Tuesday, December 27, 2016

10 New Hotels Coming to the Caribbean

The pace of new hotel development in the Caribbean hasn’t slowed in recent years as more investors jump into the Caribbean and management companies continue to expand. That means there’s another exciting slate of new hotel properties set to come on stream in the Caribbean this year, from large resorts to far-off luxury outposts. Here are 10 hotels we’re excited about for 2017 from around the Caribbean.

Park Hyatt St. Kitts

One of the region’s most anticipated new hotels, the 126-room (including 48 suites) Park Hyatt will likely open its doors sometime in the spring of 2017. But when it does, it will immediately be one of the Caribbean’s highest-level properties, ushering in a major new property and elevating St. Kitts in the global travel market.
Shore Club TCI
The new Shore Club is bringing a new level of design and luxury to the Turks and Caicos Islands, a remarkable mix of traditional Caribbean architecture and modern chic, with 106 suites on the spectacular Long Bay Beach.
Sailrock, Turks and Caicos
Another hot new property in the TCI, Sailrock is set on the largely undeveloped island of South Caicos, with a mix of beachfront villas and ridgetop suites.
Baha Mar, Bahamas
It’s the rare property that makes it onto the New Hotel list three different times, but here’s hoping the third time’s the charm for the long-stalled Baha Mar. In its newest iteration under new owner CTFE (which owns Rosewood), the hotel is eyeing a “phased opening” in April with a casino hotel, convention center and golf course.
Royalton Saint Lucia
In a big boost for St. Lucia’s all-inclusive sector, Royalton is targeting an early 2017 debut for its new pair of properties, including Royalton St. Lucia and the adults-only Hideaway at Royalton St. Lucia.
Royalton Negril, Jamaica
Along with its St. Lucia push, the company is also debuting a similar pair of resorts in Negril, Royalton Negril and Hideaway at Royalton Negril (adults-only), on a similar early 2017 time frame.
UNICO 2087, Mexico
Set to debut later this year, the UNICO will be an adults-only all-inclusive with 448 guest rooms, four restaurants, pools, a convention center and a host of ocean-view rooms.
Grand Lido Negril, Jamaica
The rebirth of a once-legendary Jamaican resort, this hotel will be a similarly au-naturel property with just 26 ocean-facing suites.
Itz’ana Resort, Belize
The boutique resort and residential development Itz’ana is slated for a spring 2017 debut on Belize’s Placencia peninsula with a small collection of waterfront bungalows and larger units, along with a signature restaurant, a “Rum Room” and a private island club.
Habitation Jouissaint
More of a rebranding than a full-fledged new hotel, Haiti’s Habitation Jouissant is slated to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection, a major boost for one of the Caribbean’s most rugged destinations; Hamed Rodriguez Architects is leading the hotel’s expansion plans, with International Design Concepts on the interiors.

Friday, December 9, 2016

History of Christmas Markets in Germany

The Christmas market originated in what is now Germany. Open-air street markets have a long history dating back long before anyone celebrated Christmas. In Europe in the Late Middle Ages special winter markets, often open only for a day or two in early winter, offered townspeople a chance to stock up on food and supplies to tide them over in the cold months. An example is Vienna’s Dezembermarkt, first held around 1294/1296. Similar “Wintermärkte” also took place elsewhere in Europe, but they were not really Christmas markets.

With time, craftspeople began setting up stands at winter markets to sell baskets, toys and woodcarvings. There were also booths for almonds, nuts, roasted chestnuts, gingerbread and other baked goods. These items were often purchased as gifts to be given out for Christmas or on New Year’s Day. These winter markets were the precursor of contemporary Christmas markets. Claims that the first documented genuine Christmas markets were found in Munich (1310), Bautzen (1384) and Frankfurt am Main (Weihnachtsmarkt am Römerberg, 1393) have recently been called into question. Those may not have been real Christmas markets, but winter markets similar to the ones described above.
Dresden may have one of the strongest claims to the first genuine Christmas market. The Striezelmarkt in Dresden dates back to 1434. If not the oldest, it is certainly one of the oldest and most authentic Christmas fairs in Germany.