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Until recently, the French and Dutch island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten didn’t have any all-inclusive resorts. But, according to general manager Armando Pizzuti, the island is the ideal spot for such a property.
“Saint Martin has no all inclusive resorts, but it’s an incredible island, it’s very safe and it offers duty free shopping, which means companies can import the best food and beverage at good prices,” said Pizzuti. “It’s a natural pick for an all-inclusive property.”
Pizzuti spent many years in the Caribbean working with Sandals Resorts all-inclusive brand and helped developed 12 properties with the company. He believes that the American market is very familiar with the all-inclusive concept and, therefore, transforming the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino into this type of property was a smart move.
“This is the perfect hotel to transform into an all-inclusive,” he said. “It is a natural fit for the island and for the traveler. The island is very conducive to this type of product. We are also very close to other islands and offer easy access with an international airport.”
Another advantage Pizzuti sees in the transformation is that the island offers more character than other places where all-inclusive products thrive.
“We are not only offering an all-inclusive hotel stay, but guests can step outside the hotel into the village with bars, nightclubs, shops and more,” he said.
The property underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation in order to effectively deliver the all-inclusive product with a variety of accommodations and first-rate amenities for singles, couples and families are available to appeal to a variety of clients. The new Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, features all-inclusive meals, drinks, a kid's club and a scheduled activities program. While nightlife abounds nearby, the resort also offers its own evening entertainment.
“We needed to build new restaurants, include minibars in the guestrooms with beer, water and alcohol,” said Pizzuti. “We added activities during the day, live music, dancing and a nightly show. We also built a club for kids, and we do movies for families every night.”
The 10-acre, 520-room beachfront property is located on the island's southwest shore just minutes from the airport. It features a large pool area with a swim-up pool bar, cascading waterfalls, an additional quiet pool area, an oceanfront wedding gazebo, four restaurants and four bars, a fitness center, four tennis courts, a nightclub and more. There is also more than 24,000 square feet of meeting space. Guests may enjoy other amenities such as The Maho Serenity Spa, a casino and motorized water sports for an additional fee.
In order to reintroduce Sonseta Maho Beach to the travel industry, the resort is inviting tour operators to experience the property. Following these visits, travel agents will be invited to experience the property.
“Travel agents are the lifeblood of the hotel’s business,” said Pizzuti.