Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Case For The Presidente Intercontinental Cancun

The Presidente InterContinental Cancun Resort & Spa is fresh from a $20 million head-to-toe renovation. That’s just one of several reasons why you may want to put the resort on top of your clients’ “must” lists. For starters, the fact that it’s a European Plan (EP) property means your clients can enjoy dining at local restaurants without suffering from “all-inclusive guilt.” Also, the resort is set in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, and features a huge, stunning beach with gentle wave action.

Most Common Accommodations

The 366-square-foot Deluxe Rooms make up the bulk of the resort’s 300 guestrooms. These accommodations, though, are anything but basic, blending modern design and marble floors with such hi-tech features as iHome docking stations and LED flat-screen TVs. All guestrooms have free WiFi, citrusy Agraria bathroom amenities and gorgeous black-and-white images depicting the Maya world, which were commissioned to represent the InterContinental brand’s “sense of place.”

Deluxe Ocean Suites are equipped with glass-wall showers so guests don’t miss out on the view, and the shower area includes a sliding wood “cover” for privacy. Guests accommodated in Deluxe Ocean Suites also have access to the Club Lounge.

Fanciest Accommodations

If your clients want fancy, the 2,150-squarefoot Presidential Suite with its amazing views of the Caribbean Sea fits that bill. The ample terrace has a dining area, sunbeds and a private pool. Inside, there’s a master bedroom, large living and dining area, kitchen and an oversized bathroom with a giant jetted tub.

What’s Included

Although the InterContinental’s EP plan means food and beverage is not included in the rates, guests receive coffee and two bottles of water in guestrooms, with free refills daily. WiFi and the 24-hour gym are also fee-free.

One of the best inclusions, however, is that wonderful stretch of sandy beach with kid-friendly waves and limited accessibility to the wandering public.

The hotel also allows kids 12 and under to stay free when sharing a room with adults.

Best Entertainment

Kids will be entertained building sandcastles and playing in the new ChiquiClub treehouse, while parents will be entertained by cocktails at the adults-only pool, and couples by the privacy offered in the new beachfront huts that can be rented for the day. Off-site, of course, guests will find entertainment options with a capital “E”!

What’s For Dinner?

Epicentro, the new hotspot in the lobby, serves local and international cuisine, plus cocktails and barista services are available from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Club Lounge (only for Club floor members) offers breakfast and afternoon cocktails. The new Café Urbano serves à la carte and buffet breakfast plus lunch and dinner with an international and Mexican flair. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are also served at the Caribbean and Mexican-infused El Caribeño. The Mediterranean-flavored Le Cap Beach Club is open for lunch and dinner.

Philosophy of hotel charisma

When Karisma Hotels & Resorts Executive Vice President Mandy Chomat was asked what he attributed the company’s ongoing success to, he wasted no time with his answer. “The philosophy was always to deliver a better all-inclusive experience,” he said. “One of the key objectives was to go after the market attuned to exceptional food and service, which is what we’re known for.”

But Chomat stressed that was just part of the equation. “The other objective was to train a distribution system of agents that would be different from anything else out there,” he said. In 2008, Karisma created the Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants (GIVC) program to attract these high-caliber travel advisors, who are paid 21 percent commissions.

In addition to those high commissions, GIVC agents are privy to exclusive offers for their clients that are not available to non-GIVC agents or OTAs. “We want to work with travel agents who want to market themselves to consumers, and we’re here to help with any marketing assistance they need,” Chomat. “Agents are really important to us, because we recognize that when somebody really knows our product and how to sell it, the consumer has a better experience with the product.”

Going forward, Karisma will need that travel agent distribution system more than ever, as it significantly expands its reach beyond Mexico’s Riviera Maya. In all, the company plans to add nine resorts to its portfolio of 26 properties, virtually doubling its room count from 4,592 to 9,424 by 2021.

“To stay in the game you have to expand,” Chomat said. “Up until two years ago agents could only sell us in the Riviera Maya. For agents to be successful we had to give them products to sell beyond a single destination.”

The company plans to debut three properties in Jamaica, two in the Dominican Republic, and one each in Antigua and Huatulco, Mexico.

Welcome big family

Woodloch Pines Resort in Hawley, Penn., has been owned and operated since 1958 by the Kiesendahl family – and they very well may be the reason that families flock to the resort year after year as if visiting their own extended family.

“Since I have grown up in our family business at the resort, I have been lucky enough to watch generations of families make memories and return with the next generation to continue the memory making,” said John Kiesendahl, owner and president of Woodloch Pines Resort. “There is no better compliment than to see familiar faces [of guests] each year who have selected this resort for the place they want to share with their families.”

The four-season resort in the Pocono Mountains is about three hours from both New York City and Philadelphia. It sits on 1,200 acres and includes the 300-acre, all-inclusive Woodloch Pines Resort, Woodloch Springs Golf Course and The Lodge at Woodloch destination spa.

Fanciest and Most Common Accommodations: Woodloch Pines has 160 guestrooms in four categories with most rooms accommodating up to six people, making it ideal for larger families. The most common category is the spacious Deluxe Lakeview, which is available in all of Woodloch’s buildings and features balconies facing the lake. Most guestrooms are in the Greenbriar building, which is connected to the main dining room and nightclub.

Woodloch also has four Lake Estate Homes and eight Southwoods Homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, which you may want to recommend to your multigenerational groups. There are also 68 two- to five-bedroom homes managed by Woodloch as part of the Woodloch Springs golf community.

What’s Included: All Woodloch package rates include nightly entertainment and some 30 daily activities that vary by season. (There are a few select activities that do require an additional charge, such as golf and ziplining.) There are also special events, barbecues and carnivals included as part of the package. A daily activity sheet lets guests keep track of all there is to do.

Oasis Hotels & Resorts has carved a niche

Cancun is a hotly competitive market for all-inclusive resorts, but Oasis Hotels & Resorts has carved out a niche by remaining compact, focused, local and diversified – and committed to the travel agent community.

In all, Oasis has eight all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and nearby Tulum, as well as two urban hotels in downtown Cancun. Enrique Klein, vice president-sales and marketing, said the group has managed to stay competitive over its 22-year history by “staying on top of market conditions and customer preferences by reading and addressing what the customer is looking for in vacation travel.”

For Oasis, diversity is a priority. Properties are tiered by price, concept and target markets. The Pyramid, set within the confines of the Grand Oasis Cancun, is the most luxurious, reflected in its restaurants, amenities and quality of furnishings. A notch below that are the Grand Oasis properties and then Oasis. The recently introduced Oasis Lite category includes two property offerings, said Klein, with “great amenities and services at great price points.” And, typical of Oasis’ efforts to leverage the proximity of its resorts to one another, the Lite properties are nearby “sisters” to Grand Oasis resorts, so that guests on a budget can enjoy many of the amenities and services of the more upscale options.

The two urban hotels – Smart Cancun by Oasis and Oh! The Urban Oasis – also offer contrasting styles and price points. Oh! The Urban Oasis “is more upscale, but the [two] hotels are connected by a walkway,” said Klein. “Both are great for business travel, but we also find leisure travelers coming who want to be where the action is.”