What’s New in All-Inclusive Resorts

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino’s Premier Ocean View Rooms have teakwood furnishings and a balcony.
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino’s Premier Ocean View Rooms have teakwood furnishings and a balcony.

The popularity of all-inclusive resorts continues its steady rise. According to MMGY Global’s 2016 Portrait of American Travelers, one in nine (11 percent) cite a stay at such properties as the “primary purpose of at least one vacation during the past 12 months.” This is up from 9 percent in the last two years and 8 percent in 2013. All-inclusives are also far more popular with Millennials and Generation Xers than with older clients. With that in mind, here are some of recent developments to pass along to your Caribbean- and Mexico-bound clients.

Hyatt Ziva Cancun recently introduced its Turquoize adults-only area. Designed as a “resort within a resort,” the new area offers 270-degree ocean views and butler service, as well as private airport transfers and a VIP check-in and reception area. The beachfront suites, reserved exclusively for Turquoize guests, offer nearly 700 square feet of living area and oversized balconies with hot tubs. The Turquoize Sky Swim-Up Oceanfront Master Suites include a pool off the balcony. Bath accommodations offer ocean views with floor-to-ceiling corner rainfall showers.

Turquoize guests also get exclusive access to a rooftop infinity pool and the private rooftop bar, Punta Vista, as well as preferred seating at Tradewinds, the resort’s fine dining oceanfront restaurant. Guests can also access the Zen Spa directly by private elevator and get a free hydrotherapy circuit. They also receive full privileges at the nearby adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

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On the other side of Mexico, popular yoga instructor Kylan Fischer will host a wellness retreat at CostaBaja Resort and Spa, October 5-9. The property is about 10 minutes south of downtown La Paz, Baja California. In addition to accommodations and all meals, the four-night retreat includes Vinyasa, heart-opening and morning yoga, and sunset meditation.

The Signature Rooms at Sugar Bay Barbados afford views of the garden or pool.
The Signature Rooms at Sugar Bay Barbados afford views of the garden or pool.

“Gourmet Inclusive” Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new Connoisseur Collection by Karisma offers customizable vacations tailored for each guest at the company’s most upscale accommodations in Mexico and Jamaica. A dedicated phone line provides access to a concierge, who can assist with in-room liquor curation, minibar preferences, spa treatments, priority restaurant reservations and more in preparation for their vacations. Butlers unpack (and repack upon departure) for Connoisseur guests, who will also enjoy in-room spa treatments, personally monogrammed robes, guaranteed connecting suites, and a 15 percent discount on all spa services, special events and premium wine lists. Connoisseur Concierges can also fulfill certain requests such as night dives from a private boat, hot-air balloon excursions or rounds of golf.

In St. Maarten, the family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino has set an end-of-September target date for the opening of its new 4,000-square-foot Aqua Park and dedicated kids pool, the only such resort facility in St. Maarten. The 1,400-square-foot pool has three aquatic- and animal-themed slides and is only 20 inches deep — making it safe and fun for children ages 3 to 12. The pool deck comes complete with loungers and umbrellas for parents.

Also set to debut later this month is the new Kids Club section, which offers 1,000 square feet of indoor space and a 2,500-square-foot outdoor area, with additional splash pads and playground connecting to the Aqua Park. A complete refurbishment of two floors of guestrooms finished at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in 2015 and another three floors will be done by the end of 2016, along with reconstruction of interiors and layout, upgrades to soft goods, furnishing and décor.

RIU Hotels & Resorts, which opened the all-inclusive, adults-only Hotel Riu Republica in Punta Cana earlier this summer, is putting finishing touches on the beachfront Hotel Riu Reggae in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in preparation for its November debut. The resort will also be an adults only and offer an array of services, including free Wi-Fi, infinity pools, a gym and the Renova Spa as well as activities and sports such as tennis, ping-pong, golf, diving, kayaking and windsurfing. Restaurant offerings will include Italian and Asian cuisine and steakhouse fare, while four bars serve a variety of drinks and appetizers. For nightlife, guests can visit Riu Montego Bay Hotel’s nightclub, Pacha, just a few yards away.

Royalton Luxury Resorts’ new all-inclusive offering, Royalton Blue Waters, is set for a November 1 debut on the shores of White Bay near Montego Bay. The 228-room hotel for all ages is celebrating its launch with a pre-opening sale: 59 percent off plus $400 in resort credits on stays from November 1 through December 22. Rates start at $183 per person, per night, with a three-night minimum. Guests of Royalton Blue Waters will receive full access to facilities at the neighboring Royalton White Sands.

The new over-the-water private island villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay are set to debut on November 15. The rates start at $4,321 per night. The villas have infinity pools, floating water hammocks and glass floors and offer personal butler service.

A few months shy of celebrating its first anniversary, the beachfront Sugar Bay Barbados’ array of all-inclusive activities includes water sports, beach volleyball, football, cricket, snorkeling in the clear lagoon, a game room, fitness center and live entertainment, which comprises movie night under the stars. There are also three age-appropriate children’s activity programs: Crèche, Kids Club and Teen Clubhouse. Dining options include breakfast at Reef, Colin’s Beach Bar & Grill for lunch, and dinner at specialty restaurants UMI and Sizzle Steakhouse.

Divi Aruba and Tamarjin Aruba will host a one-night-only VIP dinner on October 14 at Windows on Aruba Restaurant. Created by Celebrity Chef Seamus Mullen, the dinner has a prix-fixe rate of $120 per person. Guests staying at either of the sister all-inclusives will receive a discounted rate of $80 per person. Advance reservations are required.

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