A few openings we know your AMResorts fans will want to know about: The adults-only, 434-room Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya and the 169-room Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa (the second resort under the Breathless brand) will both debut this November. Coming next year is the Breathless Riviera Cancun, with 500 rooms, and the 450-room Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, with a marina and a Greg Norman-designed golf course. amresorts.com
Everyone who’s in the know knows that the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort complex in Riviera Maya is composed of five adjacent resorts—Barcelo Maya Beach, Barcelo Maya Caribe, Barcelo Maya Tropical, Barcelo Colonial and Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe, which makes for quite an array of goodies at your clients’ fingertips. The complex received an $80 million face-lift that was completed this past January and which focused on Barcelo Maya Beach and Barcelo Maya Caribe. New additions include a new clubhouse; two new restaurants; and new and upgraded suites, including a full redesign of all Club Premium Suites. Additionally, the children’s play pool, swim-up bar and main pool were remodeled, and there’s a brand-new Barcelo Maya Entertainment Center complete with sports bar, bowling alley, teen disco, kids’ club, water park, and redesigned 18-hole miniature golf course. barcelo.com
Shh…it’s an adults-only zone. In December, Club Med will be debuting the adults-only Zen Oasis area at its 553-room Punta Cana resort. It will feature 78 brand-new deluxe guestrooms with spa-like bathrooms and amenities such as yoga mats and plush outdoor daybeds on private terraces or gardens. The oasis will feature a Zen pool with in-water lounge chairs, a lap pool and a wellness bar serving healthy smoothies, teas and light bites, as well as cocktails. Meanwhile, clients headed to the resort this June can “run off with the circus” once Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil debuts, allowing guests to learn the acrobatic disciplines showcased in Cirque du Soleil productions. clubmed.us
There’s lots of fun stuff happening with the All Inclusive Collection brand, including a brand-new Bret Michaels Rock Star Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya and the newly designed Hard Rock Golf Club Riviera Maya, the first Hard Rock-branded golf course in Mexico. The golf club includes a special collection of memorabilia adorning the clubhouse, including Eddie Van Halen’s personal golf cart, and it will continue to host three learning programs certified by The Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf. For Indian couples, the Hard Rock Hotels of Mexico and the D.R. have launched Ishq Rocks (meaning “love rocks”), an Indian wedding experience that includes special Indian decor and authentic cuisine. hardrockhotels.com/all-inclusive-resorts.htm
Tell all your clients with little ones that “kids stay free” at Iberostar this fall. The promotion is valid for travel from Aug. 16 to Dec. 23, 2015 and bookings can be made from May 1 to Dec. 23 (blackout dates apply Nov. 21-28). A couple of options are available: “maximum two kids 12 and under stay free for every two adults paying full price” at Iberostar Playa Mita, Iberostar Punta Cana and Iberostar Rose Hall Beach, among other resorts; and “one child free for every two adults paying full price” at Iberostar Cancun, Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana and Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, among other resorts. iberostar.com
jewel & hilton
Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa Runaway Bay and Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios—both in Jamaica—have been signed to Curio – A Collection by Hilton. Jewel Paradise Cove will become a Curio later this quarter, and Jewel Dunn’s River will debut as a Curio in the third quarter. These two adults-only resorts are the first properties in the Caribbean to join the collection. “The branding between Jewel Resorts and Curio by Hilton is truly a perfect alignment…Curio by Hilton selects unique properties with something special to offer guests, which is ideal for the Jewel Resorts, and what they have created within the all inclusive market,” says Michele Olivier, Aimbridge Hospitality, v.p., sales and marketing, resort division. Additionally, this past April, the 489-room, oceanfront Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Jamaica came under management of Aimbridge Hospitality, which owns and/or manages properties around the world (including Jewel Resorts). Note that guests of the Hilton resort will continue to have access to Hilton benefits. “Regarding enhancements at Hilton Rose Hall, we are currently working on integrating the Jewel exclusives as well as some new food and beverage offerings in the near future,” points out Olivier. jewelresorts.com and rosehallresort.com
The family-friendly Azul Hotels by Karisma in Riviera Maya will launch the Nickelodeon Experience this summer, giving the little ones in the family the opportunity to hang with Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The experience includes custom kids’ check-ins, Nickelodeon concierges, a Nick Toy Lending Library, and special Nickelodeon-themed amenities, as well as character dining opportunities. Additionally, Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Viacom International Media have announced an agreement to develop a new Nickelodeon Hotel property in the D.R., the gourmet-inclusive Nickelodeon Punta Cana, set to open in 2016. karismahotels.com
Open and fully operational while undergoing renovations, Melia Nassau Beach will get a name change in early 2016 to Melia at Baha Mar, and it will be the only upscale, all-inclusive resort in Nassau’s destination resort, Baha Mar. Renovations include new guestrooms; a new signature service, THE LEVEL, with exclusive experiences; an array of new eateries, including Cilantro; and newly designed hotel pools and outdoor landscaping. melia.com
Oasis Hotels & Resorts has opened The Pyramid at Grand Oasis, an upscale retreat nestled between its two sister properties, the Grand Oasis Cancun and Oasis Cancun. Guests of The Pyramid enjoy complimentary use of Smart vehicles; complimentary rounds of golf at the resort’s 9-hole course; guaranteed early check-in and late check-out; private check-in and check-out; private VIP lounge; upgraded complimentary in-room minibar stocked with a selection of Mexican and imported beers; and a premium room service menu. The resort boasts 29 restaurants, including nine accessible only to Pyramid guests, and 22 bars, including three only available to Pyramid guests. oasishoteles.net
Occidental Hotels & Resorts launched the Romance Rewards program late last year that’s specifically designed for travel agents and wedding planners. The rewards, which are earned for each wedding or group travel that is booked, are $25 for wedding bookings at Allegro Resorts; $50 for wedding bookings at Occidental Grand Resorts; $75 for wedding bookings at Royal Hideaway Playacar; and $100 for group accommodations for weddings at Occidental Hotels & Resorts. Wedding group rewards are based on 10 or more rooms and require a group contract booked through the “Occidental Romance Department.” If you sign up at occidentalromance.com, you’ll earn a $50 sign on bonus. Incidentally, Allegro Cozumel resort underwent significant renovations last year, and is now offering a new-and-improved lobby, restaurants, teens’ club and disco bar. occidentalhotels.com
ocean by H10
With three properties in the D.R. and Mexico—Ocean Maya Royale Resort in Riviera Maya, Ocean Coral & Turquesa in Riviera Cancun, and Ocean Blue & Sand Resort in Punta Cana—Ocean by H10 Hotels is planning to add yet another hotel in the Riviera Maya and one in Cuba in the coming year (and into 2016). The Ocean Maya Royale recently underwent renovations adding new Deluxe rooms, an additional oceanfront restaurant and a Privilege Club Beach Section with Balinese beds. The Punta Cana property underwent similar enhancements, including the addition of a new restaurant, the Blue Moon. oceanhotels.net
Well, by now everyone knows that the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is set to open very soon—at press time, everyone was crossing their fingers that it would open this summer. This “awe-inclusive” property, located on the north coast of Jamaica, will have more than 700 guestrooms and suites with oceanfront views of the Caribbean Sea; what is being hailed as “the longest stretch of private beach in Ocho Rios”; five pools; an array of restaurants; the nightclub, Noir; the signature Awe-Spa with a dedicated wellness center; and plenty of fun spaces for kids and teens. In other Palace news, Le Blanc Spa Resort has unveiled Blanc Asia, a new eatery featuring an eclectic menu of Asian cuisine fused with Latin American influences.
We are itching to try one of the Life Enriching Activities offered at Paradisus Resorts—Pole Dance Classes at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla in Mexico (a 60-minute class offered twice a week at the resort’s outdoor palapa); the Back of the House tour at Paradisus Playa del Carmen (a tour taking place every Thursday and ideal for those who want to check out everything that’s going on behind the scenes…where did that yummy croissant get baked?); and Diamond Tutorials at Paradisus Cancun (taking place every Tuesday and exclusive for Royal Service guests). Moms and dads without a penchant for pole dancing or diamonds will want to know about the new Family Concierge concept that debuted at Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana. It caters to families with 42 suites, a lounge, a Trattoria-style restaurant and a private beach. paradisus.com
sandals & beaches
Sandals has debuted a revamped Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, previously the Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort. The resort, located in Jamaica, was rebuilt to now offer a bevy of new “Gourmet Discovery Dining” options; an Ochi Beach Club—guests will have access to a rock climbing wall (the largest in the Caribbean), beachfront pool, swim-up bar and 10 waterside restaurants—and completely renovated rooms, including an All-Butler Village, which ups the ante on the brand’s butler service.
Beaches, meanwhile, is offering a Beaches Friends Forever (B.F.F.) Girls Getaway package this year and next (Sept. 24-28, 2015; and April 7-11, and Oct. 27-31, 2016). It’s a 4-night package available at the Turks & Caicos property that includes girls-only activities, including a hairstyling tips and tricks class; a beach-bonfire PJ party; private snorkeling cruise, seaside yoga, spa credit and other such goodies.
sandals.com and beaches.com
Sandos Hotels has lowered their age requirement for check-in from 21 to 18 at all Sandos properties in Mexico, including Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort, Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, Sandos Playacar Beach Resort and Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos. The brand has also reduced the admissions age for Select Club Adults Only sections at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort and Sandos Playacar Beach Resort. These adults-only hideaways are nestled in a separate area located at the two family-friendly resorts. sandos.com