A hotel in the Dominican Republic earlier this month inaugurated a new skateboard ramp.
The hotel, eXtreme Cabarete, is on the north coast of the nation on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. It's the first of what owner Bill Lee, a Los Angeles businessman, hopes will become a chain of active-sports resorts for what he calls "adrenaline enthusiasts."
Kite-boarding, in which a mini-surfboard is tethered to a kite that propels it along the water, is also offered at the resort. Surfing, scuba diving, river rafting, mountain biking and other activities are nearby.
Lee opened the Cabarete hotel to guests a year ago, but until a few weeks ago, "it was just a 20-room boutique hotel with no soul to it," he said in a telephone interview. "We've really ramped up the amenities."
Recent additions, besides the skate ramp, include a skateboard shop, a parking structure and a renovated beach bar. An on-site school offers 5 1/2 hours of kite-boarding lessons for $315 to $374.
Most room rates start at $55, double occupancy, including breakfast; rates vary by season. (809) 571-0880, http://www.extremehotels.com .
JetBlue tops flier surveys
JetBlue Airways, the 5-year-old discount airline known for seat-back televisions and leather seats, soared over rivals in two recent surveys of passenger satisfaction.
JetBlue scored 783, followed by Southwest Airlines, at 702, on a 1,000-point scale of "overall satisfaction," according to J.D. Power & Associates. The marketing company, based in Westlake Village, surveyed 2,600 leisure and business passengers who flew between May and October 2004 for its study, released last week.
Northwest Airlines ranked last on the list of 11 domestic carriers.
JetBlue usually tops customer surveys conducted each quarter by another company, Market Metrix, a travel industry marketing researcher based in San Rafael. The company said it surveyed more than 20,000 air travelers in 2004.
"As a discount carrier, it's really remarkable that JetBlue has created that kind of loyalty," said Lenny Nash, a partner in Market Metrix.
In surveys last year by the company, JetBlue was followed by Midwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Lufthansa in satisfaction rankings of 22 domestic and foreign airlines.
Southwest was No. 11, and US Airways was last.
"There's a gaping chasm in the rankings" once you get past JetBlue and Midwest, Nash added.
Canadian airline quits
Canada's third-largest airline, 3-year-old discounter Jetsgo, stopped flying March 11, stranding 17,000 passengers during the busy spring-break school holidays.
The Montreal-based carrier, owned by Montreal businessman Michel Leblanc, filed for and obtained court protection from creditors. In its filing, it said it had lost about $45 million in the last eight months and that its business was no longer viable because air fares were well below cost.
Jetsgo accounted for about 10% of Canada's domestic airline market, analysts said. Its low-cost rival, WestJet Airlines Ltd., remains in business, as does Air Canada.
— Compiled by