RockResorts set to arrive in Dominican Republic

The chill hasn’t quite crept into the air yet, but it’s coming. We know it’s coming. So, instead of waiting for the frost to form on your windshield, line up your next trip to the tropics now, and be ready to take off as soon as it starts to get cold. A new RockResort hotel is about to open in the Dominican Republic and is waiting for you to show up, kick back and soak in the sun.

The Balcones del Atlantico will be the second RockResort to open in the Caribbean, following the first, The Landings in St. Lucia. When it opens in February, the resort will boast 86 two- and three-bedroom villas that are integrated into the natural surroundings.

Paul Toner, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality, says, “Building on the tremendous success of The Landings St. Lucia, A RockResort, which opened two years ago, we were eager to expand in the Caribbean region.” He continues, “We look forward to managing this island resort and sharing with our guests the iconic beauty of the Dominican Republic, and the exceptional guest service that RockResorts is known for at all of our properties.”


RockResort deal ignites romance at The Landings St. Lucia

Now with direct flights from JFK, St. Lucia is even more accessible than ever before. With winter coming, the Caribbean becomes all the more attractive, and RockResort has is amping it up with a new deal. Couples are invited to celebrate their relationships at St. Lucia — from eloping to honeymooning to renewing — at a savings of up to 25 percent. Three new deals are designed to get you onto the beach soon.

The “Romance and Elope” package does more than knock the price of a room at The Landings down to $564 a night; it also spares you the months of agony involved in wedding planning. Dash off to St. Lucia for the wedding of your dreams (one that doesn’t involve angry family members, seating charts or bunny hops). Your wedding ceremony will be held under a decorated arch on the beach, after which Executive Chef Richard Tonks will set you up with dinner for two on the couples’ villa suite terrace. The six-night package also includes choice of breakfast or lunch daily and evening champagne turndown.

If you just tied the knot and need a honeymoon, check out the “Romance and Escape” package. You’ll enjoy a Caribbean honeymoon for six nights and benefit from “his” and “hers” amenities, in addition to dinner for two in The Beach Club and a selection of excursions such as SCUBA diving, rainforest zip-lining, golf and lavish spa treatments (rates start at $431 a night).

For couples who are already married, the “Romance and Renew” package taps into the fun of renewing wedding vows, with a sunset beachside ceremony, a private romantic in-suite dinner and couples massages at the spa. The $525 nightly rate includes a framed picture of the ceremony.

Give a little to get a little at RockResorts

Is it really goodwill if you’re getting something in return? Well, maybe we’ll call it a fair trade, then. This summer, RockResorts is offering a “Give & Getaway” package across all nine of its resorts. In exchange for an incredibly low room rate, you just have to chip in some time to help the environment. Projects include trail restoration, working with sustainable local farmers, and supporting local stream an driver ecosystems. Depending on your appetite for saving the world, you can work for a half-day, full day or even several days: there are plenty of projects available.

“The Give & Getaway package has been a successful initiative to promote conservation of the spectacular environments of our Colorado resorts and help our guests find even more value in their vacations,” said Stan Brown, President of RockResorts. “It is just one valuable extension of our company’s commitment to the environment and philosophy to preserve it in a rewarding and interactive way. We know that especially in today’s economy, guests want to feel good about the vacations they take, and this program guarantees an exceptional hotel experience with a unique opportunity to positively impact the environment. This way they can make a contribution that they can enjoy on a return visit to the destination.”

Interested in participating? The “Give & Getaway package” is available on the following dates:

The Arrabelle at Vail Square: July 11, August 15, September 12
The Lodge at Vail: July 11, August 15, September 12
The Pines Lodge: August 15
Hotel Jerome: May 30
Snake River Lodge & Spa: May 31-June 6; September 20-26
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa: May 26
The Osprey at Beaver Creek: August 15
The Pines Lodge: August 15
The Landings St Lucia: Ongoing beginning May 1
Keystone Hospitality: May 16, June 6, August 15

Rates start at an absurd $99 per person per night (for a two-night stay). Several resorts are extending the rate to before and after projects, as well.

Vail Resorts and RockResorts have raised more than $1.2 million (including matching funds) for non-profit conservation organizations in the White River National Forest in Colorado and the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Nevada. Guests have the option to pay an extra $1 on ski season passes, lift tickets and room nights, with the National Forest Foundation kicking in an additional 50 cents per dollar.

Double up on St. Lucia at Ladera and Cap Maison

Start at the Ladera for three nights, and then move to Cap Maison for another three. And, there’s one rate that includes food and beverages for the week you’re bouncing between the island’s southern rainforest and northern secluded beach. For two people, the package starts at $5,400 – but includes a few aspects that translate to a 20 percent savings on your trip.

At the Ladera, you’ll enjoy an open-air Gros Piton Suite with a private plunge pool and unobstructed view of the mountains and the Caribbean Sea. You’ll also have all meals covered at Dasheene reastaurant covered, not to mention cocktails, wines by the glass, daily afternoon tea and a treatment at Ti Kay Pose Spa.

For the second half of your trip, a private car will take you up to Cap Maison, St. Lucia’s newest hotel. Golf, shopping and nightlife are nearby, and you’ll be comfortable in your Ocean View Villa Suite – with a private Jacuzzi and sea views. Wine and champagne with meals are covered, as well as afternoon tea, a spa treatment at Spa Maison and full use of resort facilities.

This deal is available from May 1 to December 20, 2009, though rates vary with booking date. You can add nights to your stay if you like.

Jalousie Plantation resort brings solar golf carts to St Lucia

Okay, it’s not exactly a cure for cancer, but any initiative that does cut down on fossil fuel reliance still resonates with me. So, I was pretty excited to see that the Jalousie Plantation has adopted a hybrid solar-powered golf cart to move guests around on its 192-acre property … with no carbon emissions! This is among the first of these environmentally-friendly golf carts in the Caribbean, and the goal is for this quirky little vehicle to replace the oil-dependent carts and minibuses that currently carry passengers around Jalousie.

This measure is reflective of Jalousie parent company Kor Hotel Group’s “Second Nature” program, which consists of several eco-friendly measures across its holdings. Kor’s properties are encouraged to source local produce, arts and other supplies to cut down on food-miles (or other “product-miles”) in an effort to reduce carbon emissions while contributing to economic growth in the community.

“We want to play our part at The Jalousie Plantation in supporting the environmentally-conscious initiatives of Kor and the new hybrid solar-powered golf cart is seen as a first step in helping us to do this,” Jalousie’s General Manager, Rodrigo Caldeira said.

The golf cart has a photovoltaic cell on its roof, which takes St Lucia sunshine and turns it into the electricity that makes the cart move. In the event of rain, the cart can be plugged into an electrical outlet to have its battery charged.

“Eventually all of the vehicles we use at Jalousie will be gasoline-free and this will help us to lessen our emissions of greenhouse gases which are having a tremendous impact on eco-systems around the world and contributing to climatic change and global warming,” Caldeira said. “The new cart also significantly reduces noise pollution and makes a great contribution in our efforts to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and in ensuring our operations are environmentally sustainable.”