John J. Issa and family at the 2009 SuperAwards held at Montego Bay, Jamaica's, Breezes
Runaway Bay // (c) Skye Mayring 2009
On Nov. 1, SuperClubs officially consolidated its five hotel brands in Jamaica into three brands (Rooms, Breezes and Hedonism resorts) making it easier and more cost effective for SuperClubs to market its products internationally. With this move, the family-friendly Starfish Trelawny Resort & Spa has changed its name to Breezes Resort & Spa Trelawny; the AAA Four-Diamond Grand Lido Braco property is now called Breezes Rio Bueno Resort & Spa; and Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa has rebranded to Breezes Grand Negril Resort & Spa and is now Breezes’ flagship Jamaica property.
According to SuperClubs chairman John. J. Issa, the company is looking to capitalize on the popularity and recognition of the Breezes name in a marketplace flooded with all-inclusive properties.
“We’re hoping to make agents’ lives simpler and our life simpler with the rebranding,” Issa told TravelAge West. “Furthermore, we have a better product to promote than we did a year ago. Breezes resorts are very personal, full-service properties where clients will be treated as individuals.”
In order to fit under the Breezes umbrella, however, the Trelawny and Grand Lido properties had to adapt to more than new marketing materials and signage.
Breezes Resort & Spa Trelawny has an increased budget to work with, which means certain areas, such as the buffet and overall presentation of cuisine, have been significantly improved. Some restaurants have consolidated, so menus feature multiple culinary perspectives, from Italian to French. And, there is no extra charge to dine in the Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, Munasan, or the fine-dining restaurant, Casablanca (although lobster has been taken off the menu). Premium liquor has been introduced throughout the property as well, and it is now included in the price.
“Starfish Trelawny was always perceived as the lower end of SuperClubs,” said Richard Bourke, general manager of Breezes Resort & Spa Trelawny. “But with the rebranding, the resort has become one of SuperClubs Super-Inclusive properties, rather than offering various add-ons to guests.”
Parents will be pleased to know that there is no charge to use the Kids Club and that the little ones won’t have to beg them for extra quarters since the lobby arcade is now free of charges.
Scuba diving is still a paid optional activity, but other water sports, such as glass-bottom boat rides and snorkeling trips, are included in the cost of the vacation.
Unlike Trelawny, the former Grand Lido properties in Jamaica, which were among the higher echelon of SuperClubs resorts, will not necessarily adapt such radical restructuring.
Andre Dhanpaul, the general manager Breezes Grand Negril Resort & Spa said his resort had to “come down a notch” to adequately meet the Breezes brand requirements. Nevertheless, this adjustment was anything but drastic for the resort: The quality of the cuisine and service has not changed; no physical alterations were made to the property; and the staff-to-guest-ratio will remain unchanged, according to Dhanpaul.
The differences clients will notice during their next stay are primarily in the overall all-inclusive amenities available. At press time, the property has eliminated complimentary manicures/pedicures, in-room dining (except in its 28 suites) and complimentary laundry services. As a result, the Negril resort’s all-inclusive rates will decrease by 10 percent in 2010.
“On Jamaica, we have two other huge chains, Sandals and Couples and, with our new pricing, I believe we will be in direct competition with them as well as become more competitive in the honeymoon and wedding market,” said Dhanpaul. “Those that can’t afford Sandals and Couples will come to Breezes.”
Burchell Henry, the public relations manager for the Breezes resorts in Jamaica agrees.
“We will capture a wider group, including guests as young as 16 years old, who can identify with Breezes, the most popular brand within SuperClubs,” said Henry at an agent appreciation event held at Breezes Rio Bueno Resort & Spa. “Because of this, we think the crowd might want to stay up later. So, we are extending the hours for some of our food and beverage operations to meet this need.”
Rio Bueno, for instance, has added a late-night grill and deli in its Italian restaurant and will continue to serve food and drinks at its 24-hour beach bar. For the early birds, the resort has added a continental breakfast option starting at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m. Additionally, $2 million guestroom renovations were completed last month, and upgrades such as renovated Jacuzzis and new cabanas are still in the works
But repeat guests will notice that some services are no longer included in the all-inclusive price. Like the Negril property, Rio Bueno eliminated complimentary manicures/pedicures and in-room dining in standard rooms. Complimentary transfers to Breezes Runaway Bay’s golf course will no longer be part of the all-inclusive price.
In an effort to further streamline the Breezes brand in Jamaica, SuperClubs made the decision to close Breezes Montego Bay earlier this year. According to Issa, the Montego Bay property no longer met the quality standards of its sister properties.
“When I started the all-inclusive concept in the 1970s, I didn’t have a master plan to build a chain,” said Issa. “But now, after speaking with agents and conducting extensive market research, our Breezes resorts meet a higher standard, and we are going to be extremely disciplined in keeping it that way.”