THERE has been a worldwide explosion in all-inclusive resorts since the pioneering days of Club Med, Sandals and SuperClubs.
Most of the properties are big resorts, but that is about all they have in common. Some are for families, others are adults-only, and some have sumptuous spas, although these usually come at a price.
There are those that include food, drink, and every imaginable water sport in the price, while others only throw in non-motorised water activities and buffet dining. Pick well and you can indulge in almost any drink under the sun without spending a penny, while others restrict the choice of free drinks to local beers and wines. We asked five tour operators for their advice on what product to sell to which client.
Paul Cleary, managing director, Caribtours, chose Jumby Bay, Antigua
Why?: “It’s the epitome of all-inclusives in the Caribbean – pure luxury. On arrival at the airport, guests are transferred by limousine to a pier, from which a private launch transports them to the island. It takes just 10 minutes and they are met by a waiter with a cold towel. There are just 40 rooms and 11 villas in the 300-acre grounds, so it’s private and exclusive – a lot of celebrities stay here. The rooms are beautiful, with four-poster beds and wonderful décor. This is definitely one for lovers of luxury who have plenty of money. We mainly sell it to couples, but also to the family market, even though there is no kids’ club. It appeals to families who want to spend some time together.”
Something special? “The service is exemplary. We had a client on her honeymoon who went to the restaurant on her own for lunch because her husband wanted to stay on the beach. The staff took a table and lunch to him.”
Sample product: Seven nights in an ocean view room costs from £2,444 per person, including flights, transfers, plus all food and branded drinks.
Paul Riches, sales and marketing director, Libra Holidays chose Luca Laura Beach in Paphos, Cyprus
Why? “The hotel is right on the beach just outside Paphos. Although it’s a four-star it has more space than most of the five-star properties in the town. You can walk through the gardens to the beach and, with so much space, there is room for lots of activities, including tennis and water sports. It’s a great family hotel and ideally located for those who want to explore. Paphos is 10 minutes away by taxi – about £4 each way – and offers a waterpark and boat trips. The resort is also handy for sightseeing in the Troodos Mountains, and Limassol and Nicosia are not far away. The transfer for clients flying into Paphos Airport takes about 20 minutes.”
Something special?“The lovely gardens stretch down to the beach and create a beautiful area for guests.”
Sample product: a seven-night stay costs from £519 per person, including flights, transfers, buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, afternoon snacks and unlimited alcohol from 10am to midnight.
Sarah Beckwith, assistant product manager, Thomas Cook Signature, chose Swept Away, Jamaica
Why? “This is an all-inclusive offering over and above what you get in traditional packages. There are four restaurants, two of which are à la carte but don’t cost extra. As it is a Couples resort, visitors must be over 18 and can have unlimited premium-brand drinks and cocktails. Windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing, with instruction, are included in the price, and guests can hire snorkelling equipment. Would-be scuba divers can have a free lesson. On land, there are free tennis lessons and the sauna, steam rooms and Jacuzzi are complimentary, although spa treatments cost extra. For shopping, there is a free shuttle bus to Negril, about 10 minutes away.
Something special?“On top of everything else, excursions are included – guests can go on a sunset catamaran cruise and a trip to the Pirates Cave bar and restaurant to snorkel and watch the cliff divers or enjoy a drink while watching the sunset. There are no green fees for golfers at the 18-hole Negril Hills Golf Club, although they do have to pay for a caddy.”
Sample product: a seven- night stay costs from £1,143 per person all-inclusive, with flights and transfers.
Sara Gelder, senior commercial manager, Cosmos, suggests the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort, Bel Ombre, Mauritius
Why? “If you want to be pampered on a spa holiday, this is the place. It’s a five-star resort on the unspoilt south coast of Mauritius, right on the beach and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. It has a range of à la carte restaurants and three swimming pools, one of which is at the spa. The spa has two relaxing areas, 16 treatment rooms – five of them outside – two beach massage areas, a sauna, jet therapy, two steam baths, two Vichy showers, a beauty parlour and fitness centre.
Clients on the premium all-inclusive package can choose a complimentary daily spa treatment from a selection of massages, aromatherapies, facials, body wraps and baths.”
Something special:“When clients are not indulging in pampering, there is an 18-hole golf course, driving range and chipping and putting greens all on site, so it is the perfect holiday for couples with different interests. One golf green fee per person per day is included.”
Sample product:seven nights cost from £1,759 per person with flights and transfers. A deluxe room with sea view costs an extra £13 per person per night.
Drew Bowering, Tenerife and Gran Canaria product manager, Thomson, suggests Hotel Taurito Princess in Playa Taurito, Gran Canaria
Why?“The Taurito is one of our most popular family properties in the Canaries. It’s in a tranquil spot, overlooking the lido and beach, which makes it popular with adults who can enjoy the peace and quiet away from the lively pool. The all-inclusive package includes buffet lunch and dinner, snacks between 10.30am and 1pm, afternoon tea, soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks, so parents don’t have to worry about running up a big bill. We also offer price reductions for children under 12. There are free cots for those with infants. The hotel has something for the whole family, with two swimming pools, a children’s pool, dancing most evenings and professional acts three or four times a week, and there is a free hotel bus to Puerto Morgan and nearby Puerto Rico.”
Something special?“There is plenty to keep youngsters entertained while mum and dad have a holiday, including a kids’ club, a children’s pool, playground and mini-disco in the evening.”
Sample product:a seven night stay costs from £465 per adult and £209 for the first child, for departures from April 17-30, including flights and transfers.
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