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Ochi's Jewel set to sparkle in September

Published:Sunday | August 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Couple's-only resort to add new twist to tourist landscape

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


Come September 1, United States-based hotel and real estate-management company Aimbridge Hospitality will open its doors to its first Jamaican all-inclusive, couples-only resort in Ocho Rios.

The resort is owned by insurance giants Sagicor and is tagged 'Jewel Dunn's River Resort and Spa'.

The 250-room hotel (formerly Sandals Dunn's River) will welcome its first guests at the start of the fall, a traditionally slow period for the island's tourist industry.

But with its booking engine opened since last Tuesday to an international and local clientele wishing to make reservations, it is estimated that the Jewel will help to bring some 'precious gem stones' to the country's stopover arrival figures.

300 staff retained

In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner on Thursday, the hotel's general manager, Carol Bourke, said Aimbridge Hospitality had retained the services of some 300 staff who had been employed to the previous operators.

"We gave persons who worked with the previous operators first preference, as long as they wanted to come back and occupy the job they had before," Bourke said.

The hotel's general manager said the employees were all given letters of intent.

Located near one of the island's landmark attractions - Dunn's River Falls - the Jewel is described as the perfect getaway for couples, honeymooners, and wedding ceremonies. The all-inclusive resort overlooks the Caribbean Sea and features six restaurants, five bars, two swimming pools, tennis courts, an executive golf course, a sports court, beach cabanas, an updated fitness centre, and a gift shop.

"We plan to create an ambience for couples at the Jewel that cannot be matched at other properties in Jamaica," said Bourke, who has had extensive hotel-management experience in Jamaica. "The exclusive features and services we've added at the Jewel are sure to exceed our guests' expectations," stated Bourke.

For the month of September, the all-inclusive, couples-only resort is offering an introductory rate of US$113.00 per person, per night, double occupancy. Those who book up to two nights receive a 50-minute complimentary massage.

Home to three buildings, each with mountain and ocean-view rooms, with suites available - the Diamond Building features luxurious rooms with whirlpool tubs and balconies overlooking the lush mountain or the Caribbean Sea and Dunn's River pool. When staying in the Diamond Building, guests can add Diamond Butler Service, which takes care of all arrangements, packing/unpacking, reservations and beach bungalows, and Diamond concierge service, which gives access to the desk concierge to handle needs, including shopping trips, excursions and dining reservations. Honeymoon suites, which offer additional space and larger balconies overlooking the water, are also available in the Diamond Building.

Pampering guests

The Sapphire Building features rooms with balconies looking back to the mountains or on to the Caribbean Sea and the pools. The Emerald Lanai is a mirror image two-storey building with rooms opening to the garden or the ocean. These rooms are the fastest way to get to the beach.

The Jewel will also offer a pool concierge to pamper and surprise the guests throughout the day, with skewers of fresh fruit, cool, eucalyptus-infused water, ice-cold face towels, and many more surprises. The pool concierges will greet the guests on lounge chairs around the pools and even swim right up to guests on floats with the same refreshing service.

Other special features include romantic dive-in movies shown by the pool, candlelit dining on the pier, daily handmade rum punches called 'the gem of the day', and Jamaican-flavoured rock candy as a night-time turndown gift to remind guests of the Jewel.