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The Latest From Caribbean All-InclusivesMay 16, 2012 By: Joe Pike
With summer travel right around the corner, agents should probably brush up on all the latest all-inclusive happenings coming out of the Caribbean. Travel Agent zeroed in on some of the latest offerings, developments and programs at some of the region’s best all-inclusive resorts.
Sandals, Beaches Resorts Revamp Trip Mate Travel Protection Plan to Include Air Fare Coverage
It was announced last week that clients who purchase the Trip Mate travel protection plan from Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts or Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts will now receive coverage for air arrangements should they have to cancel their stay for any reason covered by the Trip Mate travel protection plan.
Travelers who book their air transportation with Sandals or Beaches, through an independent agent or on their own, will now receive Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption coverage.
This new Trip Mate benefit is excellent for both travelers and agents, as agents' commissions are also protected if guests cancel their stay due to a covered reason. Trip Mate insurance can be purchased for only $99 per adult and $79 per child within seven days of booking a reservation.
Other key benefits include coverage for: pre-existing conditions, revocation of military leave due to war, primary medical coverage, medical expense and emergency assistance, missed connection coverage (three hours or more), travel delay coverage (12 hours or more), and baggage delay coverage (24 hours or more).
The plan also includes 24-hour customer service and access to medical records online should the insured person’s important medical information be necessary at anytime, anywhere around the world. Visit www.tripmate.com and www.sandals.com.
Elite Island Resorts Cuts Ties With Grenada Resort
Steven Heydt, president of Elite Island Resorts, recently announced that the company has reached a mutual agreement to end its partnership with Mount Cinnamon Resort in Grenada.
The resort will be taking all of their sales, marketing, public relations and reservations back in-house and will be managing their communications from Grenada, Hedyt says. Visit www.eliteislandresorts.com.
The New Consolidated Barcelo Bavaro Complex in the Dominican Republic
In mid April, Travel Agent arrived at the Dominican Republic for our coverage of the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) and was welcomed by a new, fresher and less confusing Barcelo Bavaro Palace complex. We expect to see a major boost in bookings because of the new look and concept.
Basically, the previous complex that housed five resorts, all with different names and amenities, was pretty confusing not only to consumers but certain travel writers as well.
The complex reduced from five resorts to two - the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe, which has roughly 1,600 rooms and the Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort, which has about 400 rooms and a conference center.
As part of the consolidation, several buildings were knocked down while others were repositioned. One of the repositioned buildings is the now Barcelo Beach Resort, which is now an adults-only hotel. For children, the new Barcy Kids Club was built at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe as well as a new water park and disco club for teenagers. In total, the renovations to bring the smaller, but more effective, Barcelo complex to life came to about $50 million.
And, in Travel Agent's opinion, it was well worth it. Visit www.barcelo.com.
Impending Sale Forces Breezes Trelawny to Close May 31
John Issa, chairman of SuperClubs Resorts, announced in March that Breezes Trelawny Resort & Spa will be closing on May 31 due to an impending sale to an overseas hotel operator. Once the sale is finalized, more details will be announced.
Breezes Trelawny Resort & Spa in Jamaica has been a retreat for families of all ages since 2002. The 349-room resort features four swimming pools, a “Kids Club,” four tennis courts, mini-golf and a professional Circus Workshop.
Guests booked for travel June 1 and beyond will be contacted by SuperClubs to make alternate arrangements. Visit www.superclubs.com.
Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana Completes $10 Million Upgrade
Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana, Domincan Republic comprised of the Grand Palladium Bávaro Resort & Spa, Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino and Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, has recently completed a $10 million renovation, updating its guest rooms, adding two new restaurants, a water park and convention center.
In addition, its family friendly services have expanded with a new concept, signature Family Friendly Rooms at the Bávaro Resort & Spa, as well as expansion of Palladium’s age-specific Kids’ Club, available to guests at all three properties and recognized as the largest facility for children in the Caribbean and Mexico.
With this investment, clients can enjoy 160 refurbished rooms in the Bávaro Resort & Spa, complete with LCD flat screen TVs, new curtains, and furniture. New lighting and color scheme provides ultimate relaxation for guests – filled with cool sky blues and warm earth tones mirrored after the Caribbean destination.
The Family Friendly rooms, a new signature service, have been introduced in the 379 Junior Suites at the Grand Palladium Bávaro Resort & Spa. These rooms provide specialized accommodations and upon request they can be outfitted with all the amenities a family needs, from baby formula to video games. Applicable to children from 1-19, parents can now throw away the packing list and enjoy their vacation stress-free.
Guests can wake up and warm up alongside the newly renovated Bejique pool – complete with a Jacuzzi, pool deck, and hammocks. While adults can enjoy the refreshing waters and more modern and contemporary feel of the Bejique pool, families can have some fun in the sun at the resort’s new water park filled with mini-fountains, water slides and trampolines designed as pirate ships.
Decorated with a “Spanish fortress” theme in mind, the Kids’ Club at the Grand Palladium Resorts in Punta Cana resembles a castle and features nearly 2,140 square feet of indoor air-conditioned space; and another 3,117 square feet of outdoor space with fenced playgrounds and lawns, surrounded by shady gardens. Activities include a new swimming pool, zip-line, several game areas, a mini-disco, movie theatre, and much more. Babysitting services are also available for parents seeking an adults-only evening until 11 p.m.
With two new restaurants on property, La Parrilla and Chef Raffaele, clients can choose from a total of eight a la carte and five buffet style restaurants. Those seeking a wide selection of menu items can choose the newly renovated El Arrecife restaurant, an international buffet style restaurant serving lunch with many local specialties, authentic BBQ and a gourmet salad bar. El Arrecife has been completely remodeled with new furniture and kitchen equipment while also providing a more spacious dining experience to guests with views of the Caribbean. The updated La Uva snack bar on the beach is perfect for guests seeking a quick bite.
Completed in phase one of the renovation in 2010, the Convention Center at the Grand Palladium Resorts in Punta Cana is designed with seven multi-purpose halls with a total area of roughly 1,985 square feet and maximum theater capacity for 500 people. It features modern facilities, advanced multimedia technology and a team of professional experts that can help guests organize any type of event. Visit www.fiestahotelgroup.com.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all the latest from Caribbean all-inclusive resorts.