The Latest All-Inclusive Resort Updates

El Dorado Seaside Suites by Karisma is a new-build, five-star, adults-only Riviera Maya beachfront property with 192 swim-up and infinity suites.
El Dorado Seaside Suites by Karisma is a new-build, five-star, adults-only Riviera Maya beachfront property with 192 swim-up and infinity suites.

Following Sandals' big announcement regarding the company's first resort in Mexico, we're breaking down the latest updates in all-inclusive resorts. All-inclusive resorts appear to be increasingly popular with younger travelers, according to MMGY Global’s 2015 Portrait of American Travelers. Under the heading of Primary Purpose of One of More Vacations During the Past 12 Months, “All-Inclusive Resort” was cited by 11 percent of Millennials and 10 percent of Xers, compared to 6 percent and 4 percent for Boomers and Matures, respectively.

Broken down by annual household income, interest in such lodgings was highest among those making $250,000 or more (16 percent), decreasing to 10 percent for the $125,000-$249,999 bracket and going down further (7 percent) with those earning $50,000-$124,999. Overall, an all-inclusive resort package is considered a desirable vacation attribute by 58 percent of Portrait responders in 2015, bringing it back up to 2013 levels after a slight decline in 2014.

These continuingly strong numbers may explain the seemingly ceaseless activity in the all-inclusive resort marketplace. Here are some of the latest developments on that front.

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Karisma Keeps It Coming

El Dorado Seaside Suites by Karisma is now open and welcoming guests. The new-build, five-star, adults-only Riviera Maya beachfront property offers Karisma’s signature Gourmet Inclusive Experience, with 192 spacious swim-up and infinity suites — each with its own pool on a private terrace or balcony — and one of the largest spas in all of Riviera Maya.

In other Karisma news, the family-oriented Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is now accepting reservations for May 2016. In keeping with its family-friendly orientation, the property allows kids under 13 years of age to “Stay, Eat and Play Free” with a minimum four nights’ stay.

Beaches Resorts has a group upgrade promotion for teens who celebrate a special occasion at one of the brand’s resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos (shown here).
Beaches Resorts has a group upgrade promotion for teens who celebrate a special occasion at one of the brand’s resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos (shown here).

Sandals, Beaches Promotions

Beaches Resorts is now offering a group promotion for teens who celebrate a special occasion at one of the brand’s Luxury Included resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. Guests who book a three-night minimum stay for an occasion such as a “Quinceanera” or “Sweet Sixteen,” now through December 22, 2017, will receive exclusive promotions and upgrades.

In addition, Sandals and its family-oriented Beaches Resorts have a Free Room promotion that is combinable with this package. For each six or 12 packages booked, one will be provided for free. Clients who book between five and nine rooms receive complimentary one room category upgrade for the person being celebrated; a one-hour reception with cold hors d’oeuvres and signature drink for the group and late check-out for the person being celebrated.

Guests who book between 10 and 19 rooms receive complimentary one-room category upgrade for the person being celebrated; private group check-in; a boutonniere or corsage for the person being celebrated; late check-out for the person being celebrated; a one-hour classic reception with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and signature drink for the group; a complimentary 15-minute group photo shoot; one picture per room and cake. The amenities increase further at higher booking levels.

Several media outlets have reported that Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International, recently partnered with Keith Mitchell, Grenada’s prime minister, to invest $10 million in the expansion of Sandals LaSource Grenada by the summer of 2016. The duo reportedly unveiled plans to expand the resort during a groundbreaking ceremony last month. It would grow from its current 32 luxury suites to house 257 lagoon nature reserve suites. These suites will offer amenities ranging from butler service and smart TVs to other traditional Sandals amenities.

New Club Med Amenities

Weddings by Club Med” has been introduced at three resorts — Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida, Club Med Cancun Yucatan and Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This new destination wedding travel product provides a dedicated onsite wedding planner to assist couples. There are three new packages, each of which begins with a wedding planning consultation via phone or e-mail and ongoing communication leading up to the special day.

Just before Christmas, Club Med Punta Cana unveiled its adults-only Zen Oasis area, which includes 78 brand new deluxe guest rooms with spa-like bathrooms boasting rainfall showers, large soaking tubs, soothing lighting, L’Occitane toiletries, and wellness amenities such as yoga mats. The resort’s L’Occitane Spa (the first one in the Caribbean) also has a new look with the addition of a second story housing two new VIP Couples Suites.

Club Med Val Thorens, meanwhile, is offering an Active Ski Boost package that includes a personalized assessment and private lessons from an Ecole du Ski Français instructor, as well as a daily fitness and relaxation session, a treatment at the Club Med Spa by CARITA and a wellness box gift. The package, which is available as an add-on to Club Med Val Thorens’ all-inclusive rates, can be booked for three days at 370 euros or five days at 580 euros. The three-day package includes two one-and-a-half hour sessions and the five-day package includes three one-and-a-half hour sessions. Guests must be 18 years of age or older to book, and may be of any skill level.

Breezes Bahamas Gets Greener

In the wake of its third Green Globe re-certification, Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas in Nassau plans to further expand its scope of green initiatives in the coming months. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibilities, the resort management has encouraged regular visits from local school children to educate them about conservation and sustainability practices at the property.

The resort’s vision for the upcoming year will be the promotion of more clean designated green space, cleaner beach environments and managing and repurposing organic waste through activities. These eco-friendly events will include educating primary school kids at their most influential stage of development that can bring long-term and sustained behavioral change.

In adopting a primary school, SuperClubs Breezes brings young children to visit for a day to interact with Green Team members and guests and engage in activities such as daily nature walks. Participation also includes clean-up and preservation of the nearby community beach/park space at Goodman Bay.

Over the past year, Breezes Bahamas’ measurable success grew in two primary areas — energy savings and waste reduction. The resort saved 29,133 kilowatt hours in electrical consumption as compared to the previous year. While liquid petroleum gas usage dropped by 15 percent and its photocopy paper usage was reduced by 20 percent.

AMResorts Report

AMResorts, an Apple Leisure Group subsidiary, recently welcomed Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica to its company portfolio. The adults-only resort offers 202 luxury rooms, giving adults and couples an “Unlimited-Luxury” getaway in an intimate setting. With the ocean view of the Gulf of Papagayo, guests can enjoy an array of daytime activities, and access to two beaches.

Guests may partake in world-class sport fishing at the Marina Papagayo or spend a day walking and shopping at Playas del Coco, one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches.

Resort amenities also include two pools, views of native flora and fauna, miles of Pacific coast beach and a fully equipped fitness center. Secrets Spa by Pevonia offers massages, body and facial treatments in 13 treatment rooms and a full-service beauty salon.

AMResorts finished 2015 with a flurry of activity, including the December openings of three family-friendly Sunscape properties — a pair in Montego Bay and one in Puerto Vallarta — as well as the new Breathless Cabo San Lucas and Now Garden Punta Cana, both offering the Unlimited Luxury experience.

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