It’s been quite a busy month for Sheila C. Johnson and her hospitality company.
Yesterday Salamander Hotels & Resorts announced that it has taken over management of Reunion Wyndham Grand Resort near Orlando in Kissimmee and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, and with its recently renovated Innisbrook Resort near Tampa in Palm Harbor, has united the three properties to form Grand Golf Resorts of Florida.
The new group of resorts offers 162 holes of golf designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Larry Packard. Grand Golf Resorts of Florida also features the only resort-based ANNIKA Academy, an innovative teaching facility designed and developed by Annika Sorenstam, who attended the announcement event.
Salamander also unveiled what it has dubbed the Legends of Golf Trail, which essentially is the route between the resorts and across Florida, and plans to introduce a new Grand Membership program that includes club benefits for all three properties, beginning with the 2012 season.
In early October, the Virginia-based Salamander was selected to manage Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. The $110 million, 176-suite property is in the process of being converted from an all-inclusive, couples-only resort to a traditional a la carte property, with plans to begin welcoming new guests and families in December. All current reservations are being honored during the transition.
The Sanctuary joins two other resorts in Salamander’s newly formed Grand Resorts at Cap Cana collection, which includes the Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, a 298-villa property currently scheduled to open on Nov. 3, and the Ocean Club Cap Cana, a 113-room boutique hotel, due to open in 2012. Managing Director Hendrick Santos, who spent 19 years with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, is overseeing the collection.
Salamander was launched in 2005 by Johnson, who was a founding partner of BET and who currently has ownership in three professional sports teams: the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Additional properties in the company’s portfolio include the five-star Woodlands Inn near Charleston, S.C., and the Salamander Resort & Spa, a 340-acre equestrian-themed resort that will have 168 guest rooms and suites and a cooking school. The property is currently under construction and due to open in 2013 near Washington, D.C., in Middleburg, Virginia.
Photo: Fishing Lodge at Cap Cana/Salamander
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