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With Navy Packing, Hotel Salutes Vieques Wyndham To Manage Martineau Bay
With Navy Packing, Hotel Salutes Vieques
Luxury resort to open on island
By NANCY SAN MARTIN
February 13, 2003
After years of raucous protests over bombing exercises that brought international attention to Puerto Rico's small island of Vieques, a luxury resort is hoping to attract vacationers to enjoy the coral reef-laden beaches.
The 156-room Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa is scheduled to open Feb. 24 -- two years after construction was completed.
''This is magnificent, a dream come true for all those involved in the project,'' said Ricardo Valles, project manager. ``Anyone who comes here will feel at home.''
The U.S. Navy's pledge to abandon its Vieques bombing range by May 1 contributed to the decision, hotel owners said.
''The Navy's leaving. The horizon seems to be less cloudy,'' said Roberto Cacho, a majority owner.
But even as islanders welcome job and economic opportunities, worries remain over the new hotel and its impact on the environment.
''We support sustainable economic development,'' said Robert Rabin of the Committee for the Rescue & Development of Vieques, which adamantly opposed the bombing exercises. ``This is not a sustainable economic development, but we are very much in favor of any project to help alleviate the economic situation.''
The $60 million resort is planned on 42 acres along virgin beach on the north shore. It offers two restaurants, tennis courts and a poolside bar. Room rates will be more than $200 during the high season.
''We've been waiting anxiously for this,'' said Carlos Negrón, planning director for Puerto Rico's tourism bureau. ``It will generate money that will stay in Vieques.''
Vieques, with its limited tourism, has only small hotels and inns.
The island is a nesting ground for sea turtles. It also is home to a bioluminescent bay that is considered to be among the world's most spectacular. At night, the water takes on a galaxy-like effect.
The four-star Martineau will more than double the number of rooms now available for visitors.
The exclusive development surrounded by high cement walls has its critics.
''It's not the type of tourism I support because it's not ecotourism. It's expensive tourism,'' said Juan R. Fernández, commissioner of Vieques.
Still, the potential job market is important for a municipality of 9,300 with an unemployment rate as high as 45 percent.
At least 200 people are expected to be hired, making Martineau Vieques' largest private employer. Most will fill housekeeping and maintenance posts.
The Navy had used Vieques as its main Atlantic Coast training range for more than 50 years. However, last month, Navy officials announced that it would no longer need the 900-acre range near the eastern tip of Vieques.
Bombing ranges in Florida and North Carolina will serve as alternative training sites to Vieques. Several other locations in the United States also were certified as ''equivalent or superior'' to Vieques and could be used for exercises.
Island residents who oppose the Navy's presence blame bombing exercises for health and environmental problems. Anti-Navy sentiment intensified after an April 1999 bombing accident that killed a civilian security guard at the range.
Fernández and others concerned about the environment said they will keep a wary eye on resort activities and would oppose any further development that is not ``ecologically sound.''
Negrón said islanders need not worry.
``We know that if the environment in Vieques is hurt, it's like cutting off its life.''
Wyndham Signs Agreement To Manage New Resort On Puerto Ricos Vieques Island
February 10, 2003
DALLAS -Wyndham International, Inc. (AMEX:WBR), the largest hospitality company in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , announced today that Martineau Bay Inc. has chosen the company to manage its new 156-room oceanfront resort located on Vieques in Puerto Rico . Dubbed the Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa, the exclusive property will officially open its doors Feb. 24, 2003.
"As the largest hotel brand in the Caribbean, we have a special affinity for Puerto Rico and are especially pleased to introduce the elite property's serene and elegant offerings to the marketplace," said Fred J. Kleisner, Wyndham's chairman and chief executive officer. "The Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa, with its warm and intimate Vieques character, is a perfect complement to our Puerto Rico portfolio, where we now have six premier Wyndham-branded properties."
"Partnering with Wyndham on this very special property fulfills a goal we've been eagerly working toward," said Roberto Cacho, president of Martineau Bay Inc. "Wyndham's expertise in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, including its powerful sales, marketing and reservations networks and exceptional operational know-how make them the company of choice to operate Martineau Bay."
Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa is perched on 42 acres on the north shore of the island of Vieques . This largely undiscovered island, declared "among the Caribbean's best-kept vacation secrets" by Forbes.com (March 2002), is eight miles off the eastern coast of mainland Puerto Rico .
"We feel very proud to announce that we have signed the agreement with Martineau Bay Inc. This is excellent news for the people of Vieques and for its constituencies," said Hector Mendez, president of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico , the resort's financial lender. "This beautiful island, very well-known as Isla Nena, will have an important impact on its economy with the creation of 200 new jobs."
Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa overlooks its private beaches with breathtaking ocean views from all guestrooms and throughout the resort. Its plantation-style, tropical guesthouses blend unobtrusively into Vieques ' verdant natural environment. Rooms and suites are spacious and understated with Spanish and French accents. The resort features a full-service spa and fitness center, watersports, two restaurants, a bar and lounge, tennis courts and a dedicated Meeting House, perfect for meetings and banquets of up to 176 people.
Guests have access to a plethora of pristine beaches, three of which are on property. Saltwater fly fishing, deep sea/offshore fishing, sailing, kayaking, hiking, biking and horseback riding can be arranged by the resort's concierge staff. Guests will also enjoy touring this enchanting island and taking in its beautiful natural environs, including the world's most renowned and ecologically respected bioluminescent bays. Art and ceramic galleries offer interesting indigenous crafts and the Spanish Fort and Punta Mulas Lighthouse Museums provide a look at the island's history.
As a hotel brand focused on empowering guests to customize their hotel experiences by posing the question "What's your request?" guests of the resort will be offered enhanced personalized guest service each and every time they stay at the Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa or any other Wyndham-branded property by joining Wyndham ByRequest(R), the company's unique guest recognition program.
In Puerto Rico , the Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa joins the Wyndham El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa, Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Wyndham Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, Wyndham Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino, and Las Casitas Village - A Wyndham Luxury Resort.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is an innovative, upscale hotel brand with properties located in the United States, Caribbean, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Owned, managed and franchised by Wyndham International, Inc., Wyndham's brand philosophy centers on listening to the needs of business and leisure travelers, and responding with personalized services. With a history of program firsts, Wyndham developed Wyndham ByRequest, a unique guest recognition program that tailors each guest's stay to their preferences, and the award-winning Women On Their Way(R) program, which caters to the woman business traveler. For reservations, call a travel planner, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts at 1-800-WYNDHAM or visit Wyndham on the Internet at www.wyndham.com.