Between the Feb. 1, 2015 opening of Moon Palace Jamaica Grande & Spa in Ocho Rios, and the new travel agent incentives program unveiled this month, Palace Resorts wants to bring an “awe-inclusive” product to Jamaica.
Palace has spent $50 million to upgrade Sunset Resorts’ Sunset Jamaica Grande. In its new incarnation, the hotel will have five swimming pools, five dining areas, 730 rooms (with balconies) in 11- and 12-story buildings, a 35,000-sq.-ft. Awe Spa—that’s the size of 11 tennis courts between the lines—a vigorous weddings and meetings business, and a children’s program.
“Impressive,” I said to Kathy Halpern, vice president of sales & marketing, and Sandor Winkler, chief development officer, when I sat down with them at JAPEX, the Jamaican tourism industry conference. “Still, scores of all-inclusives are already established on Jamaica’s north coast. How will this one stand out from the crowd?” Here’s their answer.
What Makes This Resort Different
- The Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is set on the longest stretch of private beach in Ocho Rios.
- The interiors were created by an internationally lauded designer, Francois Frossard. For Moon Palace, Frossard has blended European and chic Caribbean elements with dashes of whimsy.
- This all-inclusive won’t just have good local talent for evening shows; it will also host concerts by big-name entertainers. For example, said Halpern, “concerts at Palace Resorts’ Mexico properties have featured Shakira, Michael Bolton, Usher, and other high-level performers.”
- “A 5-night stay earns a $1,500 resort credit,” said Winkler. “That credit can be used for numerous services, including the spa and excursions. It’s important to us that guests experience not just the hotel, but the destination.”
- Palace Resorts has installed a state-of-the-art Cisco Systems WiFi network that Winkler promises will work, and work well, “from sand to portico.”
- The suggestions of employees’ children and kids who were guests at the Mexico properties went into designing this resort’s programs for youths. Thus, the Princess Runway in the kids’ club, and the way X-box consoles are configured in the teen lounge, so they can accommodate both teens who want to socialize and those who don’t.
- A FlowRider® Double wave simulator at one of the pools (included in the rates) will inspire 10-year-old kids to feel like big kids and 50-year-old adults to feel like children again.
- Moon Palace will have more meeting space than any other hotel in Jamaica.
Agent Incentives and Rates
“Travel agents are the most valuable part of our destination,” said Winkler. “We’re an expensive product, and we’re content heavy, so we need agents to explain us to travelers.” Halpern added, “Our Cash Is King incentives program is unique because the bonuses go on a credit card, so agents can use it for gas, groceries, anything.”
High-season rates start at $620 per couple, with no additional tax/gratuity charges. Please note that the $1,500 resort credit requires a 5-night stay, but a 4-night stay earns a $750 credit, so for many people planning short stays it may pay to add one more night.