• Grand Isle Resort and Spa (www.exumahotel.com/grand-isle-resort-and-spa.htm) is for those experienced clients who may be seeking something new in Great Exuma.
I recently toured this community of luxurious ocean and golf course villas, which are located within the 500-acre Emerald Bay property. Sitting on 13 acres, the 78 Caribbean villas offer a variety of ocean views, water sports, a Greg Norman-designed golf course and a recently unveiled penthouse. Its spa will be complete in December.
Accommodations: I stayed in room #3103, a Partial Ocean Front Suite. The two-floor, two-bedroom suite offered a partial view of the ocean, a patio and an outdoor balcony, and two 60-plus-inch plasma televisions. The suite tallies in at about $600 a night in the low season and goes as high as $1,100. We loved the room, but preferred the Ocean Front Suites, which offer a front-and-center view of Great Exuma. I saw room #1413, which goes for about $1,200 in the low season and about $1,700 in peak season.
The Master Grand Penthouse is by far the best room on the property. This $5.7 million accommodation sits on the highest point of Emerald Bay. In peak season, rooms here can cost as high as about $6,000 per night.
I toured the 4,000-square-foot room, which is one of two penthouses the property plans to have. It also boasts four bedrooms, as well as four and a half bathrooms. Also, guests staying here have the option of in-villa dining (as do guests in all of the other villas). Recreation: Guests of Grand Isle Resort and Spa can play on the 18-hole golf course and six lit tennis courts and have access to local excursions for such activities as fishing, sailing and snorkeling. Other activities the property offers include seasonal children's camps and a state-of-the-art fitness center. APPLE AND SANDALS tEAM UP
Grand Isle Resort and Spa offers agents a 10 percent commission. Agents should call General Manager Tracy Stoltz at 242-358-5000 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.
• Maxim Bungalows www.maximbungalows.com) in the Dominican Republic are another option to suggest to clients. Maxim Bungalows at Cofresi Beach is scheduled to open in October, and Maxim Bungalows at Juan Dolio is opening in early 2008.
Start pitching these bungalows mainly to the Maxim readership—29 to 36-year-olds; singles and couples looking to live the good life. You should stress to clients that this property is not going to be risqué but rather geared toward upscale, trendy living; however, families are welcome as well.
Maxim Bungalows at Cofresi Beach will feature 108 studios, as well as one- and two-bedroom luxury bungalow accommodations.
Transportation: The property is about 30 minutes from the Puerto Plata Gregorio Luperon Airport and an hour from the Cibao International Airport in Santiago. Each guest will be driven to the resort in style by a luxury SUV and given VIP access on and off property at all the top restaurants, hottest bars and much-coveted golf courses.
Recreation: Guests will be able unwind in the pool area, cabanas, lounge or on the beach, which is reserved for guests only. Maxim Bungalow guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy The Spa, a new 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center.
The 54-foot Maxim yacht, Independence, will be available exclusively for guests to charter for day trips and evening voyages.
Maxim Bungalows at Juan Dolio is on the south coast of the Dominican Republic, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. It is 25 minutes east of the Santo Domingo Las Americas International Airport.
Accommodations: The property will have 240 rooms, which will range from studio bungalows to Grand Presidential suites. The best rooms at both of the properties are the King Bungalows, which are 2,400 square feet and include a balcony.
Agents receive a 12 percent commission. Those who become an Elliott Preferred Travel Agent Program (EPTAP) member receive a 12 percent commission, as well as a host of incentives. Agents should call EPTAP Manager Dan Graham at 519-772-5684, ext. 241 or e-mail [email protected]
•Agua Resort & Spa (www.aguaresort.com) in Uvero Alto, Dominican Republic, is also a top pick.
Accommodations: The best room is #53, the Villa Caney. It is a three-bedroom villa that has more than 4,000 square feet of living space and a private garden-view terrace. The nightly tariff for this villa is about $1,800.
I stayed in room #2, an Agua Garden View Junior Suite. Selling for between $400 and $600 a night, this suite has a patio with a view of one of two pools on property, a king-size bed and a spacious bathroom.
For optimal views, suggest that clients choose the Ocean View Junior Suites. These rooms are right on the beach, with 775 square feet of space and either one king-size bed or two queen-size beds.
There are only 53 rooms on the property, and children must be at least two years old to stay at the resort. For now, agents can contact the resort directly at 809-468-0000.
Agents who book the resort before October 31 will receive a 15 percent commission. After that date, agents will receive the standard 10 percent commission. Before October 31, tour operators will receive a 25 percent commission and a 20 percent commission after October 31.
Tour operators: GOGO Worldwide Vacations (www.gogowwv.com); Travel Impressions (www.travimp. com), where agents can contact VP of sales, Barbara Groves at 632-845-8000, ext. 2110; Funjet Vacations (www.funjet.com, 800-558-3050); and Apple Vacations (www.applevacations.com), where agents can contact Senior Product Manager Bill Kliot (847-631-2449) for more information. —JP