The Caribbean is abuzz with resort development, from new hotels to major refurbishments. Here’s your go-to list to keep ahead of your clients’ demands.
In the Dominican Republic, Meliá Caribe Beach Resort opened in December — which, along with the adults-only Meliá Punta Cana Beach Resort, used to operate as Meliá Caribe Tropical. Specializing in family-friendly activities, services and amenities, Meliá Caribe Beach Resort offers a variety of room options across its 611 rooms. For those looking for upgraded services, we suggest the 152 The Level suites.
Management has added “The Level” status to three of its room categories: The Premium Room, Junior Suits and Grand Suite, offering a VIP lounge (with private check-in and continental breakfast), access to the Riviera Restaurant and bar (plus preferential reservations at all a la carte restaurants), a private pool, evening entertainment, a secluded area on the beach with Bali beds and drink service, and upgraded concierge service.
Have a VIP or a sizable family traveling? They’ll want the Level Two-Bedroom Suite, which combines The Level Grand Suite and The Level Master Suite; it has two king beds, plus a sofa bed, a bathroom with a whirlpool tub, a terrace or balcony and two plasma TVs.
Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort reopened following a $30 million renovation.
The eight dining options range from traditional Dominican to Asian and international. A sampling of the venues include: Capri, a Mediterranean restaurant; Alma, which serves Spanish cuisine; La Hacienda, serving Tex-Mex; Hokkaido, a Japanese restaurant; and Barefoot, a beachside grill and bar. There are also two buffet-style restaurants. Note: Through the new free-flowing experience, families can also dine at Meliá Punta Cana Beach Resort, giving them a choice of 13 restaurant selections (for guests of The Level, 15 total options are available).
Opening later this year, guests will have access to a handful more options including: Tartufo, an authentic Italian and Mediterranean restaurant; Bazaar, an à la carte restaurant with food trucks and American-style food stations; and O Grille, offering grilled specialties and snacks with picnic seating.
The lineup of family entertainment activities includes access to Bávaro Beach, several pools, an arcade with gaming and virtual reality consoles, and a waterpark named Splash Island, which will have slides, a SplashPad, a swimming pool and more. The property also has a Kid’s Zone, offering slides, on-property activations like the “Mini Olympics” and more.
Also in Punta Cana, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort reopened recently following a $30 million renovation. The transformation included resort-wide room renovations, the addition of two buildings and several new services and amenities. Formerly Sirenis Punta Cana Resort Casino & Aquagames, the resort’s makeover involved a complete renovation of its guestrooms, lobby, common areas and restaurants. With 10 dining options, the redesigned property returned with two completely new options: the Mexican cuisine-focused Tex Mex and the Brazilian-style steakhouse La Gira Rodizio.
With its reopening, Grand Sirenis unveiled two new buildings that house an assortment of services. Among these additional offerings is a kids’ club (plus a fitness center, medical center, pharmacy, beauty salon and local craft shops). The new Sirenis Kids Club offers a Lego building zone, a “master chef” section, arts and crafts activities and more.
Elsewhere on the property, the resort introduced a live music stage and an upgraded pool and beach area. Additional activities and amenities include the Aquagames Water Park, seven themed restaurants, three buffets, 11 cocktail bars, two pools with beach-style access, watersports and more.
Just down the road, Palace Resorts broke ground on the brand’s third Moon Palace resort. Located in the Macao area, Moon Palace Punta Cana will be set off from the coastline (roughly 1,640 feet) and will have 2,149 rooms spread out over 18 floors in a design that will occupy just 6 percent of the development’s total terrain. Seventy percent of the rooms will have ocean views, while the balance will face an 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman. The resort will also have 21 restaurants and seven bars, sports amenities and swimming pools, a spa, a beach club and a convention center.
Club Med Michés Playa Esmeralda will open in December 2019. Shown here is one of the Archipelago suites.
From a conservation standpoint, the area’s natural resources will be preserved — including the mangroves — and will join the 1,000-plus acres of protected land owned by Palace Resorts. The project’s sustainability also implies the use of renewable energy and water treatment systems that will permit residual use for irrigation purposes. The resort is slated to open in 2021.
Club Med Michés Playa Esmeralda will open in the DR in December 2019. Marking its first Exclusive Collection Resort in the Americas, the new hotel will be located on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic in Miches.
At a cost of $100 million and spread over 93 acres, Club Med Michés Playa Esmeralda is the company’s biggest project of this type in the Caribbean in the past 40 years. The resort’s accommodations will spread across four unique boutique “villages:” two adults-only sections, the tropical Caribbean Paradise in the heart of the property, and the family-friendly Explorer Cove.
In addition to Club Med’s usual selection of amenities and activities, Club Med Michés Playa Esmeralda’s unique environment will provide its own possibilities. Guests can visit Laguna Limón, a nature reserve with waterfalls; Samaná Bay, a site known for its whale watching opportunities; or Montaña Redonda, with its 360-degree views and its photo-famous swing.
Sustainability will also be a focal point at the resort. The property plans to enact a tree re-planting program to replace every tree removed during construction. Guests will be able to attend educational mini-sessions and visit the community garden to learn about gardening, recycling and sustainability. Participating in the company’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastics, Club Med Michés Playa Esmeralda will ban the use of plastic straws at the resort.
On St. Maarten, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa reopened in February. It was updated with a contemporary design throughout the public spaces, restaurants and guestrooms but kept its signature family-friendly amenities, including an array of restaurants, a Kids Club, Teen Zone and daily activities. Guestrooms have larger bathrooms and new furniture.
In addition, a new category room debuted: The Loft Suites, which have ocean views, balconies, an elevated bedroom with a king bed and a living room located beneath with sitting area and a pull-out sofa, perfect for families.
While it’s generally known as a romantic destination, St. Lucia also offers family-friendly resorts. Atop that list may be the offerings from Bay Gardens Resorts. At Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa there is the Splash Island Water Park. Just behind the property — facing the marina — Bay Gardens Resorts debuted the Water’s Edge Villas this January.
These villas represent the top tier of accommodations in the Bay Gardens portfolio and cater well to families. The idea behind the villas was to combine luxury villa living with access to resort life, as guests can opt for a relaxing secluded experience or they take advantage of the experiences at neighboring Bay Gardens properties. To access Bay Gardens, guests can take a complimentary shuttle service or walk the short trip. Also included is unlimited access to the resort group’s Splash Island Water Park, as well as non-motorized water sports activities.
Each fully air-conditioned villa has four bedrooms with king and double beds, a living room with complimentary Wi-Fi, a private swimming pool and terrace, and more. Guests also have access to their own concierge service.
In Turks & Caicos, Bianca Sands on Grace Bay opened The Villa, a new four-bedroom, five-bathroom beachfront penthouse suite. The 5,930-square-foot suite accommodates eight and includes one oversized master bedroom, two bedrooms with king-size beds and one kids’ room with two twin bunk beds and a play area. The master bedroom comes with its own living area, an in-suite bath and an oceanview balcony. Additionally, the suite has a 1,000-square-foot outside terrace with its own wet bar.
Though the suite has a stocked kitchen, guests also have access to a private chef. Other benefits include a full-time concierge, beachside service and access to the resort’s outdoor infinity swimming pools.
Bay Gardens Resorts debuted the Water’s Edge Villas this January.
The Villa at Bianca Sands is a short walk from The Regent Village, a shopping and entertainment area the has 50 shops and restaurants. The Villa’s location also provides easy access to a variety of activities, including kiteboarding, snorkeling, parasailing, island tours, fishing, ATV excursions and more.
Palladium Hotel Group, which has two family-oriented resorts in Jamaica, just opened the kid-friendly Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa in the Mexican Caribbean. It has 670 suites, all of which have a furnished balcony or terrace, a hot tub and a minibar. A portion of the Junior Suites, Loft Suites and Ambassador Suites are part of the company’s new “Family Selection” program that offers a number of exclusive perks aimed at travelers with kids, such as a separate check-in area, an exclusive beach area and restaurant, a concierge, priority reservations in restaurants, complimentary access to the spa’s hydrotherapy area and even a “milk and cookie” turndown service for the kids. One of the resort’s four pools is also exclusive to Family Selection guests.