AS ALL-INCLUSIVE HOTELS CONTINUE TO OPEN, refurbish and expand in the Caribbean and Mexico, it can be hard to keep up with every development. So here's a roundup of the latest all-inclusive happenings and offerings to tell your clients about.
Romance in Antigua
Although it officially opened in the beginning of the year, this might be the first time you are hearing of Hermitage Bay (www.hermitagebay.com). The Antigua resort is still trying to get word out to agents—and a winter romance package to sell clients may be the way to do it. All meals, premium-brand drinks and house wines, daily afternoon tea and canapés at cocktail time are covered in the package, which also includes a half-hour massage for two, roundtrip transfers from the airport and a private dinner on the beach (guests choose which evening). From January 7 to 27, the "Romantic Escape" is priced at $5,200 double for four nights, subject to tax and service charges. Guests pay extra for deluxe brands of liquor and wines.
Accommodations on the romance plan are in a beachfront cottage suite. Hermitage Bay also has beach cottage and hillside cottage accommodations, for a total suite inventory of 25. Each of the beachfront and beach cottage units measures more than 900 square feet.
The hillside cottage suites are more than 1,000 square feet big and have private plunge pools and wraparound verandas with daybeds and a dining area.
Hermitage Bay's "Romantic Escape" can also be booked for January 28 to March 31, and for those dates there is a surcharge of $150 per night plus tax and service charges.
For information on the resort, call 268-562-5500, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.hermitagebay.com. Travel agent liaison at the property is Wendy Charity, reservations supervisor, who can be reached at 268-562-5500 or [email protected]
In Mexico, the Dreams all-inclusive chain for families continues to expand. Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa was set to debut this month following a multimillion-dollar enhancement to the former Sunscape the Beach Punta Cana. The resort features 620 guest rooms and suites, new gourmet restaurants, upgraded amenities for Preferred Club guests and meeting space.
Dreams Nuevo Vallarta Resort & Spa is slated to open in the middle of 2008. Located on Banderas Bay, this 224-room luxury resort will be near golf courses, a dolphin facility and a turtle reserve.
Later in the year, Dreams will open its first property in the state of Oaxaca, Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa. This 440-room oceanfront property will be situated in an unspoiled area where the foothills of the Sierra Madres meet the Pacific Ocean.
Dreams Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa will open in early 2010. Located along the beaches of Vallarta Bay in Puerto Vallarta, it will have 340 rooms and suites.
Visit www.dreamsagents.com or call 866-2DREAMS. Dreams' sister company, Secrets, operates all-inclusives for couples only. It will open Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun next May instead of March, as originally scheduled.
In addition, "Litibu" has been dropped from the names of the previously announced resorts that Dreams and Secrets will open in fall 2009 at Punta de Mita, northwest of Puerto Vallarta. They are now to be called just Dreams Punta de Mita Resort & Spa and Secrets Punta de Mita Resort & Spa.
Agents can also contact Matt Mullen, senior director of sales for AMResorts (parent company of Secrets and Dreams), at 610-359-8124 or [email protected]
New Name in Punta Cana
AMResorts has also added to its Sunscape all-inclusive brand with the rebranding of the former Occidental Allegro in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, as the Sunscape Punta Cana. Sunscape resorts are open to singles, couples and families.
For more information on the 540-room property, visit www.sunscaperesorts.com or contact AMR's Matt Mullen (see above).
The Punta Cana property was acquired by Playa Hotels & Resorts, which has purchased at least 12 hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic since it was established in 2006, including another resort formerly owned by Occidental, the Grand Flamenco in Puerto Plata.
Meliá Adds Restaurant
Another all-inclusive in Punta Cana, the Meliá Caribe Tropical, has added a restaurant, called Marketplace, and a "chill-out" spot, Square Lounge. Marketplace, with indoor and outdoor seating for 384, presents a buffet featuring grilled scallops and shrimp, T-bone steak, beef tenderloin, cooked-to-order pasta, pizza and other international dishes, plus local specialties. Square Lounge, open from 6 p.m. to midnight, features drinks and evening entertainment. Meliá Caribe Tropical has more than a dozen restaurants. Visit www.solmelia.com.
St. Maarten Dive Package
The Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino in St. Maarten bolsters its all-inclusive pricing with special amenities in a package for scuba enthusiasts. The seven-night dive package includes accommodations in a mountain view room, three meals a day and roundtrip airport transfers plus five two-tank dives and one night dive. Rates start at $1,470 per person double or $2,065 single for travel January 5 through April 14. Upgrade to an ocean view room costs an extra $15 per night.
The Sonesta Great Bay offers a non-all-inclusive alternative. For $55 less per person per night, the dive package would include breakfast as the only meal.
In October the resort opened a new wing, Miramar, that consists of 52 units including studios and one- and two-bedroom suites.