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All-Inclusives Are Going StrongNovember 1, 2007 By: Joe Pike Home-Based Travel Agent
An update on openings and renovations
When you think of all-inclusive properties, chances are, the Caribbean and Mexico are the first two destinations that come to mind, and rightfully so.
But as demand for this type of vacation increases across the globe, many all-inclusive giants are continuing to take their successes beyond the Caribbean and Mexico into other regions of the world. Companies that haven't yet decided to move to another market have chosen expansions and innovative programs to keep their products fresh.
No matter what the strategy has been for the all-inclusive hospitality companies, it's worked. The new-look all-inclusive movement that began about five years ago isn't showing any signs of fading.
For home-based agents looking to stay on top of the always-changing all-inclusive world, we tracked down some of the hottest news to share with your clients.
SuperClubs Continues Latin America Openings
SuperClubs Resorts, known mostly for its properties in Jamaica, continues to make strides in becoming a force in Latin America. Last year, the company announced plans to enter Panama's tourism market with a 300-room Breezes resort near Playa Blanca. The popular Jamaica-based all-inclusive hotelier signed a 10-year contract with developers Sunstar Hotel & Development SA to build the hotel along the country's southern Pacific beaches in the high-end community of Bijao in the Coclé province. Groundbreaking recently took place for the family-friendly hotel, slated to open its doors in mid-2008, complete with both a spa and casino.
SuperClubs is now welcoming travelers to its second family-friendly resort in Brazil, Starfish Ilha de Santa Luzia. The all-inclusive property is on the estuary island of Santa Luzia, home to the famed beaches of Atalaia Nova, with easy bridge access to the port capital of Aracaju. The property rests upon almost four miles of private beach and has 75 rooms, 108 suites and 25 bungalows. To celebrate its opening, Starfish Ilha de Santa Luzia is offering 25 percent off rack rates, starting at $50 per person, based on double occupancy, good through December 23. Children two to 13 years old stay for $25 per night.
The $18 million project is the second SuperClubs property in Brazil, following the 2000 opening of Breezes Costa Do Sauipe in Bahia, and the second Starfish property worldwide, following the launch of this affiliate brand in 2002 with Starfish Trelawny in Jamaica.
Guests at Starfish Ilha de Santa Luzia will find ample dining and entertainment options with three restaurants—Munasan serves Japanese teppanyaki and sushi, and there are an Italian and a Continental restaurant—five bars, a swimming pool, two tennis courts, a soccer field, a fitness center and an ?a carte spa.
Work also began earlier this year on SuperClubs' third Brazilian property, with the groundbreaking of the 330-room Breezes Buzios Resort in Rio de Janeiro. This sprawling hideaway in Rio's famed beach town has an ambitious master plan that includes 110 villas, a spa, a mini-golf course and convention facilities. It is due to open in 2009.
For more information about SuperClubs Resorts or to book a stay at the new Starfish Ilha de Santa Luzia, visit www.superclubs.com or call 800-GO-SUPER. The travel agent liaison for the Santa Luzia property is Rodrigo Galvao, rooms division coordinator, who can be reached at the main number or at [email protected].
The Riviera Maya's Latest All-Inclusive
Valentin Imperial Maya Resort & Spa (www.valentinmaya.com) will open its doors on November 30 in Mexico's Riviera Maya.
The all-inclusive adults-only property is on Playa del Secreto, or "Secret Beach." With nearly 400 suites, this resort features such amenities as satellite TV, complimentary wireless Internet connection, a pillow menu and an iPod docking station/alarm clock. In addition, Valentin Maya Resort & Spa has a choice of nine full-service restaurants and eight light-fare spots, a full-service spa and a host of recreational activities.
Travel agents are invited to stay at the resort at an introductory fam rate of $60 per person, per night. The resort will honor the rate until May on a space-available basis, excluding holidays. Agents interested in reserving this rate can e-mail their requests to [email protected]. Agents can contact Robyn Mitlitsky, director of sales and marketing for the U.S., at 718-358-2401 or
Almond Casuarina Slated for December Opening
Almond Resorts (www.almondresorts.com) plans to re-open the 289-room Almond Casuarina Beach Resort on December 15. On Dover Beach, close to St. Lawrence Gap on the south coast of the Barbados, the resort is undergoing a $30 million expansion and refurbishment.
A great choice for families, the resort will have a fully equipped Kids' Club, with amenities to suit all ages, from newborns to teenagers. As part of its all-inclusive program, Almond Casuarina Beach will have fine dining at three gourmet restaurants, four bars, three swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, golf and a range of water sports. Spa services will be available but not included.
Six categories of rooms will be offered, ranging from standard rooms to two-bedroom suites. Guests staying at Almond Casuarina Beach are invited to experience the other two Almond Resorts in Barbados (note though that Almond Beach Club accepts guests over 16 years of age).
Complimentary shuttle service between the resorts is available. Almond Casuarina Beach guests will also have the option of making it a two-island trip and spending some time at Almond Morgan Bay Beach Resort or Almond Smugglers Cove in St. Lucia. Airfare between the islands is additional.
Since there is currently no travel agent liaison at the property, write to [email protected] with any inquiries or questions.
AMResorts to Double Mexico Product
AMResorts is doubling its presence in Mexico. It has six projects underway, and by 2009, there will be six new Dreams and Secrets Resorts & Spas in Mexico.
The new Dreams Resorts & Spas are Dreams Riviera Cancún Resort & Spa, Dreams Pearl Sands Riviera Cancún Resort & Spa and Dreams Litibu Punta de Mita Resort & Spa. Dreams Riviera Cancún in the Puerto Morelos region is the newest AMResorts property to break ground; it is expected to open in winter 2008. Dreams Pearl Sands Riviera Cancún in the Petempich Bay area is also slated to open in the 2008 winter season. Dreams Litibu Punta de Mita in the Nayarit region will open in the fall of 2009.
The new Secrets Resorts & Spas are Secrets Litibu Punta de Mita Resort, Secrets Maroma Riviera Cancún Resort & Spa, Secrets Maroma Riviera Cancún Resort & Spa and Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa. Secrets Litibu Punta de Mita in the Nayarit region will open in the fall of 2009.
Secrets Maroma Riviera Cancún in Playa Maroma will be AMResorts' most luxurious adults-only hideaway. It is scheduled to be unveiled in March 2008.
Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancún is expected to open in the fall of 2008 and will be on the beach of Petempich, Puerto Morelos.
Secrets Litibu Punta de Mita Resort & Spa and Dreams Litibu Punta de Mita Resort & Spa will be AMResorts' first properties in the Nayarit region of Mexico. For more information on Secrets Resorts & Spas, visit www.secretsresorts.com or call 866-GO-SECRETS.
Buenaventura Grand Hotel Undergoes Transformation
The new Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa (www.hotelbuenaventura.com.mx) has recently completed renovations, which have been underway since last November. The hotel formerly known as Buenaventura Hotel & Beach Club was renamed Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa, reflecting the hotel's top-to-bottom transformation.
Set in the heart of lively Puerto Vallarta, Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa is a five-minute walk from Puerto Vallarta's beloved malecon promenade. Its 238 newly renovated rooms and suites include two handicapped-accessible rooms.
All rooms have been remodeled, with upgraded floors, bathrooms, furniture, amenities, accessories, linen and air-conditioning. Renovations also include the addition of a Kidz Club. Fall 2007 all-inclusive rates start at $110 per person, per night, based on double occupancy and winter 2007 pricing starts at $122. All-inclusive rates cover accommodations, meals, snacks, drinks (including cocktails and wine), 24-hour room service, daily activities, kayaking, snorkeling, an introductory scuba lesson, hotel taxes and tips.
For more information and reservations at Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa, call 888-859-9439 or e-mail [email protected].
Agents can contact Celia Molina, reservations manager, at 52-322-226-7033, 888-859-9439 or [email protected].
St. Maarten Resort Debuts New Suites
St. Maarten's Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino (www.sonesta.com/greatbay) recently opened a new Miramar wing. The resort has 52 units, consisting of studios and one- and two-bedroom suites, a revamped swimming pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi, upscale amenities and views of Great Bay Harbour. Master bedrooms are decorated in tropical hues, and as their centerpiece, handcarved teak headboards adorn king-size Serta Perfect Sleeper Presidential Suite pillow-top mattresses.
There's a private terrace off each suite; some have massive bathrooms, his-and-hers sinks, walk-in rainshowers and whirlpool bathtubs.
An open kitchen—complete with refrigerator, stove and dishwasher—gives way to the living area where a comfortable couch opens into a double bed. A half bath is also just off the hallway.
The second bedroom in the two-bedroom suites—perfect for families or friends traveling together—has similar amenities.
This resort is on a one-mile stretch of beach near the capital of Philipsburg. The four-star property gleams from a $12 million renovation, with three swimming pools, a whirlpool, three restaurants, four bars, the Golden Casino and the Vitality Oasis health club and spa. For reservations and/or group sales, call 800-223-0757.
Agents can contact Joan Maduro-Samson, sales manager, at 599-542-2446/7 or [email protected].
Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort Offers All-Inclusive Special
Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort (www.diviresorts.com) on Aruba has launched an all-inclusive special that encompasses two other popular Divi-affiliated resorts, Divi Aruba and Tamarijn Aruba. Guests can now select the All-Inclusive Suites Program. At Divi Village, this includes meals at 11 restaurants for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, with theme nights and entertainment, 12 bars with unlimited drinks (surcharges may apply) and the Oceanview Bar with lively entertainment.
A mile of white-sand beach with thatch palapas is just steps away. Guests can also enjoy a variety of non-motorized water sports and land activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, a fully equipped fitness center, water aerobics, tennis, volleyball, board games, billiards and shopping tours. For an additional charge, the nine-hole Divi Links golf course and the Indulgence By the Sea Spa are also available.
To introduce this program, the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort is offering a 35 percent discount, with the nightly per-person rate beginning at $166 based on double occupancy, for reservations made through December 22 for travel within the same time frame. Agents can contact Mark Steward, marketing director for Divi Resorts, at 919-419-2917 or [email protected].