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jumbybay.jpgDespite tough economic times, a wave of upmarket hotels pull out all the stops to perk up their properties. Here’s a rundown of notable updates to look out for in the Caribbean, Europe, as well as on the homefront.

Jamaica: GoldenEye has just begun its expansion with a ground-breaking ceremony on August 14. The legendary “Bond” house, former home to Ian Fleming who penned the James Bond novels here in the 50s, was turned into a luxury resort by music mogul Chris Blackwell in 1977. The next chapter of its story will include 11 new beachfront cottages, said to feature traditional Caribbean architecture with cutting-edge comforts, due out late 2010.


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Antigua: Jumby Bay debuts its new looks on November 1. The 28-million transformation includes a new Sense spa, enhanced accommodations, new verandah restaurant and bistro, suites, and two estate homes for super-high rollers.


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Anguilla: Cap Juluca welcomes guests to a new-and-improved classic beach resort this September/October with special package rates, from $425/night. The first phase of the $80-million renovations have updated the resort’s lobby and inimitable white-washed Moorish villas with slick new interiors (so long bland built-in furniture and white tiles, hello Moroccan-style fittings and colorful mosaic tiling). Next phase: A new oceanfront infinity pool and spa. 

Milan: Hotel Principe di Savoia, a historic hotel on Piazza del Repubblica, has revamped its lobby and bar with the help of New York designer Thierry Despont. The new space boasts sumptuous Italian furnishings, plenty of marble, wood-paneling, and a custom Murano glass chandelier. Nine new Principe suites, designed by London-based architect Francesca Basu, feature hand-painted frescoes, rich upholstery, and bathrooms with hand-crafted mosaics.

Paradise Valley, Arizona: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is in the midst of renovating its public spaces. Restaurant elements’ kitchen is being remodeled and expanded; a new private dining room called XII will sit behind a new 800-bottle wine corridor, complete with sommelier; and the resort’s former Sunset Patio will soon feature a massive retractable skylight roof and glass walls so guests can enjoy the pool and valley views year round.

Seattle: Hotel Ändra is also in the process of multi-phase renovations. They’ve already completed a lobby upgrade (expect a “refreshed” Scandinavian style) and are moving on to the hotel’s 118 guestrooms to spiff up bathrooms and decor. Renovations will roll out through the next six months.

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