The Latest All-Inclusive Resort News From the Caribbean and Mexico

Sandals Royal Barbados, sister property to Sandals Barbados, is making final preparations for a December 20 debut. Here is a rendering of one of the Love Nest Suites.

It’s been a busy year on the all-inclusive resort front. Closing out 2017 and ushering in 2018 are a number of brand new resort hotels — as well as newly renovated and expanded properties — in the Caribbean and Mexico. These follow other recent additions to the two regions’ all-inclusive rosters. Here are some highlights.

Sandals Royal Barbados, the brand’s second resort on that island, is on track for a December 20 opening. This project, originally intended to be an expansion of the existing Sandals Barbados, has 222 rooms — all concierge and butler-level suites. Among these are Sandals’ signature Rondovals, Millionaire Butler Suites and Skypool Suites, which come with private Rolls-Royce transfers to and from the airport, plus an extensive Crystal Lagoon Pool Complex, including Swim-Up Suites. 

Other amenities are a full-service 13,000-square-foot Red Lane Spa, four bars offering unlimited premium spirits and five of the brand’s signature dining establishments, including American, French, Chinese-Japanese Fusion, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines.

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Last week, RIU Hotels opened the five-star Hotel Riu Dunamar in Costa Mujeres, Mexico, across the bay from Isla Mujeres. The new property is approximately 11 miles north of downtown Cancun and 21 miles from the airport (CUN). With five floors and 740 guestrooms, the layout allows guests to choose from a variety of rooms and suites, all appointed with free Wi-Fi and a regularly restocked in-room minibar. 

Dining choices include the buffet-style eatery and four theme restaurants: Italian, Asian, Steakhouse & Grill and Kulinarium (Caribbean fusion). Among other amenities are five outdoor swimming pools, including one with a swim-up bar and another with a children’s aquatic play area; the Renova Spa and fitness facilities; nightly live shows and music; free entrance to the in-house nightclub; and the RiuLand Kids Club, with daily entertainment program tailored for two age groups: 4 to 7 and 8 to 12.

Hotel Riu Dunamar in Costa Mujeres, Mexico, has 740 guestrooms on five floors.

Less than 18 months since its debut, the adults-only Hotel Riu Republica in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic plans to open a new, 501-room wing this winter. New facilities there will include Splash Water World with four waterslides (separate from the one in RIU’s Punta Cana complex); three swimming pools; four restaurants (including Spanish, Indian and Caribbean fusion options), a beachside jerk grill, Irish pub and three bars.

Also in Punta Cana, TRS Turquesa Hotel — part of TRS Hotels, the new adults-only luxury brand formerly known as The Royal Suites by Palladium — is slated to complete an upgrade, begun in August, on Christmas Eve. Additions include a new Beach Club and the à la carte Kusko restaurant, both exclusive to TRS Turquesa guests. A similar upgrade, as well as expansion, was completed earlier this month at TRS Yucatan in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Of the now 454 guestrooms, 108 have private pools. Guests can take advantage of a new Beach Club and infinity pool, as well as five exclusive, themed, à la carte restaurants, including a “Dinner and a Show” option.

Set to open January 2 is Palace Resorts’ beachfront, all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos. The adults-only resort includes a spa, fitness and wellness center, four plunge pools, seven restaurants and six bars. Suites at Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos range from 760 to 1,400 square feet. In addition to ocean views and private terraces, they’ll include Smart TVs with Apple TV, Lavazza coffee makers, and 24-hour butler and room service. 

Opened just last month north of Playa del Carmen, the Ventus at Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort Cancún Riviera Maya has 290 rooms and suites ranging from 575 to 2,854 square feet. Guests can unwind at El Cocay Spa, which has a Temazcal steam bath experience, other Mayan-inspired healing therapies, and ocean-front massage cabanas. A 2,088-square-foot fitness center has spinning classes, TRX training, functional training and yoga classes. 

Two infinity-edge pools are designed to look as if they’re merging with the ocean. There’s also a children’s section in the main pool, plus two adults-only Jacuzzis. Couples planning a destination wedding can choose from five venues that can accommodate up to 400 people. Ventus guests can also use the amenities of Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort.

Other Recent Developments

Curtain Bluff in Antigua reopened October 28 following a six-month, $13 million renovation. Upgrades to its four signature Hulford Collection suites included the installation of a private infinity-edge plunge pool on each ocean-view terrace. The revamped signature Tamarind Tree Restaurant now offers a completely redefined dining experience and a new Beach Concierge is available to make things easy for sun-seeking guests. The hotel also recently bumped up its agent commission rate from 10 percent to 15 percent.

Montego Bay, Jamaica welcomed its newest all-inclusive beachfront hotel in September, the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa. Three beachfront towers — Sabal, Silver and Sentry — and 11 villas provide a total of 217 accommodations. Highlights include a dozen dining options, personal butler service, and the two story, 30,000-square-foot, island villa-inspired Grande Spa. 

The $13 million renovation at Curtain Bluff in Antigua included a makeover of its signature Tamarind Tree Restaurant.

In August, Sandals Halcyon Beach in St. Lucia unveiled its new Beachfront Crystal Lagoon suites, with swim-up access from the Crystal Lagoon pool. Each suite’s patio has a tranquility soaking tub around which couples and other guests can draw privacy curtains.

In May, sister property Sandals Grande St. Lucian unveiled nine new Over-the-Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalows. They come with glass floor panels, a private outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub for two, a king-size bed and over-water hammocks, as well as Butler Elite service.

Also that month in St. Lucia, Serenity at Coconut Bay opened with an array of Plunge Pool Butler Suites ranging from 1,250-1,900 square feet. A highlight of the new resort is its two-tier 3,000-square-foot main pool, with a 1,000-square-foot lap pool at its center. There are two dozen in-water loungers as well as aqua circle beds and private pool cabanas.

Future Resort Openings

Club Med Turkoise in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is on target for a January 31 reopening. The hotel is currently undergoing repairs to damage sustained during Hurricane Maria.  

Palladium Hotel Group plans to open the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa in Costa Mujeres, Mexico in fall 2018.

By the spring of 2018, Karisma Hotels & Resorts is expected to start construction of the Dorado Resort and Sensimar Resort hotels in the Dominican Republic’s Cap Cana resort area, with 250 rooms each. Building of the first Margaritaville All Inclusive by Karisma in Punta Cana is also planned for 2018. 

AMResorts is set to open Dreams Puerto Rico Resort & Spa, the island’s first all-inclusive, sometime in 2019. The 250-room property will be located in Guánica, about 73 miles southwest of San Juan and 21 miles west of the city of Ponce and will have 250 rooms. AMResorts also plans to bring two of its luxury, all-inclusive resort brands to St. Lucia. An announcement is expected in the next few months. 

The Cayman Islands is actively looking for an all-inclusive resort company to open up shop on Cayman Brac, and perhaps on Grand Cayman as well. 

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