Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Playa Hotels & Resorts, with Kim Manna, CEO of Panama Jack // © 2017 Playa Hotels & Resorts
Feature image (above): Gran Caribe Resort in Cancun will be rebranded as a part of Playa’s new partnership with Panama Jack. // © 2017 Playa Hotels & Resorts
With its extensive line of sunglasses, sunscreens, tanning oils and beach clothing, Panama Jack already has a presence on Mexico’s beaches. And now, the company is set to make a big leap forward with branded hotels that are the result of a licensing agreement with Playa Hotels & Resorts.
The collaboration, announced in January at Playa’s Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall property in Montego Bay, Jamaica, brings the Panama Jack name to Mexico’s all-inclusive hotel scene to offer what Playa describes as a “casual and friendly vacation experience influenced by Panama Jack’s relaxed and fun persona, encompassing all things sun and surf.”
The first stage of the partnership involves the rebranding of two existing all-inclusive hotels: Gran Caribe Resort in Cancun and Gran Porto Resort in Playa del Carmen, which together have 757 guestrooms. Both properties are undergoing a multimillion-dollar upgrade and will reopen in late 2017 as Panama Jack Gran Porto and Panama Jack Gran Caribe.
In keeping with Panama Jack’s laid-back, sun-infused image, the revamped decor at both properties will aim for a retro-hip vibe.
“The aesthetic of the Panama Jack Resort brand will reflect the life of a traveler,” said Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Playa. “It resembles an adventurous style that is relaxed yet timeless. Think living walls, community dining, vintage surfboards and classic beach cruisers.”
Elements of the Panama Jack Resort brand will be present in everything from furnishings and in-room products to signage and uniforms. Each resort will have a Panama Jack-branded restaurant and bars (in addition to other on-site dining and drinking options). And it’s no surprise that on-site retail stores at both properties will stock plenty of the brand’s products, which include sun-care items, eyewear, clothing and beach accessories.
Both properties are positioned as family-friendly, with features that appeal to a wide variety of travelers.
“The brand has been built to cater to multiple generations, spanning boomers to millennials,” Froemming said. “The beauty of the resort destinations makes it a natural spot for weddings and romance. Combined with the mystery and authenticity of the locations, it’s also perfect for family travel.”
Froemming predicts that the new hotel brand will be a hit with travel agents.
“Delivering a project like Panama Jack Resorts makes agents’ jobs even easier, as the new concept sells itself,” he said. “It’s delivering a fun, experiential product that resonates with the target audience — there’s nothing else like it in the Cancun/Riviera Maya market today.”
The Gran Caribe property has a waterpark, a kids’ club, mini-golf, a spa, a fitness center, two oceanfront swimming pools and 7,000 square feet of indoor meeting and event space, as well as a beachfront gazebo and chapel for destination weddings. Room accommodation categories range from 322-square-foot beachfront Gran Junior Suites to the 1,366-square-foot oceanview Gran Presidential Suite.
The Gran Porto property, located near Playa del Carmen’s popular Fifth Avenue, has a spa, a fitness center, a kids’ club, a teens’ club and more than 1,700 square feet of indoor meeting and event space, as well as multiple outdoor event and wedding venues. Room categories range from 263-square-foot Standard Suites to 1,020-square-foot oceanfront Gran Master Suites.
Kim Manna, CEO of Panama Jack, believes the licensing agreement between her company and Playa is an ideal match.
“We’re excited to partner with Playa to launch Panama Jack Resorts,” she said. “We found the perfect partner in the hospitality industry with proven performance, tremendous growth and the expertise we’ve been looking for. This is the natural evolution of our brand, confirming its preeminence in the casual lifestyle market.”
Froemming is equally confident in the partnership.
“Playa Hotels & Resorts has a proven track record for bringing brands into new sectors, and we are delighted to welcome Panama Jack into the hotel and resort sector,” he said. “With its strong lifestyle identity and cultural connection with our core audience, Panama Jack is the ideal partner for us. We couldn’t be more pleased about this partnership.”
Plans call for the Panama Jack Resort brand to expand elsewhere in Mexico and the Caribbean in future years, although no details have been announced.