraft, amenities of the facility include Apple computers, plush seating areas, bathrooms including showers and an outdoor lounge area (in the departures lounge). Further, the facility features fully equipped meeting rooms with complimentary wi-fi, device charging facilities, gourmet catering services and dedicated secretarial services. For private aircraft the facility provides a diverse range of FBO and aircraft dispatch services, including specialized and tailored services to accommodate operators and executives. The total cost of the final project estimated at US $15 million. The terminal has been constructed by Veling Limited and operated by Leeward Flight Services with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period.  Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider with offices in Mauritius and London.  The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, one of India’s top ten design firms.

New Resort Developments:

Kittitian Hill – As of December 2014, the 84-unit cottage hotel plus with seven, four-bedroom Farmhouses named ‘Belle Mont Farm’ is open to welcome guests.  Kittitian Hill has also opened The Kitchen Restaurant and The Mill Bar, also making their formal debut in December 2014.   Belle Mont Farm on Kittitian Hill immerses guests in local culture and heritage, an organic farming community, and distinct farm-to-table culinary experiences. Wellness offerings elevate mind, body and spirit. Kittitian Hill’s organic farm offers a world-class collection of exotic fruits and vegetables, with accommodations thoughtfully sowed in the landscape. Designed by award-winning world-renowned architect Bill Bensley, the hotel features panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring islands such as St Barths. Belle Mont Farm amenities include the Irie Fields Golf Course and The Workshop fitness centre. Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will upon completion consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments. Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility.  It is a member of the Preferred Residences® exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.

Park Hyatt – Groundbreaking on the Park Hyatt hotel at Banana Bay, Christophe Harbour, took place on June 3, 2013 and construction is underway on several buildings.  The final project will feature 200 hotel rooms and 50 branded residential condominiums. Phase One of construction has begun and will include the completion of 134 hotel guest rooms and related service facilities, conceptualized around a Caribbean village theme. Phase One of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2016.  The second phase of construction will include the completion of the remaining guest rooms and additional facilities. Development continues on the Christophe Harbour marina, with the naturally protected harbor to include 300 berths with the ability to accommodate the world’s largest superyachts, with the first yachts welcoming ceremony held at the end of 2014 and the official opening held on February 14, 2015marking completion of Phase One of the marina development. Christophe Harbour has also constructed an authentic, upscale beach club with a dock located around the old salt factory at WhiteHouse Bay, named SALT Plage, which opened in June 2014. The Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC) is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway.  Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas. Kier, a global construction company based in the UK and a publicly listed FTSE 250 company, is the main contractor for Phase One of the construction of Park Hyatt St. Kitts.  Kier’s plans for the development include providing employment in construction and maximizing the use of local materials and resources.  Approximately 350 construction jobs and additional training program jobs are expected to be created in Phase One.

Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts – Announced on May 6, 2015 by Hilton Hotels following the signing of a franchise agreement with Caribbean-based developers Sterling Developments, the 226-suite hotel is currently in construction and scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2017.  The condo hotel complex will include six towers, 3,847 square feet of meeting space, an infinity pool, a fitness center spa and kids’ club.  All Embassy Suites by Hilton signature spacious signature suites will have direct views of the Caribbean as well as a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar fitted with a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker.  The new hotel will also offer the Embassy Suites brand’s signature features, such as an inviting atrium environment, where guests will have access to complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverage. Restaurant facilities on the resort will include a three-meal restaurant, a specialty restaurant, and a pool and beach bar. The Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts will be located in Pelican Bay, which is an exclusive private cove nestled on seven acres of gently sloping land, cascading down to a private beach on the Caribbean side of the island. Once complete, the hotel will offer easy access to the area’s main roads and downtown attractions, and is only 10 minutes away from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Embassy Suites will be Hilton’s first property in St. Kitts & Nevis.  Hilton Worldwide currently has 20 hotels open or in the pipeline throughout the Caribbean. Groundbreaking for the US $90 million development took place on March 11, 2013.

Koi Resort & Residences – First announced in February 2013, the first concrete pour took place in September 2014 and construction is underway on the US $180 million 298-unit Koi Resort & Residences in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay.  Piling has been completed and Phase One is scheduled for completion in December 2015 and will include the development’s first 80 rooms along with its beach bar, spa, conference room and fitness facility.  Situated on 16 acres of prime beachfront property adjacent to the Royal St. Kits Golf Club, it will feature 24 Half Moon Villas and 12 waterside villas with the rest being studio and one-bedroom units.  The mixed-use resort development will also include the renowned Koi Restaurant, beach club, and an exclusive ultra-lounge, all with a design that will combine colonial and modern architecture to capture the definition of rustic luxury.  An internationally-known brand with properties in the US, Thailand and Abu Dhabi, Koi Resort & Residences will blend the natural beauty of its beachfront location to create an architectural story of one living with nature.  All luxury villas and suites will have sweeping ocean views and guests will have access to a variety of state of the art resort features upon completion, including banquet and special event facilities, bars and restaurants, a destination spa, swimming pools and a wide variety of sports and leisure activities.

Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences – The US $10 million Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences broke ground on March 11, 2013 with construction, now well underway, having started at the end of May 2014.  The target date for completion of the project has been set for the second half of 2015.  Buildings 1 and 2, on which structures are completed and finishes have recently started, will house 12 units each on two levels. Buildings 3 and 4, which have started work on the second and third levels, will have three levels with each comprising 18 units and buildings 5 and 6, which are in the final stage of completing works on the first level, will also have three levels with a small basement with each building comprising 18 units, office and storage space. Set in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay adjacent to the Koi Resort & Residences, the project consists of six two- and three-story buildings housing 86 contemporary and traditionally-styled one bedroom condominium units with Atlantic Ocean views of Nevis as well as views of a lake and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course.  It will also feature a common area with an office and leisure room, a swimming pool and manicured landscaping.

Silver Reef Resort – Phase One and Two of construction on this 90-room luxury residential development, which began in April 2011 and consisted of 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments each, is complete.  Groundbreaking for the Final Phase of construction took place on January 16, 2014.  Located at the front of the property, it will consist of two additional buildings comprised of three-bedroom apartments that are each 1,650 square feet.  These three-bedroom units will be the resort’s premium product and boast access to its three pools as well as views of the Royal St. Kitts golf course.   Set in the Frigate Bay area of St. Kitts adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and ten minutes outside Basseterre, this US $30 million development features villas and apartments in one- and two-bedroom configurations with spectacular views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic.  Silver Reef Resort also features landscaped gardens and freeform, infinity-edge swimming pools.  Built eco-sensitively, it employs a combination of common sense principles like orienting the buildings to optimize the breeze, recycling grey water, use of solar power and sourcing local materials to minimize the carbon footprint.

Pirate’s Nest Resort – Pirate’s Nest is a US $40 million, 246-room condominium hotel project in Frigate Bay being developed by T-Loft Property Development. Located on a 7.1-acre site, it will feature 41 condominium units in six independent buildings, each with three floors.  Groundbreaking took place in December 2013 and construction began in February 2015.

Existing Resort Developments:

Ocean Terrace Inn – Following an extensive renovation including rooms, restaurants and public spaces taking place in 2014 and early 2015, this iconic St. Kitts property reopened April 1, 2015.  The Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) will now be marketed as a four-star property and feature 50 rooms and suites, each with their own private patio or balcony and a bright new Caribbean look.  There will be free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and connections in guestrooms as well as a focus on hospitality and service to deliver a memorable experience.  The former Waterfalls restaurant has undergone a remodeling and will reopen as The Verandah, featuring Caribbean-Asian Fusion cuisines and sweeping views over the harbor and Basseterre.  The restaurant earns its name from its nine-foot wrap-around verandah, with seating either inside or outside. Located across the street and stretching out over the water, the property’s Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant was transformed in December 2013 with a contemporary modern decor and colorful accessories, open Display Kitchen, new Bar & Lounge and refreshed menus.

New Tourism Attractions:

St. Kitts Eco-Park – Tucked quietly into the hillside of the northern portion of St. Kitts, the 20-acre  St. Kitts Eco-Park is the island’s newest tourism attraction.  Created by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) working in collaboration, it opened its doors to the public in November 2014.  The Park boasts the Caribbean’s largest greenhouse and offers picturesque scenic views of Mount Liamuiga, Brimstone Hill and the neighboring islands of St. Eustasius, Saba and even St. Barts.  Visitors can explore the St. Kitts Tourist Center and the Taiwan Tourist Center to learn more about both cultures as well as how the Park integrates the ideas and practice of tourism, agriculture and green energy.  For example, solar panels provide a significant portion of the Farm’s energy and all buildings were constructed using GRC (glass-fiber reinforced concrete) material, which is three times lighter and five times harder than normal concrete.  Guests can stroll the expansive grounds and enjoy focal spots like the medicine herbs garden with plants from both countries, the open-air tea house, the rose garden, the butterfly orchard, the desert plants garden, and a wide range of tropical fruit trees and crops. A visual highlight of the Farm is the “Sugarcane Labyrinth” shaped to represent both St. Kitts & Nevis and Taiwan, commemorating the sugar industry that was once an economic driver in both nations.  Inside the greenhouse, discover a large central space filled with plants as well as a dedicated area for growing different varieties of orchid.  The entrance fee for visitors is just US $8 per adult and US $4 per child.

Upcoming Events:

20th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival – For those who like to plan ahead, the dates for the next year’s St. Kitts Music Festival have been set for Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2016. Particularly for lovers of music and travel, this event is an ideal opportunity to combine a Caribbean island getaway with a fantastic musical event.  Taking place over the course of three nights, the sounds of popular local and international performers can be heard throughout Warner Park Stadium, where the event is held each year.  Having become known for featuring a mix of musical styles on the market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and more, there are sure to be songs for nearly everyone’s musical preference. Past artists have included such top acts as John Legend, Jason Derulo, Ciara, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, KC & the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Air Supply, Billy Ocean, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Sean Paul, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Biggie Irie and Maxi Priest.  For the latest news and updates about this year’s event, follow the St. Kitts Music Festival on Facebook.  Videos of past Festivals can also be found on YouTube.

Recently Earned Awards & Recognitions 

With various new luxury developments making debuts in 2014 – including the openings of Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian HillSalt Plage beach bar and the super-yacht marina at Christophe Harbour, and the YU Lounge Private Jet Terminal, all taking place within the past year – a number of top publications have named the island among the hottest places to travel for 2015.  Here are just a few of the most recent-

 

About St. Kitts:

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger which connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on a sandy beach.  Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on FacebookTwitter and/or YouTube.

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New "Family Time" Summer Savings Offer from Cap Maison, St.Lucia

Credit: Saint Lucia Tourist Board


New “Family Time” Summer Savings Offer from

Cap Maison, Saint Lucia

April 1, 2015 – Cap Estate, Saint Lucia – Cap Maison, the popular five-star resort on Saint Lucia ranked as one of the top in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards, has long been a haven for families. The spacious Villa Suites provide guests with the sense of having their own private Caribbean home, with fullyequipped kitchens, separate living and dining areas and large verandas. Cap Maison’s protected beach is perfect for snorkeling, sand castles and sand buckets.

This summer, Cap Maison unveils its Family Time program, designed to help families make the most of their Caribbean vacation and their time together. In includes savings of up to 30% on Villa Suite rates, free dining for kids under the age of 11 and complimentary babysitting one evening per week. The highlight of Family Time is the introduction of the new Cap Maison Children’s Club, available this summer for children ages 3 to 11. Overseen by a full-time experienced Children’s Club supervisor, the program will offer a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities to keep the little ones engaged. There will also be a soft play area, kid’s books, as well as movies, toys and Wii games.

Family Time at Cap Maison

  • Rates start at $495 per night for a 2-bedroom Courtyard Villa, not including taxes.
  • A savings of 30% on a 2 or 3 bedroom Villa Suite.
  • Free second bedroom for accompanying children up to 16 years of age in when parents have booked a 2 or 3 bedroom Villa Suite.
  • Children ages 11 and under eat free when dining with their parents.
  • Children 12 to 16 years old enjoy a 50% discount on meals taken, or on the Half Board or Cap it All Inclusive supplements.
  • Complimentary 3 hours of evening babysitting once weekly for up to 2 children from ages one to 12 years.
  • Complimentary Children’s Club program July 1 to September 15.
  • Visit www.capmaison.com for details.
Cap Maison debuted on Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards with an impressive ranking of #2 in the Caribbean. A member of Virtuoso and Preferred Boutique Hotels, and a Fodor’s 100 World’s Best Hotels 2014, Cap Maison is set on a dramatic four-acre cliff just north of popular Rodney Bay and features 49 artfully appointed suites and guest rooms. Cliff at Cap, the resort’s signature restaurant with breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean, holds the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. Under the direction of Executive Chef Craig Jones, the white table cloth, oceanfront restaurant serves a French West Indian-inspired contemporary menu. The resort’s newest dining venue is The Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill. The resort features a serene 2,000 square foot spa and a private 46-foot luxury yacht, Cap Maison 1.For bookings and more information, guests may call Reservations toll free at 1-888-765-4985 or send an email to reservations@capmaison.com, or visit the website at www.capmaison.com.
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Focus on Ian 'Sugar George' Edwards of Sunset Homes

shelleciaB posted: “Focus on Ian ‘Sugar George’ Edwards of Sunset Homes Ian ‘Sugar George’ Edwards is a true master of his craft. He has no formal architectural education yet his creative mind allows him to imagine, design and build architectural works of art. Along with h”

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St.Patrick's Day recipes from Paul Rankin

St Patrick’s Day Recipes from Paul Rankin

For Immediate Release

(11 March 2014, Toronto, ON) — Wishing you a Happy St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland’s Celebrity Chef Paul Rankin shares his favorite Irish recipes to enjoy on March 17th. Please feel free to publish, share and post.

St Patrick’s Day is a great time to celebrate all that is wonderful about Irish produce and cooking. So what could be better than using the whole day to celebrate the culinary delights of the Emerald Isle? I have selected one of my favourite St Patrick’s inspired recipes for you to try at home. Make this St Patrick’s Day one to remember with this Irish Coffee Tart & Brown Bread Parfait.” Paul Rankin

Irish Coffee Tart

A dark and sumptuous tart with smooth chocolate as the background for the coffee and whiskey flavors. The ultimate touch is the Bailey’s Irish cream in the topping, but you could leave that out if preferred.

SERVES 8 – 10

INGREDIENTS:

For the base:

125 g. unsalted butter, diced
25 g. soft golden brown sugar
45 g. sugar
125 g. plain flour
1 ½ Tbsp. cornflour
pinch of salt
175 g. toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

for the tart filling:

300 ml. double cream
100 ml. single cream
100 ml. Bushmill’s Irish whiskey
300 g. dark chocolate, finely chopped
100 g. milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. coffee extract ( or very strong coffee )
2 eggs

for the topping:

½ leaf or 1 tsp. powdered gelatine
250 ml. whipping cream
150 g. icing sugar
4 Tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 170’C. / 325’F.

Process the butter, sugars, flour, corn flour, salt, and half of the prepared hazelnuts to a crumbly texture and pat into the base of a 23 cm. springform tin in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160’C. / 310’F.

For the filling, bring the double and single creams to the boil together, remove from heat, and add the Bushmill’s and coffee extract. Cool slightly before stirring in the chopped chocolates. Stir and when they have melted, stir in the eggs. Pour the filling over the cooked base, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for approx. 20 minutes until just set, but still slightly wobbly at the centre. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the topping, soften the gelatine in 2 Tbsp. cold water for a few minutes, heat gently to dissolve, then set aside to cool slightly. Beat the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks, sift in the icing sugar, and mix in the gelatine and Bailey’s. Spread in an even layer over the chocolate filling and leave to set.

Serve in slices with a chocolate sauce and lightly whipped cream with the remaining hazelnuts scattered over and around the cake.

Brown Bread Parfait with Bushmills Prunes

SERVES 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE PARFAIT;

70 g. white chocolate, chopped
175 ml. Double cream
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ vanilla pod, split
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
175 g. Irwin’s stoneground brown soda bread, crusts removed, and broken up to pea size crumbs

FOR THE PRUNES:

200 ml. Water
50 ml. Orange juice
175 g. sugar
½ lemon1/2 orange
120 g. pitted prunes
4 – 6 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey

METHOD:

To make the parfait, melt the white chocolate. Place half the cream, the milk, and the
vanilla on to boil in a small pan.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. When the cream mix has come to the boil, slowly pour it on to the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking continuously. Return to a medium heat and cook out over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When it is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, and allow to cool slightly.

Add the custard to the melted chocolate, and fold in the bread crumbs. Place in the fridge to chill for about ½ hour.

Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it and the Bushmills together with the custard mix.

Pour into individual ramekins, ( approx. 100 ml. Size ) and place in the freezer, for at least 2 – 3 hours, or even over night. ( If it is too hard, take from freezer to fridge for about an hour or two before serving. )

Place the water, orange juice, sugar, orange, and lemon in a medium pan, and bring to the boil. Add the prunes, cover, and summer gently until soft, about 20 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the lemon half, and orange half, and add the Bushmills. Set to one side.

To serve, demold by dipping each ramekin into hot water for a couple seconds, just to loosen, and then run a sharp knife around the edge. Carefully tip out the parfait into the centre of each plate, and surround with the Bushmill laced prunes, and a little of the prune juice. Garnish with mint and icing sugar as desired.

Serve and enjoy!

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