These Ain’t Your Grandma’s All-Inclusives

John McMahon and Michelle Lardizabal, VP-sales, Club Med USA
John McMahon and Michelle Lardizabal, VP-sales, Club Med USA

I am always intrigued by the all-inclusive resorts and what they have to offer. It immediately starts with the phrase “all-inclusive” and the marketing of what is included: watersports, no watersports, golf, no golf, top-shelf/bottom-shelf liquor...or should I say premium beverages?

John McMahon; Jim Killen, director of sales, Club Med USA; Dave Spinelli, VP industry relations, Vacations.com
 
John McMahon; Jim Killen, director of sales, Club Med USA; Dave Spinelli, VP industry relations, Vacations.com 

Just figuring out the all-inclusive can be a challenge. I am sure one day we will have an app for that, but for now it can be a big part of your job. The other, more challenging aspect is understanding the quality of resort, and by this I mean service, food and upkeep as all-inclusives continue to move into the luxury category with gourmet resorts, over-the-water bungalows and family fun add-ons such as Nickelodeon or Sesame Street experiences, Cirque du Soleil, microbreweries and sweet shops.

I recently visited the 85-acre Club Med Punta Cana to test out the new adults-only Zen Oasis section of this very diverse resort, which also caters to families. Designed with serenity in mind, this area is perfect for adults and couples looking for relaxation and well-being.

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Zen Oasis has a unique combination in that every room is wrapped around a very laid-back South Beach-feel pool that makes all guests feel hip and happening. Steps away, more tranquility awaits at the L’Occitane Spa overlooking where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.

L-R: Tracy Sedlak, VP-sales operations, North America, Club Med USA; Eric Maryanov, president and CEO, All-Travel.com; Michelle Lardizabal, Club Med
L-R: Tracy Sedlak, VP-sales operations, North America, Club Med USA; Eric Maryanov, president and CEO, All-Travel.com; Michelle Lardizabal, Club Med

To get your heart rate moving, Club Med has introduced “Creactive by Cirque Du Soleil,” an acrobatic and artistic area to exercise the mind and body. Club Med has been in operation for 66 years and is old enough to be the grandma of the all-inclusive as they invented the concept. I can say Club Med continues to defy its age with innovation and youthfulness in the product and experience.

Pictured with me above is Michelle Lardizabal, Club Med’s vice president, sales for the U.S. Michelle’s fresh approach from years of experience in the tour and cruise industry will ensure the Club Med brand will continue to exceed expectations of families and couples, and yes, a few grandmas, for years to come.

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