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Club Med Hotels / Cirque du Soleil / Punta Cana Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / All-inclusive Resorts / All-inclusive Hotels / → All Tags
What happens when two French-based companies have a meeting of the minds...in the tropics? The answer is a one-of-a-kind experience that might have you doing backflips and cartwheels...or hobbling to the Wellness Centre for some deep-tissue therapy.
Quebec's acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil has recently been branching out...into movies, nightclubs and Broadway-style productions. A theme park must surely be on the executive drawing boards (if not, we thought of it first!).
But before that inevitably happens, they've team up with France-based Club Med All-Inclusive Resorts to launch a new kind of playground at their Punta Cana location. They call it "Creactive"", and it opened on June 15.
The pool at the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso, on Mexico's Riviera Maya
There’s a distinct snobbery among elite travelers about those gluttony, booze-guzzling, ignorant group of ingrates without a cultural or inquisitive bone in their boring bodies: the wretched all-inclusive vacationers.
I know. I used to feel like that about all-inclusives myself. Then something magical and life changing happened: I had kids.
Before children it never dawned on me to go to an all-inclusive. Why would I? We hiked around Kauai, island-hopped in the Virgin Islands, tequila tasted across Mexico, explored ancient towns in Spain… well, you get the point. Now let me ask you this: have you ever tried to sightsee with fussy, regurgitating six-month old twins strapped to your back? Exactly.
We continued to travel adventurously with young children (“I won’t let these brats stop me no matter how miserable it makes me!!” I must have been thinking) and when they were four years old we wound up at our first all-inclusive resort.
And a very foreign feeling came over me that took me a while to identify: relaxation.
Alexis Tsipras, newly installed Prime Minister of Greece, wasted no time in tackling tourism issues, announcing that he hopes to ween the country off of mass tourism and all-inclusive resorts.
According to The Daily Mail, he does not support an outright ban of all-inclusives, but "wants to encourage a move away from the all-inclusive resorts back to the traditional holiday model where visitors use local bars, restaurants and attractions."
It was indeed a bold announcement, and one that is sure to split rooms down the middle. Tsipras said he thinks the resorts tend to wall-in visitors, ultimately reducing the benefits to the local economies despite their ability to draw visitors, with the financial impact is mostly kept to the owners of the property itself.
This is a complicated debate where people with different ideas about tourism and its impacts are sure to butt heads, comparing short and long-term financial and tourism outlooks.
Set to open March 1 is the all-inclusive Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, formerly known as the Sunset Jamaica Grande.
Does it look nice or what? We even spy a Nespresso!
Keep reading for more deets on the new property:
Free WiFi / Sandals Resorts / Beaches Resorts / All-Inclusive Resorts / Hotel News / Hotel WiFi / → All Tags
In early 2013, when Sandals Resorts upgraded their WiFi networks, we were thrilled to hear that you could feasibly check your email by the pool. Not that we would recommend doing that on your vacation but just knowing that you could is always a comfort for the extremely connected like ourselves.
However, we were less than thrilled that WiFi was still an additional fee, usually about $14 a day, or $43 for the week.
But now, both Sandals and Beaches resorts are offering free WiFi to guests during their stay. The WiFi will be available in all room categories in all public areas. (Previously, if you booked a Concierge or Butler level suites, you could get free WiFi.)
Even better, there doesn't appear to be a device restriction so you can connect your phone and your tablet and your laptop and your portable game control. But come on, if you're traveling with all that, and you don't have kids or several members in your party, then maybe you should seek out a digital detox program instead.
[Photo: Sandals Resorts/Facebook]
Hotel Woes / Cabo Hotels / Cabo San Lucas Hotels / Secrets Resorts / All-Inclusive Resorts / AM Resorts / → All Tags
It looks like Hurricane Odile is still causing trouble in Cabo. Aside from structurally damaging nearly every resort and forcing many of them to close for several months, the hurricane stirred up some behind-the-scenes drama.
We've already chronicled the saga of The Resort at Pedregal which kicked out Capella Hotels as their managing brand. Now the same things seems to be happening at Secrets Marquis. Initially, Secrets Marquis said they would reopen on December 20. Then, their Facebook page made an update saying that the resort would be closed until further notice.
Over the weekend, a tipster told us the resort made another kind of announcement on Facebook last week, claiming parent company of Secrets--AM Resorts--has been locked out of the property. Here's the full statement:
It might be low season right now in Cancun but there's a lot to get excited about for next winter, especially if you love that new hotel smell (which we do!)
Below is a list of the new hotels--either brand-new, rebranded or renovated--that have opened or will open very soon. And thanks to a bunch of upcoming airline routes, Cancun will be easier to get to.
Southwest plans on flying nonstop from Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington and Milwaukee to Cancun on August 10. Alaska Airlines will launch their seasonal daily service between Seattle and Cancun starting November 6, while Delta Airlines will expand their Saturday season service to Cancun from 13 US cities including Boston, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, and Tampa.
Now, let's take a look at what's coming up in Cancun soon. Vamanos!:
· Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
Catchphrase: "All-In Luxury.": Opening this winter (in 2015), The Royalton is an all-inclusive luxury resort with three different sections to hang out in, including the resort within a resort, called The Hideaway. In total, there will be close to 1,200 rooms and suites to choose from and 10 restaurants and 16 bars to get drunk at, er, to enjoy.
· Grand Oasis Viva will turn into the Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa
Catchphrase: "Unlimited Luxury.": This hotel will open on September 1. Billing itself as "Unlimited Luxury", The Dream Sands includes dining at their eight restaurants, unlimited top-shelf spirits at four bars and lounges, 24 hour room service and both daytime and nighttime activities and entertainment for all guests. You can upgrade to the Preferred Club Privileges to get more VIP amenities as well as free internet. Rates for September 1st start at $99 a night.
· Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres is now the Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres
Catchphrase: "Endless Privileges.": The rebranding of this island haven of Isla Mujeres, 30 minutes from mainland Cancun, happened on July 1 but the official rename and inauguration won't take place until December 15. However, you can stay at this holistic wellness resort right now and take advantage of their "Endless Privileges" when you book one of the 35 oceanfront suites. Those privileges include Bulgari amenities, fine dining, deluxe yacht services, complimentary greens fees at the nearby golf course and access to the Spa & Thalasso Center. Rates start at $227 per person per night.
Hotel Wellness / Hotel Fitness / All-Inclusive Resorts / Cancun Hotels / Hotel Workouts / Palace Resorts / → All Tags
Hotel wellness programs are THE IN THING right now. Seriously, if we lost a pound for every press release we've gotten about a new hotel fitness or wellness amenity, we'd be walking around naked because we'd be so fit.
But we have to give an extra shout-out to Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort's new fitness initiatives for keeping us motivated, even while beer, sugary cocktails and chips and dips tempt us at every turn.
The all-inclusive resort has bucked the norm when it comes to chilling out in the middle of Cancun and traded the cocktails for Crossfit and poolside snacks for Pilates. Just by booking one of the property's 19 Palace Wellness Suites, guests will score health-oriented amenities, a minibar stocked with juices brimming with vitamins and an Awe Sports Kit complete with a yoga mat, jump rope and dumbbells.
Each recently renovated-room also features the CHI beauty amenities, aromatherapy room diffusers, pillow menus and dawn simulating alarm clocks to ensure you start each day with a smile on your face. And since we know that fitness is more than just exercise and sleeping well, 24-hour access to a healthy room-service menu is just one button away.
This contributor has never been a big fan of buffets, nor was I ever one to run to the ever-popular yet much-aligned all-inclusive resorts.
In Jamaica, walking through immigration at Montego Bay felt like Bourbon Street on any given Saturday. I was waiting for beads or boobs to be thrown my way.This added travel fuel to the not in favor fire. I was already unsure of the all-inclusive adventure ahead.
But once scooped up by Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort’s private car, the tide turned for the better. And after a few days at the all-suite resort, it was easy to see why all-inclusives can be oh-so-addictive.
Hard Rock Hotels / Hotel Openings / Riviera Maya Hotels / All-Inclusive Resorts / Hotel Design / → All Tags
Ok, we don't actually see Bon Jovi in this picture, but you get the idea.
Cinco de Mayo on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Add to that the sounds of rocker Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia, who just kicked off the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Hard Rock Hotels knows how to throw a party— and a few guitars—and that’s just what they did to celebrate their all-inclusive resort, about an hour's drive south of Cancun.
This is the third All Inclusive Collection resort for Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico, following the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta and the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun.
All-Inclusive Resorts / Hyatt Hotels / Hyatt Zilara / Hyatt Ziva / Mexico Hotels / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
We gave you a sneak peek into the first-ever Hyatt Hotel all-inclusive brand last week, Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, but now Hyatt has officially unveiled both of their new all-inclusive brands, Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara.
As you may recall, Hyatt Ziva is the family-friendly resort while Hyatt Zilara is the adults-only resort. ut whichever resort you choose, Hyatt is always listening. Seriously, that's what they said. They're listening to what you want out of the all-inclusive experience and they're making that feedback a part of their brand development.
“We are listening to guests as we create these brands so that we can redefine this category and make the all inclusive experience Hyatt offers unlike anything currently in the market,” said Chris Walker, vice president, brand experience, Hyatt. “We believe that we can leverage our expertise in hospitality to make a short-term impact in the category while inviting our guests to help us create their ideal experience over the long-term. We intend to prototype and test various services, food and beverage concepts, and amenities and collect feedback in real-time to constantly lead in the all inclusive market.”
They ain't messing around. Here are just a few things that Hyatt is implementing with their new all-inclusive brands:
In our opinion, the jury is still out on all-inclusive resorts. Sometimes we love them, and often we hate them, but one thing's for sure: we never expect a memorable gastronomical experience when we stay at one.
We are happy to report, however, that our recent stay at the all-inclusive IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso, on Mexico's Riviera Maya, might help sway our opinion. The hotel has four restaurants (Japanese, Italian, French, and a steakhouse -- strangely no Mexican), two buffets, and six bars. We ate well and we ate often.