Jamaica Tourism Reps, Hoteliers Welcome Ongoing Influx of Hotel Brand Expansions into the Island

Karisma Hotels & Resorts had the grand opening earlier this year of its first-ever Caribbean property, Azul Sensatori Jamaica

During Travel Agent's onsite coverage of JAPEX (Jamaica Product Exchange), we chatted with several notable hoteliers in Jamaica to get their reaction on the successful Mexican all-inclusives making their way to Jamaica.

"Mexico knows how to run an all-inclusive right," Paul Pennicook, director of tourism for Jamaica, told Travel Agent, "so for these properties in Mexico to want to not only just come to the Caribbean, but specifically Jamaica, that tells us people are looking at us in the same way: Jamaica knows how to do it right."

In July, Palace Resorts announced its newest property, Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, the first Palace Resorts property located outside of Mexico. Expected to open in early 2015, the property, which will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation, is situated in the north coast of Jamaica, at the head of famed Ocho Rios Bay.

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Karisma Hotels & Resorts had the grand opening earlier this year of its first-ever Caribbean property, Azul Sensatori Jamaica. In 2013, Karisma Hotels & Resorts acquired land in Negril, Jamaica, that was formerly Beaches Sandy Bay. After spending a long weekend there recently, we can confirm the excitement was worth it and then some. It may in fact be our new favorite Karisma hotel. Beaches Sandy Bay closed in 2012 and was acquired by Karisma the following year. This was practically a new build as $20 million was invested into completely gutting the property and redoing just about everything except for the basic shell of the buildings. 

"We always welcomed more brands into the island," says Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International. "These are all brands that have experience in the all-inclusive market in Mexico so we know they will have some great products to offer here as well."

And Sandals is expanding further in Jamaica as well, so to speak. The company is set to expand its Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts portfolio with the rebrand of Sandals Carlyle Inn to Grand Pineapple Montego Bay on January 15.

The 52-room Sandals Carlyle Inn was one of the company’s first-ever acquisitions in 1981. Grand Pineapple Montego Bay will become the second Grand Pineapple Beach Resort in Jamaica, joining its sister property in Negril, and will continue the brand’s tradition of a quality all-inclusive experience. 

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts is set to open its first ever all-inclusive resort and chose Jamaica as its flagship destination. The opening date for the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall will be November 23. These two new resorts will occupy the former Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall property. 

Kevin Froemming, executive vice president for partner Playa Resorts, says this could only be the beginning of the Hyatt all-inclusive brand in Jamaica and the Caribbean in general.

"We say the more the merrier," Froemming told Travel Agent. "All of these brands will only help each other because we will only elevate the product in Jamaica, making the destination even more attractive. I think the level of the all-inclusive is changing and Jamaica is where you are finding a lot of that next-level type of all-inclusive."

Visit www.visitjamaica.com.

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