Overwater bungalow suites will open at Sandals Royal Caribbean in 2015. // © 2014 Sandals Resorts International
Feature image (above): Travel agents can learn about brand and property updates on the new “The Closer You Look” website. // © 2014 Sandals Resorts International
The all-inclusive travel product, especially in the Caribbean, is continually undergoing refinement and innovation. An example of this is the full slate of new features and benefits recently announced by Sandals Resorts International. These new enhancements will be rolled out in 2015 and represent a $100 million investment.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it is that being a leader means never standing still,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International. “Innovation is not static. We’re always looking to the future as we continue to invest in our product and ensure that our guests have the best possible Luxury Included vacation experience and that Sandals Resorts remains at the forefront of the luxury market.”
Cutting-Edge Culinary Concepts
According to World Food Travel Association, culinary tourism is on the rise with 30 percent of travelers deliberately choosing a vacation destination based on the cuisine and 51 percent planning a trip to enjoy unique dining experiences. With this in mind, Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts are expanding their Discovery Dining program. They intend to counter preconceived notions of the all-inclusive dining experience by focusing on authenticity, choice, globally-inspired cuisine and local ingredients. Rolling out in 2015, the expansion will feature 21 different and innovative restaurant concepts.
In this same vein, Sandals recently announced a partnership with Napa Valley’s Robert Mondavi Winery, set to debut on March 1. The partnership will allow guests to enjoy an expanded complimentary wine list as well as an enhanced Manager’s Wine List and on-resort programming (including wine pairings and wine tastings).
Renovations and Re-Launches
Sandals Barbados is slated to re-open on Jan. 28 after an extensive renovation. The resort will offer 280 luxury accommodations that include new swim-up river suites situated in the resort’s lush tropical garden. Sandals Barbados will also have the brand’s first-ever Indian restaurant, Bombay Club.
In early 2015, Beaches Barbados will begin building on the former Almond Beach Resort in St. Peter, Barbados, and Beaches Antigua will replace the existing Grand Pineapple Beach Resort in Long Bay, Antigua. These new resorts will be the first Beaches Resorts in Barbados and Antigua.
In addition, the eight Water’s Edge suites at Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa on St. Lucia are undergoing a full renovation to be completed by Dec. 14. Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, will re-launch as Sandals Ochi Beach Club, Golf & Spa Resort on Feb. 1. Enhancements to the dining choices at the resort include Tapas on the Riviera, a tapas bar; The Southern Table, featuring Southern soulful cooking; Tree House, a chic deck lounge and bar area; and The Rabbit Hole, a new speakeasy bar.
The Wow Factor
The hugely anticipated overwater suites on the private island at Sandals Royal Caribbean will debut in 2015. These are reminiscent of the overwater bungalows in Tahiti and are sure to be a big hit with honeymooners. There will be five villa suites in total, each measuring 1,400 square feet and equipped with a glass floor; a soaking tub; a king-size bed; 65-inch, flat-screen televisions in the living and bedroom areas; indoor and outdoor showers; an exterior dining space; and a built-in, over-the-water hammock.
“The research is in, and it’s clear that in the wake of a challenging economy, Americans are working more and more and taking fewer and fewer vacation days,” Stewart said. “With time at a premium, these travelers want the convenience of an all-inclusive experience without giving up the luxury setting, amenities and services they have earned. This is what’s behind the demand for a new, Luxury Included, all-inclusive concept, and we’re delivering it.”
Travel agents can keep abreast of these new Sandals Resorts features and benefits by visiting the brand’s new interactive website that launched last month, encouraging the hashtag #closeryoulook.